Anyone who knows me can say I’m a fan of Apple and their product line. I have found it hard to pursue these products due to a lack of innovation and price spikes. With no future progress in sight, I turned to the Hackintosh community. Finding this field of likeminded people stirring the pot and pushing the commercial hardware as far as it can felt like the right path for me to follow.
I have built two perfect Hackintosh computers so far. One as my dedicated media server and an additional workhorse machine to accomplish my 3D CAD, video editing, graphics, and anything I felt like throwing at it. Taking my programming and hardware skillset, I went on a mission to produce the best performing computers I can get for the money. I plan on doing a review of both my Hackintosh computers separately so… I won’t get into too much detail here; however, I do want to talk about the benefits I have found through this experience and some of the lessons I have learned from my adventures in the Hackintosh world.
From a young age I was always wanting to tinker with anything I could get my hands on, this lead to a love of electronics and finding how they work and why. I was lucking to receive an old E-Machine desktop computer when I was eight and quickly discovered what the word hand-me-down meant. This computer was slow, inconsistent, and on its way to the technology graveyard. Having an incredible resource (Thanks, Dad!) available to me, he challenged me to push the computer to its absolute limits. Looking back on it, I see the reality of this challenge, but I found a great lesson through it that I have brought with me throughout the years. Maximize everything you get! Learning this lesson early in life provided me with a great insight to building these computers. I focused on the hardware components and the benefits contained rather than the style, price, or aesthetic appeal.
My HTPC was an old Windows 7 computer built poorly, but I only paid $40 off craigslist for a beautiful case, power supply, and 3TB hard drive. Using what I had, I found the inadequacies in the system. Looking for a bulletproof solution, I research this Hackintosh environment. Initially running an AMD type motherboard, I switched it out for a new Skylake series Intel motherboard and 8GB RAM. This was the start of a new era in my Hackintosh path. I began to learn the challenges facing installing a proprietary OS onto hardware that was specifically designed for it. From graphics cards not working to audio not outputting, I worked through multiple issues to ultimately resolve, bringing to life my very first Hackintosh. After a modest upgrade of a 12TB storage capacity and streamlining my media platform, I created a computer that has run continuously for six months without the faintest drip of sweat.
With the knowledge and “experience” gained from my first build I ventured to build a powerhouse of a machine, more powerful then Apples top-tier Mac Pro. After spending a few dollars ($2,798 to be exact), I procured all the new tech I could think of that exceeds Apple’s new computers. While the comparable model from Apple would run over $10k, I felt accomplished in finding similar hardware to build this machine. With a pile of parts and hopes in my heart, I began to create this new workhorse. After routing the wires, and installing everything it was time to install the operating system….
While I wish this story were straightforward as it could be this was no small feel to meet. I ran into more problems then I wanted, graphics cards weren’t recognized, audio failed to output, USB ports were not working. My motherboard didn’t understand specific SATA ports due to my M.2 drive being installed. While troubleshooting and fixing this OS, I struggled through every challenge possible. I was lucking to have a supportive community that has provided so much help in accomplishing these builds. I leaned on the expertise of all these hackers to achieve and code my machine to life.
… and it’s installed! While my HTPC had its challenges, I never expected the challenges facing this new one. After all the problems and solutions attempted, I finally made a working machine that has more power, better benchmarks, and amazing future growth potential. I had accomplished what Apple charges more than some used cars for nearly five times cheaper.
This experiance taught me such a valuble lesson. It is one every man finds himself learning weekly. I’m only gonn say this once… (this week) “I didn’t know everything!” While this may seem crazy to some, I faced my challenges due to my lack of knowledge. I was reminded to seek out help from the community to help achieve my goal. Through my advancment in my carraer and education I am finding this lesson more and more pertant. Find the people who know what they are doing is the best resource to help grow your own knowledge.
I plan on doing full reviews of my Hackintosh set-ups with all the technical specs and pricing. I found myself seeking a new computer and ended up finding a community that I am actively pursuing to increase and spread.