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