Core i7 Intel Mac or Hacintosh

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by daresan, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. daresan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    #1
    Hello everybody!
    I am just considering about my next computer (a Render Workstation) and since a lot of my friends have Apple machines I thought about buying a Mac. Unfortunately the latest specifications do not really convince me for the prices they have. Additionally the quality of hardware is not anymore as high as it used to be in former times I heard from several Mac Users, since Apple has switched to Intel.
    Not offensively meant, but: being my whole life a PC user I really cannot see the point why any experienced user should buy an over-expensive mac pro Workstation, if it's possible to have MAC OS X on several (and number increasing) Intel platforms.
    Now to my question: Has anybody already got experience with MAC OS X on an Intel Core i7 system?
    My local vendor recommended me the following system (I asked for a render Workstation that costs about €2000,- equal to the MAC Pro Price at the moment):
    CPU: Intel Core i7 920 @ 2,6 Ghz LGA1366 8M Cache 4,8GT/sec
    MB: Asus P6T6 WS Revolution
    RAM: 2x Kingston 6GB RAMKit 3x2GB DDR3 1066MHz ECC CL7 DIMM
    Graphic: Sapphire HD4890 1 GB GDDR5
    (complete offer includes additionally 2x WD Caviar RAID 1 TB HDD & a THERMALTAKE Kandalf LCS SWA case)

    The EFIX-site does not list their supported i7/X58 Systems yet, but maybe some of you tried a similar spec with Osx86? Or does anyone have better suggestions for a "hacintoshable" PC with similar specs as those from my vendor above? As I said I am mainly gonna use it as a rendering workstation (with blender & Cinema 4D), but also for video & sound editing.
    Another question would be: are there any rumors on which hardware Apple will use after the Xeon? I read somewhere that they won't use i7 in the future.
    Looking forward to your answers!
    Best regards,
    Daniel
     
  2. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    #2
    Did you check over at InsanelyMac.com? Some people have the P6T working with Leopard. The P6T6 seems to have more issues.
     
  3. daresan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    #3
    Thanks!

    Hello!
    Thanks for your reply! Just could not find anything really helpful there a few weeks ago, but I will check again.
    Best regards,
    Daniel
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    For the Radeon 4890 you will need to find out if it is compatible with the Radeon 4870 drivers. While the 4870 is known to function after some work. Whether or not the 4890 will work properly really depends on how similar the 4890 is to the 4870.

    For a motherboard you may want to consider the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5. From what I have read many Core i7 boards are supported but I found a good guide for this one.

    http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/in...=1057767&mode=threaded&start=600#entry1057767

    In all likely hood most if not all the current MB's will work since they currently use the X58 chipset. However, the boards use different chipsets for other integrated peripherals such as Audio and Ethernet. The above mentioned Gigabyte board has all of those working. The most noteworthy is that all audio is recognized even the SPDIF in/out which is quite rare.

    The ASUS board uses different audio and ethernet chipsets. While the Realtek 8111C is a compatible ethernet chipset, I do not know about the audio a Realtek ALC1200. If the audio works there is a good chance that it is two channel out only.

    Overall the Gigabyte board is slightly more expensive but technically superior to the Asus.
    3 PCI-e 2.0 x16 (x16,x16,x8 mode)
    10 SATA
    24GB RAM Max up to DDR3 2100+
    Dual Gigabit Ethernet
    1 PCI-e x4
    1 PCI-e x1
    2 PCI
    Firewire
    All audio works

    ASUS
    3 PCI-e 2.0 x16 (x16,x16, x4 mode)
    8 SATA
    1 E-SATA
    12GB RAM Max up to DDR3 2000
    Single Gigabit Ethernet
    1 PCI-e x1
    2 PCI
    Firewire
    Audio functionality is unknown to me

    Some things you should know.
    - It will take a lot of work to get everything working.
    - Sleep probably will not work. Other CPU/GPU energy saving functions may not work causing them to run at full power when on.
    - If you want RAID 5, 6, 50, 60 you will likely need to buy and actual Mac compatible RAID controller. There are methods to get Disk Utilities software RAID to work, RAID 0/1.
    - Time Machine may not work.
    - You can not simply run the software update as it could make your install unusable. Most updates are safe except actual OS X updates, i.e. 10.5.x to 10.5.y

    Considering all of the above. You mentioned the computer is a rendering workstation. Is this for business or a hobby? If it is for business I would suggest getting a Mac Pro. Yes it is more expensive but can you afford having a computer go down on you for several days because of a glitch caused by updating your software, forcing a time consumming reinstall.
     
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #5
    If it's your home computer you can spend time tinkering with it to make it work. If it's a business computer, you don't want to waste time making it work - you want to be productive.

    go for a mac pro and avoid the hassle.
     
  6. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #6
    I'm sitting here in front of me is a glass of non brand Irish Cream Liqueur, and I'm wishing that I had a glass of Baileys.
     
  7. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #7
    ...huh? :confused:
     
  8. daresan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    #8
    for hobby purpose only...

    Hey guys!
    Again thanks a lot for your replies!
    The Gigabit board seems very interesting indeed. I also saw that they (Gigabit) are the preferred boards of the EFI-X systems. ( But the EFI-X guys have not updated their supported X58-socket boards yet)
    I think I will wait for the update of the EFI-X systems, because they say that you can update an EFI-X system as if you had a regular Mac, but I will keep an eye on the board velocityg4 recommended. The other limitations I don't mind except the CPU/GPU energy saving features and the RAID issue.
    Ad RAID: well I think I just will go with the original Apple controller then.
    Ad CPU/GPU energy saving: how can I avoid such possible feature lacks?
    Not only I am used to DIY and tinkering on my systems - I like it! And this is also one of several points why I would not choose an original :apple: at the moment: you don't have much possibilities to create the system that fits you best. Their motto is: "take it or die!"
    If you consider that the first Apple was sort of a DIY computer they have gone a long distance apart from that...

    @ditzy: :) ,but I neither like Baileys nor Irish liquor in general. To spin the metaphor further: I prefer homebrewn or homegrown! :D

    Any other recommendations? I would also be interested in suitable graphic adapters with above 1GB...

    Again thanks a lot!
    Have a nice day!
    Best regards,
    Daniel
     
  9. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #9
    Fair play I get that. But there are many, me being one who don't like tinkering. Who get annoyed that their Irish liqueur isn't the real thing.
     
  10. BeSweeet macrumors 68000

    BeSweeet

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    #10
    The 4890 isn't compatible and probably won't be for a while. It will work, but you won't get any hardware acceleration from it.

    The 4870 or 4850 is a better choice. Don't get the 4870x2.
     
  11. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #11
    Im not say tinkering or DIY is bad, but many people (myself included) think it's a waste of time if you do this too often. A Mac Pro workstation is built to work properly with Mac OS X. A Core i7 system, while offering a bit more performance, will require tremendous amounts of time to put together, and make sure the individual components play ball with OS X. Don't get me wrong you will get better performance, but you spend more time than the time you actually save from the renders. A Core i7 might shave off a few sec/mins for renders but you spend a lot putting it together and making it work properly.

    I'm not sure how you perceive that hardware quality is not as good as it were before the Intel switch. The chassis (case) of the Mac Pro was there before the Intel switch. The hardware performs/benches 2X better than last year's Mac Pro. And last year's Mac Pro was a lot better than the pre-Intel Mac Pros (G5?). It's easier to add/remove memory (RAM) and the components Apple uses (besides some ICs) are from NVidia, ATI, Intel, etc. And none of those companies have worse quality hardware than before the Intel switch.

    I'd rather pay 1 grand more to have everything work without me worrying about it constantly. It's called emotional/mental stress reduction. If you want to tinker, that's fine but this is a big investment. You might want to reconsider.
     
  12. BeSweeet macrumors 68000

    BeSweeet

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    #12
    $1000 is a lot of money. It took me, what, an hour to get OS X properly working on my laptop.
     
  13. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #13

    It was a figure of speech. AND a laptop is much easier than putting together a workstation. A laptop comes pre-built. A custom built workstation does not. All those cables/wires, flashing firmwares/ROMs, etc. And it probably saved the OP a few hundred bucks at most but cost a greater amount of time.
     
  14. daresan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna
    #14
    final statement...

    Hello again!
    Big thanks to all of you, especially to BeSweet for the recommendations!
    I am happy that you speak out your worries/doubts regarding my project (not ironically meant) and appreciate such answers, where I am getting the feeling those guys really care, but...

    1st: Especially because $1000,- or as in my case €2000,- are a lot of money I am thinking twice, before I go out and buy just any system.

    2nd: putting the workstation together, tinkering and configuring may take a while, but then I have a running system for less costs. This is only a single action, rendering scenes will be an ongoing/repeating task. I mean even if it takes a few weeks to built a good system, I will enjoy the faster rendering results for years...

    3rd: In addition I have to admit, that some of my opinions about Mac's are not my own or from experience with Macs, but from Mac Users I spoke with.
    The quality reduction I was told is because before the switch to Intel the complete Mac hardware has been tested and approved very closely from technical engineers in germany (or wherever). Nowadays the Macs just come out of the production line in Korea whithout any closer checks and therefore production errors are in the worst case detected only by the end-customer. This leads me directly to another issue a few Mac users warned me of: bad support in terms of extremely long service/repair times - a friend of mine waited for over an half of a year for his new bought Mac to return from service, and he is not the only one I heard of... - to be fair I have to add that this also happens/ed to many HP customers and others, but such systems usually cost half or even less of a Mac's price.
    For those reasons I prefer to rely on my own talent & deficiencies. ;)

    If you have other or similar experiences please share with us!

    Last not least: I am new here, but I think this is the wrong place to discuss this. Maybe we should continue this interessting discussion in another section of this forum?

    Thanks again and a nice day to everybody! :D
    Best regards,
    Daniel
     

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