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making a hackintosh
December 28, 2006 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone here been able to run OSx on non-Macintosh parts (Thereby cutting the cost of a Mac in a third)?

I see that some people are doing it over here but I'm just wondering if any mefites had accomplished this awesome feat.

post script: I just ordered new computer parts which I hope will be able to do this. If anyone wishes I can post what I got and we can discuss whether it will work or not.
posted by localhuman to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Apple frowns on this, so basically you're going to be in a game of cat-and-mouse with them. If they get really pissed about it, I wouldn't put anything past them. In which case, I don't know if you want to do this for your primary computer.

I've seen it running, but the hardware support was poor (it was on an Acer laptop). I can see why you want to do it though, as I'm sending my MacBook back for its third failure.
posted by bonaldi at 6:16 AM on December 28, 2006


It only cuts your cost by a third if your time is worth nothing.
posted by spitbull at 6:20 AM on December 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I tried it, just for fun -- my first mac. I used an Intel 915 chipset board (for the onboard video). All the hardware functioned as expected except the ethernet, but the third PCI network card I installed worked. Since you can't actually buy a standalone Intel-based OSX yet, most of my problems can from the versions of the (pirated) operating system being buggy. Maybe I'll try again with 10.5.
posted by glibhamdreck at 6:34 AM on December 28, 2006


cool glibham. the intel 915 is what i bought.
posted by localhuman at 7:04 AM on December 28, 2006


Cuts cost to a third?? What?
posted by rsanheim at 7:49 AM on December 28, 2006


Time spent setting up OSX on non-apple hardware: 2 hours. Amount saved by doing so: $1200. Yeah, I'd say my time is worth more than nothing. $600/hour more than nothing. :)

LH, your best bet is to purchase hardware similar to what Apple uses (I believe they use nVidia for video, etc.) I ran it for a while on one of the boxes I had lying around and it worked as expected.
posted by Spoonman at 8:09 AM on December 28, 2006


Except the cheapest even vaguely legal way to get an Intel install CD is Mac OS X Server, which is $499.
posted by cillit bang at 8:57 AM on December 28, 2006


I did a side-by-side of a Macbook against a similar Dell yesterday, and the Dell came out about $200.00 more, with the specs as close as I could get them. Also, what Spitbull said. I'd count on even minor OS upgrades breaking everything repeatedly.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:58 AM on December 28, 2006


devils, you're considering the prices in terms of if you go to bestbuy and buy them. if you buy the parts on your own and build your own computer, you will find that you can build an extremely powerful computer for less than $500 (provided you are buying non-Mac hardware). To buy the hardware for a Mac would cost nearly triple that.

I'm not worried about acquiring an OS. I already have three macs. What I want to do is to be able to run the software I've bought on non Mac hardware. Macs OS is superior, (I think) in many ways and that's why I like Apple. But they make all their money by monopolizing the hardware their OS will work on.

Now that they've switched to intel CPUs, however, I feel it might become easier to do this sort of thing.
posted by localhuman at 9:10 AM on December 28, 2006


Except the cheapest even vaguely legal way to get an Intel install CD is Mac OS X Server, which is $499.

I have a legal Intel install CD. It came with my MacBook. I also have 5 other computers, all PCs. True, I paid $1000 for the MacBook, but the marginal cost of installing it on the additional PCs is only as much as I consider my time (and breaking the law) to be worth.

That being said, I don't have enough time or inclination to bother. I use Linux, Windows, and OS X on a typical day anyway, and the home PCs are probably among the computers I use least often.
posted by tkolstee at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2006


You're very wrong about that 1/3 figure, unless you are talking about overclocking or something. I have access to a corporate account with a big parts supplier to buy parts in lots of 500, I can't build an equivalent of a macPro for cheaper than 0.7 of the cost of the real thing. And that's without an aluminum case with built-in hot-swap drive bays.
posted by clord at 9:59 AM on December 28, 2006


If your objective is to save money, go with linux.

If your objective is to save time, get a mac from the apple store.

If you need maximum compatibility with everyone else, build or buy a windows machine.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:43 AM on December 28, 2006


clord: "You're very wrong about that 1/3 figure, unless you are talking about overclocking or something. I have access to a corporate account with a big parts supplier to buy parts in lots of 500, I can't build an equivalent of a macPro for cheaper than 0.7 of the cost of the real thing. And that's without an aluminum case with built-in hot-swap drive bays."

Well, if you cut price by 0.3, or 30%, then you pretty much cut it by a third. "Cutting price in a third" as a phrase doesn't make much sense, so I think that's what localhuman meant.
posted by koeselitz at 10:57 AM on December 28, 2006


I'm running it on a stock Dell Optiplex GX620. It runs quite nicely, but it feels like there's something missing. I can't quite put my finger on it, though. The benchmarks I've run say it runs great.

I installed it just to see if I could and haven't wiped it out yet (really just using it as a file and print server - and the occasional bout of WoW.)

If you do it, make sure that you never install the standard point updates. Check the site you listed for modified updates.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:58 AM on December 28, 2006


Your assumptions seem a little skewed. While Apple H/W is more expensive, you're paying for a better engineered computer than you seem to care about. You can get a similar processor running at the same clock speed, but that's probably where direct comparisons end. Once you buy a comparable video card, the price difference goes down. The case design makes the computer exceedingly easy to maintain. The support that comes with the computer is excellent, and for many people it's worth extending it - I personally don't buy the extra years, but having a bumper to bumper for a full year included in the price is great.

That's not to say I'd discourage you from doing this - in a few years I'll probably be someone who feels motivated to do this.

On preview, what b1tr0t said.
posted by mzurer at 11:17 AM on December 28, 2006


Just a comment on all the comments (mzurer, etc.): Does this poster really need a bunch of judgement? They're obviously highly intelligent, and own 3 Macs. They have their own motives, why do you need to question them? Maybe localhuman won't end up cutting costs "in" a third - but it's still an interesting and fun experiment. I don't see why questions like these always have to attract a bunch of people telling you to do something else.
I'd be interested instead in hearing the story of how the hackintosh turns out - in hearing from people who've actually tried this.
posted by wavejumper at 11:58 AM on December 28, 2006


It only cuts your cost by a third if your time is worth nothing.

This assumes that the knowledge gained is worth nothing, or you're competent enough to be able to do it fairly quickly, while doing other things (It takes about 2 hours total, and you have to pay attention for maybe 10 minutes throughout).

I've installed it twice, on two different machines (one, a very early version on a generic $300 shuttle-like small box, with a SiS chipset and Realtek ethernet and an SSE2 Celeron (i.e. not at all similar to a real intel Mac), the other, 10.4.7 on a Thinkpad T42 (somewhat closer)). Both worked fine with the appropriate kernels installed (though the SiS unit needed some additional drivers from opendarwin to get sound working). The thinkpad's Intel wifi card isn't recognized, but if that were a big deal, I could replace the MiniPCI card with a different one that OSX does recognize.

With an intel 915 mainboard to work with, you should have no problems, virtually everything should work out of the box the first time. The idea that it's an awesome feat that only a 3l33t haxxor can pull off is a myth.
posted by toxic at 2:47 PM on December 28, 2006


finally did it. took a couple patches and a lot of learning, but now that it's complete i'm glad i wasted so many hours.
posted by localhuman at 1:11 PM on January 18, 2007


Time spent setting up OSX on non-apple hardware: 2 hours.

I don't believe you. Everyone I know who has done this -- and that includes major league hackers -- says it takes days of work to get everything functioning, if you ever can, for the most basic uses. And then you are still stuck with a fugly PC.
posted by spitbull at 10:19 AM on June 2, 2007


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