was to built an working station like PC with a lots of power for CAD, movie editing and picture editing. Till here no problem, but I wanted a system with OSX as operating system. In the beginning of 2017 I bought the new Macbook Pro with the best hardware and tried it for a week. In the end I was really disappointed from the power and the actual costs. These days and also before I was interested in the Hackintosh topic and liked the idea.
So why building a Hackintosh if you can do everything also with Windows or Linux with less problems of installing and maintenance?
Because first of all building a Hackintosh is a fun project and you can learn a lot and if you stay at the project you will get a Mac which works quite good for all your needs. Also I’m quite used to the Mac OS and the workflow is really great in comparison to Windows, but this is my experience.
One of the most important things of an computer for me is silence. I can’t work next to a machine which is alternating fan noises. Therefore I decided to use a water cooling system. Back when I was a teenager I always wanted to build a PC with water cooling, if I can afford it. At the left side you see my first case mod 10 years ago.
Also my goal was to make the Hackintosh look like art so I looked for a case which can be fixed to the wall. Due to I have my Ultimaker 2 I had no compromises e.g. for placing the reservoir, all needed special mountings I could construct and print by my own.
I limited the Budget to under 2000€. So I decided to buy as many used components as possible, #obsolescene. I don’t like how the industry floods the consumer market every year with new things, they say we have to buy. If you have questions why I did take these components just leave a comment. Basic idea was to use components which are known to work in a Hackintosh and which have a good power to cost ratio.
case: Thermaltake Core P3
processor: Intel i5 6600K
mainbord: Gigabyte z170x ultra gaming
graphiccard: EVGA Geforce 970 GTX SC
memory: 4x8GB Ballistix Sport LT
power supply: bequiet! Straight Power 10 500W
main storage: Samsung 960 EVO 512 M2SSD
backup storage: Samsung 850 EVO 512 GB SSD
bluetooth: IOGEAR gbu521 W6
wlan: TP-Link TL-WDN4800
Mainboard, CPU, M2SSD and cooler
I started with the mainboard by removing the standard coolers to install the EK CPU and mainboard cooler. I really like to think also about the small important things like the voltage converters next to the cpu. Afterwards I carefully placed the cpu in position and added some heat paste. After than I installed the M2SSD in the center of the mainboard. The decision using this kind of SSD was related to the data transfer rate of the interface, because it’s fife times faster and supported by Apple. The price for a good M2 is twice as high as for a normal SSD.
equip the case
First I fixed the finished CPU/M2SSD/mainboard group to the Thermaltake Core P3 case and attached the 3x120mm radiator, which is responsible for dissipating the heat from the system. The Tp Link wireless LAN card is recognised by the system without installing any kext or driver, so it works like a build in wlan. The cooler for the graphics card is also from EK cooling systems. The design looks similar to the cpu cooler. There are three things about the case and the manufacturer that I really love. First of all you can mount it on the wall. If you got a clean looking system this is a nice eye catcher for the room. Second thing the graphic card is build in vertical, so you can see the front of your card or in my case the cooler which is on top. Third thing there is a website for open source parts for printable attachments, fan grills and holders.
small memory problems
I decided to cool the memory modules also with water. But this was a kind of tricky, because of my choice of memory. The memory modules had an glued heat distributor on each side. The first one I tried to pull of with some tools and a lot of force. There had to went something wrong, so I pulled a memory chip from the pcb. Really disappointed about my stupid mistake I made art out of it and placed the broken memory model in a picture frame which is placed next to my Hackintosh nowadays to remind my to think twice. My solution was to heat up the memory module to round about 70 degree celsius in the ofen. The heat will weaken the glue and the heat distributor can easily pealed of. After that I added some heat paste and installed the cooler plates and placed the memory module to the mainboard. Finally I attached the RAM cooler on top.
WATER COOLING SYSTEM
Now the trickiest part of the building process. Main goal most parts of the water circuit should look like free standing. Therefore I constructed and printed the holders for the reservoir and the filter. I published the designs on youmagine and the Thermaltake website.
Finally I cut the ends to the right length and added the thread connectors for the cooling system. This process took a lot of time put in the end I was really happy how it worked out. I filled the reservoir with red cooling liquid and started to fill up the system by turning on and off the system. In total I used approximately one liter of coolant, less than I expected.
Bending the tubes was kind of a longer learning process. I had to order twice as much tubes than actual needed for the system, because I had a lot of failed bendings. For the right angle I constructed a bending template, also published. This thing helped me to get the right angle. I put a silicone hose inside the tube so it could not collapse and heated it with a heat gun. While heating up remember all the time turning it so the heat is equally distributed. After the tube got soft I carefully bended to a little smaller angle than desired.
Below you see how my Hackintosh looks like after the built. This brings me also to the end of the first part. In the next part I will talk about the software stuff. How I ended up with 4 times installing it and why I decided to add another SSD to the system. I will also talk about my experiences after nearly 6 months of using the Hackintosh. See you than have a nice day.