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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

Final Thoughts

As with any computer, the components you choose will depends on your needs and budget, and the results will reflect those components. The most interesting part of these experiments for me was how good the performance of the Core i3-3220 was. I had originally asked Intel for a quad-core Core i5 CPU for this latest Hackintosh project, and was initially disappointed when all they had available was the Core i3. Its excellent single-core performance was a real surprise!

Unless you're running programs that leverage more than two cores, or like to do a lot of video transcoding, there's little reason to spend more money on a CPU...although you might want to pony up the extra $15 for a Core i3-3225 to get the Intel HD4000 graphics if you're not a gamer.

Apple's support for the Quick Sync video transcoding feature built into Intel's HD4000 iGPU is spotty. FaceTime and Airplay reportedly use it, but none of the various video programs (Handbrake, Final Cut Pro X, etc.) seem to use it. In contrast, many programs (including Adobe Creative Suite) can leverage NVIDIA's CUDA API to improve performance.

Unsurprisingly, the video card you use will dramatically affect gaming performance. Although it still lags far behind Windows, OS X is slowly gaining some decent games, mainly via Valve's Steam platform. And of course if you build a dual-boot system that sees some Windows use, a more powerful video card might make sense even if it can't be fully leveraged under OS X.

As for cost...well, look at the components cost if we're building a system with no video card and the Core i3-3225 CPU:

Component Link Price
Cooler Master Elite 120 Newegg $49.99
Silverstone ST45SF-G Newegg $99.99
Intel Core i3-3225 Newegg $144.99
Seagate ST500LM000 Newegg $99.99
ASUS Blu Ray BC-12B1ST Newegg $59.99
ASUS P8H77-i motherboard Newegg $99.99
8GB Crucial BLS2K4G3D1609ES2LX0 Newegg $63.99
Total $618.93

This compares well with the $599 base configuration of the Mac Mini, which has less memory (4G), and a 2.5GHz Core i5 dual-core CPU (the exact model of CPU isn't specified, and Apple has been known to change CPUs during a model run). For about $20 more we get twice the memory, a Blu-ray drive (the Mini has no optical drive at all!) a (probably) faster CPU, a faster hybrid hard drive, and much more expandability. Sounds like a good deal to me.

COMMENT QUESTION: What would your Hackintosh performance goals be?

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# 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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