Mac mini vs hack

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 7H4, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. 7H4 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Location:
    Carrollton, Texas
    #1
    (Before I begin I do realize that this isn't the site to ask about hackintosh related things. I just feel like this site will be less biased one way or another, And I will get better advice)
    So, I have begun to look at getting a new computer since my last one died on me a few months ago. I had originally planned on getting a Mac mini as that suited my needs just fine and was one of the few macs in my price range. After the 2014 update was announced and stores began selling out of their remaining 2012 stock, I was left with no option to upgrade the ram, which is something I feel is very important. I began to look at building a hackintosh, and while it seemed very sophisticated for me, I loved the ability to uprade any of the hardware any time I wanted. One thing about the hacks is that all the features of OSX may not work properly, and upgrading to a new version of OSX would be very difficult. Since I wouldn't be doing anything that would really require a very powerful machine, would a mini (500gb drive and 8gb ram) really be better?
     
  2. Pharmscott macrumors 6502a

    Pharmscott

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #2
    Only consider a hackintosh if you want to tweak and adjust your system often. This includes time spent researching quirky issues. If you'd rather have a computer that just works fine all the time, get the mini (and don't let those who say they ruined it speak too loudly - it's still a great computer).
     
  3. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2014
    #3
    The Hackintosh route consumes a lot of time and creates a lot of frustration. Go down the Hackintosh route if you are willing to endure. If you are the type of person who doesn't have much free time and needs to get things done at times, a Hackintosh may not be good.
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #4
    I've had a hackintosh, and at times it posed less of a maintenance issue than my real Macs. And certainly far far easier to maintain when you factor in hardware issues. And I had a very tweaked system with tons of third party kexts, etc.

    I wouldn't say it's "very difficult" to upgrade. I went through three system changes without any more issues than I've had on other Macs. And notice that this forum is full of failed upgrades of Apple OS's on Apple hardware.

    That being said, it's not for someone who isn't comfortable editing a plist or manually moving or deleting kexts or running sudo Terminal commands. And it's quite interesting, and you learn a lot about your Mac. Just depends on your needs and what you wanna accomplish with it.
     
  5. adam9c1 macrumors 68000

    adam9c1

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #5
    I started with a hackintosh, then a Mac mini, then 2008 mp and now 2009 mp. (I'm not counting a few G4s way back).

    Hackintosh made me crave a faster machine.

    I think for some it's a good stepping point.
     
  6. theusualsuspect macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    #6
    I like hackintoshes for non primary machines. I have one that's sort of a HTPC/server/time machine, and it's great. I don't need to have the latest OS, so I upgrade when I have the time to mess with it. It's on 24/7 and is reliable, but little weird things pop up once in a while which make it annoying. That's why for non primary machines they are great.

    Personally, if you can budget some time once in while to dig around the internet for odd problems that pop up (boot loop, sound/video issue, etc) then hacks are the best bang for your buck. But if you value your time, get an apple branded mac and leave the hacks as a hobby.
     
  7. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #7
    Running a hackintosh has a lot of similarities to running Linux in the early-to-mid nineties. It's a great (but sometimes frustrating) way to gain an understanding of how OS X really works and how it interacts with your hardware, and it's a great way to see if you can live with the system before committing serious money.

    That said, OS X on Apple hardware is a lot more comfortable than on a hackintosh if you value your time and plan to use it as your primary computer.
     
  8. AlecZ macrumors 65816

    AlecZ

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #8
    I tried installing Mavericks on a Dell Vostro desktop. Everything worked except for the ethernet and sound card, and I had to install some kexts to make those kinda work (sound is still quiet, and ethernet dies after the computer sleeps). But the rest of the system was very smooth, and it would have been fine if I had gotten a PCI ethernet card and some other sound card. I suppose if you followed one of the many Hackintosh hardware guides posted on Hacktinosh forums, you'd be able to make it run without any extra tweaking.

    ----------

    I think you're overestimating the difficulty of making a Hackintosh. Tools such as the Chimera installer from TonyMacX86 have made it much easier than dealing with an old Linux operating system. Either that, or I'm overestimating the difficulty of using Slackware Linux ;) If you use the correct hardware, all the low-level Hackintosh hacking is already done for you by others. Of course, a real Mac saves a lot of time/effort, but not as much as you suggest.
     
  9. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    #9
    I think you need to go second user on either a Mini (2012) or a Mac Pro 5,1. You will get frustrated with the current Mini and personally I have avoided the Mackintosh route because of the uncertainty surrounding software updates. I like the idea of choosing my own hardware but if I wanted a string of compatibility issues every time I did an update I'd run Windows ;)

    If I were in your shoes now I would go for a Mac Pro 5,1 as it would give you the most flexibility and you won't have issues with the OS.
     
  10. Mikael H macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    #10
    I have to admit it's been a while since I experimented with hackintoshes, and when I did, I did based on my lack of resources, which meant that I wasn't entirely free to choose my own hardware. That experience was not unlike my early attempts at Linux.
    That said, Slackware was my favorite OS for a long time. :D

    The main similarity, may be that a newbie might get discouraged by reading how much of an expert you need to be to set such a system up, when in fact it's just a matter of trying.
     
  11. brentmore macrumors 6502

    brentmore

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    ATX
    #11
    My hackintosh experience was motivated mostly out of curiosity and wanting to use whatever hardware I owned at the time. I echo the comments about it potentially being very frustrating, but I found that I learned more about the Mac OS in my experience than by any other method. Curiosity + ample opportunities for things to work only halfway created a good learning experience.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    I created a hackintosh, both building machine from the ground up, and also installing OS X on an existing laptop and computer. In both cases, I found I was less willing to update the system due to causing issues with the stability.

    Overall, given the price of Mac Minis, I'd say get the Mac Mini and avoid the hackintosh. You're not really saving anything.
     
  13. AlecZ macrumors 65816

    AlecZ

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    #13
    Maybe that's why Apple pushes so many OS updates that are easy to install on legit Macs. They dissuade Hackintosh users ;)
     
  14. 7H4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Location:
    Carrollton, Texas
    #14
    Thanks for your input everyone! I have decided to go with the 2014 mini with 8gb ram. I will be considering building a hack at some point later this year when I have more time available to me.
     
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    Which model did you get?

    For my needs, given cost as an issue (no Mac Pro for me), I'll end up building a PC and may or may not put OSX on it. The Mac Mini of 2014 is a huge step backwards for me as my apps definitely take advantage of multi-core. Most likely I'll go for a hex core with 16 or 32gigs RAM as I used art/photo oriented software and also engage in VMs.

    Enjoy your New Mini and a happy New Year to you
     
  16. 7H4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2014
    Location:
    Carrollton, Texas
    #16
    I ended up getting the base model with the 8gb of ram. I don't do anything like advanced video editing or gaming so it will be fine for my needs. Suits me for what I can afford.
     
  17. Celebmir macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    #17
    I have a MBP that was my primary computer for work and a PC for other things. I also have a mini connected to the TV. When the PC was getting old I decided to build a computer so I could run both Windows and OSX.

    So I looked at tonymacx86 and used recommended hardware to build my computer. There were some learning needed but that was fun and now it just works. I don't think it was hard and updates works great. I need to install sound drivers after every upgrade but it takes 2 minutes. I use both Magic Mouse and trackpad with it.

    My Hackintosh is now my primary computer and I seldom boot it in Windows. My MBP is only used in bed watching Simpsons.

    I was planning to buy a new mini when the one I own gets too old but that will not happen after what they did with the last update.

    Apples hardware gets harder and harder to like.
     
  18. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #18
    Glad it works well for you. Happy 2015.

    ----------

    I will be doing the same in 2015 in moving over to PC. Apple for me already is hard to like which bothers me. I have built PCs dating back to 386 on up and look forward to reading TonyMac and other sites about which hardware will work best in case OSX becomes my choice. Maybe something along the lines of an mATX i7 hexcore set up with TB.
     

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