Hackintosh Buyer Guide
The biggest requirement for running a Hackintosh is a modern Intel CPU. While it is possible to create an AMD-based Hackintosh, the process can and will get significantly more complex than the steps shown in this guide. The general consensus is that AMD is more than trouble than its worth when it comes to building a Hackintosh. Laptop users may also run into issues when trying to follow this guide.
It is a great time to take advantage of closeout pricing on fully compatible components.
- Intel’s 6th Generation Skylake CPU + 100 Series Motherboards + NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Card is the current recommendation. Please refer to this post for older build recommendations.
- If you’re building a CustoMac, Intel’s 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs and 200 Series motherboards are now available, however the platform is not native yet in macOS.
That’s why I ended up writing this guide. I quickly weeded out the laptops with a set of strict criteria. All laptops I’m going to recommend:
- have 4-th and 5-th gen processors (Haswell and Broadwell)
- are compatible with OS X Yosemite, OS X Captain, OS X Sierra
- are cheaper than MacBooks themselves or equivalent (at the time of writing all are under $1,000)
- have step-by-step guides specific for their EXACT models or at the very least for their type of laptop with people known to have successfully used them
- 1 What are we looking for
- 2 General problems
- 3 Creating the bootable OS X installation drive with DiskMaker
- 4 Creating a Clover Bootloader USB
- 5 Configure Clover Bootloader
- 6 Adding kexts to your Clover USB Bootloader
- 7 Install hackintosh OS X
What are we looking for
A good laptop even without its Hackintosh potential
You might change your mind; you might end up not being able to convert it to a Hackintosh; you might end up using Windows A LOT more than OSX.
In all of those cases, you’ll need a solid laptop even without considering OSX compatibility.
In a few cases, I’ll prioritize simply very good and well-rounded laptops with a bit more difficult process of hackintoshing over easier to convert but a lot weaker notebooks.
Every laptop has its own Achilles’ heel – sometimes it’s the processor, sometimes it’s battery life and if those two are alright – it’s probably the screen. I’ll check the benchmarks, independent tests and reviews to come to an easy to understand judgment. There’s no one-size-fits-all option, especially when you’re on a budget.
In short, if you’re an AMD fan – get ready to welcome your new Intel overlords.
Every single small thing
Battery indicators, keyboard shortcuts, sleep mode, card reader, fingerprint reader etc. All of these features more often than not don’t work after a fresh installation. Many of the laptops I have filtered out have a lot of these problems solved – but usually not all. Almost always something will not work correctly. Do not expect a flawless integration.
A note on El Capitan
There is no guarantee that all or any of these laptops will be easily up-gradable to OSX El Capitan. But there’s a good chance that it will. Most of the guides for the recommended laptops use methods that withstood upgrades in the past and are likely to withstand them in the near future.
Also, the fact that these laptops are still rather new gives a lot of hope that the community will figure out a way how to port them to El Capitan if the upgrade will end up being more problematic than it should.
You should be okay to follow this guide if you have the following:
- A functional PC running a modern Intel CPU and mainstream motherboard.
- Access to an existing OS X product (e.g. your friend’s Macbook or an old iMac; we’ll get onto this later)
- Two USB drive. One of these drives needs to have at least 8GB of storage space.
- Patience and an ability to Google your problems