[Build Advice] Help Choosing GPUs & CPU For New Build

KingKazma

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
macOS
10.12.x
Mobo
Asus Z170 Deluxe
CPU
i7 6700K
GPU
GTX 1080 Ti
#1
Hello all,

[If this post is in the wrong place I will gladly remove!]

I've decided that it's about the time that I start a new Hackintosh build. My last build, Project Ageha, has served me well and to a certain extent continues to do so, but things have changed quite a bit and it can't keep up with my needs as of late.

For my new build, I am shooting for a bit of a different setup compared to a traditional Hackintosh rig. What I am essentially wanting to do is build a Linux machine and will subsequently use virtual machines for macOS and Windows. The idea is simple enough I suppose, but I know alot of things have changed in the Hackintoshing space since my last build, so I am trying to bring myself back up to speed. Red Hat and Arch Linux are my flavors of choice, just fyi.

My desire for this new build is that it would be my "work hard, play hard" machine. Part of my job requires that I create very demanding and advanced graphical renders of structures, sometimes quite large in volume. That said, time-frame is a big deal for me. The sooner I can complete one job the better, so I can move on to the next one. Also, on the side, I do some mid to high end hobbyist video editing with Premiere Pro and After Effects. I usually work with 4k60fps footage, and don't really see myself going above that for some time. Again, speedy render times are appreciated for this as well.

I almost exclusively use macOS for the things I've listed above. Which would, of course, leave Windows for my "play hard". Gaming and other entertainment will be the primary function of the Windows VM.

Now, for my ideal build to become a successful reality, I believe, hinges almost completely on the capabilities of two very important components. The CPU and the GPU. After doing only a surface amount of research, I have found that NVIDIA is effectively no longer a player in the game for macOS. Can't say that I'm surprised, writing was on the wall long ago imo. As further research detailed, however, I found that there is a way to use two different GPUs to accommodate macOS's restrictions. Enabling me to have my cake and eat it too, so to speak.

I know that was a rather lengthy discourse to get to my question, but I wanted to lay some groundwork first so you know where my headspace is. So now, here's where I need some advice.

Firstly, if I am not mistaken, for a build such as the one I'm shooting for, a beefy CPU is surely not only recommended but probably required. Since I want to run VMs, I was thinking the more cores the better, which caused my mind to automatically go to AMD's Threadripper. I saw that this was an overall not recommended idea, though technically possible. Not sure if there are any Xeons on the level of Threadrippers out there yet, but furthermore I am not sure that going with either of those options is recommended.

So given what I've planned to use this new computer for, which CPU would be recommended?

GPUs on the hand, I believe I have narrowed it down. For macOS I am between one of the following four cards.

All seem to be right up the alley of what I'm looking for to do my work. And, if I'm not mistaken, they are all compatible with macOS. So, happy days there. I'm just not sure which I should pull the trigger on. Biggest areas of interest that they all differ are Compute Units(CUs), VRAM amount, VRAM type/speed, memory bandwidth, and memory interface. Not sure if I should just go balls-to-the-wall and get the Radeon Pro VII, which dominates in all said areas of interest. The word "overkill" comes to mind though. I don't think that there will ever be a time that I will make use of all of the 6 displays it is capable of outputting to though, 3 or 4 max.

For Windows. I'm almost certainly going to use an RTX 3090, mostly because it is closely on hand (lucky me). Only reason I wouldn't is because of it causing some issue for the rest of my build.

On a final note, I would like to know if it would be possible to run both macOS and Windows at the same time, given the proper hardware was in use. Not sure if I'd ever do this, but I was just curious. Extreme example: gaming while waiting for a render to finish. Again I know this is probably a far shot but just wanted to know.

If you read all of this, thanks for bearing with my long-windedness. Hopefully it all made sense. Hopeful to hear your advice!

-KingK

TL;DR

I am wanting to build a Hackintosh running Linux, macOS and Windows. Linux being the base of the machine, macOS and Windows will run in separate virtual machines. My job requires that I create demanding and advanced graphical renders, sometime large scale. I also do mid to high end video editing using Adobe software. I do all of this work in macOS. I use windows to game and for other entertainment.

Please help me chose a suitable CPU and GPU for this build. Not sure what CPU to choose. My GPU prospects are:
macOS:
Windows:
  • RTX 3090 (plan to use it since I have it unless it causes problems with the build)
Thanks for your time.
 
Last edited:

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#2
My two-pennies worth:
  • CPU - I would look at the Intel i9-10900K (10 core/ 20 thread) processor. Seems to be the closest you will get to an AMD Threadripper CPU with a desktop Intel CPU.
  • GPU - Radeon VII
  • Motherboard - Z490 series Asus or Gigabyte board.
You need to be aware that AMD cards are hard to come by due to Crypto Miners buying all that are available. As a result the cost of these cards has risen dramatically when they can be sourced.

Your other Intel option is building a system incorporating an Intel Core i9 10980XE 3.0GHz 18C/36T 165W 24.75MB Cascade Lake CPU (LGA2066 Processor). However, these systems require a lot more work to get macOS running smoothly.
 

KingKazma

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
macOS
10.12.x
Mobo
Asus Z170 Deluxe
CPU
i7 6700K
GPU
GTX 1080 Ti
#3
My two-pennies worth:
  • CPU - I would look at the Intel i9-10900K (10 core/ 20 thread) processor. Seems to be the closest you will get to an AMD Threadripper CPU with a desktop Intel CPU.
  • GPU - Radeon VII
  • Motherboard - Z490 series Asus or Gigabyte board.
You need to be aware that AMD cards are hard to come by due to Crypto Miners buying all that are available. As a result the cost of these cards has risen dramatically when they can be sourced.

Your other Intel option is building a system incorporating an Intel Core i9 10980XE 3.0GHz 18C/36T 165W 24.75MB Cascade Lake CPU (LGA2066 Processor). However, these systems require a lot more work to get macOS running smoothly.
Thank you for your reply!

I understand that the 11th gen Intel processors are coming out soon as well. It may be in my interest to wait and see if I can snag one of those early before they disappear. The 10900K was on my radar as well though, just didn't know if it would be beefy enough since the work I do is pretty CPU intense at times. The 10980XE does look promising, and I'm not afraid of the extra work it might bring. I'll look into it.

As far as the GPU, when you say Radeon VII do you mean the non-pro variant or the Radeon Pro VII that I have listed as a contender? I can say that the extra graphical power of the Radeon Pro is warranted for the things I'll be doing. And since I will only use that GPU for macOS the gaming advantages that a non-pro Radeon VII wouldn't be needed. I'll only be gaming on the Windows VM, and I have a RTX 3090 to take care of that.
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#4
Just so you know, the 11th gen Intel processors may never be used by Apple. You may have a long wait.

Radeon Pro VII (https://www.amd.com/en/products/professional-graphics/radeon-pro-vii) or Radeon VII (https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/amd-radeon-vii) makes little difference as both Device ID's are within the AMD10000Controller.kext (0x66A1 and 0x66AF respectively). So both should work natively with macOS.

I am not sure how much more powerful the Pro version is compared to the non-Pro version of the Radeon VII. Looking at the specifications for both cards I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Pro' naming was just a marketing gimmick, with some additional driver tweaks for Windows. They will both be using the same Kexts in macOS, no matter what name they have.

What might be more important is the type and number of display connectors. The Pro version has 6 x mDP connectors. The non-Pro Version has 3 x DP & 1 x HDMI connectors.
 

KingKazma

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
macOS
10.12.x
Mobo
Asus Z170 Deluxe
CPU
i7 6700K
GPU
GTX 1080 Ti
#5
Just so you know, the 11th gen Intel processors may never be used by Apple. You may have a long wait.

Radeon Pro VII (https://www.amd.com/en/products/professional-graphics/radeon-pro-vii) or Radeon VII (https://www.amd.com/en/products/graphics/amd-radeon-vii) makes little difference as both Device ID's are within the AMD10000Controller.kext (0x66A1 and 0x66AF respectively). So both should work natively with macOS.

I am not sure how much more powerful the Pro version is compared to the non-Pro version of the Radeon VII. Looking at the specifications for both cards I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Pro' naming was just a marketing gimmick, with some additional driver tweaks for Windows. They will both be using the same Kexts in macOS, no matter what name they have.

What might be more important is the type and number of display connectors. The Pro version has 6 x mDP connectors. The non-Pro Version has 3 x DP & 1 x HDMI connectors.
Thanks again for your insight. I can say that the pro version has a notable amount of double precision performance, which is very useful in data calculation. The pro also has more compute units(CUs) which help alot with the aforementioned data calculations among other things. Also, if I'm not mistaken, the pro has a larger memory bandwidth and interface as well as ECC HBM2 RAM as apposed to GDDR5. All useful things for the kind of work I do. However, I wasn't sure if I'd need that much power or if I should instead opt for one of the other GPUs I'd listed before. The Radeon Pro VII is pretty much AMD's flagship workstation card at the moment, and while cheaper than the NVIDIA counterparts it's not exactly cheap. Don't get me wrong, if it's the right fit I will happily buy but I am not exactly in a rush to spend lots of cash for an overkill product.

Thanks for your replies btw! Couldn't really get a dialogue going on any other forum. I apparently even got nuked from r/Hackintosh for asking this question lol, can't access it anymore. Not sure what gives.
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#6
Some sites are fairly uptight about what is allowed and what isn't. As I'm the only moderator on this site it is fairly relaxed.

I don't mind people asking questions, its not as if you are asking someone to build the system for you. Or asking for help using a tool that isn't used on this site. That can be a real big negative on other sites.

Usually I will help anyone that asks a sensible question.

I tend to get snarky with people who have used HackintoshZone distro. As that is just laziness on their part as far as I am concerned. There are lots of guides and tutorials on the net for creating a vanilla bootable USB on Windows, so anyone can install macOS on a PC. So there is no need to use those distro's.
 

KingKazma

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
macOS
10.12.x
Mobo
Asus Z170 Deluxe
CPU
i7 6700K
GPU
GTX 1080 Ti
#7
Some sites are fairly uptight about what is allowed and what isn't. As I'm the only moderator on this site it is fairly relaxed.

I don't mind people asking questions, its not as if you are asking someone to build the system for you. Or asking for help using a tool that isn't used on this site. That can be a real big negative on other sites.

Usually I will help anyone that asks a sensible question.

I tend to get snarky with people who have used HackintoshZone distro. As that is just laziness on their part as far as I am concerned. There are lots of guides and tutorials on the net for creating a vanilla bootable USB on Windows, so anyone can install macOS on a PC. So there is no need to use those distro's.
Based. Do you have any opinion on the practicality of the VM setup I'm shooting for?
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#8
No, because I have never tried to setup any of my systems in this manner.

I ran macOS on a HP Microserver using ESXI (HP special build) but never using two separate discrete GPU's. The VM setup wasn't working the way that I wanted, so I reverted back to running macOS on the bare metal setup, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on a separate HP Microserver.
 

KingKazma

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
macOS
10.12.x
Mobo
Asus Z170 Deluxe
CPU
i7 6700K
GPU
GTX 1080 Ti
#9
No, because I have never tried to setup any of my systems in this manner.

I ran macOS on a HP Microserver using ESXI (HP special build) but never using two separate discrete GPU's. The VM setup wasn't working the way that I wanted, so I reverted back to running macOS on the bare metal setup, with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials on a separate HP Microserver.
Cool. Well thanks for all your help!