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At $339, the Lenovo 330S is the cheapest “Hackintosh” yet is faster than the MacBook Air

By Douglas Black , last updated on September 9, 2019

Update: September 9, 12:48PM HKT — original pricing from SnazzyLabs’ video was misleading ($279 was for Hackintosh-incompatible AMD version. $339 seems to be the cheapest price for Intel I3 model). Additional buying links for the Core i3 330s are here.

Apple & Tech YouTuber SnazzyLabs has just put up a quite interesting video detailing the ability of one of Lenovo’s cheapest laptops, the IdeaPad 330S, to become a very functional “Hackintosh”.

For the uninitiated, the term “Hackintosh” refers to installing MacOS on a PC. The process is technically not allowed by the Apple TOS, however it seems that the Cupertino company is luckily not too interested in preventing users from doing so.

Not all laptops can be Hackintoshed, of course. It requires a certain level of compatibility with the included hardware. In the case of the Lenovo 330S, the included Wi-Fi card must be switched out for a compatible Broadcomm BCM94352Z (Amazon links here, eBay links here) card — though it’s still a relatively cheap upgrade.

It’s not up to the build quality or battery life of a MacBook Pro, but it’s hard to argue with the price. (Image Source: Snazzy Labs)

Once you’ve got the hardware (Wi-Fi card required, SSD and more RAM optional), you can follow this guide here to complete the whole process in just about an hour.

There are a few interesting points highlighted in SnazzyLabs’ video about this setup.

On the plus side, the laptop has an open SDRAM slot, which allows for an upgrade to a dual-channel configuration. Like nearly all PCs (save for recent Dell XPS offerings and a few others), the Wi-Fi and SSD can of course be upgraded.

The main downside of this $279 MacBook alternative seem to be the small (30Wh) battery, which reportedly only offers about 3 hours of battery life in Windows or MacOS. Beyond that, SnazzyLabs reports the build quality of the $279 IdeaPad leaves a bit to be desired, especially when compared to the CNC aluminum chassis of most laptops north of $1000.

Still, at a total cost of under $400 for the base laptop and a Broadcomm card, it looks like a fun project to engage in if you are interested in playing around with MacOS and its native applications but don’t want to commit a lot of money or support Apple.

Based in Hong Kong, Douglas Black is a veteran editor of Notebookcheck, university lecturer, researcher, and writer.

3 Comments

  1. Crazy Chicken

    September 8, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    That broadcom card (DW1560 or DW1830) is going to cost you between $50 – $85 depending on where you get it from. That brings the cost to over $300.

    • Douglas Black

      September 8, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      My mistake! I didn't realize that those particular broadcomm cards were so much more expensive. I am used to picking up Intel 9xxx cards up for $25! Edited article.

  2. Peter

    September 9, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    The video explained that the price he got was from a discount. He also explained that the original pricing is 339.

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