ASUS vs ASROCK vs Gigabyte vs MSI, which motherboard brand is the best when it comes to hackintoshing? Are the super high end $$$ motherboards better the the normal or budget ones? After hackintoshing on many different motherboards I’ve developed my own I’ve come to have my own preferences based on the experiences I’ve had.
When choosing a motherboard you will want to make sure that it’s using a compatible audio and Ethernet chipset for minimal issues. The super high end motherboards from each of these brands tend to use audio and ethernet chipsets that non-standard and very difficult to get working on a hackintosh with out of the box solutions you can find online.
I noticed when it comes to different brands the lower end boards with less features tend to have minimal hackintosh or firmware related issues. For example with MSI their B250 boards run perfectly fine, but I was having USB issues with their Carbon series motherboards. With ASRock I had one random restart with their Fatal1ty series motherboards, but none with their normal non-flashly boards. With Gigabyte I had audible whine coming from the CPU area on their Gaming series motherboards and none on their Ultra Durable series. ASUS has been the only exception with their ROG Strix series motherboards being able to run perfectly if you fix the audio issues, however on the more expensive ROG HERO board the audio couldn’t be fixed. I’ve had the most issues with Gigabyte and MSI motherboards in my time spent hackintoshing. So I suggest shying away from high end boards in the $200+ USD range if you can and stick with mid tier and budget motherboards under $200. I’ve compiled a list of fully compatible motherboards you can see over at the Parts Page
From my testing I’ve come to notice that each motherboard manufacture has it’s own strengths, kinks and issues, some of which can be difficult if not impossible to fix. Also certain boards within those brands, make a better and more compatible hackintosh then others. I will of course be testing more motherboards in the future and update this until the next Intel processors and motherboards comes out. Here’s my ranking based on how my experience and others:
No. 1 – Why is ASROCK the #1 brand for hackintoshing right now?
ASRock has really stepped up their game. Whatever they’ve done to their motherboards has made them super easy to get working as a hackintosh, which was not the case in the past.
ASRock is No. 1 on this list simply because they’re the easiest to get working with the least amount of work required to fix existing compatibility issues. I definitely would recommend ASRock for someone building their first hackintosh that doesn’t already have a motherboard and would like to save some money compared to something more expensive like ASUS.
As for any issues, out of the couple of ASRock motherboard’s I’ve used for hackintoshing their was one time my Z270 Fatal1ty Build randomly restarted when I wasn’t looking. I’m not sure what caused it and it never happened again. I have another ASRock motherboard and I’ve never experienced any issues with it: ASRock H270-ITX/AC + Intel Pentium G4560
- From my experience the 200 series chipset is just as easy to get working as Gigabyte while not suffering from Gigabyte’s motherboard quality issues.
- Hackintosh Sleep works well ASRock motherboards with the 200 Series motherboards.
- No known USB port issues.
- Some BIOS versions like P2.10 will cause USB devices to inject on wake (Can be fixed by using a different BIOS version)
- USB ejection Fix – Avoid BIOS version P2.10. Use the earlier factory BIOS version P1.20 or version P2.20 or later.
- If you have only one RAM DIMM use the inner most slot to prevent a Kernel Panic with a RAM mapping error.
No. 2 – How good are ASUS motherboards for hackintoshing?
My experience with ASUS on the Z270 platform has been much better then their Z170 platform with my Z170 ATX Pro Build
I built a SFX hackintosh with the ASUS ROG Strix Z270I ITX motherboard that I posted a guide for on this website see: ASUS ROG Strix Z270I ITX + AMD RX 560 Hackintosh Build Guide that’s become my favorite hackintosh now because of the way the case looks, how well it works and of course the ton of USB ports.
The only real issue with ASUS motherboards on the 200 series chipset is caused by the audio breaking after sleep. This doesn’t happen every time and in my experience happens once in every 30 or so auto sleeps. The simple solution would be to disable auto sleep in Energy Saver System Preferences and manually sleep the computer, but I managed to find a fix that I’ve posted here see: Fix ASUS FX S1220A Hackintosh Audio Note: For ASUS motherboards with SupremeFX, only S1220A can be fixed easily with the guide. S1220 like the one on the Z270 HERO is a lot more trouble.
- Auto sleep runs really well.
- Runs stable with no issues whatsoever after applying audio fixes.
- Can leave darkwake setting in config.plist as default.
- Can see CPU core voltage information using HWMonitor
- Can use the same config.plist for integrated or dedicated graphics. Don’t even need to configure BIOS; everything is handled automatically by ASUS.
- Many ASUS motherboards have lots of USB ports, which all work without issue on a hackintosh.
- This is more of a *feature* but if you ever force restart your computer or lose electricity, ASUS will boot into BIOS, which I find to be annoying.
- I’ve noticed some whine occasionally coming from the motherboard area when moving the my wireless. It’s only audible if I put my ear close to the back IO area. This may just be an issue with my specific motherboard I never heard it on previous motherboards I’ve had from ASUS.
- To fix audio breaking on sleep follow this Guide
- For working audio you need to change the audio layout id to 7 in config.plist when using AppleALC.kext method.
- Set FixShutdown_0004 in your config.plist under Acpi section to prevent the ASUS hackintosh restarting when your trying to shut it down.
No. 3 – Why was Gigabyte knocked to 3rd place for Kaby Lake?
Gigabyte has been known for years to be the go to brand for hackintoshing due to how easy they are to hackintosh. With the LGA 1151 chipset all motherboards brands are now pretty easy to get working, however Gigabyte in my experience only requires one flag to be set in the config.plist to prevent the computer from restarting when your trying to sleep the hackintosh.
In my experience there was one huge issue with the multiple Gigabyte motherboards I’ve tested and that was kernel_task write buildup. If you open activity monitor and select the Disk tab you will see a process called kernel_task. Normally this process will have around ~1GB written as it does now on this ASUS build I’m typing on. However on my Z270 Gigabyte Gaming motherboards the kernel_task would build up to 70, 100 and sometimes even 200GB of write. I would know the moment the problem started back up because my hackintosh would start to lag really really bad due to all the disk write and I would have to restart the machine to get rid of the issue. I experienced this issue mainly on Sierra 10.12.4 and not sure what was triggering it. I’ve since dumped my Gigabyte motherboards, because all that writing will degrade my SSD’s prematurely so I don’t know if the issue went away in newer versions of macOS, but I’m not the only person whose had this issue.
When someone comes to me telling me they have this issue the first question I’ll usually ask them is, “Do you have a Gigabyte motherboard.” and the answer is always “Yes.” If you have this problem I recommend selling it and going with a different brand or you could try doing a clean install and hope it goes away. I did not and that may have contributed to the issue as I’ve been using an old install, but I’m using the same install that I’m typing on this ASUS build right now and the kernel_task problem has yet to reappear.
Another, but fixable problem with Gigabyte motherboards is that some people have had problems where their Gigabyte hackintosh restarts in sleep. I’ve even experienced this issue and simply deleting the APPLE folder in my EFI partition so it could be recreated fixed the issue for me.
The rest of the issues that exist with Gigabyte motherboards are outside the scope of the hackintoshing and have to do with the quality of Gigabyte motherboards.
The two Gigabyte Gaming motherboards I tested have a slight, but audible CPU whine, which you can hear if your case is open or have sensitive ears and silent case. I also had an ultra durable motherboard of where one of the ram slots died.
Other people have mentioned problems with the Ethernet being faulty. One hackintosher said that getting a replacement motherboard fixed his problem and another one said that applying a patch in Linux fixed his Ethernet not working in macOS.
One user had a problem with being unable to get graphics acceleration working and it turned out his PCIE slot died
I personally have had to reset the CMOS frequently for my BIOS, because of the boards simply not posting. This could be because I frequently swap out parts for testing, but still I’ve haven’t experienced this issue on any other motherboard brand
- Pretty reliable brand for hackintoshing once you get it working it will stay working
- Can see CPU core voltage information using HWMonitor
- Build great budget motherboards.
- Can leave darkwake setting in config.plist as default
- kernel_task write buildup will cause lag and cause an extreme amount of writing. When this happens you will need to restart your machine.
- Auto sleep sometimes doesn’t work therefore having to resort to sleeping manually.
- Some BIOS versions are not compatible/make macOS installation difficult by not showing EFI partitions in Clover. (Version F2 for example)
- Unplugging a USB device when sleeping can cause computer to wake to a black screen and then the hackintosh will automatically restart after around a minute.
- Plugging devices in USB3.1 Gen2 port may interfere with connection to wireless devices. (Observed on my Logitech M705 wireless mouse)
- May occasionally have to reset CMOS. This appears to be an issue with Gigabyte motherboards at the BIOS level.
- May experience a low but audible whine sound coming from the CPU area on Gigabyte’s Z270 Gaming motherboards.
- Some versions of Lilu.kext & AppleALC.kext will break audio/boot to black screen.
- Machine while restart while trying to shut down hackintosh. Fix by setting FixShutdown in config.plist.
- Use K4 or later BIOS version for Gaming Series motherboards to fix EFI detection issues.
- Delete APPLE folder in your EFI folder if you copied it from your flash drive after installing macOS as it’s usually the culprit that causes restart when trying to wake from sleep.
- Requires EmuUEFIVariable.efi for NVRAM Graphical acceleration detection.
No. 4 – Why is MSI last on this list?
MSI motherboards are still pretty good for hackintoshing and I didn’t experience all the quality issues like I did with Gigabyte. I did however experience the kernel_task issue more then once on their Carbon series, but not on their lower end Bazooka series for some reason.
The USB issues are pretty big with this motherboard brand. If I plugged my flash drive into the USB-C port or the 3.1 USB ports they would eject if I slept the computer and woke it up. When they were plugged in they would also cause my wireless M705 mouse to lag.
Their was also the problem with certain USB devices Cooler Master Mechanical Keyboard and Sandisk Cruzer flash drive not being detected on boot or wake. I would have to then unplug them and plug them back in. This can be really annoying if you are trying to boot off a flash drive or trying to type in your password. I did not experience this issue when using different keyboards and flash drives though and wouldn’t have noticed it if I didn’t have this hardware to begin with. The USB detection issue doesn’t appear to be a macOS compatibility issue as I experienced it on computer start up.
Occasionally a tab in chrome would prevent the hackintosh from sleeping. For example if I was editing my website and didn’t save something in the editor before sleeping the hackintosh. The MSI motherboard would immediately wake and I would have to find the offending tab, save and then sleep.
A lot of first time hackintoshers don’t know this, but mid range and higher end Z270 motherboard from MSI can’t even boot macOS without including OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi in your drivers64UEFI folder this is an extra step that has to be done when creating your EFI folder, once you add it everything will boot fine.
- Can use the same config.plist for integrated or dedicated graphics.
- Budget MSI motherboards run smoothly as a hackintosh and will have less issues than their Z270 boards.
- Also experienced the kernel_task issue although the frequency was much lower than Gigabyte.
- Applications with popup prompts like Chrome asking you to save your changes may prevent you from sleeping a MSI hackintosh, until they are closed.
- Plugging in USB flash drives to the USB3.1 Gen2 Type A/Type C port can cause them to eject during sleep and receive an injection alert on wake.
- Plugging devices in USB3.1 Gen2 port may interfere with connection to wireless devices. (Observed on my M705 wireless mouse)
- Some select USB devices are not detected on startup or wake forcing you to unplug and plug them back in for detection like a flash drive or keyboard.
- Update to latest BIOS.
- Some motherboards requires OsxAptioFix2Drv-free2000.efi to be put in EFI/Clover/drivers64UEFI/ to boot.
- If you have only one RAM DIMM use the inner most slot on the motherboard to prevent a mapping error Kernel Panic.
- Enable waking in BIOS for USB/Keyboard/Mouse.
- Set darkwake = 8 in config.plist under Boot.
- Add CodecCommander.kext if experiencing low/no audio after boot/wake. B250 motherboards require CodecCommander.kext and darkwake = 8 to fix ALC887 audio breaking/low volume on wake from sleep or boot.