The Definitive Guide to Shopping Airport Cards for Hackintosh

The Definitive Guide to Shopping Airport Cards for Hackintosh

For Hackintosh builds, an Apple Airport card is a must for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access with best performance and compatibility as the reason follows:

  • macOS only supports Broadcom chipsets natively. Support for Intel chipsets has been under development for quite a while, but it's still far from usable due to compatibility issues.
  • Of all the Broadcom models, only genuine Apple and Fenvi ones can work out of the box.
  • Such features like AirDrop, Handoff rely greatly on the driver. Third party cards might not be future proof.

There are currently only two choices of model on the market: BCM94331 series and BCM94360 series, shipped with Macs pre-2016 mainly since the newer are using soldered cards. BCM94331 can be ruled out for being too old. As for BCM94360, there are many variants. Taking only those with 1300 Mbps 5G link speed into account, we have these models:

NIC BT Mac
Model Model Version Identifier Model
BCM943602CDP 20703A2 4.2 iMac18,x iMac 27″ 5K (2017)
iMac 21.5″ 4K (2017)
iMac 21.5″ (2017)
20703A1 4.1, 4.21 iMac17,1 iMac 27″ 5K (Late 2015)
iMac16,x iMac 21.5″ 4K (Late 2015)
iMac 21.5″ (Late 2015)
BCM943602CS MacBookPro12,1 13″ MacBook Pro (Early 2015)
BCM94360CD 20702B0 4.0 MacPro6,1 Mac Pro (Late 2013)
iMac15,1 iMac 27″ 5K (Late 2014, Mid 2015)
iMac14,x iMac 21.5″ (Late 2013, Mid 2014)
iMac 27″ (Late 2013)
BCM94360CS MacBookPro11,x MacBook Pro 15″ Retina (Late 2013, Mid 2014, Mid 2015)
MacBook Pro 13″ Retina (Late 2013, Mid 2014)
Macmini7,1 Mac mini (Late 2014)

Adapters

To use an Airport card on a PC, an adapter is needed. Most common are PCIe and M.2 (NGFF Key A/E). The former is just like any other PCIe card, except that an extra USB 2.0 header must be provided for Bluetooth. The latter is recommended for ITX builds since there is only one PCIe socket on an ITX board usually being reserved for discrete GPUs.

An M.2 adapter looks like this:

Airport Card Adapter

There is also a cabled version. You can hide it behind the mobo gracefully like this if there is not enough room:

Airport Card Adapter with Cable
  1. Depends on firmware version.

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