The Macintosh or Mac is undoubtedly the most iconic computer there is. Apple has been at the forefront of design and build quality when it comes to its computer products. Unfortunately, Apple is known to charge a steep premium on all of its Mac products, be it the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and the Mac Mini. What is worse, while there is no doubt at all that these products are made well, they are not the best in terms of performance. This is basically why there is a small niche in the market for Hackintosh machines that are basically a rough copy of a Mac.
What is a Hackintosh?
To cut to the chase, a Hackintosh is nothing but a bunch of common PC hardware put together to resemble a Mac. While an actual Mac may have inferior performance due to hardware constraints, a Hackintosh is somewhat more powerful. In fact, it can even outperform the Mac Pro in some cases.
Since an actual Mac system is very expensive, one can actually put together a collection of PC hardware and keep it cheap and cheerful; within the constraints of supported systems, of course.
Why a Hackintosh?
There are basically three reasons why someone will build a Mac clone. The first one is the price. Apple computers are known to be quite expensive even though they are somewhat lacking in performance.
Secondly, is the performance. Many would know by now that a Mac is very limited in terms of performance. The system does not offer overclocking at all. In fact, when the system detects increased operating temperatures, the OS will throttle the performance of the system in order not to burn all the components.
In a Mac clone, since it is basically made up of PC components that are readily available in the market, one can easily customize a build to cater to the power requirements. Overclocking is also possible since the system can be installed with an adequate cooling solution like liquid coolers. Furthermore, the main bulk of the system, the CPU and GPU, can be optimized to provide that best performance for any given design.
Finally, there is the macOS. By far, the Mac OS is the best operating system from Apple. It is more stable and secure compared to any Windows platform.
How does one build a Hackintosh?
There are a lot of things to consider when building a Mac clone. For one, one should set a target performance for the build in mind. This will help one decide in choosing the appropriate hardware that needs to be bought and put together.
Secondly, anyone who aspires to build a Hackintosh will need to do a lot of reading. The actual build is actually quite involved and some things need to be done that are not usually done on a normal PC build. For those who are curious about it can check tonymacx86 for some guides.
Finally, know that building one and keeping or using one is in direct violation of Apple’s Mac OS end-user license agreement. While Apple seems to tolerate Hackintosh users for the time being, there is a chance that it might introduce a way of identifying unauthorized hardware using the Mac OS Sierra.
Can I do it on my own?
The answer to this question is a yes and a no. Yes, because with enough knowledge and keen sense of following directions, it is fairly easy to build a Hackintosh. There are a number of great tutorials online on how to build one. Furthermore, all the third-party settings that one might need are readily available on the Internet. A simple Google or visiting the site mentioned above will yield positive results.
On the other hand, a no can also answer the same question. This is mainly because as mentioned earlier, it breaks the Apple’s EULA for the Mac OS. Also, building a Hackintosh is not for the faint of heart. Even a seasoned PC builder can sometimes get stuck when building a Mac clone.
What system should I use?
This will depend on the aim of a Hackintosh builder. For instance, if one wants a simple system, there is the Hackintosh version of the Mac Mini. For mid-range specs, there is the iMac. And then finally, in the upper echelon of the Mac ecosystem, the Mac Pro.
Each of these systems will have a corresponding PC hardware that one can use. Depending on how much one wants the system to perform, there are hardware available to cater for that.
How much will it cost?
In general, one of the main reasons why someone will build a Hackintosh is the cost. As mentioned earlier, an official Mac computer can cost thousands of dollars while having a lacklustre performance. With a Hackintosh, a lot of performance can be squeezed into a build with as little cost as possible.
Of course, the cost will depend on what a user wants to get from the build. The Mac Mini equivalent build can cost between $400 to $600. Meanwhile, an iMac equivalent build can be between $1,000 and $1,500. Finally, a Mac Pro build can blow up to about $2,000.
Of course, in comparison to an actual Mac, these costs are still quite affordable. A Mac Mini starts at around $500, with a sub par hardware. For the iMac, the 21.5-inch version starts at $1,100 while the 27-inch model is at $1,800. Finally, the Mac Pro can have a minimum price tag of $3,000. One thing to note is that the prices indicated for the Mac systems are in no way close to the performance of a Hackintosh with the same price tag.
While a Hackintosh does not resemble a Mac at least in looks, it compensates with increased performance and build cost. Furthermore, since a Mac clone is basically a hodgepodge of computer parts, it can be easily upgraded with new hardware especially when driver support for the hardware becomes available. For more tech updates, be sure to check us out at TheBitbag.