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Dedicated exporting Mac - headless? Any experience?

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Lucy Moon
Dedicated exporting Mac - headless? Any experience?
on Jun 15, 2017 at 8:41:35 pm
Last Edited By Lucy Moon on Jun 15, 2017 at 8:42:35 pm

Hi - Preliminary question. I have a recent Mac Book Pro I edit with, and an older but potentially useful hackintosh (Mac OS Sierra) that I want to put to work.

Is there a slick way to use the hackintosh to export video, when I want to keep editing other projects on the Mac Book Pro?

I am all Creative Cloud. Most of my project files live in Dropbox and my media is either local or on a USB 3 drive.

I think you can by some kind of 'headless' dongles that fool the 'rendering' machine to think it has a monitor and to therefore utilise the video chip.

I was wondering if it's possible to connect to the hackintosh, perhaps via VNC, connect my media drive to it, pick up my project file from dropbox, and set the beast exporting.

Anyone doing anything like this? Are their other ways to pass off rendering to another CPU?
Any ideas gratefully received.


MacBookPro 2.8 GHz intel core i7/ 16 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB

Adobe Creative Suite Cloud

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Brent Marginet
Re: Dedicated exporting Mac - headless? Any experience?
on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:21:00 am
Last Edited By Brent Marginet on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:36:13 am

Here's some suggestions. These are food for thought but may not be the most ideal way to go.
Hopefully someone else will chime in and correct anything that looks like bad advice.

Put at least an Nvidia GTX-680 in the Hackintosh or if you can afford it pick up a GTX-980 or 980Ti on eBay and then you will have really good CUDA Rendering. I've seen the 980's go for $150US or less. Note: you would then need to install the Nvidia Web Drivers that you can find on and also the CUDA Drivers for Mac for CUDA Support. As far as a Dongle goes I don't think you will need one but Mac's revert to a 1280 x 1024 Frame size without one which may be ok but with a Dongle you could use higher res settings like say 1920x1080 or higher.

Here's links to a couple that I found through a quick google search.

I used a Dongle for awhile but I found it to be a pain constantly having to remote desktop into my secondary machine.
I ended up finding a Benq GW2270 21.5" Monitor for $70US and this is so much better than the Dongle, Remote Desktop thing.

As far as the Project goes never open the same project on two machines if it's on DropBox.
This should be done through Creative Cloud because it's set up to handle project collaboration.

Lastly your media. You will need to share the Media and that can be a bit of a problem. You could use a network share but that can cause some problems like poor render or playback performance. I've also run into glitches or crashes especially with consumer GigaBit Switches. Some kind of a NAS or Small SAN would be ideal but may blow the budget. We use a large SAN and my best advice on any shared solution is to mount the Media Volume(s) in Read only on the Render System so it can't make changes to these Volume(s). You can run into some fairly major issues and crashes if they are R/W on both systems sometimes. The down side of this is that you will have to render everything on your Hackintosh to another Volume and every time new media is added to the Media Volume(s) you will have to Unmount and Remount or Refresh it/them for the media to show up on the read only Volume(s).

Side note: I run Mac Pro 5,1's with PC Versions of the GTX-980Ti's in each machine for two reasons. Nvidia doesn't make Mac Versions past the GTX-680 and it's about $250US all in to get a card flashed with the Mac EFI. That's a lot of cash just to be able to see the Grey Boot Screen. I want to but haven't done the Hackintosh thing yet so I'm not quite sure how they handle the PC EFI on a Video Card so that your Monitor(s) come up properly. If you go to a higher end Nvidia PC Version and the monitors don't come up on your Hackintosh drop me a line and I can share my tricks to get it/them working.

Thanks for reading this NOVEL and I hope this helps.

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greg janza
Re: Dedicated exporting Mac - headless? Any experience?
on Jun 16, 2017 at 5:48:00 am

I'll preface my suggestion by saying that I asked this forum a similar question awhile back and got the response that it wouldn't work. I understand why I was told this but in my case it works fine.

I wanted to share a raid between a pc and a mac so that I could sometimes pass off rendering and other tasks to one machine while doing other editing work. I was able to set that up successfully but I'll add that I don't work on the same project on both machines at the same time. I often have multiple projects going on simultaneously, so when I do pass off a render to one machine, I'll continue working on the other machine but on a different project.

My raid is connected directly to my pc through thunderbolt and then my mbp is connected to the raid through ethernet as a network share.

The two computers share one monitor, keyboard and mouse. The keyboard and mouse are shared by utilizing an app called "sharemouse" on both computers which works well. And my monitor has multiple inputs.

Not sure exactly how or if you can utilize this info for your own needs but it's definitely possible to make use of two computers to aid in your editing workflow without buying a lot of add-on technology.

Adobe Premiere 2017.1.1
Windows 10 Pro
Samsung SSD 850 EVO system
Samsung SSD 850 EVO Adobe cache
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
OWC Thunderbay 12t x 2 in Raid10 configuration (thru Storage Spaces and Disk Management)

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Lucy Moon
Re: Dedicated exporting Mac - headless? Any experience?
on Jun 16, 2017 at 6:21:45 pm

Greg and Brent, thank you so much! I have been wondering if I was the only one trying to utilise two machines, and now I'm more confident to try.

Brent: The 980Ti is part of my plan! Hoping to pick up a second hand one soon. ☺
Greg: Sharemouse sounds a workable way to reduce redundant peripherals on the desk. Great tip!

I'm going to read and re-read both your posts. Thank you for taking the time to share your setups!

MacBookPro 2.8 GHz intel core i7/ 16 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB

Adobe Creative Suite Cloud

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