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Should You Buy a 2019 iMac Or Build a Hackintosh?

Last week Apple refreshed their iMac range for the first time in two years but is the new 2019 iMac worth the hefty price tag? Or would you be better off building a Hackintosh that you can easily upgrade in the future?

If you are like a lot of video content creators, you are either currently shooting and editing in 4K or you are thinking about it. With the refresh of the iMac lineup in 2019 you now have a choice to upgrade. 

Unfortunately, you will have to spend quite a bit for that 4k video editing computer you have been dreaming about. Sure you can upgrade up to 64 GB of ram yourself, to save a little money but if you want to upgrade the CPU or GPU or go from a regular hard drive to a SSD you will have to do that when you order your iMac.

In this article, we will have a look at the cost of a comparable Hackintosh build and see if it is a significant enough savings to warrant building your own computer instead of buying a new 2019 iMac. Let’s start by looking at the price of a 27 Inch 5K Imac equipped with a Intel i9 8 core processor, 64 GB’s ram, Radeon Pro 580X GPU, 500 GB SSD which will cost you roughly $3,799.00 before tax.

A comparable Hackintosh build with a more color accurate 4k display like the BenQ SW 271 covering more of the Adobe RGB color spectrum will cost you roughly $3000. If you want to save even more you can get a lower cost monitor and still have the same processing power for close to $2500.

Now of course there is the time you will have to spend ordering the various parts and building it yourself. Along with the time it takes for you to figure out how to install Mac OS and getting it up and running. If running Mac OS is a priority and having the ability to easily upgrade your components in the future, as well as having the added bonus of saving money.

Then a Hackintosh is definitely worth considering as long as you are willing to spend the time getting it up and running and maintaining it. Let me know in the comments below, if you would rather buy a new 2019 iMac or try building a Hackintosh yourself to save some money.

Craig Beckta's picture

Craig Beckta is a portrait and fashion photographer based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Craig currently has over 160 photography and videography tutorials on YouTube.

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I had a friend who opted for Hackintosh. as he told me, the computer was a beast, but he never really could rely on it as it crashed often, and a few times, when system crashed, everything was wiped ...

on the other hand - I was just doing a little of a research yesterday as I stumbled upon a few HP AiO computers and look really great and was interested what it has to offer - for the same amount of money you get a decent computers, and with all the upgrades (at least in configurator, I was looking at AiO EliteOne 1000), the price was in the range of iMac. the only difference was that you can chose between three different screen sizes.

But why would you need an AiO? My computer case is out of the way under my desk, i never see it and I can upgrade and clean it easily. About the hackintosh, yeah it sucks. But you can just use Windows, you will be fine.

Lee's build looks like something I will end up doing. https://fstoppers.com/originals/step-step-guide-build-ultimate-photovide...

A Mac mini with a eGPU is on my mind but I can’t figure out how much faster it would be compared with my late 2013 Mac Pro.

I buily many hackintoshes, mainly because I wanted something special, but even with the early days using Mac OS X 10.4, the machines worked reasonabley well, sure a few crashes in the very first days, but nothing serious with "wiping" (Seriously?)
My favorite build was a Samsung Ultra PC who turned into a fully mobile pen driven tablet computer with Apples Ink working perfectly. For a 250 bucks... I am still with my MacBook because simply love their cases. They simply look cooler :-)

If you were going the Hackintosh route, couldn't you just go to a respectable PC builder like OriginPC (one example) and have them build a system with no OS? You then would just load the Mac OS yourself. This way you get a professionally built machine with warranty and upgradeabilty.

You could do the same in theory with any PC - the difficulty isn't building it, the difficulty is loading macOS. It's bizarrely convoluted and doesn't always work. Even when it does it's not stable

I guess Origin would be about the same price of an iMac


I don't see the point of a Hackintosh any more. Simply buy or build a Windows workstation and be done with it. It's not like it's going to prohibit you from getting your work done. I've been working professionally with Macs and PCs since 1989, and in comparison today there's no difference in usage. The real advantage is bang for the buck and perfomance upgrade capabilty on the PC side.

Yes, it looks like building a PC is the best value.

If Apple licensed one of your photos and then used it contrary to the terms of the license agreement in order to avoid paying you full value for it...

Isn't that what's being suggested here?


considering the community, this comment needs to be in bold, with flashing lights and a klaxon blaring.


I bought my mac OS with my Apple computer that died ONE month after the warranty period. Should I ceremonially burn the copy of mac OS that i OWN?

Don't get me wrong... I'm done with Apple. 20+ years of using their products professionally, but I've sent my final dime to the company. Moving forward, we're converting everything over to Windows & Linux.

But, regardless of how anybody feels about a particular company, advocating intellectual property theft is no bueño.

Breaking Apple's EULA is not intellectual property theft. Stop the nonsense.

The "L" in EULA stands for "license." The "A" stands for "agreement." By accepting, you are agreeing to the licensing terms for Apple's intellectual property.

So, yeah, it kind of is...

Scott, let me explain this calmly and slowly. I bought Apple's OS - no theft there. And if I choose to blend my belongings in a kitchen blender or set them on fire, it is a decision for me to make. If I break the Licensing Agreement with a company, they can choose to exclude me from any of their services it implies. On the other hand, if I started selling hackintoshes that include Apple's OS, that would be a completely different story, or should I say - the one you're talking about.

Zarac. You did not "buy" that operating system. You licensed it. The difference is significant.

If you have to ask the answer is heck no

hackintosh sounds real good on paper, but it can be/ is a nightmare in the real world. You simply can’t rely on the machine in critical situations. If you want a Mac, pay the $ and rely on the company if things go wrong.

For around $2000 I build myself a pretty nice rig that would cost me a lot more if I went the Mac way, which I would never do by the way. Just for comparison:
- Intel i7 8700K
- Corsair H100i v2 Extreme cooler
- Corsair 32GB RAM, going for 64GB soon.
- eVGA RTX 2070 Ultra
- Samsung 1.5TB SSD (Samsung 860 EVO 1TB & Samsung 970 EVO+ 500GB)
- Seagate FireCuda 2TB HD
All shoved into a Thermaltake V21 microATX box. So far so great. Would never get a Mac.
Somewhat similarly configured Mac runs $4000!! https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/mac-pro/6-core-3.5ghz#

Why waste money?

because i have enough money to spare.

So do I, doesn't mean I'll waste it on an overpriced rig that is slower than my half as expensive PC.

Greg Wilson care to elaborate on your thumbs down? Just curious.

Mac´s are soo dead for photo & video.. way overpriced!

I believe installing Mac OS to build a hackintosh and dealing with the problems you are about to get is way harder than just learning to use Windows

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Lashupmac that’s been anything other than tempremental, unstable and an amateur play thing that needs constant fettling.
Colleagues and friends that have tried, announced with great glee that they are taking on the project, build it with pride and after a generation or 2 of critical updates here and there, dump the project and go either Windows or proper Apple.
Another one of those rites of passage things that people with too much time on their hands want to take on I guess.

I’m boring, the computer I use is important to flip RAW into something saleable in a reasonable amount of time. I buy it, plug it in and use it for work.

I started to use Apple Products in 1982 (Apple ][) and I have always been faithful to the Mac, but today I think more and more that my next computer will not be a Mac.
The Mac System is certainly the best, or at least the one I prefer, but the too expensive hardware is not really up to my expectations.
The solution that would seem to prevail is the Hackintosh. But here too there is a big problem because future versions of Mac Os will not work without the T2 chip and it will be impossible to install Mac OS on a machine without a T2 chip controlled by Apple.

Yes, hard to believe Windows is a better option but it is a much better value and apparently Davinci Resolve works better on a PC than a Mac.

That sounds like an interesting article. lol

It is not illegal. EULA is not a law, you know. If you break Apple's EULA, then Apple is not bound to it as well so they can stop letting you use their services.

"Unfortunately, you will have to spend quite a bit for that 4k video editing computer you have been dreaming about. "

Actually, if you use Final Cut Pro X, you DO NOT need the fanciest computer in the world to edit 4K video. It's super fast and smooth even in lower and mid-range Macs. Premiere is another story, obviously.

Exactly. I edit 4K video on a 2012 Mac Mini every week. And it’s mostly multicam footage, which is even more demanding. I create proxy files on import and don’t have any problems.

You say that as if you can't make proxy files on other programs and operating systems LOL!

The point is the able able to work directly with the 4k files that come out of your camera. That's gonna require a capable machine.

That's actually your own interpretation of the point. The article makes no reference to a requirement of being able to work with 4K footage without the use of proxy files. To assume so is just that: an assumption.

My comment follows up on the point that Michael made about not needing a new computer to edit in 4K. The latest and greatest is not required.

Also, lots of people here know what they're doing. It's no revelation to anyone that proxy files are not exclusive to FCP and OS X.

Your reply can easily be taken as an assumption as well. After all, why consider a Hackintosh in the first place if a run-of-the-mill Mac can handle the job?

I just received my 2019 iMac. I got the i9 processor and loaded it with 64gb ram from OWC. I love it! So much faster than my 2015 iMac. I've always had the desire to build a Hackintosh. I've built many Windows based machines in the past and it's fun! From picking components, to seeing the machine come alive. I would love to do this with a Hackintosh but I've not tried for one simple reason . . . OS X updates. From my reading, whenever Apple updates the OS, there's a likelihood of something breaking or needeing updating on the Hackintosh. It's like jailbreaking your iPhone and wanting to stay up to date with iOS . . . you need make sure there is a solution to whatever stops working.

I want to be as up to date as possible but not at the risk of needing to spend more time trouble shooting each update and needing to find solutions.

Why, after building a quality PC full of first rate components would I load Apple OS on it? :-)
No really, it is obviously unstable. Just put Windows on it.

If you're married to Apple's OS, just buy an Apple computer. You'll pay more money, but save a ton in headaches and grief in dealing with stability issues over time.

I was just looking (today acctually) at (again) building a PC but I never get to do it... I always get stuck in things I never have to think about when getting a Mac.
What I want is a fast enough computer that is dead silent! And as far as I know nobody but Apple builds so quiet computers with that much power... as far as I know.
Sure they cost a pretty penny but I prefer that to have all the fan noise from a cheaper and perhaps even more powerful PC.
I would acctually like to build myself a PC (but never a hackingtosh, way to much hassle) with a i9 10-core with water cooling and a water cooled bad ass GPU and the rest, but how quiet can a power supply be? Oh no, getting frustrated and tried again... ;-)
I’ll wait and see what Apple does with the rumord Mac Pro. Have a nice day!

Don't worry, a good PSU is very silent. Some don't even spin the fans. You also don't need an expensive watercooling set to get near silent operation. A good AIO watercooler like Corsair H110 for the CPU is enough, but a good air cooler can be even quieter. GPU will only be heard when playing games. If you place the case about 2 meters away, you'll only listen to it in a dead silent environment.

Thanks Ariel
But I don’t know what fan is more quiet... and my room is compact with my Trashcan Mac Pro just 3 ft from my head.
I stressed my Mac Pro today with a GPU benchmark and it got warm but I could still not hear it less than a 1 ft away. I could feel the heat coming out from the top of it though.
My lack of knowledge of PC components is my weakness in this case.

Your lack of knowledge or your unwillingness of knowledge? Just look for it, there's plenty of information out there. Noise level tests, noise comparison, it's very easy to find.

Unlike Macs, PC workstations come in any configuration YOU want. That includes a powerful and quiet machine. You can build a workstation that not only uses quiet fans for the CPU and GPU(s) (no water colloing needed), but there are cases built exclusively for quiet operation while maintaning proper ventilation.

There are also ready-made monsters available from the likes of HP with 16, 24, and 32 core machines with hundreds of gigs of ram. Yes, they will cost, but the real advatages are OPTIONS.

Sure, options are great as long you have the right knowledge and don’t feel I have that I this case and I just like Mac OS better than Windows.

What's wrong with seeking knowledge out in life? Empower yourself. ;-)

Nothing wrong seeking knowledge and I do but in other areas :-)

the issue with PC is the file explorer kinda sucks with no column view and no way to quickly tag files and so on ? to some it might not matter to others its huge

win sucks at color management since its app based and not OS based so again some times issues depending ?

I have macs and a nice PC 7820x build mainly as a capture machine for C1

PC that have issues often are cheap power supply is the #1 thing they did wrong and cheapened out
so mac heads that say PC are not as stable ? well no again hardware selection etc. both can be stable

macs are not more money then a high quality well built PC when built with the same level parts ? price out high end workstations as a PC and they can be quite a bit also
so IMHO the one cost more is silly since its not really about that and its so close ? but its getting worse for apple without new designs latest iMac proof of lack of innovation sadly
brings us to
the problem is Apple lost Steve and lost all innovation !
sadly apple is in a real bad spot and are starting to suck big time more and more quality and innovation is gone

to those is the high end lighting market failing because profoto or broncolor vs godox is a good argument if you want to argue or think apple is over priced ? there is a case where the other two are a lot more then godox

ow compare a high end quality laptop with a screen that has the accuracy of the macbook pro and only a small few can match and they are also very $ when comparing and again yeah sadly apples keyboard has issues see above :)

how many full time folks whining clear easy 6 figures vs not ? that might show the true level they are at and realize time is money kinda thing and like your own work or others its not just about this cost X dollars ? that is like saying well this print cost X so I can only charge X

buy a sigma art over a high end $ native brand but figure some focus issues but better performance ? again the OS X vs win argument can be made with these love hate of those awesome chunks of glass

to me working on a horrid color managed PC with a horrid for me file interface is not as good as a well built mac

as far as speed for vid it seems final cut pro is still qiucker in

also I do work on both all the time and I can say windows interface sucks compared to OS X in so many ways this is not a hardware thing is a OS thing
back to the hackintosh if you are good enough to build a quality one then keeping it up wont be a issue :) if you limp through it and takes weeks then I reckon you best not try to use it to make money is my end vote :)

Building a Hackintosh is clearly illegal by Apple's terms. So I am not sure why this is even encouraged doing in this video.

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