Using a Quo Computer to run Final Cut Pro 7

I have been considering building a hackintosh to replace my venerable 4,1 Mac Pro for some time. Either that or even moving to Windows, because the new MacPro does not seem like a viable replacement. It just isn't expandable enough, and I can't use NVIDIA graphics cards which are key to so many high end graphics programs. I don't want to leave Mac, but I want NVIDIA and more expandability, and more internal storage.

Well one of the companies I work for picked up a Quo Computer to run as a Mac for editing with Final Cut Pro 7 (and we will be testing it on Premiere Pro on the job starting now). If you don't know about Quo, they started as a Kickstarter Campaign to make a Hackintosh computer that can be legally sold as they don't sell or install OS X for you, but the motherboard is built with many standard Mac components to make it the most compatible Hackintosh board out there. It is a Micro-ATX motherboard, so it is limited in PCI slots, but does have built in capabilities for Firewire 800, USB 3 and Thunderbolt. It is an older board design, so does not use the latest Haswell processors, but is still quite adequate for using Final Cut Pro 7.

There is a great article on the systems over at TechSpot, that is worth checking out.

This is is how it shows up in About this Mac.

This version includes an SSD for startup, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 for Graphics, and 3 internal Drive bays. It has USB 3 on the back as well as USB 2, Ethernet, 1 Thunberbolt and a Firewire 400 port. On the breakout in Front it has 2 USB 2, 2 audio ports, another Firewire 400 and an ESATA that is not hooked up. Unfortunately though it is on the motherboard there are no Firewire 800 ports (it really needs a custom breakout in front with USB 3 and Firewire 800) which can be a bottleneck when you have a ton of Firewire 800 drives laying around!

We tried a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter, but didn't realize it is not hot swappable, so it must be attached when the computer turns on to work, which is really inconvenient for external drives. No hot swap with Thunberbolt. Yuck!

Also the PCI Slots are a little spare because of the size of the board, it has 1 PCI2x16, 1 PCIx8 and a couple of PCIe x1 for USB 4 and Wifi cards, which are used up. So with a single graphics card, you get one slot, so you might want to consider a USB 3 or Thunderbolt video in and out card, though we are running an Intensity Pro, filling our single expansion slot.

Overall I have to say the machine is pretty kick ass. It seems rock solid going through a the edit and graphics on a 28:30 Direct Response Infomercial with no problems whatsoever. We had a little scare when out MacPro went down and we had to put an ATTO SAS card into the machine, and once installed it showed command line before boot, but it booted fine.

The only complaint, other then the lack of Firewire 800 ports, and an SATA slot that is not connected, is that the support from Quo is not the best. They don't get back to you too quickly, which is really a shame. Honestly they could be really filling the niche left for expandable Macs. And if they made a full ATX Haswell board, they could really take over the high end Mac Market, especially as the machines are considerably less expensive than a new MacPro Trashcan!

Honestly this thing works so well I am much less worried about Hackintosh Machines, now if only we can guarantee that NVIDIA cards will still work even without a machine to install them into in Apple's lineup of machines!

Edit Geek on building a Hackintosh Mac Pro

Edit Geek has a good article on building your own Hackintosh MacPro to try and match the new MacPro's apple will be releasing in December.

Still not the serious expansion I would want if I went through building a Mac Pro tower. For me it would have to be huge and I would consider Dual Xeons, though since all the new MacPro's are not dual processor, maybe an i7 would be enough. Dual 6 Cores would be great though, as I could never afford a 12 core.

PVC on using a Hackintosh

Mark Christiansen at the Pro Video Coalition has a good article on running a Hackintosh instead of a MacPro. Well worth the read, and I especially like the ending.

Let’s be clear: the situation with Apple and the Mac Pro right now is identical to what was going on with Final Cut Studio in the years between its final version and Final Cut X.

In other words, there’s no reason for Apple to be stealthy or mysterious with its plans, unless they are likely to upset a large set of Mac users

Or dislike it, but agree. If Apple really is going to release an amazing new MacPro that will please professionals, why not just talk about the damn thing. Sure they won't sell any more MacPro's, but the ancient machines can't be selling too well as is, and has already been pulled from Europe.

It would be so nice to know if it is time to move to windows (ugh, I do really hate Windows 8) and be able to run inexpensive but powerful NVIDIA cards to propel Adobe programs to insane speeds.

Apple has better make the announcements at the WWDC rumored to be in June or it will be time to really think giving up on Mac all together, no matter how much I don't want to!
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