On the Hackintosh

I really like my iMac, but every once in a while I do wish Apple was shipping a cheese-grater Mac Pro with modern internals. I’d love to shove some of my external drives into a tower that could keep my desk nice and tidy, not to mention having more horsepower for audio and video editing.

In the current vacuum of updated Pro hardware from Apple, some are turning to Hackintoshes. These custom-built PCs are designed to run macOS, giving users great flexibility to build their own setups for running Mac software.

A couple of days ago, RealMac’s Dan Counsell shared a bit about his new desktop:

I spent a week or so researching how to build a Hackintosh, I watched plenty of YouTube videos, read articles, and spent a lot of time on the tonymacx86 website. As many others have pointed out, this is time well spent, and probably the best way to learn how to do it. There are basically three parts to building a Hackintosh; picking the right components, actually building the thing, and finally getting macOS installed and running. As long as you take your time, and research each part properly you’ll be fine.

I wanted to build a machine that was faster than my current Macbook Pro and would be able to replace my gaming PC. This basically boiled down to picking the fastest CPU and GPU that macOS supports without resorting to any hacks.

Dan’s machine isn’t quite as fast as the 2013 Mac Pro in multi-core scoring, but beats both it and the MacBook Pro in single-core tasks. While he didn’t include it on his charts, it also appears to beat the current iMac at the Geekbench 4 benchmark test.

tonymacx86 publishes monthly guides that make picking compatible hardware easy. Dan spent less than $2,000, and you could spend far less than that if you didn’t want an all-SSD system.

I’m not feeling particularly itchy about building my own macOS-compatible computer. My iMac is great, and even though keeping macOS happy on these computers is easier than ever, I am hesitant to run my business on unsupported Mac hardware. However, I find the project and community around in really interesting. These users are passionate about what they are doing, and I think that is really exciting.