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Well Guys, I'm a PC now! (Page 2)
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May 3, 2010, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
What made you decide to go with a quad core i7 930 that's $100 more expensive than a six core Phenom II x6?
Performance.
     
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May 3, 2010, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
HAHAH. Again, this isn't 1994.

What does "expensive to replace" mean?

Let me guess, you're talking about the mobo, or the video card? Look, the only thing I *ever* upgraded in *any* PC I ever owned was the video card. You can get video cards for the Mac. Other than that, your points are pretty moot. What other parts are there? If you're going to build a gaming rig, you'd get a PC anyway, so the point is moot again.

Other parts to replace:
CD/DVD drive?
Hard drive?
Keyboard?
Mouse?
Sound card (unnecessary)?
RAM?

I mean really, what do you need to replace in a Mac? I've had my Mac Pro since 2006 and other than the RAM I haven't had to do a single thing with it.

If you're going to upgrade a PC, you have to buy a whole new Mobo/processor anyway, which sometimes warrants reinstalling the OS. However, I can still encode HD pretty damn fast on my Mac Pro from 2006. Would a more modern Mac be faster? Of course, but there's a reason why Macs have high resellability - they don't *require* upgrades.

you have to keep in mind that some desktop iMacs include shared video (I'm not sure if you can supplement this with any old video card?!), and there is also your CPU. For some people storage is something they wish to upgrade too, not just direct attach, but eSATA. Some people may also want to salvage their case and go for an all new motherboard...

In the case of building a 1U server this also includes random SATA drives.

Salvaging your case is not a bad idea either... In the case of the iMac it is a shame to have to dispose of a perfectly good screen, and even regardless a new motherboard + RAM + CPU + HDD + PCI based video in the same case (if you can't or don't want to recycle any of these components) is way cheaper than buying a whole new Mac, esp. when the starting price is $2500 for a Mac Pro or whatever a totally use-and-dispose computer like the iMac costs.
     
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May 3, 2010, 01:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Performance.
Except that the benchmarks I've read show the Phenom II x6 is marginally outperforming the i7 930, and it's $100 cheaper.
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May 3, 2010, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Performance.
Of you or your computer? For me, the difference in price between a Mac and a PC, even if I put a faster CPU or video card in the PC, is far less than the value of my time required to shop for components/build PC plus the drop in productivity from using Windows over MacOS.
     
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May 4, 2010, 01:06 AM
 
I got OS X running beautifully in VMware, which is very gratifying. With the VM full screen and the VMware toolbar hidden, it's indistinguishable from a real Mac.

Simon explained many of the issues surrounding my reverse switch in his post on the first page. Apple doesn't make an attractive desktop for me anymore. The only type of AIO I'll buy is a laptop. I don't find desktops AIOs appealing; consequently, I've owned nearly every class of Apple product with the exception of the iMac.

When Apple was PPC-based I was locked into the Apple Mac line because I prefer OS X, but this brave new Intel world has given us all a lot more options than we had before. And options are good, as SJ likes to say. If there had been an affordable Mac Pro or xMac option, I probably would have opted for that instead. The fact that you can't get an Apple desktop with expansion slots until you pay $2,500 and up is disturbing. starman says that Macs have GPU upgrade options, but that's only true for the highest priced Mac line. And even then the Mac Pro isn't all that expandable since GPU options are limited to a few choices Apple blesses, unless you are able to hack in some additional after-market GPU support courtesy of the Hackintosh community. (And if I'm going to do that, why am I buying premium priced Apple hardware in the first place?) My hand-built PC certainly isn't as pretty internally as a Mac Pro, but we practiced good cable management so it doesn't look too bad. Since Apple has shown a disregard for those of us in that segment of the computing market (desktop-prosumer you might call it), we're taking our money elsewhere. And we can have our cake and eat it too by way of virtual machines and the Hackintosh community.
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 4, 2010 at 01:37 AM. )

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May 4, 2010, 01:59 AM
 
Big Mac: I'm intrigued by you getting OS X to run in VMWare. Is this some sort of Hackintosh thing, or does the Windows (I'm assuming you're running Windows and not Linux?) version of VMware support OS X guests out-of-the-box?

If you can run OS X guests without any significant tradeoffs, I think this would warrant official recommendations of a PC for anybody close to me that I'd be willing build a PC for interested in a Desktop and running OS X. The savings in building your own rig seems like a no brainer...
     
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May 4, 2010, 03:31 AM
 
Nice system, Big Mac.

Luckily you chose a Gigabyte mobo; the EX58A-UD3R is very easily Hackintoshed- you could have that running OSX *natively* in under 20 minutes.

Unfortunately though, the graphic card is a no-go. No OSX support (yet) for the 5850, so no OpenCL/CI/QE.

And great that you went with Intel. AMD (sadly) isn't even playing in the same league anymore.
     
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May 4, 2010, 03:49 AM
 
What about getting an inexpensive second graphics card for hackintosh purposes?

Radeon HD 4650 512MB for $47
GeForce 210 512MB for $50
( Last edited by Simon; May 4, 2010 at 03:58 AM. )
     
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May 4, 2010, 03:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Big Mac: I'm intrigued by you getting OS X to run in VMWare. Is this some sort of Hackintosh thing, or does the Windows (I'm assuming you're running Windows and not Linux?) version of VMware support OS X guests out-of-the-box?
Windows version. Without saying too much, you can find the "solutions" for accomplishing that objective online pretty easily. I don't have Quartz Extreme, and I haven't tried some of the pickier Apple software packages, but disk images work and I have full resolution support - so far I'm very happy.

If you can run OS X guests without any significant tradeoffs, I think this would warrant official recommendations of a PC for anybody close to me that I'd be willing build a PC for interested in a Desktop and running OS X. The savings in building your own rig seems like a no brainer...
This type of setup certainly isn't blessed by Apple, but then again it doesn't seem like the company is doing too much to take these resources offline, either. If your friends have needs similar to mine - i.e. they want beefy, cheaper hardware along with OS X for mostly productivity applications, then I'd say it's a very good option. If, however, they want a complete and fully supported Mac OS X environment, then Apple hardware will always be the way to go.

Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
Nice system, Big Mac.

Luckily you chose a Gigabyte mobo; the EX58A-UD3R is very easily Hackintoshed- you could have that running OSX *natively* in under 20 minutes.

Unfortunately though, the graphic card is a no-go. No OSX support (yet) for the 5850, so no OpenCL/CI/QE.

And great that you went with Intel. AMD (sadly) isn't even playing in the same league anymore.
Thank you Crash HD. Yeah, as I said I picked most of the components with an eye toward Hackintosh compatibility. I have been following the Hackintosh community for a while and knew that if I were to buy something I'd go for Gigabyte and specifically the EX58. I do know about the graphics card impediment. I had a feeling that the 5850 most likely wasn't supported yet, but it was a great value, and I liked having a top of the line GPU. I'm hoping that Apple will deliver support for modern ATI cards, but if not that's okay too. I'm quite happy with virtual OS X right now.

If 5850 support arrives I'll probably try a native Hackintosh boot at some point, although the other concern I have is about software fan control and hardware temperature monitoring when booted directly in OS X. Right now my BIOS controls the fans initially and then Gigabyte's EasyTune 6 takes over and puts them on a bit higher when I log in. I don't know how emulated EFI would handle fan control, but based on what I've read it sounds like the fans would run at 100%. Of course I could unhook the fan control from the motherboard and control them manually with the giant knob on the top of my case, which many people do. I like the way my setup runs right now, and at this point OS X (Server) in VMWare meets my needs for OS X support. It's not like I need it for gaming.
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 4, 2010 at 04:10 AM. )

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May 5, 2010, 01:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
If 5850 support arrives I'll probably try a native Hackintosh boot at some point, although the other concern I have is about software fan control and hardware temperature monitoring when booted directly in OS X. Right now my BIOS controls the fans initially and then Gigabyte's EasyTune 6 takes over and puts them on a bit higher when I log in. I don't know how emulated EFI would handle fan control, but based on what I've read it sounds like the fans would run at 100%. Of course I could unhook the fan control from the motherboard and control them manually with the giant knob on the top of my case, which many people do. I like the way my setup runs right now, and at this point OS X (Server) in VMWare meets my needs for OS X support. It's not like I need it for gaming.
Personally, I think you're over-thinking the fan control a bit. I've never even touched a fan-utility software in Windows or OSX.

Unless you're running a large overclock, I'm not sure why you'd want your fans set to increase speed at login (basically on idle), rather just to kick in under heavy load. If you're combating excessive temps, you might want to consider double-checking your CPU cooler seating, and/or case fans and airflow layout. (IE: air should be pulled in and blown out of a case in a logical direction.)

I'm posting this from an i7 920 with a modest overclock to 3.2Ghz running OSX 10.6.3. Air cooled, and Temperature Monitor 4.9 reports all four cores at around 38C-40C (idle): fairly chilly. On full load, it's up around 68C. I'm using a Cooler Master Hyper 212 rather than the stock CPU cooler- it's whisper quiet, no need for manual fan control. (Frankly, I've never considered the need for fan-control, and I've been running various Hackintoshes for the past two years. No idea if software control is possible or not as I've never looked into it.)

As for case fans, I have one silent (800RPM) 120mm bringing air in over my hard drives, and the PSU fan, and that's it. That's pretty much my standard setup on anything I build. In my many years of building custom PCs, so long as I use a decent CPU cooler and send air over my drives, I've found little need to overkill with excessive fans, or worry about controlling them. Frankly, I think a lot of people worry too much about this, but hey, to each his own.

OSX definitely controls the GPU fan- on another system I have, the nVidia GTX 260's fan sounds like a leaf-blower at startup. As soon as the OSX (or Windows) drivers take over it quiets down to normal.
     
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May 5, 2010, 03:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I got OS X running beautifully in VMware, which is very gratifying. With the VM full screen and the VMware toolbar hidden, it's indistinguishable from a real Mac.
Big Mac, have you tried Virtual Box yet? It's free.

I read just this morning that the latest Virtual Box beta comes with support for OS X as a guest OS.
     
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May 5, 2010, 03:10 PM
 
Heh, I thought that option was only available on OS X clients - seems to be available on the Windows version too.
     
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May 5, 2010, 10:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
Except that the benchmarks I've read show the Phenom II x6 is marginally outperforming the i7 930, and it's $100 cheaper.
Except that the i7 overclocks better and 4.4GHz isn't too difficult to reach with good RAM and a decent cooler. Also, at stock the x6 is only faster on massively multithreaded apps, not too many of those.
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May 7, 2010, 02:21 AM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
Personally, I think you're over-thinking the fan control a bit. I've never even touched a fan-utility software in Windows or OSX.

Unless you're running a large overclock, I'm not sure why you'd want your fans set to increase speed at login (basically on idle), rather just to kick in under heavy load.
That's the thing, though. When I was just relying on the BIOS for fan control, the fans did not kick in under heavy load. I tested this a couple of different ways. We played Crysis at max settings, but while the GPU fan revved up at times (I believe), the case fans did not change speeds. I then performed stress testing using the well known Prime number calculator app on all 8 cores, and they briefly hit 80 deg. celsius before I stopped the testing, yet no change in the case fans. That's when I knew for a fact that there was a problem relying just on the BIOS alone.

Now I run Gigabyte's EasyTune 6 software. Its temperature thresholds are a lot lower. Its default is to increase fans at 40 celsius, and with my stock cooler I never get below 40. That's why it increases my fan speed at login. But at least I know that the system is a little more protected. (I do plan to get a third party cooler, btw.)

I'm posting this from an i7 920 with a modest overclock to 3.2Ghz running OSX 10.6.3. Air cooled, and Temperature Monitor 4.9 reports all four cores at around 38C-40C (idle): fairly chilly.
Did you have to do some special hacking to get Temperature Monitor to report temperatures properly? As in the type of mind-blowingly complex stuff found in this Insanely Mac thread? If not, I'd love to know how you got temperature reporting for free, and I'm sure a lot of other hackers would too!

OSX definitely controls the GPU fan- on another system I have, the nVidia GTX 260's fan sounds like a leaf-blower at startup. As soon as the OSX (or Windows) drivers take over it quiets down to normal.
That's good to know. I'm sure I'll try it eventually, provided that 5850 GPU support comes at some point.

Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Big Mac, have you tried Virtual Box yet? It's free. I read just this morning that the latest Virtual Box beta comes with support for OS X as a guest OS.
Yes, we had been discussing that previously. It's still a very early beta, but it's definitely interesting (and has caught the interest of the VMWare people).

At this stage though, the support found in Virtual Box is rudimentary relative to where VMWare is with OS X Server virtualization. I think the way it's worked out is, VMWare got there first with support for OS X Server in VMWare Fusion on the Mac. Then the hacker community figured out how to bring that support over to VMWare Workstation. Whereas Virtual Box can only use one core, and it supposedly runs that core at 100% all the time with OS X as the guest OS, VMWare Workstation doesn't suffer from such shortcomings.
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 7, 2010 at 02:30 AM. )

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May 7, 2010, 02:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
As for case fans, I have one silent (800RPM) 120mm bringing air in over my hard drives, and the PSU fan, and that's it. That's pretty much my standard setup on anything I build. In my many years of building custom PCs, so long as I use a decent CPU cooler and send air over my drives, I've found little need to overkill with excessive fans, or worry about controlling them. Frankly, I think a lot of people worry too much about this, but hey, to each his own.
Seconded. A slow-spinning large diameter fan is the way to go. Smaller fans, e. g. 80 mm fans, have to be revved up which makes your setup noisier. Plus, the higher the rpm, the lower the life of a fan. Cheap fans may get loud and whiny after a year or two.
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May 7, 2010, 03:06 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Look, the only thing I *ever* upgraded in *any* PC I ever owned was the video card.
...which of course translates into meaning that *every* PC user *everywhere* on the *entire planet* has *never* *ever* *ever* upgraded *anything* else in their *PC*s.
     
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May 7, 2010, 03:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
That's the thing, though. When I was just relying on the BIOS for fan control, the fans did not kick in under heavy load. I tested this a couple of different ways. We played Crysis at max settings, but while the GPU fan revved up at times (I believe), the case fans did not change speeds. I then performed stress testing using the well known Prime number calculator app on all 8 cores, and they briefly hit 80 deg. celsius before I stopped the testing, yet no change in the case fans. That's when I knew for a fact that there was a problem relying just on the BIOS alone.
We're operating on different methods of cooling a system. Personally, I've never really considered the idea of case fans to have much to do with keeping my CPU temps cool. Sure, by a few degrees, as case fans keep ambient case temps down, but just blasting them to keep the CPU cool seems very inefficient to me. A decent third-party CPU cooler will keep your i7 cool- even under stress. So I wouldn't expect stress testing the CPU to speed up case fans as their main function should just be proper airflow through the case, not regulating CPU temps.

Did you have to do some special hacking to get Temperature Monitor to report temperatures properly? As in the type of mind-blowingly complex stuff found in this Insanely Mac thread? If not, I'd love to know how you got temperature reporting for free, and I'm sure a lot of other hackers would too!
It can be real offputting to read those 'old' threads, but things change by the week. To have all things working correctly , it does require a correctly applied system-specific DSDT patch. In a nutshell, this is extracting the BIOS, and then a proper translation (DSDT.aml file) that OSX can understand.

Reading about it, it sounds complicated, but in actual practice, one can easily figure out how to patch a system inside of five minutes. All the hard stuff has been figured out already, and now for most people using the same compatible hardware, it's merely following a recipe. Insanelymac threads can delve into the needlessly arcane, though it's often a good resource. Even since that thread came out, most of what they're yacking about can now be done with simple GUI DSDT-Patcher app.

A much better boil down of the more modern DSDT-patching process is here.

Even though a Hackintosh can function just fine without a patched DSDT (heck, I didn't even learn about it until maybe a year ago, yet ran my hacks just fine before that), this definitely fixes a few things like sleep, native video drivers, native Bonjour support, etc. And yup, temp monitoring works just fine, as OSX's native CPU Power management drivers work.

Like a lot of things though, people can get carried away with this stuff; beyond just patching the DSDT to work correctly, people that really understand hardware start modifying it way beyond the mandatory. So in a lot of threads you'll see people modding the DSDT- like enabling Intel speedstepping in the thread you linked to. Cool to have? I guess, sure. Absolutely necessary? No. A method since 'bottled' into a click and apply patch by someone? Possibly.
     
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May 7, 2010, 04:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
At this stage though, the support found in Virtual Box is rudimentary relative to where VMWare is with OS X Server virtualization. I think the way it's worked out is, VMWare got there first with support for OS X Server in VMWare Fusion on the Mac. Then the hacker community figured out how to bring that support over to VMWare Workstation. Whereas Virtual Box can only use one core, and it supposedly runs that core at 100% all the time with OS X as the guest OS, VMWare Workstation doesn't suffer from such shortcomings.
I read about that. Supposedly they have a lot of OS X energy saving stuff to figure out. Plus of course multi-core support.

What about installing OS X in VB on a Hackintosh though? Doesn't OS X check for "qualified" hardware. Sun's Oracle's VB people claim they don't attempt to circumvent any of that. So is any cracking required on a Hackintosh?
     
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May 7, 2010, 04:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Seconded. A slow-spinning large diameter fan is the way to go. Smaller fans, e. g. 80 mm fans, have to be revved up which makes your setup noisier. Plus, the higher the rpm, the lower the life of a fan. Cheap fans may get loud and whiny after a year or two.
Thirded. There's nothing like a quality 120 mm fan to keep the box cool but noise down.
     
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May 7, 2010, 12:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Thirded. There's nothing like a quality 120 mm fan to keep the box cool but noise down.
Agreed.

I have an Antec Tri-cool in the back of mine, set on low.

Regarding the CPU cooler, it will spinup faster when needed, you may not hear it, they're pretty quiet. If it gets too hot, it will simply turn off the PC, no harm done.
     
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May 18, 2010, 08:30 AM
 
So if my i7 ever got to TJMax and shut down, I wouldn't have to bother worrying about thermal damage to it? Incidentally, I remembered that I have case access to the back of the board where the cooler fits in, so if I want to install a better cooler in the future I don't have to uninstall everything and take the MB out to do it. I may do that as a future upgrade because I'd like to experiment with some light overclocking.

Btw, I found that I still very much require OS X for some things. I needed to scan and email some paperwork to a CPA and the only way I knew to process the PDFs (including compressing them) was to do it in OS X. VMWare started acting up and not letting me boot into OS X like I was previously, but I fixed that by running it VMWare as administrator. It's strange that it didn't require me to do that before.

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May 18, 2010, 01:54 PM
 
Yes, if it gets too hot, it will power off as if power was cut from the machine.
I've many PCs out there. Sometimes a peg or two pop out for the CPU when the machines are moved.
First symptom is the CPU fan screaming, second is that the user will complain that their PC keeps turning off. Never had an issue after re-fitting the cooler (if you excuse Windows corruptions).

Windows Fax and Scan? You can use CutePDF Writer to make PDFs.
     
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May 18, 2010, 01:58 PM
 
Thank you for reassuring me about temperature issues, then. It just seemed like something to obsess over a bit because PC geeks seem preoccupied with it. I guess it's only important if the heatsink isn't functional at all or if you want to do serious OCing.

I'll check out CutePDF. I was able to scan the documents just fine, but I don't think there's any way I'd be able to do match my workflow for converting and optimizing them that consists of GraphicConverter + the Compress PDF workflow (that can be found on apple.com) + Combine PDFs or PDF Pen (shareware).
( Last edited by Big Mac; May 18, 2010 at 02:35 PM. )

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May 18, 2010, 03:29 PM
 
Yeah your thermal monitoring shut off your machine to keep the CPU from being damaged. If you aren't overclocking, you need to check and make sure your heatsink is properly mounted and making good contact. If you are overclocking, you need to do the same, and also buy a better heatsink that can dissipate more heat. The stock Intel HS/fan is crap for anything other than normal speeds. I run full water cooling on my hobby/game PC, and it wasn't easy to setup, and does require some maintenance, but it cools better than anything short of a phase change evaporator.

I recommend something simple, though. You probably don't need a $700 cooling solution. Just make sure it will fit your case and that you get the correct bracket.

Thermalright CoGage True Spirit 4-Heatpipe Core i7 CPU Cooler (Socket LGA 1156** / LGA 1366) - FrozenCPU.com
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May 19, 2010, 10:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by DrTacoMD View Post
I went on a date with a PC user this weekend. Does that count?
Did you get a virus?
     
 
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