Space Ramblings

Meet the Hackintosh, Apple’s Worst Nightmare

It was inevitable once Apple switched to Intel that people would begin trying to run Apple’s OS on PC’s. After all the hardware gap was gone. An Apple computer just a proprietary case design with Intel hardware inside. To keep that from happening, Apple has been open about allowing Windows to run on Apple computers but going batshrieking mad when anyone even mentioned the idea of running an Apple OS on a PC.

At the end of the day a Mac is basically a trend more than a computer, a custom OS inside a custom case and not much else with a huge price tag. A Mac is more about being trendy than getting things done, it’s a statement about how hip you are, your social status and your sense of style. But like with most trendy products, take them apart, hack them and you’ve got something easily duplicated for much less, whether it’s Body Shop’s creams or Air Jordans. So now meet Steve Job’s worst nightmare. The Hackintosh.

If the high price tag for Apple hardware has kept you from buying a Mac but you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get adventurous, you can build your own “Hackintosh”—a PC that runs a patched version of OS X Leopard. What?!, you say. Apple’s move to Intel processors in 2006 meant that running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, and a community hacking project called OSx86 launched with that goal in mind. Since then, OSx86 has covered major ground, making it possible for civilians—like you and me!—to put together their own Hackintosh running Mac OS 10.5. Today, I’ll show you how to build your own high end computer running Leopard from start to finish for under $800.

Right now the cheapest Mac on sale at the Apple store is a $600 Mac Mini sporting a 1.83GHz proc, 1GB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive. For $200 more, your Hackintosh can boast a 2.2GHz proc with 4GB of RAM, a 500GB drive, and a completely upgradeable case for expanding your setup in the future.

In other words Steve Jobs’ worst nightmare, because with the Hackintosh Apple because nothing more than another flavor of OS. Apple has made money selling hardware like the Mac or the iPod or the iPhone at vastly inflated prices based on the promise of their interfaces and stylishness. Export the interface and who really needs the hardware except the terminally hip? Apple may have cornered the iPod market by exploiting iTunes but opening up OSX is the equivalent of opening up iTunes and something Apple will fight tool and nail.

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  • David H Dennis November 13, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    If his “Hacintosh” hardware costs $800, a monitor costs $300, and Leopard $129, it would cost $1,229 to buy the system while a new iMac with a very similar spec costs $1,199.

    Throw in extras like the iApps and Genius Bar support and it just doesn’t seem worth it. It might be a nice technical challenge, granted, but I don’t see the people who would do it as likely Apple customers in any event.

    A $300 Hacintosh would be Steve Jobs’ worst nightmare. A $ 800 + $ 300 + $ 129 Hacintosh doesn’t really cut it.


  • O_Deus November 14, 2007 at 2:44 am

    Well it should be possible, hardware wise, to build a better computer, for much less than his wish list. He overpaid for the case by as much as a hundred bucks, the motherboard is over the top too, the cpu is underpowered, hard drive and burner costs are okay, ram is on the high priced end

    It’s possible to build a Hackintosh for half that and who pays 300 bucks for a monitor anymore? it’s like 200

  • O_Deus November 14, 2007 at 2:46 am

    That said it does make more sense to just get Linux but for people who want the software environment or want to look at a dual boot setup

  • Partners in Grime November 16, 2007 at 9:46 am

    For a well designed product that works great, I don’t mind paying for it.

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