macOS is becoming the preferred platform for my workloads, whether it’s writing articles using Byword; composing my novel on Ulysses; managing my Linux servers and systems from Terminal app or working on audio/video editing projects. I do use openSUSE Linux on my desktop, but most of the multimedia production is done on my latest MacBook Pro (late 2018).
Those of you who want to play with macOS before investing in the platform, your best bet is building a Hackintosh. Many multimedia professionals also use Hackintosh to offload some of their work. Why? As powerful as the new MacBook Pro is, it can’t handle multi-cam video interviews recorded in 4K. I have to transcode file, which takes time and storage space (one 30 minutes long interview can go up to 300GB in file size). What I wanted was a more powerful Mac. Yes, there are more powerful iMac but since I already own 2 5K monitors, I prefer a modular Mac which I can upgrade if needed. According to reports, the dates for the new Mac are not confirmed. So, I set out to build a Hackintosh just to offload some of my work there.
If you are in my shoes, waiting for the Mac Pro to arrive and want to give Hackintosh a try, this tutorial will help you. Just keep in mind that even if Apple, supposedly, doesn’t mind Hackintosh for personal use, it’s not in any way an ideal solution. It’s purely for playfulness. Also bear in mind that a few things won’t work, such as iTunes. You can’t play movies and TV shows that you purchase or rent from iTunes Store. If you try, the Hackintosh will freeze, needing a hard reboot. Use Hackintosh only as a stopgap hack and as the final solution.
Once that part is clear, let’s get our hands dirty.
What you need
- A Mac. Yes, you need a mac so you can create a bootable USB drive for Hackintosh
- The official version of macOS High Sierra from App Store (macOS Mojave doesn’t support Nvidia cards, yet.)
- A 3.0 USB drive with minimum 8GB storage
- Unibeast & Multibeast (you need to create a free account on TonyMax86 to download these two packages)
- Nvidia Web Drivers & Nvidia CUDA drivers (Note: Nvidia drivers are not available for macOS Majove; so stay on High Sierra)
Note: Please check for the latest versions of the software packages and drivers, instead of using the links above.
Just keep a few things in mind:
1) Even if Apple doesn’t mind Hackintosh for personal use, I recommend it only for playfulness and exposing yourself to macOS world.
2) While most things will work, iTunes will not work. DRMed content from iTunes Store will not play; your Hackintosh will freeze, and you will need a reboot.
Once you understand these two points, let’s get started. If you are building a new system here is my hardware:
- Intel Core i7 4790-K
- Corsair 64GB memory
- 512 GB SSD (additional 6TB for storage)
- Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD7 TH
- EVGA GTX 1070 Ti (In fact you can use any latest GTX card)
- Gigabyte GC-WB867D-1 (Bluetooth/Wifi)
- Corsair RM Series 750 watt ATX/EPS 80PLUS Power Supply
- Cooler Master Mid Tower
- Corsair Hydro Series Extreme Performance Liquid Cooler
- Dell 4K monitor (optional)
Format the USB drive: Plug the USB drive into the Mac and open Disk Utilities. From the view option, select ”Show all devices’. Then select the USB drive from the left panel and click on ‘Erase’ button. Name the drive USB, choose Mac OS Extended and GUID partition table (see image below)
Click the ‘Erase’ button in the dialog box and wait for the tool to finish formatting. Once finished, click on the ‘Done’ button and close the Disk Utility tool.
Write macOS image to Disk: Now open the Unibeast tool that we downloaded. Click ‘Continue’ until you reach the ‘agree’ button. Now you will see the USB drive that you just formatted. Clock on the drive and it will turn blue. Then click Continue and you will see High Sierra in the list, select it.
In the next window, you will see the option to choose UEFI or Legacy BIOS. If your motherboard supports UEFI, use the UEFI option.
Skip the ‘optional’ next step to inject graphics drivers. Click continue. You should see three ‘blued out’ option.
Hit Continue and it will ask for the macOS password. Then wait for it to copy files on the USB drive.
Once the copying is finished. You will see the USB drive mounted in Finder as “Install macOS High Sierra”. Now copy Multibeast, Nvidia Web Drivers and Cuda driver to the USB drive. (Don’t open the EFI partition, only copy files to “Install macOS High Sierra” directory.
Prepare your Hackintosh
Once your install media is ready. Remove the GPU from your Hackintosh (as it creates a problem with booting from macOS); also remove any additional hard drives at this moment and keep only the SSD on which you want to install macOS.
Boot up the system, go to BIOS settings and make a few changes.
- Disable Secure Boot
- Set it to boot from Other OS
- Set it to boot from both BIOS and Legacy
- Disable Intel’s VT-d technology
- Set removable USB drive as the default boot device
Plug in the Hackintosh USB drive and boot the sysystem from that drive. You will see Clover Boot Loader. Select, ‘EXTERNAL’ and choose ‘Boot OS X Install from macOS High Sierra”. It may take a while to boot into macOS. Once you see the macOS dialog box. Click on ‘Disk Utility’ option and then format the SSD with these options:
- Name: High Sierra
- Format: macOS Extented
Click on Erase and once it’s complete close the Disk Utility. Now, click on ‘Install macOS High Sierra’, choose the SSD that you just formatted. The system may reboot a couple of times.
Once the installation is complete, you will be greeted by the default macOS options to select language, keyboard, and creation of the user. Finish all of those steps.
Once you are in your shiny new macOS, open the ‘Install macOS High Sierra’ folder and run Multibeast. Make these selections:
- Quick Start > UEFI Boot Mode
- Drivers > Audio > Realtek ALCxxx > ALC1150 and Optional 3 ports
- Drivers > Network > Intel > AppleIGB (select the latest version) and AppleIntelE1000e (select the latest version)
- Drivers > USB > Increase Max Port Limit
- Bootloader > Clover UEFI Boot Mode
- Customize > Graphics Configurations > Nvidia Drivers Boot Flag and Nvidia Graphics Fixup *
- Build > Install
(* Nvidia drivers are not available for macOS Majove, so please stay on High Sierra).
It will install all those packages. Once down, install the Nvidia Web Drivers and then install Nvidia CUDA drivers. Once everything is done. Shut down your system. Plug the Nvidia GTX 1070Ti card. Remove the USB drive and start the system. From the Clover Boot Option, hit Space Key so you see the options. Select Verbose Mode.
If everything goes well, you should be booted into your brand new Hackintosh system. I had to disable sleep mode as it puts the Hackintosh into reboot cycles. Go to System Preferences and set ‘put the computer to sleep to ‘never.’
Once again, let me remind you that Hackintosh is just for playfulness. Get a real mac 🙂
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below.