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The Hackintosh thread - build a $3800 mac pro for $1100

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  • The Hackintosh thread - build a $3800 mac pro for $1100



    I'm a PC guy. I've been building, at one time selling, and using PC's for well over two decades. I legally own a lot of PC software from Adobe Production Suites, 3D software and more that to this day I still use on a regular basis.

    4 years ago this April I bought a macbook pro because I wanted a new laptop for portability and personal use, but as a plus I knew I could also use it for transcoding footage to the ever-so popular ProRes format which is in demand from many of my clients. I've written guides online on using DaVinci & FCP X for everything from roundtrip workflows to simple transcoding of footage and Mac has become an important part of my post work on productions that I am hired to work on.

    I never wanted to turn into a MAC guy but after 4 years running the macbook pro I started to see how absolutely far superior the mac OS is compared to Windows. Not to mention in general I feel the user interface and experience is better too. I have to give credit to Apple for this even if inside it kills me a little. Having been a PC guy for so long I know how much support and fixing I've had to do for all my family members and friends running PC's. In particular I mean Windows and the all so easy to get malware and viruses just from using IE browser exploiting the many vulnerabilities in the O/S. Last year on my PC I had malware unknown to me that gave my banking login information being taken which then lead to over $5000 being taken out of two bank accounts. This kind of thing is extremely rare on a Mac (not impossible but RARE) just on the simple foundation of security that Apple mac OS's are built on.

    I know MAC vs PC can be subjective and let's face it personal... but after running it solid for 4 years I can say it's been far more reliable with less crashes, way less prone to "build up" of junk that slows it down, and as mentioned way less prone if not almost impossible to get virus/adware/malware which wastes resources if nothing else.

    In back of my mind I had always wanted to eventually get mac workstations for my home studio and post production work but being torn with so much invested in PC software I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to completely cross over to the dark side. Back in 2005 (wow does time fly) Apple announced they would be switching to Intel based processors away from Motorola 68000 processors and what that did was open it up for enthusiasts who wanted to build Hackintosh computers - that is the Apple OSX running on a PC computers (brand name of PC clone). I found a website last year http://www.tonymacx86.com/ dedicated to listing compatible parts, installation guides, and a user support forum full of information and details about how to go about it.

    Finally last week my main PC died. It was only the power supply which was an easy $60 to fix but I sort of wanted an excuse to build a completely new machine with some of the latest cutting edge power available from Intel and Nvidia. I decided this might be the time to try building the Hackintosh so before I bought any parts I used the website to make sure I was going to buy parts that were said to be compatible.

    After a week of reading what really seems like very cryptic instructions to get this working, over the past weekend I was successful in getting OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) running on my PC clone machine. I still have a few things I need to do like verify the speed of my USB 3.0 ports and install a wireless adapter in the machine and probably bluetooth. Overall I'm happy to report that everything (sound, network, graphics, cuda drivers, and OS) are running really great and smooth.

    So far I'm running DaVinci Resolve 12 and FCP X on it without any problems and the speed is absolutely blazing. Partly because of the new hardware obviously, but it's running as a "mac" and this is what has me most excited because the equivalent machine on spec is maybe $3800 USD from Apple but this machine was built for around $1100 USD. Below is my system and specs:



    - Intel i7 4.0GHz 4790k Quad Core 8 thread processor
    - Gigabyte Z97x Gaming 3 (integrated Intel graphics card, RealTek AC1150, Killer E2200 GB ethernet)
    - EVGA GeForce 960 Superclocked 4GB
    - 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600MHz
    - Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD
    - Cooler Master G650M 650W PSU
    - Cooler Master Hyper 212 direct heat pipe cooler
    - Corsair Carbide series SPEC-1 Case
    - 3x 120cm cooling fans

    This cost me around $1611 Canadian ($1100 USD) plus taxes and can probably be bought for less if you were to really shopped around.

    I have documented for the most part the step by step process and procedure steps that I took in order to get everything up and running here on this thread: http://www.tonymacx86.com/el-capitan...net-e2200.html

    Just some brief caution: building a Hackintosh and getting it working is not at all easy to do and you will likely encounter problem after problem that you need a lot of patience for in order to resolve before getting to the next step. Sometimes instructions you read online on what you need to do are cryptic and not easy to understand. The steps I wrote will link to specific guides, or portions to other guides that I had to use in order to get my Hackintosh up and running properly but one thing to point out is that you can't follow my steps exactly if you go with different hardware components. As soon as you pick say a different motherboard or graphics card, the steps will change and you need to heavily research it or troubleshoot as you go along. Differences in hardware or combination of hardware will require different configurations, bios settings, and edits to the mac plists... and more. Some people get really lucky with their install but for others it can be extremely frustrating and difficult to get through so let this be a warning incase you decide you want to try this for yourself and thought it would be a breeze.

    One tip I can suggest is that if you want to try building your own Hackintosh is to read the threads on Tonymacx86 marked [SUCCESS] to find other people who have successfully got it running on specific hardware components you might be considering to buy. There is also several GUIDES section where others with successful builds have outlined steps for very specific hardware components - so again look for these in advance of buying any parts. It will make your life much easier!

    The processor, hard drive, and case isn't really going to make any difference when it comes to doing an install. It 95% has to do with the motherboard and graphics card and problems when the mac OSX is being installed and tripping up over drivers for specific hardware, so these are things to look out for. Differences between motherboards will be chipset, bios, bios version, EUFI compatibility, network controller, etc.. and it's this that will make the difference between an easy or hard build. If you read my build guide, you'll see that I didn't bother putting in the graphics card until after I got everything running ok. The reason is that the install can easily trip up over Nvidia cards so it's better to leave that for the end if you can.


    What's next to conquer:
    - get dual boot working (Windows 7 on separate SSD)
    - verify the speed of my USB 3.0 ports
    - install a wireless adapter
    - install bluetooth
    - research Thunderbolt
    - get working: iMessage/FaceTime/iCloud
    - get working: Sleep/Wake
    - get working: CPU Speed Stepping/Power Management
    Dennis Hingsberg

  • #2
    Novabench score: 1529



    My BruceX Benchmark score: 26 using ProRes 422 HQ
    this is a specific test for FCP X

    Various reference scores:


    My Geekbench 3 Benchmark (32-bit test only, I don't own software to do 64-bit test)



    Other screen shots:


    Last edited by starcentral; 04-11-2016, 04:02 PM.
    Dennis Hingsberg

    Comment


    • #3
      I've heard of issues with USB 3 and I've seen it first hand. Sometimes large transfers will just freeze the system or just stop in the middle of the transfer and freeze Finder. I'm not sure I want to deal with that. It happened to me while using one while offloading Ursa footage and it just took a while to get the files transferred when I could have been working.

      Have you seen anything like this?
      Paul Del Vecchio - Director/Producer
      http://www.PaulDV.net
      https://vimeo.com/channels/directorpauldv
      http://www.youtube.com/user/pdelvecchio814
      http://www.twitter.com/pauldv

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paul-...io/58731646898

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry I haven't got around to researching getting my USB 3.0 ports up and running yet. That is next on my list but been busy with jobs too much to worry about it.

        Funny right now the 3.0 ports work for the Davinci Resolve dongle, but not external HD… I have to go back to tonymacx86.com and learn how to get my 3.0 ports setup. Surely someone has written the instructions there.

        cheers,
        Dennis Hingsberg

        Comment


        • #5
          I actually just successfully (after 12 hrs) updated my mavericks hackintosh to yosemite so I could install a new gtx 960. Resolve seems to be running better (less crashing) but my GPU performance seems low. Can you run Novabench possibly and post your GPU score???

          mine scored a 206

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Bobby, did you literally run it as an update.. or start with fresh install? I heard "updates" cause a lot of problems and should be avoided.

            I'll look into Novabench... any links to that?
            Dennis Hingsberg

            Comment


            • #7
              Not sure if sarcasm or not but the Motorola 68000 powered the very first Macs. Apple transitioned from PowerPC to Intel in 2006.

              And yes, it is quite easy, even trivial, to build a Hackintosh these days.

              6eJIh6L.jpg

              Comment


              • #8
                From my experience building one I'd honestly say that it's anything but trivial or easy. It's pretty complicated and is beyond "click" to install which is probably what most PC or MAC users are use to. This is a whole other level of difficulty. The reason is because any combination of different hardware has a different set of boot arguments and later setup nuances to factor in. I wish it was easier, but thankfully there are lots of guides written on tonymac website for specific hardware combinations.

                cheers,
                Dennis Hingsberg

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by starcentral View Post
                  From my experience building one I'd honestly say that it's anything but trivial or easy. It's pretty complicated and is beyond "click" to install which is probably what most PC or MAC users are use to. This is a whole other level of difficulty. The reason is because any combination of different hardware has a different set of boot arguments and later setup nuances to factor in. I wish it was easier, but thankfully there are lots of guides written on tonymac website for specific hardware combinations.cheers,
                  Hey yes it was the update I didn't want to wipe everything. Resolve is running better but of course I want the best out that new gpu.

                  I built the machine for fcpx b4 I bought a bmpcc and started using resolve, honestly because it's now strictly an editing machine I regret the hackintosh build. I've had so much trouble trying to update it or get simple things like sleep to work (which now works for some reason under Yosemite)

                  I wanted to switch back to Windows but the 4 Hdd's I have are Mac formatted and didn't want any complications as I'm in the middle of a project

                  That being said, I'm no very knowledgeable about computer hardware and with the tonymac site I was able to get 2 different builds to run fine....just with a lot of grief lol

                  Nova bench is free in the App Store

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bobbylupo View Post
                    Hey yes it was the update I didn't want to wipe everything. Resolve is running better but of course I want the best out that new gpu.

                    I built the machine for fcpx b4 I bought a bmpcc and started using resolve, honestly because it's now strictly an editing machine I regret the hackintosh build. I've had so much trouble trying to update it or get simple things like sleep to work (which now works for some reason under Yosemite)

                    I wanted to switch back to Windows but the 4 Hdd's I have are Mac formatted and didn't want any complications as I'm in the middle of a project

                    That being said, I'm no very knowledgeable about computer hardware and with the tonymac site I was able to get 2 different builds to run fine....just with a lot of grief lol

                    Nova bench is free in the App Store

                    Can't run any auto updates on a Hack, especially the OS.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by vicharris View Post
                      Can't run any auto updates on a Hack, especially the OS.
                      Yeah I was wary but tonymac had a guide for upgrading from Mavericks to Yosemite without having to do a clean install. If this gpu is in fact not running properly I will have to do fresh El Capitan build

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bobbylupo View Post
                        Yeah I was wary but tonymac had a guide for upgrading from Mavericks to Yosemite without having to do a clean install. If this gpu is in fact not running properly I will have to do fresh El Capitan build
                        Im running El Capitan and it's running very good. I was originally trying to install Mountain Lion but I had way too many errors trying so I tried El Capitan and it went way smoother for whatever reason. Probably just as well because it supported the weird network adapter on my motherboard. (Killer E2200 GB ethernet)


                        Originally posted by bobbylupo View Post
                        Hey yes it was the update I didn't want to wipe everything. Resolve is running better but of course I want the best out that new gpu.

                        I built the machine for fcpx b4 I bought a bmpcc and started using resolve, honestly because it's now strictly an editing machine I regret the hackintosh build. I've had so much trouble trying to update it or get simple things like sleep to work (which now works for some reason under Yosemite)

                        I wanted to switch back to Windows but the 4 Hdd's I have are Mac formatted and didn't want any complications as I'm in the middle of a project

                        That being said, I'm no very knowledgeable about computer hardware and with the tonymac site I was able to get 2 different builds to run fine....just with a lot of grief lol

                        Nova bench is free in the App Store
                        Don't regret the hackintosh man, it is far superior than PC in so many ways even though I'm a PC guy and fellow BMCusers will flame me.

                        Why didn't you do dual boot and have dedicated hard drive for Windows when you need it?

                        Oh boy - I just saw on Tonymacx86 that an update was released for El Capitan.. people are brave and just running it to see what happens! No way I can bring myself to trying it and risking have to do a rebuild!

                        As for Nova Bench, managed to install it and my graphics test score is : 190.

                        Dennis Hingsberg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by starcentral View Post
                          Don't regret the hackintosh man, it is far superior than PC in so many ways even though I'm a PC guy and fellow BMCusers will flame me.

                          Why didn't you do dual boot and have dedicated hard drive for Windows when you need it?

                          Oh boy - I just saw on Tonymacx86 that an update was released for El Capitan.. people are brave and just running it to see what happens! No way I can bring myself to trying it and risking have to do a rebuild!

                          As for Nova Bench, managed to install it and my graphics test score is : 190.

                          thanks a lot for doing that. appears to be in the same ballpark as my performance, I will just leave it for now as resolve hasnt crashed or frozen since the new gpu. although I did switch my system definition from mac pro 3.1 to 5.1 to see if it would improve the gtx and immediately suffered a kernel panic and had to switch back

                          I know believe me I love OSX....used it for years..but the updating on these hackintosh systems, man you roll the dice!

                          thanks again

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes, 206 isn't a bad score. The system definition stuff I really don't understand, when I did my first install I picked the profile of the best iMac I wished I could afford - oops, big mistake that was. Rebuild.. lol

                            Amen to OSX brother. Amen.
                            Dennis Hingsberg

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is awesome, thanks for making this thread. At first I thought this would be too much trouble, but after reading through the guides, I think I might attempt this for my next PC build.

                              If I might ask though, why isn't your part list a little more forward-looking? Don't get me wrong, you've got a great system, and if you update your graphics card every few years, it should last you a long time.

                              But in 2016, for the same money, you could have had a motherboard with a Thunderbolt 3 header, DDR4 RAM and USB 3.1. And if you had gone with Skylake, you could have had hardware H.265 encode/decode. But I realize working Skylake Hackintosh builds are still very new, which might have motivated your decision. I know the recommended parts list was just updated to Skylake last week.

                              My intention isn't to be rude, just a little curious why you chose the parts you did.

                              Cheers

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