Why choose Mac Mini over Hackintosh?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RustyMacVet, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. RustyMacVet macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    I was talking to my friend about which TV I should choose for my computer and we never really made any progress but then he asks me "Wait, your getting a mac mini", I said "yea", and he asked "Why not just buy a PC and install Mac OS on it? It would be a lot cheaper".

    I know he's right, he also argued for the ease of ugpradeability, but I want a Mac Mini. I don't want a tower. That doesn't seem like a logical answer to him, because "A tower you just put out of the way though, it doesn't matter if it's bulky".

    So, what do you guys think, is it foolish to be paying a lot more money for a Mac Mini than to just get a PC and do the hackintosh thing?
  2. Poki macrumors 65816


    Mar 21, 2012
    Like I said sometimes, the Mac Mini has no alternatives. There simply is not even a single PC that could beat the Mini in terms of power in this size category. If size doesn't matter, of course you can build a hackintosh with quite a bit more power for your money - just keep in mind there will always be compatibility issues (WiFi never seems to work on these things ...) as well as some other hassles. Not saying you can't do that - it just won't be the usual "It works" experience you may hope to experience from Apple.

    And also, since there's no hard copy of Mac OS available for purchase, there no longer exists a legal way of installing it on your hackintosh. Yes, you CAN buy the 60€ USB stick with Lion and pay another 20 on top for Mountain Lion, but then again, this money could get you much closer to a "real" Mac.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    As a Mac mini isn't that expensive to begin with, I don't know about "a lot cheaper". I'd rather have a computer and OS that were designed for each other, have full warranty coverage, and have less potential problems by simply buying a mini. Just buy what you want and ignore what your friend or anyone else tells you.
  4. RustyMacVet thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    You guys have essentially summed up my reasons for me. Thank you.

    I tried to explain, "Apple products, they have something PCs don't. It's undefinable, unquantifiable, I don't know what it is, but it's there."

    Not to quote their marketing slogan, but they really do "just work".
  5. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    The reason to get a mac is to not to be blamed for hacking and going to jail for being a pirate. Its cheaper just to comply and get a mac.
  6. n0cus macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2012
    To start when you buy a Mac mini you get the "Apple" experience. In other words it will just work with few issues. With a hackintosh you will most likely have issues. A hackintosh is also illegal according to Chris Pirillo.
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    having built a few pc's since this jan. no pc is as small as a mac mini closest is an asrock and it is not cheap. I am going the pc/mac mini route. the mini has windows 7 and lion and mountain lion.

    the pc is just running windows 7. I built a pc with the thunderbolt mobo;


    i own a pegasus r6 it has 2 t-bolt ports. i plugged my pc and my mac mini to the pegasus and moving files is easy. not a perfect solution only one computer can access the same drive at the same time,but my pegasus has 6 drives and my pc is about as powerful as a hex core mac pro. total cost was around 3k for this setup which is less then a mac pro. I don't have to do the mackintosh route all is legal . I have ability to run just about any program pc or mac based. My ht has a huge setup rack so the large pc fits.
  8. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    This isn't quite true. It's true when people are comparing apples to oranges, who are basically DIY PC guys. Not a lot of people really take a good look at what Macs bring to the table.

    The form factor of the Mac Mini in unrivaled in the PC area. The thing that came close to it was the little computer that Dell came up with, and frankly it sucked. EVERY SINGLE competitive product as philipma1957 pointed out are not cheap. In fact most are even more expensive. You can build a relatively small PC, but you are still left with some kind of tower or box that's something like 10" x 6" x 8". I tried my absolute best to create a silent small form factor PC that was quiet and cool. And for about $650 I got close but I just didn't get what I wanted.

    Pound for pound, the components you buy for a PC will be a more powerful machine, but it will never be the silent cool (temp wise) box that can fit under my monitor stand.

    In terms of the iMacs - it's a debate for me whether or not the 21.5" is so much of a good deal, but the 27" is definitely a moderately good price considering they all bring high quality IPS panels to the table. Yes you can buy a 27" panel on Amazon for $250, but those are all TN panels. That same size is going to set you back a good $600 to $1000.

    Lastly, using both platforms, I've got to give hats off to Apple for their OS design. I've got a PC box at my office that's been in use for about 2 years. On paper, my PC totally blows the mini away. But as most people with PC's can attest, over time they begin to slow down, the file structure bogs down, longer load times, etc. My mini boots and runs most business applications FAR better than my PC. The only thing the PC has it beat on is gaming performance with a dedicated 1gb radeon 5750.

    So yeah there is something to be said about the "just works" part of a Mac, but there really is a half decent reason from both a hardware and software perspective to go Mac. I think the only thing I'd really seriously consider doing a hacintosh for is if I needed the power of a Mac Pro.
  9. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
  10. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    I cant speak for new...but i bought my mini 1.66GHz off craigs for $150...it's mint cond,runs snow leopard just fine....no way i could build this small and drop dead good looks tiny pc for that price...
  11. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
  12. Arie macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2010
    The Netherlands
    One of the things that makes Mac OS X so stable is the lack of third party drivers. When installing Mac OS X illegally on a PC, you will need to use third party drivers, making Mac OS X less stable. Having to use a third party bootloader for example also does not help when it comes to stability. You might also not be able to install all updates for Mac OS X just like that, as any update may ruin your illegal installation of Mac OS X. This may leave your PC an easy target for evildoers. In the end I simply want a machine that works. I use my Mac mini for music production mostly. I do not want it to crash. I do not want any hassle with altered drivers, with illegal bootloaders, et cetera. I only want to make music and not be bothered with anything else. I love my Mac mini and I would never replace it with a "Hackintosh". It is small, energy efficient and simply works. If my Mac mini would ever become too slow or if I would need more RAM, I would simply switch to a new Mac mini model.
  13. Adz76 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Dagobah System
    First off, its sounds like you are already committed to buying a Mac mini, in which case just go and do what you feel is right. Flip the situation around the other way, would you're mate be talked out of building himself a PC and buy a mini instead? I doubt it, and neither should you from doing what you want to do.

    Second thing is there's pros and cons to a Hackintosh. Pro, hardware is cheap and upgradeable so its up to you and your wallet as to how much you spend and when you add new bits to it.

    Con there's still a lot of tinkering with it to get a stable system where every single feature works flawlessly such as wifi, sleep and bluetooth.Last point, with a Mac you can upgrade the Apps and OS as soon as its available from Apple with a simple click and install, you can't with a Hackintosh.

    I really see the appeal of owning a Hackintosh and I intend to build a Mac Pro next year, I've looked into it for a while but there's a reason its cheaper, its doesn't have the ergonomics,it has not got a warranty and isn't maintenance free at all. Just getting it up and running takes a fair while.
  14. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I just switched from a Hackintosh (E8400 3.0 Ghz in a Shuttle) to a Mini 5.2 and I love it. This little machine is so powerful, it is the last computer I need :D
    The Hackintosh was with 10.4.8 and because of the horrible softwareupdating it became kind of unusable with all the new software demaning 10.5.9 or 10.6.8 etc.
  15. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    The trackpad, the hardware build quality and the lack of faffing about.

    Yes, i can and have built PCs cheaper. I just want something I can take my brain out and use. I deal with PC problems enough at my day job.

    Also, its legal.

    I was in exactly your situation in late 2008. I bought the mac mini (after having a good experience with the airport express i bought) and haven't looked back.
  16. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    Size wise the mini CANNOT be beaten, I explored several different Hackintosh options but always came to the same conclusion, it's more work, costs the same if not more in most cases and is at least twice the size and no where near as good looking. Apple have a winner in the mini that's for sure. The smallest ITX case is double the height of the mini.
  17. Chippy99 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2012
    You've really been drinking in the Apple marketing haven't you.

    I wasn't saying they "just work" when Apple Mail was steadfastly refusing to download any emails from one account this morning, despite being able to send emails and also my other account (on the same servers) working perfectly.

    And I wasn't saying they "just work" when I created a test email account to see if I could fix the problem. And then when I deleted the test account, Apple Mail unceremoneously deleted ALL my email bodies (3 years of emails) from the live account (due to a glaring bug) which were it not for my backups would have been lost forever.

    Actually, I was saying a whole bunch of other four letter words, not "just work".

    I like my Mac and overall I do prefer the UI to that of Windows 7, but in terms of reliability and useability, there's really little between them in my view. OS X is clearly better and some things and MUCH worse at others. If Microsoft could just sort out the nightmare of eternal and continuous updates, then overall Windows would be the best platform I think.
  18. xheathen macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    So, are you suggesting no one has ever had trouble with making email work in Windows? That's kinda what it sounds like and that's just crazy town.

    Also, why the hell wouldn't you back your mail up if you were tampering with it so much you were actually deleting mailboxes?!
  19. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    Frankly macs no longer just work. I agree with you for the most part. Now i will also say windows 7 is not perfect.
  20. snow blind macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2011
    I will also agree on this. There was a time when Macs 'Just work(ed)'; however It looks like that is disappearing. The software gap between OS X and Windows is narrowing and Apple is now only on top in terms of hardware, IMHO. I personally will never go to back to a PC for personal use but I can see how some (software wise) would be really tempted.
  21. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I can see if someone wants a full blown desktop without paying for a Mac Pro going the Hackintosh route, but if you are looking for a Mac Mini alternative really $600 is not that much. First off, to get a full blown Hackintosh, you really need to use certain recommended motherboards.

    Here's a quick breakdown using the Mini-ITX build:
    1. Motherboard - $80
    2. Core i3 2105 - $140 ( faster than a 2.3ghz i5, but we know it works)
    3. Case - $40 - Not nearly as nice, power supply is very inefficient
    4. Hard drive - $100
    5. Memory - Calling this $0 since you will have to upgrade even the base Mini to really use it.

    So for $360 you get a less efficient, ugly black case and No OS.

    I'm willing to pay $240 for an OS and never have to worry about a OSX update that breaks my computer.
  22. jmcgeejr macrumors 6502


    Oct 7, 2010
    Seattle, WA
  23. RustyMacVet thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 26, 2012
    Sort of. I'm committed to purchasing a mac, whether it's a Mini or an iMac is still up in the air.

    I need a monitor, mouse and keyboard, and I want lots of power so the iMac really seems like the best option.

    As for a hackintosh, it was never really an option in my mind, I just couldn't explain why to my friend in words.

    The last time I owned a mac was at the dawn of the century, when Mac OS 9 reigned supreme and the iMacs were still the size of old CRT monitors. That Mac lasted me almost 7 years, then one day it finally said "No more!" and became all but unusable. I've been using a PC since that dreadful day, and will soon have the funds required to purchase any computer I want < $3000.

    An iMac sounds like it would be the best option for my needs, and, in another 2 years when I return to school, a MacBook pro will make an excellent addition.
  24. ivnj macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2006
    I thought we were discussing size and not speed.
  25. KScottMyers macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Absolutely right. I've build a few Hackintoshes, and Yes you can configure a faster machine for less money - but there are several drawbacks that should be seriously considered.

    • You have to purchase very specific hardware to get complete compatibility. And I'm talking about things right down to sleep issues and bluetooth compatibility. These can be very finicky issues to deal with and a nightmare to fix. Upgrades can cause havic on a Hackintosh.

    • There isn't a computer case made in the PC world that will give you the well thought out engineering that went into a mini. Consider the aluminum case, small form factor, dual drive bay, 16GB memory capability, an amazing cooling design, processor selection, etc. Anything smaller than the mini in the PC world is horribly underpowered.

    For what the mini does - its pretty much an engineering marvel.

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