[READ FIRST!] Laptop Compatibility

EliteMacx86

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2018
Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370 AROUS GAMING 3
CPU
Intel Core i9 9900K
Graphics
2xAMD RX 580 8GB
OS X/macOS
11.0 (Beta)
Bootloader
OpenCore
Mac
MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
What's the best compatible Laptop?
For most of the time, people ask "Is my laptop compatible". I'll try to provide as much information i can provide for the Laptops and issues.
First of all, getting macOS to work on Laptop is always difficult unless there's a well written guide. But then also, it may not be possible to get the features which works on Windows or you want to make it work on macOS. This is because the hardware limitation in the Laptops, like when building a PC, you can choose what compatible parts to use for the build.
Most laptops are compatible for macOS which uses a Intel CPU. If your laptop is having a Intel CPU with a integrated graphics(Intel HD), the chances are likely to work. Some laptops with NVIDIA/AMD GPU are also supported but can be a issue in some case.

For more information, refer the FAQ :

Hardware

CPU: It's best to have a laptop with minimum Core i3, Sandy Bridge. You need to know what exact model of CPU your laptop uses. A Sandy Bridge CPU will have a model like iX-2xxx*, a Ivy Bridge will have iX-3xxx*, a Haswell will have iX-4xxx*, a Broadwell will have iX-5xxx*, a Skylake will have iX-6xxx*, a Kaby Lake will have iX-7xxx* and a Coffee Lake will have iX-8xxx*

* Refers to the model such as HQ, U, H, B, or HK

Note :
  • The first generation CPU, "Arrandale" is supported but there can be issues while activating the graphics(Intel HD).

Chipset : You also need to know your chipset model, either 6-series, 7-series, 8-series, 9-series, 100 series or 200 series and 300 series chipset.

Graphics : Many laptop has a dual graphics such as AMD Radeon or NVIDIA Geforce which utilizes a switching mechanism to switch from the integrated graphics(Intel HD) to the discrete graphics as per the graphics demand. This feature is referred to Optimus Technology. This type of switching/technology isn't supported on macOS. You need to disable the discrete GPU in your BIOS. If you're BIOS does not have such options, it can be difficult to install and you might need to delete the related graphics kexts. Also, by not disabling the discrete GPU, the GPU draws power even if it doesn't works on macOS. You'll need to disable the discrete graphics to save the Battery life, generate less heat and noise. So try to find a Laptop without discrete GPU which will not only cost less but will be reliable too.

Here's a list of supported Intel HD Graphics

List of Intel HD Graphics.png

Note :
  • A laptop with only a discrete GPU such as NVIDIA can be made to work using the Web drivers. However few laptops still cannot be made to work. You can't know until you try.

Ethernet: Generally, the ethernet port is built-in into the laptop motherboard. The ethernet works without any issue. Some old chips maybe difficult to configure.

WiFi: For a laptop, WiFi is required as there are few laptops model which do not have a built-in ethernet port. There are very few WiFi models which are supported by macOS. With this, there are some laptops which have a whitelist in the BIOS which prevents you to replace the WiFi hardware. Such BIOS allows certain specific models only which are branded specifically by the manufacturer of the laptop. Sometimes, the BIOS can be unlocked and whitelist can be removed but sometimes the BIOS can be encrypted. The service manual for your laptop may provide you a list of compatible cards on your specific model and if one of those WiFi models is compatible with macOS, then you can search for the card and try to replace it. Some laptops such as (Ultrabooks), or Envy(HP), Xiaomi have a soldered WiFi onto the motherboard or combined with another component making the replacement more difficult and expensive. In many cases, the specific WiFi model with the laptop is not specified when you purchase.

Bluetooth: For most of the time, the bluetooth is built-in to the WiFi card (on the USB bus). Most laptops comes with a Intel WiFi which has a Intel bluetooth but it might not work as per your requirement. Bluetooth works best when using a Braodcom bluetooth hardware. Some features such as handoff/hotspot/unlocking with Apple watch may not work.

Audio: Getting audio to work is very important. There are several ways to get audio working on a laptop. Audio works best when patched with AppleHDA. It provides a high quality sound output and has few more features. Do not use VoodooHDA except when you can get none of the methods to be working on your laptop. On certain audio codec, you might kernel panic too when using VoodooHDA. Patching AppleHDA for any audio codec is possible, but is a complex process and requires technical skills you may not have, and is time consuming.

Battery: The battery status can be made to work using RehabMan OS X ACPI Driver. Most laptops needs a patched DSDT in order to get a working battery status. You can find a patch for your laptop in the RehabMan repo. However, few laptops may require some other edits for a working battery meter.

Keyboard/Trackpad: For most of the time, the laptops uses the PS/2 interface for the keyboard and trackpad. The PS/2 keyboard and trackpad can be made to work using a PS/2 driver. RehabMan has developed a VoodooPS2Controller driver which does the job. There are some other drivers which has been developed by other developers like EMiLyDiNeSh. Newer laptops are using I2C trackpad widely, which requires different drivers than the PS/2. Such drivers are work in progress. But Alexandre Dauod, a developer who has written drivers for I2C devices named VoodooI2C which has made this possible and the trackpads can be made to work using his drivers. However this isn't easy as using PS/2 drivers. It requires a technical skill and is a complex process.

Camera: For most of the time, the camera is USB, some are connected to USB2 and some to USB3. Some laptops such as Envy(HP) have a IR camera which can be made to work. Some will work and some won't. There's no specific pattern.

Touchscreen: OS X doesn't supports touch screen but gestures. However, few laptops have touchscreen. Touchscreen can be either on the USB bus or the I2C. The touchscreen which are on USB bus, can be made to work without any need of additional drivers. The I2C touchscreen will require a different driver. Those touchscreen can be made to work using VoodooI2C.

Card Reader: The integrated card reader can be either on PCI bus or the USB bus. The card reader on the USB bus works, not often using the default macOS drivers. You can't know until you try.

Installing macOS on a Laptop is not easy. You should not expect that you can get everything working. There are many different laptop which has a different hardware configuration and each hardware is unique. A laptop might not work even if the hardware mentioned above meets the requirements.

And if you want 100% compatibility with all the hardware such as discrete graphics, perfect WiFi and bluetooth and no hassles, don't look for installing macOS, buy a MacBook instead. This will not only save you from less trouble but also from wasting your time.