Spring for iMac vs. Hackintosh vs. Something Else


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 27, 2013
Hey All,

I've been mulling over an upgrade situation, and I'd like some community input here—just wondering what you lads/lasses might do in my shoes.

I bought a new MacBook Pro 13" with Dual Core 2.9 GHZ in January of this year. It's my work horse, as I'm a graphic designer and web developer. It's been nice to take it with me when I have a coffee shop work day (I do this a lot) or at meetings. However, I'd like a bit more graphics performance than I'm getting, largely for gaming. My creative firm is also getting heavily into motion graphics and video editing, so a beefier setup would be fantastic.

I've been thinking about buying a new desktop/office-only computer. My requirements are thus:

  • Needs to have better than Intel HD 4000 graphics, preferrably as much juice as is available
  • Needs to run both Mac & Windows safely (thinking about Hackintosh stability, here). I use OS X 8 hours a day to work, but like to game in Windows 7.
  • It might as well have more processor power. That'd mean a quad core system.
  • Upgrade potential is a boon, but not necessarily requried. I'll load whatever I get with as much RAM as possible out of the chute. Changing out hardware in the future would save some headaches, though.
  • I've already spent the money on the new MacBook earlier this year, so cost-effective would be good. Price isn't necessarily an object, but hey . . . it doesn't grow on trees.

So there ya have it! To summarize: Desktop, beefy, good with video, plays (very) well with two OS's. Is Hackintosh a good (cheap) way to go, that's stable enough to work with professionally? iMac a better deal, here? Or some other option you can think of? Would buying an old Mac Pro to upgrade be a rational plan? Should I sell the laptop I have now in the process?

Thanks, and sorry for such a long post! Any thoughts (seriously, dream in my direction, here) appreciated.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2008
I don't see why a used Mac Pro would be a bad option - it would handle all of that well. Sounds to me like the most fitting for your demands - gaming, storage, power.

An iMac would be great too, but it would need to be a recent one if you want some good graphics power. Probably anything 2010 or newer. My 2012 iMac has a ton of power. Not sure if you are looking at brand new ones, but a refurb or used 2012 iMac with similar specs to mine (see sig) would be enough, if not more than enough, for your needs. But I'd recommend any iMac with a quad-core i7, then you can upgrade the RAM and HD (if needed) yourself.

As far as a Hackintosh goes, I wouldn't, just because they have their quirks and issues running the software correctly. An Intel Mac can run Windows perfectly, so I would go for a genuine Mac, because you would have both operating systems working 100%.

I say go for a used Mac Pro, with the best processor you can afford to get, then max out everything else later as you get the chance. The RAM and HD can always be changed later. If not that, go for a well-equipped iMac.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 27, 2013
Solid advice! If I were to spring for an iMac, I would certainly get the latest release. However, I would like to be upgrade in the future, I think. I've been a Mac user since Mac II, and I'd like to keep a Mac computer the ten years it can stay alive. :)

Thanks for the thoughts on Hackintosh! I'm scared of going for it for the reasons you mentioned. It may be a fun project in the future. I'll stay away for now, though!

For a Mac Pro, this is something I'm unfamiliar with: How far back in architectures can I go and still be able to upgrade it to latest generation gear? Obviously I'd want an Intel release, but is there a cut-off point? What years are good for upgrades? How long could I continue to upgrade in the future? Also, any price estimates on that?

Thanks again!


macrumors 6502
Jan 19, 2010
I'm not sure about the Mac Pro questions, but as far as iMacs go, I will say that the new 27 inchers, with the top graphics card and processor, are packing some serious power. IIRC, they are actually faster than the current Mac Pros, in some respects. On the other hand, they're probably not as cheap as an older used Mac Pro. For what you're describing, though, they're definitely capable of handling that.