Gift Guide: Build A Hackintosh

A new Mac makes a great gift, but if you want to save a little cash this Christmasand give a lucky person an even faster computer than you could buy from Apple, you need to construct a hackintosh. In this gift guide we're offering up several builds to fit any need.

When building a Hackintosh, you'll generally choose between three kinds of builds:

  1. A small but powerful entry-level machine, comparable to a Mac mini.
  2. A midrange hackintosh in a reasonably-sized package, comparable to a headless iMac.
  3. A high-end, ultra-powerful hackintosh that can best a Mac Pro at half the price.

In this hackintosh building gift guide, we're going to look at specific builds for each of these scenarios. Additionally, we'll provide customisation options so you can upgrade and modify each build as you wish. Building a hackintosh is a sensitive process; if you change components, you may have more trouble getting your build to work.

Pricing is indicative, based on quotes from local suppliers via our favourite hardware shopping comparison site staticICE. Shop around for components, but keep postage in mind: buying from just one or two suppliers can work out cheaper than getting every element separately.

Hack Mini

A Hack Mini should be small but still pack a lot of power. This build comes in under $US500 and offers quite a bit of power for the cost:

  • Case and Power Supply: Aywun MI-008 with 200W power supply ($50)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI ($120)
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 ($135)
  • RAM: 8GB Corsair 1600Mhz DDR3 ($40)
  • HDD: 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ($85)
  • Wi-Fi Card: TP-Link 802.11n Dual-Band Card ($30)
  • Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial ATA Internal Drive ($25)
  • Operating System: OS X Mountain Lion ($21)

Upgrade Options

  • Get a bigger hard drive: 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM Hard Drive ($175)
  • Get an SSD: 256GB OCZ Vertex Series 4 SSD ($250)
  • Upgrade the processor: Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz ($225)
  • Double your RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz Desktop Memory ($90)

Mid-Range Hackintosh

If you want a little more power in a small case, here's a great mid-range build for just a little extra money:

  • Case: BitFenix Prodigy ($87)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI LGA 1155 Motherboard ($135)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz ($225)
  • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 2048MB ($150)
  • HDD: 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM Hard Drive ($175)
  • RAM: 8GB Corsair 1600Mhz DDR3 ($40)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series 650W Modular Power Supply ($170)
  • Wi-Fi Card: TP-Link 802.11n Dual-Band Card ($30)
  • Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial ATA Internal Drive ($25)
  • Operating System: OS X Mountain Lion ($21)

Upgrade Options

  • Get an SSD: 256GB OCZ Vertex Series 4 SSD ($250)
  • Get a more powerful graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti 2048MB GDDR5 ($360)
  • Get an even more powerful graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX680 SuperClocked 2048MB ($600)
  • Double your RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz Desktop Memory ($90)
  • Upgrade the processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz CPU ($325)

Hack Pro

For the most powerful hackintosh, build a Hack Pro. For half the price of the entry-level Mac Pro you can build a faster machine with additional features. Here's one of the fastest builds you can create, and upgrade options that can make it even faster and more capable:

  • Case: Cooler Master RC-692-KKN2 Case ($110)
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77-DS3H Motherboard ($100)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz CPU ($325)
  • GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti 2048MB GDDR5 ($360)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz Desktop Memory ($90)
  • HDD: 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM Hard Drive ($175)
  • SSD: 256GB OCZ Vertex Series 4 SSD ($250)
  • Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series 650W Modular Power Supply ($170)
  • FireWire: SYBA FireWire 400/800 Card ($30)
  • Wi-Fi Card: TP-Link 802.11n Dual-Band Card ($30)
  • Optical Drive: Asus 24x DVD-RW Serial ATA Internal Drive ($25)
  • Operating System: OS X Mountain Lion ($21)

Upgrade Options

  • Get a more powerful graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX680 SuperClocked 2048MB ($600)
  • Get a bigger SSD: Crucial 512 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive ($450)
  • Double your RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz ($180)
  • Add more hard drives: 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black 7200 RPM Hard Drive ($175/each)

Once you have the parts, consult our computer building guide to learn how to put them together and our hackintosh guide to learn how to turn that hardware into a Mac. Merry Christmas!


Comments

    Why do you guys insist on posting stuff from your US site.
    Have you guys ever tried to find at GA-Z77-DS3H motherboard in Australia?

      Yes, we have. I don't know if you actually read the piece before whining, but we did check local pricing for every component (and changed a few to reflect what's out over here). For the GA-Z77, there seem to be quite a few options: http://www.staticice.com.au/cgi-bin/search.cgi?q=GA-Z77&spos=1

        Regardless of whether the commenter read the article properly, did you have to answer in such a snide manner? Calling him a 'whiner' is not exactly professional.

          Manners are universal. However, 'H' was ill-prepared and rude, and he got what he deserved.

          You're right, the tone wasn't very friendly, but I don't have a lot of patience for people who make comments that demonstrate they didn't actually read the article.

        Burn :D With regard to manners I find it simpler to speak as I am spoken to.

      The reason the guys keep insisting on posting stuff from the US site is because they are most likely contractually obligated to. The titles Lifehacker, much like Kotaku and Gizmodo, are owned by Gawker Media, a US company, and rights to utilise these titles for Australian equivalents were bought by Allure Media most likely on the condition that on top of creating their own content they would also run content from their American counterparts.

      Simply put they can't stop 'insisting on posting stuff from the US site.' so complaining about it isn't really going to help much. . .

      Last edited 10/12/12 7:37 pm

        You're right that we license the local rights from Gawker, but there's absolutely no condition that says we have to publish everything. We go to a lot of effort to localise US content so it's relevant, and we don't run posts that don't apply to Australia.

        That process isn't perfect, and occasionally a US spelling or US-centric post slips through. I'm always happy to acknowledge when that happens and correct it, but H's comment doesn't fall into that category: it's inaccurate both in substance (the motherboard in question is available from local suppliers) and in its assumption that we simply run the US content in its entirety.

          I understand that you are not obligated to post all US Lifehacker content on the Australian site, If that is what you believe I was insinuating I apologise. What I was trying to say is you most likely have a clause requiring you to, at the very least, post some content from this site's American counterpart; otherwise, considering the amount of times people complain about the American articles (particularly. . . no especially on Kotaku) the vast majority. . . if not all American articles would have disappeared from the Australian sites long ago. . .

          I understand the amount of work you put in to localise American content, and I appreciate the work you and the rest of the staff at Allure media do to try to ensure everything that is posted on these sites have a reason to. I'm just sick of the commenters across these sites who seem to be constantly complaining about the American counterparts or to you for simply doing what I assumed you are contractually obligated to do.

            Thanks for the thoughtful reply and the additional comments.

    I'm not convinced about the wisdom of building a Hackintosh as a gift. If I know someone wants a Mac then it's probably wiser to buy them the real thing, especially if they aren't tech savvy - otherwise you might end up being their tech support for the next few years. On the other hand, a person who specifically wants a Hackintosh will probably want to build it themselves.

    Awesome article, Thanks Angus! I will be building a hackintosh soon :D

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