Disclaimer (16.09.18): This article is currently under review. At this time, we would not recommend using this build to run the solver under macOS due to concerns over system stability. Linux or Windows is a better option here.
In part 1 of this guide, we are going to go over selecting hardware compatible for building your own machine that is compatible with macOS, but also other mainstream operating systems such as Windows and x64 compatible Linux distributions. The aim of this guide is to be both fun, functonal and informative. We are not targeting any specific budget, but the cost of this build will be around 2,000 USD, depending on the region that you are purchasing from and what hardware options you decided to go with.
This is an all-purpose machine, meaning that it can be used for grinding, gaming, solving and whatever else you want to throw at it.
The beauty of this machine lies within the simplicity that comes with being limited by software, in this case macOS and the flexibility to run almost any software due to the compatibility with other operating systems.
This will be a multi-part series. In part 1 we will address which hardware we recommend using for this build, and what resources you have at your disposal to find other options should there be parts in this build that are not available in your region, or should you wish to go for a bit more power in one category. Part 2 will be the actual build itself, and in part 3 we will go over the software setup we will be using. Perhaps there will be more parts added to the series later on, depending on demand and necessity.
For this build we will be using Intel’s LGA1151 socket as base. We haven’t added any builds for Intel to the website yet, so with this build we are able to kill two birds with one stone: macOS and Intel. We are sourcing these parts based on community guidelines and recommendations on tonymacx86.com. With hackintosh builds it is important that we use the correct hardware so that we don’t run into compatibility issues in software later on. Since Apple controls both hardware and software, their software is written with a specific subset of hardware in mind. That means that in order to have a system that is stable and that we can later upgrade when Apple releases future updates, we need to use hardware that mimics systems that are part of Apple’s hardware ecosystem. That being said, one caveat is that at the end of the day, this is still not an officially supported system by Apple, and you will have to provide support for yourself should you need it, similarly to a self-built Windows machine.
If you would like to copy this build, but are having trouble sourcing any of the parts, please refer to tonymacx86’s list of compatible hardware to make sure you can find a suitable alternative. Below is an overview of the hardware that we will be using. There isn’t that much to say to each individual part, since, as mentioned above, the hardware is largely preselected based on what has been shown to work well for a hackintosh. That is not meant to take away from the actual hardware itself. This is still a very powerful machine for Windows, even if a lot of the choices are already predetermined.
Good value for money motherboard with reasonable feature set.
Powerful consumer grade desktop CPU with 6 cores, 12 threads and a base clock of 3.7 GHz. Intel’s 8th gen i7-8700K is a suitable entry-level CPU for solver work.
Intel’s i7-8700K doesn’t come with it’s own cooler. Corsair’s H60 water cooling solution provides enough cooling power to appropriately cool the i7-8700K even while overclocked.
Since we want to be able to use this machine for working with Monkersolver and other similar software, we will simply select the maximum amount of RAM available to the i7-8700K and Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming motherboard, which is 64GB in this case.
For this build we will be using the 850 EVO as our boot drive. Again our hardware choices are limited due to compatibility issues, so while this isn’t the most modern SSD, it is one of the most suitable ones for this build.
In this build, we will want to have multiple boot drives to make it easy to switch between operating systems without having to use virtualisation software. Choose however many you think is appropriate, but keep in mind that the Asus ROG Strix Z370-F Gaming only supports up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s drives. We will be using two 850 EVO 500GB drives to represent a dual OS setup (e.g. macOS and Windows). You can also use 250GB versions of the 850 EVO if you think it’s a better fit.
For storage of data, in particular .mkr files of Monkersolver, I would recommend using a storage drive. You will want to keep the amount of non-essential files on your boot drive low to ensure good performance for your SSD (aim for 50-75% usage per SSD). Additionally, .mkr files (Monker’s solve file format) also use up a lot of space, so you will most likely need the additional space anyway.
This PSU works well with this build, and leaves us with room to expand if necessary.
There are multiple options to choose from here, and it is largely up to personal preference, which option you decide to go with. We’ve simply chosen the option recommended by tonymacx86’s guide, but anything goes here as long as it is compatible with the hardware you are using.
The build as listed above is already a fully functional build, however, depending on your needs, you might want to add some more hardware into the mix. The most obvious choice would be to add more SSDs and/or HDDs as needed, but below are some other options you might want to consider adding to the build.
WIFI is not part of the feature set of this motherboard, so you might want to add a WLAN card to your build if this is a feature that matters to you. It can also be beneficial to have more than one networking card in your system if you would like to setup multiple internet connections for redundancy reasons.
The Intel i7-8700K comes with Intel UHD Graphics 630 which supports up to 4K resolution, but depending on what you plan to use this machine for and also your monitor configuration, you may want to purchase an additional graphics card. The GTX 1050 is a very capable and compatible graphics card that can easily handle gaming at 1080p and running multiple 4K monitor setups. For gaming at higher resolutions and other GPU intensive workloads, such as CAD work, you may want to choose a different card. Consult the full list of compatible cards here.
This concludes part 1. We’ve figured out which parts are compatible for our hackintosh build and what resources to use if you want to deviate from the suggestion here. In the next part we will proceed to our build.
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