Mac vs Hackintosh?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Cyborg21, Dec 30, 2013.


Hackintosh vs Mac (please explain why below)

  1. Mac

    59 vote(s)
  2. Hackintosh

    17 vote(s)
  1. Cyborg21 macrumors 6502


    Sep 2, 2013
    I was going to get a Mac but one of my friend said, ''Macs are too expensive, why not to build a hackintosh?'' So I was thinking what to do. I am not so good at building PCs, I never built before. What are the advantages and disadvantages of building Hackintosh & what are the advantages and disadvantages of buying Mac. Are Macs worth the money?
  2. keysofanxiety, Dec 30, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013

    keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Well one of the main reasons of buying a Mac is for the stability. I sincerely apologise in advance for the wealth of ******** I'll be spewing below. There's no question that you can get OS X on non-Apple/official Apple hardware, but why do it? Pros and cons (IMHO) below. :)

    Apple Mac:


    Apple's hardware is as it is for a reason. On Apple notebooks (and desktops), you get the multitouch gestures which are simply unrivalled by other OEMs. The build quality across the Mac line is really impressive. There's a lot of hate for 'smaller and lighter', but if you're somebody who appreciates technology, you'll really be amazed with what they can pack into a Mac.

    Really good materials are used. Aluminium, glass, backlit keyboard on all notebooks -- really gives you a feeling of quality and durability. Plus Apple is moving to near-exclusivity with PCIe Flash storage, so you'll be getting 800MB/s speeds on the SSD consumer products alone.

    Other advantages are great battery life with the notebooks. Yeah, PC people laugh about how Macs don't have removable batteries. Except, they did up until around 2009. If you see Apple's evolution with the notebook lines, you'll see how the batteries got bigger and bigger to increase from a 5 hour battery life to a 12 hour battery life. Look inside a MBA/rMBP. The battery is a good 60% of what you see.

    And of course, standardised hardware means no cocking about with changing parts and testing this and that if something goes wrong. Which brings me to ...


    Apple's support is arguably the best in the industry, rivalled only by DELL/HP's business support. Anything goes wrong? Apple Store, or get on the phone to them. It's a different mentality to PCs because consumers may get the feeling that everything's 'dumbed down', as you let somebody else do the work rather than getting your hands dirty.


    You'll get a lot of glaring looks when your Apple logo blinds passers-by. But if you're the sort of person who likes to smell their own farts, get a Mac for this reason.


    I maintain that people who use computers for work -- where they make their living exclusively off computers -- will almost always pick a Mac. They want something that works, and if it goes wrong, have swift support to fix it. They don't want to cock around with eeking a few more FPSs from their games. They just want to work.



    It's your own hardware. Cheaper, no doubt, and certainly can be more powerful than the limited range which Apple offer.

    However you've got the issue of getting the thing to work in the first place, in addition to having to buy certain types of hardware (if you want to make OS X run natively, rather than on an AMD CPU or something like that).

    I knew a bloke who got OS X (native!) running on his Alienware laptop. Everything worked except the wifi. The experience wasn't nearly as good in my opinion, but if your main concerns getting the best hardware on OS X for the lowest price, a Hackintosh is for you.


    You are the support. It's definitely great if you enjoy building your own PCs and troubleshooting problems. I used to love this stuff too, then I got old, boring and just wanted something that worked without me having to cock around with it. Again, depends on your mentality.


    "I run OS X, but on non-Apple hardware. I stole a free operating system."

    Nothing more hipster than that. ;)


    It's all down to what you enjoy. A simple update to OS X can brick a Hackintosh. But then you have the satisfaction of making something seriously powerful for a much lower price. If stability & third-party support is your main concern, then shell the extra out for a Mac.

    TL;DR: neither is better, it depends on what you need from OS X and what you want to use a computer for. Pick whichever you feel is closest to your heart, and best of luck whichever you use.
  3. mpantone, Dec 30, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013

    mpantone macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    I used to build my own PCs (Windows, Linux) from parts, then I got tired of being my own tech support. I have better things to do with my life. When I switched to Macs, I cut my system administration load by >90%.

    Apparently, installing/upgrading OS X on a Hackintosh requires a fair amount of effort, more effort than I'm willing to put in. My idea of upgrading the software is downloading from Apple's servers, getting a beer, watching sports and clicking a couple of buttons to finish the installation.

    Moreover, I cherish quiet computers. As far as I can tell, there's no way anyone could build a Hackintosh as quiet as my Mac mini.

    I don't impress anyone using a Mac, but then again, I wouldn't impress anyone using a Hackintosh either. I'm way beyond caring about that sort of stuff, which is pointless where I live (Silicon Valley). No one over the age of 15 around here is impressed by computers which is fine by me.

    But that's just me...

    Computers, smartphones and tablets are appliances.

    If you think that you can impress your peer group by building a Hackintosh and this is important to you, go for it. With all the money you save, you should be able to keep a generous supply of earplugs on hand.

  4. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I was in a very long Microcenter line yesterday, returning my TP-Link Archer C7 router. I had decided that for an extra 70 bucks, I'd rather have the router smallnetworkbuilder and several other sites rate as the best AC router available today (in my sub $200 price range).

    I was replacing an Airport Extreme. Normally I LOVE Apple hardware but after my Airport Express overheated and died I decided it was time to move on and picked up a Dlink Access point for wifi. I relegated the AEBS to providing a guest network. My Time Capsule had died earlier though it was replaced free under AppleCare I never saw my daughter's file again. The Express was the only explicit failure, but on Christmas morning, my AEBS required resetting. Airport Utility was abundantly clueless. It was dumbed down in Mountain Lion. In Mavericks, it's like a child's iPad kiosk. So today I installed my Asus AC 66U router and I love it (so far). None of or ookla scores went up, but I am hoping I have more control and better network performance inside the house along with stability since I allowed the Asus router to update its firmware before swapping out the AEBS.

    Back to the thread at hand... If Apple hardware is best suited for what you are doing, by all means get it. If you can't afford the Mac Pro you need, then by all means build yourself a kickass killer 64 core hackintosh. However remember one thing. What Apple is selling us here is not hardware but TIME. If you don't mind spending time tweaking then go for the hackintosh just as I decided I had enough of Apple routers and went for an Asus that would allow me to run Tomato or DD-Wrt if I so chose.

    Just please don't blame Apple if your hackintosh doesn't work. For a mere three thousand dollars you can get quite the kickass mac pro. If that sounds like a lot of money now, talk to me when you're on your third motherboard exchange or your 11th kernel panic. If you've got the time and not the money, I'd recommend a hackintosh over a Ubuntu box and purely out of personal preference and some bad experiences over the years I'd recommend just about anything over any Windows box. I had a friend who owned an iMac but tried replacing it with a hackintosh. When he followed the insanely mac configuration instructions to the letter and failed, he threw in the towel and sent a check to Microsoft so he could get is box up and running. I don't wish this on anybody but I think he is happy with his choice as he is more of a gamer than I am.

    Back to my router situation... My AEBS is all factory reset and collecting dust in the palm pilot/blackberry/apple magic mouse drawer. I picked up the overpriced exchange insurance so I can go running back to AEBS even after 23.5 months if something gets flaky with the Asus but from what I've read, I've made the right choice for a guy who wants more control and doesn't mind spending some time on router configuration pages. AEBS is a fine router but mine was from 2009 so it was time for an update. The rt ac66u was rated #1 overall and the current generation AEBS was rated #6 overall. My 2009 went several years without needing any resets. Two resets in one month, one of which was christmas morning was what pushed me to replace it. If you pick a Mac or hackintosh, please be kind enough to yourself to base it on your own real requirements and not some opinion floating around macrumors or elsewhere on the internet.

    hope this helps...
  5. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    Well it's cheap, I've had a hackintosh in the past and they can be quite fun figuring out how to get everything working, fixing them when they break, and making sure that various updates won't stop it all from working. Basically if you enjoy a computing challenge, don't mind spending time on various forums looking for fixes and have another operating system (preferably another computer) for when it breaks then its fine.

    However if you want a computer that's just going to work, then buy a Mac or a Windows PC.

    As for whether a Mac is worth it, it mainly depends (at-least for me) on whether you value OS X and the applications that run on OS X, have well designed and nice looking hardware is also a bonus. So for me a Mac is worth the money, for others maybe not.
  6. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    If you've never built a PC before don't even consider trying to build a Hackintosh.

    There are sites dedicated to hackintoshing, you'll have better luck there.

    It's not worth the trouble for me; I buy a Mac for stability.

    For a hackintosh you need to know what hardware is supported, and if you get the wrong combo it won;t work.
  7. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    You must have.....

    the technical prowess to build and test a system from scratch if you want a viable Hackintosh solution. Can be done, cheaper than Macs and with more options and more power.Be prepared to deal with frustration and quality issues in the various components you can buy. I dont recommmend a Hackintosh as a viable productive machine, mainly for the possible downtime you can expect. But is a worth feat and very rewarding.....:D

  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I had a hack for a good while but it's just too important having a stable machine that's (almost) guaranteed not to blow up when you do software updates.

    My machines are for work and recreation and I don't want to babysit them.
  9. Muldert macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2012
    I've also been in both camps. I build PC's for a couple of years before I started my first Hackintosh project. After two years, I switched to a real Mac. It expensive, yes.


    Takes a LOT of time, effort and expertise. And headaches.
    100% stability is unachievable
    A Hackintosh maybe faster (processor-wise, for the money), but a Mac sure feels a lot faster (my opinion) and snappier.

    Do you need cheap and do you have time on hands? Go Hackintosh.
    Do you have the money or do you lack the time or the expertise? Go Mac.

    What's best overall? Mac. The fact that I didn't need to panic with every update, every new program, was such a relief. I never look back.
  10. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    A buddy of mine has a hackintosh, it looks like a mac, it is fast, it was cheap. But on the other hand, he has to walk on eggshells around it and he has to spend a lot of time on forums getting things to work. Installing a program or updating the OS can bring the whole house of cards down...
  11. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    I want something that just works.

    I am not interested in playing around with a computer, saving a penny here, adding a tweak there.

    I want to just turn the thing on, and do stuff.
  12. rodedwards macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2010
    Why not buy a second hand Apple Mac Pro tower from 2009 onwards ?

    They are cheap and incredibly upgradable as and when you need to.

    That's what i've done and it just works. :D

    There will also be plenty around now the new Mac Pro has just been released.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've built a hackintosh computer for giggles and it was fun. Depending on what your budget, I'm pretty sure you can get a Mac Mini for about the same or even less money then it will take for a decent hackintosh.

    The main disadvantages of the hackintosh is that you have to tweak and deal with incompatibilities. Upgrades typically can cause frustrations and you have to take updates carefully.

    You have to choose the components wisely as that will impact how easy or hard it will be to load OSX and its quite easy to leave the computer in a state that it just won't boot up.

    I think all things being equal, you'll be better off in the long term with an actual Mac
  14. bigeasy_uk macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2005
    Leamington Spa, England
    What is good about running a hackintosh is that it can teach you how things work with osx, rather than it just working. It can be a pain to update and once it is running you can find yourself not wanting to.

    Saying that you can build a very powerful hackintosh cheaper than a very powerful mac, especially when it comes to gaming.

    He's my beautiful hackintosh, they don't have to look ugly :)
  15. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Its definitely a fun exercise, though at times frustrating :)

    I don't consider my building of a hackintosh a waste of time. I do raise a flag to those people who want one for the main machine that they have to depend on. They need to know the risks, mostly when upgrading. I have an older hackintosh that I won't be upgrading beyond SnowLeopard.
  16. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark

    reason I changed originally was too much hassling with XP and Linux, I just wanted an OS that I didn't have to think too much about and be able to be productive and not minding graphics drivers, system updates etc.
    same reason I'm done jailbreaking iPhones or running betas, I'd rather have a functional piece of hardware with productivity at top.

    running a mackintosh is only a gateway drug to real OS X hardware, and you can't follow the regular update cycle from Apple, but need to wait for the mackintosh community to follow along.

    enjoy :)
  17. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    I prefer a laptop and it's a lot harder to build a portable hackintosh. I also have better things to do with my time. With value retention and longevity I have spent less on my Macs than on PCs.
  18. AllanMarcus macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2004
    I have a hackintosh and I love it. What everyone says is true; unless you have the time, forget it. That said, once you get it working, just don't upgrade the os unless you have to for a specific bug fix or program. I paid about $1000 to get about $2500 worth of mac.

    My biggest problem with apple is they don't sell a desktop computer. They sell a mini computer, and all in one, so,e laptops, and a workstations, but no desktop. If you need a desktop (multiple internal hard drives, upgraded video) then a hackintosh might be right for you.

    One price point all the new Mac Pro lovers seem to ignore is the cost of external expansion; monetarily, sonically, and spacewise. I have a comouter under my desk with N ssd boot, 4 sata drives, an optical drive, a travels sata for 3.5 inch drives, and tray less sata for 2.5 inch drives. It's all in a fairly quiet antecedent case.
  19. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    With the first iMacs Alu I said Hackmac. Back then the price of a mac was ridiculous compared to a comparable PC. Today the simplest Mini is a perfect computer just doing everything. It's compact size, silentness, resell value is making all other computers too expensive, including any other mac. So Mac it is now.
  20. AdamInNi macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2012
    Northern Ireland
    I sold my 2011 i5 Mac Mini to build a Hackintosh which I have since upgraded from an i3 to an i7. Everything works and it was REALLY easy to install OS X. I just made a unibeast flash drive of Mavericks (have also had Mountain Lion and Lion on this computer) and installed OS X with no problems then just installed a couple of kexts with multi beast for my audio and network and I was good to go! The computer is super fast and never crashes/freezes.
  21. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    You can't build a laptop hackintosh but you can buy a laptop model that is easily able to become a hackintosh. I had an old dell netbook while underpowered (As all netbooks are) had osx running. there are other models capable of easily configuring for OSX as well though I do not have any other models that come instantly to mind.
  22. MacScott macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2012
    If you have lots of time to kill and are really patient, hackintosh may be for you. I started running linux back in 98 and did so for several years on scavenged hardware. It took a lot of my time just to get everything running and then you had to watch updates, they might bork your system. Now I don't want to spend that much time on such things.
  23. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2010
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    If you're not good at building a computer, that makes me wonder how well you are at manipulating the parts of an OS to do what you need. Depending on what you build and if it's as simple as copying an install with all the same driver for the matching hardware you have, then it might be easy. But from there, you'll have to worry about every update having the possibility of breaking your machine and if it's not backed up properly, doing the install all over again.

    And if you don't build a computer with exact matching specs (down to the same mobo as someone has listed for an install) then you'll have to worry about finding drivers and getting them to work.
  24. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    I don't think I read the OP closely enough the first time.

    What kind of friend recommends that someone who's never even built a PC, build a hackintosh? That's just a disaster waiting to happen.
  25. traumuhhtize macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    I just built my first computer and it was a hackintosh..

Share This Page