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Tuesday, 01 November 2016


Check out Pindelski's blog if you haven't recently. He will build one for you and very reasonably I think. Also has some ready to ship. I've been seriously considering it.

Just about everyone who considers building a 'hackintosh' would save lots of money in the long run, (to say nothing of the time and effort) by buying a maxed out Mac Pro. Of course, that would ruin the fun, and they wouldn't be able to brag to their friends about how much money they saved.

I expect that when the standard product lines at Apple start to see market saturation – as now appears to be happening – they will, like the camera makers, once again pay attention to the niche customers who still want to buy something. Anyway, I live in hope.

Putting off your buying decision is a viable option. People think that there will be a refresh of the Mac desktop line in spring.

I installed and ran OS X on a Netbook once. It was a fun project, but I never used the result for day to day work.

I don't think very many photographers have the skills and the time it takes to build and maintain a Hackintosh as their everyday computer. It's not a good tradeoff unless you have a lot of experience swapping operating systems, a desperate need for computer speed, and no decent software options on Windows or Linux.

It would be much easier for a Mac loving photographer with a need for speed to get a high powered windows desktop machine exclusively for photography and use a midrange or low end Mac laptop for the rest of their computing life.

Before doing anything with a hackintosh, listen to this podcast. Then lie down, put a washcloth over your eyes, and wait for the urge to go away.


I'm sure you've had many suggestions about your computer quandary.

Here is mine, based on my needs for portability, travel and performance: a 2015 MacBook Pro plus a thunderbolt dock (such as this one: https://www.elgato.com/en/thunderbolt-2-dock) to make connection to external drives and other goodies easy, and a 27" colour-accurate pro graphics display from the NEC PW series.

Where do you buy a 2015 MacBook Pro? From the Apple on-line refurb store (http://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/mac) at 15% less than they were selling for a few days ago. I have bought several refurbished Macs and they are a bargain—literally like new, not a scratch or fingerprint, and with the same warranty and return privilege as a new product.

After seeing the new 2016 MacBook Pro line, I bought a 2015 MacBook Pro yesterday to replace my wife's ageing 2010 machine. I'm happily using a 2014 13" MacBook Pro and unless Apple changes its ways, it may be the last Mac computer I'll own.

But don't hesitate as others have the same idea and the refurb/clearance models won't last.



Whew! So glad you're not gunna do it.

For anyone who doesn't already love hacking for the sake of hacking, a Hackintosh is at best a time suck, probably a PITA and potentially a nightmare. Here's a succinct rundown of pros and cons: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-Hackintosh

The biggest problem is that it's unlicensed. You'd have to expect no support from Apple, obviously, but also no hardware or software vendor would be obliged to offer support. And there is no app store.

The only rational way for a non-hacker to really enjoy a Hackintosh is to find a reputable hacker to source and assemble the thing and contract to maintain and service it. This would all have to be done under the table, and would in a few years probably exceed the cost of a Mac Pro.

Unless something's changed drastically in the last couple of years.

I love the performance of my Hackintosh. It was fun to setup. It has a few quirks, such as not going to sleep due to a graphics driver (which I knew would be the case when I bought the card). It is also not something I'd recommend for someone who doesn't like to tinker even a little bit with computers. However if you do find yourself with a pile of computer parts I'd be glad to help you turn them into a Hackintosh.

I've been waiting years for a substantially upgraded MacBook Pro. So, I bought the new 15" model within minutes of the Apple Store website allowing it. I did pause when it was clear that the maximum Ram available is a modest 16GB but I've been waiting so long. (I bought a 2nd hand 13" MBP as a stop gap after my Mid 2010 15" MBP suffered MB failure)

I'm already having second thoughts, and since delivery is expected to be around Thanksgiving, and I have 30 days to return it after it ships...We'll see.

Yesterday the rumor mill produced speculation that there will be a substantial upgrade to the MBP during 2017. The next Gen processor which will supposedly allow 32GB Ram. Apple had to make due with what Intel could provide this year since the MBP has gone so long with the same class of CPU.

As I commented earlier this week, the MacPro "Dustbin" is a fine piece of engineering that looks great beside the display (NEC) on my desk.

Even though it is more powerful than I need or will ever need, it is sufficient and over the coming years will prove to be a bargain.

Mind you, still no card reader!

Some good opinion/analysis here: https://chuqui.com/2016/10/how-apple-could-have-avoided-much-of-the-controversy/

I'll second an earlier suggestion to look at the used MacBook Pros available from OWC (www.macsales.com). I've had nothing but good experiences with used machines I've bought from them.

Mike wrote in the paragraph starting, "What would really make the most sense would be a rationalization ... "

There are many Windows products that fill your bill. Mine might be a Surface Book with a docking station and a monitor or two or three. Portability, big screen, all your files in one place ... Or if I'm feeling flush, a Surface Book and Surface Studio. Pricy but perfect for the way I work.


Based on my experience, the end result of building a Hackintosh is having one that more-or-less works, not having one on which you can rely to do real work. It was a fun technical exercise to get it up and running, but not, in my opinion, what you are looking for.


The old (cheesegrater?) Mac Pro was just right. Easy to add memory and storage without even a single tool.

The new one, I think, assumes that storage isn't needed anymore since we're all going to use the cloud. Not me.

My own feeling is that the Mac Pro is in deep trouble. No matter what they do with it, it’ll be too late, and because they are losing mindshare, they will find it much harder to satisfy a divergent set of pro users who might have otherwise, to some extent, arranged their needs around the product.

What they could do with the Mac Mini, on the other hand, is figure out how they could be stacked and clustered over Thunderbolt 3. You use one Mac Mini for display, you get all the others for processing, storage and GPU power.

Can it be done? Yes. It’s very doable and they have core OS technologies that could expose it.

Will they do this officially? No.

(I share your trepidation about Mac replacement.)

I have been hoping for that "a bigger but still sleek box for photographers and graphic artists " for as long as I can remember. I also would like them to make two versions of their software, Pro and Consumer. That would solve many issues. The Pro changes every five years, with security updates.
I don't think they care about us anymore.
I have looked at Hackintosh. I still consider it, but I figure that it would be stuck at the operating system I build it with, no upgrades. Sigh.

Why not just configure a Dell XPS? Probably cost you less too. I guess that is heresy? Photo tasks are not particularly onerous in power requirements either.

Coincidentally I'm in the exactly the same position, my trusty 2008 vintage iMac has been officially labelled as retro and therefore unsupported by Apple. That old thing kept going for so long because it was relatively easy to fix and upgrade but I can't think I'll be so lucky with a new glued-together-Mac.

So after much deliberation it's Hackintosh for me, the frustration I'm sure to encounter building it will be forgotten in the long term. Best of luck whichever you choose!

The lack of an SD-card slot seems to be overblown to me - I've always simply plugged the camera into my Mac via a USB cable.... I can't think of the last time I pulled a card out of the camera.

Like you I thought about it for a long time before building a Hackintosh but finally (with a bunch of upcoming 4k video work) i decided to go ahead with it. It took some time about a day, and then a few more of tweaking but I ended up with a very fast, infinitely up-gradable machine that can burn through 4k video like a champ. Not to mention photoshop doesn't even work up a sweat. It was a huge savings over a Mac pro as I could build it up over time rather then make the one time purchase (ram HDD etc) all at once as well as including an internal RAID system which is a big savings. But (always a but) it has its issues, I never turn it of (IMHO this is better for HDDs anyway) it is kind of buggy with USB 2.0 devices, USB 3 is fine, and it will crash from time to time (what computer doesnt. But the big one is upgrading the OS, its a huge risk or a lot of work to ensure a new OS is going to work the same with all your equipment so to be safe you kind of want to stick with your original OS especially if you cant afford any downtime. I am proud of it, though if I had $5000 + to replace it with a mac Pro I would do.

If I were an Apple industrial designer I would be very frustrated with the camera manufacturers for still not being able to build a simple and reliable wireless image transfer function into their cameras. It's something that should have been perfected years ago yet the combined resources of Canon, Nikon, the minors, and most especially Sony can't get-R-done.

So leaving out the antiquated SD card slot is probably a passive aggressive gesture aimed at them, not the committed consumer.

In that pristine white minimalist design center at Apple there is a vision of a pure workspace, only a computer screen levitating over an ergonomic chair... not only is it wirelessly connected but wirelessly powered. Meanwhile in the real world I have all the ports filled on my iMac, a spaghetti nest of wires spurting out in every direction.

You know, it's really too bad that there isn't an option for a much cheaper computer with similar or improved capabilities that's available in just the form factor you want (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_85_0?fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A541966%2Cn%3A13896617011%2Cn%3A565098%2Cn%3A13896597011%2Ck%3Awindows+10+desktop%2Cp_n_feature_four_browse-bin%3A2289792011%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A12035945011%2Cp_85%3A2470955011&keywords=windows+10+desktop&ie=UTF8&qid=1478053223&rnid=2470954011). It's just really a shame...

(I kid, I kid. I should not needle people for their religious beliefs.)

If Microsoft would create a front-end as simple as OSX, that would be the obvious solution to your dilemma. In the PC universe you could find a computer that meets all of your requirements and is cheaper, to boot...if you don't mind screwing around with Windows. I actually have a Surface Pro2, which I don't use because it's such a PITA, even though there are some very nice things about it. I haven't even been able to find a PC instructional book that helps much -- the instructions always seem circular, so you always have to know about C, D and E before you can do A. All I want is to turn on a Surface and find two big squares on the screen: Word and Internet. Click either one, and you get it. Can Microsoft do that? Apparently not.

Having built a hackintosh myself I would like to warn you that the thrill and novelty is short lived, and the very real prospect of it becoming corrupt after the next os update will disabuse you of any such impulse for life!

Lifehacker just updated their guide yesterday on Building a Hackintosh with macOS Sierra: https://lifehacker.com/the-always-up-to-date-guide-to-building-a-hackintosh-o-5841604

Like it or not, things are always changing. Almost everything that everyone dislike on the new MBP, is being pushed by Intel. USB 3.0 ✔ Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ✔ The upcoming Windows laptops won't be that much different than the MBP. Intel seems to want it that way.

As iPad/Android tablets become more powerful, less and less people will need or want a computer. Computers ain't going away, they will become a niche product, just like 4x5 film cameras (still being made by Arca-Swiss, Linhof, Sinar and Toyo).

I hope we get a 2017 Mac Mini, with lots of USB-C ports. I still need a server.

That new Macbook costs about the same as a pretty nice Windows workstation AND a Surface Pro or somesuch for road use -- I'm just sayin' ;-)

Honestly I did once go to the trouble of building a nice Hackintosh machine, but set it up for dual boot with Win7, and ended up finding myself booting the Mac OS less and less as time went by.

Like you I have a long history with Apple products, and you can pry my G4 Powermac (OS 9) from my cold dead hands, but it seems like the "innovations" that Apple has been pushing with each new OS update are closing the usablility gap that once existed between Mac and Windows to the point where the tradeoffs on either side are nearly balanced.

I can say that pen-based computing with a real OS (ie. not iOS or Android) is insanely great as a travel computer/daybook/email machine -- I am now in the habit of taking longhand notes etc on a Windows tablet while working on a desktop machine and I like it a lot. Apple is totally missing the boat by not competing in this market.

Why not keep the current Mac and test the waters of the Dark Side with a Surface Pro (or clone); I hear they are also available on Amazon!

Came across this rant yesterday - coincidence? <https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-microsoft-macbook-pro-surface-studio-creative-professionals/>

My wife actually spent a year building Windows desktop computers at a local small town storefront, after starting as a desk clerk. Took her about 3 days to figure it out, and she's not especially tech-savvy.
Long story short, it's not worth it. You can custom-build a system that will match your needs, but it will be kludgy and unreliable in very unpredictable ways, and conflicting driver upgrades down the road can paralyze you. Out-of-the-box systems from major vendors are already bad enough, because they're now all produced at a handful of colossal factories in China for the lowest possible cost. They're basically a consumable/commodity with a short shelf-life, rather than a near-luxury good like they were 20 years ago.

I would consider buying a refurbished Mac either from the Apple Store (basically units that have been returned and fully checked out. Look and run like new) or OWC. I've done that in the past without any difficulties. If you buy one from Apple you can get an Apple care plan with it. Saves some serious $. Hackintoshes are where tech geeks doth go, and you ain't no tech geek. =)

Mike, I think you are doing yourself a disservice by always assuming that the answer to your computer requirements is an Apple product.

Just to consider 2 arguments which might convince you to look at the PC/Windows world:

- for a desktop PC, you can always have one built by a local computer outfit to match your exact needs, whether for processing power, graphics, card reader, whatever. For laptops, it's more a question of looking at the wide range of models, picking one which more or less matches and then adding memory and storage (see below).

- Apple computers are significantly more expensive for memory and storage, possibly because Apple often doesn't use standard or even removeable parts. For example, according to the latest price changes described here (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/11/apple-drops-prices-for-storage-upgrade-options-on-older-macs/), an upgrade to a 1TB SSD for a 2015 MacBook Pro costs $600-$800; if you have a non-Apple computer which takes standard SSDs, a good quality 1TB drive may cost only $250. And in the non-Apple world, RAM and storage are generally removeable, so you can add capacity a couple of years later, whereas in the Apple world these components are more and more often soldered in.

Liking to move around more and more, including even outside on nice days, I love my 13" MacBook Pro (basic unit). In the house at my desk, I can quickly connect a small 19" monitor to it for larger online views. So having something that works like this laptop does is perfect, as opposed to, say, a Mac Mini.

Now my iMac has been reduced to essentially displaying Photoshop or Lightroom menus, while a big 27" NEC shows the images. I like the total separation of duties between the two Macs, except the "little one" is capable of duplicating the photo work should a major failure occur. And by merely exchanging 1 Thunderbolt cable, I can give the MacBook Pro access to the big NEC and external photo hard drives.

I bought an old Mac Pro 2009 from eBay flashed upgraded to 5,1 which runs the newest OS X-- I came from windows 10 and put my windows SSD in and can boot into either windows or OS X.
It has a 6 core xenon at 3.33 MHz and 16 GB.
I kept the old video card in for compatibility during OS upgrades and boot up and added a stock GTX 950
Runs great. Low noise. And retains the flexibility I'm used to coming from PC desktops.
I paired it with a dell UHD monitor.

Currently, I hate the Windows OS, it's gotten worse with each iteration since Windows 7, it might be OK on a tablet but I don't use a tablet.

PC hardware, on the other hand is great, I'm still running a SCSI scanner on my Win7x64 machine. And if you want a sexy, super sleek laptop to go with your desktop machine, look to the Spectre (not sure I can run it back to Win7 so that might be a deal breaker). I never did get my wireless Canon all-in-one running on Windows but it set up in just seconds using my school furnished Mac.

Apple, on the other hand, holds you hostage, once you take the red pill you're screwed. The OS is very nice but requires constant upgrades, one per year, and every time you upgrade there will be a cycle of broken applications, nothing critical (HAH!) just anything by Adobe or Microsoft and after three of four fixes it may start working again, and then every few cycles, Apple will introduce an OS that won't run on the machine you just got tweaked to where you like it. And other than Adobe, all Mac software lags by at least a generation on the Mac, we also use a network printer driver at school and the Mac driver is primitive and sports very few features, the Windows driver is superb and supports all the printer features (and the printer I use supports duplex printing, color, collation, and includes a stapler but only on the Windows side, on the Mac side the same printer could just as well be a Laserjet c. 1995. To get the printer features I needed, I requested Parallels+Windows 7, I was offered an upgrade to Windows 8.1 and forcefully declined the "upgrade".

I have a school issued MacBook Pro, nice machine; the next generation, just announced sound terrible, especially USB-C, and I'm still scratching my head regarding that LCD strip above the keyboard. Change, just for the sake of change, is never good.

It seems to me that both Microsoft and Apple have no idea what their customers really need so a huge "take it or leave it" attitude has evolved in both cults.

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