First build high end dual boot PC (advice requested)

Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#1
Hey everyone!

I'm planning to finally build myself a good PC (I'm still running a 2007 iMac). I'm reasonably mechanically minded, and like a nice challenge, so it seemed like a good idea to take on the task of building it myself. I started digging around a bit, discovered the hackintosh database and was immediately excited. I do plan on using the PC for some games - I'm not a fanatic gamer but right now I can't play along with most of them - and a bit of foto editing, and as those programs generally run better on Windows I thought dual booting would be best. I made up a list of parts I'd like to use, trying to keep the overall cost as low as possible by using second-hand parts whenever I can. I did aim for a high-end PC that is durable for the upcoming years, and is a significant improvement to the PC I have now and a midrange to high-end laptop I'll have to buy in the future for my study. I'd love to know what you think, whether I missed some potential issues or where there is room for improvement.

This is what I had in mind:
CPU: Intel i7-6700K Boxed (possibly another gen could be better in combination with the other hardware?)
GPU: Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX580 8GD5 6GB
Motherboard: ASRock Z370M-ITX/ac (I found a build where this was combined with the same CPU and GPU, so I figured they would match)
RAM: 32GB DDR4 - 2x16GB (if everything becomes too expensive I'll scale down to 16GB)
Storage: 1TB SSD (if I can manage the cost, otherwise 500GB) - partitioned for dual boot on a single SSD
2TB HHD WD Elements
Case: Sharkoon RGB Pure Steel - fans included
CPU Cooler: Be Quiet! Dark Rock 4 - possibly downscaling to Shadow Rock or Pure Rock if this is unnecessary.
Power supply: Be Quiet! Power 9 600W - I think I will need at least 600W for this system, but correct me if I'm wrong.
Monitor: Undecided, a big market. Also depends on the final parts I'll use.

I'm most uncertain about the combination of CPU, GPU and Motherboard. The latter I selected based on the combination of CPU and GPU, rather than it's individual strength although it seems sufficient. I'm also not sure about the CPU Cooler and Power supply, hard to say how fancy it needs to be. I would prefer to buy things second hand, but if that's not a possibility I'll buy it somewhere online. I have a mac that runs on El Capitan, so I'll start with installing that OSx but afterwards I intend on upgrading to Catalina. I tried to pick parts that combine well with the MacOS operating system, to get into as little drivers or kext issues as possible. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty with hacking a bit, I just don't have a lot of experience in the field so I'd have to rely on tutorials online.

Thank you in advance for thinking along with the project!
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#2
You are correct to be uncertain about the CPU and motherboard. As they won't work together.

CPU & Motherboard:
  • The i7-6700K you have proposed is a Skylake 6th Gen Intel CPU. This will work on a 100-series and some 200-series Intel based motherboards, with the right bios.
    • You should be aware that Skylake CPU's are not readily available now days. They have been superceeded by Kaby Lake 7th Gen, Coffee Lake 8th Gen and the newer Coffee Lake 9th Gen CPU's. They are no longer considered top-end.
  • The motherboard you are propsing to use is a 300-series Coffee Lake board, which requires either an 8th or 9th Gen Intel CPU.
Discrete GPU:
  • The Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB is far from High End.
  • It is more a competant mid-range GPU.
  • It will suffice for a few years of general computing, some mid range graphics tasks and 3D CAD. I don't game but I suppose it wil be reasonably good for most games.
  • If you plan to undertake any high end graphics work or are a serious gamer, I would suggest you have a look at the newer AMD dGPU's like the Radeon VII and the RX 5700 or RX 5700 XT range of GPU's. One of those cards will probably stand you in good stead for a few years and be better able to cope with any higher end graphics or gaming requirements.
WiFi:
  • Just so you are aware the Intel WiFi card will not work in macOS.
  • As you are planning to use and ITX board and the only PCIe slot will be populated by the RX580 GPU, you won't be able to use a PCIe WiFi/BT that utilises a macOS compatible Broadcom WiFI/BT card.
  • Most USB WiFi/BT dongles are not fully compatible with macOS.
Dual Booting:
  • I would strongly recommend you reconsider using a single drive for dual booting macOS and Windows.
  • Dual booting from a single drive is simple to configure. However, if the single drive has an issue it is always more likely to mess up both OS's. Especially if the boot loader is borked.
  • I would always recommend the use of separate drives, where they can be installed when dual booting.
  • Two 500GB SSD's or an SSD and an NVMe drive would be much better, if you plan to dual boot macOS and Windows.
High End Hack:
Currently a High End Desktop/Hack would (to my mind) include the following;
  • i9-990K CPU
  • Gigabyte Z390 Designare motherboard -
  • 2 X Samsung EVO 970 NVMe 500GB or 1TB drives
  • Radeon RX 5700XT 8GB or
  • Radeon VII 16GB dGPU
  • 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • 750W+ fully modular PSU (BeQuiet/Corsair)
  • Corsair H115i AIO CPU cooler
  • Fenvi FV-T919 WiFi/BT PCIe card
  • 4 x Silent case fans in push pull mode
  • Fractal Design - Define R6 Case
  • 2 x 4K 27" monitors (Calibrated for graphics work)
All you would need to do after building it (if you could afford to build it), is find a use for the power/capabilities of this system.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#3
You are correct to be uncertain about the CPU and motherboard. As they won't work together.

CPU & Motherboard:
  • The i7-6700K you have proposed is a Skylake 6th Gen Intel CPU. This will work on a 100-series and some 200-series Intel based motherboards, with the right bios.
    • You should be aware that Skylake CPU's are not readily available now days. They have been superceeded by Kaby Lake 7th Gen, Coffee Lake 8th Gen and the newer Coffee Lake 9th Gen CPU's. They are no longer considered top-end.
  • The motherboard you are propsing to use is a 300-series Coffee Lake board, which requires either an 8th or 9th Gen Intel CPU.
Discrete GPU:
  • The Sapphire Pulse RX 580 8GB is far from High End.
  • It is more a competant mid-range GPU.
  • It will suffice for a few years of general computing, some mid range graphics tasks and 3D CAD. I don't game but I suppose it wil be reasonably good for most games.
  • If you plan to undertake any high end graphics work or are a serious gamer, I would suggest you have a look at the newer AMD dGPU's like the Radeon VII and the RX 5700 or RX 5700 XT range of GPU's. One of those cards will probably stand you in good stead for a few years and be better able to cope with any higher end graphics or gaming requirements.
WiFi:
  • Just so you are aware the Intel WiFi card will not work in macOS.
  • As you are planning to use and ITX board and the only PCIe slot will be populated by the RX580 GPU, you won't be able to use a PCIe WiFi/BT that utilises a macOS compatible Broadcom WiFI/BT card.
  • Most USB WiFi/BT dongles are not fully compatible with macOS.
Dual Booting:
  • I would strongly recommend you reconsider using a single drive for dual booting macOS and Windows.
  • Dual booting from a single drive is simple to configure. However, if the single drive has an issue it is always more likely to mess up both OS's. Especially if the boot loader is borked.
  • I would always recommend the use of separate drives, where they can be installed when dual booting.
  • Two 500GB SSD's or an SSD and an NVMe drive would be much better, if you plan to dual boot macOS and Windows.
High End Hack:
Currently a High End Desktop/Hack would (to my mind) include the following;
  • i9-990K CPU
  • Gigabyte Z390 Designare motherboard -
  • 2 X Samsung EVO 970 NVMe 500GB or 1TB drives
  • Radeon RX 5700XT 8GB or
  • Radeon VII 16GB dGPU
  • 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • 750W+ fully modular PSU (BeQuiet/Corsair)
  • Corsair H115i AIO CPU cooler
  • Fenvi FV-T919 WiFi/BT PCIe card
  • 4 x Silent case fans in push pull mode
  • Fractal Design - Define R6 Case
  • 2 x 4K 27" monitors (Calibrated for graphics work)
All you would need to do after building it (if you could afford to build it), is find a use for the power/capabilities of this system.
Thank you for the very elaborate reply!! This is all very useful. I'll list my replies/questions in the same order below.

CPU & Motherboard:
I guess upgrading to 8th or 9th gen i7 is best. I9 would be better, but from a costs perspective I'd opt for the i7 range. Would the difference between 8th and 9th gen make a huge performance difference on this board?

Discrete GPU:
Okay, good to know. It's okay if the final PC leans toward mid-range, as long as it's capable of handling some more difficult tasks and is quick. I was looking into those as well! Would you prefer the RX5700 or the Vega 56?

WiFi:
I missed that issue indeed. That means the only solution is using a dongle right? Maybe it's better to switch to a different MB? Would the Gigabyte Z390 you mentioned work well in this kind of system?

Dual Booting:
I was actually unsure about this too, so it's good to get some more input here. Would using two SSD's and an HHD disk greatly influence my power usage? And do you have experience with potential space issues that using two SSD's poses?

High End Hack:
That sounds like an amazing PC! Unfortunately my budget is a little bit tighter, so I'm cutting down on a few parts. Like I mentioned before in this reply, it's okay if the PC leans towards mid-range as long as it remains quick and it can perform some more difficult tasks and programs.
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#4
CPU - an i7 from either 8th or 9th Gen would be fairly similar in processing power. So no you would not see any great performance differences.

Just be careful not to select a CPU that doesn't have a built-in GPU. They can be found in the 9th Gen range and are given the 'F' designation, i.e. i7-9700F, i7-9700KF & i7-9750HF. These CPU's will be cheaper, the reason being they don't have an IGPU.

DGPU - The RX 5700 is better than the Vega 56, but not by that much you would see the difference in the real world or that you would want to pay over the odds for one.

The difference between the RX 5700 and the RX 5700 XT is much bigger. There is probably £100-£120 differnece between the Vega 56 and the much better RX 5700 XT. Personally I would go with the newer RX 5700 series , but push the budget to the XT. Alternatively just use the Intel GPU and save for a bit longer before you get the better dGPU.

WIFI - Yes using teh ITX board would mean you had to use a USB dongle for WiFi and Bluetooth. The WiFi dongles are rubbish in macOS. The Bluetooth passable, but they do not provide the same funcationallity as a built-in Bluetooth, i.e. you would not have these Apple features - Handoff, Continuity, AirDrop or SideCar.

Motherboard - The Z390 Designare would work in this type of system. There are quite a few threads on this site with members getting their systems using this motherboard working exceptionally well on both Mojave and Catalina.

Dual Booting - No the SSD's would have a fairly low power draw. Probably both SSD's would have less power draw than a 2TB spining HDD.

SSD Space - The SSD's are 2.5" drives, these take up little space and most cases nowdays have specific place holders for them, so they sit out of the way. Also if you opt for one or more of the Samsung EVO NVMe drives, they can be located on the motherboard between the PCIe slots, so they take up even less space.

Budget - Yes that is always the main consideration, and that High End system comes at a high cost. I have been surprised how common systems using large parts of that specifcation are on this site.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#5
CPU - an i7 from either 8th or 9th Gen would be fairly similar in processing power. So no you would not see any great performance differences.

Just be careful not to select a CPU that doesn't have a built-in GPU. They can be found in the 9th Gen range and are given the 'F' designation, i.e. i7-9700F, i7-9700KF & i7-9750HF. These CPU's will be cheaper, the reason being they don't have an IGPU.

DGPU - The RX 5700 is better than the Vega 56, but not by that much you would see the difference in the real world or that you would want to pay over the odds for one.

The difference between the RX 5700 and the RX 5700 XT is much bigger. There is probably £100-£120 differnece between the Vega 56 and the much better RX 5700 XT. Personally I would go with the newer RX 5700 series , but push the budget to the XT. Alternatively just use the Intel GPU and save for a bit longer before you get the better dGPU.

WIFI - Yes using teh ITX board would mean you had to use a USB dongle for WiFi and Bluetooth. The WiFi dongles are rubbish in macOS. The Bluetooth passable, but they do not provide the same funcationallity as a built-in Bluetooth, i.e. you would not have these Apple features - Handoff, Continuity, AirDrop or SideCar.

Motherboard - The Z390 Designare would work in this type of system. There are quite a few threads on this site with members getting their systems using this motherboard working exceptionally well on both Mojave and Catalina.

Dual Booting - No the SSD's would have a fairly low power draw. Probably both SSD's would have less power draw than a 2TB spining HDD.

SSD Space - The SSD's are 2.5" drives, these take up little space and most cases nowdays have specific place holders for them, so they sit out of the way. Also if you opt for one or more of the Samsung EVO NVMe drives, they can be located on the motherboard between the PCIe slots, so they take up even less space.

Budget - Yes that is always the main consideration, and that High End system comes at a high cost. I have been surprised how common systems using large parts of that specifcation are on this site.
Thanks for all the advice! About the CPU, I think the Vega will be sufficient for my needs. Either the Vega 56 PowerColor or Vega 56 Airboost should do the trick. The 5700XT looks amazing though!

The Motherboard is very nice as well! I'm just in doubt because I found a nice 'second hand' motherboard with warranty for a good price - the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi. Would this be sufficient?

The SSD's sound good! I'll change that in my wishlist:)
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#6
Yes, the Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard would be a good alternative to the Z390 Designare board.

Just note the following:
  1. The Intel WiFi/BT combo card connected to the CNVi connector on the motherboard will not work in macOS.
  2. The CNVi port will need to be disabled, using a SSDT, as it causes problems in macOS.
Other than that is should work just fine as a Hackintosh.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#7
Yes, the Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard would be a good alternative to the Z390 Designare board.

Just note the following:
  1. The Intel WiFi/BT combo card connected to the CNVi connector on the motherboard will not work in macOS.
  2. The CNVi port will need to be disabled, using a SSDT, as it causes problems in macOS.
Other than that is should work just fine as a Hackintosh.
Great, thanks! I think that concludes the part list then! The final parts would be:

CPU: Intel i7-8700k
GPU: AMD VEGA 56 Airboost 8GB (or PowerColor 8GB)
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
RAM: 32GB DDR4 - 2x16GB (if everything becomes too expensive I'll scale down to 16GB)
Storage: 2x 500GB SSD + 2TB HHD WD Elements
Case: Sharkoon RGB Pure Steel - fans included
CPU Cooler: Scythe Fuma 2
Power supply: Be Quiet! Power 9 700W

One last question: I just picked a decent power supply. Is there more to be gained there? Any power supplies you'd recommend?
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#8
The one you selected is entry level, but should be quiet, as the name suggests. I would probably go with the Be Quiet Pure Power 11 700W CM model if I were selecting one from the Be Quiet range.

I have a personal preference for modular and semi-modular Corsair PSU's. I have been using them for years in all my PC/Hack builds and they have been very reliable. I prefer the modular design so you don't end up having to deal with cables you don't plan or need to use. Especially the 4-pin power cables for spinning hard drives.

With a semi-modular PSU you can select which power cables to use, depending on the number of drives and their positions in the case. With two SSD's and a single spinning HDD you might be lucky and get away with just a single long SATA power cable, the GPU cable, the motherboard power cable and the CPU power cable.

Consider your real memory requirements when purchasing the modules. The Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard supports 4 x 32GB DIMM's. I doubt you will ever need 128GB RAM, not unless you start serious Video Editing. Then you would looking to upgrade to a Workstation and would not be using this mid/high end desktop system.

Realistically 4 x 16GB RAM sticks would also be more than you would ever need.

Most people wouldn't make full use of 4 x 8GB RAM (which are a lot cheaper than the larger sized DIMM's). So don't go throwing money at something you don't need and won't make full use from. Spend it where it will make more difference, i.e. a slightly higher end PSU.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#9
The one you selected is entry level, but should be quiet, as the name suggests. I would probably go with the Be Quiet Pure Power 11 700W CM model if I were selecting one from the Be Quiet range.

I have a personal preference for modular and semi-modular Corsair PSU's. I have been using them for years in all my PC/Hack builds and they have been very reliable. I prefer the modular design so you don't end up having to deal with cables you don't plan or need to use. Especially the 4-pin power cables for spinning hard drives.

With a semi-modular PSU you can select which power cables to use, depending on the number of drives and their positions in the case. With two SSD's and a single spinning HDD you might be lucky and get away with just a single long SATA power cable, the GPU cable, the motherboard power cable and the CPU power cable.

Consider your real memory requirements when purchasing the modules. The Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi motherboard supports 4 x 32GB DIMM's. I doubt you will ever need 128GB RAM, not unless you start serious Video Editing. Then you would looking to upgrade to a Workstation and would not be using this mid/high end desktop system.

Realistically 4 x 16GB RAM sticks would also be more than you would ever need.

Most people wouldn't make full use of 4 x 8GB RAM (which are a lot cheaper than the larger sized DIMM's). So don't go throwing money at something you don't need and won't make full use from. Spend it where it will make more difference, i.e. a slightly higher end PSU.
Thank you for all the information! I'll take all the advice in mind, you've been of tremendous help. On the RAM point, I was planning to use 2x 16GB RAM, but maybe I'll change it to 4x 8GB RAM. I'm comparing the Corsair PSU and Be quiet! PSU right now:)

By the way, I'm planning to use the BCM94360CS2 WiFi card as the WiFi onboard the Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi won't work in MacOS.
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#10
I use the a BCM943602CS WiFi/BT card and a few other BCM94360xxx variations, in all my Hacks. The older ones tent o use four antenna the newer ones only three.

The cards are attached to PCIe adapter card in one of the PCIe x1 slots, with the Bluetooth connected to a motherboard USB header port.

Like this one:

PCI-E 1x wifi + BT.png
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#11
I use the a BCM943602CS WiFi/BT card and a few other BCM94360xxx variations, in all my Hacks. The older ones tent o use four antenna the newer ones only three.

The cards are attached to PCIe adapter card in one of the PCIe x1 slots, with the Bluetooth connected to a motherboard USB header port.

Like this one:

View attachment 8126
That sounds great! Thanks you for all the help. With all these parts, I shouldn't run into any space issues right?
 

Edhawk

Moderator
Joined
Apr 10, 2018
macOS
10.15.7
Mobo
GA-Z97X-UD5H
CPU
i7-4790K
GPU
Powercolor RX 580 8GB
#12
No you shouldn't run in to any space issues. The Sharkoon RGB Pure Steel case will have plenty of space for cable management and air flow even with these components.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2020
macOS
10.15.1
Mobo
Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi
CPU
i7 8700
GPU
Sapphire Radeon RX Vega 64
#13
I use the a BCM943602CS WiFi/BT card and a few other BCM94360xxx variations, in all my Hacks. The older ones tent o use four antenna the newer ones only three.

The cards are attached to PCIe adapter card in one of the PCIe x1 slots, with the Bluetooth connected to a motherboard USB header port.

Like this one:

View attachment 8126
No you shouldn't run in to any space issues. The Sharkoon RGB Pure Steel case will have plenty of space for cable management and air flow even with these components.
Great!