A few words upfront
This is my second hackintosh. I have build it in november 2012 but only found time to put this article together now. So be aware that the hardware is not top of the range anymore.
I had some good experience with the first hackintosh, that's why I am choosing this option again. The main reason I am not buying an iMac or Mac Pro is the price and not be able to expand as much as I like. I had an iMac before. Loved it but I don’t want several external Hard drives sitting on my desk or invest in an external thunderbolt enclosure to upgrade the gfx card. I am not using it as my main everyday working machine to earn money which makes it a bit easier to experiment with things and not losing valuable hours when the hardware plays up.
I had a good look around tonymacx86.com before I even began to think about my build. It is my second hackintosh and I really wanted something that is easy to install and maintain but also has some power for graphics work and 3D rendering.
I tried to pick popular hardware so if there is a problem somewhere down the road there are potentially some people that can help out.
This is the hardware I choose
1 x Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Z77
1 x Intel I7 3770K IVY BRIDGE CPU : Core i7 Processor, 3770K 3.5GHz, Quad Core
1 x Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GF GTX 670 OC EDITION PCI-E 3.0 2GB
1 x Corsair AX-850 ATX Power Supply
2 x G.Skill F3-1600C9D-16GXM DDR3-1600 16GB Dual Channel
1 x TP-Link TL-WDN4800 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI-Express Adapter
1 x CoolerMaster HYPER-212-EVO Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
1 x Fractal Design CASE-FDR4B Define R4 USB3.0 Mid Tower Case Black
1 x OCZ AGT4-25SAT3-128G SSD 128G
I had 2 HDD with 1TB and 500GB plus a 128BG SSD and I just bought a new 2TB WD Black.
That leaves me with 3.5 TB on moving HDD and 2x 128 SSD.
The SSD with the OS installed gets backed up manually to the second SSD. So whenever something happened I still have a working operating system.
I have a Time Capsule at home with an external WD Element 2TB drive. I use Time Machine to make a constant backup of my stuff. Most important my photos and some work you can never get back.
I do another back up onto a second 3TB hard drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. This backup is File Vault 2 encrypted so I can take it to work and leave it in my desk. Because of that encryption no one can read that hard drive but I have a copy safe somewhere if my house gets robbed or burns down etc.
For all the geeks out there:
Geekbench 13505 (32-bit) 15141 (64-bit)
Cinebench R15 CPU 683cb GPU 60.43fps
The cpu I picked is apparently quite easy to over clock. I should be able to get 4GHz out of it with the cooler I got but I haven't tested it out at all.
The main speed bump is the SSD. If you're still not using an SSD you really should upgrade. Now.
I had some issues with the build. I couldn't figure out what it was. Sleep worked but I couldn't wake it up again. It took me quite a while to figure out that the Power Supply Unit was damaged. I connected an older unit I had lying around and all of the sudden the problems went away. I guess the problem was quite unique but my point is that if you go and buy a Hackintosh you might run into a situation where you have to figure out stuff like this on your own just because there is not one company behind the hard- and software to help you out. Either you do it all by yourself or find a trustworthy PC shop that will act as your Apple Store.
Two weeks ago I finally got a new desk. Nothing too fancy. I love it though because it wasn't too expensive and the legs have storage space for some books/toys/things. I was even lucky enough to be able to put my hackintosh into the right leg. I did not use the shelf and turned the leg around to hide the computer. There is an opening in the back so it doesn't get too hot and two openings on the front side so I can use the USB panels and headphone jack on top of the tower.
I am really happy with my computer. It has its flaws here and there but that's half the fun. Being able to upgrade it with more HDD is fantastic and I still have room to overclock the CPU if I want to start experimenting again. Running Windows on the 500GB hard drive as a dual boot allows me to play Battlefield 4 if I am in the mood.
Although I wouldn't recommend it to someone who just wants a computer that works. You're probably better off with an iMac or if you need more power and can spare the money a new/used Mac Pro.