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Building a Hackintosh Computer - Step by Step Guide and Hardware Suggestions

Author: Ken Addison
Manufacturer: Various


Before writing up this guide, I was still sour from my last attempt at building a Hackintosh.  While it was only a few years ago that I tried with a P55 based motherboard, the process was much more difficult and I never really quite got things working quite right despite all of the hardware we have at the office that I had at my disposal.

This time the experience was actually quite pleasant, and I got a well working configuration on my first install attempt.  Using new software from sites such as tonymacx86, a large selection of fully supported hardware from vendors like Gigabyte (who seem to have the most boards with full Hackintosh support from what I can tell) and Apple’s adoption of modern parts, such as Kepler GPUs, and Ivy Bridge CPUs, building and using a Hackintosh nowadays is relatively easy.

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While I have not had this Hackintosh running long enough to see a new revision of OS X, all of the information I can find makes me believe it will be a painless Software Update experience when that day comes.  Since all of the hardware we chose is supported natively by OS X, I don't forsee this changing either.

While this certainly isn’t a budget minded PC build compared to what you can build with Windows, by pairing this with a high resolution 27” display (such as the Korean monitors have reviewed in the past) you can build yourself a system that outperforms even the new 27” iMacs for about $600 less (not including the SSD) due to their use of laptop spec parts in the official machine.

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If you don't believe us, simply compare our build here on PCPartPicker to the 27” iMac configurator on the Apple website.

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Overall I am extremely impressed with the current state of the Hackintosh experience, in particular the great community over at the tonymacx86 forums, who are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about a wide array of components. This guide is meant as an introduction to the hackintosh experience, and your results may vary.  If you do happen to have a problem, simply swing by the tonymacx86 forums  and it's likely someone on the fourms will have already experienced the same thing and already has a solution.

I hope this has been an educational guide for you and didn’t scare anyone off from diving into the whole Hackintosh scene.  I certainly had a blast, and I'm sure you will too!

December 19, 2012 | 05:03 PM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

I don't support Macs but I do support this article :-)

December 19, 2012 | 05:52 PM - Posted by Thedarklord

Awesome, been waiting a while for this article ^.^

December 19, 2012 | 06:47 PM - Posted by Lenordais (not verified)

Installed on an Ivy Bridge using Intel mITX DH77DF, Samsung 840 Pro SSD, EVGA GTX660 (not supported). I had to install using Intel's 4000 graphics, installed NVIDIA drivers, installed the GTX, rebooted and it worked. The only other thing was to install sound in Multibeast. Intel's ethernet was automatic. Seems to have been easier than with the Gigabyte board. About Trim, Mountain Lion 10.8.2 supports Trim automatically. I found out when I tried to install some Trim support, it told me it was already activated and working. I had to first install Snow Leopard (20$ disk at the store) so I could download Mountain Lion and create the USB drive. I will be adding a second SSD with Windows 8 on. I have 16GB of RAM and it detected it all. I'm also using a WD Black 2TB, split in two, one partition for OS X stuff and the other for Windows stuff. It's a great little machine in a CM Elite 120 box.

December 19, 2012 | 09:33 PM - Posted by Bobo Bohannon (not verified)

IIRC, Mac OS X only supports TRIM on Apple supplied SSD's. On my real Mac with an added Samsung 830 Trim is disabled and requires a hack/utility to get it working.

December 20, 2012 | 03:12 AM - Posted by ea1985 (not verified)

< I'm also using a WD Black 2TB, split in two, one partition for OS X stuff and the other for Windows stuff. >

Any particular reason for separate partitions? It seems data is the only consideration since the OS is already on the SSD. If file system compatibility is an issue Id like to suggest NTFS 3G (or Paragon NTFS) on OS X. It allows read/write of NTFS partitions so you can keep the full drive capacity.

I seem to run out of space sooner than later whenever I setup partitions.

December 19, 2012 | 07:01 PM - Posted by mAxius

i would like to see and amd based hackintosh :D

December 19, 2012 | 07:15 PM - Posted by windwalker

AMD is not really supported much at all.
None of the tools at tonymacx86 work with AMD and there are no easy to follow alternatives.
You could spend months on forums reading about and attempting different hacks that take minutes on the recommended configurations.

December 19, 2012 | 07:14 PM - Posted by Lenordais (not verified)

From what I have seen, it would be recommended to use Gigabyte with older hardware since they have pre defined drivers available, but It seems that using Ivy Bridge with Asus or Intel boards might be even a better choice, maybe. The reason I chose Intel is because "if it's Intel it works" :-) Not sure Gigabyte are the more reliable ones on the market. It was an easy setup for my first experience at it. I forgot to say that USB 3 is also working. The only strange thing is when I shutdown, it will reboot by itself, nothing major. Sleep works by the way.

December 19, 2012 | 07:22 PM - Posted by windwalker

Gigabyte is recommended primarily because their boards have well formed and more compatible DSDT ACPI table implementations in firmware, so power management works well out of the box and without special driver hacks.

December 19, 2012 | 08:23 PM - Posted by windwalker

Cool article, thanks for the guide.

Could you please add some detail about the changes you made in the Boot.plist file (the device-properties key especially) and why they were needed?

December 19, 2012 | 09:31 PM - Posted by Bobo Bohannon (not verified)

As someone who built a Hackintosh years ago, it would be wise to mention that it's not as easy as most claim. Keeping up with problems, drivers, and updates is enough to make someone want to buy the real thing. I just want to use my computer, not fight with it.

December 20, 2012 | 10:56 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

Definitely good advice, but for a lot of people it's the difficulty that makes it cool ☺

I've been wanting to try this for a while now

December 20, 2012 | 01:22 AM - Posted by Ss3trnks2

Great Article. Glad to see the process for making one is a lot easier now :D

December 20, 2012 | 05:03 AM - Posted by imadman

Good to see you guys finally mentioning hackintoshes!

December 20, 2012 | 04:03 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Very informative and interesting and well done. I love all the videos. I run windows 7 on a few of my rigs and centos on another. Outside of mac users who want to build their own rigs to run osx on, I do not see the appeal.

December 22, 2012 | 05:44 PM - Posted by MrBlack

Last time I tried this a few years ago in a Windows7 VirtualBox with a retail OSX 10.6 disk and Chameleon Boot.iso on an i7-920 with GTS250 - it was pretty shaky.

Tried again with iBoot3.3 - VirtualBox 4.2 and it worked great
(with sound and network)

It was hanging at grey screen on reboot after initial install
but then installed VirtualBox Extension Pack
and it all started working :)

Used this as a guide:

January 1, 2013 | 11:28 PM - Posted by Hood

Never saw the point in any Apple product - overpriced and under-performing, proprietary formats, paying for music you don't own, etc. Don't see the point in wasting perfectly good hardware running inferior software for any reason, least of all for the "prestige" of owning a Macintosh. In my opinion, Apple is what's wrong with the whole technology scene; they are trying to promote a "lifestyle" in which the herd is led around to the latest "must have" technology on a regular basis and in which to be using last-generation hardware is to be a laughing-stock to the ultra-hip with the latest toys. It would make for a good laugh if it wasn't so sad. I guess there will always be those who think paying more for a logo is worth it even though the product is inferior. It's only value to me is to serve as a touchstone for technical credibility.

January 3, 2013 | 06:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Completely agree for the most part. Apple has gone to absurd lengths to make the new iMac...thin. The trouble is I am most productive with OS-X - that's all I need. I don't require dual CPUs and exquisite industrial design etc - just a fast, quiet, cheap, expandable machine that will run OS-X. Apple could build it (they could even call it the 'Mac'), but they choose not to, so I'm bookmarking this article.

January 13, 2013 | 09:22 AM - Posted by Oluode Isiaka (not verified)

Please I need a step by step guide on how to Dual Boot My Windows 7 and any mac Os X. My System configuration is Hp Pavilion Dm4-3055dx, corei5, 8gb RAM, 640GB hard drive.
I've tried different forum and downloaded about 2 different OS X Softwares via torrent, but face ne challenge or the other via extracting the contents or probably the file is damaged. please i'll be glad if you can give me a link where to download the file (MAC OS X) and a comprehensive guide on how to Dual Boot Windows and MAC OS X on my HP PC. Please i don't mind the stress involved, i'm a MAC freak so i don't mind going through stress.

Thanks in anticipation.

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