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Tagged: hackintosh

Dave Builds a PC image/svg+xml

I hate myself for this comparison, but here goes. Computer manufacturers (like Apple and Dell) are like front-end development frameworks; smart defaults that serve the majority of people. That’s just fine. But as a technolgist and a software developer, I want something custom tailored to my specific needs. This balances my aethetics, my technolust, and my budget without paying a “tax” to companies to do that for me. The modular nature of the computer means I can piecemeal upgrade the components as necessary. I’m not beholden to an entire new product cycle.

Seems like a fair analogy to me. Also, Dave’s post reminded me of when I put together my Hackintosh machine. I had a few minor issues slotting everything together, but the feeling of accomplishment when the machine first boots is properly worth it.

P.S. I keep referring to my desktop as my Hackintosh machine, but I actually removed macOS from it a couple of months ago. I should probably post an update.

Why Your Next Mac Should Be a Hackintosh image/svg+xml

Needless to say that it would a very bad investment to throw a couple of thousands of dollars on a 3-year-old Mac Pro when you can get twice the performance with a custom-built computer.

I’ve been pretty happy with my Hackintosh, it’s proved itself to be a powerful system and it’s been running reliably for about 18 months.

That said, I’m now faced with updating it to macOS Sierra, and that could be problematic. If I remember correctly, the update from Yosemite to El Capitan was not too bad, but I did have to play around with the boot loader. I’m hoping the macOS Sierra upgrade will go smoothly, but not knowing how it will go is part and parcel of running a Hackintosh. If you can handle that, maybe your next Mac really should be a Hackintosh.

Returning to Linux (Ubuntu 16.04)

This weekend, I removed OS X from my hackintosh machine and installed Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 as a dual-boot system. I’ll mostly be booting Ubuntu, but I had a spare Windows 10 license and a spare drive, so I installed it too — I might get lucky and occasionally find some time to play the odd game.

Why did I do this? Well, I’ve been missing Linux a lot lately and OS X was beginning to lose its shine. Don’t get me wrong, I think OS X is really nice, but at the same time, it feels somewhat sterile. Ubuntu, on the other hand, feels raw, potent and hackable.

Feelings, they’re important, so I tend to follow them. Also, I have a back-up of my OS X installation, so I can always revert my decision, not that I have any plans to at the moment.

Anyhow, first impressions of Ubuntu 16.04, it’s ace!

A couple of notes on Windows 10

First note: In December 2014, I purchased a copy of Windows 8 and installed it on an old desktop machine that I was using for testing. About a year later, when I purchased and built my hackintosh, I moved the Windows 8 license to it, dual-booting with OS X, and decommissioned the old desktop. Moving the license to my new machine involved a telephone call to Microsoft, but I explained the situation and the process was quite painless.

A few months later, I removed Windows 8 from that system, and ran OS X exclusively. Then, when Windows 10 was released last year, I reinstalled Windows 8 on a dual-boot partition and upgraded it to Windows 10, before removing it, again.

Yesterday, I needed to test something with Edge, so I installed Windows 10 as a virtual machine on my hackintosh. The install was super-easy and I had Windows 10 running in no time, but it was not activated. Not wanting to purchase another copy of Windows, just for testing purposes, I figured I’d attempt to activate it using my original Windows 8 license key. To my total surprise, it worked! WTF?

Second note: Becky has been running Windows 10 on her Lenovo X220 since it was released. For the most part, it worked okay, but every now-and-again the laptop would just turn itself off. When this happened, I would look at the event logs, but they wouldn’t shed any light on the matter, which was somewhat frustrating, more for Becky than me.

Anyhow, on Friday, the laptop turned itself off a few times in quick succession and I feared Becky was about to hulk-out and smash it to smithereens. So, to pacify the angry one, I offered her my old white MacBook as replacement machine, which she gratefully accepted.

This morning, I was feeling a little curious about Becky’s X220 and I found myself questioning what could be wrong with it. I figured it was possibly a hardware issue, but I should probably attempt to eliminate the possibility of it being caused by software. So, I wiped Windows 10 and installed the latest release of Ubuntu Desktop on it. It’s early days, but the laptop has been running continuously and so far there have been no problems. I’ll continue to use the machine over the next couple of days, but at the moment, it looks like the issues could have been Windows 10 related.

My Hackintosh Build

A couple of days ago, Rujaun Fourie asked on Twitter, “Could you maybe do a blog post on your hackintosh hardware?” To which I replied, “I can do that”

Here are the hardware details:

Intel Core i7 i7-4790K CPU (Quad Core 4GHz, Socket H3 LGA-1150)

EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked ACX 2GB GDDR5 Graphics Card

Gigabyte Z97X-UD3H Intel LGA1150 Z97 ATX Motherboard (4x DDR3, 6x USB3.0, 8x USB2.0, GBE, LAN, HDMI, DVI-I, DSUB)

Crucial Ballistix BLS4C8G3D169DS3BEU Sport XT 32GB (8GBx 4) 240 Pin DIMM DDR3 PC3-12800 Memory Module

2x Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch Basic SATA Solid State Drive + Seagate ST1000DM003 3.5 inch 1TB Barracuda Hard Drive

TP-Link TL-WDN4800 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter

Corsair CP-9020054-UK RM Series RM650 80 Plus Gold 650W ATX/EPS Fully Modular Power Supply Unit

Corsair Carbide 500R microATX Midi PC Tower Black

I ordered all the parts from Amazon UK on the 28th January 2015 and they all arrived exactly a year ago today. So, this time last year, I was actually putting all the components together and building my first Hackintosh.

The parts cost £1,032.53. Not cheap, but still considerably cheaper than an equivalently spec’d Apple machine. Having used the machine for a year, I can say it was a good investment. I use the machine daily and it serves as both my desktop development machine and our entertainment system — my wife and I don’t watch regular TV, but stream everything via the Hackintosh. Also, the hardware is quite powerful and it has plenty of RAM, so it should be a useful system for a good number of years.

Regarding hardware and compatibility with OS X, it just works. I have had no problems with it at all (famous last words) and I have not had to install any special Kernel extensions. In fact, I seem to have more issues with my MacBook Pro. That said, I have read some horror stories from users who have borked their machines when upgrading OS X, so I made sure to purchase 2 SSDs and I do clone my working drive, before I perform any OS updates.

Everything considered, I’m really happy with my Hackintosh. Would I recommend building a Hackintosh? If you’re the type of person that can follow instructions, loves building stuff and you’re willing to be your own tech support person, then yes. If not, pay the Apple tax and be happy :)

P.S. I’ve purposely not mentioned the OS X installation method or bootloader that I’m using. These are beyond the scope of this post and well documented elsewhere on the web. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments.