Building a Hackintosh The Easy Way

By on October 29, 2013, 4:47 AM

For the uninitiated, a "Hackintosh" is a computer that runs OS X on non-Apple hardware. Although the company has taken steps to prevent this, technically it’s been possible since the transition to Intel processors. There are a number of vibrant and active communities that focus on helping one another to configure, build, and troubleshoot Hackintosh systems.

Building a Hackintosh has definitely gotten easier over the years but there’s still plenty of tinkering involved, from shopping around for compatible hardware to dealing with DSDT and kext files, bootloaders and whatnot. In other words, it’s not for everybody. Earlier this year a company known as Quo launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a motherboard designed to run "any operating system" out of the box. They don’t explicitly market it as a Hackintosh board, perhaps to avoid suffering the same fate of Psystar, but it’s clearly one of the board's key selling points.

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User Comments: 26

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treva1990 treva1990 said:

I like the idea but maybe apple should create a basics range of a standard Intel Motherboard that you can change the other parts and doesn't require a special case. You then pay the same money you would pay for a windows machine say from HP or Acer But is made by apple. The case will not have the fancy design that apple incorporate into their designs but would be a basic Cheap mac that you can upgrade in the future.

2 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

99% of all Apple customers buy their product because they like the hardware look & feel, and being a famous brand. Hackintosh, or whatever they call it, would only be of interest to those who need high-performance hardware to develop software, for half-price. I don't think any end-user would be interested.

Guest said:

Ahh, it'd be nice if the Thunderbolt's were 2nd-gen. Besides towers, imagine someone made a custom all-in-one mackintosh with an extremely amazing 4k display.

Oh, I'm just being unrealistic.

Guest said:

As mentioned in the article, the more high end you go, the more savings you get. Apple doesn't really have anything between the iMac and Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is too expensive and overpowered for most while the iMac with it's mobile GPU and all-in-one form factor might not be to everyone's tastes.

I run a desktop system with a fully functional Hackintosh (all ports, sleep etc work). The only thing I need to worry about is audio breaking on point updates (just requires a replacement AppleHDA.kext) and updating to major versions (like a few days ago I went from 10.8 -> 10.9) is best done as a full reinstall. Getting it all to work is pretty easy even on stock parts these days, just need to choose them carefully.

That said, if I didn't already have a desktop PC and a 30" 2560x1600 display, I'd probably just get a 27" iMac because they're a pretty good deal.

Guest said:

I ran a Hackintosh for about 7 months before I finally relented and bought an actual Mac. The experience was mostly painless but that's only because I made sure I bought a motherboard that was very well supported. I used the MultiBeast / UniBeast solution.

My only tips would be to make sure you buy well supported hardware - don't waste your time trying to get existing, incompatible hardware to work.. you'll only get angry, and bored. And once you find the right combination of drivers that work for you when running MultiBeast after an installation of OSX, NOTE THEM DOWN - I always forgot to do this, then it was always a gamble every time I did a point release update and had to reinstall drivers.

Guest said:

First off, the audio on this board is not "Mac compatible". The audio codecs on Mac logic boards are exclusive to Apple, so you still need to use a AppleHDA patch (or VoodooHDA) to get working audio.

Also the boards were made to spec by Gigabyte but they ship with a stock Gigabyte BIOS. To be clear, Gigabyte didn't build a hackintosh motherboard. In order to get that functionality you have to flash a custom third-party BIOS. This is presumably to avoid any legal hassles for Gigabyte and Quo.

It's definitely a brilliant use of UEFI. While hackintoshing has gotten easier with every OS X release, this basically allows you to have all you need baked into the BIOS.

Guest said:

Do you see a 50% savings somewhere?

Guest said:

Has anyone ran OSX on VBox? I've been interested in doing so, I've got a few different VMs to mess around with but I never got around to putting OSX on one just for kicks. Mostly I have different Linux distros.

Guest said:

That article says that Radeon cards may take extra effort. My HD 7870 took absolutely no extra effort in OS 10.9, but I do suppose YMMV. The Intel HD4000 on my Ivy Bridge laptop is actually much more problematic, and I would say that if you want a portable Mac OS, you really should just buy from Apple. The traditional reasons for buying a desktop mostly still apply to building a Mac OS workstations.

Guest said:

Has anyone ran OSX on VBox? I've been interested in doing so, I've got a few different VMs to mess around with but I never got around to putting OSX on one just for kicks. Mostly I have different Linux distros.

It works perfectly fine on Vmware ESXi and is officially supported, presuming ESXi is installed on a real Mac. However there's a simple patch to unlock the OSX option if your ESXi host is not a real Mac: [link]

Install and use basically, no messing about. Updates work fine too. Not sure how you would get on with Virtual Box as I don't believe OSX is officially supported.

Guest said:

Builds a Hackintosh then boots into Windows.

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Has anyone ran OSX on VBox? I've been interested in doing so, I've got a few different VMs to mess around with but I never got around to putting OSX on one just for kicks. Mostly I have different Linux distros.

Yeah, I have. Works fine.

From experience, the only point of a Hackintosh is:

a) if you need to mess with app development and don't want to spend money on a Mac yet.

b) you're helplessly in love with OS X but are strapped for cash

JC713 JC713 said:

99% of all Apple customers buy their product because they like the hardware look & feel, and being a famous brand. Hackintosh, or whatever they call it, would only be of interest to those who need high-performance hardware to develop software, for half-price. I don't think any end-user would be interested.

Yeah, the only reason people like Apple products is that they look good and are "easy to use". I would rather build a pure PC with that money instead of making a hackintosh.

AnilD AnilD said:

This:

the higher end you go the more you'll save compared to a Mac. That and the ability to upgrade parts down the road make Hackintoshes an interesting proposition as Mac Pro replacements -- aside from the challenge and enjoyment for those who like tinkering with PC hardware.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looking at those price comparisons it's totally not worth the effort, especially when you consider resale values. Not to mention you're getting a much sleeker design with an actual iMac.

Guest said:

Great article, one that might have been written during the mid-1990s, when building a computer was daring, exciting and, most of all, a lot of fun for the technically adventurous.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Good article. Best for a while maybe

m4a4 m4a4 said:

I have a feeling they didn't look too hard for cheap parts. You could easily find cheaper for the hackintosh, but not for apple...

Guest said:

Big thanks for this article. Exactly what I needed know.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I would like to see this updated with some Geekbench scores

There is some discussion in the article and comments about being able to upgrade (because you are really limited on real Mac upgrades, esp with price). But, I think your real upgrades (CPU and GPU) are going to be pretty problematic...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Couldn't the new generations of Apple computers with Intel CPUs, be considered "hackintoshes" anyway? After all, they pre-hacked by Apple when they started installing decent CPUs, right from the jump...

Noy Anthem said:

wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Z77MX-QUO-AOS

This is the genuine project pages.

Guest said:

Many if not most Kickstarter backers have not received their product, including full systems for thousands of dollars. Quo has, however, sold over 200 boards to online buyers and is now sold out.

What this means I don't know, but I don't have my board after 240 days since payment on April 1st.

Guest said:

DAMMIT I wish this article had been published 4 months ago. I'm one of the lucky ones that got a Project Q board early - I didn't option wifi/bluetooth so there was no holdup. I couldn't find anything about the BIOS flashing you mentioned, online support is just not there for this. At least I never found any. Posting on tonymac86.com got me strongly warned by moderators that QUO-AOS motherboard discussions would get me banned. I have painfully figured out how to get the board to boot over the course of 4 months and probably 60 hours of experimentation, using Unibeast and Multibeast and Kextbeast and DSDT editors and all the other things. HDMI audio still doesn't work, sleep is problematic, and today, TODAY! was the first day I managed to migrate my files over from my Mac Pro 1,1 and successfully boot. I've given up on HDMI audio. And now I find that if only I'd been able to find some mysterious unsanctioned BIOS flashware somewhere, I could have just swapped out the hard drive, booted straight into Mac OS, and made a few tweaks. DAMMIT!

Guest said:

Great article! I'm running into one issue though with the mobo and the custom BIOS. After modifying the GPU settings to get discreet graphics to work - if I unplug the power cable from the computer, the BIOS resets.

I end up having to remove the GPU, use the onboard video to get back into the BIOS to make the modifications again to get it to work.

Anyone else have this issue?

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

99% of all Apple customers buy their product because they like the hardware look & feel, and being a famous brand. Hackintosh, or whatever they call it, would only be of interest to those who need high-performance hardware to develop software, for half-price. I don't think any end-user would be interested.

Mac folks buy and use as-is; it's rare that they even open the back cover. If they wish to 'hack' at the hardware, then they opt for Windows hardware & software.

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