Faced with a dilemma, Mac Mini or Hackintosh?

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
My sister offered to buy my MacBook off of me, it is in my signature if you need specs.

She offered $600. Cash.

For more information, below.

My new question is, should I go for a Mac Mini base model or build a hackintosh with the specs below?

More information!

So my idea, build a hackintosh. I had a few in the past, literally my budget would be $600. What to do? Take the offer, build a basic system (not gaming-quality) with decent specs (at least as good as the current MacBook I have) and expand it with more storage and a great video card in the future?

I'm tempted to take the deal, but I have to make sure I can afford the parts. Labor isn't a problem as I love building computers and being able to see a nice accomplishment. I will probably get a laptop (probably a MacBook air from 2010 or so) for Christmas, so the stretch of laptop less time is very slim.

Just priced everything that I would need to start out.

Optical drive - ASUS DVD drive - $16.99

Case - NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan Black - $64.99

Storage drive - Western Digital Caviar Blue 250GB - $59.99

Graphics - MSI N640GT-MD2GD3/OC GeFirce GT 640 2GB - $109.99

Power supply - Cooler Master GX 650W ATX 80 plus

Memory - CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) - $47.99

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3P LGA 1155 Micro ATX - $94.99

CPU - Intel Core i3-2100 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz LGA 1155 Dual Core

Subtotal - $594.92

Shipping - $15.09

Grand total - $610.01

So in the end I will double my ram, get a better CPU, and slightly better graphics for the time being. As a boot drive I will be reusing a 64GB SSD from my MacBook Optibay.
 
Last edited:

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
465
Sorry but I am going to be that guy and ask - why not just give the computer to your sister if she wants it instead of taking her money for it?
 

boomhower

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2011
1,559
50
A Hackintosh is an ongoing pain the butt. Buy the proper hardware to start and you can get it up and running without to much drama. But once the first update comes out the potential for hair pulling issues arise and get worse with every update. If you want to run OS X, stick with an Apple computer.
 

iAppl3Fan

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2011
789
19
$600 is a good price for the age of that laptop. However, if it was my sister, I would just give her the laptop.

If you sell it, get a Mac Mini. It should be in your budget.
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
Sorry but I am going to be that guy and ask - why not just give the computer to your sister if she wants it instead of taking her money for it?
$600 is a good price for the age of that laptop. However, if it was my sister, I would just give her the laptop.
This would be ideal, if I had a job. And if this wasn't my only computer. She has money to burn apparently, and she wants a MacBook, she was going to go eBay and buy one but said she would rather buy mine to avoid possible damages in shipping and so she knows exactly what she's getting.

So the answer is, I'd love to do that, but its not possible because I wouldn't have a computer or money to buy one.
 

iAppl3Fan

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2011
789
19
This would be ideal, if I had a job. And if this wasn't my only computer. She has money to burn apparently, and she wants a MacBook, she was going to go eBay and buy one but said she would rather buy mine to avoid possible damages in shipping and so she knows exactly what she's getting.

So the answer is, I'd love to do that, but its not possible because I wouldn't have a computer or money to buy one.
How about instead of hackintosh go with Mac mini?
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
A Hackintosh is an ongoing pain the butt. Buy the proper hardware to start and you can get it up and running without to much drama. But once the first update comes out the potential for hair pulling issues arise and get worse with every update. If you want to run OS X, stick with an Apple computer.
My MacBook most likely won't be supported by 10.9 anyway, and the motherboard and video card work with OS X out of the box. I know what a hackintosh involves and I am prepared to take risk of unsupported hardware, which will inevitably be upgraded in the future anyway.

My only choice for an Apple computer at the moment is the Mac Mini... I don't think the upgrade would be significant enough and I would take a hit due to the amount of ram be half of what i currently run.

How about instead of hackintosh go with Mac mini?
See above please!
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
465
This would be ideal, if I had a job. And if this wasn't my only computer. She has money to burn apparently, and she wants a MacBook, she was going to go eBay and buy one but said she would rather buy mine to avoid possible damages in shipping and so she knows exactly what she's getting.

So the answer is, I'd love to do that, but its not possible because I wouldn't have a computer or money to buy one.
That's understandable, I hope that did not come off as me getting at your morals or anything, I was just curious.

So, basically you are looking for the "best" way to spend the $600 and the outcome of that is going to be whether or not you take the offer? If that's the case, do what you have planned there as it just fits your budget - not much room to move around or suggest upgrades.

If you are looking for reinforcement to this idea then I would say in terms of computing, building your own desktop computer (hackintosh or not) is the most financially efficient way to go about it - so I would simply do this if you have the experience with it rather than purchasing something already built or assembled and take advantage of the expandability of the system in the future as you have stated if that is something you find necessary when the funds are there.

Good luck.
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
That's understandable, I hope that did not come off as me getting at your morals or anything, I was just curious.

So, basically you are looking for the "best" way to spend the $600 and the outcome of that is going to be whether or not you take the offer? If that's the case, do what you have planned there as it just fits your budget - not much room to move around or suggest upgrades.

If you are looking for reinforcement to this idea then I would say in terms of computing, building your own desktop computer (hackintosh or not) is the most financially efficient way to go about it - so I would simply do this if you have the experience with it rather than purchasing something already built or assembled and take advantage of the expandability of the system in the future as you have stated if that is something you find necessary when the funds are there.

Good luck.
Thanks. I understand people are curious, I would be too. :p

Anyway, I will take the deal if she wants to go with it. I'll know by tomorrow probably.

I am leaning towards building one but I'm just not sure yet...

Going with a Mini is tempting... I have never bought a new computer so it would be a good experience to actually buy one, but I still feel I would take a performance hit.
 

charliex5

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2008
181
0
Seattle, WA
I will almost always vote for the hackintosh if only because it's so much fun to tinker with. I would warn that it's more difficult to do without an actual Mac. Not impossible, but much more difficult.
 

takezo808

macrumors member
Aug 7, 2011
98
0
A Hackintosh is an ongoing pain the butt. Buy the proper hardware to start and you can get it up and running without to much drama. But once the first update comes out the potential for hair pulling issues arise and get worse with every update. If you want to run OS X, stick with an Apple computer.
It's called hackingtosh for a reason. the diffrent variations of PC hardware make it difficult to get reliable drivers made. the hactinosh homebrew sceen is for the most adept computer user. anyone who asks a noob orientated forum like macrumors to see if it's a good idea or not should just not do it. :p

even if you did do it. hackintosh is only for nerds to feel good and pat themselves on the back, then realise they can't use it as intended. They still need a real mac. I know from experience. you only can pat you own back for so long. :eek:
 

charliex5

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2008
181
0
Seattle, WA
It's called hackingtosh for a reason. the diffrent variations of PC hardware make it difficult to get reliable drivers made. the hactinosh homebrew sceen is for the most adept computer user. anyone who asks a noob orientated forum like macrumors to see if it's a good idea or not should just not do it. :p

even if you did do it. hackintosh is only for nerds to feel good and pat themselves on the back, then realise they can't use it as intended. They still need a real mac. I know from experience. you only can pat you own back for so long. :eek:
Huh? Wow, you've clearly got some anger issues to work out regarding hackintoshing. Its really not that big of a deal. Some people enjoy tinkering, you obviously don't.

My hackintosh has been flawless since Snow Leopard. Updates are a non issue for me. It was also indispensable during architecture school for rendering and modeling. It was exactly as I intended and still runs perfectly though I don't use it as much as I'm on the go.
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
It's called hackingtosh for a reason. the diffrent variations of PC hardware make it difficult to get reliable drivers made. the hactinosh homebrew sceen is for the most adept computer user. anyone who asks a noob orientated forum like macrumors to see if it's a good idea or not should just not do it. :p

even if you did do it. hackintosh is only for nerds to feel good and pat themselves on the back, then realise they can't use it as intended. They still need a real mac. I know from experience. you only can pat you own back for so long. :eek:
Don't go throwing around "noob" when you don't know my skill set. I have hackintoshed before. Once using a guide that was fool proof for a netbook, and once from scratch. Both were flawless. I went from Snow Leopard to Lion with 0 issues and even had HDMI working. I sold that computer when I got my real Mac, which I still had problems with. I am not a noob. I know what to do and know what's involved in hackintoshing.

And telling me not to ask on MacRumors was stupid. Go to the Mac Pro and iMac forums and you'll see numerous threads about hackintoshing.

So far the responses seem pretty even between Mac Mini and Hackintosh. Maybe I'll set up a poll.

If you don't have anything useful to contribute to this thread, then please don't post. If you would like to provide some helpful advice please do, but don't just assume everyone doesn't know what they are doing. Thanks.
 

r0k

macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
3,612
73
Detroit
Don't go throwing around "noob" when you don't know my skill set. I have hackintoshed before. Once using a guide that was fool proof for a netbook, and once from scratch. Both were flawless. I went from Snow Leopard to Lion with 0 issues and even had HDMI working. I sold that computer when I got my real Mac, which I still had problems with. I am not a noob. I know what to do and know what's involved in hackintoshing.

And telling me not to ask on MacRumors was stupid. Go to the Mac Pro and iMac forums and you'll see numerous threads about hackintoshing.

So far the responses seem pretty even between Mac Mini and Hackintosh. Maybe I'll set up a poll.

If you don't have anything useful to contribute to this thread, then please don't post. If you would like to provide some helpful advice please do, but don't just assume everyone doesn't know what they are doing. Thanks.
I agree nobody should be browbeating you about Hackintoshing. I do, however have one rather dismal data point based on personal experience. I have a friend at work who bought the exact motherboard, etc that were listed on insanelymac and then proceeded to try and install Snow Leopard. When he couldn't get it to work, he wound up putting...

wait for it...

Windows on the thing.

That's the real risk you are facing. You face the risk of shelling out close to $600 in parts and being stuck with Windows. I would say that hackintoshing carries a financial risk as much as a tinkering risk. Quite often, tinkerers can afford to buy extra parts and carry the balance on their credit card long enough to see if the new part works or not. In your situation, your funds are limited and while I don't know your tinkering skills, I do suggest getting a refurb Mini is a lower risk option. Of course you'll have to buy a keyboard, mouse and monitor but those can be had fairly cheap.

BTW, selling your 2008 MB for $600 sounds like the price Microcenter would charge for the same thing so you aren't overcharging.
 

CrickettGrrrl

macrumors 6502a
Feb 10, 2012
984
274
B'more or Less
I think BlueRoom's suggestion about a refurb Mac Mini is great. Then buy additional RAM with the $ difference. My experience with 2 refurbs has been pretty good.
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
I agree nobody should be browbeating you about Hackintoshing. I do, however have one rather dismal data point based on personal experience. I have a friend at work who bought the exact motherboard, etc that were listed on insanelymac and then proceeded to try and install Snow Leopard. When he couldn't get it to work, he wound up putting...

wait for it...

Windows on the thing.

That's the real risk you are facing. You face the risk of shelling out close to $600 in parts and being stuck with Windows. I would say that hackintoshing carries a financial risk as much as a tinkering risk. Quite often, tinkerers can afford to buy extra parts and carry the balance on their credit card long enough to see if the new part works or not. In your situation, your funds are limited and while I don't know your tinkering skills, I do suggest getting a refurb Mini is a lower risk option. Of course you'll have to buy a keyboard, mouse and monitor but those can be had fairly cheap.

BTW, selling your 2008 MB for $600 sounds like the price Microcenter would charge for the same thing so you aren't overcharging.
I hope its supported in Lion, if not I can probably return it and guilt some cash off someone. I'm dual booting Windows 7 and OS X.

For the Mini, I'm stuck with the Mini graphics, no upgrading from there. That's what scares me.

I have a monitor, keyboard and mouse already so im good there.


Oh! And I almost forgot, she sold me her old 3GS for $75 last year so I feel less guilty selling it to her instead if giving it away
 

Bob Coxner

macrumors 6502a
Mar 24, 2011
795
25
Get a refurbished Mac Mini from Apple. No hassles and only $530
Mac Mini refurbs from Apple are as scarce as unicorns, at least the cheaper ones are. I just checked and the only one available at the moment is a Mac Mini server for $1395. The cheap ones sell out literally within minutes on the rare occasions when they do come around.

There are a couple of sites that will send you an email alert when a specific model becomes available. Even then I've found that they're often sold out before I can get one. Here's one alert service: http://www.refurb-store.com/en/
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
Mac Mini refurbs from Apple are as scarce as unicorns, at least the cheaper ones are. I just checked and the only one available at the moment is a Mac Mini server for $1395. The cheap ones sell out literally within minutes on the rare occasions when they do come around.

There are a couple of sites that will send you an email alert when a specific model becomes available. Even then I've found that they're often sold out before I can get one. Here's one alert service: http://www.refurb-store.com/en/
I checked this morning and they had three models ranging from $799-$999

They do sell out fast! :eek:
 

Fwiler

macrumors newbie
Sep 18, 2007
7
0
Wait

I would wait for the i3 3225 with 4000 graphics which are natively supported in ML. It should be out this week. Then you won't have to run any dsdt's. and you can skip the video card for now.
(I would look at a different case too, for now)
 

Orange Furball

macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 18, 2012
1,325
5
Scranton, PA, USA
I would wait for the i3 3225 with 4000 graphics which are natively supported in ML. It should be out this week. Then you won't have to run any dsdt's. and you can skip the video card for now.
(I would look at a different case too, for now)
I switched the case. I'm getting a different NZXT one now. Don't quite remember which one...
 

toxic

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2008
1,664
1
you mentioned you've had hackintoshes before, so aren't you more qualified than most people here to answer your question?

right now I have a hackintosh, which replaced a Mac Pro, and a Macbook Air. I think the choice is pretty simple: hackintosh for performance, Mini for stability. so just a matter of which is more important to you.