iMac 5K, rMBP, or Hackintosh and rMBA

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by capitanbuzo, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. capitanbuzo macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    I have the itch for a new computer. Currently I have a 2009 MP with a flashed graphics card, and a 2010 MBP with a new SSD. I plan on using my next computer just for browsing and some minor gaming.

    Here is what I am considering. Getting a 5K iMac and getting the core i7, upgraded graphics, probably just a 256GB SSD as I can use an external 512GB SSD for everything else (all my legacy Macs don't have USB 3.0), upgrade the RAM to 32 GB and be it the door for $3K - $3.2K. Option two is getting now or waiting for a new 15" rMBP and getting the high end model and be out the door for circa $2.3K.

    What I've been considering lately is building a Hackintosh. I've tried this once before about 5 years ago right when the Core i7 first came out. I was in more of a budget then and didn't realize how important the motherboard selection would be. Now, I'd follow one of Tonymacx86 builds, with a 4790k, probably try a GTX 970, and buy a circa $700 4k monitor to use. Budgeting about $2K for the build. I'd sell my current MBP, keeping my MP (what I've seen them sell for, $500 or less just doesn't seem worth getting rid of it to me) and would probably buy a rMBA to supplement my iPad for travels. I do like tinkering with things and it seems like it won't be as much of a pain to work out issues as it was 5 years ago.

    Mind you, I am not using any of these machines for work, just my own enjoyment. Overall, what do you guys think is a good option? I know the Hackintosh won't have resale value, but it costs lest initially and is more upgrade able so that aspect I feel is relatively comparable.
  2. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I like to tinker, and I like my toys. I've own a couple of rMBPs (mid-2012 and a late-2013 connected to a Dell 27" 4k monitor), and a 2012 Mac Mini Server for files and my media. I bought the 4k monitor because I wanted more real estate for my rMBP.

    Then, a friend called last week to go to lunch, a couple of blocks from an Apple Store. I made a mistake - I went in to check out the riMac...

    I should have sold my rMBP, not have purchased a 4k monitor, and just bought the riMac. The VESA version, and put it on a Herman Miller Flo+ arm. My goodness, the riMac is a nice piece of equipment - it's all about that screen.

    To get over my erring of my ways, I stopped in a local woodworking store and bought a Fein Multmaster, so I can tinker this weekend and get my mind off of Macs and electronics for now... :)
  3. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    You have discovered the painful truth. Once you see a Retina iMac's display, everything else becomes inferior ;)
  4. itsOver9000 macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2013
    B.F., KS
    For the $2k - $3.2k you're thinking of spending couldn't you put some of that money into your Mac Pro to make a machine that would rival the new Mac Pro and still get a nice 4k screen? Just a thought.
  5. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    Or I could make a hackintosh for cheaper that accomplishes the same purpose.
  6. MCSN macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2012
    yes but it would be your hackintosh, with your special blood sweat and tears assembly, and the day of its debut, or rather the 2a-4a moment of glory, when it chimes in your fresh desktop environment, you can say, this is here because of your efforts and your guile in mixing and matching the components.

    however, with a retina 5k you will have instant fame. effortless glow of superiority.

    you could make two hackintoshes and donate one to charity and still have $$ to spare.
  7. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    I faced the same dilemma a while ago and went the Hackintosh. I since ended up switching to Windows for various reasons (not something I'm proud of) but essentially what I'll say is:

    It's a lot of work to get a system working properly - I definitely wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart. That said, if you've got hardware that matches what's on the TonyMacX86 lists you should be alright.

    You'll almost certainly get a system that's substantially better value for money and which you can actually upgrade over time. It's just whether you think it's worth the amount of time it'll take to get a fully functional hackintosh.

    It took me quite a while to get a functional system but once everything was all working it was wonderful - everything worked perfectly and without issues. I had a few issues with graphical glitches (Nvidia GeForce GTX 660) but all very minor.
  8. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    How did you feel about the support system over there? My plan is to copy one of the successful builds over there and hope for the best if I go that route. For my purposes, I, starting to think the 5k iMac would just collect a lot of dust. I'm starting to lean towards a Hackintosh and wait for a Skylake rMBP.
  9. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040


    Feb 25, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Why on earth would you need 32GB of RAM for browsing and light gaming? :confused:
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Stick to one of the golden builds on say the tonymac site and you're pretty good to go. I had hiccups with my 4770 build, but it was pretty fun. And if you're the sort of person who tweaks your system a lot, then the extra time futzing with upgrades isn't a big deal. I did have some vexing issues with stuff like Messages, but OTOH some stuff worked better.

    But I sold it and got the riMac.

    That screen. You can't duplicate it. Makes a huge difference since it's what you look at all the time you're using the machine. For me, my interface into the computer is way more important than speed specs, etc.
  11. Abbara macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2014
    I'm pretty baffled by your list of options considering 'browsing and light gaming'. I mean, you can do that comfortably on a few hundred dollars, not a few thousand dollars.

    A large retina seems to be a really big deal to you though, just my impression. So I'd buy the iMac Retina base model, but choose the SSD. Apple likes to charge $1.50 per gigabyte, so I'd go with a small SSD, and then get an external $0.08 per gigabyte HD. 256gb SSD costs nothing extra. Really no need for other upgrades with your usage.

    If you do upgrade, sure the i7 might be a decent idea seeing as it's a device you may use into the next decade, but not strictly necessary really again. And for memory:

    Your base processor and memory should be completely fine for your usage though. I mean look at this chart:


    So unless you're doing some heavy stuff, I really, really wouldn't be concerned with a base model not being able to do browsing and light gaming you mentioned.

    It'll likely still carry ~$1k resale value by 2020 when you'll want something new. So your effective price would be about $1.5k or so, for 5 years is $25 a month, excluding any issues or repairs. Great deal for an amazing piece on your desk.

    Hackintosh... I think value wise it makes a lot of sense unless you also need a 4k display, you know? Like if you have a 23" screen laying around and just need the Hackintosh, sure... Great value. You can be done for a little over $1k for a beastly desktop that can compete or beat a Mac Pro, and even if you only get $200 back 5 years later, it's a great deal.

    But if you also need to buy a $700-$1000 display on top, it's suddenly not as great a value anymore. It starts to approach iMac price territory. And considering you easily lose $500-$1000 on resale value, it's not a better deal.

    And if it's not a better deal, you'd generally want to choose a clean setup in a single thin retina Imac with proper support, over a slightly more cluttered and less refined setup in two pieces: a Hackintosh and e.g. a Philips screen, without the same Mac support and more headaches and risks. Especially when the iMac is a 5k display instead of 4k.

    Hope that helps.
  12. capitanbuzo thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    Pick like to do things right the first time around. I know I'll have a task and need it so might as well get it.

    The one combo of the new MacBook and riMac is tempting but it costs quite a lot for the the riMac once you beef up everything. I was starting to lean towards waiting for a Skylake rMBP and just have the one but the riMac, MacBook, and Hackintosh keep making me change my mind.

    I've been contemplating a base riMac but I'm just worried about performance issues when reading about it. I have extra displays but if I went for a Hackintosh, I'd look at some of the Asus/Samsung 4K monitors that rube $400-500. I know the cost breakdown, this isn't my first time doing this (and I'm a CPA so annual cost breakdown is a normal measure). I think I would be around $2K for a Hackintosh build with a 4K monitor and a GTX 970 to power it. I'm just concerned about the FPS is Skyrim, WoW, Civ, etc from a 290 or 295 rIMac. If a base rIMac could handle it all well with the taxing 5K display, I'd go that with a retina MacBook but I have my doubts reading it and can't really test it myself. The other thought is that a rMBP with Skylake might serve best as a dual purpose machine button that's an after thought. I also intended to use my current 512GB crucial SSD in my USB 3.0 enclosure along with upgrading to 24GB of RAM through crucial.
  13. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    If you are not relying on this machine in any way for work and you want to 'tinker' a little then go for the Hackintosh. I say that because it will never be officially supported and if an update breaks anything it could be a while before a work around is found. If you rely on it for work then stick with the supported routes - iMac, etc.

    Having said all of that custom hardware enables you to get the best performance. I have a nMP (6-core D700's) and use is mainly as a VMware lab, some photo editing and occasionally some games in boot camp. Overall, I'd say i'm disappointed at the gaming performance, but I do like the build quality and how quiet and small it is. If I had to do it again though I'd be tempted by building a Hackintosh and adding a 12 or 14 core Xeon in there and loads of RAM. It would still be cheaper than the nMP.

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