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I'd highly recommend building your own PC. It's honestly not as hard as people think, incredibly rewarding when you're done, and really affordable. Shoot me a message if you're interested. I'd be happy to point you in the right direction. I can also recommend some monitors that are just as good as the 5K iMac. There's heaps of resources out there and you can learn everything you need to in about a day.
I use Sketch 90% of the time so I don't have much of a choice but to use apple, but instead of paying the premium, I build my own PC and install Mac OS on it (it's called a "hackintosh" and I get the best of both worlds. My PC has better specs than the top of the range Mac for about half the price, and lasts twice as long before requiring an upgrade. Oh, and you can upgrade it piece by piece, rather than purchasing an entirely new machine.
I was thinking of doing the same. Could you elaborate a bit on your experiences for all of us in the design community? Like: - How long did it take you to setup ? - Was it complicated to get this running ? - How stable is the system? - What features are you able to use / not use? - What's about automatic updates & backups ? Also, I'd be interested in the recommendations of monitors you mentioned.
Not OP but I can tell you about my experiences building/running a Hackintosh.
How long did it take you to setup? I've built a few PCs so getting it assembled was relatively painless. There are specific parts you have to buy that are Hackintosh compatible. Software setup took a few hours to get up and running, and a few days to work out some of the bugs.
Was it complicated to get this running ? Parts of the process are complicated, and in some cases it really just comes down to luck. There were parts of the process that took 5-6 times of trying for it to work, even though no variables on my part had changed.
How stable is the system? Once it was up and running, everything was, for the most part, stable. There were some bugs that I just never got worked out. Getting the machine to sleep properly was a big issue. I also had reoccurring issues with audio that I never was able to resolve.
What features are you able to use / not use? This will completely depend on how well you get it setup. If successful, everything should work properly, but as stated above, there will almost certainly be bugs to work out.
*What's about automatic updates & backups? * This was the part that eventually caused me to give up. I never had any issues, but knowing that any future update could brick the machine was too stressful for me. Apple also introduced background updates that were impossible to disable, making it impossible to avoid updates even if I wanted to.
My Recommendation If you're someone who likes to tinker, is willing to spend the time to search through forums, try out different drivers and combinations of settings, and reformat and start over if things aren't working properly, then building a Hackintosh can be totally worth it. You can save a ton of money, and build a machine that is specific to your needs.
If you want a machine that works out of the box and will be (mostly) guaranteed to work in the future, then buy a mac or windows machine.
Note: the last Hackintosh I built was in about 4 years ago. Some things may have changed since then.
*Also, check out tonymacx86.com. It's a great resource if you're interested in learning more building a Hackintosh.
Big Thanks for the detailed answer & resources, Louie ! Forced updates are definitely something I need to research further before building a hackintosh. Thx also for clarifying that your last build was 4 years ago, since I think I heard that the process became much easier & (hopefully) more stable recently. SnazzyLab on youtube even has some step by step howtos. Since I never actually build a haskintosh, I can't judge though how accurate they are. Hey, maybe we should start a new topic on DN for everything Hackintosh, maybe even were a few people could start together building their machines. :P
Re: background updates: As far as I can tell, in the system preferences on 10.12, there is an option to deactivate automatic Security & System updates; or are you referring to maybe even some other mechanism ?
I built a workstation PC machine for UI design, motion graphics and 3D so I'll chime in too.
How long did it take you to setup?
First time I've done it so it took me 2-4 hours because I was being very careful and quadruple checking everything. I've built a few more machines since and they take like 30-45 minutes when you know what you're doing.
Was it complicated to get this running?
Nope, worked out of the box and windows installs in like 10 minutes, very fast.
How stable is the system?
I initially had some problems under heavy GPU load but it turned out it was a faulty GPU and it's been insanely solid since I have a dual GPU machine and run it full pelt for CUDA based 3D rendering for hours. It's really awesome that even though a hugely important part of the machine was broken I could replace it within 24 hours myself.
I've also upgraded my storage twice since I switched and bumped my ram to 64GB, again another thing impossible on macs.
What features are you able to use / not use?
Things that just don't exist on a Mac, using GPUs for insanely fast 3D rendering (I mean Cinema4D 3D rendering, not talking realtime 3D), got into VR 3D sculpting too since that's something you can only do on PC. Rest of the time it's just Adobe XD, Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects. I also use the GPUs for some machine learning experiments, again something very painful to do on Macs.
What's about automatic updates & backups?
I use Backblaze, but I think Windows has built in automatic backups. Updates are about as forceful as Macs, people always act like that doesn't happen on Macs but if you don't update a mac these days it'll ask you EVERY.SINGLE.DAY and you have to dismiss it.
Hey John, thanks for your answer! Though, I think you misread the question, as the subject was a Hackintosh setup I was asking about. Yet, it's a valid comparison win vs mac.
My bad, didn't notice your comment, but Louie basically nailed it. tonymacx86 is the go-to place for everything you need to get started, from parts lists to build guides to a very active forum of people happy to help should you run into any issues (which you probably will lol)
As far as monitors go, I've found that LG and Dell ere are the best manufacturers for design-friendly monitor. Not going to include the LG Ultrafine 5K here because it's expensive as shit.
4K Dell U2718Q Dell P2715Q LG 27UD59P-B LG 27UD58(or 68, P or W)
1440p Dell U2715H Dell U2717D
I personally own a Dell U2718Q. Hope this helps! :)
I'm always afraid of OS hacks, but this solution is working well for a lot of people! I might give it a go as soon as i get a restock in the bank.
I’ve tried installing hackintosh once by following one of their install tutorials and was up within two hours, running Mac OS. Hovever, this was just for testing purposes for a week.
I’m interested in privacy side of things when running a hackintosh. Is it safe? Can someone install some script with backdoor to you system? Because you need original Mac OS installation image to be modified with additional files and scripts....?
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