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Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: steveroberts
Date: January 14, 2020 06:51AM
Friends,

My mid-2011 i7 iMac is near retirement. Thus, I'm looking at replacement possibilities.

I've toyed with the idea of a Hackintosh as the power/price ratio and upgradability is good. I'm not intimidated by purchasing parts and building the physical computer, but, I'm somewhat squeamish about the drivers and setup.

I'm looking to run High Sierra or Mojave, and I do lots of audio and video work, which could be a factor here. Budget is about $1500.

I was hoping to find a local hand-holder to assist with the process (as opposed to the several online resource web communities), but so far, no takers.

If you are a novice (like me) who's had experience, good or bad, I'd be interested in encouragement or discouragement.

Many thanks in advance,

SR
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: sekker
Date: January 14, 2020 07:08AM
I’m a past builder, and it was fun each time. Took me a weekend to go from parts to booting machine.

But I wonder whether a refurb 2017 5k iMac from our sponsor might be better - a terrific bang/buck.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: clay
Date: January 14, 2020 07:22AM
I embarked on a similar quest about 5 years ago. I had a 2013 Mac Pro trashcan. Worked well for me, but I longed for more flexibility with storage and other options. (I, too, do a lot of audio and video work, so mass storage is always a consideration). I researched on TonyMacX86.com and other sites. Felt like I had a solid plan to move forward with. Purchased my parts, and put everything together.

Putting the parts together was pretty straightforward. Getting the OS installed with all the various software "hacks" to get all the hardware working was a challenge. Took several days of trying things, reading forums, etc. Not straightforward at all.

Finally got it working, and it worked pretty well, with the usual caveats (no iMessage, wouldn't reliably sleep/wake, etc). Was a powerful machine, good value compared to the Mac, etc. Worked great for about 6 months, and then started having some random issues. Big hassle as it was my primary work machine. A week of banging head against my desk, etc. Eventually tracing the issues to a bad RAM stick.

I wouldn't rely on a Hack as a main/only machine. Too much of a risk. No real support. You're on your own when any issues arise. "But there are forums for that, just post your questions there and tons of people will help" you might say. But the reality is that each situation is unique (software and hardware) and for those really tough issues you are not likely to get an answer. I am aware that on the software side some things are now a bit easier than when I was doing it, but there are still lots of ways things can present hassles.

Lots of folks will be OK with the tradeoffs, but just be aware of the reality!

I may put together a hobby machine Hack at some point, but I've learned my lesson :-)
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: January 14, 2020 07:33AM
but I've learned my lesson


LOL.

I thought about trying my hand, but after doing a modicum of research, I realized the novelty would were off quickly, and some people's definition of 'it's not that bad' did not come even close to mine.

I'm loathe to update a Mac. I don't know that I could bring myself to live through more than one on a Hak.

"It's not that bad."

That's fine. I'll stick with OEM kit.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

Everybody matters or nobody matters.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

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-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: bobinmurphy
Date: January 14, 2020 07:38AM
I'm started playing with it but haven't achieved any success yet. My goal is to get a Snow Leopard system running since I have some old apps that I occasionally need to run and my old Mac HW is slowly dying. I'm taking a completely different approach though and that may be the source of my problems. What I'd like to do is get it running in a Virtual environment on my NetBSD system using NVMM (which is pretty new but seems very robust). What I keep running into is that many of the on-line guides have links to hacks and tools that are now dead, even on TonyMacX86.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: January 14, 2020 08:55AM
I’ve done it, and ran a Hac for about 4 years as my primary machine.

It’s a time for money trade off. You have to build the machine, trouble shoot it until it boots, then go through steps to install MacOS on it. Then, every time you upgrade to a new version of MacOS, more hassles. Unless you put the stuff that boots you into MacOS on a separate drive, it can be tricky using disk utilities.

It’s definitely doable, and not that hard. But for me, and I did one of the vanilla installations, it was a significant time suck. Compared to my current 2010 Mac Pro, it easily took 3 times as much time and effort in maintenance. Was that worth th $1,000 I saved? At the time, yes. Over time, no.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: January 14, 2020 09:02AM
Yes.

Depending what you mean by successful.

It is not for the squeamish, the lazy, and those who lack attention to detail. It is an effort, a "labor of love" perhaps.

It can be fun. It can be frustration. Often at the same time.

I have built two. One about 7-8 years ago that was used as a dedicated HTPC. The latest I built last year and it is my main Mac. I built that one because I was tired of waiting for Apple to update the iMac to the latest CPUs. They pretty much came out just as I was building my Hack, but I was committed.

If you are going to go this route, I highly recommend that you follow as closely as possible a successful build on tonymac. That way, if you run into trouble, there will likely be some help available.

I followed this build:

[www.tonymacx86.com] >1200 pages of posts to this thread. The builder responds often and provides a lot of help. Almost too much info. I certainly have not read all of the posts. I think there were 700 pages when I built mine.

I have yet to get bluetooth working, but I haven't really put much effort into it. The only thing I'm missing w/o BT is unlock using Apple watch (and I do miss that!). Strangely, it was working when I had the hack on my workbench, but stopped sometime between there and its final resting place. My wireless mouse & keyboard are Logitech, so I don't need it for that.

Everything else (that I use) works. YMMV.

I have the total price somewhere, but I think it's at home. Pretty sure it was between $2000-$1500.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2020 09:03AM by Lux Interior.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: January 14, 2020 09:38AM
Built one a couple years ago, it is still my main system with it connected to my 27" 2009 iMac for display. Getting the main functions to work was relatively easy. But for instance, though there are patches to get sound working on the logic board I chose I punted and added an USB to audio dongle instead.

Another issue is problems with video after waking from full sleep under Sierra. Workaround is to not go into full sleep, or upgrade to High Sierra.

If your goal was to put together a system to support an older OS like Snow Leopard or Mavericks, I would not suggest it. Many of the utilities needed were done by people who have moved on, and as bobinmurphy posted there area lot of dead links and loss of knowledge on the fiddly details involved. But more recent OS versions should be okay.

Would I do it again? Ask me in another 2-3 years when this system is coming up on needing replacement. I had fun, worked through some frustrating bits, and will see how upgrading goes in a few months when I go to High Sierra or Mojave. I would not recommend as an only "Mac", I have my MBP to handle the functions Apple has tied to "genuine" Apple hardware. There are hacks to handle most of those, but get too fiddly for my taste.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: January 14, 2020 11:06AM
Last I built was an i5-3570K 3.4GHz; now retired.
Main Mac is now a heavily upgraded cMP 5,1.
Also use a 13" MBP 2012NR.
(not doing much photo/vid stuff)



39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

The search engine that doesn't track you.

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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: jdc
Date: January 14, 2020 11:40AM
I have a 2014 iMac -- Ive struggled with the uprade path as well. Looked at NUCs, looked at mini ATX builds, Ive read many sites, lots of videos.

Ive never built (or really even used) a PC or windows -- but not afraid of the techy part.

But the wierd thing is -- the price is the part that actually keeps killing me.

However I configure it -- Its always over $1000 -- closer to $1300. Basics -- PCIe drive, 32 GB ram, 8 GB VRAM, Tbolt 3, etc.

And I still need a screen. I would want 4K minimum (coming from a 5K iMac) -- and I certainly wouldnt want the chepaest no-name model you can buy. I would want the same color capabilities as an iMac. IPS. 500 nits. Adobe RGB, etc. So at least $400 more.

Problem is... Im right back to a nice 27" iMac price... and I still havnet put it together....



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: tenders
Date: January 14, 2020 11:58AM
I’ve built a few Hackintoshes, at first little ones mostly for fun, and then in 2014 I replaced my desktop with an i7/4770 that I’m still using and quite happy with on Mojave. No graphics card - too much complexity. I followed a TonyMac build as closely as I could.

When the machine is working, it’s great, and I feel like I put one over on The Man.

But there have been many instances when the machine did not work, and required major afternoons/evenings/days of futzing with, for reasons that included:
* Messed-up installations of Clover
* System upgrades that went awry, usually from a major version upgrade, but sometimes from incremental upgrades
* Fiddling, diddling, twiddling with audio drivers
* Fussy USB ports
* BIOS setting confusion
* iMessage compatibility (which I did get to work flawlessly, don’t ask me how)
* AirDrop compatibility (which I did get to work, I think with a BT module swapout)
* HandOff - which I don’t think works, and that I don’t care about

In the end the effort, frustration, inconvenience vastly outweighed the cost savings, curiosity factor, and desire to have an upgradable desktop at a reasonable price. I probably have several more years of useful life out of this machine but I won’t do it again. If I were a system admin overseeing dozens of these machines I’d probably be good at it but I have just one and the learning curve/quirk accommodation just isn’t worth it.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: January 14, 2020 12:12PM
Quote
jdc
Problem is... Im right back to a nice 27" iMac price... and I still havnet put it together....

Then there is no problem. Get an iMac!

In my case, I have no need for color accuracy. Two old Monoprice 30" LCDs and a 28" 4K LCD that I already had are connected to my Hack.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: pinion
Date: January 14, 2020 12:30PM
I think the others have given you a great picture. I sitll use my 2011 MBP but I'm currently posting from my Dell XPS 9360. Easily hackintoshable and I'm posting from 10.15.2 right now. Everything but the SD card is working and I did have to swap the WiFi card. I'm happy with it and at $800 a year ago the price was better than a new 13" MBP. If I had the money I would get a real Mac in a heart beat.



---“What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own.”
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: sekker
Date: January 14, 2020 12:39PM
Such gloom and doom!

Now is an IDEAL time to build a hackintosh. Why?

Apple has launched a functional terminal OS - Mojave. They will be supporting it for many years due to 32bit programs. And it's rock solid.

ALL of the hackintosh machines we built were primary computers or dedicated to tasks. They were terrific bang/buck. Sometimes you had issues with wifi or bluetooth, but getting a compatible card/dongle works well.

Buy a fully compatible motherboard, good graphics card, and a decent power supply. In the end, the hardware you buy can ALWAYS be repurposed into either Linux or Windows machines. My first hack was a dual core Pentium CPU, I recently rebuilt it with an SSD boot drive and windows 10 Pro - works great running Office 365 at our church. Started as a hackintosh Mac OS-based media center. Ended 10 years later as a daily driver using windows. Was used at least 3 other times in-between. At work, our video editing hack workstation made a series of terrific movie edits, then I replaced the boot drive to make a high-end windows box. Again, plenty of positive things to say.

However, I still think the most amazing bang/$$ right now is a 5k 27" 2017 iMac 'refurb' from our sponsor. Get quad core CPU, add a nice external monitor, and you have a fantastic workstation for under $2k.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: jdc
Date: January 14, 2020 01:01PM
Quote
Lux Interior
Quote
jdc
Problem is... Im right back to a nice 27" iMac price... and I still havnet put it together....
Then there is no problem. Get an iMac!
In my case, I have no need for color accuracy. Two old Monoprice 30" LCDs and a 28" 4K LCD that I already had are connected to my Hack.

Yeah, as a print designer, color accuracy is something I cant really pass on. Just bought a new monitor calibrator in fact... My plan will be to sell of this iMac and drop it on something new. 2019 if they dont radically change the 2020 version. Im in no hurry...

Sure wish OS X could be installed on anything... like "Bootcamp" for PCs



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: January 14, 2020 01:56PM
If you're thinking of a Hack instead of an iMac, then just get the iMac. IMO the iMac gives you closest to what you should (at the low and mid end) for the $ Apple charges.

I never built a Hack from scratch, preferring the NUC as all you ned to add is RAM and Drive, ie: no parts that need drivers. I tried with a Dell Optiplex 7010 and failed and haven't tried again though my PC at home contains Hack-compatible parts. Maybe one day…

Even though the NUC is pretty easy, it was failure at the beginning if you don't follow the instructions precisely. ie: if it specifies use a USB flash drive, don't use a USB-SATA connected drive. Doesn't work.

Once I had it up and running, it worked great (Broadwell i7 NUC as the Minis of the time were uncompetitive). You need to wait until the forums online tell you you can upgrade to the next x.1 or security update as other more technically capable people will do the testing. You may not like that but it never led me astray. I retired it only after replacing it with a gaming PC. I have 2 other Kaby Lake NUCintoshes, one being my primary work machine for a year until they bought me a 2018 Mini. One is now a 10.14 testing machine. and the other is dual boot for very light gaming (PC) and data storage (Mac).
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: Altered Horizons
Date: January 14, 2020 05:07PM
In my experience, the key to building a hackintosh is research. Go to tonymacx86.com and look over the builds. If you find one that suits you:

1. Makes sure the parts are still available.
2. Read and understand the build/install instructions.
3. Read through the thread(s) for that build and make sure you are aware of any problems/glitches with that build and if there are solutions.
4. If there are any unsolved problems/glitches with that build, decide if you can live with them.

Research is tedious, but if you don't do it, you're gonna pay for it in the end.

Two problems common to a lot of hacks is incompatible WiFi and Bluetooth. This is generally because the chips aren't recognized by macOS and and are soldered to the motherboard. Two solutions, use a motherboard that has a removable WiFi/Bluetooth card and use a compatible one or use a usb WiFi/Bluetooth adapter.

I'm a hobbyist and retired, so I have the time and inclination to hackintosh. While both my builds went fairly smoothly, getting everything right took some time, visits to tonymac and just plain problem solving. Now my builds work fine and need no further attention. While you can build a more powerful machine for less, you do need to figure in your time.

My first build was from scratch, using a Core i5 (Skylake) cpu. The known problem with this build was that sleep/wake did not work. Not a problem for me, since this machine was to be a server and never sleep. I replaced the WiFi/Bluetooth card with one that macOS likes and they work; although I'm using ethernet. It took some work to get Messages working, but some tutorials on tonymac helped. Now my house can text me if there is a problem. This machine currently runs Sierra and has been in operation since Aug. 2016.

For my second build, I decided to use an Intel NUC8 (Core i7 cpu). It currently runs Sierra, with Snow Leopard running in Virtualbox. This is destine to replace my main machine, a 2009 MBP (which I use as a desktop about 95% of the time). Had some glitches I had to work through, but it runs fine now. WiFi and Bluetooth don't work. I don't need Bluetooth and I added a usb WiFi adapter. I use ethernet in Sierra and WiFi in Snow Leopard; that way I can transfer files over the network between Sierra and Snow Leopard. Sleep works fine. I recently added Linux on an external drive. I've been running this machine for a year now.



Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. - Sir James Dewar
myHouse: [alteredhorizons.no-ip.org]
myHouse (front door - requires javascript & sound): [alteredhorizons.no-ip.org]

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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: steveroberts
Date: January 14, 2020 06:34PM
Thanks all for some really thoughtful and helpful responses.

SR
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: jdc
Date: January 14, 2020 09:17PM
FWIW, this is similar to the NUC I was looking at... 32 GB/1 TB/i7/Integrated GPU





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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Any Successful Hackintosh Builders Here?
Posted by: fauch
Date: January 19, 2020 10:26AM
I've been using one for years almost without a hitch (except for some occasional iMessage woes, but that is probably because I'm still running Mavericks).
One of these days I will update the OS but I'm just lazy and as they changed from Chimera to Clover after Mavs, and I'd probably have to do a clean install, I never bothered.

If you use one of the recommended builds from Tonymac it really is a breeze. They basically mimic hardware that Apple itself uses so it is compatible right out of the box. Even if not, most things can be patched with minimal difficulty. The initial install and config was the only part that was any more difficult than an actual Mac, and it really wasn't that hard. Once you have it up and running, you can usually just use the regular installer to update the OS.

I saved a LOT of money and basically got a Mac Pro caliber system for the price of a low end Mini and I have the PCI and RAM slots and empty drive bays. I doubt I would ever buy a proper Mac again, unless I really needed a MBP or something. Definitely not a desktop.
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