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Looking for Help to Update the Hackintosh Guide

03.9.11 @ 10:23AM Tags : ,

Since publishing the in-depth How to Build a Hackintosh guide, lots of readers — I don’t know how many, but it seems like hundreds — have successfully built their own version of the machine that’s faster than a Mac Pro and half the price. However, it’s been several months since I wrote the original guide, and some of the currently-available computer hardware has changed. So I’d like to ask readers who have built their own hackintosh a couple of questions, in order to update the guide and ensure it’s still the best advice out there:

  1. Which graphics card did you use? I used the now-dated nVidia GTX 285, and I expect the newer 4X0 series are better, but since I don’t have personal experience with them I can’t say which one to use — or how best to get it up and running. Any firsthand experiences are appreciated.
  2. Which processor are you using? Do you think the Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz is still the best price/performance choice?
  3. Did anyone build a low-cost RAID solution? I’ve seen some great comments about building a RAID, but I’m looking for something that’s not based around a $900 controller card (given the price of the machine we’re building in the first place).

If you have any tips or suggestions based on the above questions, please let me know in the comments here. Thanks very much!


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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  • Koo, i just want to say thank you very much for evertyhing you are doing. Your website and your guides are fantastic. I would love to help you out but i live in canada so i would buy everything from, if you make a link available i will use it.

    I am in the process now of putting my shopping list together for my hack pro and the only thing i am not a 100% clear about is which GPU to get. I use FCP and Motion and i dont think i will be using Premeire and After Affects, would i be better off getting an ATI card instead of Nvidia?

    All the best,


  • built one according to your original guide, but i used a GF GTX470 instead of the 285. The installation was no problem, thanks to tonymacx nvidia drivers. The card runs without any issues, and its also very easy to active the mercury gpu on it (guides for that can be found on the insanlymac forum).
    The i7-930 stills seems to be a good “bang for the buck” choice to me, though im not sure if there aren’t some neat sandy bridge builds out there.
    I can only recommend to everyone who wants to build a hack, to check out tonymacx forum. they seem to have the latest information there.
    Aswell i’d like to thank you, Koo, because your guide is still one of the best and easiest in the web.



  • I built mine with a i5-760 2.8 Ghz processor, 60 GB OCZ SSD, 16GB Corsair RAM and the ATI Radeon 5770. I used the i5 processor because of the lower price point and used the extra money to max out on RAM. I got the Radeon because I’m mostly using Final Cut Studio and it’s almost half the price of the Nvidia 4xx.

    I agree with Al that everyone should check out tonymacx’s forums. It took me two days to get my Hackintosh up and running, but every issue I ran into was something someone else had encountered and posted about on the forums. The only issue I have now is my wireless card doesn’t automatically connect to my network on startup. I have to manually tell it to join the network. Not a big deal, just slightly annoying.

    I never heard of a Hackintosh ’til I read this site, so thanks Koo!


  • I have built 2 of these systems for personal use and 2 for co-workers with the following specs.

    GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
    I7-950 ($200 @
    12gb 1333mhz patriot ram (shows as 1066mhz)
    3Gbps SATA 1TB
    Nvidia 9800 GTX

    GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
    I7-950 ($200 @
    12gb 1333mhz patriot ram (shows as 1066mhz)
    3Gbps SATA 1TB
    Radeon 5870

    GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
    I7-950 ($200 @
    12gb 1333mhz mushkin ram (shows as 1333mhz)
    6Gbps SATA 2TB (must split into 1TB partitions for installer)
    Gigabyte Radeon 5770 SC 1GB

    GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
    I7-950 ($200 @
    6gb 1333mhz patriot ram (shows as 1066mhz)
    3Gbps SATA 1TB
    Radeon 5770

    GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
    I7-950 ($200 @
    12gb 1066 patriot ram
    3Gbps SATA 1TB
    Nvidia 9800 GTX

    All systems averaged between 9300 – 9800 on geekbench scores and were all built using tonyx86 guides as frameworks.



    You will need the iBoot ISO and Multibeast as we well as the Apple 10.6.6 Combo updater and a retail snow leopard DVD and you’re golden. You can correct the mhz shown for the RAM by editing the smbios.plist and setting the correct key and string 1066 1333.


  • BUILD SPECS (built before you made the guide):
    GA-X58A-UD5 Rev. 2.0
    Bios: FC
    OS: 10.6.5
    i7 980X – slight overclock to 3.75 ghz on turbo mode but 3.33 regular, no voltage increase, so no wear and tear on the chip. Cinebench: 9.90, regular, 8.95.
    12 GB RAM OCZ -1333mhz (I have had extreme problems with OCZ and finally got a new MOBO, didn’t help, as a last resort, called an engineer at Intel and he said that the 1.65 voltage requirement OCZ has overloads the chips memory clock in triple channel. So it is lowered to 1.5 volts and 1066mhz).
    G5 superdrive
    LG Blu-ray superdrive
    120GB OWC SSD – 285 MB/s read/write
    2x WD Cavalier Black 2TB drives in RAID 0 – 280 MB/s read/writes
    1x WD Green 2 TB – 500GB for windows 7 64bit
    160GB G5 drive (i’ll use this for itunes)
    500 GB Maxtor – had this before, probably be for photo production work

    Building a eSATA raid for external backup

  • I followed your guide exactly except for two differences.

    The i930 was (and still is) about $55 more expensive than the i950 on Amazon. It’s been this way for months, which I don’t really understand, but I went ahead and took the i950 since it’s faster (3.06 ghz), as well as cheaper.

    I also purchased the gtx465 (used the link in the guide). This was more out of necessity since at the time the gtx285 was discontinued and unavailable for purchase at a reasonable price.

    The gtx465 I DID run into a tiny bit of trouble with. I’m still looking for a solution, in case someone knows a fix. Basically, I’m unable to use hdmi out. Everything works flawlessly when I use the dvi out, but as soon as hdmi is in use the resolution gets crazy, or I lose the image, etc. Weird issues that are easily solved by using the different output.

    Also, I found kakewalk to be completely unusable. I could never get past the OS disk spinning up but then asking for a restart before installation could proceed.

    There was, of course, some minor tinkering I had to do here and there, but nothing outrageous. Using iBoot, everything worked pretty well and straightforward. I had to reference their forums a few times for some extra help, but overall everything worked well.

    Thanks again for the guide, Koo!

  • Also, I built the Hackpro option (SSD, Bluray, etc)

  • Hi Koo I build my hackingtouch with your guide but with changes:



    Everithing was ok but still having problem with wifi workarounf (I don´t use your ebay-chinesse solution) so there was not so straightforward.

    Finally got to return to windows 7 because I make a extensive use of 3dsmax and with virtualmachice work well but not optime. Was a shame. But I´m plannig in the next month build another PC only for Adobe-Mac solution and stay 3dsmax-windows only in my current pc.

    Anyways thanks and keep listening for next upgrades.

  • Stanley Wong on 03.10.11 @ 7:48AM

    Video cards tend to not contribute much to general video editing applications. Most of a computer’s workhaul comes from CPU and RAM. The only cards I could possibly recommend would be any of the cards that are currently supported by the Mercury playback engine with the adobe products if you are using Adobe.

    Processor wise the Sandy Bridge line has recently come out and show significant improvements over the i7 920′s and such. The most preferred flavors of this processor would likely be the 2500k or the 2600k. Both are good, it just depends on what your budget is. The 2600k will tend to be 10-20% faster depending on the application.

    Not really too familiar with internal raid setups, but in terms of general raid knowledge it’s best to utilize either a Raid 1, 3, or 5 so that you have so form of safety associated with your material. The difference between these is usually associated with the number of drives utilized with 1 utilizing 2 drives, raid 3 usually being around 3 and 5 usually more. Raid 5 is the most common and provides the best performance to storage to price ratio. (Different raid levels use a hard drive for backup safety. Raid 1 uses 1 so you lose half the hard drive space. Raid 5 uses 1 so you lose one as well, but it ends up being less since you have more hard drives in there)

    What I personally use is a External raid enclosure and put in my own drives as this is much cheaper than the retail alternatives.
    1TB Hard Drive:

    This setup with 4 1tb drives is only $440 whereas this retail option by Lacie is over $600.

  • Hi,
    we are still using an external Raid systhem from Lacie ( 2big). It’s connected via firewire 800 or e-sata.

    Thanks a lot for the great website. Keep on.

  • 1. ATI HD-587X-ZNFC from XFX
    Intel Core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz 37 °C Bloomfield 45nm
    Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd. X58A-UD3R
    Corsair HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W
    Corsair HX3X12G1600C9 XMS3 PC3-12800 12.0GB Triple
    Dell 2408WFP @ 1920×1200
    Apple Slim Wired Keyboard
    x2 Wacom
    Samsung HD103SJ 1TB (800gb OSX) (200gb SuperDuper backup)
    WDC WD 2001FASS 2TB (Windows 7)
    Samsung HD204UI 2TB 5400 ecogreen (1800gb Data Storage) (200gb Acronis backup)
    Scythe Mugen 2 rev.B SCMG-2100 cpu cooler
    Antec P183 x4 120mm fans

    2. The ball is in the Intel 2011 Sandybridge’s cpu court in terms of price for performance. If you take a gander at tonymac’s blog, the community has successfully installed OS X on these machines.

    3. No raid setup here. Waiting on SSD price/gb to ratio to drop.

  • Great, thanks guys — I will update the guide to recommend an i7-950 processor and a GTX 4X0 GPU. Seems like folks are having problems with the 460 and 465, so maybe the 480?

    • hi all,

      looks like everyone beat me to the comments. i just finished my hackPro yday. took me best part of the day. running very similar to kbcaleb above.
      GA-X58A-UD3R (mobo)
      12gb 1600mhz corsair
      LG blu-ray
      Nvidia GTX 480 with CUDA hack. But i can confirm it is working in the sense i am able to select GPU acceleration in PremCS5.
      Harddrive wise i have only installed a 250 SATA with the OS and Apps on it for now. Will be adding 2x Spinpoint F3s in the next few weeks.

      I havent had chance yet to benchmark, or test blu-ray burning, or any other tests. Any recommended tests?

      I am going to update my tumblr blog this weekend with challenges I faced and how I over came them.

      My friend fwd’d me this guide which he stumbled upon while searching for DSLR for video shooting. Like some else above i hadn’t even heard of the term hackintosh before, in little as 6mths I now am the proud owner of with. A huge credit goes to Koo and this guide, once i read i read the guide i knew i didnt need to look much further. Again i used tonymacx86 and insanlymac forums to read up on newer components and relavant install files. Those two forums hold a universe of knowledge, highly recommended to visit!

      Thats all folks, good luck with your builds. Keep an eye on…

      adios amgios

  • sebastian boehm on 03.10.11 @ 7:44PM

    hi there,

    i build the machine with the following components:
    ga x58a-ud3r rev2 FE bios
    i7-950 @ 3,71ghz (ask for the settings if you want to know)
    noctua nh-d14 cpu cooler = 74 degrees (prime95 on os x 10.6.6)
    12gb corsair xms3 ddr3 @ 15xx mhz
    zotac gtx 470 amp! edition (very speedy, silent and recognized by default on adobe premiere for mercury engine!)
    crucial c300 128gb ssd
    custom dsdt file = 134XX points geekbench

    thx so much for your guide, koo!!! and are good forums.

    • Hey Sebastian, what are your settings for the overclock? I would love to overclock my own machine but when i tried only a slight OC my settings were all jacked, my benchmark scores were cut in half and my temps shot through the roof!

      Thanks for any help you can offer.

      For now here is my system

      i7 960
      h50 liquid cooler
      16gb corsair ddr3 ram
      ATI Radeon 5770
      128gb SSD system drive
      a couple random 7200 drives holding my data and such as well as a fw800 card for all my external storage.
      Geekbench score for now: 11,650

      Also for those who were having wireless problems, I have the d-link pci card and i am having no problems at all, plug and play and full signal with a router on the opposite side of the house

    • Wow, yours is way faster than mine. Nice work…

    • Sebastian, I would love to know what settings you used to overclock. I gave it a try but OS X would kernel panic on boot.

      Also, since I installed the Noctua NH-D14 my computer does not power off when I shutdown OS X. Have you experienced anything similar?

    • hi Sebastian,
      can you sure me that zotac 470 is ok with mac? no driver issue? freeze?
      which is the right installation precedure?
      There is compatibility on Mavericks?

  • I built my Hackintosh exactly to the nofilmschool specs, only replacing the old GPU with this – MSI GTX 460 Cyclone OC Edition 768MB

    Some people have had problems getting the right resolution with the 460s. Mine is fine with the tonymac nVidia drivers, but I DO get the freezes that other users have talked about.

    The solution? This sounds really weird, but just get VLC to play a small video clip on a loop in the background. Somehow it keeps the 460 busy and it doesn’t freeze. I found out about this from this forum here if you want to read more…

    Haven’t updated to 10.6.6 yet but did do a Safari update that wrecked everything! Had to do a complete re-install.

    Also had no luck with Kakewalk. iBoot worked fine.

    Thanks for your time, help and inspiration, Koo! When you do your update, you might want to check out Multibeast again because there’s a new version with different options for the sound enabler to your guide.

  • thats really a good news here ! i tried Hackintosh my PC before a year.
    i7 core 2 due/ ATI 5870 HD / 1TB Sata/ Gigabyte x58 motherboard
    everything worked. logged to the desktop. But the main problem was that it didnt worked with my vcard because it was very new. i’l try soon
    but plz keep us updated. i dont realky know what to download for this process $

  • If I may ask, how much are some of these systems people have been building here? I’m thoroughly intrigued and seriously would consider building a mac pro system if the cost difference is that significant. Thanks!

  • I’d really like to know what video cards work in these machines from nVidia to drive a 3D screen as well as dual booting. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of video drivers or players for 3D screens on the mac.


  • I am unable to get SL to install using iboot or kakewalk. With kakewalk I can get the boot screen and when I hit enter the apple logo comes up and it freezes.