Hackintosh chez Saunders

Saunders-45X64.JPGPosted by Alec Saunders
Last night I published a couple of tweets on a project I’ve been working on in the evening this week – building a Hackintosh, or installing Mac OS X, dual boot — on my quad-core desktop at home. After years of gentle ribbing from my friends, plus a desire to understand more about the Mac itself, I went this route because (honestly) I’m cheap and don’t want to shell out several thousand dollars to play with a Mac. At this point I consider myself a died-in-the-wool PC, but I do want to know more. If I like the experience enough, who knows, maybe I’ll eventually buy Apple’s hardware as well. For now, I just want to learn.
The goal was to be able to dual-boot OS X or Windows 7 on my Acer Aspire M5620. The tools I used:
•1 Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” disk, purchased legally at my local Future Shop.
•1 WD 500G eSATA drive and connector cable. Most hackintosh devotees recommend installing to a new hard disk rather than partitioning.
•1 copy of Psystar’s Rebel EFI downloaded from the Internet. This software allows you to boot the OS X disk and install it on the PC. I tried several other packages, including one called Empire EFI, but the Psystar disk was the only one that worked reliably for me.
Total cost: around $100.
After two evenings poking at it, the job is partly done.
•OS X boots from a combination of an external hard disk and the Rebel EFI CD, not the internal disk I had intended to use originally. The reason? OS X doesn’t like the RAID controller on my motherboard, and the motherboard can’t be set to OS X’s preferred AHCI mode. As a result, the installer hung with the message “Still waiting for root device”. The solution was to install to a USB controlled external drive. I had a 30G portable – vintage 2004 – which did the job. It’s very slow, however, and OS X wouldn’t “bless” the drive (Mac-lingo for installing a boot loader), so I still have to boot from the Rebel EFI CD until that can be fixed. Clearly, the 30G external drive is not a long term option.
•I have no sound because OS X doesn’t come with a driver (or in Mac-lingo, a kext) for the Intel 82801i audio controller.
•Graphics are lower resolution than Windows 7, and both displays show the same image, not a dual monitor image. Again, this appears to be a driver problem.
•Printing doesn’t work because, again, there is no driver for the HP CLJ 1600 printer that I own in OS X.
It works, kind of. And here’s a picture of my desktop to prove it.


Next steps:
•I’m going to buy an enclosure for the 500G HDD I previously acquired to be the OS X disk. I’m looking at a firewire / USB enclosure to try and maximize the performance. I plan to re-install OS X to this disk, rather than continue with my pokey 30G external. Hopefully this will allow the external disk to be “blessed” as well.
•Drivers for the sound chip, printer and graphics card I have appear to be readily available on the internet. Once up and running on the external HD, I’ll try installing those drivers.

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