Hackintosh - CPU choice
  • Ben, I've been using a firmware hacked 2009 Mac Pro 12-core for about five years, and it's done okay with my 15-16 cameras running at 1080/15fps. However, I'm going to sell it while it's worth something. I can build a cheap hackintosh for $700 that will use far less power.

    My question:
    Is there any advantage to the 8th generation i5 over the 7th, in terms of hardware acceleration?
  • According to the datasheets for the 7th-generation vs. the 8th-generation "Core" processors, they have the same specifications in terms of hardware-accelerated video decoding, which is the ability to decode up to 16 simultaneous H.264/H.265 streams at up to 4K resolution (3840 × 2160). This is really outstanding performance, and allows SecuritySpy to process up to 16 cameras with virtually no CPU usage, allowing a high number of cameras to be used on a single Mac.

    However there are currently no production Macs with 8th-generation Core CPUs, so for guaranteed full compatibility with macOS it might be a good idea instead to use one of the CPUs that is already used by Apple - perhaps the i7-7700 or i7-7700K, which are currently used in the high-end iMacs and provide great performance.

    Avoid the Xeon processors, which don't have as powerful hardware-accelerated video processing capabilities.
  • Great advice, thank you. I didn't even think about 8th gen support. It's a bit frustrating that Apple is always late to adopt the new Intel line of processors. It seems they are moving away from the Desktop market, but that's off topic.

    It's mind boggling to me that I can buy a mid-level laptop with an i5-7200 CPU and it will support all of my streams. I have exactly 16 cameras and they are only 1080/15.

    Thanks Ben
  • I bought a HP Prebook 430 G5 (i5-7200U CPU, 8GB RAM, SSD), which is a pretty well supported system in the Hackintosh community. After install, I'm seeing 60% CPU utilization on 12 cameras at 1080p 15fps. However, that 60% is from a total of 400%... so really it's at 15%. Is that about what you'd expect from this configuration?
  • After I wrote this, I realized I actually had 4GB of memory in the machine, so I upgraded it to 8GB with some iMac memory I had sitting around. After installing and rebooting, CPU is down to 6.5%... never thought memory would have such a profound effect.

    It's crazy to me that my 2009 Mac Pro with dual 6-core 2.93GHz Xeons ran at 60% with 14 cameras. The 10-bit HEVC hardware acceleration in the 7th gen is well worth the upgrade.
  • Great to hear you are getting such good performance with your Hackintosh. 4GB is a bit on the low side for 12 cameras, so it's also good to hear the RAM upgrade made a significant difference.

    Yes, the video decoding hardware acceleration makes a big difference for SecuritySpy. 6.5% CPU usage is incredibly low!

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