Over the past couple months, the lack of desktop here at home has driven me up the wall. Turning to my laptop time and time again, hooking it up to an external monitor while consulting helped, but no laptop can truly replace the performance of a decent desktop. So after after drooling over the current Mac Pro systems, and then realizing I could buy 2 new laptops for the same price… I decided to look into the hackintosh world. While I’ve installed OS X on non-Apple hardware before, I’ve never done it on a system that I am planning to depend on. To me, that means I need a system that is not only rock solid, but is easily update-able.
After doing some digging through the OS X 86 Project wiki and the Insanely Mac forums I was able to determine that there are several platforms that provide excellent support, and stability. I finally settled on the following hardware.
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory
BFG GeForce GTX 275 OverClocked Video Card – 896MB, PCI Express 2.0 x16 Graphics Card
Thermalright CoGage True Spirit 4-Heatpipe Core i7 CPU Cooler (w/Thermalright BoltThru Kit)
2x Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Disks
Plextor 24X DVD/CD Writer Black SATA Model PX-880SA LightScribe Support
Corsair CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80+ Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
While, I chose the i7 platform for its well known speed capabilities, I soon also learned that the i7 920 is also a great processor to overclock with several users reporting stable air cooled setups running at 4 – 4.2 ghz. While I only planned to step my clock speed up to the 3.7 – 3.8 ghz range, I decided to do a bit of research on CPU coolers. And I must say, I’m glad I did. The original heatsink I ordered has issues interfering with the memory slots on the ga-ex58-ud5 motherboard. So, per the shoot out on HardOCP, I choose the CoCage True Spirit Cooler.
For any of you considering your own hackintosh build, the most important advice is to pick a compatible motherboard, cpu, and video card. Do your research, find others that have used the same hardware. See if you can locate adequate kexts and a dsdt for your setup. Do your research, you wont regret it.
I’ll follow up soon with some build instructions and my own kexts and dsdt for anyone using the same hardware to use… As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to get back with you.
Network engineer turned management currently servicing the enterprise data center market. I started working on networks in the ’90s and still feel like that was just a few years ago. Jack of all trades, master of none; I love to learn about everything. Feel free to ask me about photography, woodworking, nhra, watches, or even networking! — For feedback, please leave a comment on the article in question, and I’ll respond as soon as I can. For everything else including fan mail or death threats, contact me via twitter.