After a couple of years enjoying a Mac laptop at work, I decided to build a Hackintosh. Of course, it would also need to dual boot into
the Steam bootloader Windows.
Thus, The Beast was born. Much of the inspiration for parts came from tonymac86.com, but I also wanted a quiet machine that was resilient to dust. The Asus Sabertooth motherboard seemed to fit the bill, plus it looks really cool! The 35 and 40mm fans are loud, but they can be managed in the BIOS or the Asus software. I like the idea of de-dusting the motherboard on boot for 30 seconds and again every couple of hours; the rest of the time they are silent. The motherboard placeholders provided for unused inputs is really nice, too.
Even though I haven't overclocked this machine, I like the freedom of being able to do so in the future. For years, I've wanted a giant brown Noctua fan. I considered a closed-loop water cooling solution, but decided to go with air cooling. It's just as cool and quiet (if not quieter) as most economic closed-loop solutions. This case has plenty of room and I have no intention of moving this machine around a lot. Even if I did, this motherboard can handle the weight of that beastly fan. I replaced the stock case fans with Noctuas as well to lower the noise and provide positive static pressure to help avoid dust buildup.
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro case is wonderful -- and only $99. I've never really tried to do proper cable management, but this case makes it easy to have a front view without knots of cords. The case features dust filters everywhere and plenty of room for a large graphics card, which I recently upgraded from a GTX 770 to a GTX 980 to support the 1440p 27" monitor. The monitor is also nice, with height and angle adjustments. For disk space, I have Windows on one SSD, OSX on another, and a terabyte HDD for shared data. I've enjoyed the Razer peripherals, and my old Bose speakers are still going strong.
The loudest thing on the computer is the hard disk when reading a lot of data. The machine is not completely silent, but I can't hear it over a heavy breath.
I learned a lot about OSX and this motherboard's BIOS while getting the Hackintosh running. I did run into a few problems:
- Sound didn't work out of the green output. I had to compile a kext.
- OSX was slow to reboot and shutdown. Removing the Multibeast USB 3.0 kext resolved the issue. Not sure if USB 3.0 works from the Mac side or not, and I don't really mind. The inputs still work fine, even if they may be using USB 2.0.
- DVI output (to VGA) didn't work on the Asus Strix GTX 980 in OSX Yosemite 10.10.2. Display port works fine with the NVIDIA Web Drivers. I haven't tried HDMI.
- OSX doesn't automatically write to NTFS disks, but enabling it was simple.
- OSX doesn't recognize the RAM speed at 1866MHz, and instead reports 1333MHz. (Windows recognizes the RAM speed properly.) I could probably fiddle with the BIOS to make that work, but at this point, I'm so content that I don't mind and probably wouldn't know the difference anyway.
Now I have a beastly, quiet, and dust-free machine that smoothly dual boots in seconds. My stepson also learned a lot about computer hardware, and even helped me change out the fans. Although, admittedly, he is more excited about Far Cry 4.