5 of the cheapest hackintosh compatible graphics cards that you can buy today.
It’s probably been a while since the words “cheap” and “graphics card” have appeared together in the same sentence. Thanks to the rise in popularity of crypto-currency mining, there’s been a surge in demand for graphics cards, and a corresponding increase in price. This has been bad news for gamers, and also for those looking to build a hackintosh. However, there are still some good budget hackintosh compatible cards that are available to buy right now for under $200.
|Name||VRAM||Power||Shading units||Texture units|
|Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2G|
|Zotac GTX 1050 LP 2GB||2GB||75W||640||40|
|Sapphire RX 460 2GB GDDR5||2GB||75W||896||56|
|Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 OC 4G|
Best for Video Editing and Compatibility
|EVGA GTX 1050 Ti 4GB|
Best for Gaming
Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 2G
The GT 1030 is Nvidia’s entry-level dedicated graphics card, positioned to compete with AMD’s entry-level RX 550. Many models feature passive cooling, and power consumption is very low, making this an ideal card for Small Form-Factor builds or for use as an HTPC. It’s compatible with MacOS X High Sierra using Nvidia’s web drivers, and you can expect around an 80% increase in performance compared to the Intel UHD / HD 630 IGPU in Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake CPU’s.
Note that there are two versions of the GT 1030 – one with GDDR5 and the other with DDR4 memory. Avoid the DDR4 card as it’s significantly slower than the GDDR5 version, in many cases only half the speed. Use NvidiaGraphicsFixup.kext with this card if you experience any issues.
This Gigabyte card features 2GB of GDDR5 and is passively cooled, so it’s completely silent. It’s also a low-profile card so is ideal for small cases.
Zotac GTX 1050 LP 2GB
The GTX 1050 is Nvidia’s second entry-level card based on the Pascal architecture and it’s 80% faster than the GT 1030 and also slightly faster in games than AMD’s Radeon RX 460. However the RX 460 still has a clear lead in Apple pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Apple Motion, due to the AMD-centric optimisations in the OS. The GTX 1050 works very well under MacOS X High Sierra 10.13.4 or later using Nvidia’s latest web drivers and NvidiaGraphicsFixup.kext.
This Zotac card is a low-profile model ideal for small form factor cases.
Sapphire RX 460 2GB GDDR5
The Radeon RX 460, although a slower card on paper than Nvidia’s GTX 1050, is actually substantially faster in practice if you’re planning to use the hackintosh for video editing or multimedia production. It’s an older card than the RX 560 (the next card in this list), but performance is very similar due to the RX 560 being based on the same architecture with only an increase in clock speed.
As it’s based on the Polaris architecture, the RX 460 is supported natively in Mac OS X High Sierra and Mojave, with no need for third-party drivers. Set the -RadeonDeInit boot flag in Clover if you encounter problems of booting to a black screen.
Gigabyte Radeon RX 560 OC 4G
Best for video editing and hackintosh compatibility
The Radeon RX 560 is AMD’s replacement for the RX 460. Compared to the RX 460 it has higher clock speeds and is about 10% faster. The RX 560 is currently the graphics card in my main video editing machine, which I use every day. It’s running two monitors – one LG 4K monitor connected via DisplayPort and a second LG Ultrawide connected via HDMI. Performance is excellent in FCPX – around 80% faster than my 2017 15″ MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555 for example. Everything works perfectly using MacOS’ native drivers and it’s also a very capable gaming card. If I were asked to recommend one graphics card from this list, it would be this.
EVGA GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Best for gaming
The Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti is based on the same architecture as the cheaper GTX 1050. However it’s about 20% faster on average and has twice the VRAM – 2GB compared to 4GB. This extra memory can make a big difference in games and in VRAM-intensive tasks like video editing. The performance of the GTX 1050 Ti in Apple’s Pro apps isn’t on par with the RX 460 or RX 560, but it still performs well. For gaming, this is the fastest card in this list. As with the other cards in this list, you’ll need to install Nvidia’s web drivers for full acceleration under OS X.
If you have a little more money to spend, you may like to read our article The best graphics cards for hackintosh in 2018, where we choose 4 of the best hackintosh-compatible graphics cards.