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Hackintosh builds
Old 6th May 2016
  #1
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Ksp's Avatar
 

Hackintosh builds

been considering a mac pro but the cash never seems to come so i considered a cheaper hackintosh but its like considering entering hell a bit some have said.

I just want to install cubase 8.5 and logic and ableton , latest os from mac and maybe a dual boot for an old windows xp setup i have for emergencies and then walk away from any updates for ever

i read some people have amazing results with cheap hackintosh , i just want thing to work really , anyone got any pointers or links to builders or any horror stories they would care to share ?
Old 6th May 2016
  #2
If you just want things to work, I'd advice against Hackintosh (while still owning and using one). Now and then you may have to troubleshoot .kext files/drivers/bootloaders et cetera, especially when installing updates to Mac OS X. However, if you don't mind doing that, it's a great and cheaper alternative to a Mac Pro. I build mine in 2012 and it's still rock solid! The troubleshooting occurs maybe once per 6 months because my system is now very stable. But in the first few months it almost occurred every month!
Old 6th May 2016
  #3
I used a hackintosh for years. Great machine, tiny 2u rack case, massive fans, big heatsinks and next to silent. But... it doesn't "just work". You will spend anywhere from a day to a week or two ironing out issues on a new machine.

A hackintosh adds back in some of the reasons I hate using PCs and windows so much. If you want to just setup and walk away... buy a used mac. It will be easier.
Old 6th May 2016
  #4
Gear Addict
 

I think you'll be perfectly fine of building for audio work. Most of the difficulties reside with the graphics card and video editing.
Old 6th May 2016
  #5
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I'd go to tony mac's site and just build one of their recommended systems.

my view is the knowledge you gain from building and maintaining your system is an invaluable skill for the future so I'd go for it and see how you get on.

I presume you're not running a full on commercial facility, so I'd say you've nothing to loose except your time and that will be re paid with new valuable knowledge.


MC
Old 6th May 2016
  #6
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It's well worth doing if you don't mind doing a fair bit of reading and just make sure you do all the research on your hardware components that you choose. But like others have said you can follow one of tonymac86 builds which should iron out a lot of the home work for you. I'm ready to do a new build myself, but the hackintosh I've had for the last four years has been solid and has made me never to want to go near a windows pc again ever.
Old 6th May 2016
  #7
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lowen's Avatar
 

Hmm, been there, done that, once or twice, not using it now.

Some of the best systems ever for hackintoshing were the Dell Latitude D630/D830 laptops and kindred.

But in my experience you will have a more stable system if you install Linux on it, and will have an easier time of drivers and such.

And I am not saying that to to say that Linux is easy; often it is not.

I am saying that to show how difficult hackintoshing can be, especially when a new version of OS X comes down the pipe and you cannot simply upgrade, and you must be ever so vigilant with program activations that are tied to serial numbers and such. I almost lost, permanently, one of my two Celemony Melodyne Studio activations that way (I had it on a real, older, Mac Mini that I own, and was just trying it out on the hack).

Many times getting the latest OS X on the same hardware will involve completely new bootloaders, and if you ask too many questions of the wrong type in some of the hackintosh forums you can get banned from them.

Not to mention that doing a hack is definitely in a legal gray area.
Old 6th May 2016
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I'm a Mac guy, but use Windows at work and honestly, Windows 10 is such an improvement over previous versions that in my case, I'd use it over a hackintosh.
Old 6th May 2016
  #9
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Since you don't want to get your hands dirty and want everything working turnkey, just grab a Windows 7 box from one of the builders that hang here. Run Cubase and/or Ableton on it. Keep your old rig for pulling up your old Logic projects and so you have some redundancy (if things go down you can still run Logic). Most will just pick a single DAW app and stick to that and if your pick was Logic then an Apple or Hackintosh would make sense. Sounds like your pick however is really Cubase or there wouldn't be a need to install it. Given your budget is tight, you will save some money with just a Windows box over a Hackintosh too.
Old 6th May 2016
  #10
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The trick with Hacks to leave them alone once you get them working!
Old 6th May 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpjr View Post
I'm a Mac guy, but use Windows at work and honestly, Windows 10 is such an improvement over previous versions that in my case, I'd use it over a hackintosh.
Unless you really, really need to use Logic I would take this guy's advise.
Old 6th May 2016
  #12
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Me_Likey's Avatar
 

Use the PC as a PC. Once something goes wrong with a hackintosh it can be a nightmare to get it up again. I used a Snow Leopard Hackintosh on a Dell 760 that worked great until I wanted to upgrade to Mavericks. Then it was a total time and energy suck.
Old 7th May 2016
  #13
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Ksp's Avatar
 

thanks for all the advice , deep looking into things , if i can find a builder doing deals on them i might jump on one and see how we go and how it works in the studio and keep it or weep ! ive got to run logic / cubase 8 and ableton alongside each other for working reasons and due to work with people so i really dont want 2 x systems or stuff like this , simple setup really here as much as possible.I am still pondering how much i can save compared to how much time it may cost in the long run , thats a fairly big issue and i may just take the easy lazy route as this is a system for a working studio where i need the daw to work when i need it to work , times money a bit here....possibly a good reason to not go down the hackintosh root .I think at best i can save £700 on the specs i want but that £700 pays for some ssd drives or some other stuff....
Old 7th May 2016
  #14
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Super easy, once I built my first one... I got addicted and bought parts to build another. I keep the 6 core Hackintosh in my bedroom, and the 4 Core 4790k hack in the studio. Super easy, super stable, super cheap, and super efficient.

Here are a few keypoints from me
1. The hard part is done by the community of testers and coders who've already paved the way to Hackintosh!
2. Everything is laid out by step by step guides. Pick your poison, go TonyMac and do it with his guides, or RampageDev, or insanelymac forums. Everyone has their way of making their systems work.
3. Components are all laid out...fail safe hackintosh is super easy if you go buy the parts that are recommended and natively supported chipsets. IE, LGA 1150 Z97, 4790k, Gigabyte Z97 mobo, an Nvidia GPU like a GTX 760, 770, 780 which are all natively supported no web drivers needed.
4. Don't require thunderbolt, and if you do...go for an Asus Z97-A and get the Asus Thunderbolt add on card, RampageDev has reported that it works for him, and he is probably the only one I trust.
5. Get the right kernel extensions, dont install unnecessary ****, don't update unnecessary updates, don't go tinkering about, especially if this system is your money maker! Get it stable, afterwards, leave it alone...just work on it.
6. Make sure you're not gonna rely on onboard audio....i have never gotten my onboard audio to work, but I haven't really gotten deep into it...because I use a UR22 usb interface anyway and it works flawless.



My system is a 4790k hackintosh running 10.10.5 yosemite, pro tools 11, reason 7, mpc studio, and logic...none of them ever struggle....ever...and Im the type of guy that sucks at mixing, so I tend to over produce things, and use alot of plugins...like adding an EQ to boost a frequency I cut, in the previous EQ, and using two compressors on the same vocal track...

Instrument tracks with a Virtual instrument on it, with effects inserts on the same track. No issues what so ever!
Old 7th May 2016
  #15
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A "hackintosh" is a great alternative to an Apple branded computer but it helps if you are a little on the geeky side to begin with. I've personally built four in the past couple of years (two laptops and two towers). Two run Snow Leopard and two run Mountain Lion and all are rock solid. I always dual boot so I have access to Windows or OSX on start-up, depending on what you want to do. I would reiterate that once you get it running satisfactorily, lock it up and throw away the key (good advice for a Windows machine as well to be honest).

Research is the key here. Some things simply will NOT work with OSX (Intel wifi cards come to mind but these are cheap and easy to replace in most laptops and are non-essential...even detrimental...to a DAW). There will often be one or two things that won't work properly with a particular build but these issues are usually trivial...SD card reader in my Dell laptop won't work unless I boot with a card in the slot for instance.

The TonyMac site is one of several that cater to the hackintosh community (others being Insanelymac and OSX86 both of which are arguably better). Be prepared for a little frustration but, overall, it's pretty rewarding. I'm typing this on a Dell XPS l502x running Mountain Lion 10.8.5 (legally bought by the way though playing a bit fast and loose with the EULA). The ONLY thing that doesn't work 100% is the aforementioned SD card reader.

I still use Windows 7 with Samplitude as my primary DAW and use my Mountain Lion "hack" laptop for general computing.
Old 7th May 2016
  #16
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Spede's Avatar
 

Most important stuff has already been said.

The only thing I could add to discussion is reminding to get the parts that are compatible with the OS. Especially when talking about newer mobo with an older OS. I had initially hard time getting my hack work with z97 mobo and 10.9.5. Often when I was patching an SSDT for something (power management, IGPU etc.) before that I always had to do a "compability patch" to enable the newer part on the old OS in the first place so I could then patch it.

Also think carefully what kind of graphics card you wanna buy. Integrated is nice for a DAW use but getting it to work can be bit of a hassle, I'd recommend buying an entry-level Nvidia etc. You should also google possible issues with the possible card, something like: "gtx 560 hackintosh problem" before buying.

Occasionally one also gets lucky. It was hard to find any info on PCI firewire cards so took the plunge and bought the cheapest FW400 PCI card I could find (TI chipset) for compability reasons and worked out of the box! Thunderbolt can wait 'till 4K screen prices go down.
Old 7th May 2016
  #17
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IMO smoothest way for a hack is to base your configuration on something, which already exists in Mac product range.
So for example Z97 chipset with 4900K (Haswell Refresh) CPU was used in top of the line iMacs.. thus comparable configuration with Gigabyte Z97 board and the same CPU its working pretty well with minimal necessary tweaks for drivers (maybe driver for NIC and onboard Realtek HD audio). What's important, power management and PCIe expansion cards are solid. Whereas if someone want to do configuration, which currently doesn't have any Apple's counterpart.. like six core i7s (5820, 30 etc.), then there can be some very hard to solve issues, which you has to live with.. like there isn't correct support for all CPU power saving states (so CPU has higher power consumption and temperature in idle) and there can be additional stability issues, which aren't possible to easily solve by simple patching or emulation.
Of course there are people, who doesn't care about that and aim only for maximum performance for the buck.. (eg. some rendering duties), but I personally decline to build or assist with such setups, if someone asks me about it.
Additional thing, which I always recommend to have with Hackintosh rig, is second system drive (or SSD) for updates.. Eg. leave working OS X version and configuration as long as you can and if doing upgrade, then it would be as a clean install os OS X to second drive to test compatibility, new version of EFI loader, drivers and applications.
If that's not possible for some reason, then at least doing bit image of system drive with Carbon Copy Cloner before OS X upgrade is good.
Is's certainly good practice with any important workstation, but with Hack it's a must IMO.

Michal
Old 7th May 2016
  #18
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If you're the type who constantly feels the need to tinker and upgrade, don't go hackintosh. If you're the type who likes to build a stable system and then keep it running the same way for 5 or 8 years, you should consider a hackintosh.
Old 7th May 2016
  #19
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ksp View Post
thanks for all the advice , deep looking into things , if i can find a builder doing deals on them i might jump on one and see how we go and how it works in the studio and keep it or weep ! ive got to run logic / cubase 8 and ableton alongside each other for working reasons and due to work with people so i really dont want 2 x systems or stuff like this , simple setup really here as much as possible.I am still pondering how much i can save compared to how much time it may cost in the long run , thats a fairly big issue and i may just take the easy lazy route as this is a system for a working studio where i need the daw to work when i need it to work , times money a bit here....possibly a good reason to not go down the hackintosh root .I think at best i can save £700 on the specs i want but that £700 pays for some ssd drives or some other stuff....
Hacks are great if you get the right build (tonymac) & once you get it running, LEAVE IT ALONE. I had a fantastic Hackintosh a couple of years ago & I screwed it up needlessly because I was always tinkering with it.
Old 8th May 2016
  #20
All great and solid advice above.

One extra word of caution if one takes the hackintosh route: careful with machine-based authorization methods for your software. If you're using software that requires such methods of copy protection I'd really recommend unauthorizing everything before making any "deeper" system tweaks such as replacing/editing kexts or changing smbios or adding/replacing a piece of hardware. A good part of the hackintosh build is based around recognizing your hardware so it works properly and there are several ways of doing so, but tinkering with the system can cause havoc on machine-based authorization methods. I learned this the hard way with my Waves plugs and had to spare my yearly license reset after replacing a video card.

Always stick to USB and/or online-based authorization methods when possible.

Have fun!

Old 8th May 2016
  #21
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mikefellh's Avatar
You have to make sure you get a motherboard/laptop that is good for hackintoshing. Personally I use a 10" Dell netbook so I can have a cheap Mac on the road.
Old 9th May 2016
  #22
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iamkimosabi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by diogo_c View Post
All great and solid advice above.

One extra word of caution if one takes the hackintosh route: careful with machine-based authorization methods for your software. If you're using software that requires such methods of copy protection I'd really recommend unauthorizing everything before making any "deeper" system tweaks such as replacing/editing kexts or changing smbios or adding/replacing a piece of hardware. A good part of the hackintosh build is based around recognizing your hardware so it works properly and there are several ways of doing so, but tinkering with the system can cause havoc on machine-based authorization methods. I learned this the hard way with my Waves plugs and had to spare my yearly license reset after replacing a video card.

Always stick to USB and/or online-based authorization methods when possible.

Have fun!


Omg this. Just to share my experience with you...

I jumped the gun and installed Reason 7 and my waves plugins and authorized all my licenses to the "hackintosh" thinking I was done. Well, I botched the install by using some altered kexts and ended up having to do a fresh re-install. Needless to say, after a few times of doing this to figure out the exact method of exact kexts needed to keep my system stable, I ran out of authorization retrievals for the times I forgot to unauthorize before re-installing Mac OSX. I had to get on the phone with Waves and explain to them what happened, and long story short...they said hey we don't support Hackintosh, but we'll do it for you this once. And suggested I put the licenses on a thumbdrive, which I have, and I don't know why I didn't do it from the get go.

So get your system stable first, before authorizing, and if you EVER have to re-install...don't forget to de-authorize your system. Or just put on thumb drive.
Old 9th May 2016
  #23
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brucerothwell's Avatar
 

Go to Mac of All Trades... they specialize in refurbished, real, Macs.

Find a Mac Pro of the vintage that will run the level of OSX and DAW's you need.

They are great people there.

-
Old 9th May 2016
  #24
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norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucerothwell View Post
Go to Mac of All Trades... they specialize in refurbished, real, Macs.

Find a Mac Pro of the vintage that will run the level of OSX and DAW's you need.

They are great people there.

-

The problems with buying a refurbished Mac I see are:
it will be old technology and out dated for the price you'll pay. Also Mac motherboards which are made by Foxcon aren't the 'best' in the world and I'd be worried about an old machine with a less than stellar motherboard!!

Building as hackintosh means;

All brand new, warrantied components, the latest hardware, YOUR choice of expansion I.e. PCIe, TB, USB 3.1 etc etc etc

Your choice of how many/type of Hard drives, RAM, GFX, case, coolers etc etc.


You can built a system to suit YOUR needs at your price level from NEW components.



MC
Old 9th May 2016
  #25
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brucerothwell's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
The problems with buying a refurbished Mac I see are:
it will be old technology and out dated for the price you'll pay. Also Mac motherboards which are made by Foxcon aren't the 'best' in the world and I'd be worried about an old machine with a less than stellar motherboard!!

Building as hackintosh means;

All brand new, warrantied components, the latest hardware, YOUR choice of expansion I.e. PCIe, TB, USB 3.1 etc etc etc

Your choice of how many/type of Hard drives, RAM, GFX, case, coolers etc etc.


You can built a system to suit YOUR needs at your price level from NEW components.



MC
Well, another aspect to consider is the illegality of using/installing OSX on non-Apple hardware.
Old 9th May 2016
  #26
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iamkimosabi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucerothwell View Post
Well, another aspect to consider is the illegality of using/installing OSX on non-Apple hardware.
Yes if you're torrenting for a free version of Mac OSX there is that, but to be honest I don't think there's anything morally wrong with using software you paid for when you bought your Macbook Pro, iMac, or what have you, to the extent of your abilities.

Torrenting and pirating their software, wrong...yes.
Using paid software the way you want...illegal maybe, but wrong? I don't think it is.

And if it is so indeed illegal...what can they do? Or better question...what WILL they do? Probably nothing.
Old 9th May 2016
  #27
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norbury brook's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucerothwell View Post
Well, another aspect to consider is the illegality of using/installing OSX on non-Apple hardware.
We've been through this a million times ......

In the EU it is not illegal to build a hackintosh with a paid for version of OSX.

Outside the EU, it might be a grey area but I've never head of ANY instances of someone using a hackintosh having a knock on the door from an Apple lawyer.

Also, I find it hard to even think how it could be even classed as 'immoral' as you've paid for an operating system, where you install it shouldn't be an issue, hence the fact it's not illegal here in the civilised world.


MC
Old 9th May 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by norbury brook View Post
We've been through this a million times ......
Yes, we've been...so please let's not go there again.
Old 9th May 2016
  #29
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b0se's Avatar
I've been using hackintoshes for years, various builds.

Updates can be flawless if you use Clover as the boot loader, which tonymac is now using by default (was using an awful loader called Chameleon/Chimera before that move, which is why some people have had bad experiences with it).

Clover patches kext files in real-time (at boot); you don't need to replace drivers and whatnot after updates. Since you'll be using AD/DA, you circumvent having to consider fixing onboard sound.

Simply use a recommended build and it's easy. It's all about the motherboard (go Gigabyte) and GFX card (go Asus). With those you can have a build that needs pretty much zero tweaking.

I'm running Skylake for my audio hack and Haswell for my editing/photo hack. Both clocked at 4.7Ghz, the Skylake being a cool and silent build.
Old 10th May 2016
  #30
@ b0se : I might agree to some extent with the Gigabyte tip since they're popular/common and therefore more people have used it and can help out but the GPU tip is totally off. The easiest GPU route might be to use Nvidia. Brand choice (Asus, XFX, MSI, etc) matters very little, if it matters at all. I'm recommending Nvidia because they're putting out drivers for OSX - if one choses to go with ATi or internal GPU some kext tweaking will likely be required. With Nvidia it's just a matter of installing the drivers and adding a boot flag.
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