Working Thunderbolt Hackintosh with Areca RAID!

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Middleman-77, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. Middleman-77 macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hi folks,

    Just wanted to share the good news with you....

    About my background, I'm a long time Mac and Apple user, using Macs since the days of Power G4s, owning almost every single Apple you could imagine - iMacs 1st gen, 2nd gen, Cube, Powerbook G4; Powerbook G5, Power Mac G5; Intel Mac Pro; iPads; Mac Mini; Macbook Pro; iPad Minis etc. I work in the imaging industry and speed for us is of the essence. We were tired of having to wait for Apple's new Ivy Bridge Thunderbolt Mac Pro to appear this year. As our main '08 Mac Pro was dying, with frequent crashes (the board fried on most ports except USB, one FW400 port); and replacements for it costing as much as a new 2012 Mac Mini so we decided to build one ourselves instead. Using a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5-TH and some standard PC parts, we've put together a system that brings outstanding performance and value for money. Using a 250GB SSD + 2TB HD in a Fusion Drive setting it achieves booting to the main login screen in ML under 10 seconds. Photoshop opens up really quickly, actions are almost instant; and the machine is fast and incredibly quiet.

    In addition to working 6 x USB 3.0 and 2 x Thunderbolt/DP ports, 2 x 1Gb/E LAN, working Airport, Bluetooth, Sound with Phono and Digital Audio Out we just managed to get the thing fully working today with an old SAS 12TB Areca RAID using an Areca RAID card, and I have to say I am so pleased it works with that too! This was the read result we got from our Areca RAID today :D

    I started building the system about 3 weeks ago after searching for parts and just really, playing about to see if this sort of stuff works. I'm astonished its performance can seriously act as a replacement for our real Macs at work...

    p.s. you can watch a video of it here doing a copy speed test with two SSDs via Thunderbolt…

    and one here running Geekbench…

    Attached Files:

  2. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Very nice! I built myself a hackintosh a couple of years back and it's great. Fast, inexpensive, and completely reliable.

    What do you use your computers for? I see Photoshop, but that could cover a lot of area, haha. I dual-boot with mine, use it for CAD under Windows and everything else under OS X.
  3. Middleman-77 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Thanks! Yeah I use my computers for all sorts of work we use it for mainly retouching and output on the big Macs (we deal with a lot of large image files on a regular basis that have to be put onto a RIP) and some for office administration/graphics/sales, whilst at home its for leisure like Windows PC gaming, photography, video etc. For me I'm beginning to play with more video (for instance) so speed and space is of the essence.

    Backup for us is a must! We employ three large backup drives at work - one on an Areca 12TB SAS RAID and another two on a Drobo Pro using iSCSI and Pro FS using 1Gb/E - one being a backup of the Areca - because we feel that if you're looking for files it is better to have it on a fast, centralised source. It just takes too long to access it otherwise if you use cheaper alternatives like NAS drives which I know a lot of people like to do. For testing purposes we also recently started trying out an Areca Thunderbolt RAID to see how it faired. Impressive is the word I can only use to describe it. 700Mb/s on reads and writes on a i7 MacMini is something not to be scoffed at! It's more than sufficient for a vast majority of uses like retouching large files, except our needs is a little more demanding... :)

    I have to admit I thought USB 3.0 was quick enough for use. That was until I saw the Thunderbolt setup with SSD in action! For example when setting up this unit I was doing a clone of one 120GB SSD to another using two Seagate Go Flex Thunderbolt Adapter units. The process using Carbon Copy Cloner took less than 20 minutes in total between them! I am not kidding. On a HD system, it'll take more than 2/3 the time it takes the SSD to complete the task. Using SSD on Thunderbolt, you can easily achieve read and write speeds of nearly 200Mb/s!

    I have to admit to me the idea of Thunderbolt is not just novel, but rather very very useful. For a setup like ours who is working with large files daily (which can be output to anything up to 64" in width), investing into a small TB enclosure or even drive case like the Seagate GoFlex TB Adapter would very easily bring us our returns, because of the time saved. And if you are a Mac user with a Thunderbolt interface who wants to get your files faster and easier, I highly recommend you get one of these TB drive Adapters (which is basically a portable Thunderbolt SATA drive enclosure) in addition to an SSD for your needs. SSDs are becoming more and more inexpensive, and TB when used for backup is absolutely brilliant. And with prices falling now for 1TB and 2TB HD drives, backup is just not worth it anymore on USB 2.0 or Firewire drives unless you're really willing to wait (which is literally hours, or in the case of my friend, 12 days to backup 12TB of data when one of the NASes started failing). What you ideally need is either USB 3.0 or ideally Thunderbolt. If more folks get to use it, no doubt price will come down... ;)
  4. Middleman-77 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
    Wanted to let you guys know, but the 'Hack Pro' I built IS incredibly fast.
    Just to show you how I've attached a pic from Geekbench. The score on Geekbench is now around 14300, and Cinebench around 33fps...

    In addition to the extra expansion of Thunderbolt, SATAIII and USB 3.0 usage, tonight I just learnt from someone that the dual ports on the board I'm using (Gigabyte Z77X-UP5-TH) works with DUAL DISPLAYS on Mini DisplayPort running at the 2560x1440@32bit. With an Nvidia card installed, you can get this to at least FOUR displays on the system (if fully and properly configured)...

    Attached Files:

  5. Middleman-77 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
  6. spoonie1972 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2012

    can you hot-swap the mini-displayport? do they need to be plugged in when powered on?
  7. Middleman-77 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 29, 2012
    No you can't. You cannot even hotplug them in Windows - I think it is to do with it's design being slightly different than in an Apple.

    But you're getting decent performance out of it. This is from Cinebench and one with an Areca ARC-1680x RAID card...

    Attached Files:

  8. 92jlee macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2009
    Cardiff, Wales, UK
    You had a PowerBook G5?! You sir, are amazing. lol.

    Nice hackintosh, ill be replacing my 1,1 his year and a hack seems the right route for me.
  9. ritesh123 macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2012

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