Context and Parts
So, the screen of my 27" mid-2011 iMac died a couple of weeks ago. It would randomly turn black, sometimes after 30 seconds, and other times it would work for a couple of hours. When I went to Apple to ask how much it would cost to repair the screen, they told me a price which was almost the price of its selling value. The rest of the PC was still working fine for me, speed was ok (although I would've liked a SSD).
That's why I decided that my next computer was one I could easily repair myself, and upgrade whenever I need.
I'm a graphics design and web development student so I needed something with enough power to last me a couple of years. I've been working on Mac for a long time, and have a Macbook Air to do all my remote work, so the Hackintosh was the most logical route. Wanting to game from time to time I decided to install Windows on a dual boot.
32Gb of RAM may be overkill (and it probably is) but I wanted it to be future-proof as I will need to run multiple VM's. I chose the Asus Z170-A motherboard because it has everything I need, looks good, and there was a great guide on installing Mac OS X using this motherboard.
I have 2 250Gb SSD's. One for Mac OS X and the other for Windows. The 2TB Seagate drive is for storage on my Mac.
The NZXT H440 is juste a wonderfull case with lost of space and very well built (therefore it's quite heavy). PCPartPicker says the Gigabyte GTX 970 doens't fit, but it does just. If it didn't I could've easily remover a drive bay to make it fit. The Gigabyte GTX970 is a great card, looks good and performs well.
This was my first build and did a lot of research before starting. The PCPartPicker live builds were great and helped me a lot.
The build was very easy, I didn't encounter any major problems. Cable management was a bit hard with the little space the H440 has behind the motherboard, but it wasn't too bad. In total, including the cable management it took me about 2 hours to complete my first build.
I decided to take off the included fan hub because fans connected to it always run full speed, and my motherboard had just enough connectors for the 4 fans my case has and of course the CPU fan.
Installation of Mac OS X
Using the guide for the Asus Z170-A motherboard on TonyMacX86 the installation of Mac OS X El Capitan was very easy. I set the BIOS settings to the ones recommended by the guide. then I created a bootable drive using Unibeast and placed the patches for this motherboard from the guide, onto the USB. From there I could simply install Mac OS.
My Wireless Network card was detected out of the box which made everything much more easy. I mounted the EFI Partition and installed the patches on that. Lastly I installed the Nvidia Web Drivers and I was all set to boot without the USB drive.
Mac OS was now successfully installed and it' very very stable, I did not expect it to be this easy. I didn't have audio on my monitor via DP, but a simple patch fixed that too.
The last thing I need to fix is that the patch provided by the Guide expects you to use the USB 3.0 header on the right side of the motherboard, but I used the bottom one. I could easily fix it by switching the headers, but I don't want to redo my cable management. I should be able to tweak the patch to use the other header.
Everything works now, and it is very fast. The SSD makes everything much faster.
Installation of Windows
The last thing I needed to do was install Windows 10 on my other SSD, because I will sometimes need to use Windows specific apps, and just want to be able to game from time to time.
I didn't really know the best way to do this, but it turned out to be very simple. I disconnected my Mac OS SSD and storage HDD so Windows couldn't break those. I created a bootable USB drive using Rufus and a GPT partition scheme for UEFI and just started the install.
And that was it, installed the drivers once Windows was installed and I was done. Just boot your PC on the Mac OS SSD to be able to choose whether to boot Mac OS X or Windows 10 using Clover, and everything worked perfectly.
I am very happy with how everything turned out. Everything (build, installation of OS's and apps on both OS's) took me about 12 hours and I expected the installation of Mac OS X only, to take me that time.
I would like to add some LED strips in the case because the window of the case is black-tinted, so it's quite dark in there.
Building was very fun, and it's very addictive. I can't wait to work on another build !
I'll upload some photos of the final setup once I clean my desk ! ;)
Wanted to be future-proof so went with the highest Skylake. Performs very well, no temperature problems.
Performs very well and keeps my i7-6700K very cool. Installation was a bit difficult because you need to apply a lot of pressure to make the screws fit, as a first-time builder I was unsure of the amount of pressure I could give. But the installation went well and the performance is great for the price !
I love the looks of this motherboard. Price was great and the features enough for what I need. Installation of the motherboard into the ports was a bit difficult due to the shield, but wasn't too bad. BIOS is clean and very easy to use !
Good looking RAM, works great, no problems.
Very easy to install ! Great look, works great with my Matte Black case with SSD mount in the front. They are very fast, nothing to complain.
Really solid HDD drive, performs well and is quiet. Nothing to complain.
Love the card ! It looks great, is quiet and performs really well !
Beautiful case, I just love it. Very nice finish, great build quality, therefore a bit heavy, but not too bad. Enough room for everything, PCPartPicker told my Gigabyte Geforce970 wouldn't fit, but it did fit without removing any bays. I just removed the fan hub because I didn't need it and this gave me a bit more room for cable management. It is a tight fit behind the motherboard for all your cables, but you have plenty of room next to the power supply to hide all of your cables.
Great fully modular power supply with good quality cables. Good price as well.
Wireless Network Adapter
Very easy installations, Windows needs a driver so make sure you download it before going wireless.
Good 4K screen, does the job for me. Quality is good, build quality is nice. The HDMI ports don't support 4K so you have to use DP. On mine, DP was set to DP 1.1 so I only got 30Hz until I figured out you had to change te settings to DP 1.2.
As said before the speakers are far from great, so if you need sound, go for a good set of speakers.