Hackintosh. Does It Work For Web Development?
February 4, 2020

It was Macbook Pro release day 2016. This was the year to buy a new laptop. Up to that point I was still using a 2013 MBP. I loved that thing, it had the last great mac produced keyboard and was loaded with IO ports, but as usual, I was super excited to be getting a brand new touchbar Mac. I hadn’t done alot of research on the new MBP because typically, they were awesome. I purchased 2 of them (one for another dev at the studio) in space gray and headed home.

Upon getting home and opening the package, charging it up and starting to play around for my first use I realized I needed a mouse to start installing stuff because I didn’t want to use the trackpad for now. Problem number one, what are these 4 ports? Having never seen USB Type C before that, I googled it and immediately found the reddit threads complaining that there were nothing but 4 USB Type C ports on the new MBP. So I got up and drove to best buy to purchase $150 in adapters and a cool dongle that would allow me to regain my lost HDMI port, USB 3.0 ports and Ethernet jack.

Now I was set. I pulled up the “About My Mac” and quickly realized something. “Wait a second” I told myself as I read, “16GB DDR3 Memory”. The first thought through my head was, “I just paid $2,800 dollars for a new laptop in 2016 with DDR3 memory”. At the time, pretty much every manufacturer was producing computers with DDR4 and my gaming PC was DDR4 based memory. That never sat well with me and I began wondering, can I just install OSX on my PC so that I don’t have to keep buying these overpriced (albeit very nice) laptops?

I decided to upgrade my PC to an i9 9900k, 32GB DDR4, a super fast Corsair PCI-E NVME drive and an Nvidia GTX 1080 TI. After selecting all the upgrade parts and verifying their compatibility on TonyMac, I started assembling. The only “extra” part I bought was a compatible Wifi card. After getting everything set up and fiddling with some config files I found online, voila, I was up and running.

One caveat with the whole setup is that if you’re running an Nvidia based (modern Pascal) graphics card, you have to run OSX High Sierra. You can avoid this buy purchasing an AMD card instead. If you choose to go that route I highly recommend an AMD 5700XT. The AMD card allows you to run the latest version of OSX (Mojave at the time of writing this).

It’s been about 6 months without using the Macbook Pro and I’ve finally made the leap and sold it. I have a custom hackintosh both at work and at home and not having to lug around the extra gear is amazing. Not to mention the home PC is super overpowered and an absolute joy to work on. You’ve never seen Mac OS work this quick. It’s a blast to use and the custom hackintosh built in a late 90’s G4 tower gets tons of comments and questions at the studio.

If you’re wondering what I use for meetings and general times that I need a laptop, I actually have an iPad Pro that I use for those times. And lately I have decided that I am going to enjoy my vacations. Not even having the ability to let 10 minutes turn into a 6 hour coding session in Estes Park Colorado with the snow falling on the beautiful mountain scenery behind me is actually a blessing in disguise. For my purposes and personal choices, the 2 desktop, 1 ipad setup is perfect.


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