A hackintosh is a computer built from PC parts to run Apple’s macOS. Hackintosh is a portmanteau of the word “hack” and the name of Apple’s model of computers, the Macintosh. At their average price point, Hackintosh computers are typically more powerful than Apple’s equivalently spec’ed computer.

The Apple software license does not allow macOS to be used on a computer that is not “Apple-branded”. The legality of this is disputed. The commonly accepted use of a hackintosh is that you make it a DIY build for personal use; not a unit to be sold commercially. Another legal argument is the processes of obtainment of Apple software without already owning a real Mac. Without access to an Apple Mac, the only ways of getting copies of the Mac operating system are considered illegal. However, if one already owns a Mac and has the software, it is completely legal use of the software.

I use a Hackintosh for my go-to desktop computer. I built it in August 2017. At that time it was a relatively top-spec computer. A 7th gen Intel i7 processor, 32Gb of 2133 MHz DDR4 memory, dual 500GB Samsung SSD’s and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti rank this machine among the top. The complete build cost $2,249. At that time a similar, yet lower spec’ed iMac cost $3,999(+tax) and its closely related, similarly spec’ed sibling, the Mac Pro, cost $4,199(+tax). Nearly half the price at more than double the performance had me sold on building the Hackintosh.

After five months of ownership I have seen every pro and con of owning a hackintosh vs. a purebred Mac.

  • Ease of use: Mac>Hack
    • Hackintosh must rely on a custom, precisely-tuned-to-your-board EFI firmware/Bootloader in order to remain usable. Even the smallest setting tweak could render it useless.
  • Reliability: Mac>Hack
    • Again, with the use of a third party EFI or Bootloader you are guaranteed to run into bugs and boot lag.
  • Hardware/SoftwareUsability: Mac=Hack
    • Once your EFI/Bootloader works there is nothing holding you back… besides drivers. Using a tool like MultiBeast, finding the right drivers are a snap.
    • With USB 3.1, PCIe Flash, Bluetooth 4, WiFi cards, and all other ports you may (or may not) find on a Mac, a modern Hackintosh has the same if not better usability as a Mac.
  • Functionality: Mac<Hack
    • At any given price point a modern hackintosh will out preform a Mac of the same price. This is due to the cheap availability of parts for a DIY build compared to the Apple markup™ you receive when buying the same or cheaper hardware in a pretty aluminum box.
  • æšthētïçś: Mac~Hack
    • This one depends on personal preference. If you prefer to to look at a screen with the attention to detail likened to that of a sculpture, an iMac would be best for you. If you don’t mind the traditional PC desktop “box” then you may not notice the physical difference in a Hackintosh. When building a custom PC there are hundred of different cases to choose from. I chose the All-aluminum Phanteks Enthoo Evolv.

 

 

This post will be updated as I learn more about Hackintosh.

Read more about what I have to say about Technology at Everything I Say is Right.