Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In another time: My Prodigy M mATX Hackintosh Gaming PC Build

So this blog is suppose to be about watches, but I have other interests too. And after contemplating for a long time I decided to build my own PC. Problem was, I'm a 8+ year old Mac user so switching back to windows was just too much to handle. Hacktintoshing was the only solution I saw, so without further ado...

The parts
I wanted something as compact as possible but also with enough expandability. The number one criteria, of course, was that the parts had to be hackintosh compatible without extensive intervention. I consulted the TonyMacX86 buyer's guide and ended up with the following:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1Y5bZ
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1Y5bZ/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1Y5bZ/benchmarks/

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($239.99 @ Newegg) 
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S 55.0 CFM CPU Cooler  ($68.71 @ Amazon) 
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3H Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($124.99 @ Newegg) 
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($63.99 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk  ($209.99 @ Adorama) 
Storage: Seagate Momentus XT 750GB 2.5" 7200RPM Hybrid Internal Hard Drive  ($149.99 @ Amazon) 
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 770 2GB Video Card  ($334.99 @ NCIX US) 
Case: BitFenix Prodigy M Arctic White MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($106.98 @ SuperBiiz) 
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply  ($129.99 @ Newegg) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - OEM (64-bit)  ($139.98 @ OutletPC) 
Total: $1547.60
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-11-05 22:45 EST-0500)

I also decided to add a second Noctua NF-F12, as well as 2 NF-P12 FLX fans for intake and a NF-P14 ULN for rear exhaust.

The build process:
It took me a very very long time to build this since this is my first build and I wanted to not break anything. Overclocking was also rather difficult and I ended up settling at a mere 4 GHz. The most difficult part is cable management, and here's a short list of tips to avoid mistakes that I made.

#1. Buy a 165 mm or shorter power supply, the HX750 Gold is 200 mm and has blocked out my only 16x PCIe 3.0 slot. The 770 or even 780 won't saturate PCIe 3.0 8x but I will need to get a new power supply when upgrading the graphics card.

#2. Can I SLI in the prodigy M (realistically). YES! But don't get too excited, on my particular motherboard you'll be running one card in x4 and the other in x16, also the intake fans at the top will definitely not fit and it will be even more crampted than it is now. But I have tried placing a MSI Gaming 770 into the top slot and yes, you can 2 way SLI.

#3. Flip the panels. What? Yes, flip the panels. Hardware canucks mentioned this in their overview of the Prodigy M case. Simply put the panel with the IO on the backplate side and the plain panel on the component side. This will allow for MUCH BETTER cable management.

#4: Get a reasonably sized cooler, the Noctua NH-U12S is probably the best fit here, in push pull only the pull fan is active at low loads, and it can push enough air to keep the CPU cool in a pretty tight space.

#5: You're going to have to reassemble a few times to get it right. The case is just too small to make the process straightforward. Want to add an intake fan? You'll need to remove the GPU and probably the heatsink.

#6: Have large hands? You'll either need to recruit someone with small or skinny hands for this build, plugging in the fan headers for the heatsink, threading cables through other cables, and doing anything in this case requires some serious manual dexterity.

And the result:


  1. This is very well written. Building a PC is something I want to do by the end of this year. This will help. Where did you source your parts from?
    custom gaming pc

    1. Mostly Micro Center/Newegg/Amazon.

  2. The final product looks brilliant! I'm getting incredibly tired of the Windows experience myself and as soon as I can afford to swap over to a Mac I will most certainly be doing so!

    If you are interested you could check out my list of the best gaming mice of 2014 as I'm sure you'll be interested in playing some games on such a powerful 2GB graphics card!

  3. In another time: My Prodigy M mATX Hackintosh Gaming PC Build ... gamingpcgtx770.blogspot.com

  4. Hi, great rig! Do you think any 3.5 HDD will fit between the SSD tray and the noctua CPU cooler?
    I'm thinking about buying one but I have two HDD and the SSDs of course