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OS X Businesses Operating Systems Software Upgrades Apple Hardware

Run Mac OS X On Non-Apple Hardware, With a Dongle 536

An anonymous reader points out Gizmodo's review of a USB dongle, made by a company called Efix, which allows for an effort-free transformation of a non-Apple computer into one that runs Mac OS X. According to the reviewer, the transformation is perfect (aside from a few quirks he describes as "trivial"); the included screenshots sure make it seem that way, too. The dongle costs $155, and works only on a subset of PC hardware. Non-Apple machines running OS X will no doubt make Apple unhappy, though, so, the reviewer concludes, "it's understandable if you wanna approach this with caution."
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Run Mac OS X On Non-Apple Hardware, With a Dongle

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  • I just ordered one!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zymergy ( 803632 ) * on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:31PM (#25155849)
    These things are probably too cool to stay legal (if Apple can ban them somehow)... Someone should add a "hackintosh" /. tag to this thread... http://www.efixusa.net/product_info.php?products_id=28 [efixusa.net]
    They take Paypal and Credit Card and it was $169 + $10 shipping...

    Interestingly, I noticed that their Website appears to be based in England? http://geotool.servehttp.com/?ip= [servehttp.com]
    I wonder if Apple and its vast team of Lawyers are the reason for the offshore hosting and sales site? (I bet it will be shipped from overseas too...)
    Hardware Compatibility List: http://www.efixusa.net/hardware_comp.php [efixusa.net]
    NOTE: The EFiX-USA Ebay Store has no inventory at this time: http://stores.ebay.com/EFiX-USA [ebay.com]
  • Fear the fruit! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Eg0Death ( 1282452 ) * on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:34PM (#25155877)
    I don't expect Apple to be happy about this. Will the company's location in Europe keep the Fruity lwyers at bay? I find it interesting that the reviewer's $800 rig outperformed the Apple $2000 rig.
  • by dexomn ( 147950 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:35PM (#25155901)

    I'd try my hand at the math for comparable hardware again if I were you. =)

  • Intel Only (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <scott DOT lovenberg AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:39PM (#25155945)
    Bah, no worky for AMD. This is Gigabyte mobo and Intel friendly only, which is understandable since most do-it-yourselfers will probably have a setup like this. Still AMD support would be nice.
  • Stubborn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wowsers ( 1151731 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:45PM (#25156061) Journal

    If Apple pushed their OS more, they could start to worry Microsoft more, just as Linux already worries Microsoft (that's not a troll statement). Apple could also do that other thing that companies usually do to exist - make more money.

  • Re:Intel Only (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:50PM (#25156141)

    Uh, I'm sure Apple will get right on that. I mean, why not support computer setups your OS isn't designed to work on? The reason this is Intel only is because Apple is Intel only, and this motherboard happens to be close enough to what they're using.

  • Re:Stubborn (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mstahl ( 701501 ) <marrrrrk AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:56PM (#25156215) Homepage Journal

    Apple doesn't want their OS to run on generic hardware because then they can't make it nearly as stable as it is on Mac hardware. That Mac OS has fewer hardware compatibility issues is kind of a no-brainer that way. Windows, being made to work with 3rd-party drivers on generic hardware, really does not have that advantage.

    If I were Apple I'd probably choose inaction for a while. It wouldn't do to encourage this sort of thing because I could dilute the perceived user experience of owning a mac if it became less stable on generic hardware (which it almost certainly would). It also wouldn't do to discourage it right off the bat because this does have the potential to convert over some windows users if they can safely try it out.

    The bottom line, though, is that these users didn't pay Apple for the hardware, so Apple will barely make any money off this.

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:57PM (#25156223) Homepage Journal

    What you fail to realize is that Zymergy very likely just invested in what will very soon become a collector's item. If they stop making them, there will be only what exists in their warehouse space now. He'll probably be able to resell that thing for at least twice, maybe even 3 times what he paid for it.

  • by 2nd Post! ( 213333 ) <.gundbear. .at. .pacbell.net.> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:57PM (#25156229) Homepage

    You're saying you can build a Mac compatible system from the list of components for less than $450 dollars?

    gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3 for $132
    1GB DDR2 for $25
    Core 2 Duo E2160 1.8GHz $60
    Case+PS $90
    GeForce 7300 GS $70
    SATA DVD+RW $40
    Seagate SATA HDD $40
    EFIX dongle $155
    Total of $612

    Not including shipping+handling+tax of course.

  • Re:Weird turnabout (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jabbrwokk ( 1015725 ) <grant.j.warkentin@g m a i l . com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @03:58PM (#25156249) Homepage Journal

    That's because people:

    -- don't like how Apple's hardware is always more expensive, even though it's older than what's available for the PC

    -- don't like how Apple locks customers in to using said hardware

    -- but do like the software, because it's powerful, "just works" is harder than PC software to mess up and is fun to use.

    In the fine /. tradition of using car analogies, it's like finding the car of your dreams except it only runs on biodiesel, which is not available in your community, and is right-hand drive only (and you're in North America.) Then, you discover, that you can run it on normal diesel and right-hand drives are legal after all.

    I really stretched the hell out of that, didn't I.

  • by sidb ( 530400 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:16PM (#25156551) Homepage
    The $800 rig had four times the RAM of the $2000 one, plus who knows what other differences. And the test results were mixed anyway. My thought on seeing those performance graphs was that it was irresponsible of the reviewer to include them unless he intentionally wanted to provoke a pointless flamewar.
  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:19PM (#25156619)

    1) the dongle isn't required

    2) he said he spent X, that doesn't mean he didn't already have half the parts.

    For example, I have a spare 500GB sata hard drive (RMA replacement, but I bought a new one right away because I couldn't wait for the RMA to ship), DVDRW, video card (6600GT), 1GB DDR2 RAM, case and power supply all just sitting in my office. I'd JUST need a suitable mobo and cpu. So it would cost me $192 + OSX ($103.99 at amazon) so my cost for a hackintosh would be $296 give or take.

  • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:20PM (#25156633) Homepage

    that's interesting, i've never used a USB dongle before, though i've come across certain video-editing programs that support special hardware dongles that are supposed to enable advanced features.

    how exactly does a USB dongle work? is it just a software program that is executed from a USB key fob? certainly it can't be so simple as to just copying the data from the dongle and putting it onto another generic USB drive can it?

    i would imagine that the USB dongle would have to have special hardware with the program saved on some kind of firmware. i'm not too familiar with the capabilities of the USB interface, so i don't know if that might be a vital part of how this dongle works. but if you can reverse engineer the dongle and boot up the image from any old USB key, then you could just as easily make bootable DVDs.

  • by cabjf ( 710106 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:28PM (#25156809)

    And don't give me the "there's no market for that" line - PC makers are selling the damned things like hotcakes

    And how many people ever actually use that ability to add or swap out components? PC manufacturers make those types of computers because they are the least expensive to build, not because people like to be able to add or change out parts.

  • by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @04:40PM (#25157049)

    the only use for the dongle is to commit copyright infringement, which is illegal

    You mean license infringement.

    I could buy a copy of Mac OS X now and use it as a doorstop without violating copyright (or its license for that matter).

  • Sales to Apple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:10PM (#25157515)
    And I'm left to wonder how many of their initial sales are to Apple itself who, no doubt, is now working feverishly on a patch to kill it.

    This is the same Apple who, when confronted with accusations of performing Reverse Engineering on the gadget against the DMCA will proclaim, "What? Who? Us? We're entitled! Laws are only to stop other people from ripping off our stuff, not stop us from preventing legally sold copies of OS-X from running on non-branded hardware."
  • by Zephiris ( 788562 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @05:43PM (#25157999)

    Four exploding caps, two on a Geforce 4 MX440, two on a Geforce 6800XT. Both smelled like rotting tuna. They exploded, not merely leaked, since they sprayed the "gunk" all over the place. I was lucky that the motherboards being connected to in question didn't exactly care being coated with sickly capacitor goo. ^^;

    One of the capacitors blew clean off the PCB.

  • by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:36PM (#25158639)

    This "dongel" is simple a USB flash drive. In the instructions the users is told to set up the BIOS to boot off the dongle. Inside the flash drive is a bootable EFI emulator. If some one wanted to run Mac OS X on their PC why not simply burn the same EFI emulator onto a CD-ROM and boot off the CD?

    The dongle is for people who don't know who to set up the CDROM themselves.

  • Re:It sounds cool (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ChrisA90278 ( 905188 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:43PM (#25158701)

    "Boycott Vista and OSX, and get Linux instead and install a Macintosh skin [interfacelift.com] on Linux instead of pirating OSX."

    OK so I do that. Now how do I run Aperture, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on my Linux system? Yes those pprograms are the reason I have a Mac.

    The reason one buys an OS is so they can run software. If the OS can't run the software you need it's usless.

    That said. I'm typing this on a Linux system. I write software for Linux/Solaris but all of the creative digital content type stuff is done on mac OS X.

    I've been a UNIX fan and user both at work and at home from long ago, i had UNIX before there was a thing called "Microsoft Windows". But I feel right at home on Mac OS X. It's the best desktop UNIX system out there. Solaris is the best server OS out there.

  • by PapayaSF ( 721268 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @06:56PM (#25158879) Journal

    The posters above a're absolutely correct, and it's a huge opportunity that Apple is missing. All they need is a cut-down Mac Pro, call it a Mac Pro Mini. One upgradeable CPU, one (not four) hard drive bays, one (not two) optical bays, two (not eight) RAM slots, one slot for a graphics card, maybe one other slot, and a nice set of ports. They can't sell that for $999 and make a profit? Or sell it for $699 and use it to storm the gates of corporate America while they are annoyed about Vista. I think hackers, switchers, and many businesses would be thrilled with a Mac like that.

    I even have a way to make it sexy enough for Steve Jobs: Make it "green"! Put it in a recyclable aluminum case and commit to making motherboard upgrades available for (say) five years.

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:15PM (#25159133) Homepage Journal

    No Apple premium, you say? +/-$100 you say?

    I was shopping for a laptop recently and decided that the MacBook Pro was the kind of laptop I was looking for, except it seemed a bit spendy. Next in line was the well-known ThinkPad which has a reputation for being rugged, well-built, and reliable, just like the MacBook Pro. So I compared the two online as closely as possible. I used the standard 15" MacBook as a reference and customized the ThinkPad accordingly because the reverse is much more difficult. Here's what I found.

    Both Laptops have:

    Screen physical dimension: 15"
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5GHz
    Memory: 2GB (2x 1G)
    HDD: 250GB SATA, 5400rpm
    Optical drive: 8x dual-layer recordable DVD
    Wifi: 802.11n
    Bluetooth: Yes
    Ethernet: Gigabit
    Battery life: About 5hrs

    Macbook Pro

    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM
    Weight: 5.4 pounds
    Thickness: 1"
    Display: 1440 x 900 pixels
    Keyboard illumination: backlight
    Operating system: OS X
    Pointing device: Multi-touch trackpad
    Webcam: Yes
    Video output: DVI
    USB: 2 ports
    Firewire: 1x 400 port, 1x 800 port
    Expansion cards: 1x ExpressCard
    Audio In: optical, line, microphone
    Audio Out: optical, line, speakers
    Card reader: No
    Fingerprint reader: No
    Price: $2499

    ThinkPad T61

    Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro NVS 140M (128MB)
    Weight: 5.0 lbs
    Thickness 1.2"
    Display: 1680x1050
    Keyboard illumination: Overhead LED
    Operating system: Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (default)
    Pointing device: Trackpad and trackpoint with buttons for each
    Webcam: No
    Video output: VGA
    USB: 3 Ports
    Firewire: 1x 400 port
    Expansion cards: 1x PC Card, 1x ExpressCard
    Audio in: line, microphone
    Audio out: headphones, speakers
    Card reader: 4 in 1
    Fingerprint Reader: Yes
    Price: $1208

    If you look just at computing power, the two are identical except that the MacBook Pro has a beefier graphics chipset. The rest of the advantages are mainly to do with better multimedia capabilities. (Except, curiously, screen resolution.) This could be worth more than double the cost of the ThinkPad if that's the kind of work you do. As a far more casual user and part-time hacker, I appreciated some of the more mundane enhancements that the ThinkPad offers at a much more attractive price: More ports, gizmos, and buttons.

  • by dfn_deux ( 535506 ) <datsun510.gmail@com> on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:36PM (#25159425) Homepage
    Against the EULA does not even remotely mean illegal. And the EULA has yet to be tested in a civil court, could be that the EULA isn't even enforceable.
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Thursday September 25, 2008 @07:52PM (#25159561) Journal

    Faulty memory controller, according to the Dell tech who replaced the RAM and motherboard. No OS was installed. We ordered them blank from Dell and then installed Debian, but hadn't gotten past powering on and "Sniff...what's that smell?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 25, 2008 @11:28PM (#25161245)

    Even if a motherboard comes from the same factory does not mean that it has been binned into the same quality group during in-factory testing. Apple generally demands, and generally gets, components from the higher quality bins, and they pay a bit more per part for that privilege.

    Also, you also obviously have no idea exactly how much testing Apple does, and how much more testing they do than HP. I know a fellow who worked in their testing department before a recent round of iMacs shipped, and while qualifying production runs in his lab, he discovered that a certain run of RAM from a certain manufacturer, embedded as VRAM on the 3d chipset component of a subset of the machines he was qualifying, was not manufactured within the voltage requirements that the designers laid out, and was causing graphics corruption after days of heavy load. He sent his findings up the chain of command and Apple called over to the 3D chipset maker, and worked with them and the VRAM manufacturer to upgrade the firmware inside the power management circuitry of the 3D chipset so that it provided slightly more power to that RAM, which eliminated the problem. Good f*cking luck getting HP to pay that kind of attention to your low-bid bin-scraping Compaq Presario.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken