More thoughts on the Hackintosh


I have successfully built a Hackintosh or, as the folks at Tonymacx86 call it, a CustoMac Mini, and the more I think of it, the more it makes sense. Mac aficionados on various forums and websites have been wishing for a mid-tower Mac that would be beefier than the entry level mini, less beefy and less expensive than the Mac Pro, and user upgradable unlike the all-in-one iMac line. The problem is that Apple is not interested in making one. They are quite content making plenty of money manufacturing phones and tablets. If you want one of their computers, you’re going to have to settle for minis or all-in-ones that can’t be upgraded or cough up the big bucks for a Mac Pro which the company seems to have forgotten. The Hackintosh may not have the real deal’s sleek contours and incredible industrial design, but it does have all the power if not more and will run the OS.

And they cost a lot less money.

Repurposing another MacI’ve been using Macs since the early 90s, but I’ve never felt I truly owned a Mac until I started to explore options to my son’s dying G4 eMac. Rather than spring for a new computer, I started looking at used G4 towers that were a fraction of the price of something new. Around the same time, my buddy Dan threw me an OWC catalog that had processor upgrades for Macs. I realized I could put together a machine that may not have been the latest and the greatest, but it was plenty powerful and could run Leopard which was the latest Mac OS at the time.

PowerMac G4 with More Augmentations

G4 Gigabit Ethernet with augmentations

Back then it was possible to upgrade the processors on Macs with third-party solutions. This came to a halt when the G5s showed up. Oh, you could swap out a video card, increase the RAM or put in a PCI card, but the processor was going to stay where it was.

Moving up the food chain
I have a Dual G5 which I bought used, and I will use it until the wheels come off. When that happens, I could sell what’s left for parts or scavenge what I can and make somebody at a scrapyard pretty happy with a big chunk of aluminum.

With the Hackintosh, I have a modular Mac running the latest Mac OS Mountain Lion. Upgrades are easy and readily available. If something fails, new parts are easily obtained at fair prices. It’s a shame that Apple doesn’t make a Mac like this where user replaceable, individual components can be swapped out, traded in or recycled and new ones can be purchased at an Apple Store. Recycling a card, board or power supply has to be better than taking a whole system to an eRecycler.

When my son’s used/new to him G4 crapped out after 4 years of heavy, almost constant use, I scavenged everything I could. The power supply had given up so I took out the optical drive, the processor upgrade, the RAM, a video card and a SATA PCI card I added and put what I could into a new machine. I took the husk to a local eRecycling event.

To me, a computer you can fix and upgrade yourself is more environmentally friendly than one that has a lot of recyclable glass and aluminum and looks real nice.


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