Hackintosh

Date
 April 2, 2013
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hackintosh

I thought i would talk to you a bit about Hackintosh.

What is hackintosh?

Basically, it is a hack to run Mac OSX on windows PC hardware.
Ok, but what’s the point?

Well, if you never used a Mac, it is maybe difficult to see the point but trust my words, Mac OSX is by far the best operating system outthere, simple! There is no comparison to windows, especially when it comes to serious work. Most of people may not have the need for it thou. If you use your computer to browse internet, watch movies, play games  etc, you are maybe better off sticking with windows. But if you use your computer to do graphics, music and so on, you want a stable and performant OS! I must have rebooted my pc at least 4-5 times a week if not more while working on windows! Note, i am not saying that never had a crash on Mac. Every programs have some sort of bug, even the best , but only the program you are working on crash, not the system!

I have been using mac for few years now, starting with Macbookpro. Before that, i was reluctant to try because of the price and the software availability. It is true that mac hardware is expansive but, i have to admit, it is worth the price. The quality build of their laptop range is by far the best of the market, the most reliable and ergonomic!
Software wise (not OS), few years ago, you were maybe not able to find everything you needed, but now you can! Even programs like Solidworks and AutoCAD have their mac osx version!

Now, the OS itself. As i said, it is stable and performant! But it is also really ergonomic. Coming from windows, the first few days were a bit confusing, but quickly realised the huge difference and advantages compare to windows! Just looking at the way programs are handled, in opposite to windows were installation process copy tones of crap everywhere, most programs in osx are kept in a shell. Just drag and drop. Not entirely true for every programs but after a while, you know were everything goes witch makes maintenance a brise : )
Security wise, no need of antivirus! It may not be true in future as OSX popularity grows, hacker will start to target it more and more. But at the moment, if you are careful, you have nothing to worry about!

Finally, one of the things that i love about OSX is the general ergonomy. With features like “expose” and “space” now called “mission control” and the most simple but maybe the most important for me, the “space bar/quicklook plugin” witch open a floating window with a preview of your file (with quicklook plugin, you should be able to open almost anything!). You have to try it yourself to really understand but the speed at witch you navigate between windows, files, app is simply amazing! Example, when working on webdesign, you can have 10+ files opened, browser , photoshop etc, it can be difficult to jump from one to an other straight away… Not with OSX! It is a brise!

Enough about why OSX, it is an endless debate and is not the purpose here.

If you go on apple’s website and look at the prices, you gonna break bad! It is the top notch and you have to pay the price to get one.
It can easily get to 4-5 ground for a properly loaded Macpro (up to 12 cores (24 with HT), RAID HD architecture etc etc). A beast.
And minimum 2 ground for a macbookpro (MBP). But to be honest, in the laptop category, MBP is the way to go. Running OSX on windows laptop is great but to get the full advantages of mission control, the MBP’s multi touch trackpad is a must! I have tried load of different trackpads and it is by miles the most advanced! swipe sideways to change desktop, up/down for expose, close windows, change apps etc… No other laptop will give you that possibilities! I insist on that point because after i sold my MBP to get my server, i bought an old Macbook to keep mobility and miss it soooo much!
If you already have a laptop, check sites like tonymacx86.com to check hardware compatibility. But if you don’t have one yet and plan to buy one to run hackintosh, forget about it! You are much better off getting a proper MBP. If you don’t have the budget, look on ebay for second hand. With a bit of patience, you can get one for an ok budget.

Now, the real deal.
MBP is an amazing machine but still, quite limited in power. If you do rendering/heavy processing, then you gonna look for more power. Multicore as now being well embraced and most demanding programs handles it well.
If you have the cash, go for macpro. But if you have a limited budget, you can build your own hardware (pc) and run mac OSX. You have to be careful about getting the right gear thou. The most important is the motherboard/chipset/processor then graphic card, sound card etc. You have to check compatibility on tonymacx86.com and plan your build. It will save you a lot of time, trust me ^_-

I was looking for heavy rendering capability so been looking at dual processor motherboards. It gets a bit tricky… Hp workstations caught my attention and found a good deal on ebay for a Z800. Dual Xeon 2.8Ghz (8cores and up to 16 cores in HT, very useful for rendering), 24Go of ram (best performance with 32Go. Rule of thumbs, 2Go/core), 2x250Go 10000rpm and  Nvidia quadro 1800fx.
Now, it could do with a little upgrade but at the time, that was sweet : )
The tricky thing with it was to get the DSDT right (BIOS) and find the right “drivers”. Without it, not chance to get it started! There is two different way to do so. Tonymac have build tools that in most cases works (check Unibeast). If you follow instruction and check the forum, it should be alright!
For the Z800, things got a bit more complicated and took me almost a week to get it right! Had to edit the DSTD manually but learned a lot in the process : )

But beware, don’t get yourself in a project like that if you are not certain of your computer skills! The same goes for simpler builds, it is not a ready to use machine and require a bit of thinking time to time…
If you are not sure you can handle it but really want one, drop me a mail!

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