Description

This is my current computer, minus a few ancient hard drives and some other odds and ends. It's a Hackintosh running OS X 10.12 Sierra (on the 850 EVO) that also dual boots Windows 10 (on the 840 Pro, which was formerly used for OSX). It was built in January 2013.

Building it was quite eventful thanks to a defective motherboard and a series of PSU-related problems, but things eventually worked out. The initial video card was a Gigabyte OC GTX 670 (one step above the Windforce model - their lineup was simpler back then), which failed in December 2013 and was replaced under warranty (there was a known issue with these particular cards that led to failure). The GBU521 Bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter failed in January 2014 and was also replaced under warranty. The power supply was replaced under warranty in the fall of 2014 for reasons that I don't recall. The GTX 670 was upgraded to a Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 970 in December 2015, while the RAM was upgraded to 24GB (from 16GB) in early 2016 (in retrospect, I should have sprung for 32GB - oh well). The 840 Pro was my OSX boot drive until the fall of 2016, which is when it was replaced with the larger 850 EVO and was subsequently retasked for use as my Windows boot drive. I also had to replace my failed previous 802.11n wireless card with a new one (the current T9E + the additional cables & antennae to maximize reception) in the fall of 2016. The GTX 970 was upgraded yet again to a used Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 in the spring of 2017. The 6TB drive was added along with the 3000rpm fan in late summer 2017.

The case fans were slowly added over the years. The mouse was initially a G500 that I already owned at the time of this build, but after it started having noticeable problems in 2015 and when my extensive repair efforts (including partial replacement of the Omron switches) failed to satisfactorily address these problems, I then replaced it with a G500s in summer 2015. The keyboard was likewise originally a CM Storm Trigger with MX Brown switches (and O-rings) that I already owned, but that failed in late 2014 and was replaced under warranty with the newer CM Storm Trigger Z (which had MX Blue switches (they offered me a choice between a different model with Browns and this model with Blues), but I had actually wanted to try those anyways so it worked out very well).

Anyways, although the CPU/motherboard are beginning to start to show their age, the rest of the build has remained quite solid, and I should be able to avoid any major upgrades for a while longer. This isn't the fastest or fanciest computer, but it was designed from the start to be a relatively affordable midrange workstation and gaming computer, and sticking with solely Hackintosh-compatible components has restricted my options significantly.

The next planned upgrades will be replacing the monitor with a 1440p or 4k monitor, then replacing the aging 500 GB Windows data hard drive with a new 1 TB hard drive. I am still considering if upgrading the RAM again to a full 32 GB for ~$100 is actually worth it. After that, this should remain stable until I eventually replace the CPU/motherboard/RAM wholesale (a rather major investment that I hope to be able to delay for up to a few more years - although unfortunately it looks like upgrading the CPU/motherboard/RAM would then have to coincide with the next graphics card upgrade, which would be a ridiculous outlay). Whenever I end up replacing the CPU/motherboard/RAM I plan on replacing the CPU with a model that surpasses this one in core/thread count (6-8 cores minimum), the motherboard with an equivalent modern model, and the RAM with a minimum of 32 GB of quality DDR4.

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Cheap yet very effective CPU cooler. The fan started failing after a few years and required replacement, which isn't that surprising given that it's a cheap fan. It was kind enough to warn me about the problem well in advance via an obnoxious noise from the failing fan, which is considerably better than the fan dropping dead out of nowhere. The included thermal paste is decent. I reapplied the thermal paste after several years due to some concerns about the quality of aging heat-stressed paste and the dubious quality of my initial application of thermal paste to the CPU - I shouldn't have bothered, as there was no difference in temps afterwards. Overall, probably the best bargain CPU cooler out there for your money.

Storage

This isn't a very good hard drive. It clicks alarmingly during operation, it's rather slow, and after four years of relatively light use, it's exhibiting early warning signs of potential drive failure.

Storage

This is a pretty good hard drive. It's reasonably fast, has survived my Hackintosh's attempt to murder it with load/unload cycles (almost 379,000 cycles to date, almost all of which had rapidly accumulated during the initial period of ownership during which I was stupid enough to keep "Put hard disks to sleep when possible" enabled - the SMART value is at 1 with a threshold of 0!), and so far it seems to still be performing reasonably well after four years of abuse. Seagate has a bit of a reputation for crappy drives, but this seems to have been one of their decent models.

Storage

This is essentially the Cadillac of hard drives, a super high end datacenter-grade drive with a five year warranty at a bargain price (relative to what it is). It's not helium filled despite what the marketing materials may lead you to believe (you'd need to step up to the 8 TB model or higher for that), but it has excellent performance characteristics nonetheless. There are some minor intermittent bouts of clicking from time to time - this is normal according to WD's site, and it's not the alarming kind of clicking associated with a failing drive as it's more of a deeper and far less frequent noise. Read/write performance is very good for a HDD, but a SSD will always beat it. This isn't the drive to get if you just need dirt-cheap storage (there are cheaper consumer-grade 6 TB drives out there), but it's definitely the drive to get if you need something that's very high quality. While this is technically optimized for use in RAID arrays, it works perfectly well as a standalone drive.

Video Card

The G1 Gaming series of Gigabyte cards continues to deliver stunning results when overclocked. I had a G1 970 before this card, and it was great. This card is even better. Two full 8-pin power connectors give plenty of power for BIOS mod overclocks, and the upgraded Windforce cooler on this beast easily handles the heat produced at 1506.5 MHz / 7700 MHz / 1.275 V with a super-high custom TDP & power target. Very satisfied as always with Gigabyte's products. This is my third Gigabyte video card, and I don't see any reason to ever change manufacturers in the future - Gigabyte seems to always surpass the others.

Case

This is a superb case that can handle a wide variety of different use cases. It is a little tight if you have a lot of hard drives and a very long video card - my G1 Gaming GTX 980 just barely fits when the upper hard drive cage is in - but I still got it in there. The vent on the bottom of the case is unfortunately partially covered by my PSU, so I can't fit a fan onto it, but I think that's my PSU's fault. The front panel IO is excellent, although the headphone jack eventually became unreliable after several years of abuse. The front panel fan controller is very useful. The soundproofing on this case is excellent, and the included fans are well above average, although unfortunately you only get two of them with the case. The case is well built and sturdy. There are removable dust filters on the PSU intake and the front panel hard drive intake - these have kept quite a lot of dust out of my case! Overall, I am extremely happy with this case.

Optical Drive

For when you absolutely cannot avoid using an optical drive. Build quality is okay (could be better), functionality and compatibility has been fine, haven't had any major problems. For the price, it's not a bad deal.

Wireless Network Adapter

This is an excellent 802.11ac wireless card. It works with OSX out of the box. On Windows, the driver situation isn't totally ideal (TP-Link isn't great about releasing drivers and their utility sucks), but there are many good third-party drivers out there for this card. The hardware appears to be high quality and it functions well.

Case Fan

I bought this to replace the failing stock fan on my Hyper 212 EVO. Is this complete overkill for that purpose? Yes. But it's a really good fan that moves a lot of air with very high static pressure (perfect for a heat sink), Noctua is an excellent company, and their products are second to none in quality. It gets a bit noisy when it ramps up to the full 3000 rpm, but my motherboard's default "silent" fan curve keeps it low enough that I don't notice much noise unless my CPU is under very heavy load. Compared to the stock Hyper 212 EVO fan, I achieved approximately a 5°C reduction in CPU temperatures with this fan, which I am perfectly satisfied with.

Case Fan

This is a very quiet high-quality fan from Fractal that moves a surprising amount of air relative to the noise level. I use this as a rear exhaust on my case, and it works well.

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Comments

  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build, definitely need more pics. I have a question. How did you find the hackintosh install process? I want to do a build for my dad but don't want to get into something that's gonna be massively time consuming.

  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

I've uploaded five new high quality pictures taken with a nice camera in good lighting, deleted the old/outdated high quality picture, and bumped the original low quality picture to the end of the images. Enjoy!

Also, if you have specific questions about building a hackintosh, feel free to ask directly - I'll do my best to answer them. I noticed that I forgot to answer your question about how much time it takes to build/maintain a Hackintosh - the answer is basically that it varies depending on how compatible the hardware is that you selected and how many OS features you want to have working. Getting stuff like iMessage/Facetime to work takes extra effort for example. Overall, getting the basic build to work is very easy and doesn't take much time at all assuming you used highly compatible parts, which is quite easy to do if you go with a tried and tested combination of parts, like those in the tonymacx86 build guides. It'll always take more time and effort than buying a real mac or setting up a Windows PC, but not too much more, and clearly not an unreasonable amount judging by the sheer number of people who are involved in the community these days.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

I need to go grab the nice camera I used for the older picture to take some decent pictures, I didn't want to deal with that when I was typing this entry up so I just added some of the few existing pictures I already had. I'll definitely try to go take some more with the good camera after I finish replying to everyone.

For the install process, I initially used UniBeast/MultiBeast (from tonymacx86), but tonymacx86's tools are kinda frowned upon for rebundling other people's work, especially now that Clover has taken over from Chameleon and since setup is so much easier to do with Clover + Clover Configurator. If you want to build a hackintosh, there are some important considerations to keep in mind with regards to hardware compatibility, and tonymacx86 is still an excellent resource for generic build guides: https://www.tonymacx86.com/buyersguide/september/2017/

The best resources for anyone interested in building a hackintosh are https://www.tonymacx86.com, http://www.insanelymac.com/, and https://www.reddit.com/r/hackintosh/.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Ik this was a long time ago but why when I searched for this was it $80K?

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

I have no idea why it would show up as $80k, that must have been a bug in the website.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

with taxes what is the actual price?

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

Not quite sure, for taxed purchases I only pulled the individual part prices paid from the invoices, so in theory $2635.15 is what was paid pre-tax (also excludes S&H when applicable although as most of the components were purchased through Amazon with Prime shipping there's very little of that). I don't think anywhere close to everything was taxed either. I checked a couple of the original order invoices and almost all of the ones I checked had no sales tax...

  • 32 months ago
  • 0 points

If you could get a M.2 instead of a SATA SSD as it is faster and better

  • 32 months ago
  • 4 points

But, any SSD is going to be light speed compared to a mechanical drive.

  • 32 months ago
  • 4 points

I don't think that board has M.2 slots, so you would need an expansion card to be able to even connect the drives, and by the time you bought that card, you would be paying a lot more than you would for a sata ssd, and not getting earth shattering results for the money.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Exactly. I wouldn't mind adding a PCIe adapter for a M.2 SSD, but I don't really have enough free PCIe slots for that, the price of a M.2 SSD plus expansion card isn't that affordable, and I am already satisfied enough with the performance of my SATA 3 SSDs that upgrading isn't really a priority.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't have any M.2 slots on my mobo (it has mSATA, but IIRC even that can't be used as a drive, only as a cache), and I'm a little low on free PCIe slots so an expansion card would be difficult to fit in.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 32 months ago
  • 2 points

If you're not a content creator, I doubt you'd understand why some users resort to the Mac ecosystem.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Sony Vegas is unoptimized as heck; Adobe is still not adopting CUDA or OpenCL as they should've for at least five years.

iMovie is for home users and is out of the question; I'm talking about FinalCutPro, which has no equal in Windows and is by far the single best video editing software.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

You don't necessarily have to make A-Grade content, but more refined content. While I use Adobe as well, I do recognise what FinalCutPro is like, in fact, I remember using it back when I have a PowerMac G5. To each their own, they say.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

The computer runs OSX and Windows in that order, not the other way around. It's made to run OSX first and foremost because that is the OS that I prefer to use for virtually everything except for certain games and programs that only run properly on native Windows. Apple hardware is indisputably a gigantic ripoff, and that is why I built a Hackintosh out of off-the-shelf parts instead of purchasing another massively-overpriced Apple-branded computer.

OSX doesn't play well with AMD CPUs, and they were utter crap compared to Intel's back when I chose the CPU, so that's why it's using an Intel CPU. For compatibility reasons any future CPU upgrade will likely have to be Intel. As for the graphics, Nvidia has generally had much better compatibility with OSX and better bang for the buck than AMD at the points where I first bought or upgraded my graphics card (670/970/980), although between the 970 and the 980 I think there was a period of time where AMD came up ahead temporarily, and who knows what the future will bring - there is a good chance that my next graphics card will be AMD, given Apple's trend back towards AMD graphics hardware.