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With a 4 year old Mac Pro getting a bit long in the tooth – it has no USB 3, no Thunderbolt, no 6GB SATA bus – it was time to bite the bullet and build a Mac that’s got current technology. It’s not even bleeding edge, just current tech. The reference site I used was TonyMacX86 and their buying guide http://www.tonymacx86.com/section/295-customac.html.
I’ve built a few PCs before so the hardware bit wasn’t challenging although I used some new bits I’ve never used before. To keep things simple and relatively standard, I used recommended parts from the CustoMac Pro build in the May 2013 buying guide. While this isn’t the fastest Mac you can build it’s the most Mac like. It has a single CPU, has power management meaning that it can go into sleep mode and wake again. The more powerful Macs using the Socket 2011 chips are more powerful but more tricky to get Mac like. The spec I settled on was:
All up, $1800 inc GST from MSY and Centrecom. The step by step guide to install 10.8.3 is here and it mimics the details of this build. I’ve tweaked the BIOS so the CPU runs at 4.4GHz and the memory at its rated speed of 1600MHz following the settings here. Here’s a photo of the parts before the build:
And one of it partially built showing the H100i cooler with it’s cooling pipes:
The result is a great performing Mac. Noticeably faster than my old Mac Pro (late 2009) with a Geekbench2 rating of 16,731. Highly recommended!