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OS X Operating Systems Hardware Hacking

First Psystar Mac Clones Ship 466

An anonymous reader writes "According to Gizmodo, Psystar has begun shipping its Macintosh clones, thus proving that the company is not a hoax. Initial impressions seem to be positive, though Software Update does not work."
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First Psystar Mac Clones Ship

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  • Meh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tab_b ( 1279858 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:33AM (#23224996)
    Looks like a noisy piece of crap PC, but if it goads Apple into releasing something with a similar form factor, then I'm all for it.
  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:40AM (#23225118)
    While the auto update will not work, they (well any "custom" OSX box) can be updated.

    Download the full update from the Apple developer site, do some major moving and backup magic with some of the kext's (apples loadable modules), and run the install. Some people have scripts out that will resolve the issue, but its a doable manual process.

    The major issue with the updates, is that some of the modifications (even when using EFI installed OSX with a stock kernel) to the modules that Apple does, breaks the hardware drivers (this was my issue), usually related to power management and ACPI, which causes the dreaded rainbow circle of death and a reboot loop :(
  • by Blimey85 ( 609949 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:48AM (#23225230)
    What if they order all of their hard drives from Apple and then use cheap commodity hardware for the rest? Technically the os gets installed on the hard drive right? So if you install it on an Apple hard drive would that work? Then again, Apple doesn't actually make the hard drives so the hard drive, even if ordered from Apple, would not technically be an Apple branded item. Hmm...
  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:56AM (#23225374)
    more like you save $1000 - $1500 to get a mac with a real VIDEO CARD and DESKTOP PARTS the mini is has laptop parts and no dvdrw in the base system it is also stuck it the POS gma 950.

    apple does not make a HEAD LESS mid-range system.
  • Re:Meh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:09PM (#23225596)

    Plop the mini's hardware into a mini-tower case, and tack on 1 PCI-E x16 slot, 1 PCI-E x1 slot, and 1 regular PCI slot, and then we'd have a machine worthy of my purchase. Until that point I'll keep on using my hacked up generic "mac" and my old PowerMac G4.

    What they need is a Mac Pro Mini (or Mini Mac Pro). Basically, half a Mac Pro:

    * Single dual or quad-core CPU
    * 4 DIMM slots for 8G-16G RAM (2G standard)
    * PCIe x16 slot (with room for dual-width cards)
    * PCIe x4 slot
    * PCIe x1 slot
    * Two internal 3.5" bays, w/RAID1 or RAID0 on the chipset.
    * One internal 5.25" bay (Dual layer DVDRW standard)
    * Priced from about US$1100.

    Of course, Apple will never do this because it would absolutely slaughter higher-margin Mac Pro sales.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Monday April 28, 2008 @12:16PM (#23225710)

    I have to wonder why they have not tried to get a preliminary injunction to halt shipment pending legal matters. They probably could get that fairly easily.

    They're probably weighing it against the possibility of having their "you can only install the copy of OS X you bought onto our list of blessed hardware" clause in the OS X EULA ruled invalid.

  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @01:48PM (#23227150)
    I just had to add a hard disk for Mac OS X and some more ram (upped to 4GB or corsair 800 mhz) and off I went. I used a Gigabyte P35-DS3L and a Core 2 Duo e6750 processor, evga Nvidia 8800 GT graphics for the gaming rig and the Kalyway installer to put it on the new 500 GB western digital hard disk.

    It is fast fast fast fast fast.

    Only few things I have to put up with.

    1. You have to turn on AHCI in the BIOS or you will kernel panic randomly. This makes the machine sit for about 20-30 seconds probing SATA ports and whatnot until it finally launches into the OS bootloader. This is a bios/board problem, not an OS X problem. Annoying at worst.

    2. Machine will sleep (using kernel patch) but upon wake, I have to manually assign an IP then go back to DHCP to get the machine to go back online.

    3. If I boot into windows and want to go back to Mac OS, I have to turn off the computer, unplug it and wait 15 seconds before plugging in and starting back up. If I don't, after the white screen with the apple, the graphics card will shut down and I can't see. Must be some flag in the card or board that windows sets that the drivers I'm using isn't resetting.

    4. Switching resolution can cause a blue screen where you can't see anything. Rebooting will take care of it.

    5. Some 3D apps won't work. Second Life is one example.
  • First thing's first (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dr00g911 ( 531736 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @02:01PM (#23227360)
    These aren't clones. They're Hackintoshes [] done for you and then shipped out. The OS isn't legit, iLife isn't legit, and you're dumping entirely too much money on the hardware that they're shipping out as there's no software cost at all.

    I've got to wonder why Software Update isn't working on them, even though they've admitted to using the EFI loader hack. In my experience, only OS updates (ie 10.5.1->10.5.2) are potentially dangerous anymore, and I managed to update from 10.5.1 to 10.5.2 without issue on an oldish Shuttle AMD barebones box here after patching EFI/Vanilla kernel.

    It's almost trivial to get a vanilla kernel up & running on an Intel hackintosh now, only slightly more difficult on an AMD box -- there are even several quite good pre-packaged installers now with 10.5.2 that do everything for you if you don't like to get your hands dirty.

    All that said, it's going to be funny when all of the people duped into buying these can't update to 10.5.4 or whatever and end up with a bricked box. At least if you do it yourself, you develop the skillset to boot into single user mode, disable kexts, remove caches etc.

    Maintaining a functioning, stable, up-to-date Hackintosh (with Quartz Extreme running properly etc) is a lot like keeping a '60s Volkswagen running. Not particularly difficult, but you build up the skills over time and it takes quite a bit of patience. I think there are going to be a lot of pissed off people once they realize what they've bought into.
  • First we'll see a CD-Key to install Mac OSX, and then a Macintosh Genuine Advantage check. Mac OSX already has DRM for media files, adding in DRM to prevent pirated copies would be the next logical step.

    Of course the Mac Pirates will just find a way around that as the Windows Pirates did with XP and Vista. So maybe Apple wouldn't bother and just allow OEM installs for Non-Apple branded hardware?
  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @04:20PM (#23229142)
    All $399 gets you (or $999 for the "Pro" version) is a box full of generic PC components that are known to be more or less compatible with OSX. No monitor, no keyboard or mouse and *NO OPERATING SYSTEM*. An installed copy of OSX will cost you an extra $150. Since a genuine Apple Mac is really just a PC running OSX, it would make no sense for someone to buy a "Mac Clone" without OSX so I'm figuring that almost all the units Psystar sells will probably have OSX on them.

    Does Psystar's installation of OSX violate Apple's EULA? Is Apple's EULA even legal? I have no idea, but Psystar is not the company who is going to spend millions slugging it out in court trying to get Apple's EULA declared invalid. This is a Fly-By-Night operation and Psystar's behaviour so far -- from the constantly changing addresses to the questionable background of its owners to the fact that they have built their entire business model on selling freely available OSX hacks -- tells me exactly what is going to happen next:

    When Apple Apple sues -- and make no mistake, they will sue -- Psystar will fold and disappear. That's been the Psystar game plan all along. Take as many orders and collect as much money as possible before they get shut down. And if you happen to be one of the people waiting for delivery when Apple's lawyers attack, well, it sucks to be you.

  • Re:What's the point? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bob-taro ( 996889 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @05:22PM (#23229944)

    I still find it amusing that so many people think that if you put OSX on a OC you'll get the same experience as you do on Mac hardware... You folks know that if Mac ran on anything it would be just a buggy and fucked up as windows right? The only reason it runs smoothly now is because Apple controls the hardware.

    That is just a hypothesis (granted it's a very plausible and reasonable one). OSX already does run on a variety of hardware -- just not as big a variety as Windows. While you probably can't run OSX on just any PC, you could probably spec a system out for it specifically (as Psystar has apparently done). The most interesting thing about this company might be that it is a chance to see the hypothesis tested. Linux users are already quite willing to accept hardware limitations to avoid OS instability.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.