How to build a 4K Hackintosh on the cheap for fun and profit

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Over the years, building ‘Hackintosh’ computers has become both a lot easier and more popular. For those unfamiliar, a Hackintosh is essentially a machine running OS X on non-Apple approved and manufactured hardware. There are many reasons to build a Hackintosh instead of buying a Mac directly from Apple. They can be more expandable, faster, have more features and configurations, run quieter and can be a great learning experience.  One of the biggest reasons to go down the road of building your own, however, is price. It’s no secret that Apple charges a premium for its products, especially if you don’t need some of the hardware (Thunderbolt for example). And thanks to the ongoing growth of the Hackintosh community, the process has become very easy over the past few years.

Back in 2011, Seth took a stab at building a Hackintosh. He originally intended on it being an affordable, baseline model without many bells and whistles. He ended up building a $750 ‘beast’ that competed with the best iMacs of the day, though. Now, it’s my turn to make an attempt at building a Hackintosh, but with an added twist. I am building one capable of performing on par with the highest-end Macs and capable of powering a 4k monitor. And, I want it took look ultra-sleek on the outside and be absolutely silent. I don’t want to be able to hear the hard drive, fans, or anything else –essentially nonexistent in my office. Most of all, I want to do it on a budget of about $1500, not including a 4k display.

Let me preface this with something, though: I have never built a computer, Windows or OS X. In fact, up until this project, I was pretty clueless as to what went into building a computer. So if I am able to successfully build this machine, pretty much anyone can. My best friend for this project was easily tonymacx86.com, which we have praised in the past for its clear breakdown of compatible parts and software guides.

Let’s start by discussing the parts that I decided to use for this build.

Full parts list at Amazon:

  • Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core Desktop Processor 3.5 GHZ – $320
  • Corsair Enthusiast Series 650W Fan – $99.99
  • Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD5H Z87 LGA 1150 Motherboard – $222
  • TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless PCI Express Adapter – $43
  • Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR3 RAM – $160
  • SanDisk Extreme SSD 120 GB SSD – $117 (or any SATA 3 SSD)
  • EVGA GeForce GTX760 Graphics Card – $265
  • Seagate Barracuda 2 TB HDD - $80 (or any 1-4TB SATA3 HDD)
  • Fractal Design Define R4 Case – $132
  • Seiki 39-inch 4K Display – $499 (Varies wildly though)

Total cost without display: $1439. With 4K display, under ~$2,000…

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