Hackintosh 2020 - Hardware for Core i9-9900K

After about 15 years, I got back into building my own computer. I switched from a PC to a Mac circa 2010 and have not looked back since then. I always have had a Mac Pro for my desktop at home and of course a bunch of Mac Book Pro's - starting from a 17" one when they made it - to my current ~2017 15" Model that I use.


Over the Covid experience, I was at home (duh!) a lot and I started getting into video editing a well as running a podcast/zoom meetings. I figured, I needed to upgrade my computer and this would be a good chance to get back to my roots - building/assembling a computer from scratch and getting it _exactly_ the way I wanted it.


Few good reasons to _build_ a hackintosh;

  1. Price - Yes - its cheaper.

  2. You get the exact specs you want - instead of paying an arm and a leg for 16GB of RAM.

  3. HDD - the way you want. Today's NVME's are absolutely crushing it - it almost has 3GB/S IO Read/Write. A 1TB NVME is almost a must!


Few reasons NOT to build your own;

  1. If you don't have the time to tinker around and try different options.

  2. You never have built/assembled a computer - and literraly dont know where the DIMM goes - then this is a steep learning curve. BUT - I also did that so I could teach my two daughters how to assemble a computer - and it's not a "Black" box (or a white box in the case of an Apple ;)

  3. Patience :) - Especially since this will be a hackintosh and you'll have to learn about EFI and Clover and everything in between. I know it was a steep learning curve for me!


Now - lets talk about the hardware spec


Motherboard

I went with the Gigabyte AORUS 390Z Series. They all have been vetted and known to work with the underlying components - (well most of it) - except the following;

  • Onboard WiFI

  • Intel Graphics Card

Amazon - AORUS Ultra $249



Motherboard Form Factor

I made a mistake and went with the Pro Wifi model - this is a mini-ITX form factor instead of the ATX. Is ONLY HAS 1 PCIe Slot (for the Display) - this is a problem!


DO NOT GO WITH THE PRO-WIFI Lineup - It's too small and there are 2 drawbacks;

  1. DIMM - There are only 2 DIMM (Memory) slots - so practically you can go up to 32GB not 64GB

  2. PCIe - Only 1 PCIe Slot.

If you can go with the Ultra or the Master - for about 250 bucks - its a good deal.


Processor

I went with the i9-9900K Processor. 8 Cores. Plenty of horsepower for whatever I throw at it. Moreover, the iMac has the same configurations - so this would mimic that.


Amazon - i9-9900K - ~$500


Memory

For the memory, here is where getting the right motherboard matters. If you get a ITX form factor, you'll likely only get 2 DIMM Slots - this means you can get 2x16GB and get 32G of RAM. But with the Mini-ATX form factor, you'll get 4 Slots - Even if you don't think you need 64GB of RAM - you can expand later on.


I got the these ones for ~$91 Bucks a piece - 3200 MHz


Hyper X - 16GB RAM





Hard Drive / Storage - Primary

Samsung has this beast of a NVME Storage that I am abolutely in love with. In fact I am in love with NVME and will never go back to ATA/SSD drives anymore. I did the benchmarking for the drive - its 3GB/Sec - BOTH / Read and Write. With SSD's I get about 300M/S - so basically a 600% increase in perofrmance OVER SSD - lets not talk about spinning disks altogether!


I went with Samsung EVO Plus;


Amazon - Samsung EVO Plus - $180






I struggled with the EVO vs. the EVO Plus - but I think in the end you could go with either of them and it'll be fine.


Here is a BlackMagic Disk Speed Test - a Whopping 3GB/S!



Hard Drive - Long term / RAID

I also wanted a long term / RAID solution as part of my build - with spinning cheap disks that I can load a bunch of data into. The Motherboard comes with 4 SATA ports and that was good enough for me to attach them ;


  1. 2 x 8TB Spinning Disks

  2. 2 x 250GB - SSD Drives (Windows10 & Ubuntu)


I wanted a dual boot (and even possibly triple boot) with Mac OSX, Windows and Ubuntu. I used the 2 extra 250GB SSD drives for the Windows and Linux installs.


I used WD - for the 2x250 GB SSD Drives;


Amazon : WD - 250GB SSD - ~$45

Amazon : Seagate Barracuda - 8TB - ~$150


For the spinning disks - I went with the cheapest for size - 5400 RPM is fine by me. I am just going to use this for backup and storage - not any active IO.



Graphics

The Graphics card is probably the most important choice - this is the one that will be driving my GIANT 43" LG Monitor. I got this epic 43". monitor - instead of purchasing multiple monitors. I'll talk about the monitor later - but for the Graphics card - I went with a AMD 580 based one; Specifically;



Saphhire Radeon RX580 - $179





I love this card. It has 4x port output - 2 HDMI and 2 Display Port. I wish it had 4xHDMI but that's not that big a deal. You can always get HDMI -> DP or Vice Versa Adapters.


Monitor

I went with this giant 43" Monitor - from LG.


Amazon - LG 43" Quad HDMI, 4k




I will say that I am not that happy with the monitor. Its ok. I am used to the Mac Cinema Display - Retina - this does not have the same pixel density. It's quite frankly shit. I am going to return the monitor and try a curved one - 5K maybe.


Keyboard

Here is the deal with keyboards - its the MOST important interface. Don't piss. I originally bought a cheap ass wireless keyboard and regretted it almost immediately. My friend egged me to spring for a mechanical keyboard and I finally sprang for it. BOY was he right. Having a GOOD mechanical keyboard is the difference between feeling amazing while typing and shit!


I got this one;


Amazon - Corsair K95


Mouse

Again - for the same reason as the one above (keyboard) - don't piss around with the mouse either. I am a fan of the Logitec MX Anywhere - I've used them before and I love the weight. Does not feel plastic.


Amazon - MX Anywhere



Few things about this mouse - its _BOTH_ 2.4GH wireless as well as Bluetooth - So it can work seamlessly with both windows and mac osx.



ATX Tower

After reading a LOT of reviews around the Meshify -C I went with this. The good news is that it comes with 2 Fans - built in and installed for the cooling for the tower itself. I REALLY like the looks of it. Looks like a boss!


Amazon : Fractal Designs - Meshify C



You can probably get a cheaper one for half the price - but I decided to go for the Fractal Design - they look good and with the dual fans - keep the whole unit with good air-flow. Their cable management system is also pretty bad-ass.


Max OSX Installation

This was a STEEP learning curve for me. I've never build and installed a hackintosh in my life - I;ve built many PC's - In fact I've built many of the servers that ran QuestionPro and back in Russia (where I studied for 2 years) I used hustle the local dorm kids - to buy their PC's from me and I used to assemble them.


Key Steps for installing OSX;

  1. Patience

  2. Patience

  3. Patience


OK - Lets go through the process;


  1. Create a BOOTABLE - USB Stick - Using Install Disk Creator

  2. DO THE FOLLOWING ON YOUR BIOS

  3. DISABLE THE IGFX - This was a royal pain in the ass. This is your integrated Graphics card that comes with the MB. DO NOT USE THAT - its an Intel One. Mac OSX does not recognize and work with this. Here is a screenshot of disabling the iGFX

  4. Make your primary boot device the NVME.

  5. Use UNIBeast to create a Clover and EFI Partition for your USB Stick








Success! (Ok - It's not that easy) - but eventually I got everything working!



Few Caveats

  1. I don't use the built-in WIfi chip. This is a desktop for me and I have it hard-wired (Ethernet) - Gasp! I never got the built-in WiFi Adapter to work. I am planning on working on it later ;)

  2. Bluetooth - Mojave recognized the built-in BT adapter in the Motherboard. That was good news - since I actually use the BT for pairing my bose headphones when on Zoom calls and I want to walk around the office.

System Info

Here is my final System Spec




Here is a link to my link to a zipped version of my EFI



Windows - Dual Boot

After some time I decided to install Windows also on the same box - on the separate SSD. Was not very tricky - just follow the instructions to get a bootable USB Windows 10 drive and install windows obviously on a separate drive. Keep in mind, Windows will write into the same EFI partition - so you'll have a Windows directory also.








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