January 2, 2015

Comparing a Maxed-Out 5K iMac to a Hackintosh: Which One Comes Out on Top?

5K iMac vs Hackintosh

Last October, Apple dazzled consumers worldwide with the introduction of their 5K iMac, which not only sports an incredible Retina Display with a resolution of 5120 x 2880, but enough processing power for all but the most demanding of post-production professionals. The only caveat, the 5K iMac comes at a hefty price, with the base model coming in at $2,500, while a fully maxed-out version with a 4.0GHz i7 processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD is a whopping $4,400.

That's where the Hackintosh comes into play. Although the re-designed Mac Pro put a dent in the Hackintosh concept because it's no longer possible to build a computer with the same components used in the Mac Pro for a cheaper price, the Hackintosh community is still alive and well, and with the arrival of OSX Yosemite last fall, it's now easier than ever to install OSX on a home-built machine. What's even better is that a Hackintosh with similar specs to the maxed-out iMac can be had for a little more than half of the cost, and that's after factoring in the cost of a third party 4K display.

So which performs better, the 5K iMac or a similarly spec'd Hackintosh? Here's Mike from VidMuze, an awesome aerial cinematography company, to break it all down for you:

If you're into comparing various benchmark scores, here are the results from Mike's testing.

5K iMac vs Hackintosh

Impressive as those results are, especially for a computer that is almost $2000 less than the competing iMac, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First and foremost is long-term stability and reliability, which is a major sticking point for professional users who rely on this equipment to generate income. Hackintoshes have gained a bit of a reputation over the years as being unreliable compared to their authentic Apple counterparts, and when you factor in all of the things that can go wrong with a Hackintosh -- everything from botched OS updates to Apple dropping compatibility for certain components -- it's easy to be wary of going the Hack Pro route when looking for a professional editing and post-production workstation.

Another consideration to make between these two systems is the display and the value that you're getting with each one. Apple's new 5K Retina Display is already widely considered one of the premiere high resolution displays on the market, and many of the competing high-end displays still cost nearly as much as the base model 5K iMac, although that's changing as the technology becomes more widespread. There are currently less expensive 4K displays on the market, but many of them don't even come close to the 5K iMac in terms of overall display quality. Then when you factor in the speed of the computer that's included at that $2,500 price point (for the base-model iMac) and the thin integrated design, it's hard not to see the iMac as the better bargain, especially if display quality is an important factor in your decision-making process.

Would you guys consider going for the Hackintosh instead of a 5K iMac, or would you stick with the real deal for your editing and post work? Let us know down in the comments!     

Header Image Courtesy of ArsTechnica

Your Comment

61 Comments

One big advantage of the hackintosh is the ability to add more graphics cards to greatly increase performance in video apps. (Adobe, FCPX and especially Resolve.)

January 2, 2015 at 9:44AM

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Joseph Moore
Director
219

I know you're comparing to the iMac but the mac pro ships with some pretty beefy cards. It would be nice if they'd update them but the AMD fire pros are very strong OpenCL workhorses even for that money. 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports aren't bad either.

January 2, 2015 at 11:22AM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1023

Yes, and also the ability to upgrade those cards in the future!

January 2, 2015 at 2:11PM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
565

The price of the cards alone cost more than a Mac Pro with the cards included.
If you can actually afford those cards, there is no reason to not buy a Mac Pro.

January 5, 2015 at 12:20PM, Edited January 5, 12:20PM

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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1023

Yeah, this is really the only downside. I don't need it, but a Red Rocket would be nice in some workflows.

January 2, 2015 at 2:14PM

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Sorry, but how stupid is THAT?? "I don't need it, but it'd be nice"?? LOL... that's real clever. Never mind that a RED Rocket is completely and utterly *SUPERFLUOUS* with any newer, semi-beefy Mac! Those cards are from years ago where they actually made some technical and (barely) economic sense. They're complete NONSENSE by today's standards. That is, assuming you're not actually still on a machine from 2008 or 2009 or even older. In which case you clearly can't be considered in the realm of "pro" anyway and are just a pretentious blatherer.

January 5, 2015 at 7:42AM

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Dude, chill. I meant that I don't need it because I'm on a powerful system that doesn't need it. However, I'm assuming it would still be nice to have. The comments on this site are absurd.

January 7, 2015 at 1:36PM

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Wow, you're even angrier and more condescending than one of those longtime Creative Cow guys.

Just wanted to point that out, for what it's worth.

January 7, 2015 at 7:36PM

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I thought about the 5k iMac when it first came out, but I think for video production you need the option to expand your workstation. I think the 5K iMac could be a great option for someone in the news field, or someone that just needs to edit footage. But for someone that needs to do special effects, color grade, and 3D, I'll need to have the option to get more power EASILY into my workstation. My workflow now may only be compressed 4K from a GH4 and 1080p ProRes from a C100, but who knows-next project I could be dealing with RAW 240fps footage from a FS700.

January 2, 2015 at 10:00AM

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Levi Stutzman
Director-Filmmaker
102

I had a Mac air for the longest time until I bought an imac 5K. The things is, when I had high resolution projects, I would take it to a studio and even though they had crazy systems, they would never edit 6k or 4k as is. They would first convert all the files to 1080p(which they call an offline) edit. Once the client or the production team agrees to the edit, it is then replaced with the original footage and the output is taken. Maybe it's just the way people work around here. Somehow I've adopted the same as well. Easier when you have to make a hundred changes as per the client's whims. I'd love to know what workflow you guys adhere to.

January 2, 2015 at 10:29AM

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Sahit Anand
Director and Co-Founder of DO. Creative Labs
103

Absolutely it is industry standard to do offline edit, even when compositing.

December 1, 2015 at 4:23PM

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Colin Williams
Sound
88

Each person has their preferences, and I in no way dispute what you're saying--I managed RAW 120fps from the FS700 on my late-2012 iMac. I used the same basic workflow that Sahit mentioned. But it all comes down to preference and workflow--using temp 1080p files has its drawbacks.

January 2, 2015 at 1:22PM

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Cassidy Hilton
Freelancer
194

There are several TB video I/O devices starting at about $150 with SDI and HDMI out. is connecting a TB cable harder than installing a card in a tower ? ditto external RAID storage, although the cases are a bit pricey, its very easy to expand an iMac via TB including a 2nd display if you even need it. I have an older 27" iMac and don't miss a 2nd display on it. as for doing VFX and Mograph, its a main use for my iMac because of the larger screen and extra pixels. renders are NOT a problem, even on some 4K projects I've just done. so greatly underestimate what these machines can do. they play gh4 4K fine in a TL with several layers of graphics on top.

January 2, 2015 at 2:05PM

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Steve Oakley
DP • Audio Mixer • Colorist • VFX Artist
363

Great article! Timing is as such that I ordered my new iMac 5k last week and watched this video this morning! Oh well. Honestly though I still feel good about my purchase, I paid in total $2,800 (Tax free Montana!) with 32g ram from crucial (Always a good experience) and kept the processor to 3.5ghz. Upgraded the HD to 3TB. We will see but for my needs this should be sufficient. I'll look into this setup when I get better at 3d modeling and motion GFX. BTW I've really enjoyed no film schools content! Keep it coming!

January 2, 2015 at 10:15AM

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Vincent
86

Yep. I did the same thing (incl. Crucial RAM which is super simple and saves about $300). Gotta say, though, my 2009 quad core maxed out with RAM and two SSD cards for OS and one for scratch was **really** close for speed on many jobs. Not the light-year's leap I had thought I'd get.

January 2, 2015 at 6:39PM

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Erik Stenbakken
Videographer & Photographer
271

The Hacking is for mechanics, the iMac for drivers. If you are a geek that likes the hassle and rewards of building it yourself, fine. Most people just want a machine that plugs and works. The screen itself is worth half the imacs price.

January 2, 2015 at 10:19AM

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Tulio Campregher
AV coordinator
61

Very inaccurate statement. Anyone who considers themself a professional needs to be both a mechanic and a driver. I am a professional colorist, puting out 2-3 features a month, I use a hackintosh. Best practice is to have a dual boot with windows as a backup, though I have rarely used it.

January 2, 2015 at 5:57PM

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To be fair, he's monitor is not even proper 4K. It's a fairly average TN panel 3840 X 2160 (8.2 mpx), so calling it "equivalent" to a cinema 5K IPS display 5120x2880 (14.7 million pixels) really isn't fair.

It's literally half the pixels...

January 2, 2015 at 10:21AM

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Word. The equivalent monitor is Dell's 5K beast, which alone retails for $2,500 - more than the quoted total system price! Add 1TB of PCIe SSDs capable of 1GB/s and you're close to $3K. I'm sorry, but he math doesn't check out.

January 3, 2015 at 3:20AM

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Guido Gautsch
Education Person
251

Word. The equivalent monitor is Dell's 5K beast, which alone retails for $2,500 - more than the quoted total system price! Add 1TB of PCIe SSDs capable of 1GB/s and you're close to $3K. I'm sorry, but he math doesn't check out.

January 3, 2015 at 3:20AM

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Guido Gautsch
Education Person
251

Where's that delete button?

Turns out that a full GB of that SSD is closer to $1K, not $500.
http://m.newegg.com/Product/index?itemnumber=20-147-349
So at $3.5 K we have a monitor and 1TB of fast flash storage, which is what the fully specced out iMac costs if you get the RAM from Crucial (or anywhere else for that matter). You still need 32GB of RAM, an TB2-capable motherboard, a GPU, case, PSU, peripherals, software...I'd be surprised if it actually came in at under $4,132! With no guarantee that Apple will support the hardware in he future.

The iMac is for now actually a steal, just as the first i27" iMac was five years ago, because the screen itself was so damn expensive at the time, as 5K is now.

By

January 3, 2015 at 4:13AM

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Guido Gautsch
Education Person
251

It should be noted that if they spent more money on GPUs (videocards) it would have absolutely destroyed the iMac, such as a 970 or 980. This would have been worth the extra money in my opinion.

As for the display debate, it's completely reasonable to want that display, especially considering how cost effective it is in reality. However there is a HUGE upside to not having an all in one system. If a single item (display, mobo, HD, GPU, PSU) has a problem. Well, you are shit out of luck for an extended period of time. Not the case with a custom build. This is huge for editing and having deadlines.

January 2, 2015 at 10:25AM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1326

An interesting, yet unsurprising video. What I'm interested in however is how the hackintosh would fare against the same build with a windows OS installed performance-wise.

January 2, 2015 at 10:36AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
719

OK, so I had a deeper look into his article and now I'm certain that he's trying too hard to make he's point and his price comparison is just silly.

-He's quoting $4170 for iMac 5K, i7, 32GB Ram, 512GB SSD and AMD R6 4GB, including Apple RAM, most people are smart enough to buy RAM separately which takes literally 2 minutes. Same Mac with 32GB Crucial RAM - $3560

-He's quoting $200 for a 500 GB Samsung EVO SSD. Quick amazon check - Samsung 850 Pro 512GB - $342 Please note that it's still a SATA drive, the iMac still has a better PCIE SSD.

-I'm not an expert on GPUs but the GPU in the iMac has 4gb and then one he quoted only 2gb.

-The display itself - look at my previous post.
If you want an 'equivalent' monitor it will cost you more than the gaming UHD screen he quoted. Proper accurate cinema 4K IPS display are expensive: this LG may be suitable and it's quiet popular as a display for the new Mac Pro users. Price: $1400

http://www.amazon.com/LG-Electronics-Digital-31MU97-B-31-0-Inch/dp/B00OK...

Which makes his contraption just as expensive.

To be honest, I personally would prefer Mac Pro + 4K monitor than the iMac. I feel like the guts will age faster than the display and inability to connect it to anything else is fairly limiting, but hey that's me. I can also see the point of mackintosh, especially if you need loads of GPU power and plan on using top tier graphics cards. Getting hackintosh to save few bucks though? I'm not convinced.

January 2, 2015 at 10:50AM

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To be fair...the 840 EVO SSD is not the same as the 850 EVO PRO you mention, hence the price difference. You note its SATA, but for about 250 bucks you have a 500GB M.2 SSD - fast enough for any SSD out there. For the rest, you make some valid points.

January 2, 2015 at 11:58AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
719

You can't plug aftermarket RAM into the 5k iMac. The memory is now saudered to the main board.

January 2, 2015 at 5:56PM

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Stephen
74

Hmmm. I popped Crucial ram into the 5K iMac I'm working on at this moment. No soldering. (On new LAPTOPS, yes, RAM is whatever you get from Apple, no changing it).

January 2, 2015 at 6:43PM

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Erik Stenbakken
Videographer & Photographer
271

Ah. I my mistake. I was looking at an upgrade with a 5k iMac primary and new Mac mini for a (cheaper, non-editing) 2nd station and thought both had the memory saudered. It's just the new Mac minis.

January 2, 2015 at 6:56PM

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Stephen
74

I've been considering building a hackintosh on and off for a while now but when it comes down to it if something goes wrong there's no support and the amount of time it would take to get right could be significant. As the guy said in the video, time is money and I can't afford to not be editing. I'd rather spend the money and know that I have at least some support from Apple.

January 2, 2015 at 11:11AM, Edited January 2, 11:11AM

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Jamie Sergeant
Selfshooting Filmmaker, Writer
223

Neither, I'd go full on Linux...

January 2, 2015 at 11:41AM

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Fernando Henrique de Sousa
CEO, Evil Genius, Steadycam, editor & jack of all trades
206

If you don't mind me asking, what distro and software do you use?

January 2, 2015 at 2:56PM

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what's with the downvoting??

January 6, 2015 at 5:55AM

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I'm using Ubuntu, Blender, Natron, MyPaint, GIMP, Darktable, etc...

February 17, 2015 at 3:49PM, Edited February 17, 3:49PM

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Fernando Henrique de Sousa
CEO, Evil Genius, Steadycam, editor & jack of all trades
206

To everyone who keeps posting about multiple GPU's into s hackintosh and it gives you amazing performance, have you actually tested this? Or basing it on simple computing theory? I've had 2 Titans and a 680 inside a hackintosh and only got a few additional fps in resolve and Adobe cc 2014. Multiple cards was not worth the instability it provided. I've tried Mavericks and Yosemite, to no avail. For anyone who is considering a hack for a machine when working with clients. Save yourself the excuse filled session full of lockups and restarts. Just go with the iMac!

January 2, 2015 at 11:54AM

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Scott McIntyre
Cinematographer, Colourist
81

What spec imac would you suggest to edit several nodes in 4k in resolve without problems?

January 2, 2015 at 12:02PM

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Mountain Hut Films
Independent Film maker
81

Either top of the line iMac, or cheapest Mac Pro with dual d700 cards, then do the owc update to get a 10-core for about $3-4k less than the best Mac Pro tower. Also just as a heads up to people purchasing Mac Pro. The new haswell-e chip came out in the fall of 2014, so apple will likely integrate this into their product line this summer or fall, that's means a 10-20 core system on 1-2 chips. Well worth the wait if you ask me, and why I opted to go hackintosh in the mean time. If I could go back though, totally would of gone the 5k IMac route

January 2, 2015 at 12:12PM

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Scott McIntyre
Cinematographer, Colourist
81

That's the route I went, I ordered a 4c D700, did the CPU swap for a 10c, saved $3K just like you said. Plus was able to sell the 4c chip on eBay for $275. (Should have ordered the 6c which has a better resale) This thing is awesome compared to the hackintosh it replaced, don't miss fixing it.

January 4, 2015 at 1:18PM

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I'm with you, the researching, fixing and troubleshooting won't be something I miss. One thing though, having two R9 280x's in my old hack with FCP X was a blazingly huge improvement after 10.1 came out. Render times were cut in half in some cases. Using the full version of Resolve with two Titans was a massive boost in an older 'big iron' mac pro. It could be the lite version only used one GPU until Resolve 11 dropped that limitation.

January 4, 2015 at 1:24PM

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I did the calculation many times: If you use the high quality parts that Apple uses you end up with a 10% cheaper computer. That's without the stability, warranty, customer service and great design. No thank you.

January 2, 2015 at 12:02PM, Edited January 2, 12:02PM

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Jan Becker
DP, Director, Producer
94

I tested a 5K iMac at a local Mac Store. The machine, which was stock, lagged just using Preview doing a simple color correction. The guy at the store said the new display uses a lot of resources, enough so to cause performance problems.

I instead just bought a 27inch, sans 5K display, and I think I'll be just fine.

In regards to the Hackintosh, I'm a video geek, not a computer geek. The reliability of a real Mac is paramount.

January 2, 2015 at 12:13PM

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Yancy
116

January 2, 2015 at 1:02PM

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Alexx
167

The only benefit I see to a Hackintosh is that you can start small if you don't have a lot of money up front. You can start with a cheap 1080p monitor, less powerful CPU/GPU and only a couple HDDs. Then over time you can build it up. But if you have $2800+ dollars to buy a computer right now, might as well go for the real thing and get the warranty, customer support and overall reliability.

But even if I built a hackintosh, I would first and foremost consider it a windows machine with the bonus ability of being able to run mac os. I would not rely on it being a fully stable mac os machine.

January 2, 2015 at 1:15PM

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Mike Tesh
Pro Video / Indie Filmmaker
498

I've considered building a hackintosh, but the thought of it going down and only me supporting it has always stopped me. Bought a maxed out 5k iMac and I've been very happy.

January 2, 2015 at 2:08PM

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I tried my hand at building a hackintosh right before the new Mac Pro came out. I used parts that came recommended on the Tonymacx86 forums. Getting it setup was easier than I thought, but maintaining it was a nightmare. During two OS upgrades the machine locked up and had to be wiped. Lost two days of work rebuilding it. Saving a few hundred dollars isn't worth it.

January 2, 2015 at 2:15PM

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Ouch. Thanks for the share. I had a "virtual" mac built from the Tonymacx site too but never bought the parts. I was afraid about stability once it was up (and inability to reliably update software, especially OS). I went with top end 5K iMac and … man, you made me feel I made the right call. No crashes yet (knock on aluminum).

January 2, 2015 at 6:46PM

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Erik Stenbakken
Videographer & Photographer
271

Hey guys would someone be able to post a list or link to all the parts he used in that hachintosh please?

January 2, 2015 at 5:41PM

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stewart
74

Personally I am considering going just with a PC with my next build. As much as I like apple and a lot of the stuff they offer I am now an adobe and avid guy and rarely do I use final cut anymore. I just dont see the need to deal with such a proprietary OS if I don't have to. Like I said apple is great but now with Adobe and Avid seeming to lead the pack I am kind of over the whole Apple OS obsession phase of video production

January 2, 2015 at 6:04PM

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jacob
142

I've got a hackintosh: i7 3930K (6-core), GTX 680, 32GB RAM, 27-Inch Apple Cinema Display. Geekbench is about 22000. Built a few years ago for about $3000 all up (ram was a lot cheaper back then). It's been a brilliant machine ever since, completely dominating the old Mac Pro and still topping the equivalently priced newer model in every respect except SSD speed. Looks beautiful on my desk too.

It took a lot of care and effort to get this machine working at the same level of perfection as a real mac though, lots of things to learn about, fix and tweak (audio, sleep, power management, imessages, full-screen boot etc.) But man once you get there, you truly do have the best of both worlds.

BUT... in this case I would have actually bought the iMac. You really can't go past that display, an equlivient PC and display would actually set you back slightly more if you bought your ram separately.

Bottom line is this: sometimes Apple prices their computers really well (this iMac for example), other times not so much (most Mac Pro configurations). I always go Apple for laptops, but for powerful desktop rendering machines, I'd usually tempted to go hackintosh.

But seriously, if even one of these things doesn't apply to you...

1. You're a bit of a tech head and have the experience to pull this off.
2. You enjoy customising, upgrading, and tweaking.
3. You're willing to put in a lot of your own free time.
4. You NEED bang for your buck, big time.

... just get the mac!

January 2, 2015 at 6:12PM

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Mike
74

Agree 100% that Hackintosh is not for everyone. I will say I also agree that if you are willing to put in some time you get a huge reward. My build: i7 3770K 3.5ghz overclocked to 4.5ghz, GTX 680, 3 Displays, 12tb Areca RAID 0 + 1 Running at 1,000mb read/write for video editing, 3 128gb SSD's RAID 0 for Scratch/Cache, 2 128 gb SSD's for OS (1 Main & Clone) 32gb RAM running Yosemite FLAWLESS!

There was alot of trial and error to get to this point but with Yosemite it seems as if everything works perfect. Premiere has never run better and Resolve runs great as well.

I wanted a tower that had lots of fast storage and at the time of my build i couldnt get that in a mac pro.

I plan to add a new video card that can handle 4k displays very soon. My geekbench score is 17,000. Total build cost was 4500.00.

January 3, 2015 at 6:57PM

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Zach Wolfe
Photographer / DP
81

I love seeing videos like this. However, I think it does not underscore a huge drawback of a Hackintosh: the time it takes for research and configuration. Contrary to the video, you don't just install some software and you are done. For first time Hackintosh hackers, I would expect it would take you no less than 30 hours to do the research, assemble and configure.

Additionally, random little things will be slightly off, but these are mostly cosmetic and you can learn to live with them. The install process has gotten much much easier, but still a far ways off.

That said, all of my Hackintoshes outperform my real macs except my $10k mac Pro, which I would not buy again. Contrary to popular opinion, the Mac Pro form factor is flawed. It looks like a crazy octopus with all the wire radially sticking out, and the lightning bolt connectors sometimes disconnect.. WTFFFFF. Pro tip: the extra graphics card is almost completely useless except for extremely rare situations.

If you are a tech dude, def give a Hackintosh a go. If not, the extra money might be worth it.

January 3, 2015 at 11:09AM, Edited January 3, 11:09AM

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Charles F Forman
Maker of things
74

I think that the real problem is that Apple no longer sells a true mid range machine.

It's either a fully decked out iMac for about $3000-3500 that can't be upgraded or you need to drop at least $5000 on a six core Mac Pro with a decent amount of RAM and graphics.

Apple really needs to make a headless iMac for about $1500-4000 with plenty of options, like the new 8 core Hasswell-E and 1-2 slots for graphics cards etc.

But the odds of that happening are basically zero. They are too busy making phones, tablets and fashion accessories. Professionals are no longer on their radar.

January 4, 2015 at 11:15AM

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I'm a longtime Mac user and thought it was a pretty fair assessment. A lot of choice is personal preference. What stuck me was .. why would you build a Hackintosh with all the quirks and reliability factors when your using Adobe products anyway instead of FCP or other Apple software? Just make a Windows machine ..

January 4, 2015 at 8:24PM, Edited January 4, 8:24PM

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Jack Ropa
Filmmaker
81

I'd stick to Windows, thank you very much Mac fanatics.

January 5, 2015 at 8:46AM

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Terma Louis
Photographer / Cinematographer / Editor
1164

Or forget OSX and just use windows. It's pointless to use OSX anymore.

January 5, 2015 at 10:20AM, Edited January 5, 10:20AM

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Darren Orange
Director/Producer
68

Can this guy get any douche-y-er? Other than that, great video.

January 5, 2015 at 3:09PM

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Isn't a 500GB harddrive a bit small?

January 6, 2015 at 1:55AM, Edited January 6, 1:55AM

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Steven Carmona
Dir/DP
79

My hackintosh is an iMac 13,2 with the following on board:
Processor: Intel Core i5 3350P
Motherboard: Foxconn B75M
Graphical Card: MSI GT640
Screen: Benq XL2430T

February 27, 2015 at 12:03PM

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I G
94

My hackintosh is 2 years old and gets 17492 points in geekbench, cost around 2200$!

March 15, 2015 at 3:45PM

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This is a faulty comparison. They should be comparing a Hackintosh to the Mac Pro, and I say this is a guy who greatly prefers Hackintoshes.

The biggest downside, really, is the lack of a ludicrous amount of Thunderbolt ports, which is can be useful if you're looking for quick RAID solutions. You can circumvent this by getting a card that can support Thunderbolt cards, but those are rare.

March 15, 2015 at 6:01PM, Edited March 15, 6:01PM

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Hey Guys I rebuilt the hackintosh from the video besides some newer components. I am really happy math the result. Feel free asking questions.

March 15, 2015 at 8:12PM

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Levent
Editor / DOP
74

In my humble opinion, and I know I´ll get some all upset, a mac is good for editing, most proper post-production packages for compositing, motion graphics and 3D weren´t available on mac until recently, many artists do no go near mac: a rendering farm on macs? never seen one. I have shot a bunch of adverts and countless clips 100% green screen through many different production companies, there is usually one mac for the editor who sometimes insists on using FCP, and one for the receptionist at the front (because it looks cool), the rest of the post is done on souped-up PCs with the bigger nvidia cards (up to three gtx970s per machine for the moment) which you can beat buck/bang wise all hooked up to servers (PC off course) You would not able to rig this on hacks, let alone on macs ro it would cost you arms and legs.

March 17, 2015 at 5:11PM

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Bastien Francois
director/DP
74

You also happen to be clearly not in the US, where the opposite is also true.

Very few serious shops only have pc's.
This would be similar to pro suicide. since most revenue in film/video is generated from AD agencies which are by in large 100% apple shops - except for the bad ones which invariably are windows based.

The great majority (51%) of US professional editors were on FCP by 2010 and 21% were on Avid products 70% of those were on Mac based Media Composer systems.

Since 2011 when Apple lost a lot of users in the FCPX debacle a lot of the bottom of the market moved to APP, but really the mix has still stayed in Apple's favor in this transition with most just moving to OSX based Adobe creative suite.

You are right that shops with render farms are not on apple systems, but most of those run Linux and not windows, and develop their own tools from open source ones. Wether you are talking about Weta/Pixar/ILM/Dreamworks/Rhythm and Hues/BlueSky, etc; even as these style shops slowly all fade into the past with the work is outsourced to overseas sweatshops using cheap pcs but with crazy amounts of cheap labor instead of big machines.
Pixar used to be all Solaris based before moving to Linux.

Before that most serious pro environment were completely Silicon Graphics shops until siligraphics decided to self destruct.

Today most pro work in the US originates/is created on a mac or is pre visualized on a mac and some of it ends up being finished on some os86 system not running osx.

Also sadly your statement about software's origin is pretty incorrect.

Having been a part of this industry since 1991, I can say without hesitation that the GREAT majority of professional content creation tools didn't originate on any windows platform.
Except for some of the much newer offerings starting in the late 90s early 00s --When most thought Apple was dead did they start developing for NT first, and even this was because Microsoft bought a bunch of those companies to castrate Apple & Silicon Graphics both of which had a strangle hold on content creation. Then when SillyGraphics imploded in what has to be one of the most spectacular examples of mismanagement did serious software like flame/flint/inferno/houdini etc; got ported to Linux and later NT and finally OSX.

Most serious media software has in large part originated from MacOS/IRIX/Amiga then transitioned to LInux>OSX>NT in the late 90s in that order. (mostly because NT was not made with media creation in mind and took some wrangling to code for at first.

With the exception of software created after 2002, like some of the more modern 3d software (Rinos/blender) or some of the modern compositors (Fusion) which where first NT based and then became OSX/LINUX ports.

AfterEffects for example only became windows based after version 3.1 for example and only because adobe bought cosa/aldus; and then first only for French/German because of low MacOs penetration in these countries, since they came to the graphic computing party late, and missed the initial Mac wave.

Premiere was always a MacOS product first, with a windows version missing most features, until 2003 after which it became premiere pro to compete with FCP because it was mad Apple bought it from Macromedia, before they managed to acquire Macromedia.

Avid, Digidesign, Autodesk, Media100; etc all originated most of their products on MacOS (not osx mind you) and then transitioned to NT* later with the market (although Autodesk bought a bunch of companies with DOS based products like 3DStudio which were never made MacOs Compatible)

More importantly 3d software and most high end compositors/color correction etc, where mostly IRIX based (Softimage3d/Flame/Flint/Inferno/Flare/Smoke/Lustre/Alias|Wavefront 3d tools/Shake/etc) then some were ported to Linux and some to OSX directly (because unix) then eventually ported to windows.

The reason OSX based transition makes sense is that its more synonymous to IRIX as it is a full UNIX system where as the DEC NT system that is the basis for all modern windows systems is a completely different beast.

The point of this very very long post is that in end the real advantage of a high end OSX based Mac, is that it's a standard X86 based intel system, that is built with higher quality components that typical mainstream pc's has better support then most mainstream pcs, can run every single modern x86 operating system either in bootcamp at native speed, or in a virtualization window; and is actually either at price parity or at cheaper price point then the SAME offerings from Dell/HP in their workstation divisions. (please don't compare a Mac Pro to a dell dimension doods, you can actually do a processor to processor match at this point)
So technically these apple systems are WAY more valuable then the standard HP/DELL workstation at the same price point which can only run Windows/Linux; and don't benefit from the insane price pressure apple is able to put on vendors... (Try to make a self made system with a Xeon and 2 FireGL cards and PCIe SSD for the same prices as a MacPro and watch your eyes melt from the real price shock. Try to make a Dell/HP/Lenovo system with the same parts and see what happens to your heart.)

*all modern windows systems which have supported content creation are NT not actually the lessor DOSWindows. (which ended with win98)

April 9, 2015 at 5:56PM

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seabass
81

Your post is missing the point, every professional post facility has evolved with the industry and the requirements of the clients; not the hardware manufactures.

That's why many companies work in multi OS environments and use linux and windows, in server and exchange pipelines where Macs don't cut it.

That doesn't mean that there is no place for OSX, many designers prefer that OS, I do. I also have never received a thunderbolt drive, our shared storage is 10Gbe based and we have just as many PCs as we do Macs.

The problem comes down to Price for Performance, building a hackintosh version of the Mac Pro with Fire Pro cards is just silly. That cost might be really high and honestly you can build a better all round system with different parts that out performs the Mac Pro, for a cheaper cost; that's the bottom line.

Just use the OS that makes you happy, even if you need to hackintosh to do it. If you can do your work, that's a win in my books.

July 23, 2015 at 5:08PM

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kikko
81