I’ve finally sold my Mac Pro after 7 years of faithful service. It outlasted several cars, girlfriends, houses and a career change but I finally decided to let it go to a new (very happy) owner.
The experience of running 10.8 on it with chameleon gave me a lot of confidence in the hackintosh community and the practicality of using a hackintosh as my day-to day desktop. So I began to select the components to build a replacement for my Mac Pro.
Its a much better idea to research your components before purchasing rather than building what would be a good windows PC and then deal with a load of hardware that Mac OS wont play nicely with.
CPU: I chose a Core i7 3770 which is a build to order option in the top of the range iMac.
RAM: 16 GB of DDR3 1333, Nothing special there.
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H TH. I chose this board because it is micro ATX, so will fit into an old G5 case without major internal alterations. It has two thunderbolt ports, DVI and HDMI, oh and USB3.
SSD: is a Liteon 256GB that was OEM on a Dell PC. Its probably not as fast as a top of the range model you could buy today but I was using it in my Mac Pro and wasn’t going to leave it in there.
HDD: Western Digital Black 1TB. Had it laying about at work.
Graphics card: Nvidia Geforce GT640 Out of the box compatible as it’s very close to the GT640m in the iMac and with some help, audio over HDMI is functioning.
Screen: “refurbished” Dell U2713HM 27″ IPS LED TFT with 4 port USB3.0 hub. £360 1/3 the price of an apple 27″ (and less than I paid for the 20″ I bought with my Mac Pro).
I didn’t need to install OSX on the SSD as I had pulled it from the Mac Pro. I simply installed chameleon on it, deleted appletymce.kext, put it in the Hackintosh and booted. Initially I used a version of voodoohda to get the audio working,but later opted for a modified applehda kext paired with a custom dsdt. This got the hdmi audio working.
The SATA bus on the Mac Pro crippled the performance of the SSD, once it was in the Hack’ on the SATA 6GBS port it was super fast. Boot is so fast you barely see the little spinning thing under the grey apple. Apps like Photoshop and Autocad, which used to take ages now load almost instantly. The CPU benchmarks the same as the BTO iMac so I’ve got a very snappy machine for a fraction of the price of Apple.
I miss the aesthetic of the cinema display and I’m considering fabricating an aluminium bezel for the Dell 27, along with attaching it to an old iMac stand I have.
I have an apple Bluetooth module that I fitted with 5v to 3.3v stepdown required to attach it to a USB header. I also have an old iMac Ir. receiver which I’ve modified to plug into a USB port. Th front panel is all wired up aside from the firewire (Which I have no use for). Th headphone port isnt working at the moment, which is down to the driver/kext but I have a little USB DAC I use with headphones.
I have this running 10.9 now and its very quick.