Hackintosh: Should you build one?

“If you’re curious about how to build your own Hackintosh, Kirk McElhearn and I recently built Hackintoshes and wrote about our experiences,” Rob Griffiths writes for Macworld. “These articles are great starting points for researching your own Hackintosh.

• How to build a do-it-yourself Mac for high-performance games
• How to build a do-it-yourself Mac mini

Griffiths writes, “But there’s a lot of detail in those two articles, and if all you’re trying to figure out is if you should build your own, there may actually be too much detail.”

“Should you build a Hackintosh?” Griffiths writes. “It’s hard to generalize a yes/no answer here, but I’ll try anyway.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a time-consuming project. If you can wait, wait to see what Apple comes up with for their “modular” Mac for pros.

33 Comments

  1. I have been holding on and holding out, but Apple needs to show us more than a conference with a professional fanboi who never bites the hand that feeds him.

    Until we see a real Mac Pro it is just vaporware. We also do not want or need an overpriced modular styling exercise- we need an open and upgradeable workstation.

    1. “Open”, “upgradable”? You sound like someone who should use a Linux. Those operating systems are very open, in some ways open in all the wrong ways. Ditch the Apple and hang out with the penguin if that’s what you care about the most.

      1. No DavGreg has it right. No reason one has to pick Linux or Windows merely because one expects a pro workstation model that works and has worked well. We want the same in a Mac and in fact HAD the same.

        I have considered jumping ship for this reason and maybe I still will but I will (foolishly) wait no doubt to see what Apple releases next year. I just hope it isn’t a year end release with deliveries in 2019. A situation like this is intolerable and unforgivable and really heads should’ve rolled and Apple Mac designers in this case need to listen to their users and stop acting like a design island where there are no repercussions for their foolishness.

        An over-designed and difficult & of course then it follows much more expensive modular design when a traditional one will do is also not acceptable. No need to re-invent the existing wheel model and then charge exponentially for it for their trouble.

        1. Some of the people I used to work with are quite vocal about all the repurcussions swirling around competitive workstation design. Their grievances are like yours – a reliance on timely upgrades to essential tools of the trade. I see that it is troubling to contemplate “jumping ship” to another platform no more trustworthy than the one you’d be leaving. As a platform-agnostic wind-walker, I hadn’t given the matter the thought it deserved until the dissidence built to a firestorm in MDN and other Apple-centric forums. It could only have been something as heated as that to attract Tim Cook’s attention and inspire a public confession and change of direction. You Peter and others formed part of the protest, which proves community activism works.

          1. Thanks, I like to think so. The constant criticism some folks complained about here was only to hope some small part of that reached the pertinent Apple ears. Even if it didn’t their own mistakes came back to rudely wake and haunt them. After that and talking to pro’s it was easy to see, far too late than it should’ve, how far they’d gone wrong.

            1. I am a long time Apple fan and an ardent supporter of the pros who use Macs in phenomenal ways. I have always believed that it was important for Apple to embrace and support the pros, even if the unit sales and profit were not compelling. It is a matter of pride and it is a matter of practicality. Apple sells more computers when scientific, engineering, and creative professionals use Macs and encourage others to use Macs. I let Apple know that…directly. I emailed Apple on several occasions and I encouraged others on this forum to do so, as well. I also encouraged pros to utilize Mac user groups and professional organizations to make their concerns known to Apple in powerful ways.

              I am also one of the people who got tired of the incessant griping on this forum. People were posting and re-posting the same gripes and threats for years with no effect. That was the problem – long term, repetitive griping and threats to leave the Apple ecosystem. I agreed with the sentiments of many of those posters, but I got tired of forums full of gripes (and political posts).

              In the immortal words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” If you are pissed off at Apple and want to move to Windows or Linux, then just do it and quit threatening. If you are not serious, then lets start looking forward to the release of the new Mac Pro desktop. We have every reason to believe that it will be amazing. After all, Apple has (finally) publicly recognized the problem and has had more than sufficient time to deal with it.

              Posting gripes on MDN may help to soothe your wounded psyche, but it does little or nothing to achieve meaningful change. If you want to change the future, then you have to go beyond being one little voice among the dissatisfied, griping masses.

            2. How do you know with such certainty it had no effect? That folks at Apple don’t look into sites like this one from time to time and see the complaints? Apple is like a giant ship at times on a collision course and slow to avert disaster until the last minute. They need to be more alert and proactive by staying in touch with their supporters.

    2. The real question is why people are even thinking of an alternative to Apple. Sadly, many long term Mac users have been frustrated by Apple’s (I.e. Tim Cook’s) lukewarm support of Mac Pro and Mac mini – machines that provided some ease of upgrade. Tim Cook is more concerned with milking users for money than giving them a better experience.

      1. Yes. and Yes.

        Apple has focused way too much on the iPhone and to a lesser extent iPad (which is hanging on, but not thriving), and services (which are doing well and the current fad).

        A fully scaleable and user friendly modularity/upgradeability Mac Pro at a reasonable price will go a very long way toward addressing these issues. (A reasonable price for a full blown workstation will certainly start in the $4,000 to $5,000 range, but if it starts at where the “iMac Pro” ends off [likely in the $8,000 to $10,000 range] then Apple will sell in the single digit thousands a month and the inside Apple naysayers will jump on it like they did the anemic sales of the 2013 Mac Pro.)

        With regard to building your own Mackintosh…
        The REAL issue is support. When Apple issues an OS upgrade, the builder will likely have to update software drivers and quite likely even firmware to maintain stable and useable systems. In a Mackintosh, the user can very rarely update their system the moment new software or OS updates are released. There is a compatibility issue on all those ad hoc components (hardware, software, and firmware) that the builder must take into account before making any changes.

        That said, if a builder is willing to lock in his/her system for many months at a time and only make major “block” changes when there is a confluence of compatible hardware, software, and firmware components then this compatibility issue can be managed.

        The bottom line is…
        It’s not about the build. It’s about maintenance. If a person has the patience to go through a proper Mackintosh build, doing so is not difficult, and they work. Builder’s just need to be aware that maintenance will take even more patience and awareness of what can happen in their system than building does.

        IF a user wants a lower maintenance — and more stable — MacOS system, the very best thing to do is get a real Mac.

  2. I don’t see why not. It seems like a great project for those interested in a Mac. I also don’t see why people should be discouraged from using Macintosh in a virtual machine. Think of it as an easy way to leave the terrible world of WindBlowz. More power to those that “think different”!

  3. Everyone who loves computers should build a computer. Especially Mac lovers. If you build a dual booting Hackintosh, you open a whole new world of exciting stuff, that wouldn’t normally be available to you. Especially gaming. Watching a machine with a high end processor and GPU crank out 90FPS on average in some really intense games is a hoot, after being accustomed to poor performance on Macs.

    Building a custom computer is like what building custom automobiles used be. You choose the look of your computer from available cases, and the best components that fit your needs and in no time at all you have a fire breathing beast of a Mac/PC and you’ll wonder why you never did it before.

    We all preach the anti-Windows propaganda around here, but truth be told, you will not find Windows 10 to e the evil beast you think it is. It is the best version of Windows I’ve ever used hands down. It does not crash all the time, it is easy to use, and more like using a Mac than you’d believe. Yes, you have to use your common sense to avoid malware.

    Building a computer with a kid is a truly fun experience also. I was given to a boy as a “Christmas present” last year. We spec’ed out a $4000 machine, and started building it on Christmas Day. It was a hoot. Best Christmas I’ve had in 30 years. I normally spend Christmas in World of Warcraft or Star Trek Online with the other social losers.

    I highly recommend parents consider it as a joint activity. It’s not as scary as it might sound. There is just so much information available that all the gotchas are trampled down in a well worn path. When your kid looks at that computer he/she is going to remember that you built it together.

    And talk about an opportunity to get girls interested in technology.

    1. Great post. I’ve built all my Windows gaming pcs for the past 20+ years. Some great, some prone to BSODs.
      9 years ago I got a Mac Pro (early 2008) for programming, video processing, and gaming via Bootcamp, or natively thanks to companies like Blizzard. This worked for a couple of years, but I sadly came to realize that Apple was never going to keep up with video card hardware and drivers. They came out with one expensive video card upgrade, but that was it.
      Rather than build a hackintosh, I just chose to build a gaming pc. This system is only used for gaming, and thus is not exposed to most security threats. Bootcamp still worked for any Windows productivity I needed to do.
      As my Mac Pro will not run Sierra, it’s time for me to finally replace it. I use macs for their simplicity of maintenance, so a hackintosh is just not a viable solution to me, even though it means owning 2 computers, an expense I recognize most cannot afford.

      1. you can pop many PC video cards into Cheese Grater MPs. Typing this with a Cheese Grater with a GTX 980 Ti.

        as it’s 2010 model I’m running Sierra. Just ordered a 2012 with 20 GB RAM model last week for $700.

        won’t be as fast as a hackintosh but serves my needs.

    2. I never had the experience of building a PC, but I imagine the thrill of doing that was encapsulated in an Apple ][ game I grew up with – Robot Odyssey. Learning the magic of logic gates, in the context of an exciting quest, spoilt ordinary occupations for me, and undoubtedly disillusioned me with respect to non-scientific men. (As a rule, women are profoundly scientific.)

    3. “We all preach the anti-Windows propaganda around here, but truth be told, you will not find Windows 10 to [b]e the evil beast you think it is.”

      TTM,

      The biggest problem I have with Windows 10 is that it phones home with information about what you are doing. There is absolutely no way to turn 100% off what it is telling Microsoft unless you opt for the most expensive, Enterprise Edition version. Windows 10 Home, even after you think you have turned off all the reporting features still phones home and tells Microsoft way to much about what you are doing for my tastes.

      The difference is that with macOS you can turn off any and all reporting back to Apple. Turning off some things is not convenient, but it can be done.

      I don’t use Google email or others that read my emails or track what I do. I don’t use Google search or other search engines that do user tracking as part of their business model. There is already way too much tracking and snooping going on when people (including me) use the Internet. (I don’t often use a full VPN; I’m not THAT paranoid.) People who use Windows (other than that the full Enterprise version) are just giving up that much more.

      As far as functionality, Windows 10 is OK. I wish it were a bit more stable. I wish it were a bit more security conscious. But, on a general basis, it’s an OK OS. I just am against Microsoft knowing what I’m doing on a daily basis.

  4. Absolutely thetheloniousmac, great project fun and educative

    I will definitely wait for the modular Mac Pro as it may work as the best Hacintosh for stability and flexibility. I just hope Apple to come with a machine with PCI expandability and a fair price.

    Windows 10 is the best Windows but I still get some malware even taking care of the sites I visit.

    Until someone finds a way to keep the Hackintosh easily updated from Apple it may always be on the experimental side. But a very nice possibility anyway.

  5. It’s really unnecessary considering you can run macOS from Windows via a VM in apps like VirtualBox. If you really want a Mac buy a Mac, but for sufferers, just use a VM and skip this ultra-nerdy “hackintosh” rig.

  6. Wouldn’t it be easier to run a macOS in a virtual machine? I know it isn’t exactly halal, but it should be an easier alternative to Hackintoshes for those new to this type of thing.

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