Archive Home arrow Guides arrow Budget Hackintosh PC Build Project

Budget Hackintosh PC Build Project E-mail
Articles - Featured Guides
Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
Budget Hackintosh PC Build Project
Hackintosh Components
Hackintosh Components Continued
The Build
OS X and UniBeast
Installing OS X
Configuring OS X with MultiBeast
4K Sector Drives
Using Your Hackintosh
Performance, Power, and Final Thoughts

The Build

Since mini-ITX cases don't have cutouts behind the CPU area of the motherboard, any third party coolers requiring backplates must be mounted before you install the motherboard. And this is where I ran into a problem I never anticipated: ASUS has components on the back of the P8H77-I motherboard that preclude any type of cooler backplate:


Whoops. So much for the GEMIN-II M4 cooler I'd hoped to use. (I have used this cooler on other mini-ITX builds and really like it: it offers an excellent performance boost over the Intel cooler and is virtually silent as well.) On an enthusiast level motherboard this would be a fatal flaw, but remember that the H77 chipset doesn't permit overclocking, even if you're using a "K"-series CPU. If you know you're not going to be overclocking, then the standard Intel push-pin cooler is all you'll ever need, so you don't need to worry about this. Oh, well. Installing the CPU, Intel cooler, and Crucial Ballistix memory is the work of moments.


The Cooler Master Elite 120 case is not only inexpensive, it looks good and its design allows the use of ATX power supplies and full size graphics cards. It also has one significant advantage for Hackintosh work: it's the only mini-ITX case I know of that has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports on the front panel. Why is this a big deal? Because Hackintoshes still aren't perfect...and one way this imperfection makes itself known is the fact that USB 2.0 mass storage devices (like, say, USB keys) won't work in USB 3.0 ports. With any other mini-ITX case, you'd have only USB 2.0 front ports (in which case you couldn't use USB 3.0 devices conveniently) or only USB 3.0 ports (in which case you couldn't use USB 2.0 devices conveniently). This problem is what keeps me from recommending a case like the Bitfenix Prodigy, since its two front (well, side) USB ports are USB 3.0.


As you can see from the image above, the tiny SFX power supply is a real win in terms of working inside this small case. A full size ATX power supply pretty much covers the entire motherboard, which makes getting to things like the EPS-12V and SATA connectors a real pain. With the Silverstone ST45SF-G, it's easy. In this image you can see the Elite 120's small side fan on the right side of the case. I removed this fan for this build since it wasn't needed, and plugged the front fan into the motherboard's chassis fan connector.


Snap off the front panel, slide in the optical drive, and flip the locking lever to secure it. Another option here is to use a slim optical drive and a 3.5" device like a card reader with a special bracket to fit both items in the 5.25" bay.


As you can see, there's plenty of room for the GTX250 video card and its power cables. The left side of the Cooler Master Elite 120 case is covered with ventilation holes, so the card's cooling fan will be drawing air in directly from outside the system.


Below the 5.25" bay are three 3.5" bays for hard drives; Cooler Master supplies 2.5" adapter sleds for two of these bays. The 3.5" drive you see here is a spare I had and will be used for Time Machine backups. The Seagate SSHD is in the top bay, just below the optical drive, and isn't visible in this image.

This is one of the easiest builds I've ever done. But at this point it's just a generic PC. Let's turn it into a Hackintosh in the next section.



# RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectChris 2013-04-11 22:56
Some thoughts:

The case choice probably limited the CPU overclocking. There are some ITX cases where it is even possible to put a cooler the size of a Silver Arrow E or a Phanteks PH-TC14PE on with 3 fans.

See here for an example:

With a cooler like that, you'll be getting overclocks comparable to full sized desktops.

The 27" monitors do ship with a big 2560x1440 IPS monitor - there are some cheap Korean ones on Ebay.

I'd have to say, it's probably best to go with a full ATX board and a mid-tower case. Upgrade-ability is perhaps the largest advantage that these Hackintoshes have.

Also, David, about the fact that you have not used an Apple product in a while - you are not missing too much to be honest. There really isn't the big difference that people make there out to be with Apple hardware.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectDavid Ramsey 2013-04-12 08:00
Since Intel sent us a CPU that won't overclock, and ASUS sent us a motherboard that won't overclock, there seemed little point in trying to overclock anything.

I did cover this in the review...

That said, a full ATX setup does offer more options in this area, at the cost of a much larger system that will probably still only ever use a single slot. And you're more likely to find a case with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 connectors on the front panel.

Still, that's the whole point of building your own system: one that has the hardware you want to use. My first two Hackintosh articles here were on full ATX systems.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectChris 2013-04-13 02:00
The reason why I do say that is because the typical geek building a Hackintosh probably is willing to get the "K" versions of the CPUs, so overclocking can be a factor there.

It really depends on your priorities I guess - in this case, you opted for SFF over full ATX. If all you need is a GPU (or you use integrated) then you're good. But if you want more, ATX board just gives you more options.

Looking over Apple's iMac line (my buddy has one), you're not missing much. The back of the new iMac has a distinct "bulge" so it's not quite as thin as it appears. Plus to make it so thin they had to use some laptop components (so performance does suffer somewhat).
Report Comment
# terrible component choicespaul 2013-05-15 00:24
typically i enjoy benchmarkreviews articles, but this right here really puts things to shame. my first (and only?) comment, but enough for me to want to reply in disgust (and i will also unsubscribe from benchmarkreviews now)

this is supposed to be a "budget" hackintosh build.
also, i would expect that you would want the most compatible components for a hackintosh

where benchmarkreviews went wrong:

for budget, you included an extra +$110 for a GTX 260. this could have been eliminated if you chose a CPU that had supported on-board HD graphics (HD3000 or HD4000)


i3-2105 (sandy bridge with HD3000) paired with Gigabyte H61N-USB3 will have a very high compatibility for hackintosh. since this is part of tonymac's golden builds, you don't even need to modify / require certain files (such as DSDT)
i3-3225 (ivy bridge with HD4000) paired with Gigabyte H77N-Wifi. same compatibility as above. would NOT need a discrete graphics card.

also, really? a $100 power supply? you could get a decent power supply, such as the corsair 430w *modular* for $30 after rebate @ newegg.

Report Comment
# RE: terrible component choicesDavid Ramsey 2013-05-15 08:13
As I explained in the article, we are limited by the components our sponsors send us. Sometimes they send us what we ask for; and sometimes they don't. I did specifically mention the i3-3225 as a preferred option in the article.
Report Comment
# OS 10.7 Required???Mugsy 2013-05-15 06:25
Is the creation of a "Hackintosh" only possible as of the release of OS 10.7 Lion?

Because it seems it would be much less cumbersome to use an earlier version of OS 10 on disc and just "upgrade" to 10.7 once you are up & running.

The mess of obtaining "Lion" from an existing working machine, aborting the install, transferring it to USB and installing it via a third-party utility, seems like an unnecessarily complex method of installing an OS.
Report Comment
# RE: OS 10.7 Required???David Ramsey 2013-05-15 08:19
Not all all. Things got pretty easy starting with Snow Leopard (10.8.6), the last version of OS X released on physical media. In fact my first Hackintosh article-- which I provided a link to in this article-- described how to bring up a Hackintosh based on Snow Leopard.

The installation process with Snow Leopard still requires the creation of a magic USB key, so it's not really any easier than the Mountain Lion method. Also, every system upgrade you apply on the way to upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion will either break something or render your machine unbootable, and each upgrade will nuke something different, so in general it's a lot easier to go with the latest OS from the start.

The one advantage of the Snow Leopard install is that you can do it without access to another Mac. Of course, first you have to find a Snow Leopard disk.
Report Comment
# No upgrading?Mugsy 2013-05-15 08:31
It sounds like (based on your comment), that once you've built your Hackintosh, you'll never be able to upgrade the OS once it is built without "breaking something".
Report Comment
# RE: No upgrading?David Ramsey 2013-05-15 08:53
Sigh. It seems as if nobody actually, you know, reads the articles any more. Go to the page titled "Using Your Hackintosh" and read the paragraph starting with the bold text "System software upgrades should be approached with caution."

In a nutshell: Making a Hackintosh requires patching parts of the OS. Upgrading the OS with Apple updates may replace some of the patched code. Therefore things might break, requiring you to re-install the patches.
Report Comment
# Saw itMugsy 2013-05-15 09:15
Saw that. Wasn't entirely sure "system software" was an issue when upgrading the entire OS.

Problem is, if I read you correctly, the only time you can upgrade is once a (free) third-party patch is made available. :(
Report Comment
# RE: Saw itDavid Ramsey 2013-05-15 09:42
No. Upgrading within an OS release (i.e. 10.8.x) may break something, but you can use the same patches you used for the original installation. For example, upgrading from 10.8.3 to 10.8.4 (expected any day now) might break Ethernet and audio, in which case you simply use MultiBeast to restore the same patches you used originally.

However, upgrading to a new OS release (10.8.x to 10.9, say) might require more work.
Report Comment
# RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectWolfram 2013-05-15 07:34
Bah, how stupid is this - you need a Mac to make a Hackintosh! The whole damn point is that I don't want to buy a Mac! And, no, borrowing one from a friend isn't a convenient option for me.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectDavid Ramsey 2013-05-15 08:20
I'm sorry it's not convenient for you. If you can figure out a way to bring a Mountain Lion Hackintosh up without having access to an existing Mac, the _entire Hackintosh community_ would like to hear about it. You'd be a damn hero.
Report Comment
# Use VBOX and 10.7Deanjo 2013-05-17 07:05
You can get the 10.8 install media from the App Store if you have 10.7 install media which was available on USB. Once you have that, you are able to install it to virtualbox and use the appstore to download and create your 10.8 install media.
Report Comment
# great site that tests different setupsMikey 2013-05-15 10:37
There are some builds that you can do, where the sleep mode works correctly. This guy tests all the latest stuff out to figure out what parts work best together :]
Report Comment
# MrR. Vail 2013-05-15 22:47
Re: "bring a Mountain Lion Hackintosh up without having access to an existing Mac". It is possible, by using a pre-modified ML installer.
There's at least 3 that I'm aware of: Niresh, Hazard, & iAtkos.
An Apple approved method? Well, not exactly...
Report Comment
# RE: MrDavid Ramsey 2013-05-16 07:55
So, what you're saying is that you can bring up a Mountain Lion Hackintosh without access to an existing Mac, as long as someone else who does have access to an existing Mac has built a special installer for you...
Report Comment
# StrugglingAleRay 2013-06-01 21:06
I tried this build with the i3-3225 and have kernel panic on boot. I'm trying to run 10.8.3. Have you been able to run 10.8.3 on this system?

I followed your instructions to a T. Then I scoured the tonymacx86. I've tried removing the AppleIntelCPUPowerMa nagement kexts to no success.

Do you have any suggestions?
Report Comment
# WARNING -- BAD BUILDAleRay 2013-06-01 23:05
Okay. After a MISERABLE 3 days trying to get this build to work with 10.8.3 I was able to get it running with this...

The install procedure is VERY different to what is outlined here.

I completely agree with paul. Bad component choices. It's absurd to give a sample build based on what you were able to get for free rather than what is most compatible. Your disclosure does not clarify that there are more compatible components.

The responsible thing to do would be to take this article down or at LEAST put a warning at the beginning that this is NOT a recommended build for 10.8.3. And that there ARE builds that support sleep.

And if the ONLY reason to go with the $100 power supply is because it allows for more space.
Report Comment
# RE: WARNING -- BAD BUILDDavid Ramsey 2013-06-02 09:11
I went through the ground-up configuration and installation four times as I wrote this article; when I was satisfied that everything was correct, I had a person with zero previous Hackintosh experience bring the system up from scratch using my directions. Everything worked, so I have no idea what your problem was.

I've read through the TonyMacx86 thread you cited. It's much less detailed than my build instructions, but the overall flow seems to be the same. Since these instructions worked for you, could you point out the difference that enabled you to get past the kernel panic? I can always amend the article to reflect this.

It would be nice if all the review sites had large piles of cash sitting around that we could use to buy all the hardware we review, rather than what vendors choose to send us. Perhaps we could start charging for our articles...

And yes, space considerations were the reason behind the choice of the SFX power supply. I thought I explained that pretty clearly in the section on components. I do specifically mention that the Cooler Master case supports ATX power supplies, so you can use whatever power supply you want.
Report Comment
# huge headache with the installJames 2013-06-03 13:04
I'm using the exact same motherboard and cpu as the author but I cant boot unless I'm in safe mode. The machine gets stuck at boot when it says that it cannot recognize the CPU. Is there any way someone has found to work around this? Does this hardware actually work with mountain lion?
Report Comment
# RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-03 14:15
Yes, it really, truly works with Mountain Lion. You gave virtually no information in your message, so it's kinda hard to tell you what to try. How far have you gotten with the installation? Did you successfully create your installation key and go through the OS X installation? In other words, where are you in the process when the machine fails to boot?
Report Comment
# RE: RE: huge headache with the installJames 2013-06-03 15:09
I apologize for being frustrated and not providing all the details. I installed ML and then am able to boot into the installation from the USB drive but only with the -x option. Once I am in, I went through the initial OSX setup with selecting usernames and time zones. Then I can get into the functional desktop for OSX, but am in safe mode. I have run the MultiBeast program with the options you have specified. After the system reboots, it hangs. I can reboot with -v to see that it is hanging on "unknown cpu model 0x3a". Rebooting with -x solves this issue, but it puts me in safe mode where the system is not fully functional.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: huge headache with the installJames 2013-06-03 15:32
To be specific, the error I'm hanging on is WARNING: IOPlatformPluginUtil : getCPUIDInfo: this is an unknown CPU model 0x3a
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-03 17:19
Well, I've spent some time researching this. It's mysterious since you're using the same motherboard and CPU that I did for this build. Here are some things to try:

1. Make sure your BIOS is the latest version. FWIW, the BIOS on my board is version 1001.

2. Some people have said disabling VT-d in the BIOS cured it. Not applicable since this mobo doesn't have VT-d.

3. Others say that resetting the BIOS to its factory defaults fixed it. Of course if you try this remember to make sure your SATA ports are set to AHCI and that your boot device is correct.

4. One person said adding fakesmc.kext worked. You can find this in Multibeast: Drivers & Bootloaders->Drivers->Miscellaneous->FakeSMC.

I think #4 is your best bet. Give it a try.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-03 17:27
Oh, yeah: if you followed my instructions, you should already have FakeSMC.kext, since it's installed as part of EasyBeast, the very first checkbox in MultiBeast. If you want to check before trying this, open /System/Library/Extensions and look for "FakeSMC.kext".

Reinstalling it won't hurt anything, but if you already have it, it probably won't help, either.

Let me know.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installJames 2013-06-03 17:39
Hi David, thank you for looking into this problem and offering some advice. I appreciate the work you put into the guide and answering responses on this site. I tried the FakeSMC earlier with no luck. I also tried factory default setting in the BIOS with no luck. I have yet to try making sure the BIOS was at the latest version. In between the time I posted and your response I went to Fry's and returned the CPU as I thought that maybe I will have better luck with a different model. I'm waiting on my order of the 3225 to come in from Amazon. I will post an update here once I learn more about how this problem evolves.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-03 17:46
The only difference between the 3220 and 3225 is that the latter has a usable integrated GPU, which is nice if you don't want to dedicate a graphics card. I'd be surprised if it made any difference, though.

Let me know how it turns out. If worse comes to worse you can ship it to me and I will MAKE IT WORK.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installAleRay 2013-06-03 19:57
I got stuck in the same place with a 3225.

I'm at the point where I have a stable install, but no audio and no power management. I did it following these instructions (and some of the instructions here -- like 4k sectors).

Many differences in BIOS setup and multibeast. Then I had to hard code my resolution (1080x1200x32) in that boot plist file. (Writing from my phone).

To get audio (essential) and power management you have to flash the BIOS (which I consider to be beyond the threshold of a "simple" install). I haven't done it yet, but this looks like a good set of instructions...
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-03 21:14
Flashing the BIOS with a patched version you find online is indeed beyond a simple install, but you shouldn't have to flash the BIOS to get audio. This is the third Hackintosh I've built with ASUS mITX boards and I've yet to flash a BIOS.

Well, actually, I did try on my own machine to get power management working, but haven't had any luck there, which is why it's not in this article. But again, simply installing the audio driver as I describe works fine, really.

BTW, the link you posted was a guide for the P8Z77 board, which has different audio (among other things) from the P8H77 board in my article. This would explain the "many differences"...
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installJames 2013-06-04 11:30
I have a minor (maybe not for user AleRay) update as of this morning. I decided to go with the fully reccomended setup by tonymacosx found here:

So like I said, I already returned by 3220 and ordered a 3225. I decided to return my asus p8h77 and order a gah77 because apparantly gigabyte mobos rock with osx.

Well, I go to the store to return my motherboard and they would not want to accept the return because they claimed that there were two bent pins. I do not know how in the hell that happened! Anyway, if you're seeing this issue of cpu uknown 0x3a when booting and can only boot in safe mode, it may be worth your time to verify that the cpu is properly seated and that all the pins are straight and functional.

I probably could have made this build work like David Ramsey did if I paid some more attention to the seating of the cpu but it's too late for me now as I already ordered new stuff.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installDavid Ramsey 2013-06-04 14:24
Too bad on those bent pins-- I've done that myself on an X58 board. Hopefully your new Hackintosh setup will go more smoothly!
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: huge headache with the installOlin Coles 2013-06-04 15:16
Why not just use tweezers to carefully bend the pins back and use this motherboard?
Report Comment
# Install OS X 10.8 on my PCshibu 2013-09-07 19:40
i have following config pc
Processor : Intel(R)i3-3220 CPU @ 3.30GHz
Mother Board :Intel DH77EB
Graphic Card :NVIDIA GeForce GT 610 (2GB)

Can i install mac os X 10.8 on this PC
Report Comment
# RE: Budget Hackintosh PC Build ProjectDavid Ramsey 2013-09-07 19:45
I don't know if anyone has used this particular motherboard for a Hackintosh before, but I don't know any reason it wouldn't work. The only problems you might have would be with the audio, I think.
Report Comment
# MonitorErbas 2013-12-01 10:16
With this motherboard I can connect direct hdmi on tv and use the tv as a monitor.
Report Comment

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter