If you’re looking to build a Hackintosh and have never built a computer before, chances are you have a lot of questions. This will be a basic rundown of what components a computer needs and what components you’ll need should you chose to build a Hackintosh.
There are 7 basic components your machine needs to run.
- Central Processing Unit (CPU)
- Random Access Memory (RAM) or (memory)
- A graphics card or integrated graphics
- Hard Drive (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD)
- Power Supply (PSU)
- A Case
1 Central Processing Unit (CPU)
Think of the CPU as the brain of your machine. The better your CPU the faster your machine can process information, so a fast CPU will result in a lightning-quick system. The two brands of consumer desktop CPU’s are AMD and Intel. For Hackintosh compatibility, you must use an Intel processor. Your CPU will fit into your motherboard in a socket. Every other time Intel releases new processors, they release a new socket type, so it is important to make sure that your CPU and motherboard are compatible. The current sockets are LGA1150 and LGA2011 (power users and servers). CPU speed is measured in gigahertz or GHz the higher, the better; however, clock speed is not an absolute measure of speed, and you’ll want to research the performance of a CPU before buying it.
Side note: For Intel processors, if the socket types match up, the CPU and motherboard will be compatible. This does not apply to AMD.
The motherboard connects all your components and ensures that they can communicate with each other. The motherboard contains the socket for your CPU, the sockets for the RAM, all the ports that you will use to connect devices to your computer, and pretty much all the other connectors you’ll need. Motherboards also contain a number of PCI slots, which are special high-speed interfaces used for connecting graphics cards and other internal devices. Your motherboard will also include SATA cables for connecting your internal hard drives. Your BIOS is also built into a chip on your motherboard. Motherboards for desktops come in various standardized sizes. EATX, ATX, MATX, and M_ITX are the common sizes from largest to smallest.
3 Random Access Memory (RAM) or (Memory)
Your ram stores all the data that you are currently using. More ram means that you can have more things running at once. Your ram plugs into your motherboard. Currently, there are two major ram types. SO-DIMM which goes in laptops and DIMM which is for desktops. Ram also has a clock speed. Most ram now operates at 1600Mhz, but faster modules are available. Your motherboard will tell you what ram is compatible. All your ram modules should have matching specs. There is no specific requirements RAM wise for a Hackintosh, save that you’ll need at least 4GB.
4 Graphics Processor or Integrated Graphics
Your graphics processor is a dedicated card which handles the graphics work for your machine. Depending on your CPU and motherboard, you can also use integrated graphics, in which your CPU and RAM will be used for graphics processing. This will be significantly slower than a dedicated graphics card, so if you plan on gaming or doing video work you will need a dedicated graphics card.
The graphics card connects to your machine through a PCI slot, which connects to the back of the case where you can connect your monitors and video outputs.
Graphics cards are made by Nvidia and AMD; however, you will notice that they are available from various hardware brands. The reason for this is that Nvidia and AMD design the graphics card’s hardware and architecture and then sell the design to various manufacturers. The hardware manufacturers put the cards into production. In addition, they may change the fan layout or the casing on the card, but it is still the same processors and will function exactly the same. It all comes down to which company you trust the most, or which one is having a sale.
Note: LGA 2011 does not include integrated graphics.