Building the imperfect beast, part III: The agony of victory

And so we come to the end of the beginning. When I last left you, I had finally attained a successful POST on my Hackintosh. This was no small feat in itself, but I wasted no time in geekish celebration. For getting your Hack to boot into the BIOS is one thing. Getting it to spool up a sweet stick o’ Snow Leopard is quite another.

So, with the Antec Sonata III still agape, anti-static bags littering the floor, and no small amount of thermal paste keeping the undersides of my fingernails humming at 40°C, I proceeded to set my BIOS config according to Adam Pash’s Install Snow Leopard on Your Hackintosh PC, No Hacking Required post on Lifehacker.com. I popped in the OS X 10.6 installation USB drive I had created, lo, those many days ago.

And it worked.

No, really. The machine booted from the USB drive and installed Snow Leopard as if on a Jobs-approved, Ive-designed chunk of aluminum chock-full of eco-friendly pixie dust and assembled by 15-year-old Chinese kids. Suh. Weet. As the installer plowed through the 6,376 keyboard maps (except Dvorak because, well, seriously), I wondered to myself, "Self, I wonder what grandness awaits me in this new reality of quad cores, enough RAM to house my own MCP, and enough hard drive space to store the collective works of Berkley Breathed, Charles Shultz, Bill Watterson, and Darby Conley scanned at 18,000 DPI?"

Drunk with such thoughts of using great power with great responsibility, I lapsed into a fugue state that only ended when the dog attempted to teleport through the Zalman CPU Cooler & Stargate Opener Upper. Thankfully, the install had finished. I rebooted.

And lo, there was much rejoicing.

Yes, the Hackintosh booted on its first attempt. Obviously, the machine was now sentient and did so only to lure me into a false sense of security (little did it know that’s the only kind I ever have). Nonetheless, almost everything worked straightaway. Only three things were a touch funky:

  1. Bonjour printing didn’t work. I could find other computers via Bonjour, but not my Brother MFC-8860DN. I could print via IP printing, but I didn’t really want to go that route. I solved this issue by running a little something called SnowR1000, which installed a modified kext file. Sweet.
  2. Sleep wouldn’t work. I knew this would probably be the case since the boards were full of fixes, patches and incantations for getting sleep to work in 10.6.2 on various Hackintosh configurations. None of them worked for me. While I’d like the machine to be able to go to sleep, it’s not really that huge of a deal for me. Boot time is pretty fast, so I’m not missing a whole lot. Would still like to fix it, just to see if I can get wake-over-network working with my Airport Base Station Extreme Boogaloo. Nonetheless, I spent many hours over several days reinstalling kexts, the entire system and an old version of Deluxe Paint IV in a vain effort to get it to work.
  3. The drive I was using for Time Machine would spontaneously unmount. I don’t think this had anything to do with the Hackintosh install, though. After swapping cables and plugging it into a different SATA jack on the mobo, all is good. For now.

And that’s it. Or was it? In my zeal to find an answer to the sleep riddle, I installed something(s) that now cause the machine to go to sleep even though Energy Saver is set to never sleep. This blows. I like to leave the Hack (or The Supreme Hackintosh as it is officially known—inside joke between me and, umm, one other person) on while I’m at work so I can tunnel in via screen sharing when the need arises. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a massive new business pitch when I decided to do the kext-file tango and can’t remember exactly what I did and when to cause this problem. Dumb, yes. And I’m paying the price. I actually tried reverting back to a near-original set of kext files via Time Machine just a couple of days ago. This caused my machine to immediately go all freaked-out Redenbacher upon reboot. (That’s a kernel panic for the joke-challenged among us.) Finally got everything restored and working, but the sleep issue remains. Yay.

Even though this isn’t a review, I know many of you will want to know how fast this thing is. Geekbench in 32-bit mode (which is free, unlike 64-bit mode) gives scores that vary between 5670 and 5890, which is right in line with a Mac Pro of similar specs, so that’s good. I have the CPU running at 3.6GHz, for those into such things. Is the speed everything I hope it would be? Almost. On most things the Hackintosh sizzles like a fat man on asphalt in July. When transcoding AVCHD files to Pro Res, it’s a lot faster than my old MacBook Pro, but still annoyingly pokey.

Would I do this again? Yes. Just not the next time I need a new Mac. Building a Hackintosh isn’t the hardest thing to do, but it takes a decent amount time to set up correctly and troubleshoot all the bugs, some of which may only be relevant to your specific combination of components. And you have be ever-vigilant of upgrades from Apple that may render all your previous hard work moot (when in doubt, don’t upgrade). While definitely cheaper than a Mac Pro of like performance (I figure all parts and whatnot to be between $1,300 and $1,500), the time spent building and maintaining must be taken into account. I my case, the time spent is time I could either be writing for money or with my family, so it’s not really worth it in the end. Ten years ago, yes. And ten years from now, yes—when one of my kids shows an inclination for computer construction, I’ll be right back on the Hackintosh train.

For now, I’m enjoying the new machine, even with the niggles and oddities. But when 10.7 eventually hits, check eBay to see if I’m offering a lightly used miniature Stargate generator for cheap.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • teapot156
    • 10 years ago

    Nice job.

    Now that the mac is done will the oversaturated amount of unfunny pain-inducing sarcasm stop?

      • Jason_Fox
      • 10 years ago

      Ummmm, no.

      • Dr_b_
      • 10 years ago

      It’s really painful getting through your trash ridden prose, ads nothing to the content, consider deleting unnecessary phrases like the ones below to make reading your crap articles more tolerable, and do the readers of the techreport a favor a go to a liberal arts blog.

      “…Drunk with such thoughts of using great power with great responsibility”

      “…as if on a Jobs-approved, Ive-designed chunk of aluminum chock-full of eco-friendly pixie dust”

      “…I decided to do the kext-file tango”

      “…I lapsed into a fugue state that only ended when the dog attempted to teleport through the Zalman CPU Cooler & Stargate Opener Upper. ”

      “On most things the Hackintosh sizzles like a fat man on asphalt in July.”

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        Your painfully bad grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your criticism of Fox’s blog have been noted and attached to an idea I have in my head of your low IQ and possible IEP assignment.

      • Jason_Fox
      • 10 years ago

      I’ll take a look at that, thanks. I can easily foresee another install attempt. I know there’s some way to get everything working — it’s just a matter of finding the time.

        • eitje
        • 10 years ago

        or paying someone else to put everything together for you, of course. 😀

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 10 years ago

    Hey Fox! Congrats!

    3 articles and many weeks later, you have a machine (Mac) that you can call your own. Proud accomplishment.

    I have had a OSX as a VM to let the wife and kids try out to see if they like it. They have been declining them cuz they like me building the systems. But now, I know this has been around a long time, to successfully build a Hackintosh is very much doable, no offense (not try to put you down or anything), I just might give it a go.

    Thanks for taking the risk and giving this a go.

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    q[

      • Jason_Fox
      • 10 years ago

      Ha! Almost. I wasn’t so careless in my more geek-intensive days, but I was having serious, serious brainfade issues a few weeks. Just too much going on in every area of life. And trying to find solace in kext tweaking is not a good idea.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 10 years ago

    Sucks it does not work for you. I spend around $800 for everything off the egg and still (built and had it running for 2 years) it’s a great box. Granted it’s more for my girlfriend and iPod syncs but a great cheap box none the less.

    If only I had the time to install it on my EeePC…..

      • shaq_mobile
      • 10 years ago

      i suppose cheap really is subjective 😀

      800 is a top of the line system for poor old shaq 🙂

    • SNM
    • 10 years ago

    Yes, we all know Win7 will install on it. Yet, somehow, you’re the only person who cares. The reason being that Apple is a hardware vendor and so they write the drivers to support their hardware. Microsoft, being a software vendor, writes drivers to support all hardware. Hurray for them! This says little about the quality of the actual OS, though.

    In any case, I mostly wanted to say this:
    I spent a lot more money on my Win7 machine than my Mac and you’re just a dick.

    EDIT: Wow, reply-to-#3-fail.

      • Sahrin
      • 10 years ago

      Apple doesn’t sell software? How do you explain this copy of SL I bought at MicroCenter this weekend?

      Not a bigot; an objective user of both platforms. I’ve never built a Hackintosh but I do own (and use) and have owned several Macs.

        • Corrado
        • 10 years ago

        You’re completely putting words in his mouth. He did NOT say Apple doesn’t SELL software, he said Apple is not a software company.

          • Sahrin
          • 10 years ago

          Well, no, he said “Apple is a hardware vendor” and “Microsoft is a software vendor.” He did NOT says “Apple doesn’t sell software.” However, when you look at the form of the comparison he was making: A is Not B, A has property 1 and B has property 2; where properties 1 and 2 are generally viewed to be exclusive properties (note absence of word mutual – which is where your criticism hangs). It is a fair inference to make that the implication is “Apple is not a software vendor” – the connection being not what he said about Apple, but that “A is Not B” and “B has property 2.” Inductive reasoning is a tricky place to be – but I inferred the meaning intended and responded to clarify the remark.

          You’re now putting words in MY mouth by inferring that I was intending to do the same with him.

          So far, you’re the only person in this conversation speaking for others.

            • SNM
            • 10 years ago

            Apple famously does not believe itself to be a software vendor. They /[

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            I’m not complaining. I’m saying they’re not competent to write an OS for the marketplace. They’re not. It’s an embedded OS. The only difference between Apple and the guy who writes your Microwave firmware is the arrogance with which Apple conducts themselves.

            (I say this, once again for the thousandth time, as a proud Mac owner).

            • Scrotos
            • 10 years ago

            I would have to say that you’re not a “proud” mac owner if you’re going out of your way to bash it. I think you got some mac somewhere, maybe, just to say you have one in the hopes that it gives you license to bash on the platform and “it’s cool, guys, I totally use it so I’m allowed to whine about it!”

            It’s like throwing out racial slurs and then being all like, “no it’s cool guys, I have black friends!”

            If you want to bash the company and the products, fine, do it. Just don’t pull the weak-ass “I use macs so obviously I’m allowed to bash them without really providing concrete examples” thing you’ve got going on. Grow some balls and just say you hate the platform for whatever reason. All this wishy-washy stuff where you try to come off as some balanced and objective twat just isn’t working because instead of backing your statements up you play the martyr card of “oh noes people aren’t treating me with respect” in the vain attempt that you’ll get people on your side.

            At least when meadows goes on a rant he doesn’t make excuses or try to take a moral high ground in what is really a technical discussion. Nor does he nitpick about what someone MIGHT have IMPLIED in his OPINION and go off about that.

            I kind of miss the old Classic OS/Windows fights. That time was more pure, more full of venom and angst. Not this stupid “let’s present ourselves as polished and refined” fronting where there’s no substance behind it. I’d rather have a good honest flame than the false image you’re trying to put up, Sahrin. It is trifling.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            I agree, it’s probably a 333MHz Grape iMac G3 with 192MB of memory running OS X 10.2, and he can’t believe it’s slow. 😆

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            I currently have an original Intel iMac and a unibody MacBook Pro. A Mac Mini too, but that’s not currently hooked up to anything.

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            “It’s like throwing out racial slurs and then being all like, “no it’s cool guys, I have black friends!””

            So now, not only am I a Mac hater but I’m a racist.

            You guys really know how to have an argument based on intellectual grounds.

            The failure of your imagination isn’t my problem. That you tried to jam me into a metaphor involving racism (and failed miserably) isn’t my problem either.

            I used a Mac as my primary computer starting in around 2004/5 (except for gaming). As I noted, I felt that XP was subjectively a better OS than OSX was (panther at that point? Jaguar. Can’t remember). Subjectively to ME – OSX was superior, but when I said “subjectively’ I meant “in terms of the general user experience.” My experience with OSX was actually superior to XP SP2 – and so subjectively, I am different. I recognize that there was a special set of circumstances involving Photoshop and video drivers that made it so; but that was my experience. When Vista was released I switched to the Beta. I stongly preferred the Vista experience to OSX, based on the objective factors I listed. I still have Macs, and still use them regularly. The fact that I find Windows to offer the superior platform doesn’t mean that I can’t use an inferior one. I also have two TV’s in my home – one is a Pioneer Elite Plasma and the other is a cheap Visio model. The Visio gets more use because it’s in my office. Doesn’t mean I think the Visio is better or that I’m a closet racist.

            You guys really aren’t very intelligent if that’s what you reach for when you need to argue with someone.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            In the same paragraph you said two things:

            1.) XP was better than OS X
            2.) OS X was better than XP

            You really aren’t very intelligent if you can’t even keep your opinion straight.

            Also, nobody called you racist. You’re using the same “logic” (if it can be called that) in this scenario as racists do in that other scenario. You really aren’t very intelligent if you can’t read what somebody wrote.

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            Before you get yourself into serious trouble, I would recommend *not* trying to get into a debate regarding verbal logic with me. I am not infallible, but based on the content of your replies I can tell you that my professional training in this area exceeds your level of expertise.

            I most certainly did *NOT* say what you are implying; your failure to understand the exact and specific meaning of my sentences highlights the lack of intelligence I commented earlier. Like talking to someone who reaches for the swear jar because they don’t have the verbal creativity to converse intelligently, you are grasping at logical straws because you refuse to apply your intellect to analyze the detail and specifics of what was said.

            One of the principles of symbolic logic is form follows function – that is if you can duplicate the function (‘structure’) of an argument, you can deuplicate the conclusion (it is a subset of inductive reasoning – the kind of reasoning that makes out society go). It is upon this principle that the ‘racist’ comment rests; and as such it is logically sound and I don’t dispute that.

            However; I also understand something of linguistic nuance. It isa commonly used tool in debate to use the ‘form follows function’ (or structural inductive) argument to not literally but implicitly associate an argument with a paradigmatic negative. By creating the ASSOCIATION (not linkage) between my argument and racism, you have attempted to tie me to a social taboo – racism. I won’t stand for this. If you can’t find a more intelligent way to make your point, then good day to you sir. I won’t take time to debate with people who attempt to reduce the entire world to such stunningly limited perspectives. Nuance exists. Embrace it.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 10 years ago

            Wow, your huge brain is so intimidating. I quit reading after that first sentence because the hubris was too deep even for my waders. How can people in tall buildings talk to you and not jump out a window just to escape? I hope you work in a single-story locale without access to hazardous materials, lest your coworkers kill themselves to escape the agony of your gigantic ego.

            Edit: also, you say you have this amazing grasp on the English language yet you failed to get the context of what I said. Instead of replying directly you apparently deflected the explanation deftly with your huge brain.

      • PeterD
      • 10 years ago

      Would Ubuntu install on it?
      I guess so.
      Would that be an interesting article?

    • ImSpartacus
    • 10 years ago

    Bravo, bravo. Nice article and nice work.

    It’s good to see a mac user so grounded. Keep on breaking stereotypes!

    • Sahrin
    • 10 years ago

    Moral of the story is: Yes, it’s possible to build a Hackintosh – but Apple isn’t competent to write an OS that fully supports the PC ecosystem, so it’s a bit of a pain to shoehorn it in.

    Why not do a writeup of how much effort it takes to get Win7 installed and running on the same setup (note that the hardware was specifically targeted for compatibility to OSX – whereas, for Win7 there is no ‘specific targeting’ – it just works).

    It never ceases to amaze me how people are willing to say that OSX is better than Windows. This hasn’t been true subjectively since NT5.1 Build 5600, and it hasn’t been true objectively since NT6.1 7600.

    OSX.6’s GUI, while serviceable, is inferior to NT6.1 (and much less aesthtically pleasing); tools are far less sophisticated, automated and serviceable than NT6.1; comparing hardware and application compatibility is an insult to NT.

    At this point, I don’t see what can be done other than run into the streets and scream “SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OF PEOPLE.” Buying Apple is like devouring your dignity.

    I have no problem with a person spending way too much for something that doesn’t merit it – but I won’t stomach the hypocrisy of the same person trying to justify their purchase with nonsense.

    • dpaus
    • 10 years ago

    Excuse me? You haven’t got Win7 running inside Snow Leopard yet? And you say you’re done?

    For shame, sir, for shame…

      • jdaven
      • 10 years ago

      Fox has said over and over that he doesn’t have any windows software so installing win7 would be useless. Remember windows is an OS and has no purpose unless you have apps to install. This was a major critic of Mac OS in times past since Apple’s small marketshare prevented software companies from writing apps for it. This is slowly changing and was reaffirmed with the iPhone which went balls out on the apps front. Without apps the iPhone and any OS would be a dud.

        • dpaus
        • 10 years ago

        Yes, but… It’s /[

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        Pet peeve: calling EVERYTHING an ‘app.’ They’re programs. Don’t drink the koolaid.

          • Corrado
          • 10 years ago

          They’ve been called ‘Applications’ for years and years. Applications and Games are generally considered the two categories for ‘programs’.

            • grantmeaname
            • 10 years ago

            well, operating systems are programs. So are BIOSes, and EFI environments, and kernels, and shells, and I can go on and on and on…

            • Corrado
            • 10 years ago

            I said ‘generally’. And you’re really furthering my point. None of those things are things you would purchase retail to run on your computer (aside from maybe the OS part).

        • Jason_Fox
        • 10 years ago

        I actually do have a partition on my system drive on which to install Windows, as I have done so one previous machines. However, that install was mainly so my wife could connect to her office’s wacky VPN system. Also, it was XP. At this point I have no practical reason to install Win 7, and since my software purloining days are long since past, I’m not going to buy something I don’t need. All Woot purchases excepted, of course.

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