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How to Build a Video Editing Hackintosh That's Faster than a Mac Pro for Half the Price

10.25.10 @ 4:18PM Tags : , , , ,

After months of building and testing, my comprehensive step-by-step guide for How to Build a Hackintosh is here. I wrote this guide specifically for video editors and other digital creators, and because video editors are some of the most demanding computer users, I believe this NoFilmSchool Hackintosh is the best machine from a price, performance, and reliability standpoint. There are some other hackintosh guides out there, but I’ve tested this build on real-world HD video projects. I reordered and replaced components to ensure it was the best there is. I could tell you more, but this image should say it all. Here is a price/performance comparison with the latest Mac Pro from Apple:

Click on the image below for the full-length, multi-page article, and please share it around via Twitter/Facebook/Your Blog — this could help a lot of independent creatives attain Mac Pro-levels of capability at a fraction of the cost.

Link: How to Build a Hackintosh


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

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  • Wow… I wonder if Apple will let you leave this up…

    • Apple can’t say anything. If they did, Ryan would run into their boardroom and throw a hammer through Steve Job’s huge electronic face.

  • So, technically if I wanted to use another HDD and install windows on it I should be able to use say bootcamp and run both with no problems, correct?

  • Yes, you could definitely use Boot Camp and do it the Mac way, or partition the HD into two and install Windows first. Either way…

  • Very nice Koo!
    Thanks for your tutorial.
    But, can you do a broadcast monitoring with your hackintosh
    through a Black Magic Intensity Pro card, for example ?

    • I wish I knew — I don’t have such a card. If it’s a standard card like PCI-Express, there’s no reason you couldn’t, I imagine…

  • Wow … this is the most detailed guide I’ve ever seen on the net so far. Thank you very much!
    I tried to install OSX on my laptop a few years ago. It worked, but some hardware components didn’t work atll.

    Now I’ll give the Hackintosh thing another try … with the help of your guide.

    Just one question: will the 29$ Snow Leopard DVD from the Apple store install on a blank HDD? … because the description said something about “upgrade”. So is there any difference between the 29$ version and a retail Version?

  • THANK YOU!!!! Been waiting a while for this, can’t wait to get started….

  • and what about firewire?

  • what do you propose is the best way to transfer my programs and files? i’ve heard its possible to use the disk utility or programs that make carbon copies. what do you think is the fastest and most accurate way?

  • Hi Koo very nice job and thanks a lot for that, but I have a couple of questiones for you:

    - Is a real problem with sound in this hackingtoch ??, what is I wanna put a creative or other sound card ?

    - Why you select the Gigabyte motherboard and not a Asus or a Evga, is the component of the gigabyte exclusive for hackingtoch or somethink else ?

    - I know that you select the mono-nucleo i7 930 for burget propouse, but what will happening if the case of a i7 930 and a gigabyte will be a dual intel Xeon X5650 and a asus or evga mobo ? I know that is expensive but the Mac Pro version of that monster is a lot more expensive. So the buy a original Mac Pro don’t work for me ;)

    - When the nvidia 285 get off, what we can do ??, is any alternative with other 480 or so ?!?

    Thanks again and waiting for your answers

    PD:  For europe people  is another online store so we can buy and you have benefits ??

  • Hi Koo,

    I’ve achieved success with your tutorial!
    I used your mobo and processor with a
    Nvidia 9500GT (Asus EN9500GT 1GB).

    But, I have selected the checkboxes below
    in the Multibeast to get sound and Ethernet

    + Audio : LegacyHDA : ALC889
    + Audio : HDAEnabled : ALC889
    + Network : Realtek Gigabit Ethernet :
    Realtexk RTL8168 Ethernet

    In addition, I have been having success with
    my graphic card in _dual monitor_.


    • Awesome, Ricardo!

      Thanks for the note on Audio + Ethernet — I couldn’t quite remember what I’d done! I’ll update the guide. Congratulations!

  • Can this system work with a wired ethernet connection? does it support dual monitors?

    • Ethernet should work great, even at Gigabit speeds. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet but others report good results.

      Dual monitors should work fine — the GTX 285 has two outputs, after all.

      • Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’ve already purchased a bunch of my stuff from your amazon ref links :).

        I wanted to ask though, how can I make this setup a dual-monitor scenario? Will whatever monitor computer monitor I buy be able to work with the graphics card you recommended? Will I need to buy specific cables to make them work?
        How about if I got 2 TV monitors, and wanted to hook those up as my hac pro monitors? Would I need to buy anything special/pay attention to any specific techspecs for that?

        I’ve never built a computer before, so please excuse the beginner-ish questions. Anything you can hint at would be a great help!

  • 6 years and many attempts later, I’m still not comfortable working with Macs. Good on you for working around Apple’s proprietary business model and building your own machine – cheaper, too!. I just thought it was funny to claim that half price is “a fraction of the cost”.

  • Dual Proc is possible and proven working, however you lose all the cost benefits….mainly due to the outrageous intel pricing on high end procs…and the high high prices of the dual socket server mobos…

  • Orderd my computer tonight!!! core i7 950/ 12gb’s DD3 ram/ EVGA Geforce 460 dual HDMI/ 60 gb SSHD/ 1T HHD/ Gigabyte x58A crossfire X sli motherboard. Kind of excited. cant wait to edit some footage!! total cost was 1200 with case, and psu and some other goodies.

  • FRICK!!!

    when i run iboot or kakewalk it and load the mac osx disk, i get a grey screen of death. WTF anybody else have this problem how did they fix it!

  • Thank you so much, you have just liberated countless creatives – have as good a day (if not better!!) as you have just made mine! :O)

  • Amazing Guide. I want to share my success story in case this may help any one else. Btw I bought through the links :)

    My Build:
    Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Rev. 2
    i7 950 3.1 GHz
    12GB 1600Mhz Corsair HX3X12G1600C9
    EVGA 470GTX
    Kingston 128GB SSD
    650W Power Supply
    Cooler Master RR-B10-212P-G1 hyper 212
    Antec 902 case

    Here’s a great guide that helped me through although I couldn’t flash my BIOS and stuck with the original mobo’s FA DSDT.

    For Graphics, the Nvidia 470 GTX didn’t work straight out of the box, so I ordered a 9500GT for $70 and used it as the primary card until I installed the TonyMac Nvidia update and CUDA driver 3.2.17. This is AFTER I upgraded from retail version Snow Leopard 10.6.3 to 10.6.5 and ran MultiBeast. Bingo it worked, but I haven’t really tested out yet. One thing to note, rendering times in AE is the same with both cards and there’s about $200 difference :(

    So here’s the real booger. It seems that Windows runs more efficiently in all except for one category when I compare GeekBench scores (I’m using dual booted Windows and Mac OS X on same drive); despite having a much lower overall score. Here’s the results. Anyone has any ideas for why this may be happening? Sortdemands me wonder why were jumping through flaming hoops and prancing in tutus just so that we can run a video editing Hackintosh doesn’t it?

    Here are the scores, including the differences in how the OS sees the hardware:

    Geekbench for Mac:
    Score: 9417
    Integer: 7891
    Floating Point: 15573
    Memory: 4204
    Stream: 3647

    Memory: 12.0 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    Bus: 536 MHz
    L1 Instruction Cache: 32KB
    L1: Data Cache: 32KB
    L2 Cache: 256KB
    L3 Cache: 8.00MB
    BIOS: apple inc multi

    Geekbench for Windows 7:
    Score: 8320
    Integer: 9710
    Floating Point: 10113
    Memory: 4614
    Stream: 4596

    Memory: 12.0 GB 400 MHz 
    Bus: 133 MHz
    L1 Instruction Cache: 64KB
    L1: Data Cache: 64KB
    L2 Cache: 8.00MB
    L3 Cache: 0
    BIOS: Award Software International inc FA

    I hope I don’t get hung for being a naysayer, but I might just keep my PC windows if there’s a way to improve performance in Floating Point. Does somebody know a way for me to stay Mac and not go back?

    • Thanks very much for sharing your experiences! Very helpful. Did you reverse the stats, though? It looks like your Mac scores are better than your Windows numbers…

      • Actually that’s the thing I was wondering? Windows scores higher on every stat except for Floating Point Performance, which measures the work done by just the processor and memory subsystem; but Windows still gets a lower overall score.

        I’m wondering if Windows Being installed after OSX has anything to do with it. I might try a clean install on a separate drive just to see how the performance compares to a dual boot system. Also, my GeekBench score for was 9458 before the Windows install and drops to a 9417 after

        • have u tested AE in windows and mac… do they perform the same??
          Thanx for the guide very similar to the one i wanted to build.. and had me thinking big time about the card…

          • MaSTerKiLLeR on 06.24.11 @ 11:32PM

            Hi Koo thanx for your guide, i have a question can i use the same graphic card mac pro uses for better compatibility ??

  • please send me the details of configuration.

  • Hi Koo,
    I really like No Film School. Actually so much so that I want to build an Hackintosh for myself. I work as an artist in photography and plan to work with film in the future. I want to use Final Cut Pro X to edit my films.
    What videocard do you recommend for this software?

  • Koo, great stuff all, I have a similar problem to one of your other correspondents. I have a MOTU PCI card and my Hackintosh doesn’t seem to see anything in the PCI slots. The MOTU card has MAC drivers, but the OS doesn’t see it so I’m dead in the water. There is a USB card in the other slot and it’s not seen either, but does work, oddly enough.


  • Hello Koo,

    I wanted to thank you for all the advise and hard work you put into the site.
    I was wondering, when do you think, you’ll have an update in the no film school hackintosh?
    Its been around a year since your last update. Besides, the latest Ivy Bridge processors are out, and there are thunderbolt certified windows motherboards.

    Thunderbolt for PC: Overview, Tour & Demo featuring the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium Motherboard

    I wanted to jump in to the hackintosh world when this updates are ready and certified by no film school,

    please let us know,

    thank you!

  • Nick Fitzwater on 09.26.12 @ 5:18AM

    Can I buy one from you and how much is it? Thanks Nick

  • Nick Fitzwater on 09.26.12 @ 5:19AM

    Is it as fast as a Apple iMac 27″ MC511LL/A, Final Cut Studio 3, 12GB RAM cost on Ebay $1500.00 Thanks Nick

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