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First build for a Mac refugee


Background: Currently using a MacPro that’s showing it’s age, and there’s no Mac replacement from Apple that makes sense for me based on budget or capabilities.

What I do: Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture 1, and… gaming with WoW and EVEOnline. (My biggest pain points for computing tasks are imports of large quantities of images in Lightroom, generating previews, and then working with these large catalogues. Large imports means go get dinner and a movie after I start the run).

Budget ~#3k.

Location: SoCal, so I have access to Fry’s, Microcenter, etc.

I do NOT plan on doing anything other than very light, if any at all, overclocking. I want a rock-solid rig that I don’t have to mess with for several years once it’s assembled. Only think I would upgrade in the first few years is to replace the GPU when the next generation is out in ~18 months or so, or to add another SSD or two.

So… here’s the build I’m looking at:

I’m going with the 2070 Super as my uses just don’t have a real need for better GPU, especially since the GPU is probably the one thing that will see big gains in the next generations (PCIE4 cards?)

The other two considerations I would have here are either going with the 3950x and/or the Aorus Exterme.


(I’ve been reading the other threads about the Aorus Master, and I’m starting to get worried about digging into the PC world… but there’s also no room at the Apple inn for me either… :cold_sweat:

Thanks in advance…

i would move the nvmes to gen 4s like the

since were dealing with lightroom and trying to get data moving as fast as possible … although i wonder sometimes if it even matters.

and go ahead and boost the memory to 32gb as well .

other wise than that it looks like a solid build less you want to wait for and try and get the 3950x

That looks like a solid build. I’m not super familiar with your workload, but that build is solid.

If I could make any suggestions, the Corsair PSU could be traded for a SeaSonic. I’ve had better experiences with them, and the 10 year warranty is just wonderful.

You don’t have to use the motherboard software to do overclocking and system management. If the software isn’t great, you don’t have to use it. PCs have a very fully-featured BIOS where you can do the same thing. (in fact, being old fashioned, I prefer the BIOS for overclocking, but that’s just me)

Additionally, adopting a new ecosystem is always a bit of a learning curve, but it shouldn’t affect your day-to-day all that much. We’ve got plenty of knowledgeable people on the forum who can help you as well.

I’m assuming you’re going to be installing Windows 10 on this machine and not trying to hackintosh it, right? Disregard this, I missed the windows license in your link.

OP has 32GB already, they’re just 16GB dimms.


Photoshop is especially single-threaded so I generally recommend Intel for photography workloads, but it’s not like you’d have a bad experience with Ryzen if that’s what you want to do.

How comfortable are you with Windows? A Mac Mini with an egpu does fit in your budget and is good fit for photo. I only bring it up in case you’re facing a potentially expensive learning curve switching OS’s.

I originally had something closer to those NVMEs, but had a long exchange with /user/NewMaxx on Reddit (seems to be the storage expert there, and he recommended these on price/performance (and upcoming BF sale).

I haven’t seen any benchmarks for my use case yet. The issue according to NewMaxx is continuous write vs a lot of small writes. (Premiere vs Lightroom).

And then there’s scratch disk, which I haven’t found any good benchmarks for…

So I could be swayed on this still, just don’t want to waste performance either…

Nope, no hackintosh. Don’t want that fuss, and I don’t like the way the Hackintosh community operates. Too much infighting and hiding of information. I just want a solid computer…

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Do we have Ryzen 3rd gen benchmarks for Photoshop? I was thinking the same thing, but R3k is trading blows with Intel on single thread, even with lower clock ceiling.

Not to mention that it’s easier to cool.

I imagine the difference is not large, but afaik, the higher clock always wins. That said, I am not sure to what extent Lightroom is multithreaded or gpu accelerated, but disk speed is probably the main factor there.

Capture One likes a fast disk and a mid range gpu.

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with anything adobe its a mixed bag …

are insightful and what you can expect from lightroom however …

I’ve been looking at the benchmarks over at Puget Systems, so that’s where I pulled the CPU and GPU choices from. 3900x is certainly good enough, but there’s still gain from the 3950x.

If the MacMini had an option for an i9, I’d have already pulled the trigger on that option, but the best it has is the 3.2Ghz 6-core i7. So it’s only “just enough” now. (I suspect that the next time Apple updates the MacMini, it will be with an ARM cpu…).

Best eGPU option for the Mac is the Radeon VII, which is ok… but the better versions that Apple has can’t be had in external GPUs.

And of course, a 27" iMac with top i9 they offer, plus Vega pro 48, is $3.5k before upgrading memory or storage… sigh… (If the regular iMac had the option for a Pro Vega 64… perhaps I’d bite that bullet).

I use Windows when I need to at work, and I can learn… just really frustrated that I don’t have a viable choice from Apple.

Yep, been reading those extensively… :slight_smile:

also looking for storage marks concerning lightroom looks like the 970 pro is still the way to go …

Yeah… been trying to find disk benchmarks for Lightroom, but no one seems to be doing those comparisons…

Capture One I’ve been told by Puget Systems is closer to PS than LR. But it’s also getting rewritten, so… :man_shrugging:

realworld storage marks is a pain … so many variables to fight against to get solid numbers. i was surprised the corsair didnt do better in those benches in that set of tests …

Yeah, from what I’ve seen elsewhere, for real world it’s the type of writes… get something for PS/LR and it’s bad for Premiere, and vice versa… :man_shrugging: coughAdobecough…

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Thanks for this link!!! Even has WoW, which is rare, lol. This is indeed helpful!

I’ve been looking at the resources here, which gets into the weeds quickly, but has some good info too. but not direct real world use…

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Yeah, if you’re at least somewhat familiar with it, then you’ll definitely get more performance out of pc hardware and Windows. And you’ll probably get over the learning curve pretty quickly.

I’m extremely unfamiliar with Windows, so for me switching to a PC would slow me down more than it would speed up the software.

I wish I had another choice… but I don’t see one. :frowning:

I think it’s also important to realize where OP is coming from. Coming from a MacPro, all of the components will be a massive Upgrade. Yes, PCIe4 NVMe would be faster, but i personally don’t think the increase in performance justifys the price. I’d rather raid PCIe3 NVMe’s.
Yes, Intel might be slightly better Single-Core than Ryzen. But both will blow the Mac out of the water.

In the end, you won’t get the optimal rig for all workloads. I feel your choice strikes a really good balance in terms of grunt, price and future upgradeability. Intel might be 3% faster SingleCore, but no Upgrade path compared to Ryzen would lead me to rule them out personally.

I agree generally (and I wouldn’t recommend Intel anyway) but without further statements from AMD the upgradability argument might come to an end for AM4. Support was promised until at least 2020 which is only six weeks away so Ryzen 4000 might be on a new socket.