Building a Hackintosh The Easy Way

For the uninitiated, a "Hackintosh" is a computer that runs OS X on non-Apple hardware. Although the company has taken steps to prevent this, technically it’s been possible since the transition to Intel processors. There are a number of vibrant and active communities that focus on helping one another to configure, build, and troubleshoot Hackintosh systems.

Building a Hackintosh has definitely gotten easier over the years but there’s still plenty of tinkering involved. Earlier this year a company known as Quo launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a motherboard designed to run "any operating system" out of the box. They don’t explicitly market it as a Hackintosh board, perhaps to avoid suffering the same fate of Psystar, but it’s clearly one of the board's key selling points.

The Z77MX-QUO-AOS motherboard, otherwise known as projectQ, is manufactured by Gigabyte as an exclusive OEM project. By using specific Mac compatible components for everything from audio to networking, the board even uses the same Texas Instruments IEEE-1394b OHCI Controller as the Mac Pro for Firewire 400/800 and packs two Thunderbolt ports for good measure -- which the outgoing model notably lacks. Add a custom open-source BIOS and you have the workings for a zero effort Hackintosh. Or so is the goal.

Read: Building a Hackintosh with Quo's "Any OS" Motherboard

These articles are brought to you in partnership with TechSpot.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

BBM app to add video and voice calling features "within months" and remain free

Next Story

The top Windows Store games you should download

88 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Given Apple's attitude towards this kind of thing, I'm wondering why would I ever want to have OSX running on non-Apple hardware? If the goal is to tinker with things, then there's plenty of Linux distributions.

Been running a hackintosh at work since 2008... 3 generations of hackintosh infact, and I have to say the current one took almost no effort to setup and never has issues during updates.

ndoggfromhell said,
Been running a hackintosh at work since 2008... 3 generations of hackintosh infact, and I have to say the current one took almost no effort to setup and never has issues during updates.
Generally it's not a good idea to advertise you are actively violating EULA's at your workplace. More importantly it's not a good idea for your workplace. EULA/Pirating violations are most often reported by disgruntled current or ex-employees.


Hello,

Spicoli said,
So you're publically incriminating your workplace too??? It is against the law for them to allow you to use illegal software in their office.

Breaking a EULA is not against the law in most places.

Hello,

Spicoli said,

Yes...it...is.


I and others have stated: It is NOT against the law to break a EULA.

If a EULA says, "If you use this product, you must in 3 days kill yourself" and you dont do it, you wont go to jail. Why? Because it is not against the law to break a EULA.

Having said this, please by all means state what law is being broken when you break a EULA. Breaking a EULA is not copyright infringement. Please look up what is copyright infringement before you bring it up

Where in the DMCA does it say that installing OS X on a non-Apple computer is illegal?

Edited by Bonfire, Oct 30 2013, 12:40am :

TRC said,
Where in the DMCA does it say that installing OS X on a non-Apple computer is illegal?

The part of the DMCA that says circumvention of copyright control measures is illegal?

That article says that Radeon cards may take extra effort. My HD 7870 took absolutely no extra effort in OS 10.9, but I do suppose YMMV. The Intel HD4000 on my Ivy Bridge laptop is actually much more problematic, and I would say that if you want a portable Mac OS, you really should just buy from Apple. The traditional reasons for buying a desktop mostly still apply to building a Mac OS workstations.

First off, the audio on this board is not "Mac compatible". The audio codecs on Mac logic boards are exclusive to Apple, so you still need to use a AppleHDA patch (or VoodooHDA) to get working audio.

Also the boards were made to spec by Gigabyte but they ship with a stock Gigabyte BIOS. To be clear, Gigabyte didn't build a hackintosh motherboard. In order to get that functionality you have to flash a custom third-party BIOS. This is presumably to avoid any legal hassles for Gigabyte and Quo.

It's definitely a brilliant use of UEFI. While hackintoshing has gotten easier with every OS X release, this basically allows you to have all you need baked into the BIOS.

SuperKid said,
Can we have a tutorial on how to crack Windows 8? /s .. though Hackintosh is illegal?

Installing OSX on none Apple hardware is against the EULA, however that does not make it illegal. There's a massive difference between that and cracking Windows...

InsaneNutter said,

Installing OSX on none Apple hardware is against the EULA, however that does not make it illegal. There's a massive difference between that and cracking Windows...

Yes...it...does.

Spicoli said,

Yes...it...does.

No.. It.. does.. not..

No court in the US has ruled on the validity of EULAs in general, even if that ever happened it still would not apply to the rest of the world.

I hate the name "Hackintosh", when was the last time you heard a Mac called a Macintosh?

If anything it should be called a Hac.

Hello,

JamesWeb said,
I hate the name "Hackintosh", when was the last time you heard a Mac called a Macintosh?

If anything it should be called a Hac.


Ive heard it a bunch of times.

If you work in a network related enviroment you would understand why.

Dafuq is this? I was temp banned for a comment once that read "or just build a hackintosh lol"

Reason - Discussion of piracy or condoning piracy is against the rules.

Big ass double standards here

The purpose of this article was to inform the Neowin readers about a technology that has become available. Neowin has also covered iOS7 leaks, Vista leaks, Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 leaks, and none of those articles have ever condoned piracy; it's all about the spread of information of technology.

Agreed, however my comment, even in context, didn't outline any form of piracy. It simply stated they should build a hackintosh. This article goes much further. I suspect my ban was due to classic human conditions, perhaps anger?

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see this article here. Gettng OSx to work for me was great for learning how the OS worked (which is why I installed it - to better my cross platform skills)

It's also interesting to see whether OSx really is "better" than windows or if it's just a hardware experiance. IMO after running OSx/Win on my tower I find OSx is a bit nicer than Win.. up to a point. Then it becomes annoying and clumsy.

Spicoli said,
Doesn't this site have rules against posting articles about pirating? Dumb as it may be, you are in violation of the law if you run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware.

Do not pirate OS X. You must use an original copy that you own to do this. We cannot assist you if Apple comes to your house for violating the EULA.

Better? (The article does not suggest anything even close to piracy.)

GreyWolf said,

Do not pirate OS X. You must use an original copy that you own to do this. We cannot assist you if Apple comes to your house for violating the EULA.

Better? (The article does not suggest anything even close to piracy.)

It doesn't matter If you own an original copy. The license does not allow you to use it on non-Apple hardware.

Mr.XXIV said,
Due to the fact that Mavericks is free. It doesn't even matter anymore.
It's free if used under the terms of the license agreement.

GreyWolf said,

Do not pirate OS X. You must use an original copy that you own to do this. We cannot assist you if Apple comes to your house for violating the EULA.

Better? (The article does not suggest anything even close to piracy.)

Show us how boss you really are GreyWolf. Post a tutorial on how to acquire and install Windows 8.1 circumventing the Licensing and Activation. I mean, it's our fault if MS comes to our house and gets us for violating the EULA right?

Spicoli said,
Doesn't this site have rules against posting articles about pirating? Dumb as it may be, you are in violation of the law if you run Mac OS on non-Apple hardware.

Violating a EULA is not violating the law. At worst, violating a EULA removes your right to use the software/product if, and only if, Apple pursues you. Apple can sue you, but you cannot go to jail for strictly violating a EULA.

jwmcpeak said,
Violating a EULA is not violating the law.
Violate the EULA. Call Apple and let them know. Get to court. Use that as your defense.

jwmcpeak said,

Violating a EULA is not violating the law. At worst, violating a EULA removes your right to use the software/product if, and only if, Apple pursues you. You cannot go to jail for violating a EULA.

Yes, violating a contract you agreed to is against the law. There's no way you can spin this to not be pirating.

MrHumpty said,
Violate the EULA. Call Apple and let them know. Get to court. Use that as your defense.

Civil action is not the same as criminal prosecution.

jwmcpeak said,
Civil action is not the same as criminal prosecution.
The law is indiscriminate at that point. You are violating laws governing contracts. It is illegal in that someone can bring suit against you and will most likely be able to take all legal recourse to stop you and to be compensated for damages.

Can a cop come in and arrest you if he knows that you are pirating software. No. Can a cop, under direction of the court confiscate that software and force you to pay fines after a finding against you in civil court, yes.

Do I think Apple will ever come after hackintosh users? Nope. I could care less. But you are advising someone to do something that would violate the law. Just because it is civil and not criminal doesn't really change things much.

jwmcpeak said,

Civil action is not the same as criminal prosecution.

Nor is against the law the same as criminally prosecuted. Why are you desperately trying to play word games? Are you trying to claim this is not pirating?

Spicoli said,

Nor is against the law the same as criminally prosecuted. Why are you desperately trying to play word games? Are you trying to claim this is not pirating?

No it is not piracy. If I buy a genuine copy of OSX and install it on my toaster that's not pirating it.

TRC said,
No it is not piracy. If I buy a genuine copy of OSX and install it on my toaster that's not pirating it.
Says someone who knows nothing about software licensing.

TRC said,
Violating an EULA is not piracy and it is not illegal.
It doesn't really matter how many times you say that. In the end you're still wrong. EULA is a contract between the software owner and the end user who is licensing the software from the owner. In that agreement it stipulates how it can and can't be used. It's a contract. Just like any other contract, as soon as you are in breech action can be taken.

Some very basic info so you can get learnt: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End-user_license_agreement

TRC said,
Violating an EULA is not piracy and it is not illegal.
I just had a better idea. Build a hackintosh. Video it with witnesses. Sign a sworn affidavit that is notarized with witnesses claiming you have done so. Take that video evidence as well as that notarized affidavit and mail it to Apple's legal department. Lets see how this turns out.

Even if someone did something that ridiculous, and even if Apple really gave a crap about a single person running OS X on a non-Apple computer and actually went and wasted money suing them, that still doesn't make it illegal. There's a difference in a civil suit and a criminal act. In any case nothing would happen, they are not going to sue an individual for installing OS X on a PC. They aren't stupid. It would be a financial loss for them. So enough with the white knighting, Matlock.

Edited by Bonfire, Oct 29 2013, 8:23pm :

TRC said,

No it is not piracy. If I buy a genuine copy of OSX and install it on my toaster that's not pirating it.

Yes it is. It's like talking to a pile of bricks. You cannot legally use software outside the license agreement. This is not an arguable point. If you don't like Apple's hardware lock-in, don't use their software. This is the reason they're so consistently rejected by business deployments.

TRC said,
Even if someone did something that ridiculous, and even if Apple really gave a crap about a single person running OS X on a non-Apple computer and actually went and wasted money suing them, that still doesn't make it illegal. There's a difference in a civil suit and a criminal act. In any case nothing would happen, they are not going to sue an individual for installing OS X on a PC. They aren't stupid. It would be a financial loss for them. So enough with the white knighting, Matlock.

So, you admit it's illegal but it's okay because you can get away with it?

Spicoli said,

So, you admit it's illegal but it's okay because you can get away with it?

No, I said it wasn't illegal. It is a violation of their EULA, but it is not against the law.

Seriously not sure why you and your alter ego are so butthurt about it anyway, people are going to install OS X on their non-Apple PCs and neither you nor Apple are going to stop them. Apple has a right to complain of course, not sure what your hangup is. Do you work for Apple or something?

TRC said,
No, I said it wasn't illegal. It is a violation of their EULA, but it is not against the law.

It is illegal and it is against the law. In order to violate the EULA, you must violate the DMCA and violating the DMCA is illegal.

I ran a Hackintosh for about 7 months before I finally relented and bought an actual Mac. The experience was mostly painless but that's only because I made sure I bought a motherboard that was very well supported. I used the MultiBeast / UniBeast solution.

My only tips would be to make sure you buy well supported hardware - don't waste your time trying to get existing, incompatible hardware to work.. you'll only get angry, and bored. And once you find the right combination of drivers that work for you when running MultiBeast after an installation of OSX, NOTE THEM DOWN - I always forgot to do this, then it was always a gamble every time I did a point release update and had to reinstall drivers.

I was lucky, I tried to install SL 3-4 years ago on my PC and it worked, then used Lion, Mountain Lion, and now it's running Mavericks fine too. Everything working: iCloud, FaceTime, findmymac, sleep, sound, gpu hwa, ethernet etc.

So I think it's worth a try even if you didn't bought hardware with planning to built it to a mackintosh.

my suggestion, don't use multi beast or anything like that, because then you won't know what you did actually, and this can cause problems later.

Edited by nyolc8, Oct 29 2013, 12:05pm :

Same here, except I used an almost 'pure' boot with just EFI emulated on Snow Leopard.

In the end I decided that the time spent tinkering and the uncertainty of whether system updates would break everything wasn't worth it. I was working for Apple at the time (you can imagine the looks on the faces of my colleagues when I admitted I ran a Hack Mac) so I used my staff discount to get a Mac Pro and got about $1000 off the price.

Has anyone ran OSX on VBox? I've been interested in doing so, I've got a few different VMs to mess around with but I never got around to putting OSX on one just for kicks. Mostly I have different Linux distros.

GP007 said,
Has anyone ran OSX on VBox? I've been interested in doing so, I've got a few different VMs to mess around with but I never got around to putting OSX on one just for kicks. Mostly I have different Linux distros.

I run it with VMWare Player on Windows, works fine with the unlocker and feels fast, but the UI is slow since you get zip GPU acceleration.

Ambroos said,

I run it with VMWare Player on Windows, works fine with the unlocker and feels fast, but the UI is slow since you get zip GPU acceleration.

That's also illegal unless the Windows system is running on Apple hardware.

Spicoli said,

That's also illegal unless the Windows system is running on Apple hardware.

It may be against the license agreement but that doesn't make it illegal. You aren't going to go to jail for running Mac OS on non-Apple hardware.

Spicoli said,

That's also illegal unless the Windows system is running on Apple hardware.


I advised my uncle to buy an iMac so I've done my share. Apple doesn't decide what's legal or not, that's up to the law.

TRC said,

It may be against the license agreement but that doesn't make it illegal. You aren't going to go to jail for running Mac OS on non-Apple hardware.

Yes, it does make it illegal. What is this insistence on delusion?

Ambroos said,

I advised my uncle to buy an iMac so I've done my share. Apple doesn't decide what's legal or not, that's up to the law.

And the law is you cannot use software outside the license agreement.

Spicoli said,

And the law is you cannot use software outside the license agreement.


In Belgium EULA's aren't valid if they're not signed on paper or digitally using our Citizen CA certificates (we have digital ID cards). Clicking an "I agree" button is not enough to make it legally binding over here.

The other drawback is "internet recovery", only Macs like my late 2012 Mini have internet recovery so that if anything happens to your drive and you want to replace it, it'll work out the download of the latest Mavericks or Mountain Lion for you automatically because it's built into the board.

It says in the article: "Apple's products are getting even more closed to upgrades with every release cycle. If you care about swapping internals down the road a Hackintosh provides the flexibility."

Have you tried adding RAM or another hard drive to an iMac? I think this is a great idea. Plus the Mac Pros are RIDICULOUS in price.

farmeunit said,
Have you tried adding RAM or another hard drive to an iMac? I think this is a great idea. Plus the Mac Pros are RIDICULOUS in price.

Mac Pro's? Seriously, the powerhouse of them all. At the announced standard price, you think it's ridiculous? Btw, the Flash Storage is replaceable, the RAM is already hardbodied.

Also, I changed my Mac Mini to 16GB of RAM from Crucial along with a 128GB SSD almost a year ago. All still kept under $1k.

As mentioned in the article, the more high end you go, the more savings you get. Apple doesn't really have anything between the iMac and Mac Pro. The Mac Pro is too expensive and overpowered for most while the iMac with it's mobile GPU and all-in-one form factor might not be to everyone's tastes.

I run a desktop system with a fully functional Hackintosh (all ports, sleep etc work). The only thing I need to worry about is audio breaking on point updates (just requires a replacement AppleHDA.kext) and updating to major versions (like a few days ago I went from 10.8 -> 10.9) is best done as a full reinstall. Getting it all to work is pretty easy even on stock parts these days, just need to choose them carefully.

That said, if I didn't already have a desktop PC and a 30" 2560x1600 display, I'd probably just get a 27" iMac because they're a pretty good deal.

ACTIONpack said,
Why build a Mac to only save $300. Seem more of a hassle when things goes wrong when updating software.

Because you can? Sometimes its just fun to have a project like this! Sort of like how people have project cars.

Chikairo said,

Because you can? Sometimes its just fun to have a project like this! Sort of like how people have project cars.

sorry but I'm not rich like you.

Ahh, it'd be nice if the Thunderbolt's were 2nd-gen.

Besides towers, imagine someone made a custom all-in-one mackintosh with an extremely amazing 4k display.

Oh, I'm just being unrealistic.