Hello everyone. If you’re like me, you are probably very curious of what a Hackintosh is and why it would be worth the trouble of putting together. This article is going to tell you about the Hackintosh and the Pros and Cons of building and maintaining one. This is the perfect article for you to read if you are trying to figure out if a Hackintosh is right for you or if you are simply just trying to learn about the facts.
What is a Hackintosh?
In simple terms, a Hackintosh is a computer made up of non-Apple branded hardware with the Apple Mac OS X installed on it.
Most build their own PCs on their own with similar parts that are used by Apple to make real Macs. Doing this helps you run into as little incompatibility issues as possible.
Why Build a Hackintosh?
There are many reasons to build a Hackintosh!
The most common reason for building a Hackintosh is to save money. You could save up to 2/3 on your Hackintosh with similar specs to a Mac bought from Apple. If you are a big fan of OS X but are unable (or unwilling) to pay Apple the premium price, then the Hackintosh route could be the way to go.
Another reason is to have freedom to upgrade parts. Many people complain about Apple’s products because you are limited on what you can upgrade. A lot of the times, you are limited to changing out a hard drive and RAM. If you build your own PC, you are free to upgrade any part that you wish without having to buy a completely new machine.
This reason ties into the last one. If one part fails on a Mac, often times you are either at the mercy of the expensive Apple Genius bar or you pretty much just have to buy a new Mac. As you may know, Apple does not put out “cheap” products!
Also, building a Hackintosh is a great learning experience. When making a Hackintosh, it is recommended that you build your PC from scratch. I personally had always wanted to build my own computer for a long time and this pushed me to do so.
A Nice Online Community
Additionally, so many others have created Hackintoshes and modified the bootloaders so it has become easier and easier each year for an average person to Hackintosh! My personal favorite YouTube guy that tells you all you need to know about a Hackintosh in regular human terms is Bob Roche from Roche Technology.
In addition to that, the website TonyMacx86 has all of the resources that you will ever need to build a hackintosh. I really mean it when I say that building one has never been so easy.
Their forums are very active and the search bar can find you a lot of answers. If not, people are more often than not willing to help you out if you make a topic asking for help.
My only suggestion is to be sure to do your research before asking a question that may have been asked over and over again.
Best of Both Worlds
Best of all, you get the best of both worlds. If you can accommodate the hard drive space, you can have both Mac OS X AND Windows on the same machine! At each boot, you are asked which operating system you would like to start up in.
As big of an Apple fan that I am, I am not in denial that Macs are not the best gaming machines. First of all, most games are created FOR Windows. Sure there are more and more Mac versions being created, but serious gamers are most likely not Mac users. The Mac versions of games have less modding opportunities since there isn’t a super huge community of Mac only gamers.
You could argue that you can bootcamp on a Mac to play your games. While that could work for you, it would not be the best option. First of all, iMacs come with mobile versions of graphics cards and Mac Pros come with work station graphics cards. Both of those are not built purely for gaming and will be beat in performance by a custom built PC with a better graphics card at a fraction of the price.
With a Hackintosh, you choose your parts, so you could install the top of the line gaming graphics card if you want! I personally use OS X for most everything but restart into Windows when playing video games.
On the TonyMacx86 website, they have a buyer’s guide that is updated every month. Listed are guides on which specific parts to buy depending if you are trying to replicate the specs of a Mac Mini, Mac Pro, etc. They also list additional peripherals that are known to work very well with a Hackintosh. They do all of the research and create guides for you so you save a lot of time and money this way!
The TonyMacx86 website offers you all of the programs needed to download and install OS X on your homemade PC. They offer programs for every step! They have Unibeast (the App that helps you format your bootable OS X Hackintosh Install Stick), and Multibeast (the Post install Application that installs the drivers or “kexts” needed for you!). Be sure to read up on their guides. I may create my own guide in the future that is very very easy to understand.
The Cons of a Hackintosh
Okay, so all of that sounds great! If Hackintoshes are so great, then why hasn’t everyone done it?
Well a Hackintosh is NOT all fun and games! This is not recommended to users that are not very tech savy and patient.
No Apple “Coolness” or Simplicity
Macs are stereotypically known as the “Cool and Artsy” computer as well as the “Simple and Easy” computer.
On the “Cool and Artsy” side of things, you will have access to all of the creative OS X exclusive apps but you will really lose out on the beauty and simplistic design of the Macintosh.
Well, simple could not be more correct on a Mac. When installing a new PC, typically you will have several boxes with several cables. You will setup the tower and plug it in, set up the monitor and plug it into the power source as well as the tower, plug in the keyboard, plug in the mouse, setup the speakers, uninstall the unnecessary trial software, instal anti-virus, install windows updates, etc. It’s a hassle. With an Apple iMac, you put the iMac on the desk, plug in the keyboard, the mouse, and the power cable and you’re all set. Just hit the power button and you’re all set.
With a Hackintosh, you can forget about that! You may get access to the great OS X but you will still have to go through the process of building your own bulky (most of the time) PC to run the software!
One of the nicest things about Mac OS X is the ability for Software Update to update all of your Applications as well as the Operating System version. On a Hackintosh, you have to be VERY careful with updates! Be sure not to turn on Automatic Software Updates. Updating your apps will be fine for you 99% of the time. Updating your Operating System, however, could cause problems so you are always advised to look online before updating. You have to remember that you are not on a real Mac, so hardware and software don’t work together as well as they would on a real Mac.
Also, even if your update goes well, you will most likely have no working audio (and sometimes internet) after an update and will have to re-run Multibeast and restart your computer.
As a hackintosher, I always fear the day that an update will be released that will break Hackintoshes unless we stay at a lower version. Staying at a lower version just defeats the purpose since you will lose out on new features, bug fixes, and
new versions of apps.
No Apple Care or Support of Any Kind
Apple charges a lot for everything, including Apple Care. If you are unfamiliar with Apple Care, it is pretty much like having Insurance on your Apple Product. As long as you have Apple Care, then you can take your product to Apple and have your problem diagnosed.
With a Hackintosh, you do not get any of that. Guess what, you become your own support (except for the TonyMacx86 forums if they are willing to help)! If you are a good IT person and don’t really ever have the need to contact Apple for help, this would be great for you! Otherwise, if you are impatient and like to have others solve your problems for you, I would recommend the genuine Apple Mac route.
No Extra Built in Features
All Macs come with an iSight/Facetime camera, bluetooth, wifi, and thunderbolt port inputs. As of now, you will most likely have to buy a USB devices or other external products to compensate. Though it will likely cost you a lot less than buying a real Mac, is it just an extra hassle.
You Should Build a Hackintosh If…
- You love Mac OS X but do not want to spend a load of money on a machine with really nice spaces
- You are okay with building your own PC
- You are patient and willing to troubleshoot
- You want to be able to competitively game on the same machine that uses OS X
You Should NOT Build a Hackintosh If…
- You are impatient and are not willing to spend hours (or days or week) trying to solve problems that break your operating system
- You want the beautiful look of the Mac
- You like simplicity and expect everything to work out for you on the first try (it won’t happen)
- You’re willing to spend the extra money on a real Mac
- You are not very tech savy and typically count on having other tech people solve your issues.
I hope that that this article has helped you out! If I left anything out or you have anything else to say, please leave a comment below.
Stay tuned for my article that talks about my personal journey through building my Hackintosh that I use.