I got a late 2014 iMac 5k 27″ that sometimes performs not so well (especially on Lightroom and Photoshop). In gaming it always performed bad (even in games with not so high requirements). So, I decided to upgrade but I can’t spend almost 4k€ in a state-of-the-art new iMac. So, basically, I’ll do an hackintosh to spend less and to improve performance.
Purpose of the build
I basically use the computer to video and photo editing and graphics. Lightroom and Photoshop are most my used software and I got a very big catalogue. I assume that they both need CPU ghz and cores (I come from a i5 at 3.5ghz). Also, I assume that gb on GPU are important (i now have 2gb).
Final Cut Pro is also a software I use. I read that it performs better with Amd GPU (my present iMac boards a radeon r9 m290x) but according to Tonymac, nvidia cards have more chances to succeed in hackintosh. So, amen!
Build – work in progress
I’m going to follow the updated build from Tonymac [here] as I am a noob and I need the maximus chances of success.
This full build now costs 1.263€ (1.500€ with monitor).
Since GPU are expensive now (and rare…) I bough a 1050 ti (at 169€) that’s almost out of stoc. It’s an Nvidia entry level card (oct ’16) but with 1290 mhz, 4gb gddr5 at 7 gb/s, 768 cuda cores may be good enough for me. I’ll upgrade later when price declines, eventually.
Less important, this card does not have a power connector. It needs only 75w and uses only motherboard energy to work. So I’ll do not need a powerful PSU and less cable will be around the case.
Maybe for gaming it can go no further than 1080 but for normal computing activity, the 1050 TI should be able to support 2k. Reviewers are mixed. Anyway, 1080 for gaming is good for me and I’m not going to go for more than a 2k monitor for photo and video editing (i’ll talk about monitors below).
My target card is the 1070 version of gtx cards priced 450-550€. 1500mhz, 8gb gddr5 at 8 gb/s, 1920 cuda cores, a 16 nm technology (14 nm for the 1050 ti). Really better performances but a really high price tag for now.
7th generation of Intel processor is out, but Tonymac suggest 100 series motherboard with “Sky Lake” 6th gen. Some successful hackintosh stories have also 7000 on board but I want to keep it very easy.
Anyway this i7 6700k (296€, aug-15) costs 50€ less and it has a minimum of 4 ghz (my present i5 i got is 3.5) and it’s a quad-core. Should be good for months.
I’ll skip “Kaby Lake” and I’ll put “Coffee Lake”(expected in 2017) as top of the list with 6 cores and a 30% better performance than skylake. i7 8700k at 3.7 ghz should be the next move.
To dissipate heat on CPU I’ll mount the Noctua NH-L12 (50€). It’s an air heatsink that should be enough as I won’t do any overclock.
The best buy as motherboard should be this Gigabyte Z170 gaming k3 (129€, 2016). It’s a lga-1151 socket, with a z170 chipset and it’s very basic: 1 3.0 connector, no usb-c, 4 memory slot (ddr4). I’ll have an external card reader (for camera) so 1 usb3 connector is enough.
Another choice could have been the Gigabyte Z170x gaming 5 (195€) with 2 usb3 connectors and usb-c for future periphericals and same hackintosh compatibility.
The memory banks will be the ddr4, 2400, Corsair Ballistix Sport LT 16gb kit (8×2) (134€ and rising :)). Memories has too high prices. I’ll go for this kit and I’ll add another in the future. Mobo has 4 slot up to 64gb.
For Storage I’ll need a fast hard drive for Lightroom’s catalogue and previews. It will be the Samsung 850 Evo, an SDD drive, 500gb version (153€). Nvm.e pci-e would be even more fast and some successful hackintosh mount them. But, again, I want to play it safe with this first build of mine and SDDs are a more stable option. As mechanical drive I’ll mount a WD blue 2tb (72€).
The PSU will be more than enough with 65ow (pcpartpicker estimates needs for less than 300W with this build and less than 500w if a 1080ti would be selected as GPU). Thus, the Corsair RM650x (111€) is good for me, it’s fully modular and certified 80+ gold.
Finally, for the case I’ve found no better price/quality than Corsair 450d (102€) with 3.0 usb on the front, and really good air flow (with 3 fans installed and anti-dust filters). Lot of room for all components and sufficient construction quality.
I want an IPS monitor, 60hz, 2k and 27″. Some choices maybe: The Asus PB278Qr (419€) good monitor for graphic and good colors (better with dvi than dp reviews say). The Benq GW2765HT (350€) it’s still a good monitor, a bit slower but at a lower pricing point and reviews are not bad.
Buone recensioni anche per l’Asus MX27AQ (461€) dove però si paga anche l’audio Bang&Olufsen che probabilmente non serve.
The Fenvi Wireless Card (29€) is a pci-e card which adds double channel wi-fi (a/b/g/n) and bluetooth. It should be recognized by Apple software with no problems. We’ll see.
To improve air flow in the case you’ll need some more fans that the ones pre-installed. For now, I bought a Noctua NF-F12 (20€) to put on the side of the case. Another one should go on the top.
Optical drives are no more useful. But just in case, for (16€) a Lg GH24NSD1 DVD writer it’s not that bad.