I'm the proud owner of one of the last 'real' Mac Pros, also known as a 5,1. I've modded it several times over the last 10 years, and it still mostly keeps pace. However, it was getting long in the tooth, and I didn't want to put more money into a decade-old computer. Seeing the current Apple lineup made me weep for the halcyon days where professionals were considered in Apple's hardware roadmap. What was I to do?
Welcome to Hackintosh
I still vastly prefer MacOS to the competition. Despite Windows getting better, it still doesn't work the way I think, and I have a huge legacy of scripts and UNIX knowledge from which to draw. I read a lot about Hackintoshes, and their issues, but the landscape is fairly mature, and there are many 'Golden Builds' (a selection of parts and kernel extensions that behave perfectly according to the OS) from which to crib. This is my journey.
I do literally everything with my main machine, so the parts had to be robust, and fast. I record and produce live audio, cut and conform video, compile and run code, and even find time to play games, and listen to music. I chose parts that will give me some headroom, but also keep the relative dB fairly low. Much of the more expensive gear I was able to leverage from my 'real' Mac Pro (video card, SSDs). As this was my first build, I didn't want to muck about with water cooling. I figure that's something I could do down the road, if I find the system is getting too hot.
So with this build, everything works in MacOS: sleep, audio, networking, iCloud stuff, Handoff. I also have another disk with Windows 10 on it, which I mostly use as an arcade. I can also swap gear whenever something better comes along. Wins all 'round.
I'm going from a Xeon W with 6 cores, 12 threads, @ 3.33GHz. I needed something that spanked it in single and multicore, at a reasonable price and worked solidly in MacOS. The K processors, despite being 'consumer' grade, seem to be more robust than the non-K varieties, so I felt I could run it at 100% for a day or more without sweating. Fingers crossed.
I didn't want to muck about with water cooling, so I went with what seems to be the only option to cool the K processor, even if it's mildly overclocked. It works! The only thing that bothers me is one of the lobes seems to droop ever so slightly (you may be able to see it in the pictures). Everything is torqued down appropriately, so I don't know what's up.
I got this specific board as it was the one that was in a Golden Build I based my build off of. No complaints. Everything works. The BIOS is a little weird, and I don't seem to have access to some things I thought I would through it, but I don't care too much.
Solid RAM. I got the faster 14 timing. I'm not sure it would really matter, but I had the budget, and I figured it would probably give me a little flexibility should I do any overclocking. One annoying quirk, the LEDs go back into 'unicorn vomit' mode if I boot from a full shutdown. Also, the LEDs can only be addressed in Windows, which is a bit of a PITA for me, as I'm mostly in MacOS. Would RAM again.
This is my Windows drive I use primarily as an arcade. It's a SATA SSD, so it's never going to get any better than the bus will allow. Solid and reliable though! I ported this over from my prior Mac Pro, and reformatted it.
This drive contained my boot drive from my old computer. I'm keeping it around as a legacy/cache/secondary storage. It's fast. It's cheap. What more could you ask for in a SATA form factor?
This thing is bonkers fast, and it's not even the fastest they make. It is however, compatible with MacOS, whereas I've seen the "Pro" variants have some trouble in some circumstances.
I had this in my Mac Pro. It's not flashed with a Mac EFI, so I was able to port it without too much trouble. With the 1080Ti still being bonkers expensive, I thought I would hold on to this for awhile.
I really like this tower. It's not overly huge, and has fairly good cable management. Note this is the non 'i' version, so it doesn't have the built-in LEDs. I heard nightmare stories about their controller, and I did a hard-pass. It's quiet, and cool. The built-in fans are quiet, although not as quiet as the Noctuas. I'll eventually swap them. Also, there is an annoying defect in the case where the top panel meets the front. The left side has an annoying bend, lifting it up from flush.
So quiet, and so… not brown. 5 stars. Would blow again.
The NH-D15 is not a handsome heatsink from the top. This takes care of everything.