- Hide menu
I currently run DaVinci Resolve (and FCPX) on a CustoMac/Hackintosh. While Grant Perry from Blackmagic has stated that the new Mac Pro is an awesome machine to run DaVinci Resolve 10 on, it is still a little way off. This article explains why I built a Hackintosh and outlines my set-up for those that might want to do the same.
I am first and formost a Director and DoP. The post production process however has always interested me and over the years I’ve taught myself the process of editing and grading. Some projects I work on have budgets that allow the edited and grading to be outsourced to post production facilities but on personal projects and smaller low budget jobs I’m happily to shoot, edit and grade. Many of these projects have been finished on a full spec late 17″ MacBook Pro. Running DaVinci Resolve on such a machine is slow but you can manage if it’s a simple HD project that only needs a simple grade.
So last year I started looking at my options for a more suitable machine to run DaVinci Resolve. The iMac looked ok and a fully specced 27″ machine looked like a good option. I was looking at spending around £2500… Then my Blackmagic Cinema Camera arrived. And my needs changed.
To get the most out of the BMCC (which shoots 2.5K RAW) I would need a lot of power… mostly GPU power. Looking at the iMac spec it was clear that while it would be ok it would be pushed to it’s limit from the start. So I then started looking at the Mac Pro. A machine that on the surface looked to be much more expandable. The more I looked into it the more I found that the hardware was so out of date that it was really silly spending money on a system that was long overdue for an update. I was not the only one. Most of the Mac Pro users have been waiting for a proper update for a few years. Apple had been promising an update was in the wings but there was still no sign of it when I started this process (Today, 10 June 2013, Apple announced the New Mac Pro).
I had a list of things I wanted from a machine but 2 were essential:
Thunderbolt – I have a Promise Pegasus R6 RAID that I use for my projects and have invested in Thunderbolt devices.
GPU power – I wanted to run at least 2 GeForce GTX570/580/670/680 cards with 2GB RAM or more for DaVinci Resolve.
The iMac has Thunderbolt but I was limited to a single GeForce GTX680MX 2GB GPU. The Mac Pro has no way of supporting Thunderbolt and I’d need an external expansion chassis to run the GPUs I wanted. So it seemed I was out of luck and would have to wait for the mythical future Mac Pro.
I then started researching Windows machines. Seemed I could build a serious machine that would be more than powerful enough to run Resolve but would need to move to Windows. Not ideal. I’ve been a Mac user for over 18yrs. All my past and current project files are Mac based. Sure I could convert them to Premier Pro projects and port them over but thats a lot of work. I also rely on working with other editors that are Mac based and Windows also does not fully support ProRes workflows.
This brought me to the Hackintosh. Could this be a temporary solution? I was not keen on the idea of running a hack but I thought to myself “this would be a temporary thing and if it was not stable I could always intall Windows…”
So I set myself a budget of £2000 and began my research on what parts would work. My aim was not to built the most powerful machine but rather to build a stable machine that included Thunderbolt and would run Resolve comfortably. My evenings and weekends were spent looking at component specs and then researching how stable other had found them in a Hackintosh system. I eventually put together a shopping list. The bottom line was just short of £2350. £350 over budget but I have upped the spec on a few items.
Before we jump into the build and the performance of the machine lets look at that shopping list and why I chose each item:
I already own a USB Apple Extended Keyboard and A Wacom Intuos 5 so there was no need for me to buy a keyboard and mouse.