Prior to starting my build, I knew I had to
1. decide what I wanted
2. read up on exactly what the steps would be to build a Hackintosh
3. what parts would I need?
What I wanted? Something which could match the then awesome specs of my Late-2009 iMac. That meant consumer top-of-the-line CPU, GPU and monitor.
1. Minimum 4-core with hyperthreading (Core-i7)
2. GPU...had to be Nvidia
3. Monitor had to be native 2560 x 1440 minimum.
That decided, I searched for "hackintosh guides", read a few forums and ended up scouring the Tony Mac x86 website. In particular, I was looking at how "easy" the build would be and which components would be compatible with OS X, whichever flavour it came in. I first started looking at the tail-end of 2013, using Mavericks (10.9). Turned out, there was an entire buyer's guide for components, looking at both the Hack Mini Pro (mini-ITX) and Hack Pro (ATX).
I started looking for the components and asked a few of my friends about parts lists and retailers they'd used for their builds. Most had used PC Part Picker. This tool highlights all the various components you would or could need.
There's a list of preferred suppliers, limited to (in the UK): Amazon, Scan, Novatech, eBuyer and more. Each component displayed shows the lowest price (no including postage) and price trends at the bottom for the entire build. Armed with this tool, I put together my first parts list, with a total cost of £1,600 (at the time). This included the Hackintosh components and a monitor, but no OS as I already have a copy of Windows 7 Ultimate and Mac OS X. Now I just needed to save up or buy the components over the space of the year.
Due to prices fluctuating and the way technology evolves, I wanted to save up and buy everything in one go, leading to me waiting until December 2014 to make my purchase. Between 2013 and now, my "requirements" as they were and the available technology had changed, with some deals coming along the way which maintained the £1,600 price point. This lead me to this parts list.
1. CPU. Upgraded from the Core-i7 4770K to the Core-i7 4790K. Better performance and power consumption at a £10 increase in cost.
2. Motherboard changed from a Gigabyte GA-97X (Tony Mac recommended) to the Asus Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1. Main reason for the change: reviews of both boards (Gigabyte had many DOA, Asus none) and references from friends. The big crux - the Asus board was only kind of supported.
3. The case. Fractal released a new Define case with vast improvements (according to reviews)
4. Optical drive. I added one. I figured there was always going to be a time that I needed it and my MacBook Pro Retina doesn't have one...
5. Monitor. 4K displays got a lot cheaper in a year. £10 premium for a well rated monitor at 4K. Got to love all those pixels.
With all of the components bought, it was time to move onto the build.