The Hack strikes back

When we last left the trials and travails of my Hackintosh odyssey (not to be confused with our sweet 2005 Honda Odyssey or your ever-lame Magnavox Odyssey), things were working just swimmingly. Assuming you consider swimming like a spastic fat man in weighted vest a good thing. While faster than my MacBook Pro, a Geekbench score of 5500 or so was still fairly sad for the processor/memory combo I was (and am) sporting (Intel Core 2 Extreme Q9650 at 3.73 GHz and 8 GB of 1066 MHz DDR2 SDRAM). The Sleep command would only work in the "it's time to say goodbye to Miss Buffytons" way, and my designated Time Machine drive would spontaneously unmount.

Originally, these seemed like issues I could deal with, as I downplayed them in an earlier post. But like a gaggle of hemorrhoids defying the soothing power of Preparation H, these glitches became increasingly annoying and bursting with unsightly discharge. Although they would let me sit down.

My first attempt at a solution was the no-cost method. I tried, at the suggestion of a couple of MacHole readers, the Kakewalk install found at Indeed, as its Kiddie Kollege-like name suggests, this install was quite easy. Sadly, it did nothing to help my problems. In fact, because Kakewalk didn't technically support my motherboard, a couple of the various installs produced even worse results.

It was time to admit the obvious: My mobo was poopoo.

Okay, my mobo, a Gigabyte X38–DQ6 from the Tech Report's Vaults of Dust, in and of itself was actually fairly good. But I could not find one Hackintosh install that natively supported it. In fact, I could not even find another Hackintosh builder that used it. Given that so many people were using other Gigabyte boards without issue, well, it was time to pull out the plastic and grab another Giga. But not by the nether regions. Pervs.

I was looking for a board in the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3 family. But what I found was a friendship that would last forever. No, sorry, veered off into movie trailer mode for a second. What I found was a GA-EP45-UD3P on eBay for a hundred bucks from seller yonmichi. Mr. Michi shipped that mother the day I bought it (Monday), and I knew my upcoming weekend was set. Good, geekish times lay ahead. Not counting the diaper changes and mall trips. Or other work. Or bills. Or . . . dang, stay young, people.

Swapping out the mobo wasn't the most difficult process, but it did teach me one thing: If you're going to spend a lot of time working inside your computer and your hands are man hands, you may not want to get the super-sleek case in which to house everything. Mainly because your video card will make it next to impossible to plug in your SATA and system status light cables without the use of needle-nose pliers, a mouth-held flashlight and a dentist's mirror. At one point, I seriously considered gutting my now-unused Dual 533 G4 (hey-oh!) case and putting everything in it just because the mobo swings out on the side door. Except for it not working at all, it would've been a swell idea.

Anyway, once the beast was reassembled, everything went smoothly. What? This isn't your first time at The MacHole? You say there's no way something I'm working on would just up and work correctly right out of the gate? Bastard. You're right, but still. Bastard.

No, it seemed my install, now polluted with various kext files and other code fragments inserted in a vain attempt to fix the old motherboard's issues via software, was now miserably unstable. A new install was in order. An install that, having done it a half dozen time already, should have been as easy as making a your-mom-is-easy joke. Just one problem. When installing OS X on a Hackintosh, you need to flip between boot devices. The Lifehacker install gives you about three seconds to hit any key before it continues booting with the default device. Sadly, hitting any key resulted in a system hang. So while I could do the initial install, I couldn't then switch over to my new system drive when booting. Kakewalk had the same issue. I have yet to figure out the cause.

My workaround was to unplug my system hard drive from the Hackintosh and plug it into my MacBook Pro. Once there, I could run the little program that installed the 8Kb of code that allowed it to boot in the Hackintosh. A bit more time-consuming. A lot more bloody. Yes, while trying to dislodge the HD sled from my Antec Sonata III 500 case, my grip slipped and I tore a divot from my left index finger.

It had such a lovely V shape. If only my finger shot lasers, I could've used it as a sight.

Being left handed, I was not amused. But it only took a couple of hours and no small amount of liquid skin to staunch the bleeding. And a week of bandage wearing. And two weeks of not putting much pressure on it. It's almost healed now, and I'm not even getting a cool scar from it. Jeezo, what a waste.

So, the next night, post bleeding, I reassembled The Supreme Hackintosh once again and, wait for it, keep waiting, huzzah! It booted! It upgraded to 10.6.3 on only the second try (yeah, it bricked the first time)! It sleeps *and* wakes up! It has a Geekbench score of over 9,000! My drives don't unmount! It let's me type unnecessary exclamation points without reprisal! Yay!

At this point, two issues remain: First, I still can't select a different boot device during startup—still hangs. So if something goes nutty on my boot drive, I'll have to plug it into my MBP again. Second, sleep works, but going through several sleep/wake cycles seems to make things a bit unstable. Not at the level of John David Stutts, but not stable enough to keep using without a reboot. I've messed around with sleep settings via Terminal: setting it to "1" caused the machine to shut down. I currently have it set to "3", and it seems to be working better. Time will tell.

Hopefully, this will be the last Hackintosh update for a while. Because who really wants to hear about my battles with hard drive sleds and kernel panics when there's the petty fighting of Apple and Adobe to discuss?



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