The iMac Pro is a Beast. Period. A beautiful one too. The un-aging streamlined design with the nice addition of space gray finish and the powerful configurations available make this machine a dream setup for a filmmaker desk. The stability and polishing of OsX are the cherries on top, so it’s natural for a lot of people to dream of having it as their workstation.
But what if you can’t afford the steep price tag? What if you would like to upgrade it down the road beyond the possibilities offered by Thunderbolt ports? The answer that crawls around the web is the Hackintosh. A cheap solution that grants plenty of raw power but has its inconveniences, not being an easy task to accomplish. Here we have a nice build from Morgonaut, a 14-core monster, ready to battle the iMac Pro.
Building a Hackintosh is all about research. MacOS by design runs on few selected pieces of hardware, the ones Apple makes, so in order to make it run we have to load up the correct drivers, but Apple obviously does not make it, so the challenge is in finding the pieces of hardware the community has already worked on. And that is not troublesome to get running. So, let’s start checking the part list:
- Intel Core i9-9900K with 8 cores and 16 threads (B&H, Amazon)
- Gigabyte Z390 Designare (Thunderbolt 3 Titan Ridge controller built-in) (Amazon)
- Alphacool Eisbaer LT360 CPU water cooling (Amazon)
- HyperX 64GB KIT 3600MHz DDR4 CL17 Predator (Amazon)
- Vega Frontier Edition with 16GB of VRAM (Amazon)
- EVGA SuperNova 750W (B&H, Amazon)
- Samsung 970 EVO 1TB (B&H, Amazon)
This configuration sports one of the top CPU available on Intel’s side, the i9 9900K coupled with one of the best motherboards available for Hackintosh, the Designare Z390 by Gigabyte.
This board has two great advantages over the competition, the first being the ease of configuration and usage with MacOs, and the second being the built-in TB controller. Not a feature you can easily find around.
Coupled with a 64Gb HyperX kit of RAM, as suggested in the QVL, qualified vendor list. It’s always better to go the safe road, this kit has been tested by Gigabyte itself, so it will work flawlessly with the board.
The system relies on the Vega Frontier, a 16Gb GPU with plenty of raw power for your graphics needs, and is perfectly supported in OSX, making it a better choice over more powerful but much more difficult to set up Nvidia cards. A beefy cooler is needed for a CPU of this caliber, and the water-cooled AIO is an optimal one.
The Samsung 970 EVO needs no presentation. The blazing fast SSD has wonderful performance and a price-to-Gb ratio that makes it a steal. Finishing the list we have the Supernova 750W PSU. Now let’s do the math.
At the moment the components were purchased, the whole build would cost $2,434, an incredible $4,766 cheaper than the 10-core iMac Pro and $5,566 cheaper than the 14-core. It’s an insane amount of cash you’re saving there, enough to make another two builds identical to this one. But how does it perform?
The benchmarks are remarkable, in all the scores the Hackintosh tops out easily the iMac Pro, confirming itself as a worthy investment. One big disclaimer tough: every Hackintosh is breaking the EULA (End User License Agreement) under which MacOS is released, so try it at your own risk.
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