I got my start with Macs by turning a Dell Inspiron laptop into a Hackintosh — a PC with OS X installed on it — back in late 2007. Given that history, it only seemed natural for me to take on the task of helping you, our faithful reader, learn how to create your own Hackintosh. I’m currently in the process of doing just that with an HP Z2 G3 Mini, but more on that later. For now, here are the five best motherboards to choose from if you want to start creating a Hackintosh.
A Few Preliminary Notes
First, why is creating a Hackintosh worthy of detailed hardware discussions? The main reason is that Cupertino does a reasonably good job of trying to ensure its operating system only runs on Apple hardware. I say “reasonably good job” because there are ways around the constraints built into OS X and macOS.
Second, you will need to understand that this is a moving target. As Apple releases new hardware, it adds support for certain devices, while taking away support for older hardware. Because of this, I give you this list with an important caveat: it’s prone to change over the years. This list consists of the most compatible motherboards as of May 2017.
It’s also worth noting that some of these motherboards won’t support resolutions higher than 1080p at 60hz. Intel, AMD, and nVidia graphics resolutions higher than that will require a DisplayPort connection, but nVidia 9XX cards with HDMI or DisplayPort will support displays to 4K resolution at 60hz.
On to the List of Motherboards Good for Creating a Hackintosh
These motherboards are all considered to be easily adaptable to running macOS Sierra. That means the built-in chipsets work, with some modification or custom drivers, under macOS Sierra. While I have my own preferences as far as form factor, I’ve tried to make this list inclusive of many different motherboard and case sizes.
ATX Form Factor Motherboards
If you opt for an ATX form factor, such as in a medium- to large-sized tower or desktop case, your best option is the Gigabyte GA-Z170XP-SLI motherboard. It boasts an LGA1151 CPU socket, and supports sixth generation Intel Core processors. This motherboard has plenty of PCI-Express expansion slots for building a monster of a Hackintosh.
It has built-in gigabyte Ethernet supported by macOS, along with an excellent on-board audio chipset that also works wonderfully in Sierra. The only drawback to this motherboard is that the onboard graphics only supports HDMI, but we will be providing you with a list of much better graphics cards in an upcoming article.
Another excellent choice for an ATX motherboard is the Asus Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1. This mobo has an LGA1151 CPU socket with support for sixth-generation Intel Core processors, and is ready for USB-C, M.2 SATA and SSD drives, and more than enough RAM to keep your Hackintosh running smoothly.
It’s expandable, has integrated Intel HD graphics with HDMI and DisplayPort ports, and has gigabit Ethernet support. The Realtek ALC1150 audio chipset supports up to 7.1-channel surround sound, and the system board has plenty of USB 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, and USB-C ports. Everything is macOS Sierra-friendly.
Next: The Best Micro ATX, mATX, or mini-ITX Motherboards for Making a Hackintosh