A Hackintosh is a machine dedicated to running the Mac operating system but it is strictly non-Apple hardware. Apple is notoriously restrictive with the official hardware that can run its operating systems so, of course, tenacious techies have found ways to work around it. There are whole communities of devotees that dedicate themselves to creating Hackintosh machines with different specifications. Recently, app developer Mike Rundle detailed his process of building a US$1200 Hackintosh. Sounds quite cheap. So how much would it cost an Australian that wants to buy all the parts locally? We did a breakdown of the costs bit by bit.
Photo: From Mike Rundle on Medium
US$1200 is how much Rundle's Hackintosh costs, before tax. Even with tax on top, the cost of the machine he made would convert to under $2000 in Australian dollars. That sounds like a reasonable price but, as locals know, we're usually slugged with the 'Australia Tax'. It should be noted that Rundle already owned a monitor and keyboard for his build so that did saved him some money. Total cost including parts he owned would have been US$2109 before tax.
Rundle listed out all the parts his used for his cut-price Hackintosh that, he claimed, is faster than almost any Mac that Apple sells. We took that list and scoured PC parts comparison website Static Ice to find out just how much it would cost to build the same one in Australia from scratch:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte Gaming-5, from $244
- Processor: Intel i7–6700K at 4.0 Ghz, from $479
- GPU: GTX 950, from $207 (depending on which brand you go for)
- Memory: 64GB DDR4 Ballistix Sport, from $417
- Hard Drive: Samsung 850 500GB SSD, from $199
- CPU Cooling: Corsair H60 liquid cooler from $92
- Power Supply: Corsair CS650M 650W ATX Power Supply, from $135
- Wi-Fi: TP-Link PCI-E card, from $14
- Case: BitFenix Phenom, from $94
- Monitor: Dell U3415W 34-inch widescreen, from $1245
- Keyboard: Apple wired keyboard. Static Ice couldn't find any results for this, but you can fetch a decent one around $60 on Ebay
Total hardware cost: $3186
This is just one configuration you can use to make a Hackintosh; there are many other options for parts. It's not a perfect system and there will be Mac OS X supported functions that won't work on this unofficial machine.
It's worth noting that running Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware would violate the operating system's end user licence agreement. Building a Hackintosh is also quite a laborious process. As Rundle puts it:
"Building a Hackintosh is not for everyone. If you need portability, you should probably hold out for a new MacBook Pro and hope it’s unveiled in the next few months. But if you’re looking at a Mac Mini, an iMac or a Mac Pro, you can definitely build yourself a faster and less expensive machine if you go the Hackintosh route. Of course that means purchasing computer parts yourself, building the computer, running a hacked bootloader, tinkering with cryptic flags and kernel extensions, violating the Mac OS X EULA by running it on non-Apple hardware, searching web forums for tidbits, worrying about system software updates, and general computer hardware nerdery that most people wouldn't want to deal with."
If you're still keen to fork out the money and invest the time in building your own Hackintosh, there are a number of online resources that can help you, including Tony Mac X86 and Hackintosh.com. There's also a dedicated Reddit page that is devoted to Hackintosh information and troubleshooting.
You can read more about Rundle's experience in building his Hackintosh over at Medium.