Here is the post you have all been waiting for, I can hardly keep up with the demands to go to press. Really? No, not really… but this is my little world of fact and make believe so this is the way it shall be.
I blogged a week or so ago about a project I was starting. Hackintosh. Simply put, running Mac OS X on PC hardware. Illegal, perhaps. Adrenilin? INDEED! Knowing at any second Big Brother could use the GPS tracking built into my iPhone (http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/04/apple-location-tracking.html) to hunt me down and throw me in jail for breaking the 2,145 page EULA (end user license agreement) I accepted upon installing OS X Lion. I have always stood behind legal downloading and have raised my voice against hacked software, pirated movies and the like. In a sense, I may have jumped ship, or at least and dangle my foot over the side of the boat. I may be in denial and am avoiding forming a conclusion on my current status and rest at night knowing I have legally purchased all software, have owned 3 Macs, 3 iPhones, 2 iPods and will eventually replace my MacBook with a MacBook Pro and will one day add an iPad to my arsenal.
Much of the work has been done before me in regards to building a Hackintosh. I will reference the guides I used to avoid duplication of work, and to show props to those who put their time and work into the process. I am not here to claim their work as my own. There may be a step here and there I changed or added for my setup that could be useful for someone wishing to use the same configuration as I have.
Step 1: Hardware shopping list.
It isn’t enough to show up at your corner computer shop and start grabbing parts off the shelf. The beginner Hackintosh suggests using hardware that has already been tested, and is supported by the community and obviously OS X. I used tonymacx86.com wiki to help me on my way (http://www.tonymacx86.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page), as well as “Googling”, which much of the time routed me back to tonymacx86 anyways.
Here is the build which I have named, Noobintosh:
Motherboard: Gigabyte H67MA-D2H-B3 LGA155
CPU: Intel i3-2100 3.10GHz
Graphics: XFX Radeon HD 5450
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 7200RPM 64MB Cache
Memory: G.SKILL NQ Series DDR3 1333MHz 4GB Dual Channel Kit
Motherboard and Processor:
Step 2: Assembly
This really isn’t a guide on how to build a physical computer but I have included a small photographical timeline for those of the nerd persuasion who get off on stuff like this. Giggity!
Motherboard in the case:
Not really an album of assembly but I’m not about to take a pic after each cable was plugged in.
Step 3: Installation of Snow Leopard 10.6.8
This is the installation guide that I used to install, follow it to the letter. One snag I hit, is that I didn’t realize my processor was a code name Sandy Bridge processor which required a small tweak I found after re-installing a couple of times. All part of the learning process. When you get to “STEP 3: UPDATE TO 10.6.8” in the guide, and you have a Sandy Bridge processor (socket 1155), replace this step with the second link provided which essentially has you install UpdateHelper to help Mac OS X recognize the Sandy Bridge processor. Without this utility, you will crash during the update.
Step 3 for Sandy Bridge users only: http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/07/get-ready-for-os-x-lion-update-to-1068.html
When you get to the MultiBeast step in the guide, I suggest using the UserDSDT Method. Download the DSDT for your motherboard from http://www.tonymacx86.com/dsdt.php. Select only the install options as shown in the guide. Note: I later selected other options when trying to fix my audio card and could no longer load the system so be careful. Despite the warning not to install objects you don’t know about, I did, and had to reformat my HDD and start again.
DONE! That was actually quite painless despite having to redo the process a few times. All my issues were essentially noob related.
Step 4: Upgrade to Lion 10.7
The upgrade to Lion was literally as easy as 1,2,3. There may have been a few more steps but as I am writing I am working from memory as I go along and do not know off the top of my head how many steps I am about to describe. The point is that the install was easy.
After downloading Lion from the Mac App Store I highly suggest making a boot disc. Apple decided to deliver Lion via download and once it is installed, the install files goes the way of the DoDo bird. I didn’t realize this until it was to late and at 4 gigs, is a pain to download every time I need it, so follow these easy steps to create a boot disc after it has been downloaded (http://www.insanelymac.com/burning-a-mac-os-x-lion-boot-disc/).
Note: I did not run MultiBeast again as shown in the guide.
Done! Well, almost done. I have noticed that I no longer have network access, no audio, and my video card is running with a default resolution. This is where the fun begins. This is not to say, every Hackintosh will have these issue, but mine did so we must continue.
Step 5: Network Card
This day and age a computer without a NIC is just a giant solitare playing typewriter. Besides, there are boobies on the internet.
The installation of my NIC was pretty straight forward. I went to my motherboard guide, and Googled the model number of said NIC card and was sent to the manufacturers website and was provided with drivers, or kexts (kernel extensions) for Mac. (http://www.realtek.com/downloads/downloadsView.aspx?Langid=1&PNid=13&PFid=5&Level=5&Conn=4&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false). I installed the drivers, rebooted and was surfing the information highway in search of how to get my sound card singing.
Step 6: Sound Card
Once again, I went back to my motherboard guide to get the model number of my on-board sound card. My sound card was pretty common and the drivers existed within MultiBeast. I opened MultiBeast, and navigated to the drivers section and installed only those which pertained to my card. Rebooted and I was onto my next challenge.
One small hiccup is that my mic would not work. Luckily I have an iMic (external audio interface) which I will using when a mic is needed.
Step 7: Graphics Card
I didn’t spend a whole lot of time getting my card fully functioning, or quasi fully functioning. Following these steps (http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t252891.html) my card was easily recognized and operates using VGA and HDMI. I don’t have a DVI cable so could not test but stuck with HDMI anyways.
I did later determine that I could not play DVD movies which I have been led to believe is related to the graphics card. I have yet to watch a DVD on a computer so it is not a big deal.
I also ran Cinebench to test performance and was told that it shows 9.2Fps. This doesn’t appear to be much but it is a relatively inexpensive card. The main purpose of this Hackintosh was to play World of Warcraft (WoW). Set on high, it ran quite smoothly and I have no complaints after an hour or two of playing. I suspect I will replace the graphics card come Fall when my WoW season begins. By this time, there may be new drivers, and other supported cards that I can use.
Step 8: ENJOY!
That’s it! All done! I can’t believe how easy that actually was. I now have a pseudo-MacPro which cost me about $500. This could be the first of many! Don’t get me wrong. I will always love and own Macs, but for my usage it does not make sense to drop $2500 into an actual Mac Pro. If i hit the jackpot, you can rest assured I will sell any and all Hackintoshes I own, but until that time I will work under cover of darkness, and keep communication to a minimum to keep my secret safe from Big Steve.
Big Thanks to Tonymacx86.com! I guess I should also thank LifeHacker.com as well for tweeting about Tonymacx86 in the first place.