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Hardware Hacking Apple Build

The Hackintosh Guide 453

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 'Hackintosh' is a computer that runs Apple's OS X operating system on non-Apple hardware. This has been possible since Apple's switch from IBM's PowerPC processors to Intel processors a few years ago. Until recently, building a PC-based Mac was something done only by hard-core hackers and technophiles, but in the last few months, building a Hackintosh PC has become much easier. Benchmark Reviews looks at what it's possible to do with PC hardware and the Mac Snow Leopard OS today, and the pros and cons of building a Hackintosh computer system over purchasing a supported Apple Mac Pro."
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The Hackintosh Guide

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  • by johnrpenner (40054) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:23AM (#33858992) Homepage

    its apple ][ clones all over again..

    and look what it did for the popularity of apple hardware.. they got so big, that ibm decided to make its own PC too.. stirring the behomoth into action.

    the best thing steve jobs could do on his his death is to open-source Mac OSX (maybe..)

    2cents from toronto
    jp

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      and look what it did for the popularity of apple hardware.. they got so big, that ibm decided to make its own PC too.. stirring the behomoth into action.

      This is the truth. According to Jack Sams, IBM Boca Raton started what they initially called 'Project Chess' after noting the success of the Apple II.

      However, what made the Apple II successful and what made the Macintosh successful are two completely different stories.

  • It's not "the" guide (Score:5, Informative)

    by Artifex (18308) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:27AM (#33859028) Journal

    It even says on the first page,

    This is not a detailed guide on building your own Hackintosh; it's a description of my personal experience building one, and how the result compared with my existing Mac Pro. If you want to build your own Hackintosh, there are many comprehensive resources on the Web. I've found Insanely Mac to be very useful.

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:36AM (#33859116) Homepage Journal

      Bah. Who needs to build a Hackintosh? I have Snow Leopard running in VirtualBox.

      • by slim (1652)

        Bah. Who needs to build a Hackintosh? I have Snow Leopard running in VirtualBox.

        What's AV performance like? One reason it would be nice to build a Hackintosh is to have a cheap, fast box to run something like Logic Pro on.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          AV performance? I get better performance out of AirVideo running in a single CPU VM (WinXP) than I do from a dual core Mac running on bare metal.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by copponex (13876)

            Yeah. Mac hardware is nice. Their software, however, is turning into bloatware.

            There is a social network inside of iTunes.

            There is a social network inside of iTunes.

            • by Cwix (1671282)

              Not trying to be a troll or anything, I'm honestly curious. I thought the entire point of buying a mac was the software. I was under the impression that "Mac hardware" is basically the same thing as PC hardware. What exactly makes Mac hardware nice?

              (Note: Apple has done some interesting things, like the iphone. I even own one apple product, a first gen 16gb touch.)

              • by copponex (13876) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:02PM (#33860000) Homepage

                What exactly makes Mac hardware nice?

                The industrial design of Apple computers is simply the best in the world. I don't know of anyone who disputes that -- at least someone who can point to a computer manufacturer who has anything better.

                As far as functionality is concerned, their mice are crap, keyboards are great, and their laptops are good for everything except 3d acceleration. Multi-touch trackpads without buttons are the best design out there, along with their island style keyboards which are also without equal. iMacs are the best looking desktop computer, bar none.

                Is everything overpriced? Yes. Is their OS better than Windows 7? Depends on what you use it for. But now, iTunes takes as long to load as Photoshop CS5. Spotlight is broken for all practical purposes, even though I rebuild indexes every couple of weeks. Steve will soon release an iMac that runs iOS as well as OS X, and you can see where it's going from here. In order to improve the user experience, Steve is going to prevent his users from running unsigned processes. He'll lose all of the nerds who switched to OS X, but that's such a small number of people, he's not going to care when the reward is 30% of all software sales.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Cwix (1671282)

                  The industrial design of Apple computers is simply the best in the world

                  Ok, so esentially they are really good at putting the components together, but the components have no real difference from PC components?

                  I get the impression that they are just more asthetically pleasing, with some nice peripherals.

                  Again, I'm not trying to be a troll, just trying to understand the rabid fanbois.. I mean the software isnt the best, the basic hardware is comparable to a PC's... Is there a reason I should consider Apple computers in the future... Will I get what I pay for, or will I pay for th

                  • by gutnor (872759) on Monday October 11, 2010 @03:01PM (#33861900)

                    "just trying to understand the rabid fanbois"

                    There is nothing to understand in a rabit fanboy of anything. Unless you want irrational reasons.
                    If you want actual reason, the GP is spot on. The main difference between Apple and the rest of the world is that they sell a complete package.

                    • The package that Apple sell is polished at most levels. That is their selling point - they took care of designing everything so that it all works together - and you feel it when using their product.
                    • The price is not bad especially after a refresh. But you get a very limited set of options, that means, overall, it will be more expensive: for example you cannot buy the 17in laptop with a crappy graphic card or a slower CPU to save a buck. Generally, however, Apple does not make unusable machine. If you buy the cheapest one, it will still give good user experience. That means the cheapest Mac is generally way more expensive than PC equivalent. But it is a "safe" buy.
                    • Apple makes crazy decision about tech supported (get rid of floppy, ...) and software aswell (walled garden). Since there is only a single Mac provider, people get pissed about that. But well, nobody force you to buy - and you know it in advance - it is not hidden in the fine lines !
                    • Apple stuff are available soon after they are announced. You can actually buy the stuff ! Similarly, they do not promise stuff. People that bought the first iPhone knew they wouldnt get the MMS, Copy-Paste, ... You get what's on the box - no surprises or false hopes.
                    • Apple is fashion. Something the geek does not care of, but the rest of the world does.

                    Remember, the vast majority of people do not buy a Mac. No need to scratch your head for a reason to buy one. No need to feel superior if you don't buy one either - you are just following the majority.

                    You can get pissed at people that buy a Mac and try to convince you it is the best thing since sliced bread with ads level arguments - they are annoying - but well they are the same guys that, long ago, were trying to convince you that Win95 was the best thing since sliced bread. Get over it.

          • by slim (1652)

            Good to know.

            I should have mentioned, what really matters for audio is latency -- for example, if you're playing an electric guitar through GarageBand or Logic's amp simulators, latency in the sound card can be very noticeable (I've had issues even with GarageBand running natively on a G4 Mac Mini).

            It "feels" as if a virtualised OSX would introduce extra latency, but I don't want to jump to conclusions. Does anyone have experience with doing latency-sensitive audio work in VirtualBox?

      • by Elbowgeek (633324)

        Same here, and it runs quite nicely, albeit a bit slow. But it's fun to play with.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Actually, it's telling me:

      Pardon our server... it's being serviced at the moment. Please refresh this page (F5) or use your browsers "Back" button.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by adisakp (705706)

      FTA: "Full disclosure: I worked for Apple in the late 1980s and am the author of "MacPaint 2.0". I use Macs for all my serious work and consider PCs to be best suited for video games."

      The author shows a bit of seriously incorrect anti-pc attitude in this statement dismissing Windows. That statement might be true for him personally but it's not true for the majority of people out there.

      70-80% of PC's sold today have some sort of integrated display chipset that can sometimes slowdown trying to handle the "enhanced" desktop experience of Vista / Win 7. They are certainly not "game machines" unless you like playing the latest games in low resolution at 8-12 Frames Per Second.

      Nope, ma

  • Mac vs. PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ReneeJade (1649107) <reneejadew@gmail.com> on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:30AM (#33859060)
    A mac is a personal computer. PC stands for personal computer. Can we please stop using the terms as if they are mutually exclusive? It makes you sound ignorant, and renders the term "personal computer" useless as a means of differentiating a computer for personal use from any other kind of computer. K thanks.
    • Re:Mac vs. PC (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:33AM (#33859096) Homepage

      While I agree with your point, separating them into Mac and PC labels makes it easy for conversation regarding the two. It's a convenience thing.

      • I feel the same way about RAM versus ROM being used as mutually exclusive terms. It's not often you come across Read-Only Memory where you cannot randomly access the data. But unfortunately these are the labels we're stuck with since RWM is not pronounceable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RulerOf (975607)

        While I agree with your point, separating them into Mac and PC labels makes it easy for conversation regarding the two. It's a convenience thing.

        Saying "OS X" and "Windows" works quite well too. See, a "Mac" is a computer made by Apple. "Macs" run Windows (and Linux) quite well.

        The problem is that a massive breakdown occurs in your differentiation when one runs Windows on a Mac instead of running OS X on a Mac.

        • "Hi, I'm a Mac and I'm full of all the same problems I constantly berate the overweight bastard in the suit for. I'm also utterly full of shit an won't give said fat bastard the satisfaction of calling him by his real name."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Can we please stop using the terms as if they are mutually exclusive?

      No.

      They're in the vernacular now. Can't speak for other languages, but in English, to say "My PC is busted" generally means "My windows PC is busted."

      "My mac is busted" is straightforward. When further differentiation is required on the PC front we say "My Linux PC is busted" (although more than likely, we'd say "My Linux Box is busted.")

      A parallel is saying "I'm American" - While not technically correct, this is understood in

      • The United Mexican States ?

      • A parallel is saying "I'm American" - While not technically correct, this is understood in the vernacular to mean "I'm a citizen of the United States." Canadians like me have to say "I'm Canadian" even though I live in the Americas. It's the understood vernacular.

        A well kept secret is how many Canadians like you have immigrated to America... Maybe we should start a swap program - say 1 Canadian for 2 Americans? You still have a lot a of space...

    • by McGiraf (196030)

      Sheesh, you sound so much not ignorant, I am in awe.

    • Re:Mac vs. PC (Score:5, Informative)

      by CajunArson (465943) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:40AM (#33859166) Journal

      A mac is a personal computer. PC stands for personal computer. Can we please stop using the terms as if they are mutually exclusive?

        I can tell you are an old-school Mac fan from the 1980's - pre-Jobs '90s from the pedantry. Now please go tell Apple what you just told us since they just finished a years long "Mac vs. PC" ad campaign that flies in the face of what you just said. I'm not even going to bother with the YouTube links at this point.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        It does but it doesn't
        Back in the day they where called Microcomputers and or HomeComputers.
        You tended to call computers like the Atari, C64, Vic20, TI99/4a, Apple II, and RadioShack CoCo Home computers. You had them at home and could play a lot of cool games on them they had color and often sound. They would run their own OS and didn't use a Z80.
        Computers like the Kaypro2X, Osbourne, TRS-80 Model II, and the Zenith Heathkit line microcomputers. They usually ran CP/M the Model II could run CP/M and where se

    • by rrossman2 (844318)
      Yes, but the term PC initially was used to identify the IBM PC. Then the PC clones came out (that mimicked the operation of the IBM PC), hence the term PC. It wasn't saying it's the only personal computer, but was used in reference as IBM PC clone/compatible. It's just like you don't Xerox something, you copy something, but the term Xerox was used in that manor
    • The hardware certainly isn't "personal" whatsoever. I would think that is the first test to determine if a computer really is "personal."
    • A mac is a personal computer. PC stands for personal computer. Can we please stop using the terms as if they are mutually exclusive? It makes you sound ignorant, and renders the term "personal computer" useless as a means of differentiating a computer for personal use from any other kind of computer. K thanks.

      PC is and has been for a long time a synonym with IBM PC-compatible. If you really want to be anal about it then sure, we can start using PC for Personal Computer, but how do you separate Macs from non

    • by jythie (914043)
      Just because an acronym literally meant something at the time of its creation does not mean that it is being used that way today. Regardless of what the initials stand for, today 'PC' means an intel (or AMD) based consumer level machine running a Microsoft OS.
  • What? (Score:4, Informative)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:34AM (#33859104)

    building a PC-based Mac was something done only by hard-core hackers and technophiles

    What? This is a load of crap. Granted, it's not the simpest thing to do, but I'd say it was two years ago that hackintoshing became simple enough for the somewhat technical to figure it out.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Monday October 11, 2010 @10:42AM (#33859186) Homepage

      Indeed...for example, the Dell Mini 9 has been notoriously easy to make into a Hackintosh for quite a while. Hell, even Gizmodo posted a walkthrough [gizmodo.com] in early 2009.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by garcia (6573)

        10v works fine too http://twitpic.com/tywtq [twitpic.com]

        • by darjen (879890)

          I have a 10v running Snow Leopard that works great. It didn't take all that long to do, either. I didn't want to spend the money on a mac mini just to dabble in some iPhone development. And my other laptop is too old to virtualize os x.

      • Did you see the picture of the case he chose? He says he chose it because the HP blackbird case is one of the highest quality aluminum cases he could find. I had to laugh. Having looked inside a mac tower case it's just astonishing that such a spagetti looking case could be considered "high quality". In the end perhaps the case as little to do with the function of a computer. But one of the main points of building your own is aesthetics and as far as that goes mac cases are the best you can possible g

    • What? That is completely wrong. It used to be something only done by people willing to spend a lot of time on it (one might call them hard-core), but it has recently become much easier.

  • I wonder if the server is a Hackintosh?
  • I would surmise that the support is the main difference. Getting your own patches, testing, and applying them will probably constitute the bulk of your time. Also in some cases it's variable on when you can to get a patch.
  • I did this once (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpstigers (1075021) on Monday October 11, 2010 @11:07AM (#33859454)
    Just to see if I could. Later that day I got bored and ditched OSX for a Linux distro. Other than as an intellectual exercise, I don't really see much of a point in this. If you really want a Mac, just buy one. Sure they cost more, but all your hardware will work without any effort on your part.
  • by HuguesT (84078) on Monday October 11, 2010 @11:09AM (#33859476)

    Sorry if this sounds like a lament,

    Apple doesn't like OS/X anymore. The platform has basically been stagnant since the inception of 10.6, in 2008. Hardware support is poor, even worse than Linux. For instance there is no way to make a Nvidia GTX460 run under OS/X at the moment, in spite of it being the best bang-for-the-buck video card right now. It was impossible to have an AMD 5xxx series run until only a few months ago! Performance is not good enough. From experience OS/X guzzle memory like no other OS I know. I use two boxes at work, a Linux HP PC with 4GB of RAM that never ever swaps, and a MBP laptop with 4GB of RAM that becomes slow as molasses after a week of use due to memory issues.

    I'm extremely disappointed in Apple's focus on the mobile platform at the moment. There is only so much that can be done with a telephone and a hobbled tablet, nice though it may be.

    I have some experience with Hackintosh. In my opinion, be prepared for a world of hurt, very comparable to the Linux experience of 10 years ago. Basic features not working (e.g suspend-to-disk), no support, needing to be very careful about what hardware can be accommodated, performance issues, and very shaky future. Apple could basically pull the plug anyday. At the end of it a little more software is available, from the big editors. Realistically a lot of the free software tools that I like do not run as well as under Linux (for instance Inkscape).

    I used to like the OSX development tools but they are not portable, I wasted a lot of time with them, so this is as basic as I can make it now, so my software runs everywhere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bkmoore (1910118)
      Apple puts development work into OS X to support the current generation of Macintosh computers. Because Apple only has to support a very small slice of hardware, they can concentrate their development work on building features and improving the OS. Sorry for not supporting third party hardware. That's their business model and it works for them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used to like the OSX development tools but they are not portable, I wasted a lot of time with them, so this is as basic as I can make it now, so my software runs everywhere.

      That's rich, and what, Microsoft's dev tools are? Just write the MV part of your apps in C++ and V part in the one that best suits the platform. On Windows I assume that's .NET and on iOS / OS X that's Cocoa / UIKit. Besides, you're not going to find a standardized UI API on any platform, be it Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Java, Symbi

    • by Gauthic (964948) on Monday October 11, 2010 @11:52AM (#33859892) Homepage

      10.6 was released in late 2009, not 2008.

      One year's of no updates appears much less stagnant than 2 years.

      But the problem is, that if Apple releases updates every year or year and a half, people complain about costs of upgrades. If Apple waits too long to release an update everyone thinks that the sky is falling and MacOS is DYING. (Oh NOES!)

      The Mac is not dead.

    • by RManning (544016) on Monday October 11, 2010 @11:53AM (#33859894) Homepage

      From experience OS/X guzzle memory like no other OS I know. I use two boxes at work, a Linux HP PC with 4GB of RAM that never ever swaps, and a MBP laptop with 4GB of RAM that becomes slow as molasses after a week of use due to memory issues.

      I have an entirely different experience. I code on my MBP 10 - 15 hours every single day and I'll go many weeks between reboots. I have 4GB of memory and it's running just fine. I nornally run Eclipse, Tomcat, Postgres, Photoshop, a couple terminal windows, and Open Office all the time.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Driver issues are purely a matter of politics, especially for the devices you mention: a video card, and, uh, another video card. The only reason they don't exist is because Apple doesn't want them to.

      I'd hardly call suspend-to-disk a basic feature. Basic features, to me, include stability and compatibility, both of which are at or approaching genuine Mac hardware, especially with the right CPU (Intel Core or i), chipset (Intel)*, and onboard devices (mostly Realtek). The AMD support is a bit flakey, as

    • by mpapet (761907) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:12PM (#33860132) Homepage

      Long ago (in computer industry terms), OSX got Apple back on the road to financial success. OSX has become a favored, octogenarian at Apple. Treated well, but generally irrelevant to other projects.

      Every time there's a consumer buying content for one of Apple's dedicated entertainment devices, they are made richer. The best part of this scheme is two-fold.
      1. It's early days for dedicated entertainment devices like the ipad and even the iphone. Tons of money yet to be taken from the consumer while the personal use doctrine is being dismantled.
      2. The distribution of entertainment is a U.S. government sanctioned oligopoly. Apple has become an blessed member of the oligopoly.

      Contrast the scale of those revenue generating opportunities with the general purpose computer (OSX) where once the tower/laptop is sold, that's about the end of the revenue stream.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kildjean (871084)

      It doesn't sound like a lament. It sounds like whining.

      Have you even thought that in the time Apple has been pushing their iOS, they have another group of engineers working on OSX 10.x? OSX is a big application, it requires time and creativity to build a competing product that can out sell and out whip the current flagship product of their competition.

      Apple has had to up their take in the mobile market since google announced they were pouring out a new phone, mobile os (android) and "tablet" os (chrome).

      I

    • by adisakp (705706) on Monday October 11, 2010 @01:04PM (#33860620) Journal

      Apple doesn't like OS/X anymore. The platform has basically been stagnant since the inception of 10.6, in 2008. Hardware support is poor, even worse than Linux. For instance there is no way to make a Nvidia GTX460 run under OS/X at the moment, in spite of it being the best bang-for-the-buck video card right now. It was impossible to have an AMD 5xxx series run until only a few months ago!

      This is hardly a new issue. Apple doesn't care about supporting hardware configurations they don't ship. It allows them to focus on supporting a small number of hardware configurations and giving the maximum stability and ease-of-use for their users.

      The cost is that they have always been and will always be behind the performance curve on supporting the latest add-in hardware that is available on the PC. Plus if you were really interested in "the best bang-for-the-buck", you probably aren't buying an expandable Mac Pro (which is $2,500 / $3,500 / $5,000 depending on model you select).

      In OSX, AMD 5XXX support came because they are shipping all 3 of these configs with the AMD5770 standard -- again, they really only support hardware they ship.

      FWIW, on the PC, MS doesn't write the drivers for Windows. The hardware manufacturers do. If there was an actual GFX card after-market on the Mac, NVidia and AMD would write the drivers for the Mac (and there's a good chance AMD did write them for Apple when they won the bid to include 5770's in Mac Pros).

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 11, 2010 @01:27PM (#33860886) Homepage

      Is this a troll? The platform has been stagnant since 2008? Wikipedia says OSX 10.6 was released in August 2009, just over a year ago. Even if it had been 2 years, taking 2 years to release a major new OS release is not strange.

      As far as all the poor performance and memory problems, those don't seem common to me. Maybe one of your installed apps has a memory leak?

  • ... I have an Amoeba 3000, it's even better.

  • by tylersoze (789256) on Monday October 11, 2010 @11:21AM (#33859558)

    I have setup several Hackintosh's at home for my family, a dell 9 mini and a couple of desktops, and I have to say it's just not worth the time and effort. I should have just bought a Mac mini and a Macbook that "just worked" out of the box.

    Actually let me amend that, it is worth your time if your time is worthless. :) The money I could have made (as a freelancer contracter) in the time it took to setup and support them would have more than offset the cost of a real Apple machine.

  • Apple needs a desktop mini tower at $1000-$1500

    The mini is priced a little to high and only a core2 cpu?

    the imac are nice but the price is a little and high + the lack of a mate screen is a trun off and there lots of people who don't want to be locked in to a screen.

    also the imac is weak in video card area for it's price.

    The mac pro is cool but the base system needs to take $1000+ off it's price and boast the ram to 4gb min.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      I think the reason that Apple doesn't have a $1000-1500 mini desktop is because that market is heavily saturated and competitive. All of their desktops are in very select markets with little competition. They can get much more profit per unit. If they released a mini desktop as you suggested they would be competing with Dell, HP, Lenovo which are low margin on each unit but overall makes profit by selling high volume. Apple wouldn't make much money selling low volume (relatively) so it's not worth it.

      As

  • What is unfair, of course, is that it is allowed to run Windows on a Mac, while it is not allowed to run OSX on a PC.
    Time for the FTC to look into this, I would suggest.

  • Why bother? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Medievalist (16032) on Monday October 11, 2010 @12:07PM (#33860066)

    Ubuntu is easier to install and supports more hardware and software.

    Hackintoshes are like teaching a pig to sing. Even if you succeed, it just wastes your time and annoys Apple.

  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot@sta n g o . org> on Monday October 11, 2010 @02:20PM (#33861466) Homepage Journal

    If you're careful, hackintoshing is not that big of a hassle. I have two. The first one I built as an experiment about 2 years ago, just to see it for myself. It worked well enough that I put it into service as a fileserver in my home running OS X Server 10.5, replacing an ancient G4 2x450MHz machine. A couple weeks ago I upgraded it to OS X Server 10.6. It's rock stable and performs very well.

    The second one is about a year old, and was built to replace two machines: an aging gaming PC, and an old Power Mac G5 that was my primary desktop. I chose my components carefully and got Mac Pro performance for about half the price, and the machine dual boots OS X 10.6 and Windows 7 Ultimate. I enjoy the occasional PC build, and for $1200 in savings, I didn't mind needing to get my hands a little dirty to get OS X running on it. Already having a functional Mac meant I could keep the hackintosh on my workbench for about a month, testing things risk-free, blowing it up and putting it back together, and generally figuring out every last little detail to make sure it would do what I wanted/needed and give me trouble-free operation.

    It did take a little work to get them up and running, but once you reach that point you're pretty much set. I am pretty careful about updates since sometimes they do break things, but others usually figure out the fixes pretty quickly and post them on the sites where hackintoshers congregate. I also keep very good backups, via Time Machine as a matter of course, and by making bootable clones to secondary hard drives before I install anything major.

    ~Philly

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