Learning the Hackintosh Four Letter Words


Jul 31, 2012
HD4600 / RX 570
iMac, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
Hackintosh Four Letter Words - 15 important acronyms that every Hackintosher must know

When you first attempt to install macOS on your PC hardware you'll need to be properly prepared or you will likely experience confusion, frustration and potentially failure to achieve your goals. Learning these terms is your first step to getting a fully working hackintosh build. Take your time and study and memorize these so the meaning is second nature.

In grade school, you learned the letters of the Alphabet first. Then you combined those together to create words. After that you put those words together into sentences and then paragraphs. In the language of computers and technology it works differently. Long and complex terms often get shortened into abbreviations or acronyms. A universal serial bus port gets renamed as a USB port, a solid state drive is called an SSD.

To understand the language of hackintosh and become fluent in it, you'll first need to know most of the following four letter acronyms. Then you'll be able to communicate with and understand those that are trying to help you have a successful first experience with hackintoshing.

Each of the four letters represents a word in it’s own right. It’s an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word. Read up on the meaning of each letter and more background info on these acronyms in the tonymacx86 glossary. There are many informative internet sites dedicated to defining and explaining these too. Use Google search. I've listed only the most important ones for hackintosh owners. There are many more to learn.

ACPI - Advanced Configuration and Power Interface

AHCI - Advanced Host Controller Interface

APFS - Apple File System

BIOS - Basic Input/Output System

CMOS - Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (related coin battery)

DSDT - Differentiated System Description Table

EHCI - Enhanced Host Controller Interface - controller for USB 2.0

GUID - Globally Unique Identifier (related to GPT or "GUID Partition Table")

Kext - Kernel Extension

NVMe - Non Volatile Memory express SSD - (solid state drive with an M.2 connector)

PCIe - Peripheral Connect Interface express - (see the video below)

SATA - Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment)

SSDT - Secondary System Description Table

UEFI - Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (Macs use EFI)

xHCI - Extensible Host Controller Interface - controller for USB 3.0

There are also some important three letter acronyms...
  • ESP - EFI System Partition - (first small 200MB partition on your boot drive)
  • GPT - GUID Partition Table - (the partition scheme used when formatting your drive)
  • MAS - Mac App Store
  • SIP - System Integrity Protection
  • SMC - System Management Controller (a physical "chip" on Mac motherboards)
  • SSD - Solid State Drive
Finally, I'll add one of my own four letter acronyms...
  • FSMC - Fake SMC (System Management Controller) - a kext that emulates the SMC chip in real Macs
Some Video Tutorials for Beginnners

Article that explains differences between BIOS and UEFI

Here's a video that shows you how to prepare a Unibeast Install Drive for UEFI booting

Learn all about PCIe slots and lanes on your motherboard​
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