Using a Mac for all my work has been a delight. I love the OS, especially after Snow Leopard. It simply gets out of the way. I love the design standards that Apple upholds, and the innovations that their products are responsible for. With that being said, I also hate the fact that living in India, and owning a Mac while working is not an easy feat to achieve. I write this not just because of the upfront buying costs are high, but because the ownership (maintenance) costs are high too. Something people here are rarely aware about.
Sure, when you are sitting in a cafe here you’ll see a lot of people owning a MacBook or a MBP, but hardly anyone owns any of the new iMacs or the new 2013 Mac Pro simply because they are costlier than what they sell for in the States. Parts are nonexistent, and the chip level repair guy usually is firing a bullet in the dark while trying to repair an Apple computer. That is a fact.
With both my machines giving up within hours of each other, it very easily became apparent that I cannot rely on Apple products here. The service centers, as I mentioned in an earlier post, are more of a give-us-money-to-replace-product centers, and the technicians do take their own sweet time. There hasn’t been one instance of a dealing with the Apple service centers, here in Mumbai, that has ended on a satisfactory note. Thus I’ve had to get the fixes done myself, taking away precious time from work.
The whole point of making a Hackingtosh build is that I still am in love with OS X, apart from the fact that we just submitted out first app to the iOS store. So, my main work machine has to be something that runs OS X, comfortably if not perfectly. While working from the MBP is fine, I sometimes feel handicapped, because of being used to work on a Mac Pro with multiple screens, and all. A Hackintosh is perfect for a scenario where official Apple parts are hard to come by for iMacs, and Mac Pros; perfect for a place where everything else required to run OS X on a self built machine is readily available, with warranty. Sure, the initial setup may be a pain in the ass, but once through that I think it should be fine.
Researching: What Goes into Building A Hackintosh?
I started researching about how easy it would be to setup a Hackintosh build today, and how much would a decent system - which would be faster than the Mac Pro 3,1 I own, would cost. I started with reaching out to some people who’ve made it a business here to assemble, and sell Hackintoshes. I asked them what would be the cost of a moderate system, and how long would it take to finish a build. The answers I got from them varied a little, and by the looks of it, it was totally doable. I got quoted from $600 to $1200USD depending on what I put into the build. I told all of them my requirements, and almost everyone I asked a quote from gave me a quote of around $750USD, when I was being very specific of mentioning what I needed to do with it. Compare that with the price of a 2013 Mac Pro here in India, which is about ~3750USD for the model with six cores. Enough said.
There are plenty of ways to install OS X on a PC, provided that you use some very specific models of the Motherboards, the CPUs, and the GPUs. This list is readily available at TonyMacX86.com. In fact everything you need to install OS X on a PC is available at TonyMacX86.com . My further research led me down to wonderland. There were articles, and posts about how Tony from TonyMacX86 is not using open source, and how he is making it all a commercial enterprise, and the folks over at osx86project.org (InsanelyMac) are quiet upset over those facts. Coming back to the point, I will be using the methods outlined over at Tony’s site, simply because it’s better suited for a beginner like me.
Here’s the list of parts that’ve been purchased:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte’s H97M-D3H
- Processor: Intel’s i5 4460 3.2Ghz. Quad Core. Overclock-able.
- GPUs: I will be using the onboard Intel 4500 GPU, along with the two GT120s. The GT120s might be old, but they work just fine for my needs. I didn’t have to purchase these separately because I was using them with the Mac Pro. With the Mac Pro being dead, I can switch them over to this new build.
- Data Storage: 4 1TB Seagate HDDs 7200 RPM, and one 120GB SSD Sata for the OS and Apps.
- PSU: Corsair’s RM1000 Modular PSU.
- RAM: To start with 8GB of Kinston’s Fury series, clocked at 1866Mhz. Will be upgraded to 16 or 32GB within a month or so.
- Case: Corsair’s Vengeance C70 - Artic White. I originally went with the Antec DF-85, but decided to save some cash, and instead opt for the Corsair Vengeance C70.
- Cooling: A month or so later I plan to put in more fans, and liquid cooling.
Hackintosh Build Time:
I am just waiting on the case to arrive so I can start the build process. Once the case arrives, I think it should take a day, or three for me to complete the build fully with OS X installed, and running successfully on it. I may be overshooting, or undershooting here, simply because this is my first Hackintosh build.
More posts on the build coming up soon.