Building a Computer

Image: Brandon Kalinowski

Brandon Kalinowski

Now I have built a computer that I can use with Final Cut and Davinchi Resolve (an excellent free color-grading program that does not have many limitations compared to the $1000 version). I built the computer because I need a suitable computer that is fast enough to edit video from my new HD camera. Also, our family's 2006 iMac has a full hard drive (160GB doesn't last long now that we've made that our primary media storage location).

The whole computer cost around $1500. Yes, a little higher than I was expecting but it is better than Apple's $4200 Mac Pro configuration. The last time I benchmarked it the Geekbench score was 12760. (Geekbench is an all-around score based on the Apple G4 Mac Pro being an even 1000). I expect an OpenCl card (GTX 470) has improved that score a bit.

Here are the parts I put together:

  • Gigabyte Z68X UD3H-B3 motherboard
  • 120GB SSD, the fastest available
  • Intel i7-2600K (3.4-3.8Ghz Quad core. Second generation. Unlocked for overclocking, which I will not do)
  • Gigabtye GTX 470
  • 12x BlueRay writer! (Now there is a great reason to build your own Mac)

Blackmagic Intensity Pro (Video capture card. It has HDMI input and a breakout cable for Xbox. Great way to record a video source such as a gaming console or my HDMI camcorder.)
Corsair RAM 8GB
Corsair 650W power supply
BitFenix Survivor Case (Love those 200mm fans. Very quiet. A retractable handle adds a nice touch.)
Bluetooth adaptor
5.25 trayless Hard drive rack. (Best $15 of whole build in my opinion. It is so easy to install and swap drives.)
2TB Barracuda hard drive for video storage. All apps are installed on the SSD.

I used the tonymacx86 method. These are the basic steps I took:

  1. Built computer, installing only 4GB of RAM at first (a requirement to install OSX)
  2. Went into BIOS and checked the firmware version.
  3. I then downloaded the DSDT for that motherboard, iBoot, Multibeast, Update helper, and Apple's Combo Update
  4. In the BIOS, I made sure that the SATA mode was AHCI. 100% required. I also set the boot order.
    Stuck iBoot CD in Blue-Ray drive and booted from that.
  5. Then I stuck my Snow Leopard DVD in and in the iBoot menu selected it.
  6. Ran the install process as normal.
  7. Ran MultiBeast. This is basically a driver installer. It uses the DSDT to tell the system what is available. I then restarted.
  8. Ran update helper followed by the Combo Update. 9. I got a kernel panic when install was 90% done. I had to restart.

The machine was updated to 10.6.8, but I ran the Combo update again to make sure the last 10% was installed. No kernel panic this time.
I didn't let it restart after the update, as I had to run MultiBeast again as updates sometimes replace drivers. This tool is really fast.
Restarted and checked the "About this Mac" window. I then used it as any Mac and installed programs. After restart I put the extra RAM module in.

Brandon Kalinowski

I specialize in integrating technology seamlessly to help others tell compelling stories. For instance, I helped a professor construct a live television studio. I also managed a student news program. These and other experiences spurred a fascination with live streaming. I intern for Legion M as a streaming technical and data analyst. My expertise includes modern web design, video editing, and photography.

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