Hot rodders, questions remain before purchasing and upgrading!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Nickerz, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. Nickerz macrumors newbie

    Jan 1, 2015
    Long time PC guy here that a while back was going to, but ultimately abandoned building a hackintosh. I did ultimately buy all the parts for a PC that was totally compatible but never bothered after reading the amount of effort put into ensuring compatibility and upgrades.

    After purchasing a MBP(late13) Retina I've begun to appreciate the high level of support for Apple hardware (as far as software). On my laptop I run a dual boot setup where I log into Windows 7 Pro for gaming & heavy business use and OSX for general use. When in OSX I have access to and use Windows applications through Parallels as well as linux images in Parallels VM. Being able to effortlessly use OSX, Windows & Linux in one sweeping motion is somewhat of a geek fantasy I've had for a while. The trouble was always OSX compatibility for hackintoshes.

    I've decided to try to convert my PC setup with a hotrodded 4.1 (w/ 5.1 FW) dual processor setup with 32gb of ram, flashed graphics cards and non-apple drives. And with that I have a pretty beastly workstation I'm "replacing." A lot of the stuff I can carry over.

    Machine gets a lot of varied use, but the stuff that I'm concerned about would be compatibility with FCP, Logic, Adobe etc. When I am in OSX, I'm either tooling around with linux distros or doing creative work. The creative work requires high levels of compatibility and I really don't have time to play geek anymore. So hackintosh type setups are totally out of the running. It just has to work. My MBP "just works" with all the operating systems and software playing perfectly.

    So I have to be careful to walk the line with what hardware is "sanctioned."

    Right now I have

    Storage concerns
    4x 512gb SSD sata 6bps
    2x 2tb SATA drives (raid)

    The 4x SSD drives backup daily to the raid array. The two drives are mirrored for eachother. So the entire setup is triple redundant.

    Graphics concerns

    I have a TON of monitors that I need supported.

    4x VGA connections (only 2 running at any one time)
    2x dual link DVI
    2x HDMI (1 1080p, 1 4K 30hz) (only 1 running at any one time)
    1 thunderbolt\displayport diplay

    Will possibly be adding 2 more displays (720p60, 480p60).

    I have a GTX660 that I can carry over that is supported by Nvidia's mac drivers. It has

    On a PC this is actually pretty easy to deal with, unfortunately I really don't know how to solve this issue with a Mac. With my PC I can effortlessly run 2 video cards and also use built in video on my motherboard. This will be far more complex I can assume here.

    • What's the best way I can handle the raid from a hardware pespective? Since I'll be dual booting, software is a poor solution IMO. Ideally I'd like it handled by a controller. Of course the choice of drives complicates this. I'm open to other solutions with for instance external drives.
    • How to handle tons of displays? None of which are apple displays.
    • I heard some quiet clammering that 4.1 with a firmware upgrade might handle videocards differently than 5.1? Is that true, and why? Are they not the same mobo?
    • What concerns or worries do I have running non-apple, flashed graphics cards. Are they really future proof? Ideally I want to run Nvidia graphics hardware. It appears that the 600 series has official nvidia support, so I can only assume this is really the best way to ensure "native" level performance and compatibility.
    • Does OSX play nice with more than 1 video card?
    • Best way to handle 6gbps SATA?

    Thanks for the help hotrodders!
  2. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Totally offhand, I'd throw in as many GPUs as you can (yes, you can do multiple GPUs.)

    Power is going to be your problem here. The Mac Pro only has enough power for one GTX 660.

    The video card flashing crowd could be more help here (I stick to Apple OEM), but as far as official Apple cards go, there is the 5770 which you can fit two of in a Mac Pro. That would give you 2x DVI and 4x MDP (which you could use adapters to get back to HDMI or VGA with.)

    The other option is the GeForce 120 (which again, might have a newer flashed equivalent, it's possible the 750Ti is working nicely which would be a great choice.) You can do up to 4 of these in a Mac Pro IIRC, which would give you up to 4x DVI and 4x MDP. Mixing and matching is also an option, and if you can do the 750Ti that will give you a bunch more ports.

    If you need to keep in higher powered cards you could try to augment with another power supply, which can be messy IMO. But, if the 750Ti works, that should do quite well, possibly faster than a 660.

    Keep in mind you won't get any SLI/Crossfire under OS X, but it sounds like that is ok.

    Display brand generally doesn't matter. The displays you already have should work fine.

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