June 7, 2017
tutorial

Hackintosh 101: How to Build a 4K Editing Machine for Half the Purchase Price of a Mac

Don't buy your next computer, build one with the performance of a Mac Pro—for half the price!

If you’re like me, the data rate of your footage may be multiplying faster than your current computer can handle. Why not build your own upgrade? It worked for me.

As a relative novice to the world of computer builds, practically all I'd done prior to this was install RAM. Putting together my first Hackintosh was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and saved me a heck of a lot of money. If you're interested in doing the same, I've compiled a step-by-step beginner's guide (including a detailed list of components) based on my experience to help you get started your first machine.

Building a Hackintosh (or CustoMac, depending on your vernacular) had been on my mind ever since Ryan Koo posted the original No Film School Hack tutorial a few years back. This past year, I decided to finally do it because: a)  my old computer was dying a slow pinwheel of death, and b) I didn't have the budget for a real Mac Pro. I also wanted to have a better understanding, as a video editor, of how my editing machine actually worked. With that in mind, this guide is meant to help you not only choose and build your system, but give you a beginner's primer on how and why everything works. A couple notes from the outset:

Legality

Note that it is illegal to sell a Hackintosh. (Remember Psystar?) But building your own is legal gray area. The way Ryan Koo first explained it, building a Hackintosh may violate the End-User License Agreement (EULA) that you agree to when you download Mac OS X. But that’s not a crime that would land you in the clink; it's a contract violation. Just keep in mind that neither Ryan, myself, or any NFS writer is an actual lawyer. Carry on at your own risk. 

Teaming Up

I enjoy figuring out how to build things from the ground up, and you probably do too, or you wouldn't be reading this. With that being said, deciding on a build and assembling it can be both nerve-wracking and tedious. Why not enlist a partner?

I asked my friend Peter Reinhard to team up with me. Peter is a software developer and SQA analyst who’s built tons of PCs from scratch, but never a Mac. I’d never done a build, but have worked on Mac since Apple IIe—hello, 65 KB of RAM! Not only did having a partner like Peter help tremendously in finishing the build without any catastrophes, it also made the process way more fun.

I. Choosing the Right Parts

The basic components of a Hackintosh include a motherboard, CPU, CPU cooler, GPU, SSD, RAM, WIFI card, power supply, and case. It's as easy as 1-2-3, A-B-CPU!

What makes building a Hackintosh trickier than a regular PC build? You can’t make one out of any old componentsyou must use parts that have OSX drivers. Since Mac OS was designed to run exclusively on proprietary Apple parts, most hardware vendors just aren't writing OSX drivers for their hardware. Since drivers are the software that tells the OS how to interact with the hardware, you must seek out parts that have an OSX driver. Tonymacx86 is the hub for all things Hackintosh, and has an amazing selection of supported builds that are always up-to-date. If you want to peruse the plethora of current options, go there.

I’m calling this build Video Editor on a Limited Budget Pro. It comes with a 4.00 GHz quad-core CPU, H170N-WIFI motherboard, EVGA GeForce GTX 970 GPU, and Samsung SSD drive among other things for between $1200-$1500. Parts change all the time, and more importantly, Hackintosh support for parts changes all the time, so it's a good idea to check the Tonymacx86 Buyer's Guide for news on build components. (Recently, support was announced for NVIDIA 'Pascal' cards. Neato.) 

And while the components and software may change, understanding the process does not. Here's an introduction to what each part of your Hackintosh does:

  • Motherboard

The motherboard is in charge of all the communication between the components of your computer. It’s like your computer's nervous system, telling the heart to beat, and the legs to walk.

Mobo for short, this all-important printed circuit board must be compatible with a Hackintosh build because, when you’re fooling software into thinking that it is running on proprietary components, that communication all starts with the Mobo. So whatever else you do, choose one that’s hack-approved!

My build: GIGABYTE Motherboard GA-H170N-WIFI

  • CPU

The Central Processing Unit (CPU) does the bidding of the programs you install on your computer, so the more GHz you can get, the faster you’ll be able to import, cut, apply, render, and export!

Since a Mac Pro’s CPU is pretty similar to a PC version (it’s just a Xeon-branded Intel chip) deciding on a CPU is easy. For comparison, the current entry level MacPro comes with a 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5 CPU with 10MB L3 cache/Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz. The sixth generation quad-core Skylake Core i7 I went with is a solid choice.

In case you were wondering, GHz is the unit of clock frequency. When you hear people talk about ‘overclocking’ this refers to setting the clock frequency higher so it can perform more operations per second. Cool! Not literally of course, as overclocking makes it quite hot. You'll need a heavy duty CPU cooler either way, but especially if you plan to overclock.

My build: Intel Core i7 6700K 4.00 GHz Unlocked Quad Core Skylake Desktop Processor

  • CPU Cooler

To cool the expensive, gold speckled CPU, you’ll likely use a fan and a heatsink. It’s actually the heatsink (pictured) that’s primarily responsible for moving heat away from the sensitive internal organs of your computer.

The heatsink is usually made of a metal like copper because it’s a great heat conductor. (It can also be made of aluminum, which compromises a little heat conductivity to be more lightweight.) The heat dissipates from the CPU to the Heatsink to the air (or in some cases, liquid) and keeps your whole system from melting off the face of the planet.

My build: ARCTIC Freezer 13 CO (Copper)

  • GPU

A video editor’s best friend, a graphics processing unit (GPU) is designed specifically for handling graphical images, which helps with video workflow. It’s an electronic circuit like the CPU, but with an uber efficient specification of just processing images and graphics.

Note: While the GTX 980 came out shortly before I did my build, I stuck with the GTX 970 because it only 10-15% less powerful than the 980 for a big price difference. Different models go in and out of stock on Amazon and Newegg. Just make sure you have one with ACX 2.0.

My build: EVGA GeForce GTX 970 4GB ACX 2.0 SC+

  • Solid-State Drive

An SSD does that same thing as the regular HDD, but it has none of those breakdown-susceptible moving mechanical components. You know those spinning disks on your regular hard drives, the ones you can hear start whirring when you plug them in? They even sound slow. SSDs are quicker, quieter, and more reliable. They can also get expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you may opt to use your SSD strictly for the programs on your computer, and save the rest of your storage needs for a cheaper internal or external HHD.

Note: SSD is getting cheaper everyday!

My build: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

  • RAM 

You’re probably familiar with RAM (Random-access memory) as the kind of memory that makes your computer programs go faster. Random-access means that data can be read or written in the same amount of time no matter where the data is located. It’s the difference between walking through a library with a Dewey Decimal number, versus instantly pulling a book out of thin air the moment you want it. Video editors, in particular those who stay up late to do lots of effects or rendering in third party programs, will want as much RAM as possible.

Note: they come in pairs that add up to the total RAM amount.

My build: G.SKILL Aegis 32GB (2 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 

  • WI-FI Card

Wireless Internet cards, or Local Area Network (LAN) cards, can be a real pain-in-the-butt on a Hackintosh. Macs, unlike PCs, only use very specific Wi-Fi hardware. The WI-FI card that comes on your Motherboard will not work, so you will have to remove the stock card and replace it with one that identifies itself as Apple-branded to the OS.  After skeptically ordering a card on Amazon that took two weeks to make it here from China, and then troubleshooting some drivers, my WIFI works great.

My build: Dual band Broadcom BCM94352Z NGFF 802.11ac 867Mbps Bluetooth 4.0 WI-FI Card

  • Power Supply Unit

This provides the juice. Make sure that your power supply unit meets (or exceeds) requirements specified by video card manufacturer, and have the right connectors for the video card and other peripherals. Also, make sure it fits in the case! (I forgot to check this before ordering; more on that below.)

My build: SeaSonic S12G 550W ATX 550 Energy Star Certified Power Supply 

  • Case

As with the power supply, make sure your Hackintosh parts will fit inside your Hackintosh case. How do tell? Pay attention to the form factor. Also, double-check the dimensions of your GPU, make sure the case has enough clearance for the CPU heat sink. You'll also want to make sure that the front end connectors (like USB 3.0, USB 2.0, Firewire, etc) match the connectors on the motherboard.

Form Factor

Form factor is a size specification that comes from the Motherboard, and includes dimensions, power supply type, mounting holes, etc. Mini-ITX, mATX, and ATX will be the form factors you’re consider for your Hackintosh. So, for example, if you get a motherboard that’s Mini-ITX, get a power supply and case that are Mini-ITX too. I actually got a power supply that's ATX while my Mobo and case are Mini-ITX (woops) but luckily it fit just fine. 

My build: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX Series White Mini-ITX Computer Case 

If you screw up on a component, don't worry. Just be sure to buy from businesses that accept returns!

You'll also need a few tools. Here's a list of what to have on hand:

  • #2 Phillips Screwdriver:  If you want to buy a kit, get one with Allen (hex), Torx, and possibly five-pointed Pentalobe (for use on Samsung SSDs). This bare bones magnetic kit comes highly rated. 
  • Anti-Static Wrist Strap: While there’s a heated debate on their effectiveness, an anti-static wrist strap is cheap. There’s little risk to using one compared to the bigger risk of not and having invisible static electricity from your body pass through and fry an exposed, expensive piece of hardware.
  • 32 Gig USB Drive: For software installation in Part III
  • Thermal Material Remover/Purifier and Thermal Paste (Optional but Recommended) When you stick your CPU to the heatsink (CPU cooler), the metal between them is slightly porous. This means little pockets of air can trap heat. To keep your CPU as cool as possible, use thermal remover/thermal purifier followed by thermal paste. (Note: the Thermal Material Remover/Purifier is only needed if the CPU heatsink comes with a thermal pad attached.)
  • 3-Prong Parts Retriever (Optional) You will probably drop a screw or two during your build. Save your sanity and get this tool to retrieve it.
  • Headlamp (optional) For peering into the depths of your build.

II. Assembling the Hardware

Ground your anti-static strap and hold onto your screwdriver. It's building time!

This is the part where you drink caffeinated beverages, tangle your anti-static wrist-strap on everything, and giddily drop miscroscopic screws into dark crevasses of your build. If it's your first computer build ever, this this Wikibooks overview might come in handy. Each part has its own manual, so I won't rewrite the book. While your build may differ from mine, this is more-or-less a foolproof way to put any build together. 

1. Open the case and attach the power supply unit. 

 

2. Plug in the power supply unit.

 

Make sure the PSU power switch is flipped to OFF. Because the outlet in your house is connected to a ground, you will then be grounding your case. 

3. Put on anti-static bracelet and attach it to the grounded case.

In theory, any static discharge will go straight into the ground!.

 

4. Install the I/O shield to the case.

 

This comes with the motherboard; use it to line up the motherboard and screw it in place. 

 

5. Replace the stock WI-FI card on the motherboard with the Apple-compatible card.  

 

6.  Attach the CPU to motherboard. 

Lift up the lever of the CPU socket on the motherboard and attach the CPU. Line up the arrows, and pull the lever down to lock CPU into place.

7. Flip you case upright and insert memory RAM into motherboard slots.

 

8. Wipe off the heatsink.

 

Use the thermal material remover to wipe off any factory goo called the "thermal pad" on the heatsink, followed by the thermal surface purifier to prep the surface for the new, better Arctic Silver glue.

9. Spread the glue.

Spread a very tiny dab over the surface very, very thinly using a handy-dandy plastic bag finger cover.  If you put too much on, it can get onto the CPU socket and cause problems down the road, so the conventional wisdom is to use half of what you think you need!

10. Attach the heatsink to the CPU. 

11. Attach the fan to the heatsink and connect fan wire to the motherboard.

12. Attach the GPU to the motherboard.

13. Attach the SSD to the case using rack. 

 

14. Connect all the wires.

 

Connect all the appropriate wires, including from the SSD, power supply unit, and case to the motherboard. And make sure to connect the power supply to the video card. Missing this is an easy rookie mistake! (Not that I made any rookie mistakes, nope.) Finally, double check the manual to be sure you haven't missed any other connectors.

15. Close the case. Case closed! 

III. Running the Software

If your Hackintosh boots up, you are allowed to laugh maniacally and shout, "It's alive!"

We’ve got Frankenstein all stitched up. Can we bring this computer to life as a Macintosh? To do it, you need to load up one magic USB drive with a bunch of necessary goodies that will make your non-Mac components work on Mac OS, courtesy of the third party software and additional drivers. Let us take a moment to thank the men and women who have developed this software for specifically for us to use in the creation of a Hackintosh. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The best place to check for up-to-date instructions on getting the most current Mac OS working on your hackintosh is the Tonymacx86 Installation Guide. The lengthy process is explained there quite well, so here I will only briefly list which programs you will be using and why. For my build, I followed Tonymac moderator Ammulder's detailed guide for installing for a build like mine under El Capitan, and later Sierra. Here’s a synopsis of the steps.

  1. Download Mac OS X from the Apple Store.
  2. Download everything else from Tony Mac or otherwise as mentioned below.
  3. Using your USB, follow the steps until every component on your Hackintosh is up and running. 

Here is most likely what you will put into your USB drive, and why:

  • UniBeast 6.x: a tool that creates a bootable USB drive from any Mac App Store purchased copy of OS X, created by MacMan and tonymacx86. (It can also be used as a rescue boot drive, so keep it around.)
  • MultiBeast 8.x : a post-installation tool for configuring Mac OSX on your build, that allows you to boot from your hard drive and install the support for all your peripheral goodies.
  • Clover Configurator: a Mac OS X application meant to help Hackintosh automate the start of the system as well as create custom configuration files for the Clover EFI bootloader.
  • KextBeastis an installer for .kext.bundle, and .plugin files. Wait, what's a kext? It's short for kernel extension, and is basically a driver for Mac. Remember those magical drivers we need to run hardware with Mac OSX? On your Hackintosh, you'll need special kexts to load code to run stuff like sound and ethernet. 

For my build, these were the component-specific kexts (Mac OS drivers) and other drivers needed. When downloading, make sure to check for the most recent:

Testing & Troubleshooting

Use your preferred benchmark app to test out your Hackintosh performance. Check everything else. Does WIFI work? Is my GPU selected by default? Will my computer shut down properly?  For every problem, there is usually a workaround, driver, or troubleshooting tip on the internet. You may spend several hours to months getting all of the kinks out of your machine. 

Shut down your Hackintosh, and boot up again. If it gets to that glorious Mac OS screen all on it's own, you deserve a big pat on the back!

Congratulations, Doctor Frankenstein!

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve just built yourself a sweet new editing machine and saved at least a thousand dollars in the process. And you’ve probably learned a lot about computers along the way. Congratulations! Time to edit something RAW. 

Have you done a Hackintosh build? What components worked (or didn’t) for you? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments.      

Your Comment

34 Comments

Hey! First post in this community. Great article, easy to understand for editing hardware beginners. I went through the building myself a year ago and assembled an editing station for a cine club that would handle multi-cam 1080p projects and 4k.

It was cool experience and here are a few tips:

_Weight pros and cons: Hackintoshs can be a pain to maintain and take time to build. Why not just build a PC? I chose osx for the userfriendliness of the os once stable and for the codecs but this question will definitely pop up on my next build.

_ Planning: try to read ahead on Tonymac. They have a ton of very useful tutorials and their dynamic community is testing new builds, new hardware and software everyday. Picking the right components is key but also check ahead the common issues builders had with them. You are very likely to experience trouble with Audio, WIFI, and Graphics Card.

_Take your time: without help, this is not an overnight build for a beginner. I have found myself assembling and disassembling because parts wouldn't fit in their spot. However software will trouble you the most and having a stable build really takes time. Mine won't boot on first try for apparently no reason and sometimes crash when I overload it with aftereffects. Maybe it's not the Hackintosh's fault but it's a tiny bit of uncertainty that transforms into stress on important projects. Especially when you don't understand how to troubleshoot it. Also, I'm not the only one using this computer and hopefully it never let the others down. However Im quite confident in saying that unless you are surrounded by computer geeks, whoever built the machine will be very likely the only person to be able to repair it.

June 7, 2017 at 4:04PM

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Mr2D
81

Lucky cine club! Thanks for the great tips.

June 7, 2017 at 4:56PM, Edited June 7, 4:59PM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
Writer
Director/Shooter/Editor

Thanks for the article! Nice walkthrough. FYI, links to computer parts not working at the moment. (tried Firefox and Safari on a Mac desktop)

June 7, 2017 at 4:20PM, Edited June 7, 4:20PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
802

Thanks Samuel! Links seem to be working now. If not, try opening Firefox while standing on one leg.

June 7, 2017 at 5:03PM

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Oakley Anderson-Moore
Writer
Director/Shooter/Editor

Yep, working. Probably due to the one leg as suggested. :)

June 7, 2017 at 7:47PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
802

Thanks so much for this article. I've been trolling tonyx86 for months, waiting for the Nvidia drivers to appear and since they have I've been all over this topic.
I'd like to propose that folks use pcpartpicker.com when they're trying to assemble different configurations. Tonyx86 has the parts, but pcpartpicker makes planning a lot of fun. And the machine can be used (gasp!) as a Windows machine.

June 7, 2017 at 5:10PM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
423

I just built a computer just like this for under 3k. One of the only differences is that I used a PCIE SSD and my transfer speeds are over 2000mb/sec. I can export a 3 minute 4k edit in less than 2 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7AhzJsWqok&t=1s

June 7, 2017 at 5:47PM, Edited June 7, 5:47PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1021

I guess I should have included there are heavy graphic edits in the timeline which on my mac book pro took about 30 minutes.

June 9, 2017 at 12:33PM

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Walter Wallace
Spokesperson/Entrepreneur
1021

I built a Hackintosh based on the guide I found here about 6 years ago. I didn't have any experience building PCs so I definitely learned a lot! With a few upgrades along the way, it's been my main editing machine since then. The whole scene has evolved so much since those days and thanks to things like Clover Bootloader hackintoshing is easier now, than ever. Once you have everything set up it functions just like a regular mac. Updates can even be applied normally without breaking anything!

I'm glad to see you guys updated your guide because I could have never afforded the Mac equivalent of the Hackintosh I built years ago and I'm sure there are others in the same boat now.

Potential hackintoshers beware! - Although things are much simpler than before, you need to have a strong DIY attitude when pursuing this. It definitely pays off in the end though! This guide tends to glance over the software end which is definitely the most difficult part. I recommend checking out "Golden Builds" on the TonyMac site since those are proven hardware configurations with detailed documentation on the software end.

June 7, 2017 at 6:04PM

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Randy
74

Does anyone know if this hackintosh software could be used on an existing iMac? I've been looking into upgrading my GPU via external GPU and thunderbolt without having to run Windows bootcamp on my mac. Thanks!

June 7, 2017 at 6:43PM

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External GPUs should work with normal OSX version. Check YT for eGpu's running on mac.

June 8, 2017 at 4:27AM, Edited June 8, 4:27AM

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Don Nachos
Editor / Animator / Producer
109

Building the mac is the relatively easy part. It's getting the software to work smoothly and without bugs that is the challenge with hacks, and OS updates seem to break things. However, once you got your system all tweaked, I've found the hack to be even more reliable and less crash prone than official mac hardware. Nvidia released drivers for the newer pascal cards so you can probably get more bang for your buck with a newer, cheaper card than the 970 or 980.

June 7, 2017 at 7:32PM, Edited June 7, 7:33PM

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Batutta
187

Just a tip with the thermal place, just put a small dot on the middle of the heatsink, no need to spread. It squishes flat and covers when you place it down on the CPU itself. No need for a plastic bag!

June 7, 2017 at 10:00PM, Edited June 7, 10:00PM

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Tim Brennan
Big Boss
171

Thank you so much for this article! I have been currently doing the research for building my Hackintosh and this article is gonna help me a lot!!

June 7, 2017 at 11:52PM, Edited June 7, 11:52PM

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Jamal Rolland
Editor/Filmmaker
147

Sorry, but no, you're not making a Mac Pro. You're using a consumer CPU, consumer RAM, a *single* consumer GPU. That's of course going to be cheaper, and then putting aside the fact this machine will be large, loud and generate a lot of heat.

Good enough for most though I expect. But did you really imply that the difference between the MacPro's CPU and a "PC" version was the chip being "branded" a Xeon? Seriously?

June 8, 2017 at 1:51AM

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It may be "consumer" parts but that line is blurring. The i7 6700K in many reapects is more suitable for video editing than the equivalent Xeon chip, especially when you consider Intel's Quicksync technology in their latest CPUs.

You may not be aware that Apple has a habit of calling most of their machines "Pro" including those with *gasp* consumer i7 CPUs. Therefore, calling this a "Hackintosh Pro" is not a huge stretch.

Also, more powerful single GPU systems are the future and this hackintosh build will easily outperform the (2013) Apple "Mac Pro".

June 8, 2017 at 3:25AM, Edited June 8, 3:28AM

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Brandon
74

I'm sorry but the OC is correct.. the Mac Pro has been using workstation-class Xeon processors since the switch from IBM to intel. The "Pro" products you refer to are laptops and now more recently the iMac Pros.. There is nothing inherently wrong with your build but it is not in any way a Mac Pro..just a big ass iMac or MacBook Pro with no screen but that can be expanded on. All the major PC manufacturers build their workstations around Xeon processors (which you referred to as "Xeon branded" like intel slapped a sticker on it and charged more..you also failed to discuss the L3 cache of your budget minded i7 which also isn't on the amazon link either..)

Just don't call a donkey a horse, or a horse a unicorn.. You're building a decently capable Hackintosh who's components come nowhere near those of on-market Mac Pros.

I'd like to note that if you had gone with an ATX form factor that you would have expansion options for mainboard/processor combos that would rival if not best current Mac Pros, even if you just started with the consumer level components.

July 6, 2017 at 7:17AM

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Brooks Schnetzler
Combat Documentation/Production Specialist
81

The power of the Mac is really the OS. That's what makes a Mac amazing.
The guts of the computer are made by Intel and companies that also contribute to Sony and Dell. Apple's packaging is brilliant, but comes at a huge cost. And computers are not large, loud and generate a lot of heat.
If you peruse TonyX, you'll find builds that will run the Mac OS, with specs higher than what Apple currently makes. This is no different than building a box to run Windows or buying it from Dell.

June 8, 2017 at 9:42AM, Edited June 8, 9:58AM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
423

A question for actual Hackintosh users: have you experienced issues with software updates?

June 8, 2017 at 8:22AM

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Curtis Polk
Principal
255

If you are die hard mac because you like the style or use FCP then by all means spend loads of money on an official computer or build a hackintosh. However, if you are determined to use macs because you think that they are somehow miles ahead of PCs in stability and performance then I think you might be misguided.

Over the last 6 years I have worked as an editor and motion graphics artist for various production companies and for broadcast. I have worked on various Mac Pros, iMacs, and have owned 3 Macbook Pros. I also built my own PC back in 2012 and just upgraded it's motherboard and CPU earlier this year.

Having done the same exact work on both PC and Macs simultaneously for years I can tell you that I have not noticed that either was leagues ahead of the other in terms or stability or performance. I have had just as many issues on the various macs that I did on my PC.

I honestly believe that a lot of PCs bad rep comes from bloated poorly built branded PCs you'd buy at the store. If you take the time to learn how to build your own, which really isn't that hard, then you can easily have a solid, powerful, and reliable PC workstation like I have had for years.

Even being a closed ecosystem, Mac OS isn't somehow impervious to issues. I have struggled with many crashes, bugs and slow downs. Also, upgrading a custom built computer is more cost friendly than having to buy a whole new Mac every few years. A couple of years ago I upgraded my RAM, last year I upgraded my graphics card, this year I upgraded my motherboard and CPU. If something goes wrong in my computer, I can fix it myself. I don't have to take it in to a store, or send it off. It's incredibly liberating having control over your system and understanding how it works.

June 8, 2017 at 8:35AM

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Let me also chime in, you are basically building a machine that would be a rockstar Windows 10 machine. OSX is a bottle neck in terms of performance. If you are going to build a computer you should just install Windows 10. There are only a few applications that require OSX like Final Cut but do people really use that? Everything else works on both PC and OSX and frankly runs far, far better on PC.

June 8, 2017 at 9:37AM, Edited June 8, 9:37AM

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Darren Orange
Director/Producer
219

Can someone please explain to me why you would rather run a buggy hack OS over a proper install of linux or windows? If you really need Apple in your life, their tablets and phones are pretty neat. This is a great article at any rate, and I too encourage people to build their own machines! You'll save a quite a bit of money and be more educated in the end.

June 8, 2017 at 9:46AM

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Scott Youngblood
Sr. Multimedia Developer
139

I just don't really get it....how broke-dick are you if this is route you have to take to be a filmmaker. Keep your day job for a couple of extra weeks. If this is a fun project then more power to you. I guarantee you will end up regretting this when it crashes as your trying to finish a paying gig. You know Murphys law and all.

June 8, 2017 at 10:37AM

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Yeah, no. I make a living with my machine, doing pro work for many, many years. My hack is rock solid stable, less crash prone that the real macs I have bought previously. This is because it takes work to get a system that will boot at all. Don't regret it in the least. I got tired of buying a whole new machine every few years. Now I can just upgrade the components I need. So the savings go into the thousands over time. And hey, I have a separate internal drive I use to boot into windows too.

June 8, 2017 at 4:12PM, Edited June 8, 4:12PM

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Batutta
187

For the last 6 years, I've ran my post studio on Hackintoshes without any issue whatsoever and was able to outperform the highest Mac Pro for a fraction of the price. If you've never built a Hackintosh before, it can be daunting and bug filled, but once you've built a few, it's a very smooth and bug free experience. It's not for everyone, but you can literally get a more pro Mac with a Hackintosh than you can buying a Mac.

June 12, 2017 at 11:58AM

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Great article Oakley! I'll likely stay with the world of iMac because that makes the most sense for my business but I love when people are open minded and branch out into unfamiliar territories! Also, thanks for not summarizing a video that somebody else already put a lot of work into, it's refreshing. Would love to see more original content on NFS.

June 8, 2017 at 10:38AM

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Promising stuff.

June 8, 2017 at 5:19PM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
807

I've built a couple hackintoshes.
I worry about the stability. I've have instances (gigbyte 4790k hackintosh) where I transcodeed overnight, and wake up seeing that editready crashed... red cine x, definitely isn't stable. I don't mind using windows so this isn't the end of the world, but apple fanboys should just stick to the real thing. With windows, I Was using my ryzen 1700 (at 3.9ghz) it's a transcoding beast! But I find nle's a tad bit sluggish so I edit on my windows 4790k box + 1080ti for now.

June 8, 2017 at 5:57PM, Edited June 8, 6:07PM

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cee dee
119

I've been a Mac user since 2002, win98 was the last PC software I owned. My current iMac is now 5 years old and barely gets through 2.5K RAW. The one thing that drew me to the iMac for visual work was the screen and I still love how all Apple products handle contrast and colour. (sorry Queens English spell checker here in Australia)

I've almost gone down the Hackintosh route a few times these last few years, even collected parts over on a wish list at Amazon and on eBay. The last 2 years I've teamed up with another creative and we have the whole Adobe Cloud Apps on PC and iMac.

He's doing the editing and I do the colouring and it has always been a PITA, even with a local LAN to work efficiently between Premiere and Davinci. It's decision time and I have been getting into developing websites, logo's, graphics, photos using Adobe's LR, PS, Xd, Ai, MUSE and I'll also be switching over to Premiere for most editing and colouring work.

Apart from finding a good screen, (I do also have a Flanders), a PC build is looking far more economic and powerful for the buck. I'll still keep my iMac for surfing and backup duties and for colour rendition until it dies. After 15yrs in the OS environment, it will be strange going back to the WIN (I do have a tiny tablet running WIN8 and it's a PITA to get around on) I think I hate Explorer as much as I do Safari. Pffft Safari hasn't even worked on my iMac for the last 3 yrs but that's another story.

For us creatives and the need for speed and grunt, building our own Hack's is the best bang for the buck going forward. If I had the dosh tho I'd get someone else to build it.

I do really like the case Oakley, the Apple and X pirate theme you got going there. I might do the same on my PC case build for shit and giggles. Nice build and thanks for the great tutorial.

PS Another reason I'm switching is to go with DNxHR & DNxHD codecs instead of ProRes. Cheers.

June 8, 2017 at 11:39PM, Edited June 8, 11:42PM

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Paul Abrahams
phoneyogragher
159

My post studio has run on Hackintoshes for the last 6 years, but I finally pulled the plug and switched my entire studio over to Windows 10. So far the transition has been very seamless and I don't regret the decision in the least.

June 12, 2017 at 11:54AM, Edited June 12, 11:54AM

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Is it bad that I'm extremely turned on by a female filmmaker building her own computer?

October 4, 2017 at 8:03PM

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Matt Cronin
DP/colorist
79

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October 4, 2017 at 9:20PM

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sam
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October 12, 2017 at 5:27AM

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Yes, you can do this, but you will be forever fixing bugs. (or not being able to and finding workarounds...)

If it's just for editing, and if you use exclusively Adobe (like I do) you're better off paying half the sum for a PC which will still outperform a Hackintosh.

I love the Mac I currently have, but I need to upgrade. But Apple do not currently offer a cost-effective route. I'm better off getting a powerful PC and doing my editing on that. The Adobe interface is exactly the same, and for a while I'll keep my current Mac for other stuff. In a few years, for the next editing upgrade and if Apple go back to taking us seriously, I may go back to Mac. But who knows? We may be editing on Android...

December 6, 2017 at 11:53AM

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Karel Bata
Director / DP / Stereographer
424