# Hardware Limitations

With macOS, there are numerous hardware limitations you need to be aware of before stepping foot into an installation. This is due to the limited amount of hardware Apple supports, so we're either limited by Apple or what patches the community has created.

The main hardware sections to verify are:

And for more detailed guides on the subject, see here:

# CPU Support

For CPU support, we have the following breakdown:

  • Both 32 and 64-bit CPUs are supported
    • This however requires the OS to support your architecture, see CPU Requirements section below
  • Intel's Desktop CPUs are supported.
    • Yonah through Comet Lake are supported by this guide.
  • Intel's High-End Desktops and Server CPUs.
    • Nehalem through Cascade Lake X are supported by this guide.
  • Intel's Core "i" and Xeon series laptop CPUs
    • Arrendale through Ice Lake are supported by this guide.
    • Note that Mobile Atoms, Celeron and Pentium CPUs are not supported
  • AMD's Desktop Bulldozer (15h), Jaguar (16h) and Ryzen (17h) CPUs
    • Laptop CPUs are not supported
    • Note not all features of macOS are supported with AMD, see below

For more in-depth information, see here: Anti-Hardware Buyers Guide

CPU Requirements

Architecture Requirements

  • 32-bit CPUs are supported from 10.4.1 to 10.6.8
    • Note that 10.7.x requires 64-bit userspace, limiting 32-bit CPUs to 10.6
  • 64-bit CPUs are supported from 10.4.1 to current

SEE Requirements:

  • SSE3 is required for all Intel versions of OS X/macOS
  • SSSE3 is required for all 64-bit versions of OS X/macOS
    • For CPUs missing SSSE3 (i.e. certain 64-bit Pentiums), we recommend running 32-bit userspace (i386-user32)
  • SSE4 is required for macOS 10.12 and newer
  • SSE4.2 is required for macOS 10.14 and newer

Firmware Requirements:

  • OS X 10.4.1 through 10.4.7 require EFI32 (i.e. IA32 (32-bit) version of OpenCore)
    • OS X 10.4.8 through 10.7.5 support both EFI32 and EFI64
  • OS X 10.8 and newer require EFI64 (i.e. x64 (64-bit) version of OpenCore)
  • OS X 10.7 through 10.9 require PartitionDxe.efi to boot the Recovery partition

Kernel Requirements:

  • OS X 10.4 and 10.5 require 32-bit kexts due to only supporting 32-bit kernelspace
    • OS X 10.6 and 10.7 support both 32 and 64-bit kernelspace
  • OS X 10.8 and newer require 64-bit kexts due to only supporting 64-bit kernelspace
    • Run lipo -archs to know what architectures your kext supports (remember to run this on the binary itself and not the .kext bundle)

Special Notes:

  • Lilu and plugins require 10.8 or newer to operate
    • We recommend running FakeSMC for older versions of OS X
  • OS X 10.6 and older require RebuildAppleMemoryMap enabled
    • This is to resolve an early kernel
Intel CPU Support Chart

Support based off of Vanilla Kernels (i.e. no modifications):

CPU Generation Initial support Last supported version Notes CPUID
Pentium 4 10.4.1 10.5.8 Only used in dev kits 0x0F41
Yonah 10.4.4 10.6.8 32-Bit 0x0006E6
Conroe, Merom 10.4.7 10.11.6 No SSE4 0x0006F2
Penryn 10.4.10 10.13.6 No SSE4.2 0x010676
Nehalem 10.5.6 Current N/A 0x0106A2
Lynnfield, Clarksfield 10.6.3 No iGPU support 10.14+ 0x0106E0
Westmere, Clarkdale, Arrandale 10.6.4 0x0206C0
Sandy Bridge 10.6.7 0x0206A0(M/H)
Ivy Bridge 10.7.3 No iGPU support 11+ 0x0306A0(M/H/G)
Ivy Bridge-E5 10.9.2 N/A 0x0306E0
Haswell 10.8.5 0x0306C0(S)
Broadwell 10.10.0 0x0306D4(U/Y)
Skylake 10.11.0 0x0506e3(H/S) 0x0406E3(U/Y)
Kaby Lake 10.12.4 0x0906E9(H/S/G) 0x0806E9(U/Y)
Coffee Lake 10.12.6 0x0906EA(S/H/E) 0x0806EA(U)
Amber, Whiskey, Comet Lake 10.14.1 0x0806E0(U/Y)
Comet Lake 10.15.4 0x0906E0(S/H)
Ice Lake 0x0706E5(U)
AMD CPU Limitations in macOS

Unfortunately many features in macOS are outright unsupported with AMD and many others being partially broken. These include:

  • Virtual Machines relying on AppleHV
    • This includes VMWare, Parallels, Docker, Android Studios, etc
    • VirtualBox is the sole exception as they have their own hypervisor
    • VMware 10 and Parallels 13.1.0 do support their own hypervisor, however using such outdated VM software poses a large security threat
  • Adobe Support
    • Most of Adobe's suite relies on Intel's Memfast instruction set, resulting in crashes with AMD CPUs
    • You can disable functionality like RAW support to avoid the crashing: Adobe Fixes
  • 32-Bit support
    • For those still relying on 32-Bit software in Mojave and below, note that the Vanilla patches do not support 32-bit instructions
    • A work-around is to install a custom kernel, however you lose iMessage support
  • Stability issues on many apps
    • Audio-based apps are the most prone to issues, ie. Logic Pro
    • DaVinci Resolve has been known to have sporadic issues as well

# GPU Support

GPU support becomes much more complicated due to the near-infinite amount of GPUs on the market, but the general breakdown is as follows:

And an important note for Laptops with discrete GPUs:

  • 90% of discrete GPUs will not work because they are wired in a configuration that macOS doesn't support (switchable graphics). With NVIDIA discrete GPUs, this is usually called Optimus. It is not possible to utilize these discrete GPUs for the internal display, so it is generally advised to disable them and power them off (will be covered later in this guide).
  • However, in some cases, the discrete GPU powers any external outputs (HDMI, mini DisplayPort, etc.), which may or may not work; in the case that it will work, you will have to keep the card on and running.
  • However, there are some laptops that rarely do not have switchable graphics, so the discrete card can be used (if supported by macOS), but the wiring and setup usually cause issues.

For a full list of supported GPUs, see the GPU Buyers Guide

Intel GPU Support Chart
GPU Generation Initial support Last supported version Notes
3rd Gen GMA 10.4.1 10.7.5 Requires 32-bit kernel and patches
4th Gen GMA 10.5.0
Arrendale(HD Graphics) 10.6.4 10.13.6 Only LVDS is supported, eDP and external outputs are not
Sandy Bridge(HD 3000) 10.6.7 N/A
Ivy Bridge(HD 4000) 10.7.3 10.15.7
Haswell(HD 4XXX, 5XXX) 10.8.5 Current
Broadwell(5XXX, 6XXX) 10.10.0
Skylake(HD 5XX) 10.11.0
Kaby Lake(HD 6XX) 10.12.4
Coffee Lake(UHD 6XX) 10.13.6
Comet Lake(UHD 6XX) 10.15.4
Ice Lake(Gx) 10.15.4 Requires -igfxcdc and -igfxdvmt in boot-args
AMD GPU Support Chart
GPU Generation Initial support Last supported version Notes
X800 10.3.x 10.7.5 Requires 32 bit kernel
X1000 10.4.x N/A
Terascale 10.4.x 10.13.6
Terascale 2/3 10.6.x
GCN 1 10.8.3 Current
GCN 2/3 10.10.x
Polaris 10, 20 10.12.1
Vega 10 10.12.6
Vega 20 10.14.5
Navi 10 10.15.1 Requires agdpmod=pikera in boot-args
Nvidia GPU Support Chart
GPU Generation Initial support Last supported version Notes
GeForce 6 10.2.x 10.7.5 Requires 32 bit kernel and NVCAP patching
GeForce 7 10.4.x Requires NVCAP patching
Tesla 10.4.x 10.13.6
Tesla V2 10.5.x
Fermi 10.7.x
Kepler 10.7.x Current N/A
Kepler V2 10.8.x
Maxwell 10.10.x 10.13.6 Requires webdrivers
Pascal 10.12.4
Turing N/A N/A No drivers available
Ampere

# Motherboard Support

For the most part, all motherboards are supported as long as the CPU is. Previously, B550 boards had issues:

However thanks to recent developments, B550 boards are now bootable with the addition of SSDT-CPUR. More info will be provided in both Gathering Files and Zen's config.plist section

# Storage Support

For the most part, all SATA based drives are supported and the majority of NVMe drives as well. There are only a few exceptions:

  • Samsung PM981, PM991 and Micron 2200S NVMe SSDs
    • These SSDs are not compatible out of the box (causing kernel panics) and therefore require NVMeFix.kext to fix these kernel panics. Note that these drives may still cause boot issues even with NVMeFix.kext.
    • On a related note, Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSDs also had the same problem but it was fixed in a firmware update; get the update (Windows via Samsung Magician or bootable ISO) here.
    • Also to note, laptops that use Intel Optane Memory or Micron 3D XPoint for HDD acceleration are unsupported in macOS. Some users have reported success in Catalina with even read and write support but we highly recommend removing the drive to prevent any potential boot issues.

# Wired Networking

Virtually all wired network adapters have some form of support in macOS, either by the built-in drivers or community made kexts. The main exceptions:

  • Intel's 2.5GBe i225 networking
    • Found on high-end Desktop Comet Lake boards
    • Workarounds are possible: Source and Example
  • Intel's server NICs
  • Mellanox and Qlogic server NICs

# Wireless Networking

Most WiFi cards that come with laptops are not supported as they are usually Intel/Qualcomm. If you are lucky, you may have a supported Atheros card, but support only runs up to High Sierra.

The best option is getting a supported Broadcom card; see the WiFi Buyer's Guide for recommendations.

# Miscellaneous

  • Fingerprint sensors
    • There is currently no way to emulate the Touch ID sensor, so fingerprint sensors will not work.
  • Windows Hello Face Recognition
    • Some laptops come with WHFR that is I2C connected (and used through your iGPU), those will not work.
    • Some laptops come with WHFR that is USB connected, if you're lucky, you may get camera functionality, but nothing else.
  • Intel Smart Sound Technology
    • Laptops with Intel SST will not have anything connected through them (usually internal mic) work, as it is not supported. You can check with Device Manager on Windows.
  • Headphone Jack Combo
    • Some laptops with a combo headphone jack may not get audio input through them and will have to either use the built-in microphone or an external audio input device through USB.
  • Thunderbolt USB-C ports
    • (Hackintosh) Thunderbolt support is currently still iffy in macOS, even more so with Alpine Ridge controllers, which most current laptops have. There have been attempts to keep the controller powered on, which allows Thunderbolt and USB-C hotplug to work, but it comes at the cost of kernel panics and/or USB-C breaking after sleep. If you want to use the USB-C side of the port and be able to sleep, you must plug it in at boot and keep it plugged in.
    • Note: This does not apply to USB-C only ports - only Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C combined ports.
    • Disabling Thunderbolt in the BIOS will also resolve this.