Mac or Hackintosh

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by hab.786, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. hab.786 macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    Hi peeps, this is my first post ever on this site... :-|

    I've just started a Graphics Design degree and all the computers in my uni are Macs. So, I need to make the ever-delighting switch from PC to Mac. And due to the fact that I'll be rendering high graphics and developing large-scale sites almost all the time, I want one that is reasonably high spec. So i7 cpu, 2tb hdd plus 120gb ssd, 16gb ram etc. The usuals...

    But my question is;

    Should I purchase a Hackintosh or an actual iMac / Mac Mini?

    Does the hackintosh work EXACTLY the same as an actual mac? Will I have problems in the future? Is any official support offered? Does a hackintosh offer all the features and functionality that a mac offers? Whats the difference in software between the 2?

    Many thanks
  2. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA
    If you are doing graphic designs I would build a hackintosh you get more with your money. Everything will work the same just buy a motherboard that has bluetooth. Also only downside I see with this is not having thunderbolt but if you don't care much about having that than I think thats the way to go.
  3. hab.786 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    Many thanks for your reply. I think I will do just that. There are some people on ebay who build a full hackintosh system and send it out to you, the value for money is great, so I'll most likely go for that.

    One more question, will I have a problem if I get a 27" HD LED screen. Also, can a hackintosh handle dual-screen display? So if I get two of the 27" screens, could I one as an extended display?

  4. yukyuklee macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2011
    Boston, MA
    You have the option on how much you want to spend on a video card and it will handle dual screens like nothing lol don't ever worry about that.

    Check this video
  5. hab.786 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    That video is amazing!!

    I've decided, I'm gonna build my own beast of a hackintosh, most likely using the parts that the guy in the video is using... :)

    Many thanks for your help!!!
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    Just be aware that a Hackintosh will never as stable as a real Mac. Once you get it work, you better not to upgrade / update anything.

    For cost to performance ratio, a Hackintosh will win.

    However, if put all compatibility, stability, future OS support... into consideration. It's seems an old Mac Pro will better fit your need. You can get a Mac Pro 4,1, upgrade the firmware to 5,1, install a i7-990X, 48G RAM, a flashed GTX780 / HD7970 (or native GTX680 / HD7950) which can easily support more than 2 screens (the GTX 980 is coming soon), a internal SATA SSD (or PCIe SSD) + another 4 internal HDDs, eSATA / USB 3.0 PCIe card, 802.11AC + BT4.0......
  7. hab.786 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    That is indeed a VERY good option... But now I'm right back where I started - I can't decide what to do :confused:
  8. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    If you can't afford any downtime, get an iMac. It will cost you more but it will have a good resale value when you finish your degree.
  9. hab.786 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    Can you put a second screen (DVI / VGA) into iMac?
  10. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Yes, you can run two additional displays using the "thunderbolt" ports. All you need is a simple Mini-displayport/Thunderbolt to VGA/DVI in order to run additional monitors.

    I have an extremely powerful Hackintosh (4770K overclocked, dual 7870's, 24GB of RAM, Dual SSD's in RAID0). While it is a beast, it is not as stable as my Mac Mini (or macbooks). It can compete with anything (even beats an entry level Mac Pro), but with every OSX release I have to redo audio (at the very least). I've also had problems with the Ethernet port and what drivers I use (I have to use older drivers or else it completely fails on large file transfers). The Ethernet also at times goes crazy and brings down my whole network (how I know it's my Hack is upon shut down or restart, my network all of a sudden comes back to live). Not to mention if I don't use the onboard video for driving one of my monitors, I can't get OSX to display (probably just a setting I need to figure out). I also can't seem to get power saving to work right. It will go to sleep, but I can't get it to come out of sleep.

    All of this on a Tonymacx86 recommended motherboard!

    So while it is fairly simple to build a hackintosh anymore (especially if you follow a guide from Tonymac), do not think for a second that it will be "as good" as a genuine Mac.

    So while mine beats out an entry level New Mac Pro by quite a bit, I can't use it as a server like my Mac Mini. It just isn't as stable. I also can not leave it all 24x7 due to power issues.

    With all of that said, the thing is a beast when it comes to transcoding/encoding videos.......
  11. hab.786 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2014
    Thank you everyone, I've finally made up my mind.

    I've decided to just purchase a new iMac 27in and install an additional display to it.

    I think that's the best way to go, then 3 years down the line, after I get my degree, I'll sell it and get a proper MacPro or whatever is available at the time.

    Thanks for your help peeps... !!
  12. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    Good idea! You made the right choice. I had a hackintosh when I first started getting into Macs before I bought my PowerMac G5, and it was not always fun. You would be working on a video project and randomly lock the whole machine up. Granted, it could be a bad kext or extension, but it is nowhere near as seamless, reliable, or stable as a true Mac.
  13. hollandog macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2014
    I think you made a good choice. I built 2 hackintosh and converted to a MacBook Pro. While I get the performance when it's working. Often there will be issues. Especially if you update the os. I would not recommend hackintosh if you don't know or don't have the time to fix it.
  14. 76ShovelHead macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2010
    Not necessarily true.

    I currently have two hackintosh's running Mavericks 10.9.5 both of which very stable machines..

    Bottom line is you have to pick the most compatible parts for OS X. Gigabyte seems to be the best among motherboards, and obviously you'll need an Intel processor. Graphics can be loosely based on the previous and current offerings in the Mac line.

    For instance, my first Hackintosh is a Core 2 Quad Q6600 paired with an HIS Radeon HD 4670 1GB w/ 4GB of ram. This machine was built previously as a budget Windows computer until I discovered the Hackintosh community. Surprisingly enough, my MOBO (an ECS G31T-M) was a good fit. Again, I didn't build this computer around OS X. I built it back in 2009 where I originally fitted it with a Pentium Dual-Core and 2 gigs of ram. This computer will run constantly (for months at a time) and is over clocked from 2.4 ghz to 2.9 ghz.

    My newest machine I built back around this time last year, a Core i5 4430, 12 GB Ram, and a Gigabyte H87-D3H. It runs at 3.0-3.2 Ghz w/ turbo boost. This machine however was built around OS X.

    Both update just the same as my actual Macs, and interestingly enough, on both the only thing that breaks is the Audio. After which I just need to re-apply the audio kext.

    That said, Macbook's are the only official hardware I buy. Even if the installation of OS X on a standard laptop couldn't be more than flawless, you can't hide the fact that it's a Dell! And seeing as all hardware minus the Mac Pro use laptop components, it's makes since to just plunk that down on something you could carry with you.

    Even though, I still find myself wanting an iMac... Since I won't have to worry about cost effectiveness once I finish college, that will be my graduation present to myself :D
  15. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    I think you made the right decision. I built a hackintosh last year, and my dad owns a maxed out 2012 iMac. My computer is significantly more powerful at about 2/3 the cost, but it is significantly heavier with a lot more clutter. Even with a perfect build, it still won't run perfectly. OS updates require an entirely new install, and the iCloud features are a headache to set up. Although I have not had any issues with stability, I would not trust a hack to do any professional work on. The iMac is worth the added cost for peace of mind alone. Check out the refurbished store, as I am sure you can find a really good deal. Make sure to get the Fusion Drive or pure SSD.

    As somebody else mentioned, getting a cMP is not a bad idea, and it is a good middle ground. It will provide stability at a slight premium, but you will be able to have much more power than an iMac.

  16. Beachguy macrumors 6502a


    Nov 23, 2011
    One thing to keep in mind...

    You cannot LEGALLY run OS X on anything but an Apple machine. Getting a copy on DVD to install could lead to certain challenges. As well, you may not find it as stable as a Mac. As well, you'll get NOT support for the software you load from the publishers since you do not run it on hardware it was designed for.
  17. Pbryanw macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2005
    Grimsby, somewhere in the UK
    @hab.786 - Agree with everyone's recommendations for a real Mac. A hackintosh is fun to dabble with - I like to dual-boot with Windows - but I wouldn't want to rely on it.

    As 76ShovelHead mentions, if you buy the correct hardware you'll get a stable system, but then you're locked into certain hardware choices. My choice of GPU or sound-card is dictated by what works with my Hackintosh.

    On the software side, sleep's always been a problem with my hack, and updates tend to break things, even if that means reinstalling a kext. Not to mention finding the best bootloader (using Clover means more work), and hoping everything works when Apple release a new OS like Yosemite.

    You've made the right choice imo, and the resell value of Macs makes the initial outlay bearable, especially when it's time to upgrade.
  18. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Anyone been able to get sleep working?
  19. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    IMO if you are looking for the best power to dollar ratio then build a Hackintosh. If you want a turn-key computer with a warranty and be able to get you online within ten minutes of un-boxing then buy an Apple.

    By the way, can Apple delete non-authorized Apple apps on Hackintoshes like they can on real Apples??? Perhaps that's a good question for the software forum...
  20. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    Honestly no. I mean there are those at tonymac that state they do, but I haven't been lucky with that at all. I completely have up trying..... I'm not even sure power states work all that well either....
  21. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm not as down on hackintoshes as some here, but as you can see results vary.

    But I NEVER recommend that someone's only Mac be a hackintosh. Mine is more stable than my iMac, but I have tons of wonky utilities and other stuff going on. Better to start safe; it will be a bit slower and more expensive, but the iMac is actually a very good deal compared to the same specs for a hackintosh, but still more.

    And I would never encourage someone to buy one. If you can't build one and install the software and get it running, odds are you will have all sorts of problems maintaining it. And if it becomes more trouble, you wanna be able to reuse it with Linux or Windows, and again you have to be relatively competent at building systems to do that. Or to upgrade hardware, etc. Especially if you're just learning Macs.
  22. comda macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    I completely agree with robgendreau. I'm 19 years of age, first year University. And in my time ive done 2 hackintosh machines. Both ran Pentium 4 CPUs 2gb Ram. And i must say. Running Tigers 10.4.8 and Snow leopard 10.5.6 on these machines was surprisingly stable. A few things where touchy like the Graphic and specifically for me the Ethernet kent. im agreeing with robgendreau statement of "a hackintosh cannot be your only mac" If you have the time and knowledge base go for a hacintosh after your degree. So you have now a little more experience with the real mac. I used the Hacintosh for about 2 years (mainly cause tiger was pretty outdated and i build a better machine) but it was great but couldnt update without re-patching everything. It was a hell of a lot of work. Yeah it saves some $$ but how much time will you waste. My suggestion is yeah get the Imac you can always get a third party screen besides an apple screen. and use it. Later build a kick ass hacintosh. Maybe even after the first year during your summer or spare time.
    Good luck
  23. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    Again, a great middle ground is a cMP from 2009-2012. It is essentially a hackintosh that costs 300$-500$ extra up front. You can build one much more powerful than an iMac, and it is significantly more stable than a complete custom build.
  24. h9826790, Oct 1, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4


    Apr 3, 2014
    Hong Kong
    For your info.

    A single CPU cMP 2009 is about $700. Flash to 5,1 is easy and free.

    W3690, $300, of course, you can choose a slower or less core CPU to save a $100 easily.

    A PC 7970 cost a bit more than $100. Native support in current OSX except for the boot screen. If you want the boot screen, then you can flash it yourself, the software is avail on the internet. IMO, it's better to tune down the voltage a little bit to make it draw less power and run cooler / quieter.

    About $200 for 3x8G RAM.

    A Inateck KT4004 USB 3.0 PCIe card, $30

    A 120G 840 Evo, $80

    At this point, you can get a real Mac which has a 3.46GHz Hex core CPU (Turbo 3.73), 24G 1333MHz RAM in triple channel for max performance, 7970 3G VRAM, 120G SSD, USB 3.0... for less than $1500. Not the fastest Mac, but very good performance / cost ratio. And much much easier than build a Hackintosh.
  25. lokster macrumors 6502


    Feb 7, 2010
    reading through some of the experiences that people have had with hackintosh, i too have had some success, but its not for someone without some experience or background on a little programming and research.

    Building a hackintosh takes time to collect the parts, run the installation, and make sure each component runs right, i've built two hackintoshes before and im looking forward to building a 3rd one later this year for my desktop.

    It may be unstable at first but tweaking it and fine tuning it, after some time and a few resets you will be good to go.

    If you dont have the technical know how i do suggest to just stick with what Apple has as it will work right out of the box. :cool:

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