Coming Next Week: How to Build a Video Editing Hackintosh
A couple of months ago I said I was going to build a Mac Pro out of PC components, the goal being to make a faster machine that cost a thousand dollars less. I researched and bought the components, built the machine, installed OS X, tweaked it, ordered new components, and tweaked it further. Then I gave it a trial-by-fire recently while editing a trailer for my project 3rd Rail (we’re still figuring out what to do with the trailer, while we meet with producers and financiers). And it’s been a total success; I never could’ve edited the After Effects-heavy project on my laptop, and the Hackintosh handled it with aplomb. It’s seriously fast – and it hasn’t crashed once. I’m happy to report the machine has lived up to my stated goals at the time:
Here’s what I think is possible for a video editing-optimized hackintosh: compared to the $2,500 Mac Pro base model, I believe the Hac Pro can have a faster processor, four times as much RAM, a Blu-Ray burner, USB 3.0 connectivity, more storage space, and an nVidia graphics card that accelerates Adobe CS5. The kicker? This Hac Pro will cost $1,000 less.
With a couple of minor exceptions,1 the above goals have all been achieved by the machine sitting under my desk. To arrive at such a trouble-free solution, however, I went through several iterations and tweaks (this is why the article’s taken a bit of time); at present, the only aspect I’m not totally satisfied with is the Wi-Fi connectivity, but I’ve got some parts on the way from China that should bring the Airport connectivity up to 100% (if this sounds too complicated, fear not: there are a number of viable USB Wi-Fi solutions that work fine provided you install the correct drivers — I’ll include this in the tutorial). So stay tuned — the detailed step-by-step article should be ready sometime next week. The week after, at the very latest. For independent filmmakers and creatives, this is a machine that is built to create — even if you don’t have quite enough cash for the new Mac Pro, which I’ve wondered how good of a value proposition it is. And, as I’ll talk about in the article, contrary to my expectations going into the project, I actually found it to be a lot of fun.
- I went with the same speed processor as the entry-level Mac Pro, but you can always go faster; USB 3.0 isn’t yet supported by Mac OS X, but the hardware’s in place. [↩]