It is time to replace my 2007 iMac. It has been working perfectly for five years and still in a very good condition. But despite of the well optimised Mac OS, 3Gb of RAM, 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 250Gb HDD, it is far behind modern computers.
Modern iMacs haven’t impressed me – they are not a significant improvement. I’ve found that their prices are a bit high for such a small step in upgrade. Mac Pro series has even higher price tags. I love Mac OS and believe that it is the most user friendly OS on the market. So it is not an option for me to buy a PC with Windows or Linux as a main system.
At this point I discovered “Hackintosh” project and thought that it would be a fun to build one by myself. Mac Pro class Hackintosh costs more than twice less to build. For those who have never heard about Hackintosh – it is a computer that can be built from ordinary PC components but is able to run Mac OS.
The proper components selection is the most important step in building Hackintosh, because not all of them have support in Mac OS. A huge amount of information about Hackintosh and compatable components have been found on the following sites: tonymacx86, osx86project and insanelymac. I would like to thank them for this.
Here are the components that I used to build my Hackintosh:
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 – $149.00
- CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K (3.4GHz) – $308.00
- RAM: Kingston 8G(2x4G) KHX1600C9D3T1K2/8 GDDR3 1600MHz – $52.00
- Video card: Gainward GTX560Ti 1G DDR5 2XDVI HDMI – $219.00
- Hard drive: Hitachi 1TB SATA 7200RPM 32M – $110.00
- SSD drive: Crucial RealSSD C400 64G SATA3 M4 Series – $99.00
- DVD drive: Sony AD7280SGB 24X SATA OEM DVD RW – $19.00
- Case: NZXT Hush 2 White Mid Tower – $118.00
- Additional fan: Fractal Design Silent Series Case Fan 120mm – $11.00
- Power supply unit: Antec ATX TruePower 650W $125.00
- Display: LG IPS236V-PN 23″ LED Slim IPS DVI HDMI – $169.00
- Speakers: Logitech LS11 Speaker 2.0 – $13.50
- Web camera: Logitech HD C270 WebCam – $27.00
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit OEM – $92.00
- Mac OS 10.7.3 Lion – $31.00
Also, a keyboard and a mouse are required. As for me, I already had a spare ones for Mac, which I bought a couple years ago for my iMac because of its better design and MagicMouse capabilities. They are quite expensive ($55 for the keyboard and $75 for the MagicMouse) and they can be replaced with any other USB devices, but for me their amaising convenience to use in Mac OS is very important.
I’m sure that you’ve noiteced that there is no Bluetooth and WiFi in my list. Personally, I don’t need a WiFi because I use Ethernet instead. But some USB WiFi dongles are compartible with Mac OS (please google for it). Also, there is an option to install an original Apple WiFi extension card through PCI-E adapter. This option is better, because in this case it will be recognised as AirExpress by the system which is very convenient. Last time I’ve checked, its price with the adapter was about $40-$50 on eBay with free shipping.
Bluetooth is a must have if any wireless Apple devices (mouse, keyboart, pad) are going to be used. It is possible to find a compartible Bluetooth USB dongle as well, but I’m going to use an original Apple Bluetooth module for this purpose. It works better than a dongle with Mac OS. For instance, it allows to wake up from a sleep mode by wireless mouse or keyboard. But it requires some small modification. It connects to the internal USB connector on the motherboard but uses 3.3V power supply instead of 5V that USB provides. So, a simple DC-DC converter can fix this. I’ve ordered this module for $18 on eBay and I’m going to install it to my Hackintosh. I’ll describe it in one of my following posts.
Also, I’ve exracted a 1Tb HDD from an external Seagate USB drive, which I used as a TimeMachine drive (backup disk) with my iMac. I’ve installed it in my Hackintosh to serve the same task.
As you can see, it is a quite powerfull machine, which can be compared with some Mac Pro configurations, and cost about $1500-$1900. In the Internet I saw configurations for less than $1000 for those who don’t need such a power.
The computer started from the first try, but I did a couple mistakes in systems installation, so I had to reinstall them. I’ll warn you about them in the post where I’ll describe the installation process. I had a lot of fun in planning and building this computer and now I enjoy of using it.
In the next post I’ll give more details about hardware that I used and some tips of choosing the right one. Stay tuned. See ya!
PS. All my posts about Hackintosh you can find here.