|Budget Hackintosh PC Build Project|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 10 April 2013|
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Using Your Hackintosh
Now that your Hackintosh is running, there are a few limitations to keep in mind:
• Sleep doesn't work. Attempting to sleep this computer will result in a blank screen and system lockup. There are some purported fixes to this problem for ASUS motherboards, which require flashing your board with a modified BIOS. I've tried this patched BIOS without success, and adopted the standard solution: disabling computer Sleep in the Energy Saver panel of System Preferences as shown below. You can use the Schedule button to program your Hackintosh to automatically shut down at the same time every night if you wish.
• System software updates should be approached with caution. I've been using Hackintoshes for several years now. I have yet to run into compatibility problems with applications or drivers: all my programs work, and all the printers, scanners, mice, etc. I've used work as well. You can update applications like iTunes and Microsoft Office and install drivers with no problem, but updating the operating system will almost certainly replace some of the patched components with standard code that won't work, and the consequences range from loosing audio or network connectivity to an unbootable system. It is possible to install system software updates (although it generally requires some post-installation work with MultiBeast), but you should disable automatic updating as shown below and check on Hackintosh boards like tonymacx86.com or insanelymac.com to see what the real experts have to say about each one. By leaving Automatically Check for Updates enabled, you'll be notified when updates are available, and can decide whether or not to install them on an individual basis.
• USB 2.0 mass storage devices will not work in USB 3.0 ports. For day-to-day use, this means "plug your USB 2.0 key into a USB 2.0 port." Some USB 2.0 devices like printers may not work in USB 3.0 ports. In general try to keep USB 2.0 devices plugged into USB 2.0 ports and USB 3.0 devices plugged into USB 3.0 ports. Since the computer I built in this article has 3 USB 3.0 ports and 8 USB 2.0 ports, you should be able to find the right connection for everything.
Of course, since you're building your own machine, you get to choose the components (although remember that the instructions provided in this article are for these specific components). Here are some options to consider:
CPU: Go with an Ivy Bridge CPU to get the best performance along with integrated USB 3.0 support that OS X can use with no configuration or patching. The CPU Intel sent was a much lower "spec" than the Core i5 I requested, but this turned out to be a win, since it showed me that for most work the much less expensive Core i3 CPU provides a good level of performance. Of course if you plan to overclock, you'll want a "K" series unlocked CPU and a Z77-based motherboard.
Motherboards: I really like the mini-ITX motherboards for Hackintoshes since you can build a nice, small system, and one PCI-E slot is all most Hackintosh users will ever need. Still, almost any Ivy Bridge motherboard will work. Do check on the audio chipset and Ethernet chipset used, though: MultiBeast provides support for Realtek and Intel Ethernet, and Realtek and Via audio chips. Unless you like blazing your own trails, it's a good idea to check with the Hackintosh community to see which motherboards they like.
Video card: If you choose a CPU with the Intel HD4000 integrated graphics, you don't need a separate video card at all unless you want the enhanced performance for gaming or other uses. Sadly the Core i3-3220 Intel sent us uses the HD2500 iGPU, which is not supported under OS X. Still, for a mere $15 more, you can get the Core i3-3225, an otherwise identical CPU with HD4000 graphics. If you do decide on a discrete video card, NVIDIA Fermi and Kepler cards will generally work "out of the box" with minor if any configuration. AMD cards can be made to work although the support is less; AMD drivers are in OS X Mountain Lion but reports from the field have been mixed on their effectiveness.
Hard disk/SSD, optical drive, and power supply: The ST500LM000 500GB SSHD Seagate provided for this build returned snappy performance, and subsequent boots after the initial one were noticeably faster. It also has the advantage of being small, quiet, and low power, all considerations which would make it a good fit for an mITX case that only had mounting points for 2.5" drives. Look for a more complete review of this disk from Benchmark Reviews in the near future. Of course any SATA hard disk or SSD will work; the device you pick depends on you wants and your budget. As with Windows PCs, SATA 6G SSDs provide the best performance. ASUS' Blu Ray DVD worked perfectly (OS X does not provide a standard way to play Blu Ray content; you'll have to spring for a third party program to play Blu Ray DVDs).