Sunday, July 3, 2016

Building My $1,200 Hackintosh

Felix Schwarz:

Remember when building a #Hackintosh was about getting a cheap “Mac”?

Today it’s about getting #macOS-running hardware that’s not outdated.

Mike Rundle (tweet, Hacker News):

To be honest, I hadn’t thought about the Hackintosh community in years, I actually forgot it was still a thing. Ian said the community was now organized around a website called and it had hardware guides, build tutorials, forums, lots of updates, and had been extremely lively in the past 18 months or so as it’s now easier than ever to build a Hackintosh. When he told me how fast his custom Mac was (faster than any iMac and most Mac Pros), and how little it cost (around $1,200–1,300) it struck me as impossible. I know that Apple hasn’t updated their MacBook Pros or Mac Pros in a long time, and I know there’s an “Apple Tax” you pay when parts like RAM or a processor are included in an Apple-designed computer, but the more we talked about his build the more excited I became. It was as if someone told me, yeah, duh, of course there are flying cars, check out my flying car over in the parking lot. You want a flying car, too?


64GB of RAM running at DDR4 speed for $229? Are you serious? I was originally looking to get 32GB but it was only about $90 more to double the amount and go full throttle. By the way, Apple charges $1,200 to configure a Mac Pro with 64GB of RAM, and those are slower DDR3 sticks. That’s almost as much as this entire system.

Granted, the Mac Pro has ECC RAM.

Not everything is rosy in Hackintosh land though, so here’s a call-out to some issues I encountered[…]


Here’s a comparison of my Hackintosh’s Geekbench runs compared to all other Macs. The multi-core score isn’t surprising considering my CPU only has 4 cores in it, but it does almost beat a 6-core Mac Pro. And the single core test shows my system is faster in day-to-day usage than any Mac that Apple makes.

After running the Cinebench GPU benchmark test, here’s the result: dramatically faster graphics capabilities than even the most high-end 12-core Mac Pro with dual D700 cards, which is a little crazy considering that machine costs almost $7,000 more than mine.

Note, also, that this violates Mac OS X’s EULA.

Update (2016-07-07): Peter Steinberger:

Needs new mac. Looks at buyers guide. Oh. :(

Update (2016-07-13): Nick Heer:

Apple’s sales decline is an 8.3% reduction compared to the year-ago quarter. Given that the most recent Macintosh news — the discontinuation of the Thunderbolt Display notwithstanding — was a spec bump of the MacBook, this is completely unsurprising. MacRumors’ own buyers’ guide shows a “Don’t Buy” indicator below every Mac except the MacBook.

Of the current lineup, fully half of all Macs — the Mac Pro, the Retina MacBook Pro, and the MacBook Air — are the most stale that those products have ever been.

Update (2016-07-17): Sebastiaan de With:

I am currently using a Hackintosh with dual-GPUs. Would rather give Apple my money.

Chuq Von Rospach:

So if you’re Apple, you’ve likely planned your product line around a new Thunderbolt 3 display that’s fully retina and has at least a 4K screen in it — and perhaps that embedded GPU so it can be used by less powerful computers. And your Macbook pros will have 2 (or 3 or 4) ports that will take either USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 and drive these monitors.

And none of that can happen without the Intel parts.

Update (2016-08-12): See also: Hacker News.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

For several of the last major releases of OSX, AppleKextExcludeList.kext has specifically excluded many hackintosh-unique kexts from requiring signing.

After 25+ years of mac ownership I was briefly mac-less last year after my two Macs (2008 MBP and 2006 Mac Pro) prematurely died

I wasn't enthusiastic about possible replacements; already had the $900 24" Cinema Display from 2008 so didn't need an iMac, the mini was unexpandable, unrepairable, over-priced for what you get (don't need to pay so much for SFF).

Mac Pros have been an insult to my intelligence, and the portables need Skylake (plus a nice Nvidia card would be nice too).

Decided to put together a Haswell box and getting OS X 10.10 on it was not that difficult (going gigabyte was a big help, plus insanely mac generally has better info vs. tonyx86).

Been perfectly happy with this as a desktop, hoping Apple does something interesting and good with the MBP, I'll get one if they offer value for the $$$$$.

I had a hackintosh from 2012-2015. Ivy Bridge Xeon, Radeon 6850... the whole thing was quieter than my Mac mini (and had fewer compatibility issues with my monitor as well). Last year I ended up getting a used 2010 Mac Pro because installing El Cap on the hackintosh would have required running some unsigned utilities downloaded in the clear from SourceForge (most of tonymac's utilities, on the other hand, are signed with a Developer ID).

The Mac Pro is nosier than my hackintosh was, and has slower single-threaded performance, and a slower GPU, but I figured if I'm going to start building software for other people, I should make my setup/toolchain as secure as possible. Also, the ECC RAM is nice for OpenZFS.

Speaking of RAM, I also got 48GB worth for the Mac Pro late last year. Three 16GB modules for $328 total. If Apple offered the same config, they'd charge about $975 (based on the 64GB option, which is the only one that uses 16GB modules).

[…] perception is that the reality TV show and the car are distracting the company from working on the aging Mac lineup. Schiller’s triumphant “Can't innovate anymore, my ass” line has become a […]

[…] perception is that the reality TV show and the car are distracting the company from working on the aging Mac lineup. Schiller’s triumphant “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass” line has become a punchline. The […]

[…] Previously: Video Pros Moving From Mac to Windows for High-End GPUs, Building My $1,200 Hackintosh. […]

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