Over the last year or so, I’ve been finding my 13-inc MacBook Pro severely lacking in the power department. While I was able to deal with it for a while, while I was doing strict development work, recently a series of requests to edit some videos rolled in and I found myself struggling to keep Final Cut Pro from crashing every fifteen minutes as I clipped and subtitled the pieces. Finally fed up, I decided to build a Hackintosh after realizing—quite frankly—that I couldn’t afford a genuine Mac (and that I could make a machine way more powerful than what I’d be buying for 1/3 of the price).
That being said, I know that the process can be arduous—it took me about 4 hours to get everything working right—so I figured I’d share what I did to get my build up and running (since I hadn’t seen anyone with the exact same configuration). Two quick things before we get started, though. First and foremost, a quick disclaimer:
I am in NO way an expert on hardware and the architecture of macOS. I’m a dude who loves tech projects and had some time on his hands. I have no idea if your build will go as smoothly as mine (start to finish it took me about 4 hours including my mistakes and assembling the hardware) and I take no responsibility to whatever may happen to your system. If this is not a clean isntall, I strongly reccommend backing up all your data before you begin.
Second, this guide assumes you know to put a computer together already (assemble the hardware). It’s not a complete primer for someone who has never built a rig before. There are better guides than I could write out there if this is your first time putting together a desktop (like this one).
OS: macOS Sierra (10.12.3)
CPU: Intel Core i7 6700k @ 4.00GHz
RAM: Crucial 32GB Dual-Channel @ 1066MHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z170X-UD3
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB OC
SSD: Crucial MX300 525GB
Optical Drive: LG WH14NS40 (if this seems odd, it’s because I had it lying around and thought I might as well just throw it in)
STEP ONE: CONFIGURE THE BIOS
Before we can really get started with the installation, the first thing we’ll have to do is configure the BIOS on our Z170X-UD3 (mine came stock with BIOS version F6). Hit and hold the Delete key on startup to enter bios settings, and then make the following changes:
- Load Optimized Defaults
- Under BIOS Features:
- Fast Boot: Disabled
- Windows 8/10 Features: Other OS
- Network Stack: Disabled
- Secure Boot State: Disabled
- Under Peripherals:
- Intel Platform Trust Technology: Disabled
- Legacy USB Support: Enabled
- XHCI Hand-off: Enabled
- Port 60/64 Emulation: Disabled
- In Super IO Configuration:
- Serial Port 1: Disabled
- Under Chipset:
- VT-d: Disabled
- Internal Graphics: Auto
- Audio Controller: Enabled
- PCH LAN Controller: Enabled
- High Precision Timer: Enabled
- IOAPIC 24-119 Entries: Enabled
- Save and exit
STEP TWO: INSTALL MACOS SIERRA
Now that the BIOS is set up, we’re all set to install macOS Sierra! I used UniBeast to create my bootable installer from a downloaded version of the Sierra installer from the AppStore (you’ll need an actual Mac for this step so either borrow one from a friend if you don’t have one handy).
First things first, here’s the list of things you’ll need for this step:
- A copy of macOS Sierra from the AppStore (at the time of writing it was version 10.12.3)
- A 16GB thumb drive (or larger)
Once you have all of those things downloaded, it’s time to make our bootable USB:
- Make sure the downloaded macOS Sierra installer is in /Applications
- Insert the thumb drive and open Disk Utility
- Select the thumb drive in the left column and click Erase
- Name it whatever you’d like, selected Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for format, and GUID Partition Map for scheme
- Open Unibeast and selected the thumb drive as the destination
- For installation type select Sierra
- Select UEFI Boot Mode for Bootloader Configuration
- DON’T INJECT any Graphics Configurations
- Continue through to the end and wait for UniBeast to finish copying all the files over.
- Download MultiBeast and drag it into the thumb drive (we’ll be needing it soon)
Now that the bootable USB is all squared away it’s time to actually install the OS. Put the thumb drive in your soon to be Hackintosh and boot the system up.
- Hit and hold F12 while the system starts up and choose the flash drive when the list of bootable drives comes up.
- Choose your language then head to Utilities > Disk Utility.
- Select the Crucial MX300 we’ll be using as our hard drive and, like earlier, select erase, name it, select Mac OS Extended (Journaled), and make sure it’s a GUID Partition Map. Close Disk Utility once you’re done.
- Follow the rest of the installation wizard as prompted.
STEP THREE: INSTALL DRIVERS
Now that the OS is installed, we’ll need to install some drivers to get everything up and running (you won’t be able to access the internet yet for instance). There aren’t too many we’ll need to install, but if they aren’t done right it can be a real hassle to fix them later (take it from me). Anyway, first things first, fire up MultiBeast from the thumb drive and click your way through the program as follows:
- Assuming this is a new installation, click Quick Start and select UEFI Boot Mode
- Select Drivers > Audio and check the Realtek ALC1150
- Select Drivers > Network and check IntelMausiEthernet v2.2.0
- Save you configuration (top right)
- Click Build and then Install.
- Restart the computer.
You should be able to access the internet at this point, so the next thing on the docket is to download and install the video card driver. You can grab it here from nvidia.com.
- Download EFI Mounter v3 and mount the EFI Partition
- Open /Volumes/EFI/EFI/Clover/config.plist with text edit, Xcode, or really any editor you like and add the following values:
- Remove Boot/Arguments/nvda_drv=1 if necessary
- Save and reboot
If the above worked for you, congrats! Your video card is mostly working (we still need to configure the audio to work through the HDMI port). If it didn’t though we still have some troubleshooting ahead of us. Here’s what I had to do to get it working correctly:
- Restart the computer and hold F12 to select your boot disk
- Go into Colver settings and check the following:
- Double check that nv_disable=1 is not a boot flag
- Add the nvda_drv=1 boot flag
- Start up the computer.
STEP FOUR: CLEAN UP
Your Hackintosh should be pretty much up and running at this point. That being said, there are still a few lingering issues including the inability to access the AppStore and no audio coming through the GTX 970, so let’s get those patched up.
- Download Colver Configurator
- Go to Boot and check dart=0 (if it’s unchecked) and nvda_drv=1. Make sure nv_disable=1 is unchecked.
- Go to Acpi and check FixLan.
- Still under Acpi, go ahead and add a Patch (click the small “+” right under the white box up top) and enter the following:
- Comment: Rename HDAS to HDEF
- Find* Hex: 48444153
- Replace Hex: 48444546
- Restart the computer.
- Download and run this script (audio_cloverHDMI), answering yes to all of the questions you’re asked.
- Open up System Preferences and head to Network. Here you want to remove every network source in the left column. When prompted if you want them automatically added again, select no.
- Navigate to /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration and erase the NetworkInterfaces.plist file.
- Restart the computer.
- Open System Preferences again, and head to Network. Add the network sources back in one at a time starting with Ethernet and then Built-in Serial Port (0).
- Restart the computer.
STEP FIVE: IF YOU’RE DUAL BOOTING WINDOWS 10
Another error that came up throughout the process of getting my Hackintosh up and running was the obnoxious fact that every time I restarted my computer, a new boot record would appear in my BIOS (I think at one point I had about 10 copies of the same record). This was apparently because I had Windows 10 already installed on a separate SSD. The fix that worked for me was as follows:
- Download EasyUEFI on the Windows installation.
- Remove the current macOS boot record that keeps duplicating as well as its duplicates.
- Create a new boot record pointing at \EFI\CLOVER\CLOVERX64.EFI
- Reboot into macOS
- Mount the EFI
- Rename the BOOT folder to BOOT.disabled
Once you’ve done the above, you should be able to restart rather easily without worrying about the multitude of duplicates that keep popping up. I have no clue if this works with other combinations of macOS and Windows, but if anyone happens to try it with say Windows 8.1 or an older version of OS X I’d be curious to know if it still holds up!
And there you have it. You should now have a fully (or at least mostly) functional Hackintosh. I’m sure there are still some issues lingering around here and there, but I’ve been using mine for a day now doing some development work and I haven’t noticed anything substantial (you can’t control the volume coming out of the GPU directly because I don’t think the Nvidia driver is built that way, but there are worse things). If you happen to come across anything that’s not working, though, let me know in the comments! I got way more into this project than I probably should have and really want to make the build the best it can be.