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View Full Version : Top of the line iMac or Hackintosh?


ime_NY
2009-10-13, 09:57
Hey all,

I'll be in need of a video-centered desktop within the next month. My 500 gb MBP is already down to 10% of its space, and I'm accumulating pics and video at a rate of about ~10 gb/week. To be honest, when I made the MBP purchase, I didn't foresee just how fun and addicting video editing would turn out to be.

So I was perusing the eBay and came across a new top of the line iMac with Applecare and preloaded with CS4 and FCS. With Bing cashback, it comes to a shade under $2k. Just wondering how good of a deal it is, considering that some type of iMac refresh seems inevitable within the next 3 months.

Even with the included FCS in this iMac, would I get a better overall deal by building a hackintosh for about $1000-1500? If so, what components should I splurge on? Think a decent hackintosh could be built using an old Power Mac quicksilver case and built-in power supply?

turtle
2009-10-13, 10:07
Here (http://forums.applenova.com/showthread.php?t=32471) I went through my process to get parts and build my hackintosh. torifile did the same in another thread that's eluding me right now. The big thing is finding parts off the start that are more natively supported my SL. Thankfully, mine is only not directly supported with audio and ethernet. Both were easy fixes. :)

ime_NY
2009-10-13, 10:13
Thanks, turtle. I was already looking at that thread. Damn, I should have just posted this there :(

torifile
2009-10-14, 05:22
Hackintosh all the way. It is not necessarily as pain free as buying an iMac but it's so much more versatile - and cheaper. You can put the money you save into legit copies of the software you want ;)

if you haven't already, check out the insanelymac.com forums. Make sure you get compatible parts.

WrestleEwe
2009-10-14, 06:01
So I was perusing the eBay and came across a new top of the line iMac with Applecare and preloaded with CS4 and FCS. With Bing cashback, it comes to a shade under $2k. Just wondering how good of a deal it is, considering that some type of iMac refresh seems inevitable within the next 3 months.

If it is completely legal, you should buy it immediately. CS4 comes in at about $2000, FCS at $999.

Scrap that, Adobe does not allow resale of their products the way Apple does. So buying this will be just as wrong as just downloading the program.

Considering that the 2nd best iMac + applecare costs $1799+$169=$1968 and the fact that the software probably is illegal anyway you might as well buy a new iMac or indeed a Hackintosh.

Luca
2009-10-14, 08:01
You don't need to spend $1500 on a Hackintosh to get a machine that will be a lot faster than an iMac. $1000 will get you a good video card, a Core i7 processor, and a couple of 1.5 TB hard drives (and all the other components you need).

Well, maybe you'll hit $1500 if you need a good monitor too. Just saying. PC components are very cheap if you're used to Apple prices.

torifile
2009-10-14, 13:22
I think, all told, I spent $800 on my computer, not including monitor or HDs. It's a Core 2 Quad @ 2.83 ghz with 4 gigs of RAM and a Radeon 4890. It is freakin' fast. Again, if I had to do it over again, there are a few things I'd have changed but not much. To be honest, I'm not sure that I'll ever buy a desktop Mac again (unless they release an upgradable tower!).

Maciej
2009-10-14, 17:24
I don't see myself ever buying a desktop Mac, ever. Only portables.

Swox
2009-10-14, 18:21
If Apple made a tower with the same specs I'm looking at (or close to it) for a couple of hundred bucks more, I'd definitely spring for it. Unless they do that though, there's no way I'd get an iMac. My Hackintosh is likely to be WAY more powerful than any iMac we'll see in the foreseeable future. And if I fall a bit behind in the GPU department, I'll just upgrade.

torifile
2009-10-14, 19:18
Do you play games? If you have any interest on playing on your pc, it's a no brainer.

PB PM
2009-10-14, 19:45
You have to be very careful in what parts you buy. I tried to get OSX running on my PC, which should have worked and had nothing, but trouble. If you have lots of free time, go ahead and make a Hackintosh. If you want something dependable, that you know is guaranteed to work with future generations of OSX for at least the next three or four OS upgrade cycles, get the iMac. The PC may offer more power, and a higher energy bill to go along with it, but there is more to consider than just raw speed.

Banana
2009-10-14, 19:51
I wonder how does updates work out? Is it a hassle and posts a risk of bricking?

Luca
2009-10-14, 19:56
I don't think there's any risk of bricking a Hackintosh. However, I do believe you have to wait for someone else to release a hacked version of the updates before you can install them. Not sure how the whole process works but it's not dangerous, just a hassle.

torifile
2009-10-14, 20:23
I wonder how does updates work out? Is it a hassle and posts a risk of bricking?

If you get compatible parts so you can use a vanilla install (like I did) you can update through software update. I haven't upgraded to SL yet because I think i need to install from scratch so I can't comment on that.

As far as the next 3 or 4 OS updates? Are we talking major OS updates or point releases? Once I got the major kinks worked out after about a week, things have been very smooth sailing. At least as easy as having to figure out why the hell my USB hub quit working or dealing with all those cables all over my desk. I'll take my 10 USB ports, 6 internal HD slots and built in card reader any day over juggling all that stuff for the "ease of use" of an iMac.

PB PM
2009-10-14, 21:17
I was thinking in terms of long term support, not point releases. Many of us here have no issue with upgrading every two or three years, but the average person does not upgrade that often, which could make a hackintosh more of an issue. What do you do a few years down the road when the drives you need to download off the net, aren't there anymore? My point is that for the average person a hackintosh is not the best option.

torifile
2009-10-14, 21:43
I was thinking in terms of long term support, not point releases. Many of us here have no issue with upgrading every two or three years, but the average person does not upgrade that often, which could make a hackintosh more of an issue. What do you do a few years down the road when the drives you need to download off the net, aren't there anymore? My point is that for the average person a hackintosh is not the best option.
I agree on that. But with SL just out and Apple saying that they're slowing down releases I think we're ok on that front for a while.

ime_NY
2009-10-14, 22:29
Yea checking out the eBayer's feedback, it was apparent he was selling pirated software. His last 20 auctions all featued new machines with Apple Care, FCS and CS4 for ridiculously low prices.

What I find funny is that I was debating between two inherently unethical choices (at least from Apple's POV): hackintosh and violate the EULA, or purchase a fishy set up with pirated software. At least with the hackintosh, Apple would be getting my $.

I never really appreciated the rant for Apple to make an affordable mid-range tower until I found myself in need/want of one. Hell, if they bumped down the Mac Pro prices by $500, does anyone think we'd see as much hackitosh activity out there?

Maciej
2009-10-14, 22:36
I was going to ask about the lagality of tha Hackintosh, can anyone offer a quick recap of the most widely accepted legal position? Or will all that be widely decided by the Psystar ruling (although I see that as a seperate issue).

ime_NY
2009-10-14, 22:38
and Tori, I've been checking out the insanely mac forums for the past month. Honestly, the task of building one from scratch seems a bit daunting-----it'd be my first ever build ever.

(one can argue that building the first rig is a right of passage in the life a tech geek)

ime_NY
2009-10-14, 22:45
Maciej, it was my understanding that violation of the EULA is not an illegal act, though it is a breech of contract. But I have no legal background.....this is just based on what I've read.

Swox
2009-10-14, 23:51
If you're not the type to want to tinker around with things, then the hackintosh isn't for you. If you want a minimum of hassle, etc., then I'd definitely go with the iMac.

I'm sure I may well be kicking myself for saying this in a few weeks, but I enjoy that aspect of technology.

If Apple could get their education price on a tower down to about $1500 CAD before taxes, I'd be interested. But all I've got to show for years of hoping and waiting for such an option is bitter, bitter disappointment.

Luca
2009-10-15, 10:01
Yea checking out the eBayer's feedback, it was apparent he was selling pirated software. His last 20 auctions all featued new machines with Apple Care, FCS and CS4 for ridiculously low prices.

What I find funny is that I was debating between two inherently unethical choices (at least from Apple's POV): hackintosh and violate the EULA, or purchase a fishy set up with pirated software. At least with the hackintosh, Apple would be getting my $.

I was going to ask about the lagality of tha Hackintosh, can anyone offer a quick recap of the most widely accepted legal position? Or will all that be widely decided by the Psystar ruling (although I see that as a seperate issue).

Maciej, it was my understanding that violation of the EULA is not an illegal act, though it is a breech of contract. But I have no legal background.....this is just based on what I've read.

As far as I know (and I am not a lawyer), EULAs can't really be enforced from a legal perspective. They give the company license to, say, deny you tech support if you do things that violate the license agreement. They might possibly be able to take it to a civil court, in which case they'd probably make like the record companies and try to get you to settle for a few grand. But I don't think there's much history of companies taking people to court over using legally purchased software in a way that violates the EULA.

I know some people disagree with me, but I don't see violating the EULA as an immoral act. Some actions that involve violating the EULA would in fact be immoral, but EULAs in and of themselves do not represent any moral code. Way I see it, if you buy Apple's software, you ought to be able to do whatever you want with it as long as it doesn't involve stealing the code or something along those lines, especially to make a profit. That's where Psystar's issues come in. But if you buy OS X for personal use on a single computer, I don't see what the big deal is.

I never really appreciated the rant for Apple to make an affordable mid-range tower until I found myself in need/want of one. Hell, if they bumped down the Mac Pro prices by $500, does anyone think we'd see as much hackitosh activity out there?

Yes, I think we would. Dropping a desktop computer from $2500 to $2000 would be a small step in the right direction, but only a small one. In the past, Apple's desktop Power Macs have sold for as little as $1500, with slightly cheaper ones available as refurbs. $1500 is still a lot to spend on a desktop computer, but it's manageable. Still, a typical "good" desktop only costs something like $500-$1000 to put together yourself, and it's possible to do it for under $400 if you search around for good deals. On top of that, building your own desktop allows you to choose which parts to use.

Apple's goal is not to be price competitive. By continually raising prices, they're getting even more money from the people who MUST have a Mac and are unwilling or unable to put together a Hackintosh. I'm sure they've run the numbers and determined that there are enough new customers and loyal existing customers to make up for those who leave Apple because their computers are overpriced.

ime_NY
2009-10-15, 10:14
Ah, but Luca, do you think Apple has crunched the numbers to determine if a mid-range tower would cut into iMac (at the high end) or Mac Pros (at the $2500 end)?

I know it's been covered in other threads, but wouldn't a decent, expandable mid-range be more attractive to businesses who'd hate the price of Windows upkeep yet who also find the iMac or Mini too limiting for long term use? (I have no idea how often the typical business upgrades their hardware). The same can be said to the users out there who like to tinker with their machines but find that tinkering with a $2500 tower isn't within their grasp.

Banana
2009-10-15, 10:27
Feh.

For office monkeys, I don't see them needing a expandable box; if nothing, AIO or even a dumb terminal may be a better fit, especially if it's cheap, cheap, cheap. It's not uncommon that grunts are still doting on a Windows XP Pentium II with 256 MB of RAM.

For certain departments (e.g. those that does lot more of graphic arts, development or IT for instance), expandability may be more important, but they'd have had gotten Mac Pros anyway, if they wanted Mac at all.

As mentioned in many threads, the tinkerer are a minority; most people just want to use the damned thing.

A better argument would be gaming, which isn't limited to tinkerer, but one has to be mindful that in this case, Apple would have to compete with console gaming as well and I wouldn't blame them for not want to jumping in.

Luca
2009-10-15, 10:39
You're forgetting about individual business users, Banana. All those tiny, one-person businesses out there who need a good computer but can no longer afford a Mac Pro. The iMac and Mini aren't very good options for those people either. But by making the Mac Pro really expensive, they ensure that everyone gets to pay them a lot of money. Either they buy a Mac Pro and use it for years, or they buy an iMac or Mini and have to upgrade it sooner since those computers can't be upgraded by the end user.

To some extent, it's just annoying more than anything. You have to buy external hard drives if you ever want more storage on an iMac or Mini. You don't get a good GPU unless you spend a lot extra, but in a tower you could just toss in any $100 video card and be good for most things (and I'm not just referring to gaming; my girlfriend, an architecture major, has introduced me to non-gaming uses for graphics cards). These are things a fair number of people need, but Apple offers nothing. Not to mention the Mini and iMac are both really underpowered for the price (and while CPU power isn't really an issue for an average home user, it can be for small business users). I mean, they offer nothing between the Core 2 Duo and the i7 Xeon!

drewprops
2009-10-27, 08:32
I was mentioning hackintoshes to a friend the other day, asking if he'd ever heard of them, and he laughed and said “I just saw one this morning, and watched it crash... hard” — then burst into laughter at what he'd seen. This of course has frightened me off of building one... should it have? I'm risk averse.

turtle
2009-10-27, 09:24
Well, if you don't want to risk it then I wouldn't do a hackintosh. Most of the time when they are built right are very stable...but that's most of the time. One software update or "fix" from Apple could kill your machine making you jump through hoops just to get it going again.

Personally it's worth it for me because of the gain I get from running this over a real Mac, but that's me.

Swox
2009-10-27, 11:37
I'm not sure what kind of crash your friend saw, nor what I might experience with my new hackintosh once I finally pull the trigger, but I've experienced some pretty obnoxious issues on my MBP, as I'm sure others have. I doesn't wake from sleep half the time, about 1/3 times it completely screws up my screen resolution when waking from sleep, etc.

I'm sure that Apple branded computers are going to be more stable, and you've got your Applecare too, but every computer's going to have its share of problems. At least that's how I'm rationalizing it ;)

If I didn't need performance and expandability beyond any of the iMacs at a price much lower than a Mac Pro, I'd stick with an Apple offering. If I had oodles of money, I'd probably just pop for a Mac Pro.

drewprops
2009-10-27, 22:58
And a Lambourghini? :p


torifile
2009-10-27, 23:01
Let's put it this way: you could buy 2 or 3 hackintoshes for the price of a similarly equipped Mac. All you have to do is make sure you get fully compatible parts. It's not hard to find out what will work.

turtle
2009-10-27, 23:03
And now that SL is Intel only it's even easier to do a vanilla install without having as many hacks in place to make it work. :) My motherboard means I have to run a special kext for my ethernet adapter. That's the only real mod for me.

Eugene
2009-10-27, 23:29
If you mean top of the line as in 27", there's no equivalent monitor out there.

27"
2560x1440
LED backlight
IPS panel type

That's a $1000 monitor at the very least. If Apple sold it, closer to $1300.

Swox
2009-10-28, 00:16
And a Lambourghini? :p



Are you kidding? If I had that kind of money, I'd put a nice down payment on a house ;)