PC Build vs Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by greekscreech, Apr 19, 2015.

  1. greekscreech macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2015
    Hi everyone,

    I'm sick of waiting for a mac pro refresh, and have decided to buy a computer this week for 4k editing in premire(and maybe avid later), after effects, and gaming. I was still considering getting a nMP, but after realizing what I'd get from a pc build for the same money, I'm leaning towards going that route. I've never built a computer from scratch before, and might take it to Fry's to get it assembled, but here's the build that I'm looking at:


    I'll eventually get 3 4k monitors and want the system to last 7-10 years and be extremely upgrade friendly. What do you guys think?


    1. Can you see any compatibility issues?
    2. How do I make it work with thunderbolt? USB3 and wireless/wired networking is built into the motherboard and case right?
    3. If I decide to add more hard drives internally and set them up in a raid, what would I need? A raid card? I would use these drives for 4k uncompressed editing.
    4. Can I improve the cooling? One thing I love about the mac pro is the cooling. How would this build compare to the noise lvl of the mac pro?
    5. Would I be able to add a 2nd cpu into this build if I ever wanted more cores?
    6. What am I missing? What would you do differently? Is there any reason to still consider a mac pro?

    Thanks! I appreciate any advice hat you can throw my way!
  2. greekscreech thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2015
    Here are the stats, in case you don't want to go to the link:


    Intel Xeon E5-1650 V2 3.5GHz 6-Core OEM/Tray Processor
    $559.95 $559.95 SuperBiiz Buy
    CPU Cooler

    Swiftech H240-X 90.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
    $207.49 $5.00 $212.49 Amazon Buy

    Asus Rampage IV Black Edition EATX LGA2011 Motherboard
    $371.29 -$50.00 FREE $321.29 SuperBiiz Buy
    $50.00 mail-in rebate


    G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) DDR3-2133 Memory
    $599.99 $5.67 $605.66 Newegg Buy

    Samsung 840 EVO 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive
    $434.89 $434.89 OutletPC Buy

    Hitachi Ultrastar He8 8TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
    $704.99 $4.99 $709.98 Newegg Buy
    Video Card
    EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB Video Card (2-Way SLI)
    $999.99 $999.99 NCIX US Buy

    EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB Video Card (2-Way SLI)
    $999.99 $999.99 NCIX US Buy

    Corsair 760T White ATX Full Tower Case
    $159.99 -$20.00 $139.99 Micro Center Buy
    $20.00 mail-in rebate

    Power Supply

    Antec 1300W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
    $237.99 $237.99 SuperBiiz Buy
    Optical Drive

    Pioneer BDR-209DBK Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
    $63.99 -$10.00 $0.99 $54.98 Newegg Buy
    + USD $10 off w/ promo code EMCARKR77, ends 4/20

    Operating System

    Microsoft Windows 7 Professional Full (32/64-bit)
    $441.00 FREE $441.00 Amazon Buy
  3. giodelgado macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2008
    For "upgrade friendly" you should go PC.
  4. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    Looks to me as though the Asus MB is a single-processor one, and it also looks as though it doesn't support the Xeon line.

    When I was building PCs (I haven't built one for 9 years) I liked Asus mobos but when I was building for me, and wanted a conservative design I went with SuperMicro dual CPU mobos. I don't know what they've got these days, but if you want to build something that's more like a workstation than a gaming rig, take a look at what SuperMicro has to offer.

    As for Thunderbolt, if the mobo doesn't advertise it as being onboard, I don't think you can get it as an add-on card.

    As for noise level, the liquid cooling system should help a lot. However, you'll probably find that the case fans are a significant source of noise. You can replace the ones the case comes with, if you like.

    But I'm sure you can't match the nMP's noise levels. One of the reasons I went with the old-style Mac Pro, years ago, was because except under heavy load those towers were dead silent. I never could build a PC that was even close to being as silent as they were, although I never built one with liquid cooling.

    Another thing you might consider is to make your build hackintosh-compatible, so that running OS X on it some time in the future would be possible. There are sites that can tell you which components are going to work best for that.
  5. Demigod Mac macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2008
    If you're interested in making it Hackintosh-compatible I suggest this site for a build parts list:
  6. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    There is zero chance that if I were to spend the money you're taking about spending I'd spend it on X79 and DDR3.
  7. austinpike macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2008
    Some random thoughts:

    - If you want dual CPU you'll need to look at server-class motherboards.

    - Thunderbolt is rare on PC boards, even more so with dual sockets. I haven't looked in awhile, not sure if anyone even makes such a board.

    - Personally I go for smaller mATX boards and cases on PC builds. Having a refrigerator sized object under my desk with 12 drive bays that are 90% empty just isn't appealing. But an mATX board will really limit CPU choices, so probably not an option for you. There are more space-efficient ATX case options than that Corsair though.

    - Nothing will be as quiet as the nMP. But there are manufacturers that cater to "quiet" builds with heavier materials and sound deadening. Look at Nanoxia for one.

    - $440 for Windows 7 is insane. Get an "OEM" license for $140. Or if you peruse PC forums (I like [H]ardforum) you can find guys selling off bulk or decommissioned keys for dirt.

    - Do you "need" liquid cooling, dual Titans, 64GB, and 8TB right off the bat? (maybe you do, I don't know.) But maybe you could build something for half the cost that would do 95% of what you need. Part of the point of building your own is that you don't need to dump 6k into it all at once.

    - I would also recommend keeping an eye toward the hackintosh angle, but that will limit your hardware choices, and might be a bit much to take in if you've never built a PC before.
  8. richwoodrocket macrumors 68020


    Apr 7, 2014
    Hamburg, NY
    Wow.... My system build costs slightly less than one of those graphics cards lol.
    I don't really think you would be able to set up a pc's cooling system like the Mac Pro, but the water cooler should help...
  9. VAGDesign macrumors 6502


    Feb 1, 2014
    If I would going to invest for the next 10 years, probably I would build something like this:

    Now if you see the cost you may wonder... does a PC Monster like this will last for 10 years since you don't know what's coming in the next 3 years?

    That's why only gamers build these kind of monsters, cause they don't care to "juice out" all those capabilities for professional use, only for entertainment.

    Most Mac Pros exist as tools to work and get the best value for money you can since they are tools a professional uses to deliver services etc.

    Think first about your needs and then decide what platform suits you better.

    Good luck!
  10. InsertCatchyNic macrumors member

    May 16, 2009
    For the amount of money you are planning to build for your system why wouldn't you just buy one already built for you? Most folks build their own to save a couple hundred bucks. You are spending close to 6k and at those sorts of prices I would want some sort of warranty.
  11. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014
    I wouldn't go with a Xeon v2 at this point, because the socket's dead—Haswell-E and on are using a different socket type, so you're effectively kneecapping upgrades in the future.

    Secondly, if you're trying to make this last a decade—why are you spending so much money up front? Titan Xs will only get cheaper down the road, same with RAM, CPUs, et al. Over the longer term it makes more and more sense to skimp on things on the front end and pick them up later at a savings.

    As others have said, you'll need to hunt for a TB-compatible board, and if it matters to you that will dictate a lot of other parts.
  12. Freyqq, Apr 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

    Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Agreed with these points. The point of building a PC is that you can upgrade as needed with off the shelf parts. I'd get a Core i7 and a couple Nvidia 980s. Significantly more cost effective, and you can upgrade in 2+ years and get even more power.

    Thunderbolt is attainable with an addon card, but if it is just for RAID arrays, you could more easily just buy a bigger case and hook the hard drives right into the motherboard.

    You want a full ATX motherboard and case to have extra space for expansion and for cooling purposes. Liquid cooling is a lot quieter than fan cooling, and if you're already going for 2 beefy videocards, I think it is worth the trouble.

    If you plan on keeping the same motherboard for a long time, get the OEM version of windows for cheaper. If you plan to keep switching hardware a lot, get the retail version, which allows you to swap the motherboard and reactivate. I'd also recommend Windows 8.1 over Windows 7. Both get the upgrade to Windows 10 anyway, and most of the complaints with Windows 8 were solved with 8.1. 8.1 is a lot leaner and faster than 7.

    As for building it yourself or not, it's not hard at all. You could watch a few youtube videos first and have a pretty good idea what it entails. Many cases now are tool-less and it just requires putting each item where it is suppose to go and hooking it all together with cables. Just buy an anti-static bracelet if you're new to this to ensure you don't short anything out while you're working.
  13. dgr macrumors member

    Jun 24, 2011
  14. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014

    I agree with the advice above. Not that I personally know from experience but I used to frequent the Adobe forums and the consensus at least a couple years back was that you should generally stick to consumer i7 chips and Nvidia cards. This probably hasn't changed but I would head over Adobe forums and research what the latest advice is for a self build
  15. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    That won't work with the processor he wants. That's an LGA1150 socket board, which most TB compatible boards seem to be.

    That processor seems like terrible value to me, unless you're truly stuck with using a single socket board. Why not go dual 10 or 12 core systems, that have faster clock speeds and are ultimately cheaper?

    Nothing really sticks out to me, but I did only take a quick look. Why are you going with the E5-1650 v2? There's a newer version out. Why are you going with a Xeon at all? I would just get an i7, and then that would allow you to overclock it should you ever want a bit more power.

    Thunderbolt is going to be tough, especially if you are looking at LGA 2011 or LGA 2011-3 boards. What are you going to use Thunderbolt for anyway? You're going to have open PCIe slots to use.

    What do you mean by uncompressed? Real uncompressed? Or are you just talking about editing the raw footage? I have a feeling you mean the latter. No one edits true uncompressed 4K. A hardware RAID is usually better than a software solution, so yes, you would need some kind of RAID card.

    What do you mean by improve the cooling? Sounds like you're more interested in silence. Unless you're overclocking, I think the water cooling unit you have in there is overkill. Go with a solid fan/heatsink. It's not like water cooling is whisper quiet.

    No, you would need a board with 2 CPU sockets for that.

    Windows 7 for $400+? WTF? You can find it cheaper. Or just go with Windows 8.1. It's a perfectly fine OS, plus you'll get the free upgrade to 10.

    Honestly, unless you feel like being your own IT guy and troubleshooting everything on your own, I'd probably just go with the Mac Pro with the budget you have. The parts list you have laid out seems to be the kind that someone cobbles together often going much further than their system needs require. You can build a machine for much less. And remember, you don't need to buy everything all at once. That's the best part about building from scratch. Why are you throwing 128 GB of RAM in there for $600. Do you even know if you'll benefit from that? Just cut it in half. You can always add more later. Are you going to benefit from 2 Titans running in there?
  16. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    id actually go with an 8core cpu and overclock it .. i think it was around 995 for the cpu .. asus ddr4 board ..wouldn't get dual titans .. i would go 980s .. save money and then upgrade next gen.

    I am actually thinking of building a pc .. haven't used windows in years but always did like being able to swap out gpus .. etc

    Im just so used to OS X .. and building a hackintosh is tempting but dealing with the constant updates etc and hardware is a major pain.
  17. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I've got 6-core nMP, with D700's etc and while it's a very nice machine if I had to do it all again I'd go PC. I have a rMBP that I was using as my mobile VM lab, but I've outgrown it, so I use a Dell M4800 instead.

    I really like the OS X and iCloud experience, but Apple's 'Pro' hardware offerings simply don't scale far enough. I wouldn't be tempted by the Hackintosh route, as one change from Apple can render the whole thing useless. Might as well just stick with Windows for generic PC hardware.

    You've already said that you want to play games too. I reckon the PC will best suit your needs, it will run all of your apps and you don't need to replace the entire machine when you want to do an upgrade, just swap out a component.

    One thing that might be of interest to you given the apps you want to run, look at a used HP Z820. You can add 2 CPU's (just buy one in the first place if you need to) and up to 512GB RAM. It's also saves you building your own hardware if you are uncomfortable doing this. I'm happy building, just can't be bothered these days, when it comes time to replace my nMP, I'll be looking at Z820 or whatever the equivalent is at the time.
  18. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    If you are concerned about noise level, I have found that the following website is a useful resource:
  19. Tucom macrumors 65816


    Jul 29, 2006
    If you really want to go Windows, then -

    White it's not Xeon class hardware, the new Alienware Area 51 is an excellent, super quiet well built machine that ticks all of the marks for CPU, GPU, RAM (check capacity, not sure), and storage - just no Thunderbolt (yet). Even one review calls it the "Mac Pro" of the PC world.

    Biggest thing about building your own PC is the absolutely horrible resale value - I should know, I've built PC's for over 9 years, and it's pretty bad. At least with an Alienware (or HP Z class workstation) you'll be able to resell it should you so desire and recoup WAY more money back than you would a DIY machine.

    Again, if you don't need Thunderbolt, I'd go wit the Alienware Area 51 - solid quality components, which are all covered by one easy warranty, rather than tracking down each component's manufacturer should one go awry.

    If you do need Thunderbolt, HP's Z820 or 840 are probably the best Windows/Linux workstations you can buy.
  20. lewnworxx macrumors member

    Mar 19, 2015
    2 Titans? Wow. Lotta dough.

    There's a guy on one of the render forums with a pair of titan X's. What I found interesting was my pair of 970's is faster than a single titan X at less than half the price. Now unless you really need the 12GB of VRAM on the GPU's, I might think about grabbing a mobo with 3 or 4 doublewide slots and loading them up with 970's. They'd cost 1/4 of the titans, and you're already thinking a dual proc at some point, might as well add $100 to the mobo, get a dual proc ready mobo with 3 or 4 slots, save a boatload of dough on the front side, and have bookoo expandability down the road for when the titans price drop if you wanna go that route.

    Just a thought.
  21. ToroidalZeus macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2009
    From what I understand rendering is very CPU intensive. 2 Titan Xs would make a killer future-proofed 4k setup but i don't think the cost will justify the performance. If I were you I would get a better CPU, like the 8 core 5960X OC'd to 4.3ghz+, instead of one of the titan Xs.
  22. greekscreech thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2015
    Thanks everyone, this has been a lot of help. Here"s an updated build. Let me know what you guys think:

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/YCWwXL
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/YCWwXL/by_merchant/

    CPU: Intel Core i7-5960X 3.0GHz 8-Core Processor ($998.99 @ SuperBiiz)
    CPU Cooler: Swiftech H240-X 90.0 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($212.49 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI X99S SLI Plus ATX LGA2011-3 Motherboard ($151.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 64GB (8 x 8GB) DDR4-2666 Memory ($755.98 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 1TB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($526.83 @ Mac Mall)
    Storage: Hitachi Ultrastar He8 8TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($709.98 @ Newegg)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($999.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX Titan X 12GB Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($999.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: Corsair 760T White ATX Full Tower Case ($139.99 @ Micro Center)
    Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 P2 1000W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($179.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: LG WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($56.77 @ OutletPC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional (32/64-bit) ($174.89 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $5907.88
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2015-04-21 01:03 EDT-0400

    In the future I'd buy more 8 Tb drives and setup an internal raid for editing off of.


    1. Should I overclock the processor? I'm concerned with the speeds of the 8 core, wanted at least 3.5 Ghz. Should I get the 6 core instead? Also, I thought for gaming currently more cores doesn't help as the games aren't designed to take advantage of them. Is this true?

    2. I could hold off on one of the titans and try and build a raid now, if the titan is better than the two mac pro cards combined. Would I be able to run 3 4k monitors off one titan? I could also probably do with only 32 Gb ram for now as well. You need 2 drives for either a speed raid or a back up raid and 3 drives for both, correct?

    Thanks! This has been a lot of help!


    Also, I'm not interested anymore in building a hackintosh. I don't want to deal with update problems.


    Editing programs today are designed to use the gpu's well, almost as additional processors, as I understand it. I've had editors recommend to me to put my money towards the gpus.
  23. philliplakis macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2014

    Luxrender & Blender - OpenCL
    Octane Render - CUDA

    CUDA = Nvidia GPU's in short the card processes the render in Octane, so 2 titan x's are going to render at about 10x the performance of the 5690.

    OpenCL = All GPU's basically use this, The higher the score the faster the render. Once again a pair of 970's is going to be 10x faster than a 5690.


    Geez thats some cheap 970's.

    Here a X will set you back 1500 and a pair of 970's will be 1100...
  24. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    When I say this thread I went to the Adobe forums to see if Titans were the go to card but it seems from the threads I read over there that 980's were the preferred card. I think if it were me I'd probably take the money saved from switching from a pair of Titans to a pair of 980's and use it for the RAID set.
  25. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008

    Of course, but I don't see any mention of 3D rendering in the potential uses for this computer.

    1. And this is the ultimate problem with trying to build a one size fits all machine. If you're going for gaming machine, then you don't even need the 6 core. Just get the fastest clocked 4 core and you're good to go. But you've also mentioned Premiere and AE. Those would certainly benefit from more cores.

    As for overclocking, that's kind of a toss up. It's fairly easy to do these days and is pretty reliable. However, since this is your first time jumping in to the DIY boat, I might wait a bit to test the overclocking waters. You can always do this later (as long as you stay clear of Xeons). For now I would just worry about getting a machine up and running as is.

    2. It seems like you're just tossing 2 Titan X's into your build "just because." As others have asked, are you really going to benefit from these over other cheaper cards? You mention "if the Titan card is better than the 2 Mac GPUs combined." Which Mac cards? Better at what? You really need to figure out what your software will benefit from the most. And again, this can become a problem when you're trying to build a machine that fulfills many needs.

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