|Budget Hackintosh PC Build Project|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 10 April 2013|
Page 10 of 10
Performance, Power, and Final Thoughts
Since I no longer have any "real" desktop Macintoshes, I can't compare the performance of this Hackintosh to an Apple product. Despite the relatively low-end CPU, the OS X interface is buttery-smooth and quick, and applications launch and run with dispatch. The computer doesn't feel slow or overworked until you're running CPU-intensive tasks in the background: for example, things get noticeably slower if you're trying to do something with an instance of Heaven running, which simply shows the limitations of the dual-core i3-3220 CPU. You'd run into the same problem with some models of the Mac Mini, which also ship with dual-core CPUs. Of course the big advantage of the Hackintosh is that you can use any Intel CPU you wish, depending on your needs and budget.
Unsurprisingly, Blu Ray DVDs played back smoothly at full resolution. Note that OS X doesn't include the ability to pay Blu Ray DVDs; you'll need a third party DVD player (of which there are many, most of which seem to be the same code base with a slightly different front end).
As I mentioned above, the Hackintosh can't sleep, so you might wonder what the power usage is. With the machine sitting idle at the desktop, my Kill A Watt P4400 power meter shows a power draw of 50 watts. Running Unigine Heaven at 1080P with all settings maxed out, along with Geekbench, raises the power draw to 143 watts, so while the 450 watt SFX power supply may seem middling by modern standards, it's obviously got plenty of spare capacity in this use case.
I've previously built three other Hackintoshes, starting with an X58-based system. This Ivy Bridge based machine is the easiest build I've had so far, in large part due to the increasing features and maturity of the UniBeast and MultiBeast applications from tonymacx86.com. Since CrossFireX and SLI aren't supported on OS X, I think the mini-ITX form factor makes an excellent Hackintosh platform, since a single video card is all most Macintosh users will ever need.
About the only thing you can't do with this particular system is overclock it. Like most mITX systems, internal space constraints preclude the use of the larger coolers required to support overclocking...and of course both this motherboard and CPU lock out overclocking anyway. Still, it would be easy to build a very overclockable system on an mITX platform using an ASUS P8Z77-i motherboard and a different case, perhaps the BitFenix Prodigy. For that matter you could go with a micro-ATX or ATX motherboard in a standard chassis as I did with my original Hackintosh systems. If your Microsoft Windows box is already based on an Intel Ivy Bridge chip set and running a recent NVIDIA video card, all you really need is a spare hard disk and some time.
Hackintoshes are moving from twitchy geek toys to actual usable machines. I'm confident enough now that I even built one for my father, who lives 1,500 miles away from me. If you've been thinking about building one yourself, now's the time.
COMMENT QUESTION: Have you or will you build a Hackintosh computer system?