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Hackintosh Performance Hardware Options E-mail
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Written by David Ramsey   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
Hackintosh Performance Hardware Options
Hackintosh Components
Hackintosh CPU Performance
Hackintosh Video Performance
Final Thoughts

Hackintosh Video Performance

Configuring your Hackintosh to use the Intel HD4000 integrated CPU is pretty simple: you need to set the video memory used by the iGPU in the ASUS BIOS, and make one tweak to the org.chameleon.Boot.plist file.

First, specify your monitor's resolution by adding the following key/string pair to org.chameleon.Boot.plist (located in the Extra folder at the root level of your Hackintosh hard disk):

<key>Graphics Mode</key>

I'm using a 1080P monitor, so I set 1920x1080x32; substitute the horizontal and vertical resolution of your monitor for the first two numbers and use the "x32" on the end. If you don't set this, your desktop will appear interleaved and scrambled, so get it right! You can leave this setting even if you later switch to a discrete video card.

Next, reboot, go into the BIOS of the ASUS P8H77-I, and set the iGPU Memory to 96M as shown below. And although this screen shots shows the Primary Display set to iGPU, you can leave it at Auto if you wish. Note that you'll have to use either the DVI or HDMI ports for integrated video; the VGA port of the ASUS P8H77-i motherboard isn't supported.


For whatever reason, the Chameleon boot loader requires the iGPU memory to be set at 96M as shown above. However, once OS X boots, the iGPU memory is automatically set to 512M, as a quick dive into the system report shows:


So how does the iGPU perform? Well, just doing "stuff"-- web surfing, playing back DVDs, and such-- there's no visible difference at all in the performance of the iGPU and the two video cards. However, differences do appear one we start testing. CINEBENCH's OpenGL test shows, oddly, virtually no difference between the GTX650 and the much more powerful GTX660, although either card (when paired with the 3770K) is over 50% faster than the iGPU.


The Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark, though, shows huge differences. The GTX660 spits out more than 70% more frames than the GTX650, and the Intel HD4000...well, that's really just a slide show. It is interesting to note here that the performance of the GTX650 is identical with both processors, while even the 660GTX is only 1.53% faster with the 3770K.


Actual gaming performance is more difficult to assess. There's nothing like FRAPS available for OS X, and none of the games I have access to have in-game benchmarks. So as a meager substitute, I turned on the on-screen FPS counter in Serious Sam BFE and played the same section of the game with the same settings (1080P, CPU Ultra, GPU High, GPU Memory High) while making notes of the displayed frame rates.

Setup Observed FPS
3220/GTX650 low to mid 40s
3220/GTX660 high 60s to low 70s
3770/HD4000 7 to 9
3770/GTX650 high 40s to low 50s
3770/GTX660 mid to high 70s

The GPU makes a huge difference here, as you'd expect. The HD4000 is unplayable at 1080P with the above settings, although you can get frame rates into the mid-20s if you let the game automatically choose "optimum" settings...but the visuals are pretty horrible. Dropping from the quad-core 3770 to the dual-core 3220 takes brings about a 15% frame rate hit in this game with either NVIDIA card, and the GTX660 is roughly 50% faster than the GTX650 on either CPU.

So what does all this mean for your Hackintosh? Join me in the Final Thoughts section.



# Nice updateMugsy 2013-06-07 05:04
Glad to see this update. As most readers seemed to note, last weeks report seemed strapped by relying only on the hardware provided for testing rather than look at more capable and/or compatible components.

I think the greatest draw of a "Hackintosh" is the ability to create a Top End machine without paying Apple's Top End wildly over-marked-up price.
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# You can build this machine for a little less.LWATCDR 2013-06-08 07:06
PCPartPicker part list:
Price breakdown by merchant:
Using PC parts picker to find the parts I did increase the drive to a 1 TB drive and switched to a bigger power supply from Corsair and memory from A-Data. You save enough that you could throw in an SSD for a fusion drive with almost no effort.
CPU: Intel Core i3-3225 3.3GHz Dual-Core Processor ($132.66 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-I Mini ITX LGA1155 Motherboard ($96.99 @ NCIX US)
Memory: A-Data 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($62.99 @ Amazon)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($65.58 @ Outlet PC)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Black) Mini ITX Tower Case ($39.99 @ Microcenter)
Power Supply: Corsair Builder 600W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V Power Supply ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Asus BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($58.98 @ Outlet PC)
Total: $495.18
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-06-08 09:50 EDT-0400)
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# RE: You can build this machine for a little less.David Ramsey 2013-06-08 13:02
Excellent component suggestions!
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