Should You Buy a 2019 iMac Or Build a Hackintosh?

Last week Apple refreshed their iMac range for the first time in two years but is the new 2019 iMac worth the hefty price tag? Or would you be better off building a Hackintosh that you can easily upgrade in the future?

If you are like a lot of video content creators, you are either currently shooting and editing in 4K or you are thinking about it. With the refresh of the iMac lineup in 2019 you now have a choice to upgrade. 

Unfortunately, you will have to spend quite a bit for that 4k video editing computer you have been dreaming about. Sure you can upgrade up to 64 GB of ram yourself, to save a little money but if you want to upgrade the CPU or GPU or go from a regular hard drive to a SSD you will have to do that when you order your iMac.

In this article, we will have a look at the cost of a comparable Hackintosh build and see if it is a significant enough savings to warrant building your own computer instead of buying a new 2019 iMac. Let’s start by looking at the price of a 27 Inch 5K Imac equipped with a Intel i9 8 core processor, 64 GB’s ram, Radeon Pro 580X GPU, 500 GB SSD which will cost you roughly $3,799.00 before tax.

A comparable Hackintosh build with a more color accurate 4k display like the BenQ SW 271 covering more of the Adobe RGB color spectrum will cost you roughly $3000. If you want to save even more you can get a lower cost monitor and still have the same processing power for close to $2500.

Now of course there is the time you will have to spend ordering the various parts and building it yourself. Along with the time it takes for you to figure out how to install Mac OS and getting it up and running. If running Mac OS is a priority and having the ability to easily upgrade your components in the future, as well as having the added bonus of saving money.

Then a Hackintosh is definitely worth considering as long as you are willing to spend the time getting it up and running and maintaining it. Let me know in the comments below, if you would rather buy a new 2019 iMac or try building a Hackintosh yourself to save some money.

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53 Comments

Jure Makovec's picture

I had a friend who opted for Hackintosh. as he told me, the computer was a beast, but he never really could rely on it as it crashed often, and a few times, when system crashed, everything was wiped ...

on the other hand - I was just doing a little of a research yesterday as I stumbled upon a few HP AiO computers and look really great and was interested what it has to offer - for the same amount of money you get a decent computers, and with all the upgrades (at least in configurator, I was looking at AiO EliteOne 1000), the price was in the range of iMac. the only difference was that you can chose between three different screen sizes.

Ariel Martini's picture

But why would you need an AiO? My computer case is out of the way under my desk, i never see it and I can upgrade and clean it easily. About the hackintosh, yeah it sucks. But you can just use Windows, you will be fine.

A Mac mini with a eGPU is on my mind but I can’t figure out how much faster it would be compared with my late 2013 Mac Pro.

I buily many hackintoshes, mainly because I wanted something special, but even with the early days using Mac OS X 10.4, the machines worked reasonabley well, sure a few crashes in the very first days, but nothing serious with "wiping" (Seriously?)
My favorite build was a Samsung Ultra PC who turned into a fully mobile pen driven tablet computer with Apples Ink working perfectly. For a 250 bucks... I am still with my MacBook because simply love their cases. They simply look cooler :-)

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

If you were going the Hackintosh route, couldn't you just go to a respectable PC builder like OriginPC (one example) and have them build a system with no OS? You then would just load the Mac OS yourself. This way you get a professionally built machine with warranty and upgradeabilty.

Christoph .'s picture

You could do the same in theory with any PC - the difficulty isn't building it, the difficulty is loading macOS. It's bizarrely convoluted and doesn't always work. Even when it does it's not stable

Ariel Martini's picture

I guess Origin would be about the same price of an iMac

Spy Black's picture

I don't see the point of a Hackintosh any more. Simply buy or build a Windows workstation and be done with it. It's not like it's going to prohibit you from getting your work done. I've been working professionally with Macs and PCs since 1989, and in comparison today there's no difference in usage. The real advantage is bang for the buck and perfomance upgrade capabilty on the PC side.

Craig Beckta's picture

Yes, it looks like building a PC is the best value.

Scott Hussey's picture

If Apple licensed one of your photos and then used it contrary to the terms of the license agreement in order to avoid paying you full value for it...

Isn't that what's being suggested here?

JetCity Ninja's picture

bingo.

considering the community, this comment needs to be in bold, with flashing lights and a klaxon blaring.

#HypocrisyInAction

Greg Wilson's picture

I bet the next big thing for fstoppers will be shoplifting. Why paying when you can get it free.

I bought my mac OS with my Apple computer that died ONE month after the warranty period. Should I ceremonially burn the copy of mac OS that i OWN?

Scott Hussey's picture

Don't get me wrong... I'm done with Apple. 20+ years of using their products professionally, but I've sent my final dime to the company. Moving forward, we're converting everything over to Windows & Linux.

But, regardless of how anybody feels about a particular company, advocating intellectual property theft is no bueño.

Breaking Apple's EULA is not intellectual property theft. Stop the nonsense.

Scott Hussey's picture

The "L" in EULA stands for "license." The "A" stands for "agreement." By accepting, you are agreeing to the licensing terms for Apple's intellectual property.

So, yeah, it kind of is...

Scott, let me explain this calmly and slowly. I bought Apple's OS - no theft there. And if I choose to blend my belongings in a kitchen blender or set them on fire, it is a decision for me to make. If I break the Licensing Agreement with a company, they can choose to exclude me from any of their services it implies. On the other hand, if I started selling hackintoshes that include Apple's OS, that would be a completely different story, or should I say - the one you're talking about.

Scott Hussey's picture

Zarac. You did not "buy" that operating system. You licensed it. The difference is significant.

If you have to ask the answer is heck no

Ray Hardy's picture

hackintosh sounds real good on paper, but it can be/ is a nightmare in the real world. You simply can’t rely on the machine in critical situations. If you want a Mac, pay the $ and rely on the company if things go wrong.

Przemek Lodej's picture

For around $2000 I build myself a pretty nice rig that would cost me a lot more if I went the Mac way, which I would never do by the way. Just for comparison:
- Intel i7 8700K
- Corsair H100i v2 Extreme cooler
- Corsair 32GB RAM, going for 64GB soon.
- eVGA RTX 2070 Ultra
- Samsung 1.5TB SSD (Samsung 860 EVO 1TB & Samsung 970 EVO+ 500GB)
- Seagate FireCuda 2TB HD
-
All shoved into a Thermaltake V21 microATX box. So far so great. Would never get a Mac.
Somewhat similarly configured Mac runs $4000!! https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/mac-pro/6-core-3.5ghz#

Why waste money?

JetCity Ninja's picture

because i have enough money to spare.

Przemek Lodej's picture

So do I, doesn't mean I'll waste it on an overpriced rig that is slower than my half as expensive PC.

Przemek Lodej's picture

Greg Wilson care to elaborate on your thumbs down? Just curious.

Mac´s are soo dead for photo & video.. way overpriced!

Ariel Martini's picture

I believe installing Mac OS to build a hackintosh and dealing with the problems you are about to get is way harder than just learning to use Windows

Rob Mitchell's picture

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Lashupmac that’s been anything other than tempremental, unstable and an amateur play thing that needs constant fettling.
Colleagues and friends that have tried, announced with great glee that they are taking on the project, build it with pride and after a generation or 2 of critical updates here and there, dump the project and go either Windows or proper Apple.
Another one of those rites of passage things that people with too much time on their hands want to take on I guess.

I’m boring, the computer I use is important to flip RAW into something saleable in a reasonable amount of time. I buy it, plug it in and use it for work.

Laughing Cow's picture

I started to use Apple Products in 1982 (Apple ][) and I have always been faithful to the Mac, but today I think more and more that my next computer will not be a Mac.
The Mac System is certainly the best, or at least the one I prefer, but the too expensive hardware is not really up to my expectations.
The solution that would seem to prevail is the Hackintosh. But here too there is a big problem because future versions of Mac Os will not work without the T2 chip and it will be impossible to install Mac OS on a machine without a T2 chip controlled by Apple.

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