Mac Mini vs Hackintosh?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by AppleFanBoy91, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. AppleFanBoy91 macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2014
    Hello, I'm a student and I very much want to get a Mac. I've looked into it, and I'm not quite sure which is more worth it- a Hackintosh, or the Mac Mini? And of course there are rumours about a new Mac Mini coming out, which would obviously pump up the specs. Is a Hackintosh completely compatible with everything? Are you able to update it (after it's hackintoshed) without going through unibeast?

    Thanks, any help is greatly appreciated!
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Hackintoshes can be a viable alternative and be completely compatible, provided you choose the proper components. Personally I think for long term viability a Mini is a better approach as you never know what type of issues you may run into when you go to upgrade the OS when Apple updates its OS to a new version.

    check out the forums at insanelyMac to see what it would take.
  3. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Maflynn is right. If this is going to be your primary workstation, I would get a Mini. If this is your goof-off-and-experiment workstation, then try a Hackintosh.

    I was given a Dell Optiplex 755 (Core 2 Duo, 3GHz) and it works nicely as a Hackintosh. That being said, I still can't manage to get it upgraded beyond Mac OS X 10.7.5. I'm gonna try again this weekend, but just realize many Hackintoshes have similar upgradeability issues.
  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have a friend at work who wanted to upgrade his iMac. He decided to buy all the parts listed in one of the "tested" hackintosh configs. He tried and he tried to get OSX on the thing and he finally gave up and loaded Windows on the thing. :eek:


    A kitten died.


    My first Mac with OSX was a Mac mini and I got years of use out of it. I would only bother with a Hackintosh for tinkering.
  5. AppleFanBoy91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2014

    Thanks, I think I'll go for the Mac Mini once the next model comes out.

    Thanks for the advice!
  6. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    Wait and see what the new Mini will look like. What I'm afraid is the Mini will follow "The Thin and Non-Upgradable" trend. If that happens, with the soldered in memory and flash based storage, it will ruin the Mini for many of us. You will no longer be able to upgrade the memory and the storage, and will be stuck with the original configuration.

    To give you an example, my 2009 Mini, which originally came with 2Gb memory and 320gb HDD, now flies with a 500Gb SSD ($300) and an 8Gb memory upgrade ($80) and no doubt will continue to serve me for a lot longer than what Apple had in mind.

    Similarly you can buy a current generation Mac Mini from the refurbished store for about $600 and put a second drive (or SSD) in it and upgrade the memory to 16gb without spending too much money and effort.
  7. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Something else not mentioned is cost. A Hackintosh really only is "worth it", if you want a blazing fast gaming desktop. If you are going to go with integrated graphics, and 16GB of RAM or less, there really isn't much of a cost difference. Looking at a recommended Hack at one of the sites, their basic MicroATX Hackintosh is almost as expensive as a Base Mini!
  8. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Hackintosh way to go only for a power user.

    Building a hackintosh is the way to go for power users. If you have some very intensive computing to do then a Mini or iMac just won't cut it. If a Mini will handle what you want it to do then I absolutely feel the Mini is the way to go; at that point a hack just isn't worth the time and money unless you really want something to tinker with; sort of a hobby thing. For example my rig is a beast but I made it and there is no warranty on the entire unit, nobody to bring it to if something goes awry. Atm I am dealing with a faulty cpu cooling pump so I have to buy another cooler just so I can rma the pump. Kind of a pain. Do I like a blazing cpu and sli graphics? Heck yeah but it's not a turn key computer from the Apple store. That is the trade off.

    By the way I still love my 2010 Mini.
  9. jlus3, Mar 6, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
  10. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Frankly I think the iMac is the best bang for the buck, if you don't already have an excellent monitor. I couldn't go back to a non IPS 2560x1440 monitor, and even with the inexpensive direct-from-Korea models when you add one to a mini you're in a similar price range. YMMV.

    And I love hackintoshes. If you go conservative, they are quite cheap. Especially factoring in things like more monitor options, drive bays instead of external cases, cost of AppleCare (almost mandatory since you can't fix any new mac now), etc. But, on the other hand, the expensive bits these days are the SSDs, although they're coming down, but I wouldn't get any computer without one.
  11. MacCrazy5 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2014
    Not exactly. The base Hackintosh MicroATX is around $500-$600 depending on taxes, etc... and the base Hackintosh is probably 2 times faster than the standard Mac Mini would be. I love Apple software, but please don't attempt to compliment their hardware, that's extremely foolish. PC's -> Good hardware, bad software. Mac's -> Mediocre hardware, amazing software. Regardless, even the more advanced Hackintosh's are probably still 2 times faster. Don't under-estimate the hybrid, my friend. If you know your stuff about hardware and know how to build a computer well, your Hackintosh could be more dependable than ANY Mac, given that you use the perfect hardware to compliment Apple's amazing software.
  12. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    The only issues with hackintoshes - they are like Android phones. You may or may not get the next update, that's one reason that is concerning! I haven't been in the realm of newer computers but I remember back in the Leopard days you didn't know if your hackintosh would be stuck at 10.5.2 or if you could get 10.5.8
  13. MacCrazy5 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2014
    Yes, that is true. But, sometimes software updates are cluttered or have holes in them anyway. So, really, unless there's a major change that you're missing out on, that shouldn't matter so much. But, I know what you mean, and I understand. I am biased towards Hackintosh's because I'm on a budget, to be honest. But for example of software becoming slower as it updates, take Snow Leopard (10.6) vs Lion (10.7) for example; Snow Leopard is heaps faster and widely preferred by hardcore Mac users of course until Mountain Lion (10.8) was released. In conclusion on the issue of OS X that I demonstrated (which correlates with most software) the user should wait until a certain "family" or "line" of software hits it's prime through reviews rather than out of trust with Apple. I'm sure you understand and I'm sure there are many who disagree, it's just my personal approach and it saves me $ so I thought I'd share.

    P.S. This isn't necessarily off-topic b/c it still correlates with the software argument that I made with Mac Mini's being compared to OS X. Just thought I'd share my idea. ;-)
  14. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    What are you on? So the cost is a push, and here's what you get for 500-600
    1. Gigabyte Motherboard - $110
    2. Processor- i3 3.5ghz (faster ghz, but not faster overall) - $140
    3. RAM - 4GB - $50
    4. Crappy Case and power supply - $50 (hardly equates to a Mini, but whatever)
    5. Basic 1TB hard drive (yes slightly faster than the 2.5" drive that the Mini comes with) - $60
    6. Wifi card - $50

    That's a total of $510 for a system that is roughly on par with a Mini. To make something much more powerful, you would need to step up to a i5 Quad core Processor (+$100), Add in a decent SSD (add another $200), really should consider a better case and power supply (add another $50 at least). That's already up to almost $900! Now you are "double" the power of a base mini.
  15. MacCrazy5 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2014
    Why are you so technical? I was exaggerating when I said it was twice as fast... Lol... But yes, slightly everything on the CustoMac Mini is faster than the base Mac Mini. Oh, and here's proof that the CustoMac (Hack Mini)'s CPU is faster in every way; as the Mac Mini actually uses a laptop intel core i5-3210M while the Hack Mini uses a desktop version intel core i3-3225 which is faster, here's proof:

    Also, the RAM is more plentiful, allows more workspace, AND of better quality than OEM. Now, please tell me and show me ANY facts of how the base Mac Mini is faster, hmm?


    AND not to mention the Mac Mini uses a 5400RPM HDD, and the Hack Mini uses a 7200RPM HDD bahahah


    OH and P.S. the Hack Mini uses 8GB RAM, and the Mac Mini uses 4GB RAM... So, with that, I thought I'd put in a little fact that since the Intel HD Graphics 4000 card is integrated it gets 512MB VRAM with the Hack Mini vs 256MB VRAM with the Mac Mini Bahahahahahahahaha OMG I feel bad for you....
  16. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009

    Actually, the hack i pointed out for $50 is only for 4GB of RAM. I also pointed out the difference in the hard drive.

    The reason I point this out, is that Hacks only really work out if you go high end. Otherwise they are still basically within spitting distance in cost especially if you factor in QUALITY parts.

    I built a hack. It's on par (actually faster, but not by much) with a Base 2013 Mac Pro and cost me half as much as a Base Mac Pro. However, the cost savings is negligible unless you are trying to build a Hack Pro. Integrated graphics you might as well just buy a Mini and have a full warranty, guarentee supported hard ware, etc. etc.....

    To recommend anyone build a hackintosh that uses integrated graphics for (at best) a 20% savings, is ludicrous. That's why I made my original statement.
  17. MacCrazy5 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2014
    Well, for people on a budget, that's still the most "bang for your buck" that you can get. Btw sorry for the aggressiveness that's sorta my way of messin' around.
  18. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    But are they really? Again, performance it isn't that much better. Your link to CPU boss even says they are "too close to call", and if anything goes wrong its on you to fix and no guarentee that the hardware will be supported with the next OSX release. Again, "bang for your buck" with a difference of maybe $50, I'd spend the $50 (you can get a Base Mini regularly for $560) and know my investment is protected for years in the future.....

    As I already stated, a Hack only makes sense if you are trying to build a Hack Pro. That's where the Bang for your Buck is.
  19. MacCrazy5 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2014
    Ahh, I see where you're coming from. I would say though that the Mac Pro even the Hackintosh version would be too expensive for people on a strict budget. I guess I'm biased towards it because it's going to be my first build and my only personal laptop is what I'm on now - a MacBook 2,1. Still yet, regardless, the Mac Mini equivalent to the Hack Mini, and the Hack Mini itself, are very fast for their size and the budget. I have a very strict budget as I only get 16 hours of work a week on $8.75 w/ 5% income tax, so this is exciting for me to build this. Sorry for the un-needed hype, but I feel it's justified. In conclusion, I agree the Hack Mini should only be a project and not main computer but in my opinion it's great for a cheap first project. :cool:
  20. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    While true my hackintosh might get hosed with some software upgrade in the future, it's also true that it's certainly easier to replace hardware. New iMacs, for example, are a great value component wise, but you can't upgrade much besides drives and RAM, and the former only externally. I'm able to use stuff with it (like a serial port) that I couldn't on my iMac without buying other stuff. So depending on what you need, it can be a great value aside from the basic components.
  21. macproredux macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2014
    Hackintosh appeals to certain types of people, others not so much. If tinkering is your thing all Mac's will disapoint at sime time along the line.
  22. dhazeghi macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2006
    Base mini is $600. For $500 I can have (prices from NewEgg):

    CPU: Intel Core i5 4430 ($190)
    MB: Gigabyte GA-B85M-DS3H ($65)
    Case: Rosewill R103A mid-tower + 350W PSU ($45)
    RAM: HyperX Blu 8GB DDR3 1333 ($65)
    HDD: Western Digital 1TB 7200RPM Blue ($60)
    DVD: LG Super Multi Drive ($20)
    GPU: Gigabyte GV-N610SL Nvidia GT 610 1GB ($45)

    Despite paying less, I think it's pretty hard to argue that the Mini is anywhere close performance wise.

    Provided you remember to clone your system before running OS updates, you really don't have to worry about hosing your system. Admittedly, it's a bit more work, but it's hardly painful precaution.

    The work is usually in the initial setup. Once that's taken care of, keeping it running is generally very little effort.
  23. robE89 macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2011
    I'm kinda in the same spot, was ready to buy an hackintosh pc but my mobo failed, got the money back and now I'm waiting to see what coming up.

    What many fails to see is that no hackintosh can't rival the size of the mac mini. Some do love bigger cases, some don't, but mac mini is really a good piece of hardware and software. You can install mac os hassle-free and windows also. I like small/elegant/non-bulky things and that's why i'm waiting to see what down the pipe on the next mac mini. Of course, if you want to game, then 100% hackintosh is the way. I've always installed hackintosh on my pc's but i have to say, you struggle with some and not so much with others but there can always be some sort of small problems like buzzing sound because of the sound card driver, wifi-bluetooth driver problems / imessage-icloud problems, or the process you have to go through when you need to install osx updates, small things but can be very, very irritable. I have an corsair 250D and ready to make an hackintosh if there is something good coming up it's hard, they both have good and bad parts :) but that mac mini SIZE and Design just...can't get it out of my head :(
  24. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Dec 13, 2007
    I'd vote for the Mac Mini as well. About this time last year I was considering waiting for an update. Glad I didn't, but at this point you shouldn't have to wait long and considering what you get, the Mini is just such a nice neat package, why would you want to mess around with building your own?

    Something for you to consider: when I bought my Mac Mini I had options, one of which was an SSD. I really wanted that, but they only offered it with the upgraded processor and what with buying a wireless keyboard and trackpad my bill was climbing towards $1000, so I upgraded to the i7, but didn't get the SSD thinking I could add one later. There's a certain risk to that and prices really haven't gotten that much better so I still haven't done anything about it. The fact is, my Mac Mini isn't utilized that much and I'm pretty happy with it as is. I'm glad I chose to get the keyboard and trackpad over the SSD and will one day address that when prices come down, but you might want to put this into your thought process as only you know what's important to you. A lot of people are hoping and speculating that Apple will start offering SSDs for the base Mini or making it standard, but I'd call that hope and speculation and little more.

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