How to build a hackintosh
How to build a Hackintosh
By: David Leach
This is more specifically, what parts to purchase to build a hackintosh, although I will provide support for anyone building their hackintosh.
So many people ask me or send me emails asking for help on how to build a hackintosh and while there are some really great resources available like tonymacx86, and osx86project.org, I thought I should relieve you of some of the searching. This is my current Hackintosh build and I attained absolutely 100% functionality. If you have any questions please leave me a comment and I will do my best to help you out in a timely manner.
My build is what I would consider a “2011″ build however it is still a beast of a hackintosh. Below each component I have linked to where you can purchase the product in order to save you time (if you plan on duplicating it).
David’s Hackintosh Build – GA-X58-UD3R – Core i7-960@ 3.85ghz – GTX480 x2 -Momentus XT 500gb SSD Hybrid
NZXT “H2″ ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Modern Looking Hackintosh case
GIGABYTE GA-X58-UD3R LGA 1366 ATX Motherboard
A great Hackintosh (fully) compatible motherboard
MSI Twin Frozr N480gtx Lightning (Superclocked) x2 (SLI in Win7- Dual GPU recognized properly in OS X)
GTX480 in Hackintosh
Now I would actually recommend different video cards than the ones I chose, these were a royal pain in the ass to get working properly. You will not lose any functionality by choosing an alternate GPU. I would personally recommend any of the 6XXX series from ATI or the any of the 5XX series from Nvidia.
Intel Core i7-960 (overclocked to 3.85ghz) Bloomfield 3.20GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor (model #: BX80601960)
CPU for the hackintosh, Optionally I’d probably go for a Sandy Bridge CPU these days (for price) but you would have to use a different motherboard.
Corsair Hydro Series H70 CORE
CPU Cooling for Hackintosh
Now this isn’t the most practical cpu cooling solution for a hackintosh and it is a little on the pricey side, however I originally planned on overclocking my hackintosh from the beginning so if you plan on overclocking as well, then this is a decent solution. I used the excalibur silent fans in a push-pull configuration.
PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-219L
Compatible DvD drive for Hackintosh
***Make sure to read my notes below regarding the importance of choosing the proper DvD / Bluray drive!
Patriot Viper II Sector 7 Edition 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3
High performance memory (ddr3) for Hackintosh
SILVERSTONE Strider Gold Evolution SST-ST1000-G Evolution 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified 100% Modular, Active PFC Power Supply, with 140mm Fan Filter
Powersupply for your hackintosh. For the powersupply you do not have to get a 1000watt PSU, if you plan on running a single GPU, you’ll be fine with a 600-650watt PSU, if you plan on running two GPU’s then I’d personally recommend a minimum of 700-750watts for your PSU.
Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 2.5″ SATA 3.0Gb/s with NCQ Solid State Hybrid Drive
Hybrid SSD / HDD for Hackintosh
I chose the Momentus XT because it natively (without needing/having TRIM on the OSX side) remembers which applications I launch the most and essentially caches them in the flash memory for quick access, for the applications or files that I access less frequently, it stores them in the platters on the HDD side of things. This “Hybrid” drive offers a great performance to price value.
(3) Western Digital Caviar Black WD1502FAEX 1.5TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
Hard drives for your Hackintosh I haven’t heard of any compatibility issues with using any other manufacturers drives, but I tend to go with what I know, and Western Digital has earned a reputation with having reliable drives.
Targus ACB10US1 Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter
Bluletooth USB for HackintoshYou need it for all those fancy Apple bluetooth devices…and you’ll want it.
Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard or OS Lion
Purchase or Pirate?
Unlike my brethren at TonyMac and a few other sites, I will not scorn you for discussing whether or not you choose to use a pirated copy of OS X 10.6.8 or OS Lion. OS Lion (which I’d recommend you to purchase and use is only $30) …however it’s up to you whether you want to purchase or pirate it. When I built my system OS Lion was not yet out and I just haven’t had the time to upgrade my hackintosh to it, but I will.
Apple 27″ LED Cinema Display
Simply the best Hackintosh display…period.
Atlona 6 ft MALE Displayport to FEMALE mini Displayport cable
You absolutely need this cable for your hackintosh to support all the Apple 27″ cinema display features (built in speakers, camera, microphone). On my friend’s hackintosh that I built him, he actually runs three 27″ Apple Cinema Displays! (see image below) *Note that I have no confirmation that the new Thunderbolt displays will work properly and as far as Im aware they will not.
(It was a major pain in the ass to find this exact cable which is absolutely needed to support the Apple 27″ in it’s NATIVE resolution of 2560×1440, as well as still reproduce sound and allow the internal mic AND internal camera to work as intended) Works both in OS X AND Win7 for Display (of course), built in camera, built in mic, built in speakers. I tried those janky $100+ adapters but you must pay close attention because there is a lot of “small text” as to what they can legitimately support.
M-Audio AV 40 – Monitor Speakers for Professional-quality Media Creation
When you want some more boom to your beats. Sure there are other speakers out there that look a LOT better. I bought 7 different sets of 2.0 desktop speakers ranging in price from $100 to $900, and these (now priced) at $130-150 are hands down the absolute best when it comes to Bass response, mids and crystal clear highs, without the need for a subwoofer under your desk and without the need for wires going everywhere. +++ Highly recommended!
Apple Magic Trackpad
This is optional for your hackintosh. I rarely use mine except when editing photos.
Mobee Magic Numpad
(optional) and honestly I wouldn’t recommend it. As a matter of fact, nope I won’t.
Apple Wireless Pro Keyboard
Keyboard for your hackintosh. Again, yes you can choose any keyboard for your hackintosh, but the Apple keyboard is bluetooth (wireless), it’s slim and feels comfortable.
Mionix Propus 380 Gaming Mouse Pad
(optional) You may already have a mousepad for your existing computer, but I thought I’d recommend a decent one.
This is my 5th (personal) Hackintosh build that I put together last year (2011) for my home workhorse. I am running 10.6.8 and plan to upgrade to OS lion, but after the absolute headache of getting both (2x GTx 480′s) to work nicely with full QE & full resolution on the Apple display,
I really wish case manufacturers would start making cases that do NOT include any 5.25 bays for DvD/CD/Bluray drives, after install I never use it again. I prefer the minimalistic look
I have a couple Drobo Pro FS’s that I didn’t list above, solely because I believe they are garbage, I’ve replaced them both several times under warranty due to data loss and power cycling issues, absolutely gorgeous *looking* storage/RAID devices with bad support and cheap product quality.
I originally wanted the Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl mid tower silent PC case..this is the exiest damn computer case I’ve seen in a long long time.but it was literally sold out world-wide, I am still debating on getting one although my NZXT looks similar, the white LED on the bottom isn’t bright enough (after all…if it has to be there, shouldn’t it be bright?), for my next build.
***I had some odd restart and weird KP problems initially, and after much trial and error I found out that the selection of DvD-Drive’s actually is important, I originally used a Asus Bluray burner, and found it to be the cause of all the random errors, as soon as it was replaced by this cheapy Pioneer drive, everything became normal!
Getting the 2x 480′s to play nicely in 10.6.8 was no easy task, it required a lot of tweaking and countless days of literally writing down different variables until I was able to achieve success. Then…I realized the built in display speakers wouldn’t work properly, so I spent another week figuring that out. Thanks to the tonymac forums I was able to get this working properly. I have the 4.0.19 CUDA drivers, there is an update available and I *think* I remember seeing that I could update this with no problems, but again, I’d rather play it safe.
I have no stability problems with the overclock, it runs absolutely rock solid (and cool), even during 10+ hour intensive renders, or re-coding videos, and I leave this machine on for daaaaays (weeks actually)
Sleep works fine, shutdown works fine, restart works fine,
I’m thinking of adding a second Apple Cinema Display before the 2010-11 model disappears and is completely replaced with the thunderbolt displays.