Hackintosh for Photographers and Videographers, Hardware – Part 1

Intro

First off, I really like MacOS as my operating system for video, images and audio. (However before I begin, this build will also work for Windows 10.)

  • I will explain in short detail how easy it is to make a Hackintosh running either Mojave or Catalina even Big Sur.
  • I will explain why I used these components and why, for example, especially DaVinci Resolve and some other applications.

Please note: There’s no modding or gaming etc.. the focus of this post is purely for Content Creator types.

Part 2 is now available too with benchmarking etc..

Linux

If you are a Linux user, I could recommend System 76 – Pop!_Os or Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition Tip: You can also add Nemo File Manager

What Applications do I use on Mac ?

I’ve added the equivalents on Windows and alternatives on Linux too! (Comment below if you know better alternatives)

ApplicationsPurpose
WindowsMacLinux
DaVinci ResolveVideo editingYesYesYes
Affinity PhotoImage

editing

YesYesKrita
Rawtherapee
may work with Wine
SilverFast 8.0Scanning FilmYesYesVueScan
Capture OneManaging

Images

YesYesalternative
Rawtherapee
Audacity
Audio EditingYesYesYes
Silver Efex
B&W ConversionYesYeswith Wine

Contents

The Goal

I’m a rebel and interested in different progressive technology which the AMD Ryzen chip seems to offer. I’ve mixed feelings about Apple where they as a company are going. I don’t particularly like Intel either. Supporting AMD here improves competition and technology advances.

That’s my mini rant over 🙂

The end game is to build a replacement for my 11 year old faithful Mac Pro.

  • It should be quiet.
  • It should be upgradable and reusable.
  • A high performance stable computer which runs MacOS or Windows 10.

To achieve this I could have bought an iMac or an iMac Pro however I already have a 4K LG monitor. Some would argue a Mac Book Pro would also do the job. The problem with that scenario is, simple, I have so much data on 3.5″ hard disks. So a desktop computer seems more suitable and flexible. Especially if I wish to upgrade.

The new Mac Pro’s entry model isn’t value for money. The other models are more suited to super high end multi streaming 8K video editing. Apple has seemed to have missed a major segment of the market here.

These days Apple’s focus and offerings aren’t really hitting the mark. But that’s another discussion in itself.

I need a machine for 4K video editing and large image file editing, plus plenty of storage.

So it’s time to wake up and “Ryzen Shine!”

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List Of Components

Below is the list of components I choose.

  • Processor:
    AMD Ryzen 9 X3900 12 Cores
  • Ram:
    64Gb at 3600Mhz
  • Graphic Card:
    AMD RX580 (taken from my old Mac Pro)
    (if you need to choose one, RX5700 or Vega 64)
  • Mainboard:
    ASUS TUF X570 Platform
  • System Hard Drive:
    M2 SSD (taken also my old Mac Pro)
    (if you need to choose one, M2 SSD PCIe 4.0)
  • Power Supply:
    Be Quiet! 700W
  • Case:
    NZXT H510 B

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AMD Ryzen Processer

Part: AMD Ryzen 9 X3900 12 Cores

Reason: DaVinci Resolve may be known for how well it utilizes the GPU(s) in your system, but people often overlook the fact that the CPU is equally important – especially when you are doing relatively light grades

Even better, these lanes are all the newer PCIe 4.0 revision which may be a very important factor when newer and faster GPUs launch that support PCIe 4.

Price: 452,78 € (July 2020)

Buy from Amazon

Source:
https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/DaVinci-Resolve-Studio-CPU-Performance-Intel-Core-X-10000-vs-AMD-Threadripper-3rd-Gen-1630/

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X570 Platform – Mainboard

Part: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus

Reason:The two main reasons I choose this mainboard was that Hackintosh’ing it seems easy. Secondly it’s features vs price.

Asus TUF GAMING X570-PLUS Motherboard Specifications
Socket TypeAM4
Form FactorATX
ChipsetX570
Processor supportAMD AM4 Socket AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation/3rd Gen AMD Ryzen/2nd and 1st Gen AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics Processors
RAM supportDDR4 up to 128GB, Dual Channel
SlotsDIMM x 4, 2 x PCIe 4.0 x16, 3 x PCIe 4.0 x1, M.2 x 2 (PCIe 4.0 64GB/s)
PortsSATAIII x 8, USB 3.2 Gen1 x 6, USB 3.2 Gen2 x 2, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C x 1, USB 2.0 x 4
FeaturesOverclocking support, AMD StoreMI Technology, supports 12+2 Power Phases (Dr. MOS ), AMD CrossFireX Technology, TUF LAN Guard, Gigabit LAN, Asus Safe Slot, Asus Aura Sync support (2 x RGB headers, 2 x ARGB headers), Optical S/PDIF out, TUF Gaming Armor, VRM heatsink, M.2 heatsink, Hybrid fan headers and Fan Xpert 4, Realtek 8 Channel HD Audio
Display OutputHDMI, DisplayPort

Source: https://graphicscardhub.com/best-x570-motherboard/

* Wifi and Bluetooth support, it tends to be limited or non existence on Hackintoshes. This another reason I choose this board without Wifi/BT. I’ll add these separately.

Price: 210,76 € (July 2020)

Buy from Amazon

A really nice video from Technolli on pretty much this build:

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M2 SSD – Operating System Drive

Choosing an X570 mainboard opens up the possibilities for PCIe 4.0. Right now I have PCIe 3.0 M2 SSD drive from my old Mac Pro. However as time goes on I’ll most likely move over to PCIe 4.0

Below is a comparison of speeds between the technologies.

Check out Graphic Card Hub for a more in depth discussion on choose the best M2 SSD drive – Source: https://graphicscardhub.com/best-nvme-pcie-4-ssd/

Buy from Amazon

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RAM – Go Big and Brave!

The infinity fabric performance sweet spot is DDR4 3733. Now, before you go hunting for 3733 MHz memory, I think that those who want the best can safely consider 3600 MHz CL16 RAM. A 2ns latency reduction isn’t worth the extra premium you might have to pay.

 

G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3600 MHz CL16
G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3600 MHz CL16

Part: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 64Gb (16×4)  DDR4 3600 MHz CL16

Reason: The price-point for this memory kit is exceptional. It offers blazing-fast 3600 MHz CL16 memory at a price tier that is crowded with 3200 MHz options with the same timings. If you’re not set on RGB and want the best performance you can get, while spending smart, the G.Skill Ripjaws V is my recommendation.

Price: 342,41 € (July 2020)

Buy from Amazon

Source : Best Memory for 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen

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Sweet’n’Silence – Power Supply

be quiet! System Power 9 CM
be quiet! System Power 9 CM

Part: be quiet! System Power 9 CM

Reason: This is a modular power supply, i.e the cables can be detached, so you only need to plug in what you need.The 24pin is not deattachable.

Price : Euro. 85-

Buy from Amazon

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Case

Original up to a couple of days ago, I had my eye on the Corsair 780T case which is another 100 Euros more than the NZXT  H510 case. The reason I changed was due to size and style. The H510 and H500 is well reviewed on YouTube. Both the Corsair and NZXT cases are very popular.

Drive bays

Let’s talk about drive bays. The NZXT has space for 3.5″ x 3 and  2.5″ x 3. Max of six drives in total. These days 2.5″ drives come in sizes upto 5Tb!  I do prefer 3.5″ drives big cache size and faster RPMs.

NZXT H510 Black Red Matte Case

NZXT H510 Black Red Matte CasePart: NZXT H510 Black and Red

Reason: Clean lines, sleek and compact size for my needs.

W: 210mm H: 435mm D: 428mm (without feet)
W: 210mm H: 460mm D: 428mm (with feet)
Front I/O PortsH510:
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
1x Headset audio Jack
H511 (*SI only):
2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
1x Headset audio JackFront I/O internal header
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Internal Header
1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Internal Header
1x HD Audio Header
Drive Bays2.5”: 2+1
3.5”: 2+1

Price: 79,95

Graphic Card

Choose a video card or GPU for a Hackintosh is simple. Choose a modern newer AMD card. Avoid XFX and PowerColor.

So in my case my video card was a XFX RX580, I manage to flash it with AMD Sapphire rom this helped a lot. Just something to note.

Checkout my github for the roms and tools https://github.com/glyons/AMDHackintosh

Time to build

The total cost without drives and GPU is coming in at around EUR. 1200. Considering the power of this PC that’s incredible. The RAM could be reduce to 32Gb which would bring it just over a grand.

So looking forward to building this machine next week!!

Part 2 is now available too with benchmarking etc..

 

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