The Supreme Hackintosh 2.0 part I: Good grief, not again

That’s right, peoples, the Hack is back. Again. For an encore I kinda sorta vowed would never be. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, let us get behind ourselves, grimace at our technological cellulite (does this mobo make me look fat?), and see if hindsight really is 20/20. Dear lord, let’s hope not.

Back at the dawn of 2010, I decided to cobble together my first Hackintosh using now-antiquated directions from Lifehacker.com’s Adam Pash. After many fits, starts, bechunked fingertips and assorted threats against technology in general, the Hackintosh lived. Not a fruitful, benign existence, mind you, but one plagued by odd bootloader issues, random kernel panics, misadventures in kexting and a general lack of performance. The machine wasn’t slow, but it always performed less than the sum of its parts. The fact that it had cost me less than half the price of a new Mac Pro, however, bought it time.

A lot of time.

Twenty months to be exact.

I had not planned on assembling a new Hackintosh. I had intended to hold out for the iPad 3. Why? So I could get a Core i7-powered iMac as my main machine and use LogMeIn Ignition on the iPad and its Retina display when I needed to do work out in the field. But with rumors now pinning the iPad 3’s release in the third quarter of 2012 (with an updated iPad 2 hitting in the interim), that plan was deemed untenable. The Hack 1.0 had been chugging along on OS X 10.6.4 for quite some time. I had achieved relative stability and didn’t want to lose another weekend or two scouring the Hackintosh forums for solutions to obscure problems. And installing Lion? Ha! As if.

As if I wouldn’t eventually give in and try it.

Given the flaky bootloader issues I had experienced since day one, I knew the only way to upgrade my system was from scratch. Which I didn’t want to do. Buying a new machine would be so much simpler. And who doesn’t love that new Mac smell? Turtleneck with a hint of Ive, I think. But, living the life of a freelance writer, I didn’t have the spare wad of bills stuffed inside a fake shaving cream can with which to procure an iMac or MacBook Pro. Sure, I could’ve gotten an older machine. But then I’d have an older machine. Do you know what old Ive smells like? English leather and haggis, that’s what. No thank you.

Nor did I want to build another machine. New motherboard. New processor. New OS install. New headaches large and small. But I was rapidly getting left behind as iCloud, Lion, and other goodies kept emerging from Cupertino. Goodies I could not forgo if I wished to remain a suspect Mac pundit. So I opted for what seemed to be the route of least pain (note, not pain-free): I would do the install-from-scratch bit on the Hack 1.0 and hope for the best.

You already know the rest of the story.

After bopping back and forth between Tonymacx86 and InsanelyMac for a couple of days, I thought I knew enough to avoid major issues. Tonymacx86 has put together a fairly bulletproof install system for both Snow Leopard and Lion (earlier this week, Tonymac released a new Lion install guide that should be even simpler called UniBeast). Which was good, since the Lion install required that 10.6.8 already be up and running. Getting the new Snow Leopard install working was actually fairly easy. Indeed, so was the Lion install. I only had to redo everything twice do to my own over-enthusiastic installation of old kext files. There was much semi-rejoicing.

Until programs tried to open windows. And they got stuck. Sometimes halfway open. Other times as a tiny, tiny, 10×10 pixel blob barely visible on my screen. In any case, it made the system just slightly unusable. So, after a weekend spent doing what I didn’t want to do—hunting down kexts and scouring forums—I gave up. I couldn’t find a single message related to my issue. Or a kext that would help. And, with Tonymac’s MultiBeast install wizard, such a kext should have been unnecessary for a 9800GTX. And so I resigned to limp along with 10.6.5 until the day my iOS 5-sporting iPhone self-Siri’ed and forced the machine to commit hara-kiri. Except that’s just crazy talk. Everyone knows Siri doesn’t work on a 3GS.

Yet, the allure of even counterfeit Eau d’ Ive was too much for me to resist. And so a desperate man (me) made a desperate decision to go all Steve Austin (not the wrestler) on Hack 1.0 and rebirth it as a Sandy Bridge Hack of Unusual Size. Or Scorn. Or Similes. I don’t know. Haven’t settled on that "S" word just yet.

But slip-sliding over that bridge of 100-grit will have to wait for another Hole.

Later,

Fox

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 8 years ago

    This sort of thing always amazes me. I mean, Fox, you make no bones about money being a priority for you (I don’t know anyone for whom it isn’t), so it comes as no surprise that you should resent Apple wanting you to pony up 50% of the price of a new Mac Pro just to pay for OS X. That’s one very expensive consumer OS and I cannot see that it is worth the price. Why on earth don’t you just run Windows7? The experience would be far more pleasant for you than your OS X/Hackintosh experience has been to date, and as you’re a writer I certainly can’t think of any software for you that’s exclusively OS X that would make all of this angst worthwhile.

    The fact that you have this much trouble running OS X on your x86 box is entirely Apple’s doing, remember. There’s nothing intrinsically better or superior about the x86 Mac Pro that you buy from Apple as opposed to the x86 Mac Pro you could (and have) built for yourself. In fact, if you wanted to, you could build a better-than-Mac Pro for less than the cost of an Apple Mac Pro–if you weren’t artificially limiting yourself to OS X and the very limited assortment of hardware drivers that Apple includes (in comparison with the hardware you could buy that comes standard with Windows7 drivers.)

    I like hacking around as much as the next guy, and I always build my own boxes, but jumping through the artificial hoops and barriers Apple erects just to force you into paying far more for OS X than it is worth just strikes me CrayZ. Of course, I suppose that getting back at Apple and going around the company to avoid the OS X tax Apple wants to levy on you just might be satisfaction enough for you…! (I’m still nerd enough to appreciate that sort of sentiment…;))

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    The title of your article alone brought up memories of the last Hackintosh escape, and I smiled.

    So what’s the conclusion of your adventures here? I didn’t quite…er…understand the second-to-last paragraph. You upgraded components to a Sandy Bridge system?

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 8 years ago

    I’m typing this post on my Intel Quad Core Hackintosh running Lion 10.7.2. All I did was google my motherboard model number and the word “Hackintosh.” The guide I followed required a real Mac to get started but then it was all downhill from there. I have it all, accelerated video, audio, bluetooth , web cam, everything works except for sleep. Another minor annoyance is that I have to re-install the audio drivers whenever they update the OS, but it only takes a minute or two.

    The right hardware is they key to success. I have an ASUS P5K-E wifi/AP motherboard with a BFG nvidia 9800 GT video card. This combination seems to work well. I have an ASUS bluetooth USB dongle, and a VNC webcam. I can’t help to feel that I got lucky. The results were so good, I went out and bought the Apple Keyboard and Magic Trackpad to complete the system.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    Test-ran a hackintosh on my phenom II…it was painful to use the OS. Things are laid out and organized way better on win7, sorry to say. win7 freeware applications now cost money for OSX…pretty sad, and yet another turn off towards keeping the OS useful. I got a feeling of being boxed in, not being able to do, what i used to easily be able to do on win7. there were too many extra clicks that were 1 click with win7. if something didnt work properly on OSX, many times there was no response, which left me really frustrated. login security was easy to bypass. pop in the osx cd, hold c, and reset any password within its utility.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think you actually did this – the reason I say so is that you can’t just pop in an OS X DVD and hold C on your keyboard and have it boot on a PC. You just wanted to say something vaguely anti-Apple.

    • Metonymy
    • 8 years ago

    OK… someone has to be the pedant here: By “Ive” I’m guessing you mean “Ivy”? I’d have let it go except you use it enough that you might have spell-checked it.

      • thedosbox
      • 8 years ago

      Ive as in Jonathan Ive, head of industrial design.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        The most prolific pedants aren’t afraid to be wrong. Nicely done, Metonymy.

      • eitje
      • 8 years ago

      A real pedantic person would have noticed “do” in this sentence:
      [quote<]I only had to redo everything twice do to my own over-enthusiastic installation of old kext files.[/quote<]

    • Irascible
    • 8 years ago

    “slip-sliding over that bridge of 100-grit”

    For the mentally underdeveloped among us, me, please explain. Sliding over said bridge sounds painful, which is the point. But is there some pop-culture, pop-Apple, old time saying from up-North/down-South reference going on there? Or was that just off the cuff verbal buffoonery?

    There are typically 6 to 6 dozen of those that I don’t get in a given edition of Hole. I’m just daring to ask this time.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 8 years ago

      I think it was an Intel “Sandy Bridge” reference.

        • Irascible
        • 8 years ago

        That Fox is a sly one… well, mostly. 🙂 [No obscure reference to the 80’s teen duo intended.]

          • LoneWolf15
          • 8 years ago

          I’m soo not making any “Let’s Go All The Way” jokes.

    • crsh1976
    • 8 years ago

    I went through this whole charade two years ago with my Asus netbook (running OSX 10.5.x), but I’m not quite masochistic enough to do it again – yet.

    It’s a fun-enough project, though.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    With a bit of minor instruction, it’s a lot easier to run OS X inside of VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation than it is to build a Hackintosh.

    Of course, that scenario isn’t licensed for it any more than a non-Mac is licensed for running OS X physcally.

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    Tsk tsk. What would Steve think?

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      Nothing, he died.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        That’s why his question is “would” and not “does”. For being such a grammar nazi, you sure misread the question. 😉

          • Meadows
          • 8 years ago

          I still got more thumbs up than you (at the time of posting this), so I guess it’s all right. 😉

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            something changed in the last couple hours. :p

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Yes, something did, curse the bugger who’s responsible.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            That would be me.

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            My old foe, we meet again.

    • BassFisher
    • 8 years ago

    Why do I need to read an article about how you can’t follow directions? If you think the prices apple charges for their hardware are reasonable, buy it. If you don’t (like most hackintosh proponents) then you can either take the time to follow a simple readme to install OSX on your build, or just deal with Windows and stop complaining.

      • redwood36
      • 8 years ago

      I built one and i didnt even design the machine for it (select components for their compatibility). The only tricky bit is getting a hdd in journaled extended, for that its useful to have something that can turn an internal to a external and format it with somebodies laptop. after that, its pretty much cake.

      • YellaChicken
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, it makes me sick that people don’t realise the world revolves around you and only what you’re interested in!

      EDIT: Oh and by the way, you haven’t yet realised the difference between an article and a blog have you?

    • mr evolution
    • 8 years ago

    I remember your original blog about the hackintosh experience. I tried it myself, but never really ever got it to work correctly.

    I caved and just burrowed a MBP and use it for photography classes I am taking.

    GL , Jason!!

    PS: Keep us posted.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    How do you guys manage to blow up Hackintoshes? I have been pretty successful keeping mine alive – I went from 10.6.3 to 10.6.8 as each point release came out and it survived each update and managed to keep basic things like Time Machine, drivers, etc. running correctly. Either I’ve got it really easy or you’re trying too hard. :p

    My Lion upgrade didn’t go as well as I would have liked, but that was Avid’s fault more than it was Apple’s or even the fact that it’s a Hackintosh. Lion won’t boot up if you’ve got a kext in /System/Library/Extenions that’s PPC-only. How Avid manages to call PT9.0.5 “public beta support” for Lion astounds me. That would imply that there was a closed alpha where really egregious mistakes like unbootable systems would have been found. :p Once I figured that out, Lion has even been smooth sailing.

      • Corrado
      • 8 years ago

      I avoid the situation by having a legit MacBook Pro 15″. I have been toying with the idea of picking up a Mac Pro case and building a hackintosh though.

        • TEAMSWITCHER
        • 8 years ago

        The best Mac is always a real Mac. I have a MacBook Pro also, and I think of it like my faithful dog. When the time comes to put her down it will be a sad day, but I will replace her with another MacBook Pro.

        One thing I want to be clear about. Mac OS X is very good, but so is Windows 7. I also have a very powerful Windows 7 PC (parts from newegg) that I love as much as my MacBook Pro. But for different reasons It was cheaper than the MacBook Pro, it plays the latest games, and has two large displays. I just can’t take it with me when I travel.

        So….for me….there is no Mac v. PC holy war. I have both, I use both, and I like both.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          Pretty amusing/ironic given your name and Apple’s “Switcher” ad campaign with the stoner girl.

      • elmopuddy
      • 8 years ago

      Its obvious… the Force is strong with you. 😛

      • Ragnar Dan
      • 8 years ago

      I blame my mobo, and video card. Other than those… it should’ve worked. Probably. 😉

      What’s especially pathetic is that I had a Gigabyte mobo for that machine, but I screwed up the CPU socket trying to test a new heatsink. I keep thinking I can fix it, but I’m not the sort for that kind of work. I need someone with smaller hands and more patience, and whatever the tools might be.

      I still don’t see why the Jobsians don’t let me buy a Lion DVD. Surely it would probably make things easier.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Well, Dan, the first time is always hard. I’m not blaming you at all. Once you get it down, it’s like falling off a bike – it never totally leaves you.

        If you own a SL DVD, the “official” way to upgrade is to get SL installed, upgrade to 10.6.8, buy Lion from the App STore (only $30 instead of 70 for the USB drive), get the install started, move it to another drive with xMove, and then you have two options:

        1.) Install clean using an rBoot disc, which is what I did. I used xMove to make a USB drive which I copied the Lion version of MultiBeast to and then booted with rBoot. Then I wiped the HDD entirely and made a fresh install and then used MultiBeast to get drivers going. Once you can make the USB drive, it’s almost as good as having a DVD. It’s a pain to get there without an interim SL install or a real Mac handy though.

        2.) use rBoot to do an upgrade install from the xMove partition, which…meh.

      • adisor19
      • 8 years ago

      I second this comment. It took me about a month to get my Vostrotosh 3400 properly hackintoshed with 10.6.3 and ever since, i haven’t had any problems upgrading all the way to 10.6.8 using software update. 10.6.8 brought some random panics that i later fixed when i upgraded to Lion.

      Speaking of Lion, i upgraded to it and my system had no graphics.. thank goodness i had a Mac Pro laying around that i used to Remote Desktop into my blank screen Vostrotosh and sort it out. Turns out that i needed to replace a few stock kexts that came with Lion.. I have since upgraded to 10.7.1 and 10.7.2 with software update and everything is running smoothly.

      Even managed to get a nice Vertex 3 MAXIOPS 240GB in there 🙂

      Adi

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder if, once UEFI motherboards become more prevelant, the process will get easier.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      It can’t possibly get much easier than it already is. I doubt you’ll see Apple’s boot loader integrated into everyone else’s firmware and it’ll be a LONG time before EFI ROMs on video cards becomes popular.

      Take the Econobox – it can be a beautiful Hackintosh with just an rBoot disk, Apple’s Lion USB drive (or one of your own creation), and Multibeast. I’d probably substitute a known-working H67 board for the ASUS one, but any Gigabyte H67 board is roughly the same price. A Radeon 6850 doesn’t even need special drivers; the Chimera boot loader takes care of that.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 8 years ago

    Yeah I recently 100% borked my Hackintosh trying to update from 10.6.6 to 10.6.8. It’s so screwed I would have to start all over again with the Snow Leopard DVD and iBoot disc. 🙁

    Edit: and by recently, I mean just yesterday. So your blog post is eerily well-timed.

      • Forge
      • 8 years ago

      Weirdness. As everyone else is torching their Hackintosh installs, I’m installing Lion on a bunch of machines that haven’t had OSX in many months. There’s a weird symmetry here.

    • elmopuddy
    • 8 years ago

    As easy as they make it sound, its a royal PITA without a supported MB.. Kakewalk with a Gigabyte board is very painless.. I have my old Q9450 up and running, and now have a Gigabyte board on order for my i7-875k.

      • adisor19
      • 8 years ago

      Indeed, i’m not really sure why, but gigabyte mobos are much easyer to make work with OS X..

      Adi

        • elmopuddy
        • 8 years ago

        Some secret sauce baked in I guess, the Kakewalk dude has great luck… even with the custom DSDT files I couldn’t get my Asus board stable. So gigabyte it is for me.. can’t wait to unleash the full fury of my i7 and 16GB lol

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        back in the day they were the only top-tier manufacturer using the same family of onboard ethernet/audio to get up and going, and their continued popularity is at least partly because they’ve continued to not vary from that winning combination of…err…Realtek audio codecs and Realtek ethernet PHYs.

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