Hackintosh build

To make a long story short (I started writing a lengthy how I got here piece, but have decided to yank it in favor of a few sentences), I decided I wanted an Apple desktop machine to replace my aging desktop. I have a Macbook pro, but it lacks the serious power I was desiring (yeah, don’t really need it, but I LIKE to have it just in case). I started pricing Mac Pro’s, but the cheapest I could get still seemed WAY overpriced, especially considering that the video cards haven’t been refreshed in forever, and there are not thunderbolt ports available (future proofing?). I could have gone with an iMac, but I have grown used to having 4 monitors, and I didn’t really feel like upgrading the monitors yet.  It also lacked a certain amount of expandability that I find offensive in non-laptops.  I had been following the hackintosh scene for awhile, and knew many people had great success in building their own desktops…so I decided to take the plunge and see what I could do (with the wife’s blessing to get a new Mac – not necessarily the way I was going to…).  After a large amount of research, I came up with a list of parts (the selection of parts is probably the most important step to ensuring things work):

1x Gigabyte Intel Z77 Dual Thunderbolt ATX Motherboard with BT4.0/Wi-Fi (GA-Z77X-UP5-TH) – Gigabyte
1x Intel Core i7-3770K Quad-Core Processor 3.5 GHz 8 MB Cache LGA 1155 – BX80637I73770K – Intel
2x EVGA GeForce GTX 660Ti+ 3072MB GDDR5 DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, DP, SLI Graphics Card (03G-P4-3661-KR) Graphics Cards 03G-P4-3661-KR– EVGA
2x Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10)– Corsair
1x Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB SATA III 7200 RPM 64 MB Cache Internal Desktop Hard Drive Bulk/OEM – WD1002FAEX– Western Digital
1x TP-Link Wireless N Dual Band PCI Express Adapter with 3 x 2dBi Antenna (TL-WDN4800)– TP-Link
1x Targus USB Bluetooth® Adapter – Class 2 ACB10US– Targus
1x SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SDSSDX-240G-G25– SanDisk
1x Corsair CC600TWM-WHT Special Edition Graphite Series 600T Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case – White– Corsair
1x Arctic Silver 5 Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound Paste 3.5g– Halnzyie
2x Sony AD-7280S-0B 24x SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive (Black)– Sony
1x Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO – CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Fan (RR-212E-20PK-R2)– Cooler Master
1x Corsair Professional Series HX 750 Watt ATX/EPS Modular 80 PLUS Gold (HX750)– Corsair


You’ll also need at least 1 8gb or higher flash drive to load Mountain Lion. I used this one:
AmazonBasics 8 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive (Gray Blue)

This configuration compares quite favorably at $2000 to the base Mac Pro at $2500 and even better to an upgrade Mac Pro at $4800 with:

Quick Summary

System Mac Pro 2012 Upgraded Mac Pro 2012 hackintosh
Price $2500 $4800 $2000
Processor 1 x 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 1 x 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 1 x 3.5GHz Quad-Core Core i7-3770K
Ram 6GB 32GB 32GB
Video Card 1 x ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 2 x ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB GDDR5 2 x Nvidia GTX 660Ti with 3GB GDDR5
Hard Drive 1TB 512GB SSD + 1TB HDD 240GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Optical Drive 1 x 18x Superdrive 2 x 18x Superdrive 2 x 24x DVD Burner
Thunderbolt? No No Yes, 2 ports

Once all the parts arrived, assembly began.

Once assembled, it was pretty easy to follow this guide to install Mountain Lion. I did have to start over a few times when I chose the wrong settings for the drivers :(.  I think I will have to do a followup post on the settings to select, I do not have them handy right now.

After installation and boot, I took some benchmarks with geekbench and Cinebench.


Cinebench (all the orange bars are this machine, with the top 2 being with the new 3GB ram video cards):

And then some About this Mac shots:


So far I have not run into any issues with the functioning of the system, all seems to be running very well. WoW, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro all seem to run without hitch. Parallels screams with all the ram I have available to give it. Web surfing is, well, is web surfing(not much difference than a lower clocked machine, in other words).

So far I am very happy, and saved myself quite a bit of money.

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  1. Phillip Moore
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Why did you buy a separate bluetooth adapter, if it is built into motherboard? Was driver not available? And, does the thunderbolt ports work ok with OSX?

    I’ve been considering doing this since they have been so slow to update the mac pro. I’m still running a MacPro1,1 from 2006. It sounds fast, 4 core Xeon 3Ghz, but it sure shows it’s age.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • philmcneely
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Hi Phillip,

      The on-board Bluetooth and wireless modules do not work, or rather, there is no driver support for them. This is confirmed by many who have used this motherboard, so I just avoided worrying about it and got the known devices that work.

      I don\’t yet have any thunderbolt items to test, but the common consensus is that the thunderbolt ports work fine, but they are not hot pluggable yet. For example, if you have a thunderbolt drive array, you\’ll want to boot with it connected and shut down if you want to disconnect it.

      I can say that I\’ve been super impressed so far with how smooth the system runs.


  2. Michan
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    What were your DSDT settings for the gigabyte motherboard

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