8 Best Hackintosh Laptops Guides And Videos July 2016 Update

by thu / , I was searching for a hackintosh laptop – I wanted to learn making iPhone apps (and Swift seemed as a neat programming language).

I already had tried out Mac OS X using virtualization. It seemed just the right time to upgrade my laptop anyways and the idea of a hackintosh captivated me. And I didn’t want just any laptop – I wanted the best hackintosh laptop within my budget.

When searching for the hackintosh compatible laptops, the most irritating bit is that most recommendations and lists are polluted with outdated and discontinued laptops or notebooks that often cost even more than the MacBook itself. The lists I found were full of loose ends with little help on what to do beyond the purchase.

And there’s a reason for it – it is hard to compile a list of recent laptops and it is even harder to find all the resources required to kick-start this usually exhaustive laptop transformation.

That’s why I ended up writing this guide. I quickly weeded out the laptops with a set of strict criteria. All laptops I’m going to recommend:

* have 4-th and 5-th gen processors (Haswell and Broadwell)
* are compatible with OS X Yosemite
* are still in the market
* are cheaper than MacBooks themselves or equivalent (at the time of writing all are under $1,000)
* have step-by-step guides specific for their EXACT models or at the very least for their type of laptop with people known to have successfully used them
* have alive forum threads with people who were/are in your current situation

Since most of the laptops I have selected are rather new in the hackbook market – there are risks involved.

So here goes a word of caution!

This is not a list for best hackintosh laptops off ALL TIME. Yes, there are a few a lot more compatible laptops from 2010 – 2012 era but this list is not for that. There are enough guides about these old computers anyways.

I’ll focus on laptops with either good documentation or laptops that are more welcoming to OS X and in result require less manual work to work properly.

There is no perfect laptop for hackintoshing. If you’re building your own tower PC, you can get “golden builds” – a set of parts with either no or minimal issues when installing OS X. In the laptop world – forget about it.

Do not expect that it will install easily and without any problems. You can pray that it will, but do not expect it. If you want 100% compatibility – buy a MacBook.

I’m also here to get you ready for the journey by showing you the best path to a hackbook that was already proven by other people.

If you’re new, you’ll be pleasantly surpised by the hackintosh community. There are many hubs where these wonderful people gather. In this post you’ll see quite a few links to TonyMacx86since there you can find most guides to laptop hackintoshing.

Isn’t lion the best? I know, right?But no matter how amazing this community is – you’ll have to solve the technical problems by yourself at the end (or maybe your tech friend).

OK, I’ve got it. What now?

Well, I’ll start off from the key requirements for your new PC/MacBook hybrid, the common difficulties and finally – an EXACT list of laptops that you should consider.

Let’s jump right in.

What are we looking for
A good laptop even without its Hackbook potential
You might change your mind; you might end up not being able to convert it to a Hackbook; you might end up using Windows A LOT more than OSX.

In all of those cases,you’ll need a solid laptop even without considering OSX compatibility.

In a few cases, I’ll prioritize simply very good and well-rounded laptops with a bit more difficult process of hackintoshing over easier to convert but a lot weaker notebooks.

Every laptop has its own Achilles’ heel – sometimes it’s the processor, sometimes it’s battery life and if those two are alright – it’s probably the screen. I’ll check the benchmarks, independent tests and reviews to come to an easy to understand judgment. There’s no one-size-fits-all option, especially when you’re on a budget.

A new and compatible Intel processor
We will look only into laptops with Intel Haswell (4-th generation) and Broadwell (5-th generation) processors.

Why Intel? Because AMD is way-way way more problematic. Why 4th and 5th generation? Because it’s 2015.

For example:

* Intel Core i5-4200M
* Intel Core i7-5500U
* Intel Core i7-4720HQ

Haswell has been compatible with OSX for about a year. Meanwhile Broadwell and its integrated graphics only recently were made to work with hackintoshes.

In short, if you’re an AMD fan – get ready to welcome your new Intel overlords.

Optional – easy Wi-Fi setup
In every laptop there’s a dedicated chip for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. They come in various brands, families and flavors. Unfortunately, OSX is allergic (read – does not support) most of these flavors.

If we’re very lucky – a laptop has a compatible Wi-Fi chip straight out the box. Sadly, this not the case of an overwhelming majority of laptops. If we’re lucky – an incompatible chip can be replaced with a working one. In some cases even that is not enough – some motherboards cannot accept a given Wi-Fi when it is not within the built-in list of supported models. On top of that, some motherboards can have their BIOS encrypted and digitally signed – preventing you from changing these lists.

Then you end up with only one option – get an external Wi-Fi/Bluetooth dongle. They will permanently occupy one of you USB slots, but apart from that they are cheap and small.

And before someone cuts in, yes, there theoretically is another way of buying an Apple supported Wi-Fi adapter then trying to trick BIOS into believing that it is within the supported list and then somehow tell OSX that the chip is not the one the BIOS is tricked to believing it is, but actually something that Apple supports. Unless you are obsessed about having an internal Wi-Fi, and you’re a master of inception – just buy a Wi-Fi dongle.

General problems
Nvidia graphics chip
Here comes sad news to everyone hoping to play games on a hackintosh without booting up Windows.

Nvidia Optimus. It is a graphics card switching mechanism that in Windows environement allows to disable a dedicated and power-hungry Nvidia graphics chip if the laptop doesn’t need that kind of power at that moment.

That comes in very handy when you are running Windows. But at the same time it renders Nvidia graphics useless in a hackintosh.

Yes, that’s right – you will not be able to have dedicated Nvidia graphics in your laptop. That’s because practically all new laptops that come with Nvidia have Optimus. As far as I know, no one has found a reliable way to enable Nvidia graphics chips in the new generation of hackintoshes.

You’ll still have integrated graphics that will be enough in most cases. Though do not expect to get a gaming machine or a video editing hackbook out of it.

But… but what about AMD graphics?

A fair point – but there are very few laptops with Intel processors and AMD graphics. I have included one in the list.

Every single small thing
Battery indicators, keyboard shortcuts, sleep mode, card reader, fingerprint reader etc. All of these features more often than not don’t work after a fresh installation. Many of the laptops I have filtered out have a lot of these problems solved – but usually not all. Almost always something will not work correctly. Do not expect a flawless integration.

A note on El Capitan
There is no guarantee that all or any of these laptops will be easily upgradable to OSX El Capitan. But there’s a good chance that it will. Most of the guides for the recommended laptops use methods that withstood upgrades in the past and are likely to withstand them in the near future.

Also, the fact that these laptops are still rather new gives a lot of hope that the community will figure out a way how to port them to El Capitan if the upgrade will end up being more problematic than it should.

Selection process
I went through all active laptop guides for Yosemite, recommended laptops from other lists and sources. Also, I checked some laptops that should deserve to be Macintoshed.

Then I:

1. eliminated models that did not satisfy the requirements
2. compared benchmarks, tests and reviews to rate them in the most relevant verticals
3. checked the guides and compatibility threads to find out what is not working or is not tested to be working
4. went out to find unboxing, dissasembly, hackintosh demo and installation videos
5. rated the extensiveness of the guides, how recently have they been updated, how relevant are they to the model that is available for purchase, what additional resources (patches and Kexts) are available
6. rated how many people have managed to follow the guide successfully
7. rated how active are these discussions in the last month

And that’s how my spare time looked past week:

In fact, since sharing is caring, here’s the link to the comparison spreadsheet! Feel free to share it with others and come to your conclusions from the data I’ve collected.

Enough about the process, it’s time to see the results!

All suggestions are ordered by price – starting from the cheapest. I have included either the least pricey option of a compatible model or simply the most compatible model. In most cases, you will be able to scale up these models according to your budget. For example, Dell XPS 13 which starts from 900$ can go up to 1600$ if you want more memory, storage, a better resolution and a better processor.

Acer Aspire E5-571P
The cheapest solutionIntel Core i5-4210U | Intel HD Graphics 4400 | 4 GB | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 500 GB 5400 RPM | 3 USB (1 3.0), HDMI, VGA, LAN

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review| Amazon

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing|Disassembly| Disassembly 2| Disassembly 3| Hackintosh demo(not exact model)

The best documented cheap laptop with a Haswell processor. By looking into its parts and benchmarks, I can already point out the main problem. It will be problematic to work outside due to very weak screen lighting and a notably finite battery life of 3 hours Wi-Fi browsing. It also weighs a bit on the heavy side even for a 15.6″ laptop (5.3 lbs/2.4 kg).

This particular Acer model will not feel like a MacBook just due to its sluggishness and limited mobility.

But even considering these drawbacks, for many use cases it still is your best option for an under 500$ hackintosh laptop. You could get Acer Aspire, a Wi-Fi chip replacement, an external mouse and additional 8 GB of memory and still be under 500$. If that’s not a good deal for a fixed budget, I don’t know what is.

Since this laptop is the cheapest option, and there is almost a 200$ step to the next laptop, I’ll list out a few optional upgrades mentioned in the guide:

Surprisingly, this laptop maintains full webcam and touchscreen functionality. Have you tried to run a MacBook with touchscreen? Who knows, maybe you’ll take a glimpse into the future? Also, the guide provides the required files for a lot of minor functionality and HDMI, Ethernet ports.

Not working when hackbooked:
* Wi-Fi (solvable)
* Trackpad (partially solvable)

View on AmazonAsus Zenbook UX305FA
Quiet and gorgeousIntel Core M-5Y10 | Intel HD Graphics 5300 | 8 GB | 13.3″ 1920×1080 | 256 GB SSD | 3 USB 3.0, MicroHDMI, VGA, SD-Card Reader Slot

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing

A great laptop in its own unique ways. It is the only fanless laptop in this list making it the quietest by default. It is also one of the lightest options (2.8 lbs/1.3 kg) while offering almost 7 hours of real-life battery life. An SSD, a bright Full HD screen and… Intel Core M-5Y10 processor. Eh – what would otherwise be a match made in heaven ends up leaving a rather bitter taste.

But the main drawback for Asus is simply a very conscious trade-off. In fact, having a better processor would leave this Zenbook with a need for noisy fans and an hour shaved from its battery life.

Therefore, if you prefer to have a powerful machine and couldn’t care less about the utter silence and battery life, this laptop offers – brush this computer to the side.

To sum it up, if having a high-end processor is not your priority – all other big pluses that Asus Zenbook offers makes it a sweet deal.

For a first time hackintosher this could end up being a very challenging project to take on. That’s mostly due to the guide being described as “a synopsis of the steps I took to get a stable OS X install.” A quite detailed synopsis, though.

A few difficulties might be different touch pad patch files even in otherwise identical models, a long list of Kexts and patches and a limited discussion about the guide. However, with enough time invested this tough nut can be cracked.

Not working when hackbooked:
* Wi-Fi (replaceable by USB dongle)

View on AmazonLenovo IdeaPad U430
Intel Core i5-4210U | Intel HD Graphics 4400 | 8 GB | 14.0″ 1600×900 | 500GB 5400 RPM + 8GB SSHD | 3 USB (1 3.0), HDMI, LAN, SD-Card Reader Slot

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing | Hackintosh demo

The most “in the middle” solution there is. It doesn’t disappoint us anywhere, but it doesn’t astonish us too. You could complain about the screen being just a bit too dim or be cheerful about a bit above average battery life, but that’s about it. Good enough, I guess.

Even the hard drive is a compromise between an old-school disk-type drive and a new-gen SSD – an HDD/SSD hybrid SSHD. Well played, Lenovo, well played…

The greatest strength, however, is the ease of installing OS X on this laptop.

A well-written guide, a long and still alive discussion around the transformation of this particular model ensures you won’t get lost on the way to OS X. Nothing to complain in this department. It also comes with a mostly standard set of problems even for a well-behaving laptop.

But even with these minor problems you won’t feel a hindrance when using your IdeaPad and MacBook hybrid (MacPad? IdeaBook?).

Not working when hackbooked:
* Wi-Fi (internally replaceable by Broadcom ($30, preferred)or Atheros ($13))
* some F function keys (like F7)
* card reader
* the touchscreen does not support multi-touch
* only basic gestures with the built-in trackpad

View on AmazonHP ProBook 450 G1
Intel Core i5-4200U | Intel HD Graphics 4400 | 8 GB | 15.6″ 1366×768 | 1 TB 5400 RPM | 3 USB (2 3.0), HDMI, VGA, LAN

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing | Hackintosh demo

This time, I’ll jump straight to the “catch”. The display is by far the biggest glaring weakness of otherwise a well-balanced business class ProBook. Even getting its configuration for $1,000 leaves us with only HD screen. This is outdated at the very best. It also has the second lowest brightness and the lowest contrast out of all suggestions here. But what we don’t do for those extra savings. Considering the price – it’s not THAT bad.

Notice!HP Probooks with AMD graphics will not be able to use them in Mac OS X. So be careful if you try to buy some other model than the one I linked to.

HP laptops have been known for a long time for their ability to morph into a MacBook without much trouble. And this stands true for this model. It might not be a 1-click solution as older generations of HP, but hey, it’s close enough.

The guide is easy to understand with just enough illustrations at the tricky parts when installing Mac OS X for the first time. Also, as of now there are 4159 posts in HP Yosemite guide thread on TonyMacx86.

Yes, you will need to filter through problems unrelated to your model and yes, that might be too many to simply skimp through to get a complete understanding, but with the help of search – nothing is impossible!

HP gave us one fineProBookHackBook. Sadly, its dim screen and lack of portability for its size doesn’t make it the best choice for everyone.

Not working when hackbooked:
View on AmazonDell Inspiron Intel Core i7-5500U | Intel HD Graphics 5500 | 8 GB | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 1 TB 5400 RPM | 3 USB (2 3.0), HDMI

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing

Dell Inspiron 7548 is a solid option if you want a desktop replacement while still being able to carry it with you. A pretty good mid-class processor, plenty of storage and a reasonable price.

But just like many laptops under $1000 it suffers from an unimpressive screen. A low contrast and brightness make it hard to use it outside without a continuous eye strain.

The laptop also lacks an SSD but for this price range it is nothing to be surprised about.

Also, there’s an another dicier but more rewarding option. Dell has also released this model with AMD Radeon R7 M270 graphics chip and Ultra HD (UHD) resolution. Refurbished versioncosts only $50 more than the model without it.

The guide is not a guide, but more of a helpful resource and a proof that it is possible. You will need to end up using the general Yosemite installation using Clover guide.

Also, there is not enough information about what is not working – you should assume the classic scenario of not working Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and card reader. All of these will need an external dongle.

Not working when hackbooked:
Not enough information. Be cautious.

View on AmazonDell XPS 13
Intel Core i5-5200U | Intel HD Graphics 5500 | 4 GB | 13.3″ 1920×1080 | 128 GB SSD | 2 USB 3.0, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, SD Card Reader

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing

The laptop that is compared to a MacBook the most out of all of the suggestions (and probably out of all laptops this year).

And for a reason.

XPS 13 has a stunning screen and top-notch battery life. It is also very light, easy to carry and gorgeous to look at. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay up to get something better than a low tier processor, memory and storage. If you prefer MacBook Air over MacBook Pro – you’ll also prefer this laptop over others.

Dell released this laptop for a whole array of different price ranges. I linked to the cheapest one, but it’s very easy to find other variations of in this series. Do you want it with a large SSD? With a better processor? With a better screen with 4K resolution? There’s an option for everyone.

This laptop also suffers from a lack of a complete guide. Luckily there’re plenty of people who managed to upgrade it to a Hackbook successfully. You’ll just need a bit more time to connect all the loose ends throughout their posts in the linked forum thread.

To start off, you also could take a loot at the guide for XPS 13 of 2014. It doesn’t apply directly to the discussed model, but the process of hackintoshing will be mostly the same.

Not working when hackbooked:
* Internal Wi-Fi
* Sleep/Hibernate (might be solvable)

View on AmazonAcer Aspire V15 Nitro VN7-591G-70RT
Intel Core i7-4720HQ | Intel HD Graphics 4600 (and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M when booting Windows) | 8 GB | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 1 TB 5400 RPM | 3 USB 3.0, HDMI, LAN, SD Card Reader

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing

Acer Aspire Nitro packs a lot of muscle for its price tag with Intel i7-4720HQ being the prime example of that. It looks sleek, has a decent screen and comes with a few configurations.

But like any other laptop, it still has a few issues. Firstly, it can get noticeably louder than other laptops in this list. It also weighs on the heavy side. Sadly, this weight is not for a large battery – the laptop has not much stamina even for a gaming laptop.

Nitro comes with a dual boot setup guide, which probably is what many of you are looking for when searching for a perfect hackintosh laptop. Especially when considering the dedicated graphics card it has – it could be a great Windows gaming machine when you don’t need to run Mac OS X.

Not enough information

View on AmazonLenovo Y50
Intel Core i7-4700HQ | Intel HD Graphics 4600 (and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M when booting Windows) | 8 GB | 15.6″ 1920×1080 | 1 TB 5400 RPM; 8 GB SSD | 3 USB (2 3.0), HDMI, LAN, SD Card Reader

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
Hackintosh Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing | Hackintosh demo

Lenovo Y50 is very similar to Acer Aspire V15 Nitro in the broad sense. Both are gaming laptops of similar performance with a lot of storage and the same target market. Lenovo Y50 has a bit worse screen and a bit better battery.

But in general, it is just as Acer Nitro – as much power as possible for as little as possible with paying little attention to other details.

Probably the easiest Haswell/Broadwell laptop to hackintosh:

* a detailed guide for this exact model
* hundreds of posts discussing progress and possible problems
* a video demonstration of this hackintosh
* a video guide of installation

It might be more challenging to get a dual boot setup rolling, but general guides on that should work just fine.

Not working when hackbooked:
* card reader
* Messages/FaceTime
* some special function keys

View on AmazonBest Hackintosh laptops 2016
Here goes my July 10th 2016 update. I’m adding 3 more laptops to the list. These laptops are suited for OS X El Capitan.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
Intel Core i5-4300U | HD 4400 | 8 GB | 12″ Touch IPS 2160×1440 | 250GB SSD | 1x USB 3.1C, 1x USB 3.0, HDMI

[r][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Links
El Capitan Guide | Yosemite Guide | Review | Amazon page

[/c][c small=”12″ medium=”6″]Unboxing

Surface Pro 3 is far from ideal for a Hackintosh laptop for it’s still more compatible than Surface Pro 4 (guide). If you want a tablet with MacOS (OS X) – Surface Pro 3 is your best option.

To get Wi-Fi, you’ll need an USB dongle. And if you want an Ethernet port – get USB-to-Ethernet adapter.

Finally, you should prefer Type Cover to other wireless keyboards. Type Cover works on OS X but for other keyboards, you’ll need to buy a Bluetooth dongle or you’ll have to get USB 3.1C to USB 3.0 adapter for a wired keyword.

* Wi-Fi (external USB dongle has to be used)
* Bluetooth
* Touchscreen
* Sleep
* Trackpad gestures
* Audio does not play through headphone jack (3.5 mm)

View on AmazonTable of Best Hackintosh Laptops
You WILL NEED sufficient knowledge about computer software and hardware.

You WILL NEED to be familiar with BIOS and command lines.

There WILL NOT BE customer support waiting to answer your questions.

There will be, however, people who have done it themselves with the same laptop you’ll be doing it. Hackintoshing communities have very dedicated and driven people behind it. Shout out to everyone who has helped out a fellow hackintosher!

If that seems too much trouble, but you still want a laptop – you can use virtualization. It is more user-friendly and forgiving compared to a native installation. Sometimes it can be enough. For example, if you want to learn about developing iOS apps by doing it yourself – you can do it from a virtualized OSX machine right from Windows.

> If you want 100% compatibility – buy a MacBook Pro.Confucius

I hope my research was not to no avail, and it has guided you in the path of finding the best hackintosh laptop. If you’re still not sure on what to buy – bookmark this page as I’ll add more suggestions (especially above $1000 mark) in the coming months.

If you have missed it – here’s the link to the spreadsheet of all given suggestions. Don’t hesitate to comment here or in the spreadsheet if you want to ask a question, share your experience or suggest a new entry to the list.

Happy Hackintoshing!