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Hackintosh. Part 2. Hardware.

Categories: Computers, Hackintosh
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Comments: 36 Comments
Published on: 29/05/2012

Let’s see the components chosen for the Hackintosh from my previous post in details.

Motherboard.

According to the Internet forums, the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard has the best support for Mac OS. That’s why I decided to build my Hackintosh based on this board. Apart from the standard devicies, the board has USB 3, 1394a and eSATA ports. Also, there two additional SATA III ports (grey connectors) to the two main ones (white connectors). There are some problems mentioned in the Internet if grey connectors are used, so I haven’t used them. SATA III ports are only important with SSD drive, while SATA II (black connectors) is enough for HDD and DVD drives.

CPU.

Any LGA 1155 socket CPU from Intel i3, i5 and i7 series should work fine for a Hackintosh. I used Intel i7-2600K for my computer. The letter K at the end means that overclocking is unlocked. Such processors are normally $10 dearer, but I think that this option can be useful in future. It is important to remember that overclocking will require a better CPU cooler.

RAM.

Most DDR3 modules with 1333MHz or 1600MHz frequinces should work fine (I used Kingston 8G(2x4G) KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8 GDDR3 1600MHz). But RAM and the motherboard compatibility needs to be checked just in case. Most motherboard manufactures have such a sheet on their sites. GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 motherboard has 4 slots for RAM. For better performance I used two 4GB modules instead of one 8GB. In this case the modules are placed in sockets DDR_1 and DDR_2 of the motherboard (socket DDR_3 is located between those two). So, I still have two more slots for memory upgrade in the future. It is recommended to buy a RAM kit instead of separate modules to avoid possible incompatibility between them.

Graphics card.

There is a list of the Hackintosh compatable graphics cards on this site. This list is not full, so it is recommended to check card compartibility with the current Mac OS version in the Internet. As far as I know, the integrated graphics card on the motherboard is also working with Mac OS, but I haven’t checked it. For my computer I was choosing between AMD Radeon 6870, GTX560 and GTX560Ti cards. They all have a reasonable price and have a good support for Mac OS Lion, have good performance and allow to connect the second card in future to almost double its performance. Finally I chose Gainward GTX560Ti 1G card. It started to work out of the box and showed over 37fps in Cinebench. Despite that this card has two DVI ports, there are some problems are mentioned in the Internet when a monitor is connected to the second port. Actually, most cards have a similar problem in Mac OS. I haven’t tried to connect the second monitor yet, but I can always use HDMI port for that purpose. Also, it is possible that this problem will be resolved in a future driver virsion.

Hard drive.

Any SATA HDD should work with this motherboard. I don’t need a high speed HDD in my computer, because I have SSD drive for the system and programs. Thet’s why I’ve chosen Hitachi HDD as an inexpensive and reliable solution. But I believe that it is worth to install two hard drives and use the second one for backup.

SSD.

I’ve found out that it is extremely useful device that should be used in any modern computer. It reduces start-up time significantly and allows launching programs almost immediately. It makes communication with the computer significantly more pleasant. Because this device is quite expensive, I’ve installed its 64GB version which is enough for Mac OS installation and most of its programs. I keep all data and a user folder on HDD. My choice of SSD is Crucial RealSSD C400 64G SATA3 M4 Series. This model is a bit dearer than some competitors but it has great speed and a disk controller that is used in this model is superior than the one in most other drives.

DVD drive.

Blu-ray disks are not supported in Mac OS yet, so I decided that there is no point to install a Blu-ray drive at this point. It can be added at any time later if required. Any SATA DVD drive should work with Mac OS. I’ve chosen Sony AD7280SGB 24X DVD RW drive because of its speed and reliability.

Case.

Any case for ATX motherboard that have required features can be used. I’ve chosen NZXT Hush 2 case. It is one of the most quite cases on the market, relatively cheap and has a bit of “Apple” style in white colour. This case has three quite fans (two intake and one outtake) with three-speed controller on the top panel. All intake fans have easy to clean dust filters. Also it is possible to install one more 120mm intake (filter protected as well) and one 140mm outtake fan. They can be connected to the controller as well. I installed an intake Fractal Design Silent Series Case Fan for better cooling. To decrease the amount of dust in the case, the combined power of intake fans has to be more than outtake fans. It will force an excessive air to go out from the holes and gaps of the case instead of sucking into the case through unprotected holes. So, my computer has three intake fans. Air goes out through one outtake fan, video card fan and partly from PSU fan. I’ve made sure that I achieved the goal by putting a candle light near the case holes and it showed that air goes out of the case through them.

Also this case has three USB2 and one USB3 port on top. For temporary HDD connection the case has a slot on top with SATA connectors.

Power supply unit (PSU).

I would recommend to choose PSU with excessive power than required. Firstly, PSU is usually most efficient at half of its maximum power. Secondly, it is always good to have some spare power for future upgrades. Not all PSU can achieve claimed power, so it is important to choose proper brands. There are a lot of PSU reviews in the Internet. I figured out that Antec ATX TruePower 650W PSU would be the best choice. I don’t have any complains how it works. Also it is a very quiet PSU.

Sound.

I don’t need audiophile quality sound for my computer, so I’ve bought Logitech LS11 Speaker 2.0, because of its size, relatively good sound quality and price.

Web camera.

Logitech HD C270 WebCam works out of the box in Mac OS Lion and has quite good quality and reasonable price.

OK. I think it’s enough for today. In the next post I will tell you more about system installation process. Stay tuned! See ya!

PS. All my posts about Hackintosh you can find here

36 Comments
  1. d0n7bl1nk says:

    these are the specks I’m getting
    Gigabyte Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2133 LGA 1155 Motherboards GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
    Logitech LS11 Multimedia Speaker System (Black and Silver) (980-000048)
    Antec TruePower New TP-650 650 Watt SLI CrossFire 80 PLUS BRONZE Power Supply
    NZXT Technologies H2 Classic Silent Midtower Chassis CS-NT-H2-W (White)
    Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)
    Hitachi Deskstar 3.5-Inch 2 TB 7200RPM SATA III 6 Gbps 64 MB Cache Internal Hard Drive 0F12115
    Kingston Technology Hyper X 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit of 2) XMP T1 Series KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8GX
    Intel Core i7-2600 Processor 3.4GHz 8 MB Cache Socket LGA1155

    • Electronics Fun says:

      Almost exactly like mine. With one hard drive it will be tricky to install Mac OS and Windows 7 together (but possible). Be prepared for some troubles there.
      Also don’t forget about a keyboard, mouse and a video card.

  2. d0n7bl1nk says:

    are a graphics card and a video card the same thing?
    and does your mother board have integrated graphics

    ps im getting the GTX 570 ti

    • Electronics Fun says:

      Basically, yes – the same. My motherboard has integrated graphics, but it is too basic.
      570Ti should work fine with Lion, but just in case check the compatibility of the chosen card in the Internet or ask about money back policies.

  3. d0n7bl1nk says:

    i cant buy any of the items on Amazon because they dont ship to australia

    🙁

  4. Electronics Fun says:

    I used umart.com.au in Brisbane for my computer.

  5. d0n7bl1nk says:

    is this motherboard hackintosh compatible?

    Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H MB, Socket 1155, Intel B75 Chipset, 4x DDR3, SATA3, USB3.0, 7.1 CH, GbLAN,

    • Electronics Fun says:

      Sort of. Not the best solution. Could be troubles to make all components (audio, ethernet etc.) to run smoothly. If you want the easiest option – use the same motherboard as me. it has a really good support.

  6. d0n7bl1nk says:

    i cant find the the motherboard that you have on umart 🙁

  7. d0n7bl1nk says:

    i bought the case and 2 fans on umart today and im going to buy the motherboard or the PSU soon

  8. d0n7bl1nk says:

    do you know where else I can buy the same motherboard as you because I cant find it on umart 🙁

  9. d0n7bl1nk says:

    where did you get your motherboard???

  10. Electronics Fun says:

    If this particular motherboard is not available any more you can google which motherboard has the best compatibility with Lion 10.7 from currently available.

  11. Calum McInnes says:

    Hi, I’m looking for a power source for my gaming computer and some ram. Have you got any suggestions?

    • Electronics Fun says:

      Power supply needs to be chosen to fit your case. Its power depends of components used in your computer but 600-700W usually sufficient. Good brands make silent and efficient PSUs (utilise more than 80% of power). Cheap brands sometimes deliver less power than claimed which can affect stable work of a computer.
      RAM needs to be compatible with your motherboard. Usually compatible RAMs can be found on motherboard manufacturer site.

  12. Calum McInnes says:

    And what type of Hard Drive (Disk) Should i get closeto around 1TB?

  13. Calum McInnes says:

    These Are Some Of My specs:
    NZXT Hush H2 Classic Silent Black (NO PSU)
    Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
    Intel Core i5 3470 LGA1155 CPU 3.2Ghz 6Mb Cache Ivy Bridge
    Antec ATX TruePower 650W
    Kingston 8G(2x4G) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 HyperX
    Hitachi 2TB Ultrastar SATA 7200RPM 64MB Enterprise

  14. Calum McInnes says:

    1 More Question, should i have 2 hard drives to get mac and windows or should i stay with 1?

    • Electronics Fun says:

      It is much easier to install double systems with two hard drives. Also, I would recommend to use SSD drive for at least one of the systems – the speed is incredible.

  15. Calum McInnes says:

    SO thats 1 Hard drive and 1 SSD?

  16. Calum McInnes says:

    Im just thinking if i should still install Windows 7 and Mac on my PC that im building because i want windows and mac but i want to know if you can install both on the same hard drive?

  17. Calum McInnes says:

    Im busy buying my computer parts and noticed that the motherboard i wanted is outdated and not selling anymore. Could you give me a suggestion on what I should get with these parts?:
    INTEL CORE i5 3470 3.20Ghz 6MB CACHE 95W LGA1155
    Kingston 8G(2x4G) DDR3 1600MHz CL9 HyperX a
    Hitachi HGST Deskstar 7K1000.C 3.5’/1TB/SATA 6GB/s/7200RPM/32MB a
    EVGA GeForce GTX770 SuperClocked with EVGA ACX Cooler, 2GB GDDR5 256bit, DL DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, DP, SLI Ready Graphics Cards (02G-P4-2774-KR)
    Lite-On SOHR-5239S-RET-B 52x Internal CD-RW Drive
    Enermax NAXN Tomahawk II 550W PSU a

  18. Calum McInnes says:

    How can i get in touch with you. I need help on puting my computer together!

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