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

Author: Ken Addison
Manufacturer: Various


We wanted to build a fairly high end machine for our Hackintosh, and decided to base our system around the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5TH. Besides being a great performing motherboard, one of the things that drew us to it was the ability for OS X to support it's dual Thunderbolt ports.  In addition to Thunderbolt compatibility, the UP5TH provides native power management support, as well as working onboard sound and Intel Gigabit networking.

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If we had wanted to save some money, we could have gone with the Gigabyte Z77X-UP3H, or even the UP4TH which has a single Thunderbolt port.  Either of these options are supported as well and should work with minimal hassle.

Processor wise, we stuck with the tried and true Intel i7-2600K. One of the primary factors we selected the 2600K was the fact we already one in our office, however we could have selected any Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processor, including the i5-3350P, which would be an interesting option since we aren’t utilizing the onboard graphics of the 2600K.

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The recent decision of Apple to go with Kepler parts in their new MacBook Pro and iMac models was a heavy influencer in going with a GTX 680 for our build. Even though the Kepler drivers built into the latest OS X patches for these machines are intended for mobile use, they work perfectly on the GK104 based GTX 680. Fermi based NVIDIA cards are also supported under OS X, but we decided to go with the newest generation GTX.  Radeon support is certainly limited, but it does appear that there are ways to get the HD 6000/7000 series working under OS X.

Other components for our system will include 8GB of Corsair Vengence 1600MHz DDR3 memory, a 128GB Vertex 4 SSD from OCZ, and a 650W Power Supply from Corsair.

This guide is meant as a stepping stone into the hackintosh scene and your mileage may vary, but should still help you down the path even if you are working with different hardware and components.

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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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