The apple of my eye: building my core i7 hackintosh pro rig

A Snow Leopard follow up to this post is here.

A couple of months ago I built a quad-core Mac Pro equivalent “Hackintosh” based on Intel’s X58 and Core i7. All components were selected for their compatibility with Mac OS X Leopard. My goal was to build as close a Mac Pro clone as possible using off the shelf parts, with the ability to do Apple Software Updates on a retail, unmodified OS X installation as you would with a real Mac. First though, a little background…

BIRTH OF A DELLINTOSH

For five years I’ve used a trusty Dell Optiplex GX280. It’s a 3Ghz Pentium 4, Hyper-Threading system. I’ve never had any issues with it which probably had something to do with the fact that I’d stuck with Windows XP Pro throughout and didn’t bother “downgrading” to Windows Vista. From video editing using Sony Vegas to Photoshop usage, the system was rock solid and stable.

Back in August of 2008 I jumped on the Hackintosh bandwagon by installing OS X on it.

To test out whether my Dell works with OS X, I got hold of a bootable, modified installation disc that allowed me to do just that. These Hackintosh distros are dubbed “OSx86″ as they’re patched to work with non-Apple x86-based systems. For instance, Apple uses EFI to boot while non-Apple machines use BIOS, so the distro has to emulate EFI in some way. Additionally, as the kernel provided in OS X only works with a Core/Core 2 CPU, the distro includes a modified kernel that works with a Pentium 4. The distro also includes additional/replacement kernel extensions (kexts) to drive hardware not usually found on Apple systems.

To my surprise, OS X booted up just fine; it even recognized my dual monitor setup. It didn’t identify the on-board Broadcom chipset ethernet, which was easily rectified by using a Realtek chipset ethernet card that I got for around three dinars (eight dollars).

I was even able to edit and render 1080p video using Final Cut Pro without a hitch. It soon became my system of choice and I hardly ever booted XP.

Following that little experiment, I went ahead and installed OS X permanently on my Dell, dual-booting with XP using the Darwin bootloader. Granted, the Dell was only a P 4 system, yet OS X worked smoothly and flawlessly, recognizing the two virtual cores provided by Hyper-Threading. I was even able to edit and render 1080p video using Final Cut Pro without a hitch. It soon became my system of choice and I hardly ever booted XP.

With its Unix base, OS X took me back to the days when computing was fun, when one could dig under the hood and run shell scripts and do all that good geekery. It’s like FreeBSD or GNU/Linux but with popular application support and a great user interface. I was hooked.

OS X has the best of both worlds: like a *nix system, it is rock solid and allows one to easily get under the hood and elegantly script and code for it, all the while having a mature desktop as Windows does.

Prior to the introduction of OS X, I never had the inclination to get a Mac, since the Classic Mac OS (Systems 7-9 having been used by me) seemed rather pedestrian. OS X has the best of both worlds: like a *nix system, it is rock solid and allows one to easily get under the hood and elegantly script and code for it, all the while having a mature desktop as Windows does.

The only snag with my Dell Hackintosh was that I wasn’t able to update easily or without the risk of breaking the system installation. Part of that is due to the fact that I was using a non-vanilla kernel as well as various other kexts in a way that if they were overwritten by the Apple Software Update, it would render my system non-working.

The Hackintosh community did come up with various ways to install system software updates without the risk of breaking an OS X installation, yet by that time I had been using OS X on my Dell for a little over a year and decided its time to finally upgrade my rig.

CLOUDNUMBERNINETOSH: A CORE i7 HACKINTOSH PRO

I thought of buying a Mac Pro. Whether I purchased it locally or had one shipped from the States, the cost would be significantly higher than if I built my own customized Hackintosh Pro system. True, a Mac Pro uses

Instead of a true Mac Pro clone, I’d be creating a sort of “Mac Pro jr.”, a mythical machine that costs a bit more than an iMac but is as fast as a W3520 Xeon-based 2009 Mac Pro, and has expansion potential similar to the Mac Pro.

way more expensive server-class Xeon CPUs instead of the Core i7, comes in a great case and has an unmistakable quality feel to it. Then again, with the right motherboard, the Core i7 has great bang-for-the-buck when overclocked compared to a Xeon. Instead of a true Mac Pro clone, I’d be creating a sort of “Mac Pro jr.”, a mythical machine that costs a bit more than an iMac but is as fast as a W3520 Xeon-based 2009 Mac Pro, and has expansion potential similar to the Mac Pro.

Besides, what’s the fun in buying something pre-built? I’ve built a PC nine years ago and it was great fun, and the thought of doing it again was more tempting than simply walking into the local Apple dealer and handing him a wad of cash for one box. I wanted crates of components and I wanted to build it myself.

THE BUILD

I’ve ordered most components from Amazon.com. I would’ve loved to order from newegg.com, but they were being jacks about accepting my non-US CC and shipping to my Aramex mail-forwarding box.

The table below compares the Mac Pro vis-a-vis my Hackintosh configuration’s components and shipping price. The motherboard of choice is the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5, which has been shown to work quite well with OS X.

Item 2009 W3520 Mac Pro Quad 2.66GHz Hackintosh Pro 2.66GHz Hackintosh Pro Item Price (USD)
Processor 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3520 2.66GHz Intel Quad-Core i7 920 289
Memory 3GB 1066MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM 6GB 1600MHz DDR3 (Corsair Dominator) 312
Hard Drive 640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s 640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s 66
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB (GT 120 is a rebranded GT 9500) NVIDIA GeForce GT 9500 1GB +NVIDIA GeForce GT 7600 256Mb

Providing a total of 4 DVI outputs.

140
Optical Drive 18x SATA SuperDrive Samsung 22x SATA SuperDrive 40
Mouse Apple Mighty Mouse Logitech Wireless 40
Keyboard Apple Keyboard Logitech Wireless 40
Motherboard Apple Proprietary Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 289
PSU Apple Proprietary Cooler Master Silent Pro M700 Series Modular 700W 131
Case Apple Proprietary Gigabyte Aurora 3D 172
Card Reader None 5.25″ Multi-Card Reader/Writer 37
5.25″ SATA Dock None 5.25″ IcyBox SATA slot 36
CPU Cooler Apple Proprietary Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 Silent CPU Cooler 80
OS X Leopard Included with Mac Pro Single-User Retail – Required to be legal! 99
Shipping and Taxes – New York USD 41 - 106
Aramex Shop & Ship forwarding to Bahrain USD 401 210
Mac Pro from US (USD) USD 2,942 Hackintosh Pro Total (USD) USD 2,080
Mac Pro from US (BHD) BHD 1,109 Hackintosh Pro Total (BHD) BHD 784
Mac Pro from Apple Center Bahrain (BHD) BHD 1,220
Mac Pro from Apple Center Bahrain (USD) USD 3,236

The table below provides the savings potential from going the Hackintosh route instead of buying a Mac Pro locally in Bahrain or from the US.

Price Difference
Mac Pro Purchased from US vs Hackintosh Pro
Savings (USD) USD 862
Savings (BHD) BHD 325
Savings (%) 29%
Mac Pro Purchased from Bahrain (Apple Center) vs Hackintosh Pro
Savings (USD) USD 1,156
Savings (BHD) BHD 436
Savings (%) 36%

Note that I could have saved over 44% by settling for less, and slower memory instead of the 6GB 1600MHz Corsair Dominator, and settling for one graphics card instead of two.

INSTALLING OS X LEOPARD

The process of installing a retail copy of OS X is simplified by the wonderful “Standard Retail DVD Install” script and instructions provided by digital_dreamer at InsanelyMac.

Apple Software Updates can be performed safely without the risk of breaking the installation.

This method of installation provides for a completely retail, vanilla install and uses the Chameleon bootloader to load any necessary modifications at boot time, without affecting the original system files and/or structure. This ensures that Apple Software Updates can be performed safely without the risk of breaking the installation. This makes the Hackintosh as good as a real Mac with hassle-free updates.

I also installed Windows 7. I don’t usually boot directly into it (though I can), since I use VMWare Fusion to run it in a virtual machine under OS X. Works like a charm. The same goes for other OSs, including Ubuntu and AROS.

I’m currently using three Dell 20.1″ monitors and running four virtual desktops, each one spanning all three monitors. The following is a screenshot of the setup using Exposé:

Windows 7 is running in a virtual machine on the left screen of the first desktop, while AROS is running in another VM on the middle screen of the lower left desktop. Photoshop, Google Earth, VLC and a host of other programs are running as well. Yes, even when zoomed out in Exposé, the videos, Google Earth’s animation, etc. are playing without a hiccup. Mac OS X is THAT good.

BENCHMARKS: HACKINTOSH PRO FASTER THAN A W3520 XEON-BASED 2009 MAC PRO

Without overclocking the i7 920, I’m pleased to say that the Cloudnumberninetosh is faster than a W3520-based 2009 Mac Pro. It has a Geekbench score of 8667, while average W3520-based 2009 Mac Pro scores are at 8144.

Compare this to my old Dell’s score of 1805!

Having at your disposal four real cores and a total of eight virtual cores (each core is virtualized into two) means that whatever you throw at this rig, it won’t break a sweat.

Once I get around to overclocking this beast, I’ll update this section. Based on the experience of others with a similar setup, I can easily get a score of 12,000+ with a 3.6-3.8GHz overclock.

Having at your disposal four real cores and a total of eight virtual cores (each core is virtualized into two) means that whatever you throw at this rig, it won’t break a sweat.

CONCLUSION

Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you’re willing to spare the time and don’t have the need for all the other additions/advantages that a Mac Pro provides, then this is a great way to get a machine which is super-fast and expandable while remaining only slightly more expensive than a high end dual-core iMac (even if you add 100 dinars or so for a decent monitor) and cheaper than a Mac Pro.

Besides, if you’re a Windows gamer, the motherboard comes with three NVidia SLI and ATI CrossFireX PCI Express slots which you can take advantage of for connecting up to three same-model graphics cards to get higher frame rates. SLI and CrossFire is not available on the Mac Pros and is not supported by Leopard, though on a Hackintosh such as the Cloudnumberninetosh you may keep the cards bridged as it won’t affect the operation of OS X. When using Windows, you can turn on SLI/CrossFire for certain games to get higher frame rates.

Note: In no way do I condone software piracy. Having installed OS X on three machines to date, I did buy a brand new, shrink-wrapped OS X Retail Family Pack from eBay for US$149 (a bargain multi-license if you compare it to other software), which gives me a license for up to five installations. I know Apple’s end-user license agreement (EULA) states that OS X should not be installed on ” non Apple-labeled” machines. That is subject to interpretation. Apple-labeled could well mean slapping an Apple sticker on the machine (which is what I did). Besides, in some jurisdictions post-purchase agreements such as EULAs are not valid. I’m not sure what Bahraini law’s take on that, though I doubt it’s advanced enough to deal with such issues.

Don’t ask me for copies of OS X! You can get your own single-license copy from amazon.com for around USD 99.

134 Responses to The apple of my eye: building my core i7 hackintosh pro rig

  1. digital_dreamer says:

    Great write-up on a X58-based hackintosh! Very detailed with great information for others wanting to jump on the bandwagon.

    Your comments regarding benchmarking against the W3520 Xeon-based Mac Pro are spot on. With these boards, one can easily outpace even a 8-core Mac Pro by including faster RAM and overclocking. For most tasks and applications, this will create a noticeable difference.

    best regards,
    MAJ

  2. Fire says:

    Hi Hisham Khalifa,
    Just a little post to thank you for this great article.
    Specials thanks to digital_dreamer to make this happen ! and for sharing with us your work and knowledge :-)

    Have a good evening form France both of you !

  3. whow Hisham….. we have to seriously talk about this. Been thinking about doing it, but don’t know how things will be when using audio apps. Need to do some more research about it…. congrats, and excellent write up.

  4. feras says:

    السلام عليكم ما شاء عليك يا اخي الله يزيدك اكثر واكثر يا اخ هشام بس ممكن استفسار؟؟؟عندي جهاز معالج اي سيفن كور 920 مع ماذر بورد اسوس رامبيج2 جيني وعندي نسخ ماك كثيرة واخر نسختين كانو الايتكوس والدينيب طبعا 10.5.7 للنسختين اول ما احط السديدي بالدرايف واعمل بووت بيدور السيدي ويعمل الداروين بووت ويوصل لمرحلة اقلاع السيدي بيفصل الجهاز ويعمل اعادة تشغيل للجهاز من تلقاء نفسه وانا جربت انسخ الاقدم منهم كانت تعمل بووت سيدي طبيعي بس اخر نسختين ما بيعملو بووت سيدي يعني ما اقر انزل الماك النسخ القديمة على جهازي لانه ما يدعمهم المعالج والنسخ الجديدة مثلما قلتلك ما يعملو بوت سيدي وانا بجد تعبان كتير من هالموضوع وانا بطريق الصدفة رايت موقعك واتمنى من الله انو يوفقك وتقولي السبب او الحل لهذه المشكلة لانو بجد شغلي كله واقف تماما على الماك من 3 اشهر وانا ابحث وما حد يقدم ليا الحل واكون لك من الشاكرين لو تشرحلي لعله يدخل في ميزان حسناتك ويبعد عنك الشر والبلا يا اخي الكريم ؟

  5. hisham says:

    أخي الكريم فراس, شكراً على زيارتك الموقع و طيب كلامك

    بالنسبة للأسوس رامبيج 2 جين ليس لدي خبرة فيه و لكن وجدت ما يمكن أن يساعدك في صفحات إنسينلي ماك:
    هنا و هنا.

    يبدو بأن أفضل طريقة هي تثبيت 10.5.5 أو 10.5.6 و من ثما تحديث التثبيت عبر الكومبو أبديت إلى 10.5.7

    و أنصح بضرب مفتاح إف ثمانية عند ظهور الدارون بووت و إدخال
    -v
    ثم بدأ البووت للتعرف على سبب عدم التشغيل

    و يمكنك أيضاً إستخدام
    -v -s

    للأسف لا يبدو الأسوس رامبيج يعمل بالكامل مع أوس تن (مثل اللان و حتى إستعمال جميع نوى المعالج الأربعة). لهذا, أنصح بإبدال المذربورد بالجيجابايت الذي أنا إستخدمته إذا سنحت لك الفرصة لأنه مجرب و مؤكد بأنه أفضل اللوحات دعماً لأوس تن

    والله ولي التوفيق

  6. feras says:

    شكرا اخي الغالي هشام خليفة بجد انا تعقدت من كل شي اسمه ماك بي سي وجربت كل الاحتمالات ولكن دون جدوى لاني من3 اشهر وانا اعمل على الموضوع ولكن دون فائدة وشكرا جزيل الشكر لك اخي الكريم والله يوفقك بحياتك العلمية والعملية تقبل مروري على موقعك الجميل واسف للازعاج اخي شكرا.

  7. BuZain says:

    Respect my man. You beefed up my desire to build my own Linux rig.

  8. feras says:

    السلام عليكم اخ هشام سلمت يداك اخي الكريم وانا دخلت للموقع يلي اشرت عليه وما استفدت وبكل الاحوال الله يعطيك القوة والصحة وانا عرضت مشكلتي على عدة مواقع اتمنى من القوي العزيز انو يحل مشكلتي وشكرا جزيل الشكر على تواصللك واهتمامك.

  9. feras says:

    السلام عليكم اخي العزيز انا عملت بووت سيدي من السواقة وكلو تمام ونصبته وكلو 100% بس السؤال الاول انت عملت تنصيب من نسخة اورجنال ولا نسخة هاكنتوشية؟؟؟ السؤال الثاني هو : بعد التنصيب لنظامك على الجهاز كيف تم تفعيل معالجاتك الثمانية؟؟؟؟ لان بعدما تم التنصيب النظام عندي وكلو تمام بس الشمكلة النظام لا يرى سوى معالج واحد فقط للاسف وانا قرات انك تستطيع تفعيل جميع المعالجات على الماك بالنسختين الاورجنال والهاكنتوش ياريت التوضيح اكثر اخ هشام والله ما ليا غير الله وغيرك لاني بجد دخلت مواقع ومنتديات كثيرة ولم استفد الكل بيقولو بتنزل وتتفاعل بس للاسف ما فهمت شيء واشكرك جزيل الشكر على التفاعل معي اخي الكريم شكرا.

  10. Naushad Ali says:

    dude

    u rocked this one man

    i’m in jeddah and have a hackintosh myself – a core 2 due 3gb ram 2 x 320gb HDD and 1 x 500GB hdd

    running leo4all v3 10.5.2 upgraded to 10.5.6

    mainly i use it for logic 9 and for compsong stuff

    urs is awesome man – maybe u should do this as a full time stuff

    if u can make one for me – love u simply

    but great job anyways man – hot

  11. Ryan says:

    Great work on the article! I’m configuring a hackintosh myself (I’m not building it though.).
    Would these specs work OK?

    Intel Core i7-950 3.00GHz (i’d be willing to do the 920)
    Intel x58 Chipset
    9GB DDR3 SDRAM
    1TB Drive @ 7200 RPM
    1GB ATI Radeon HD 4850

  12. hisham says:

    @Ryan

    Those specs look good. I would recommend you use the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 as it’s proven to work without a hitch.

    @Naushad

    Thanks!

    @feras

    أخي الكريم فراس, كما ذكرت من قبل, يستحسن أن تستخدم نفس المذربورد من جيجابيات الذي أنا إستخدمته فهو يعمل بدون أي متاعب و يستخدم كل المعالجات تحت أوس تن

  13. Antonio Valinas says:

    Hi Hisham, i’m From mexico, your artile inpired me to build my own Rig to run Mac OS on it. I just ordered almos the same components as you. I just want to ask you something special, can you explain a little on how to do a good basic overclocking on this board?

    Thanks in advance.

  14. hisham says:

    @Antonio

    Glad you found it inspiring. As for overclocking, here’s a guide by Gigabyte for the GA-EX58-Extreme, but it’s similar to what you’d need to do on the GA-EX58-UD5. Another one’s by Xbit Labs here.

  15. Patrick Garrett says:

    Hisham, hello from Louisiana, USA! :)

    Excellent work. Found your site on Google after initally investigating OSx86. Very tempted to try this out. Have you considered Snow Leopard? Why or why not?

  16. hisham says:

    @Patrick

    Hello there! At the time of building my rig SL wasn’t officially out; and I didn’t want to install a pirated beta release :)

    I’ll be hopefully trying a retail SL install soon and will be updating the post with the result. It seems that others with the same motherboard are having success.

  17. EL says:

    Great article
    What would you recommended as upgrade if you had to rebuild it now ?

    P.S.
    I would recommended an Mac Pro case
    you can get one on ebay even a brand new one

  18. Ray says:

    Hi Hisham! This may sound trite but I am truly impressed by the grammar in the article (have you considered journalisn as a second career?) and by the feat itself. I am thinking of a similar build but am wondering what would happen if I used an SSD and core i7 975. I also have a preference for EVGA X58 SLI Classified. Any comments?

  19. hisham says:

    @EL

    Thanks!

    I would probably go for a a Blu-ray drive and perhaps an ATI Radeon 4850 instead of the NVidia cards. I would also be looking to a add a cheap Firewire 800 PCI card as the motherboard only has Firewire 400 (this shouldn’t set you back more than 30-40 dollars).

    About the Mac Pro case, I’m yet to be that handy with a Dremel tool to get all the right parts aligned since Mac mobos are mounted differently to ATX mobos. Besides, the Gigabyte case has some pretty nifty features, and the fact that I can use a 5.25 IcyBox SATA slot on the front of the case is pretty awesome in itself; I’m able to slot-in SATA drives quickly, not unlike cartridges. Great for backups!

    @Ray

    Thank you!

    An SSD would certainly be a good idea. At build time prices were out of my range. Perhaps now you can find better deals. The 975 would be sweet, though you can always get a 920 now and upgrade later when prices drop. As long as your build is economic in terms of value and features vis-a-vis a real Mac Pro, I say go for it.

    As far as the EVGA Classified motherboard is concerned, I’m afraid I don’t have any experience with it. What I can say is that the GA-EX58-UD5 is the most supported Hackintosh board to date. Unless I’m wrong, I haven’t seen much in terms of the Classified and installing OS X on it.

  20. marshall says:

    hi,
    where do I get the software to install?

  21. hisham says:

    Hello.

    Here, here, and here, amongst other places :)

  22. Sparly_D says:

    I just built my i7 920 system. I love it and can’t wait to get everything finalized in terms of kexts etc. My system is built with 2 Intel 80 GB SSDs with win7 on one and OSX 10.5.7 on the other. When I had some downtime in between installs, I was unable to clock my system to 4GHz, but easily able to get it to 3.6 GHz. Wow, what a chip! 40% improvement and it doesn’t even sweat. Once everything settles I will have my roacketraid raid5 setup with 4 1TB drives for my video editing. I will post my geekbench score when I am complete. Give me about a month. I am slow at this. Cheers. Love the read.

  23. hisham says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing.

  24. OB1 says:

    I have an Intel i7 920, 3GB DDR3, 750GB HDD and a Radeon 4850, the Snow Leopard boot cd and a real copy of OSX 10.6 that I bought and it just won’t install. It hangs right at the beginning of the install. Can’t figure it out, I read that I can create an image of the DVD then back it up to a USB flash drive, then add/edit kexts into the Extras folder. This is a Gateway FX6800-01e tower. I need this to work as I have MAC clients who want me to edit video with Final Cut Studio and unless I get this to work I’ll be losing them.

  25. hisham says:

    The biggest obstacle to installing OS X is the motherboard. A quick Google on Gateway’s FX6800-01e has not led me to a single successful install of Leopard or Snow Leopard. I reckon you’d just have to try and figure it out yourself with trial and error, that might lead to results. Otherwise I’d suggest investing in a proper Hackintosh-able system or a real Mac if you’re going to go for Mac clientele.

  26. Daniel Eck says:

    Congratulations on what looks like an awesome Hackintosh. I just wanted to point out that another mobo, the one I’m using, is also VERY Mac compatible – it’s tha Asus P5Q (and P5Q-Pro, w/2 video card slots). I’m running retail vanilla Snow Leopard full 64-bit, it’s flawless. (Core 2 quad 2.5ghz/8GB RAM/BR-drive/4.5TB storage/boot drive 128GB SSD/GeForce 9800 GTX DDL 512MB)

  27. ray says:

    Hello Hisham, Ray again! Is it safe to say that any Gigabyte x58 motherboard would do? I am thinking of the extreme. And that aside from the motherboard, things like memory, graphics card and power supply can be any brand (would have minimal impact on the hack)? Or would the choice of memory or power supply have an impact on success? For instance I found 16gb of 1600ghz corsair ddr3 ram – not the dominator series for $130. Would that be fine for a similar build or would I absolutely need the dominator?

  28. hisham says:

    Hi Ray,

    RAM and PSU choice shouldn’t be an issue. As regards to the motherboard, I would stress sticking with the UD5 version. The trickiest component of a Hackintosh is the mobo. So I’d rather be on the safe side and suggest using one that has been true and tested by others. That’s not saying if you come across successful installs on an Extreme edition you shouldn’t go for it. By all means, do so and report back! :)

  29. 15-YEARS-ARE-ENOUGH! says:

    After fifteen years of buying a new pro mac every 16 months (used to change system every three years, so i buy new notebook and desktop alternatingly) i´m sick of pulling thousands of EUR to cupernito – to see that they have nothing else to do than creating fancy colours like pink for the new iPod. I will give “Hackintosh” a try – and hopefully apple will see my money just for their great pro books and their Discs of FCP an OS in future! I collected exactly the same components as hisham did (ok… other case…) and i really respect his efforts and giving us a guide how to do it same like him! But at one point i stuck a bit…
    Hisham is writing he used a NVIDIA Geforce GT 9500 1GB as Graphic Card – but which one? Who made it?
    I´m very new in this “computerbuilding” thing – so i don´t know that much about technical details… Does it care who did the card – or is it just about the chip on any card from any manufacturer.
    Hisham – which 9500 is in your config?

  30. hisham says:

    Thanks for stopping by. The graphics card is made by Zotac. Some brands have apparently problems working with OS X, but I’ve had none whatsoever with Zotac.

  31. Steve-in-Oz says:

    Hisham,

    I read the lifehacker article which has around a gazillion references to it in Google but yours was the first different article I clicked and WoW!

    Very impressive!

    I wished I’d read these articles about 14 months ago otherwise I would have had a little more cash to spend on music software… ahh well, we live and learn :)

    Also noticed that the lifehacker guy has published a new article detailing a Snow Leopard install and it seems a lot more comperhensive than his first article. (sorry – I tried to embed links but nothing I tried showed how I wanted it in the preview)

    http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/09/how-to-build-a-hackintosh-with-snow-leopard-start-to-finish/

    Thanks for a great report!

    Steve

  32. hisham says:

    Thanks, Steve! Glad you liked it.

    Going to set aside some time to install Snow Leopard and will be posting an update soon, hopefully.

  33. Antonio Valinas says:

    Snow Leopard just works great. Digital_Dreamer has updated his script to make it fully compatible with Snow Leopard.

    I just can confirm you that i did my Rig, based on the Motherboard that you have.

    GA-EX58-UD5
    Intel i7 920 @ 3.2 Ghz
    12GB Ram
    DVD+R
    2 X WD SATA HD 7200 500GB
    1 x Intel SSD 80GB Second Generation
    1 x EVGA 9800GT – Working with an EFI String
    Firewire 800 PCIe Card
    Wireless N PCI Card

    Fully Snow Leopard Compatible. 11 000 Geekbench points.

  34. hisham says:

    Thanks, Antonio for the heads up.

  35. Ray (3rd comment) says:

    So I went with your advice (as if I wouldn’t)! I have almost exactly what you have, except for Antec 902 case and different memory. My 3 question now are:
    1. Where do I find the BIOS updates that you used? I am using the thumb drive method to install snow leopard?
    2. Do I need to format the hdd before or during the install? What type of format?
    3. Do you recommend partitioning the hdd for a dual boot or getting a second hdd for windows 7?

    Thanks.

  36. hisham says:

    For the F8 BIOS update, you can find it here.

    The Mac OS installer will allow you to use Disk Utility prior to installation to format your hdd. You should format the HDD as GUID. You may prefer to run Disk Utility prior to the installer though. Doesn’t make much of a difference.

    My system disk is GUID and partitioned into HFS+ (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) for OS X and NTFS for Windows 7. I also have a third partition in case I want to install GNU/Linux.

    To tell the truth, it was quite tricky installing both OS X and Windows 7 on the same hdd and have Chameleon boot them up fine. The problem is not with OS X or Chameleon (go figure), it’s with Windows 7. It took a while to figure it out.

    Detailed instructions for triple-booting OS X, Windows 7 and GNU/Linux are here.

    Note that for step 5, you can obtain the Windows Vista Recovery Disk here.

  37. Koo Wee Leng says:

    Hisham,

    Greeting from Singapore!

    May I know this video card “NVIDIA GeForce GT 9500 1GB” is DDR3 or 2?

    How do you divide both cards (1GB+250MB) among the 3 monitors?

    Thanks.

  38. Alex says:

    Hi Hisham,

    I’m wondering if you had any problems with either sound or sleep mode, or anything else for that matter. Thanks sharing your build.

  39. Koo Wee Leng says:

    What’s your view on oc to 4GHz?

  40. Koo Wee Leng says:

    Another question is do have any problem on Time Machine?

    Thanks.

  41. hisham says:

    @ Alex and Koo

    Thanks for stopping by!

    To answer your questions in order:

    1- The card is DDR2.
    2- No problem with sound or sleep. I had a problem when I updated to 10.5.8 with sleep. Now that I updated to Snow Leopard 10.6.1, sleep works fine. Sleep will fail or cause kernel panics if you use the Gigabyte JMicron SATA controller. On the GA-EX58-UD5, these are the white connectors as opposed to the blue controllers for the Intel SATA controller. I am fine with that since the Intel provides me with six connectors, enough for my needs.
    3- I haven’t ventured beyond 3.72GHz so far, which has resulted in a Geekbench score of 11,789 (from 8667 for 2.66GHz stock speed)! This is way faster than a W3520 Xeon-based Mac Pro, which only fares at 8144!
    4- No problem whatsoever with Time Machine.

    Good luck with your build!

  42. Joe says:

    Antonio, which Wireless N PCI Card did you go with? Want to make sure I get one that is compatible. Thanks for any info!

  43. Joe says:

    Oh, and when I said compatible, I meant 64-bit compatible if that’s not obvious . . . I’ve found many comment across the web with 32-bit compatible PCI wireless cards, but no one seems to have a handle on the 64-bit yet. Thanks for any help.

  44. Koo Wee Leng says:

    Hisham,

    I plan to have 2 video cards output to 4 23″ samsung LED monitors. 2 for trading. 1 for Google Earth, video, audio and usual stuff and the last one for eyeTV watching TV.

    In your opinion, which PSU (wattage) should I go for?
    Anyone wishes to share your opinion, kindly post to wlkoo71[at}gmail{dot]com

    Thanks

  45. hisham says:

    @ Koo,

    As of now, I have four monitors connected via DVI on the 9500 and the 7600 cards. Three are 21″ while one is a 17″ widescreen. My current setup also has the following: 2x640GB SATA, 1x1TB SATA, and 1x500GB SATA and 12GB of DDR3 1600MHz Corsair Dominator ram. Everything is running fine with a 700 watt PSU.

    Speaking of monitors, I would strongly suggest you get an Ergotron monitor stand to prevent desk space being eaten by a clutter of monitor stands. I currently have the DS100 for the 21″ monitors and an LX Mount Arm for the 17″.

  46. osxgeek says:

    Hallo, great work ! i wanted to ask you just few questions, can i do it with i7 920 and GA – EX58 – UD3R ? Then is this safe ? I mean can a hackintosh install damage your hardware ? I`m asking this because i saw people on various forums messing with very advanced working parameters like various clock rates etc … they make various DSDT and such scripts that unguided people simple copy and execute on their platforms without any precaution of compatibility and what possibly can happen …. dealing with low level hardware programming is not a 5 minutes joke. Many OSx86 distros i saw are full of such “patches” and scripts … so what is your thinking about that ?

    thank you, and keep the good work!

  47. Nick says:

    Hi Hisham!
    I’m Nick from Japan, have been a Mac user for almost 10 years so far now. I’m in the same situation here like you I don’t want pay lot of money for a powerful Mac like Mac pro, that’s why I’ve been thinking a lot and searching on the net how I can use Mac OSX 10.6 (snow leopard) on that computer what I build.
    I’ve few questions to you or everyone in here.
    So, probably I’d like to use the same configuration what you have got except the video card.
    Could you tell me that what resolution have you got?
    I’d like to connect the hackintosh to my 46″ LCD Tv which I use right now with the Mac mini and my resolution is 1920×1080. Do you think I can get it?
    How about the sound? I’d like to connect it with my ampflier.

    cheers
    Nick

    BTW Happy New Year for everyone!

  48. loupop says:

    wow, impressive build!

    thanks for sharing, i ordered the part already to do the same, thank you, without you i would be able to know what is compatible and stuff… i have a question( probably the first of a few…) is it possible to have wifi on this mobo? if so how would you go about it?

    cheers!!

  49. Kyle says:

    I am thinking of building a computer similar to the one you described and I have all the main parts picked out and I was wondering if you knew if they would work and if they do work what your thoughts are as to any changes that would be beneficial that would be greatly appreciated!
    Here are the specs and parts that I am planning on using:
    -Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
    -ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
    -XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
    -Kingston 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) ECC Memory For Apple
    -Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA x2 (I am planning on running them in a RAID 0 for video editing)
    -COOLER MASTER ATCS 840 RC-840-KKN1-GP Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
    -CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power
    -LG 8X Blu-ray Burner
    -LG 22X DVD Burner
    -Snow Leopard and Windows 7
    This is the first time i’ve built my own computer so I’m not sure if my parts are compatible or if there are newer better parts and these are old. I’ve done some research but am still trying to figure out how the whole PC building goes as well as trying to figure out how to build a Hackintosh. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  50. hisham says:

    @osxgeek

    There are certain options you’ve got to set in BIOS to permit the proper running of OS X. These sometimes may be things such as disabling certain drive interfaces, etc. This will not harm your computer at all.

    The DSDT patch does not modify your BIOS or any other hardware. What it does is that it reads your BIOS’s DSDT, then creates a DSDT patch file that is then modified so that it can be used to override OS X reading the “incorrect” DSDT from the BIOS. The override is done in your bootloader, such as Chameleon. More info here.

    As for changing clock rates, etc, that’s delving into the fine art of overclocking, in which you have to research the potential of your own board, CPU and memory before committing any changes to BIOS. This has absolutely nothing to do with installing OS X. It’s simply an option you have for running your machine faster. If you’re not careful and lack adequate cooling, it may cause problems or could even damage your hardware. Always tread carefully and read the experiences of others. I have posted my own experience in this blog with the GA-EX58-UD5, which is very good at safe overclocking when combined with an i7 920 CPU.

    @Nick

    Hey Nick. Loved Japan, been there back in 2008! Akihabara FTW!

    I’ve got three of my monitors (21″) connected at 1600×1200, and the fourth, an 18″, at 1366×768.

    As for sound, I’m using purely USB-based sound hardware. The speakers are USB and so is my microphone (it’s part of my USB camera). However, I do believe all other sound options are working correctly as everything is showing in the Sound preferences; even though I didn’t have a chance to try them out.

    The SPDIF optical out is lighted red; so it should be alive, and is showing in the Sound preferences as Digital Out. The other output options showing are Internal Speakers, 2x Line Outs, and of course my Logitech USB speakers. The input options showing are Internal microphone, Line In, Digital In, and my USB microphone.

    @loupop

    You should be able to use many of the PCI or USB wi-fi modules out there (as long as they’re not Intel wi-fi chipset based). See a list of tested ones here for 10.6.2.

    @Kyle

    Motherboard: I’m not familiar with the motherboard you’ve selected, but I take it you’ve done the research to know that it’s compatible enough with OS X :) A cursory search reveals that it’s quite popular for running OS X, just like the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5.

    CPU: Perfect. I wouldn’t go for anything faster at this stage, especially since this processor is very overclockable.

    Video: I suppose it would work from what I’ve seen. I don’t have experience with ATI cards on Hackintoshes. Always a good thing to have a return/refund policy at hand when buying.

    Memory: I would go for something a bit faster than what stock Mac Pros come with, e.g. 1600MHz.

    Drives: I’m assuming here you’re referring to Apple’s SoftRAID as provided in Disk Utility, since I haven’t heard of someone successfully using on-board hardware RAID with OS X, yet.

    Case+PSU: Seems fine to me.

    Blu-Ray: OS X doesn’t support playback of Blu-Ray movies. You can always rip them in Windows and play them back in OS X. See here.

    DVD Drive: Does the job.

    OS: Snow Leopard rocks. Will do absolute justice to your souped-up hardware rig. As for Windows 7, well, I’ve been evaluating it so far on my setup, and it’s still Windows. Lags pop in out of nowhere and you still have annoying forced shutdowns for updates. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have Windows around, especially as a reminder of how much OS X is smoother, slicker and better (though I have to admit the Aero Snap windows resize management is quite intuitive and slick).

    Good luck!

  51. loupop says:

    thanks for your reply!!

  52. Kyle says:

    Thanks for the reply! I have a few programs that I need to run windows for and I sort of like to have windows and I think Windows 7 is fairly decent as far as i’ve seen so far. As for the memory and video card what would you suggest I go for? Do two graphics cards boost the performance significantly? Just wondering what you would suggest for both video cards and memory. I don’t want to spend like 500 for one video card but I don’t want a cheap one either and I want it to be compatible with OS X and be useful for the next few years.

  53. hisham says:

    @Kyle

    I’ve had great success with a variety of NVidia cards, including PCI-Express, AGP and even PCI ones.

    Having two graphics cards will not boost performance under OS X. Though you will be boosting productivity as you’ll be taking advantage of a multi-monitor setup.

    Under Windows, you could have two or three of the same card bridged under an SLI (NVidia) or Crossfire (ATI) configuration. Though that’s mainly used for games and the output will be directed to one monitor when turning SLI or Crossfire on.

    I’m more of a Photoshop and Final Cut Pro user. I don’t do any heavy gaming or real-time 3D simulations, so when it comes to selecting a card, a cheap and cheerful NVidia GT 7600 and a GT 9500 are perfect for running all my four monitors.

    For OS X, I wouldn’t suggest getting anything above 512Mb at the moment. It’s just hardly going to be used. Though 1Gb are now becoming the norm and you’ll probably end up with one of those as a minimum.

    As for system memory, I’m quite happy with my Corsair Dominator 1600Mhz. They look wicked cool too if you’re going to plexiglass your case.

  54. Kyle says:

    I decided on this for my video card: EVGA 01G-P3-1180-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card. Do you think it would be better to get two 512Mb cards now instead of that one, and then upgrade later on when 1GB is more supported in OS X. I am only going to have two monitors at max right now though. So I wouldn’t need the extra ports for monitors, but if I could save money without losing too much performance from the computer then I would. I play some games but mainly use it for Final Cut Pro work and for photos in both Aperture and iPhoto and the occasional Photoshop. I also decided on the Corsair Dominator 1600Mhz memory.

  55. hisham says:

    For me, since I have four monitors anyway, I would get two low-end 512Mb cards instead. In your situation, I would just go ahead and get the GTX 285 1Gb as I would be using two monitors and the extra performance and memory would not go amiss when gaming on Windows.

    By the time you’re fed up with two monitors, the prices of both the GTX 285 and any third and fourth monitors would most likely drop.

  56. Loupi says:

    HEllo!
    i was wondering if you got sleep to work properly?
    i have read 1000′s of post on cards.. i am confuse on what to use… i want something easy to install but with great graphic for gaming…i am not interested in running window whatsoever.
    any help from anyone that knows would be great. seams like (for example) ati 4870 from one brand to another is different, some have success , other cant make it work.
    i am confuse.
    cheers!!

    Loupi

  57. Khaled Al-Berk says:

    Hi. I’m trying to install the Mac OS X Snow Leopard but have no experiance in this. Can you help me in installing the Mac for my laptop HP 8510w?
    Thanks

  58. hisham says:

    @Loupi

    I can only vouch for the video cards I’m using (e.g. the NVidia GT 9500 and 9600). Sometimes it’s not a sure shoot when you’re buying, so it’s a good idea to keep the receipts and to have a good refund/exchange policy. Otherwise eBay is your next best friend.

    I would suggest to always use EFI strings to get the best possible recognition of your card(s). I’ve got my two cards defined in the device-properties key in my boot.plist file.

    As far as system sleep is concerned, I’ve had issues with 10.6.2. On wake up, the system is up and running but the monitors remain off. It seems that they’re not being sent a signal to wake up. Hopefully this issue will be resolved soon. If I find a solution, I’ll post it up here.

    Frankly, I don’t really use sleep that much (goes for real life as well!), so it doesn’t bother me much.

    @Khaled

    Sure thing. Please ask any questions publicly so that others may benefit.

    For the HP 8510W, a quick search reveals that OS X is quite workable on it. Take a look here for a start.

  59. It seems more and more people are going the Hackintosh route. There is a computer store a couple of blocks from me here that is selling them. They will either convert a PC you already have (if compatible) or build one for you.

    I already have a 20″ 2.66 GHz iMac, but when I’m ready to replace it, I’ll sure pay them a visit. They even deliver!

  60. Hannes says:

    Hi,

    You’re enthusiasm was quite an inspiration for eventually doing the hackintosh! So I more or less mirrored your setup just few small changes/alternations. It’d be great to get your opinion about the following:

    1. I ‘d love to get a Sparkle 9800GT 512MB instead of your 9500 GT, hardly be any different I assume, no?
    2. Using a Corsair VX550W PSU instead of your 750W PSU, will it be sufficient?

    3. Last but not least I consider to skip the CPU Cooler alltogether, It’s the boxed version of the CPU, that’s why… Is that a stupid idea?

    Hey, I’d really appreciate a short feedback. Thanks for your help till here!

    Best, Hannes

  61. hisham says:

    @ Hannes

    1. It should work fine.
    2. Probably. I only got it to cover the need for power if I put in a third video card. I think my rig would work fine with 550W.
    3. As long as you’re not going to overclock, the stock Intel CPU cooler that comes with the i7 should provide sufficient cooling.

    Good luck!

  62. Umberto says:

    Great site and tech specs on the new system. Would love to get an i7 OSx86 machine up and running at some point. Question… I too have a few GX280′s laying around mostly running XP now. What 10.5.x distro (as well as your specific selections during install) did you use to install successfully on that hardware? I have tried a few but to no avail. Keep getting panic screens. Also, looks like you opted for 12GB DDR3. I did not find that on the Amazon site for that price so it looks like you got a really good deal.

  63. hisham says:

    Thanks.

    On the GX280 I tried Kalyway 10.5.1 and iAKTOS 10.5.1, both worked fine from the get go. Concerning specific selections, from what I recall it was a non-vanilla kernel and NVInject (since I had an NVidia card installed in my GX280).

    Thanks for the heads up on the memory. I’ve goofed up and mentioned the price for 6Gb instead of 12Gb. Corrected now to reflect my original build of 6Gb. I added another 6Gb within a few days time of building the system. In all practicality, I am yet to see my memory usage go above 4.8/5.0GB and that’s with Snow Leopard and a few 64-bit programs running as well.

  64. Umberto says:

    Had not tried either of those but will now. Was working with iPC and some other distro that was a derivative iDeneb. My systems are all standard 3Ghz tower models. All have 4GB ram and the standard 80GB drive with the Intel 915G Express chipset, Broadcom 57xx nic, etc… On the memory that you got… I see that there are cheaper options out there for that MB. What is your opinion on noticeable gains from using that particular memory vs something a little less expensive? Thanks again!

  65. hisham says:

    Regarding memory, I wanted something with a little bit more kick than the usual Mac Pro offering. As far as performance is concerned, I would not think there’s much of a noticeable difference between 1333Mhz and 1600Mhz memory in day to day use, though I might be wrong. If anyone has any Geekbench scores, let them out!

  66. Umberto says:

    Thanks again for the great advice. I ended up pulling the trigger. I had a lot of Amazon gift cards to burn and for the remaining amount I went with Newegg. All together I spent about $1100 USD.

    MB: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5
    MEMORY: OCZ Gold 6GB DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
    CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 Case
    DVD: Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD SATA Model
    Drive Cage: 3 In 2 Sata I/ii Module Electronics
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master V8 Nickel Plated CPU Cooler
    PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro M700 Series Modular 700W Power Supply
    Processor: Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz
    Video: Sparkle SX98GT1024D3GVP GeForce 9800 GT 1024MB
    Drives: 2x 500GB SATA WD 7200 drives (had these already) & 1x 1TB SATA WD 7200 drive

    Still need to get a XX in 1 card reader. Any recommendations on that? Also, anything else you would get or recommend? Cables, parts, misc…?

  67. jkbreuer says:

    Wow this is impressive. Well done.

  68. hisham says:

    @ Umberto

    No problem, hope it all works out well and smooth for you. For the card reader, I’m happy with the one I have which fits in a 5.25″ bay and reads a gazillion card formats. What’s more, it can be popped out like a cartridge to use as a mobile card reader. I gave Google a shot but my particular model didn’t pop up.

    @ jkbreuer

    Thanks!

  69. Tim says:

    Any info on bluetooth support? This is my first time building a hackintosh, and I would love for my snazzy new “magic” mouse to be supported.

  70. Merrit says:

    where did you get the disc to boot the os x and what case did you use, or will any case do? would i be able to put all that in a power mac g4 case?

  71. Josh says:

    Hi
    Great blog, aspires confidence in going on your own. I have a question which relates to overclocking on your machine.

    Did you overclock before or after installing OSX? and do you mind sharing what you did (BIOS settings etc)?

    I understand that the amount of overclock will vary but I just need to get a head start so to speak.

  72. hisham says:

    @ Tim

    I’ve got a tiny bluetooth device attached and it works flawlessly. It’s based on a Cambridge Silicon Radio chipset.

    @ Merrit

    As per digital_dreamer’s instructions, you could create your own OS X boot disc using digital_dreamer’s script. Once that’s done, you load it up first, then you replace the boot disc with your retail OS X disc and you’re good to go.

    As far as the case is concerned, any standard PC case will do. Some have managed to modify Apple cases, though I wouldn’t bother with that if you’re not handy with a Dremel and perhaps a little bit of CNC. I think fitting a hackintosh in a Mac case kind of defeats one advantage of having a hackintosh: the multitude of pretty cool and flexible cases available.

    @ Josh

    Thanks. I actually started experimenting with overclocking after installing OS X. I’ll post my overclock settings today. Be sure to check back.

  73. wazoo says:

    I was planning on doing this my current system using that motherboard. Have you tried using the onboard “Raid”? currently I have 3x 500gb running in raid 0 and I would like to keep that up if i can. If not, does software raid work inside OSX?

  74. Michael O says:

    Hello Hisham, I’m just wondering how the overclocking went? I plan to build a system with identical components to yours, except I’d like to include a good sound card. Would you recommend any particular card, or can you see any potential limitations I might encounter? Also – will snow leopard work if I use a new 6-core i7 processor? Any advice you give will be greatly appreciated. Mike

  75. MacAttack says:

    Hi there Hisham,
    I’m following your build guide and I have ordered all of the parts, but I was wondering what FireWire 800 PCI card would you recommend.

  76. RO says:

    hey I’m a new one here, want to use hackintosh on following system: pe6t se asus mainboard, i7 2,67, geforce gtx 275, seagate sata hdd, sata dvd, 4, corsair 4gb.
    please help me
    thx

  77. Alex K says:

    Hello Hisham,
    What are your thoughts on motherboard
    GA-X58A-UD5(rev. 1.0) I’m planning to build a system and this seems to be newer technology which includes USB 3.0, 2*Serial ATA 6Gb/s etc.

    Thx

  78. Marc says:

    You might have an error in your theme coding. I can’t open your about page for example. Try:

    http://hishamkhalifa.com/?page_id=10

  79. Aaron says:

    Thanks for the guide.

    I ended up getting the GA-X58-UD3R w/ i7 930 to save a little bit of $$. Not as well supported buy same kexts all worked out.

  80. Pedro says:

    Hello,
    I have being inspired by your success making a hackintosh, and I bought an almost identical system.

    I have a Snow Lepard 10.6 (3.6 Universal) DVD. I boot with it correctly, but it doesent even run the installer, instead the system reboots and I see bios screen once again.

    Could you please share your complete procedure for instaling? Should I modify my DVD? Should I install from a external DVD? The patch is applied only before the system is already installed?

    Thx very much

  81. hisham says:

    @ wazoo

    I haven’t tried on-board RAID. As for Software RAID, from what I gather it works, but I never really had the use for it nor the inclination to try it out.

    @ Michael O

    I’m actually quite happy with the built-in sound on the UD5. However, I would think an M-Audio card would work quite well if you need something with a bit more kick. Here’s a reference to Hackintosh drivers.

    As for the 6-core i7, I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work, though I’m yet to hear of any builds.

    @ MacAttack

    Although I have an OWC FW800 card, I’m using the on-board FW400. The reason being that the FW800 would downgrade to FW400 if plugged into the available 32-bit slot (FW800 requires a 64-bit PCI slot). The 64-bit slots are occupied with my two video cards.

    @ RO

    I’m not sure if that mobo would work, though your basic setup is up to scratch. As they say, Google’s your friend.

    @ Alex K

    Seems like it works. It’d be my choice if I was building a system today.

    @ Marc

    Thanks for the heads up. Lately, I haven’t had time to maintain the blog (as can be seen from my way late reply to all of you guys!)

    @ Aaron

    I’m glad it worked out well. Enjoy it!

    @ Pedro

    Please read through digital_dreamer’s installation guide. You need to familiarize yourself with it and then you’ll know the proper installation procedure. I could repeat what he says, but it’s just a click away.

    I would suggest you use digital_dreamer’s script to create a boot disc and from that load up your OS X installation DVD and away you go. Obviously you’ll need access to another Mac/Hackintosh in order to create the boot disc.

  82. hisham says:

    For those looking for my overclock settings, I’ve snapped pics of the BIOS setting screens (was having problems saving the actual setting on a USB).

    Get them here.

  83. Will says:

    I did an i7 build with a UD3R, and while I haven’t gotten all of the kinks worked out just yet (snagged a cheap PCI adaptor this morning to resolve the lack of ethernet), one problem is really throwing me for a loop.

    About half the time when I reboot, my BIOS settings are totally wiped and I have to reset them manually. When I exit the CMOS interface, I always save the settings, but then there’s a 50/50 chance that it will reset upon reboot. Got any thoughts?

    Thanks much!

  84. hisham says:

    You’ve got me stumped there, Will. Could be a number of things. Anything from inadequate PSU power to a software bug in the BIOS version you’re using. Try a BIOS upgrade (or maybe a downgrade) and see if that solves the issue.

  85. haitham says:

    hii i have sony vaio f series quad i7 with 1.60ghz with turboboost to 2.8 6.0 m cash with 6 giga ram and i have snowleapord 10.6 everytime i boot its restart my laptob even in -v or -x and itryed “graphics mode”=”800×600″ no hope can u plz help me ,…

  86. Pedro says:

    Hey,
    I installed iAtkos v7 perfectlly, but when I tried to instal the retail 10.6 DVD trough digital dreamer script I get Kernel Panic.
    I am currently using extre method, should I use EFI?
    Thx

  87. Pedro says:

    Hello,
    I have installed an almost identical rig to yours. I could get iAtkos v7 installed and running, I tried to install a retail 10.6 DVD (downloaded from the internet) with digital dreamers script, but I get Kernel Panics so I desisted.

    My graphic card is an EVGA GeForce 9500 GT 1 GB DVI/DVI… I cannot instal Final Cut (neither Pro and Express), and my Shake doesnt work too. My System Profile says that Quartz Extreme is not supported, so I tried different Kexts like NVdarwin, NVinjector and NVkush, and it is still not supported… Do you have any tips to make the Graphic cards to work right?

    Thx very much

  88. Pedro says:

    Just one more info.
    I have edited the NVCap, and also de device ID in NVDResman, Geforce.kext and etc, and I still get QE unsupported. I am almost desisting, but I hope you can help me since you have an identical graphic card.
    Thx

  89. volcan96 says:

    Cool page. It inspired me to make a hackintosh (i7 930/x58a-udr3). Building this was the most fun I’ve had in a while :-) My next step is to OC the processor and see if I can get it to run stable near 4ghz.

    @pedro – if the digital dreamer doesn’t work, try kakewalk (http://puru.se) with the x58-udr5 or udr7 profile. There are known problems if u try to upgrade to 10.6.3 but most of them can have workarounds (http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2010/03/mac-os-x-1063-update.html).

  90. Loki says:

    Hey there, Me and a friend of mine are building our first Hackintosh and we would love your expertise on the subject. Were trying to build a powerful system comparable to a Mac Pro to use Final Cut Pro for Professional HD video editing.

    Were planing on using:

    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard

    Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601930

    XFX HD-577X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    (3x) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9S-4GBRL

    (2x) Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B – OEM

    Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler

    and

    COOLER MASTER Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US 1000W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE

    Do you think this Hardware specification would run OSX smoothly? Do you think the graphics card is sufficient for HD editing? Is there anything yo would change?

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Loki and Charlie

  91. Tag says:

    Hey,

    congrats on the very stable hackintosh. I just ordered a ud5 system but am worried about the install. It looks like you have had no kernal panics or any update problems in snow leopard. I was planning on using kakewalk to install (later dual boot with ubuntu) but was wondering if you had a different recommendation. I am a brand new to all this and am not sure how to handle kernal panics or kexts issues that seems to arise on kakewalk occasionally.

  92. hisham says:

    @ haitham

    What boot method and/or distro are you using?

    @ Pedro

    For graphics and especially creating your own device-properties string (way better than just using property injectors like NVInjector), take a look here.

    Since I have two graphics cards, I just created my own device-properties string that defines both cards. The injectors I tried borked with my two graphics card setup, one of them wouldn’t work or it would work but with no resolution or Quartz Extreme. The only way to do it right was to manually create a device-properties string for the boot.plist.

    Here’s what I would suggest to make it easy for you. Instead of fiddling manually to create a device-properties string and amend it to boot.plist, just load up digital_dreamer’s script and select option 9) Modify plists. From there you can select a matching graphics card. Hopefully that’ll fix it.

    As for your problems with digital_dreamer’s script, I need more info to figure our what’s leading to a kernel panic.

    @ volcan96

    Thanks for the link. 10.6.3 will fail boot unless you replace SleepEnabler.kext with an updated version (as of writing, digital_dreamer’s script has a version that will work with 10.6.2, not 10.6.3). As the link you’ve provided indicates, you can get the 10.6.3 compatible version of SleepEnabler.kext from here.

    @ Loki

    Everything looks fine except for the video card. I’m not too sure about it. I personally don’t have experience with Radeons, but I would be on the wary side with the 5770 and get a 4xxx series model, which seem to be more supported.

    You should be able to glide through FCP and HD editing with a 4870 card and that setup like a knife through butter.

    @ Tag

    I use digital_dreamer’s install method and it works like a charm. The only thing you have to watch out for is if you’re updating to 10.6.3, you need to ensure you have the latest SleepEnabler.kext (digital_dreamer’s script, as of writing, comes with an older version). The new version is here.

  93. Tag says:

    It looks like my previous two posts didn’t go through. Maybe it is because of the links, which I will take out. If another post goes through, feel free to delete this one and another one.

    I have ordered my system, but am thinking that it might makes sense to switch from a 9800GT to either one of these ATI 4870 brands – HIS or ASUS -because the ATI 4870 is run in the mac pro. People recommend the Sapphire brand for ATI, but newegg is out of stock. Would you recommend this GPU switch for possibly better OOB support? If so, do you have a preference between HIS or ASUS?

    Also, I guess I will have to see when my system arrives (3 days), but would you say that digital_dreamer’s install method is approachable by someone with literally 0 programing experience? Despite some update issues, I have looked into kakewalk and it really looks like it is a insert and click install method. Ultimately though, I would rather put time in the beginning and avoid the update issues that you seem to have avoided with digital_dreamer’s install method if I can use it.

  94. Pier says:

    Hi

    I just built my own hackintosh using kakewalk. I have an ex58 ud3r and a core i7 920. On the system profiler instead of having a core i7 it shows I have a:

    Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
    Processor Speed: 2.67 GHz

    Is this normal?

    Thanks!

  95. Hi, I have a 775 quad system and I was wondering if anyone can help me get both graphics cards and four monitors working. I’m hoping it’s as simple as a installing a kext. Anyway, here’s my build:

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
    (two) GIGABYTE GV-N98TOC-1GI Rev 2.0 GeForce 9800 GT 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP SLI ready (but not SLI’d)

    Intel Core2Quad Q9550 @2.83

    2X Kingston ValueRAM DDR2-8q00 4096MB

    Thanks anyone!

  96. Ali says:

    Hey. Just wondering do you need to Video Cards to support 2 monitors?. New to this stuff.

  97. Pedro says:

    Hey,
    I just tried Digital Dreamer script to modify my Graphic- card plist.
    But I didnt find my model. I found 9400 GT, 9600 GT, but there was no 9500 GT.
    Should I install a plist from another board? What did you do with yours?
    Thx

  98. vicky says:

    hey.. newbie here so any help would be much appreciated..first time install of osx snow leopard

    Gigabyte EX-58 UD5 motherboard
    XFX GTS250 (1gb ddr3) graphics card
    6gb corsair ram
    logitech mk250 keyboard/mouse combo

    i installed snow leopard using kakewalk method from insanelymac. everything other than the audio works fine.
    do i need to install some kexts for the issue and if so which one and how do i install them.. thanks

  99. [...] GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 noch ein Link [...]

  100. Michael says:

    Great Article. It has been awhile since I built a PC. I think it was back in the P3 days. Yes it has been along time. That said, I have a few questions. If I go with the 970 vs 920 would I need a different Mboard /memory?

    Also, What is the maximum memory I have have? If I must use a different MBoard

    What SSD drive would you recommend? Size does matter.

    What is a good HIGH END (FAST) Video card that can support up to 4 Monitors.

    Thanks

  101. static says:

    Hi

    first off I would like to thank you for all the information, its amazing and has made me think long and hard about building a hackintosh for my self. I am a music producer and have been using a core 2 duo with 3 gig of ram running cubase 5 but the machine is on its way out, its around 6 years old and the software (vst’s) i am starting to use is pushing it to its limits and holding me back. I have been looking in to a macpro put unfortunately there is no way ill be able to afford one. I was very upset when I saw how much they where as I really want to cross over to Logic and as this is only available on an apple system I am stuck with cubase.

    After finding your information on line I have started to get very excited as the possibility of me running osx and logic are now looking very promising. If I was to do a hackintosh I would follow your exact hardware setup as I dont want any chance of error and my dream system taken away. If its OK I have a few questions I would like to ask in relation some of my hardware,

  102. Sammy says:

    Your write up inspired me to build a hackintosh, to rival a mid spec iMac i7.

    I’ve come to post here as I’ve reached a stumbling block – I am looking for a ‘go ahead’. I aim to use it for video editing and Adobe’s latest Apps.

    Specs would include:
    CPU: i7 930 2.8GHz 8MB Cache
    MOBO: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 or EX58A-UD3R
    GPU: Gigabyte GTS 250 1Gb or ATI Radeon 4890 (Are there better compatible cards?)
    RAM: Corsair 8GB (4x2GB) PC-12800 (1600MHz) DDR3
    HDD: Seagate XT 2TB 7200rpm 6GB/s 64M
    POWER: Corsair HX-850 ATX

    I’m hoping the careful selection of parts yields me a simple install using a retail OSX 10.6.3 disc? Out of the box is what I’m aiming for. Hope to get it as good as a real Mac with hassle-free updates.

    Any suggestions?

    Regards, Sammy.

  103. hisham says:

    Apologies to all the above visitors who have left lingering questions for so long. I’ve been quite busy lately with a new gig amongst other things. I really hoped others would chip in as well if I didn’t reply soon enough. I know this is not a forum per se, but do feel free to reply and impart your knowledge on us.

    @ Tag

    I honestly have not used ATI cards in a Hackintosh build, so I wouldn’t be the best one to answer your question. I would though go for one which has the best reviews and ratings and a handy return policy should it fail to work under OS X.

    I would strongly suggest at least giving digital_dreamer’s method a gander. At the very least, you’ll gain an appreciation of what makes a Hackintosh work. As a beginner, it may take you a bit longer than a day to tweak your Hackintosh to your satisfaction, but the understanding you would gain from digital_dreamer’s method is worth it.

    @ Ross McGinnis

    If both cards are not working from the get go, you’ll likely need to add them via the device-properties tag in com.apple.boot.plist. See here .

    You may also need to change the BIOS settings to make the second graphics card as primary (i.e. the card that displays the initial power-up screens on when the computer is first turned on), otherwise OS X will not boot and/or recognize only one card. This is needed for the GA-EX58-UD5.

    @ Ali

    Not if you have a video card with two outputs, which most do nowadays.

    @ Pedro

    Use OSX86Tools to make a custom EFI graphics string. There should be a 9500GT card listed there somewhere. Here’s a video tutorial.

    @ vicky

    Check to see that you’re using the same audio kexts that digital_dreamer’s script recommends.

    @ Michael

    Thanks.

    I believe the GA-EX58-UD5 is compatible with the 970. Corsair Dominator memory should work fine as well, or anything else similar.

    The GA-EX58-UD5 supports up to 24Gb. Other boards should be similar. As a comparison, the 8-core Mac Pro can handle up to 32Gb of memory.

    For SSD drives, I have no experience with any as of yet; though I’m hoping to get a pair of OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSDs soon. When I do, I’ll post a review and a comparison vis-a-vis conventional disks.

    Not sure. I use two video cards to run four monitors. I think it works better this way as you’re not overloading one 16x PCI-Express slot with data for four screens.

    @ static

    Please post and/or email your questions again and I’ll see what I can do to help.

    @ Sammy

    The 930 is fine. If you can get hold of a 920 revision D0 at a lower price than the 930, then it’s good too, and you’ll be able to achieve similar overclock speeds.

    For the motherboard, stick with the GA-EX58-UD5 as it’s the one with historically less snags when installing OS X.

    I would go with the GTS 250 1Gb. Seems to have the least trouble working. See here.

    I’d go for 6Gb (3×2) now, and leave the remaining three memory slots for a future 6Gb upgrade.

    Since you’re going to do video work, I’d suggest you have two drives. One for the system and the other for your data. The system drive needn’t be more than 200-400Gb (you can probably get away with 80Gb).

    Good luck!

  104. Duc says:

    Hi there

    I just want to know how stable the hackintosh could Final cut studio. Is there any crash or other issue ?

  105. Alan says:

    I need help installing mac os on a custom build computer… i7 930 with six gb corsair and GA X58A–UD5 I am using a hdd that is with sata 3 and a other drive sata 2 for the os for mac… just not quite sure how to proceed… I have windows 7 on the 1tb and well the other hdd is 500gb which i want for the mac OSx

  106. Josh says:

    Hi

    Just I would update that I have now successfully installed on an i7 rig (almost similar to yours) and have overclocked it to 3.7 Ghz. This gives me a Geekbench (64 bit) score of nearly 11000.

    I don’t know whether it’s good or not but I am very happy and everything is running super smooth.

  107. bob says:

    I do have to wonder about the legality. I’m sure you won’t get in trouble, but isn’t this the same thing that Psystar tried, only they were selling them? I guess they would have been fine if they stuck Apple stickers on their PCs lol.

  108. Soren says:

    Do you use a sound card? and if you do what do you prefer?

  109. ravikumae says:

    Alan :

    I need help installing mac os on a custom build computer… i7 930 with 4 gb ddr3 and dx 58s0 motherboard I am using a hdd that is with sata 1 tb hardisc.hp dvd r/w, how to proceed… I have windows 7 and mac os x 10.6.3 retail dvd .

    Type your comment here

  110. ravikumae says:

    sir please help me to instal mac os x 10.6.3 for my custem built pc

  111. MacHacker says:

    My Hackintosh build was about $1700 less monitor and I used the Gigabyte EX58-UD5 with Intel i7 920 CPU, 12 GB OCZ DDR3 1600 RAM and an EVGA Nvidia 9800 GTX+ video card to install Leopard and then Snow Leopard. I also used a ram cooler and the Corsair Hyrdo H-50 water cooler.

    I recently reloaded the 500 GB boot drive with Kakewalk 2.1 using the flash drive method and it was the simplest install of Retail Snow Leopard I have ever encountered. I am currently running 10.6.3 wit Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio and much more.

    Be sure to know that you can not successfully load MacOS X with a boot drive larger than 999 GB.

  112. Ped says:

    Imprecionante I will make an attempt here in my country. I would just ask a question of new motherboards are not compatible? which have usb 3 and all that.

  113. Bruce says:

    I have a dimension 8400 thatg I have been trying to install iATKOS S3 v2 on. I have had a sucessful install but can not get past boot kernal panic I also had trouble getting thsi distro to see my HDD. Had to set bios to sata/Pata combo. Any help?

  114. jobeyone says:

    Great info,

    Are you able to get wifi working on this?

    Many thanks.

  115. Pedro says:

    Hello, I have a system like this, running and stable for months, but it started booting out of nothing. I didnt installed anything different. I dont know what to do now, in order to recover my system.

  116. Rojo says:

    is there a list of updated video cards that would be compatible with this setup, or would any video card be compatible with this setup? YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER!!

  117. vpoola says:

    Hey, I love your setup. Im really struggling with getting multiple displays with my hackintosh, any way you can help me out?

  118. medorpg says:

    Dear Sir, I have a similar spex to yours
    I have a successful installation of OSX and everything is working just fine

    EXCEPT that my CPU frequency is read as 2.0 but mine is 2.66 just as yours
    how can I fix that ?

  119. Jeff says:

    How did you get your hackintosh to recognize all 8 cores (4 but hyperthreaded) of your i7? This is the only problem that I am running into at the moment.

  120. sean says:

    Dear Hisham,
    Can I just say ‘thank you’ for posting this page and sharing your insight into the hackintosh world.
    I’ve yet to come across ANYONE who has been as generous as you with their rig info and gladly answering everybody’s q’s.
    I have so many questions to ask but I’ll leave it for now and come back after some attempt at getting things done.
    Just saw your portfolio as well, the shots with the badass hoodlums – awesome!!
    Thanks HEAPS once again. All your info here is helping many worldwide.
    Reg,
    s

  121. Andrew says:

    Thanks for the article it’s helped out so much. At the moment the motherboard you suggested is out of stock everywhere. Is there another/better board you know of that is available?

  122. Lan Ops says:

    Is there a motherboard with support for usb 3 and sata 6? I know Aple does not sell any, but I would love to see this. If not, will it support a pciX SSD card? I would rather put money on that (300$ for 120GB) then the full amount n a pro rig.

  123. loupop says:

    Hisham,

    i was wondering, i have the same stup as you, i get random crashes when i play video like youtube or use handbrake to convert.

    i am so lost and i have no idea what to do, can you help?
    i wrote on forums and stuff but no response…

    i am pretty bummed…

    thanks if you have an idea… i am running all updated SL.

    cheers!!

  124. loupop says:

    maybe the ram? too much? i have the same as you and the cpu overclock, for some reason i cant see kernel panic log so i have no idea…

  125. loupop says:

    i took 4 ram stick out (8gig)
    and it seem better, you guys have a idea on what i can do to be able to run the ram?

  126. loupop says:

    i was wondering if you could send me the list of you kext?
    maybe i use some stuff that i shouldnt…
    maybe a screen snapshot of your extention folder?
    that would help i think…
    here is my email,

    Louisrobert@gmx.com

  127. Miquel says:

    Hi!
    Can you tell me how do you get the third monitor working? i have a GTX285 and a GT220 and there’s only the first working with two displays and nothig in the third… what i should do?

  128. L-e-o-g says:

    hi hisham,
    I have found your site very helpful and clear amongst a sea of confusion, however lots of the parts dont seem very widely available in the UK at the moment, im looking for a motherboard/ram/graphics card to build around a i7 950 around a medium kinda price range….. any suggestions – thanks

  129. [...] d’abord parce que c’est moins cher qu’un Mac. Certains sites proposent de comparer les prix à composants identiques. C’est certes très parlant, mais il ne [...]

  130. [...] did what anyone would do…he built his own system to match the Mac Pro. What attracted me to Hisham’s post (versus the multitude of other hackintosh blogs) was the fact that he was trying to build a rig [...]

  131. Lemarqq says:

    Hello guys.
    I wanna install Mac OS X on my PC, and i need your help.
    My specs : Gigabyte EX58 UD5, Intel7 920@2.67 GHz, 3GB DDR3, 2 x WD 6400 AAKS, PNY GTX 285,SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer.
    Please tell me which Mac OS X distro is okay for my specs.
    Do i need to pre-install another Mac OS X distro, before Snow Leopard ?
    Any ideas / suggestions, are welcome.
    Thanks in advance.

  132. [...] So he did what anyone would do…he built his own system to match the Mac Pro. What attracted me to Hisham’s post (versus the multitude of other hackintosh blogs) was the fact that he was trying to build a rig [...]