Intel NUC 8th Gen Hackintosh - i3 or i5?
  • Thanks to some earlier threads, I'm going to bite the bullet and buy an Intel NUC 8 to run SecuritySpy on. (My MacBook Pro 2013 can't H/W decode h.265 so the fans are always on high speed).

    The question I'd like some advice on is wether to go for the NUC 8 i3-8109U or the i5-8259 option please?

    Both CPUs are based on the 8th gen Coffee-Lake architecture which can decode 16 h.264/h.265 streams.
    The i3 has 2-cores (4 threads) with a base frequency of 3Ghz vs i5 with 4-cores (8 threads) @ 2.3Ghz

    Will the higher number of cores in an i5 make a difference to the AI processing or general running of SecuritySpy? I suspect it will do because there's more to the software than just decoding the video streams right?

    - (£241)
    - (£270) (BEH can fit an extra internal HDD)

    - (£322)
    - (£332)

    16GB RAM
    - (£59.99)

    256GB SSD for OS. Can't quite decide on which brand of SSD to go for, but this seems a good compromise between price and quality.
    - (£56.99)
    - (£79 for 500GB)

    2TB 2.5" HDD for video storage to go with the BEH model
    - (£65.99)

    All in i5 (BEH, 500GB SSD) - £536.98
    Cheapest i3 with 256GB SSD and no extra HDD - £357.98

    Just for giggles, the same spec Mac mini Intel 8th gen i5 (which does have a slightly better CPU) is £1,299.

    The NUC8s seem to be very well supported in the Hackintosh community so this seems like a safe platform to invest in for future OS upgrades.

    Intel NUC8 CATALINA HACKINTOSH | Complete Install Guide 2020 video

  • Great research!

    The 4-core i5 will give a significant speed boost over the 2-core i3 that will be important for SecuritySpy, so I think this is worth going for. And, even though the i3 has a higher base clock speed, the i5 has a higher turbo boost speed, and in reality, these CPUs can run continuously at a rate somewhere between the base speed and the maximum boost speed, so you can't just compare the base speeds in order to determine real-world performance.

    The Western Digital NVMe SSDs look good - impressive capacity and speed for the price. Also Crucial, Samsung and SanDisk are reliable brands (but speeds vary significantly over different brands/models, and the WD ones you linked to look to be among the best).

    An Internal 2.5" HDD for captured files should work OK, providing your capture data rate isn't huge. With H.265, a moderate number of cameras (up to 16), all using motion capture rather than continuous capture, this should be adequate.

    Another option for storage is an external 3.5" drive in an enclosure connected by USB 3 - you get more storage and better speed for a similar price. For example:
  • Hi Ben,

    Thank you for your advice on going for the i5, it sounds like a wise choice.

    I must admit the slow 5,400rpm 2TB HDD was making me doubt that it could cope with my current 8 camera continuous recording streams (a mix of h265 and h264). There is a 7,200rpm 1TB option for £54 (Seagate BarraCuda Pro), but that seems to be the highest capacity you can get at that speed. Unfortunately that 4TB external 3.5" drive is 5,400rpm as well.

    I think my best bet is to go for the smaller BEK NUC8 and find an external 3.5" 7,200rpm USB3 drive instead. USB3 speeds are more than capable for a mechanical HDD, and having an externally powered drive is a worthwhile compromise for the speed and capacity you gain over the internal 2.5" drive.

    I'll keep this thread updated with my progress in case anyone else wants to give it a go too.
  • Good point about the RPM - yes, 7200 would be preferable if you are doing continuous recording. You could simply use an enclosure (e.g. I've used these before and they are easy and reliable: but there are plenty of alternatives available) and then buy a HDD separately, for example:
  • Grand idea, I may even have an old enclosure in the loft somewhere, but that's probably USB2 so would be worth upgrading to USB3 anyway. :)

  • Another solution would be to build a Hackintosh with a slightly bigger case and fit a 2x 3.5 inch 7200 rpm hard drive in there.

    I did that with an i3-8100 cpu which is capturing 20 camera's (2-4MP) at 55% of cpu usage

    Would cost around : £ 420
    cpu = £ 95
    mb = £ 55
    ram = £ 60
    case = £ 50
    psu = £ 40
    hdd = £ 120 (2x 2TB)

    CustoMac mini
  • That's a useful site, thank you.

    The appeal of the NUC is that it's a popular device for Hackintosh, with lots of guides explaining what needs to be set up in software for that particular hardware combination. This will be my first Hackintosh, so I'm keen to keep things easy for me, such as that handy YouTube vid with step-by-step instructions.

    The NUC8 will be arriving today so I hope to build it this weekend, but more than likely the wife will have a list of jobs for me to do so it may need to wait till next week... :)
  • I can report that it's been a success!

    I have a stable NUC8 running Catalina 10.15.6, with 8 camera streams all being H/W decoded (a mix of h264 and h265). CPU usage is around 3-5% which is fantastic, much better than the 40-60% I had on my MacBook Pro 2013.

    The install wasn't all plain sailing, but I'll share what issues I had and how they were overcome in case it helps others.

    This was the main video guide that I followed:

    I used the latest 10.15.6 Catalina installation files from the App Store.

    1. At around 8:30 (video timestamp) where you install the Clover boot manager to USB, this kept failing for me as it didn't have write access. The solution is to disable the Systems Integrity Protection in MacOS temporarily by following this guide:

    2. After you have formatted the main SSD and started installation, at around 20:20 I got an error about preparing the installation. Just press ok and reboot, then choose the Clover boot option to boot from SSD and installation will continue. Another error occurred near the end of the installation (bless tool selecting the boot drive), but again ignore the error, reboot, and continue.

    3. Once MacOS was up and running, it kept freezing on me after a few minutes use, resulting in having to hard-reset the NUC. I found the solution in a forum post that supplied the OpenCore EFI files specifically for the NUC8. Replacing the contents of the EFI folder on the Mac SSD with those from the file, solved the freezing issue for me, and it's been stable ever since.
    OpenCore is the newer alternative boot manager that replaces Clover. Apparently Clover hasn't been in development for a few months now.

    4. Apparently audio only works through the HDMI port, but as I don't have a monitor with speakers I was able to pair up some bluetooth speakers instead. Bluetooth doesn't work straight away, on mine the settings window became unresponsive when opening Bluetooth. It seems this need to be activated by pairing a device within Linux or Windows on the NUC box first (no idea why). I did this by creating a bootable live Ubuntu USB stick, booting to desktop and pairing Bluetooth with my phone. When I went back into MacOS, Bluetooth then worked!

    I've posted most of the above info back into the YouTube video comments because a lot of people had the same questions/issues I had with no obvious answers.

    Some work colleagues who'd heard good things about SecuritySpy (from me) but who didn't want to shell out £££ for a Mac, are now seriously considering buying a NUC8 to run SS on as well. :)
  • I would recommend building a CustoMac mini from recommended hardware, because a NUC is not the most compatible hardware for a Hackintosh. It is doable, but a CustoMac is far easier and you can fit one or more 3.5 inch hard drives in a case.

    The only downside is a bit larger case ... the big advantage is the lower cost
    .. and my computer for running SecuritySpy software is in a closet, not on my desk.

    Also OpenCore EFI is a new bootloader and still in beta version. Looks great, but I would wait a few more months before using it.

    A CustoMac can be build with Clover EFI bootloader, which is stable and used for the past 5 years for Hackintosh.

    Just my 2 cents for this discussion

    I have build my first Hackintosh in 2012 ... and the latest this year with a i3-8100 cpu which has 20 cameras connected.
  • I agree with you there, it wasn't easy getting the NUC to work and at one point when I couldn't figure out the freezing issue, I was very tempted to send the NUC back and buy a CustoMac. They have all the drivers that just work with their recommended H/W.
  • Many thanks for posting this information, this sounds like an interesting (if sometimes challenging) project that has yielded great results! We do get questions about this on a regular basis, so I'm sure this information will be very useful to others.

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