You can build a Hackintosh for less than a Mac mini, but you’ll be missing out

“One of the themes I’ve noticed among the comments on my articles and videos about the new Mac mini is that it’s expensive, especially compared to a traditional Windows PC,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “Some of my commenters have stated flatly that a Hackintosh is a far better deal than buying a machine like the Mac mini from Apple.”

For my Mac mini, “I bought the highest-end i7 processor offered by Apple. I configured it with 8GB of RAM, with the plan to upgrade it myself to 32GB. I added the 10GB Ethernet port and 1TB of flash storage,” Gewirtz writes. “All told, the machine cost $1,999 from Apple. I also spent $288 on some Corsair Vengeance Performance 32GB (2x16GB) 260-Pin DDR4 SO-DIMM (PC4 21300) RAM from Amazon. That made my total cost $2,287.”

Mac mini now offers faster and expanded I/O to allow it to connect to almost anything, including four Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HMDI 2.0, two USB-A ports, an audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet, as well as a 10Gb Ethernet option.
Mac mini now offers faster and expanded I/O to allow it to connect to almost anything, including four Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HMDI 2.0, two USB-A ports, an audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet, as well as a 10Gb Ethernet option.

“While it’s true you can build a cheaper PC or a Hackintosh than the Mac mini, it is unquestionably NOT true that you can clone the Mac mini as a Hackintosh. Not even close.,” Gewirtz writes. “The Mac mini is a really special little machine and that’s why I, for one, am glad to see it back in the product line with the capabilities it offers. It’s why I bought one and didn’t build a Hackintosh.”

Tons more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Beyond the unreplicable T2 and other items you simply cannot get in a Hackintosh, what you save in time and overall hassle is worth well more than the extra you’ll spend to own a real Mac mini.

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Apple’s new Mac mini teaches an old design new tricks – November 6, 2018
Macworld reviews Apple’s new $799 Mac mini: ‘A huge improvement that’s well worth the cost’ – November 6, 2018
Hands on with Apple’s all-new Mac mini powerhouse – October 30, 2018
Apple unveils all-new Mac mini with a massive increase in performance – October 30, 2018


  1. This article misses the point of building a hacintosh. It’s not about replicating Apple’s design decisions, but meeting the user’s needs.

    For example, the article makes an issue of not being able to add thunderbolt to the hackintosh – but no one with access to ATA and PCI slots would WANT thunderbolt. The T2 chip is similarly problematic – in theory it is to protect us, but it seems more likely that it is about limiting our choices.

    What hacintoshes really show is how overpriced Macs have recently become, and how ludicrous it is that Apple has spent years unable to understand that they have no real pro machines.

    1. Agree with all your points. If I may add one…
      A hackintosh is not worth the cat and mouse hassle of dealing with upgrades that break it. OSX, while good, is not as critical (to many) any longer.

  2. I think the hackintosh is primarily a computer hobbyist machine. Not that a hackintosh is isn’t a legitimate computer that you can get real work done on but it doesn’t fulfill the central core promise of the Mac. Typically both consumers & professionals who buy Macs just want it to work. Consumers don’t want to learn & fiddle with the inner workings of their computer and professionals basically want the same thing, they typically see it (computer) as a tool and want that tool to require as little interaction to get that task done as possible They see their work as the primary focus and any work done getting the computer to do that work as a distraction from that work.

    1. Very few problems with Hackintoshes these days. Pretty much a PnP experience building one, and they just work. You start to run into issues if you start looking outside the already ample proven hardware list.

  3. Quotes from the Crypt of Doom and Despair… i.e. Perenially regurgitated quotes from 20 years ago…

    “Cost is really getting to be a concern.”
    “…really show is how overpriced Macs have recently become”

    1. Looks like I struck a nerve with little Johnny boy.

      Here is a hint, go the apple store and spec out a mac mini compared to a any other PC and spec them the same. Even low end Hp’s and Dells get an i7, while Apple with it’s premium price is giving you an i5. You really can’t be this dumb Johnny boy.

      1. But we don’t want PCs ! Most of us have at some point in our lives had to suffer the abject misery of using PC machines. We know Macs are superior machines even if the spec sheets don’t show this. However if you want inexpensive computers don’t wait for Apple to change their last 33 years of Mac business practice, get off the pot and go to the dark side. Enjoy your cost savings !

        1. Late to this party and I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity soon as MDN seems to like the new mini, but all other power-per-dollar considerations aside, it does seem Apple has forgotten the mini’s mission.

          It was intended to be switcher bait. A much less expensive alternative to the other Mac computers, with more limited capabilities and less included kit at a slimmer profit margin (potentially a loss leader, even).

          The goal was to get people who wouldn’t buy a Mac due to sticker shock. Once they experienced OSX, they’d presumably better understand the value and be more willing to buy a standard mac going forward.

          This new mini abandons that mission and it just another expensive option on the Mac spectrum.

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