- Jul 31, 2012
- HD4600 / RX 570
- Mobile Phone
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - Asus GeForce EN210 - HP 22bw IPS Monitor
Note to new readers: In 2019 it's now best to start out with the HP 8300 SFF if you want to run High Sierra or the latest Mojave version of macOS. The prices are about the same for those as the Elite 8000 models. Make sure to buy one with a CPU that has HD4000 graphics if possible.
HP Compaq Elite 8000 SFF The Elite 8000 has a PCI-e x16 and 2 PCI-e x1 slots open.
Buy at Amazon or Buy at Newegg.com
Asus GeForce EN210 1GB Passive / Silent Graphics Card
Sabrent USB External Audio Adapter
OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.5 (you can also install Mavericks or Yosemite with this guide)
OS X Mountain Lion
EVGA GeForce 210 1GB (Alternate Graphics Card - Passive w/ smaller heatsink)
EVGA GT 610 1GB (Alternate Graphics Card - w/fan + 3D Blu Ray support)
EVGA GTX 750 Ti 2GB (Graphics Card - Mini-Tower Only - Use Yosemite - Install Web Drivers)
EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 02G-P4-3751-KR G-SYNC Support 2GB Video Card - Newegg.com
Asus GTX 750 Ti Strix 2GB OC gaming card - Great bang for your buck ! (Mini-Tower Only)
Behringer U-Control UCA202(Alternate Audio Adapter - Digital Audio - 5.1 Surround or Optical)
HP Pavilion 22bw IPS Monitor
Boston Acoustics Horizon MM226 Multimedia 2.1 Speaker System
No longer available. Try Ebay.
TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 (includes necessary low profile bracket)
Amazon US | Newegg
Ram (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 MHz Ram (Upgrade to 6 or 8 GB depending on which Elite 8000 you buy)
Amazon US Ebay.com Make sure ram is branded as HP compatible as these two are.
3.5 to 2.5 inch HDD Bracket (Lets you place up to two SSDs in the hard drive bay)
Q9550 CPU Quad core at 2.83 GHz and 12 MB of L2 Cache. Use for a server or editing system.
Amazon US Highly recommended if you want to play newer games. Use a GTX 750 Ti as well.
Before you begin: How Easy is this all going to be ?
Here's what you won't have to do to have success with the EZ 8000
- Install a CPU, motherboard, PSU or CPU heatsink
- Mod any part of your case or hardware
- Enter any more than 3 boot flags or manually install kexts
- Configure the motherboard's BIOS (is optional in most cases)
- Extract and edit a custom DSDT for your Elite 8000
- Connect a sata data and power cable up to a hard drive
- Intall a graphics card (takes between 15-30 seconds max)
- Create a Unibeast drive with Mountain Lion/Mavericks/Yosemite
- Make two selections in Multibeast post install
- Delete two kexts from /S/L/E ( the Extensions folder )
In the tradition of the HP Elitebook/Probook this is another offering from HP that is easily converted into a CustoMac. It's a small form factor (SFF) desktop system that is an affordable solution for those who prefer to use OS X (10) vs. Windows on their desktop. This is an off the shelf, refurbished PC-Mac build. It can be a 2nd CustoMac for your general purpose use or something for family members that don't need an expensive high end system. If this is your first Hackintosh it will be a good confidence builder.
I call this the EZ 8000 because it's easy to afford, you can configure one of these for under $150 (US dollars). It was incredibly easy to install OS X Mountain Lion on this hardware too. I'll be giving the details on how to do this later on. Another added bonus of the Elite 8000 is that you will use the Mac Pro 3,1 system definition. When you have an Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad, it makes this system eligible to download the latest OS X El Capitan from the Mac App Store. You can then make a USB installer of El Capitan to install that on any other CustoMac build you would like. You can even install El Cap on this hardware but it is much more difficult to do. Best to start with Mountain Lion, Mavericks or Yosemite.
So if you're just curious about running OS X on PC hardware and don't want to invest a lot of effort, time or money into this experiment, read on to learn some more.
Description of the Hardware
The HP Elite 8000 that you will get was most likely leased for 3 years and then returned to HP at the end. So you can feel secure that the Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad chips were never overclocked or abused in any way. Even though they are incredibly easy to overclock as high as 4.4 GHz, you can't do that with this HP motherboard's BIOS. The case's fit and finish is great. It's made of thick, solid steel, usb ports and power button should never wear out. Many newer cases I see for sale these days are nowhere near the quality of these cases.
The 240W PSU is proprietary. It had to be, to fit in this case just above the hard drive. It can't be replaced with a newer ATX or even a smaller SFX supply. You can easily buy new or used 89% high efficiency versions of it on Ebay.
The PSU and optical drive are both on hinges and have no screws holding them, they simply lift up. The case is designed so that you can both install and remove components without a philips head screwdriver.
The Elite 8000 I purchased was in mint condition when I received it, not even a spec of dust inside. It was labeled as scratch and dent but all I can see is two areas where a small amount of black paint is missing. It was "real steal" as they say, getting a well built PC, then adding a discrete graphics card for a total cost of under 100 US dollars.
Elite 8000 compared to the size of 2005 G4 Mac Mini, the original. It's about the size of a standard mATX HTPC case. Has 4 front and 6 rear panel USB 2.0 ports. The older Mac Mini has 2 on the back, one of those has failed.
Why the Elite 8000 desktop ?
I was looking for the easiest to configure, lowest cost PC that could be converted into a CustoMac. The Elite 8000 is just old enough to be inexpensive and still has new enough hardware to run recent versions of OS X with no problems whatsoever. It's the perfect choice for those with no previous experience and not a lot of money to spend on an OS X compatible system. There is another version of this PC called the HP 6000 Pro. It comes in the exact same case, and was also released the same year. The only difference is that it does not have the vPro option (Vt-d). This is not useful in a CustoMac anyway. You can use one of the 6000 Pro models with this guide as long as it's got a compatible Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad CPU.
The idea for this build came about after reading P1LGRIM'S Thriftymac User Build, Thriftymac which features an earlier version of this HP Compaq business PC, the HP DC7900 from 2008. If you want to configure a pre-built HP tower to use as a server, buy either the Elite 8000 CMT or DC7900 CMT with a Core 2 Quad. These give you a higher wattage PSU and room for more HDDs.
This model is slightly different from the HP DC7900, the Elite 8000 model uses DDR3 ram and has 4 front USB 2.0 ports instead of 2. Other than that they share the exact same chipset, NIC, audio and graphics. Intel Q45 express chipset, Intel NIC, GMA X4500 HD graphics, integrated into the mainboard. The X4500 HD graphics will work with OS X but only at a 1024 x 768 resolution and with no acceleration, QE/CI.
The onboard audio is Realtek ALC261. Unfortunately it is not supported by OS X but there are two very simple solutions that will be mentioned later on. The Intel E8400 CPU is still quite capable even though it is an older Core 2 Duo chip. Has many of the newer technologies that the Core I series chips have. In everyday use it feels almost as fast as some of the Haswell Core I3 chips that are 1-2 years old. Nice to have VT-x if you want to run a VM on this system.
The Elite 8000 will work well as a media center CustoMac and can even play iTunes DRM protected content ! Most of the newer CustoMac builds with Ivy Bridge or newer hardware cannot. Since many of these systems come with Windows 7 Home or Professional pre-installed you can set up a dual boot system if you prefer. For this build I'll only be installing OS X Mountain Lion. I know that the 5 versions of OS X, Snow Leopard through Yosemite, can be installed successfully.
The install of Mavericks requires the GraphicsEnabler=Yes boot flag for the GT 210/610. You would then select that option when running Multibeast to make it permanent. Other than that one difference, you can use the steps in the following guide for a Mavericks install. Use Multibeast for Mavericks, post install.
OSX Mountain Lion Purchased from Apple
Mountain Lion is the newest OS X version available for purchase from Apple (in the U.S.) at the time of writing this. There are many other places to download or purchase this version but you really want to avoid getting it from anywhere other than Apple.com. You will be saving hundreds of Dollars / Euros / Pounds on your hardware. Pay Apple the small amount of money required to obtain genuine OS X. You will order OS X online at Apple.com with a credit card. In one to two business days they'll email you a code to download the software. The file will be close to 5 GB in size so plan for it to take a while if you have slow internet. If you have previously downloaded Mavericks or Yosemite from the Mac App Store then you can re-download those directly from there under the purchased tab.
I chose to not go into the install of El Capitan or Sierra on this system. Since this is the EZ 8000, I'm going to keep everything as simple as possible. An El Capitan install would involve the use of an Enoch/Chameleon installation and make things more complicated than need be. If you want to run macOS Sierra, newer Ivy Bridge hardware would be a much better choice. See the HP 6300 / 8300 Elite Guide for step by step directions to install macOS Sierra on an HP desktop. Guide for HP 6300/8300
Step #1 - Prepare the UniBeast USB Thumb Drive
I already had a Mountain Lion 10.8.5 Unibeast USB drive prepared so I used that. If you need to create one follow the standard Unibeast 5.2.0 creation guide to install Mountain Lion on your 8GB USB drive. UniBeast: Install OS X Mountain Lion on Any Supported Intel-based PC If you don't have a Mac or CustoMac to make the installer, go with the basic Snow Leopard install first. [GUIDE] Install Snow Leopard on the HP Elite 8000 The Intel Ethernet works throughout the whole process so you can wait until after the install to download Multibeast 5.5.5 for Mountain Lion.
NOTE: If you are installing Mavericks or Yosemite do not use the most current Unibeast 6.x.x you'll need to have the 5.2.0 version for the Unibeast installer to work. You want the Chimera bootloader.
Step #2 - Prepare Your Elite 8000 for the Install
0. To flash the BIOS to a more current version - See: Elite 8000 Bios Setup
BIOS 1.13 Rev. A is the preferred version. 1.14 can interfere with OS X installation on some systems.
Download page for 1.13 Rev. A The executable will be named sp54008.exe in your downloads folder.
If you are using the HP 6000 Pro the Bios Rev. you want is 2.02. That has it's own download page. 2.02 Rev. A
1. Disconnect the sata data cable from the Windows 7 hard drive.
2. Connect your new hard drive to sata power and the sata 1 cable.
3. Install your compatible graphics card and connect your monitor to one of the outputs.
4. Place your Mountain Lion Unibeast installation drive into a front USB port.
Step #3 - Install OS X Mountain Lion (Mavericks or Yosemite)
1. Power on the PC and you should see the Mountain Lion icon under the tonymacx86 logo. Hit enter here and wait till you reach the installer. No boot flags are at all necessary here. GE=Yes is the default for Mountain Lion. If your graphics card needs GraphicsEnabler=No then boot with that flag.
2. When you reach the installer, click on Utilities in the Menu Bar and then format the hard drive OS X extended journaled after making a single partition (GUID). Close disk utiltiy and proceed with the install. Should take only about 20 minutes or less. I installed to a 3+ year old SSD drive. This helps to greatly speed up the install and gives you a more responsive system once
OS X is running too.
3. The install proceeded normally and the PC restarted. In some instances, especially if you are using a graphics card for the install, your screen will go black. This is OK, things are still getting installed, just let it finish the process and reboot from the UniBeast drive. Now select your new Mountain Lion install. Finish the setup and then you'll be at the Mountain Lion desktop.
Step #4 - Configure and Run Multibeast
Even the Multibeast choices are quite simple for this system. All you need to start with is EasyBeast and the Intel LAN kext. The default system definition is Mac Pro 3,1 which is perfect for this hardware.
Click continue and then install. When it's finished you'll need to delete two kexts before you reboot.
Step #5 - Delete Two Unnecessary Kexts & Install your USB Audio Adapter
There are just two kernel extensions, that you'll need to move to the trash. First navigate to the Root Directory of your primary OS X drive then to: /System/Library/Extensions. Now move the AppleHPET.kext and the AHCI_3rdParty_Sata.kext to the trash and empty it. Finally open Disk Utility and repair permissions. Now make sure you've ejected your Unibeast drive before rebooting.
While in System Prefs, go to the Energy Saver section and slide the Computer sleep button all the way over to the right. The Null CPU PM kext prevents waking the computer from a sleep state from working. Uncheck "put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" if it is checked as well as the other options listed.
Click on the lock icon in the lower left corner to prevent changes to these settings
5.1 Surround Sound and Optical Audio Output
If you do purchase the Behringer UCA202 USB audio adapter (see optional components) you will need to use Toleda's guide to enable those options. Surround Sound - Realtek ALC AppleHDA [Guide]
This surround sound guide will work for Mavericks and Yosemite but not for Mountain Lion.
Now you should have a fully functional EZ 8000 CustoMac. That really was easy, wasn't it ? You've probably spent less than 140 USD for all your hardware and the setup and install likely took less than one hour of your time. That was my goal for this User Build, to make it so easy that it would remove all of the obstacles for anyone to create a working and affordable CustoMac.