Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hackintosh - Apple at a Reasonable Price

So as I mentioned once before the cost of purchasing Apple hardware is outrageous compared to non-Apple hardware. That being said, OSX has been gaining a lot of ground lately (it seems every fifth laptop around campus has a fruit stamped on the back of it and OSX is gaining more games) and I like to try and keep up with the technology world so I figured it was time to give OSX a try.

Lo and behold - my new Macbook Pro:

Now since I did not have 2,000$ laying around to purchase a Macbook capable of gaming I decided to give the Hackint0sh Project a try. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered my Sager laptop was almost fully functional under OSX. In fact after a bit of hacking and Googling everything other than my Intel Wifi card is functioning under Apple's operating system.

If you are looking to setup your own Hackint0sh computer here are a few useful tips that I learned along the way -

Hardware -
If you want to run OSX the right hardware is essential. OSX supports a very limited amount of hardware, so do your homework before purchasing a computer! In case this isn't obvious - get an Intel processor. In terms of graphics cards it appears that just like with Linux, nVidia chips enjoy better support under OSx86. With wireless chips, you are going to want to get the same type of wifi card they use in a real Macbook: Broadcom and Atheros are good bets (pick the latter of the two if you also want good Linux support). When it comes down to it, also check the OSx86 wiki.

Dealing with Kexts -
A "kext" stands for "kernel extension". They add hardware support to the OSX operating system, odds are you will deal with installing a few of these to get your system up and running. Kexts.com is the best source for all of these and they are easy enough to install with the Kext Helper. A couple useful things to note about Kexts though -

Install them one at a time, if you get a Kext that does not agree with your system it will cause "kernel panic" at startup. If this happens boot into safe boot with the -x kernel argument and remove the kext you installed from the /System/Library/Extensions/ directory.

If one version of a kext does not work, try another version of the same kext. For instance, I tried three versions of the VoodooHDA kext before I found one that worked.

If you do change out a kext, you are going to want to "fix your file permissions" and rebuild your "kext cache". To do the first of these go to Applications->Utilities->Disk Utilities->First Aide->Repair Disk Permissions to take care of the second, at boot add the -f argument (I would also add the -v argument, so you can watch the progress instead of just wondering where it is at).

Support -
There is a good community for getting help with your OSx86 PC. The Hackint0sh forum is a good place to start. If you are hoping for some real time help, there is an IRC channel:
Address - irc.osx86.hu:6667
Channel - hackint0sh

Or drop a comment below and I'll do my best to lend a suggestion or point you in the right direction.

I'm still tinkering around with the operating system but, I must say I am enjoying OSX quite a bit. Do I think it good enough to make up for the outrageous cost of Apple hardware? Not quite, but with a Hackint0sh setup it is easy enough to get OSX working on non-Apple hardware if you do your homework.

~Jeff Hoogland

1 comment:

  1. can you point me to a tutorial for installing on an x64 Sony Vaio VPCEB2Z1E? (intel + ati radeon)