Building a desktop computer from parts for Windows or Linux is easy, as most drivers are out there, and perhaps even built into the operating system itself.  Piecing together a Hackintosh, or "CustoMac" is quite a different beast altogether.  In addition to determining if your prospective components work together, you also need to know whether the hardware is even supported by Apple's standard drivers.

With help and guidance from Jimx86, Lnx2Mac, and MacMan, here are 3 CustoMac builds that have our seal of approval.  This means that if we were buying stuff today, we'd not hesitate to purchase any of these parts for a CustoMac build running Mac OS X as the primary operating system.

All three builds include:

  • Gigabyte P55 Motherboard
  • Intel Core i-series Quad-Core CPU
  • 4GB or 8GB of RAM, expandable up to 16GB
  • 1 TB Hard Drive
  • CD/DVD Burner
  • Case and Power Supply

We've included all components besides monitor, as any standard monitor will do.  You can use these receommendations as a jumping off point for further customization, or as a shopping list.  Prices reflect those as of June 2010, and do not include shipping or tax. 

Budget Power Build 1
Core i5 750 – Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 Micro-ATX – NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB – 4GB G.SKILL DDR3
$826.74
Motherboard:  Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4  $148.32
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint 1 TB $69.99

CD/DVD Burner: Sony Optiarc Black $24.99

Case: Apevia X-Cruiser $64.99
Power Supply: Antec 550W Continuous Power $59.99
Operating System: Mac OS X Snow Leopard $28.49
  
Budget Power Build 2
Core i7 860 – Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 Micro-ATX – NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB – 4GB G.SKILL DDR3
$1086.73
Motherboard:  Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4  $148.32

Graphics: EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 $179.99
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint 1 TB $69.99

CD/DVD Burner: Sony Optiarc Black $24.99

CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 $34.99
Case: NZXT Tempest EVO: $109.99

Power Supply: Corsair 650HX Modular 650W $99.99
 
Operating System: Mac OS X Snow Leopard $28.49
Budget Power Build 3
Core i7 860 – Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P ATX – NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB – 8GB G.SKILL DDR3
 $1348.35
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P $159.99
NOTE: Unfortunately for ATX users, Gigabyte has transitioned away from the ALC 889a codec, that Apple uses.  If you can get your hands on a discontinued GA-P55-UD4P or GA-P55-UD5, the onboard audio chip will work natively.  We still recommend any Gigabyte P55 board, but ALC 889a is preferable.
Graphics: Gigabyte GTX 285 $349.99
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint 1 TB $69.99

CD/DVD Burner: Sony Optiarc Black $24.99

CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 2 $34.99
Case: Antec 900 $79.95


Power Supply: Corsair 650HX Modular 650W $99.99
Operating System: Mac OS X Snow Leopard $28.49

As Mac OS X Snow Leopard was never meant to be installed on this hardware, any drivers that work now, may need workarounds later.  There are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to this stuff- but that's what makes it fun. 

If you’re not seeing exactly what you’re looking for as far as power, or you’re looking for more of a budget build, Jimx86 has put together a few alternate builds for Core2Duo and X58 boards here.  

Oh, and don’t forget, if you end up buying anything, click through one of these affiliate links to Newegg.com and Amazon.com.  That way, you’ll be supporting the site, as well as getting the best prices.  Thanks in advance! 

For discussions on this and other topics, register today at tonymacx86.com!


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