Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to build a cheap, fast and reliable Hackintosh: a home-built desktop capable of running Apple Mac OSX.
Some of the FAQ’s in the comments include:
“Why didn’t you just buy an iMac and plug an extra monitor into it?” Because I already have a 28″ monitor and two 22″ monitors. I couldn’t hook up all three to an iMac, I didn’t want to throw away hardware, and I didn’t want to rebuy a monitor I already had. Plus the iMac only has a single internal hard drive, and I wanted more IO speed.
“You don’t really need more IO speed.” Yes, I do, actually. I’m a former SAN & SQL Server administrator, and I do testing with data warehouse-size databases of a terabyte or more. The faster I can back up and restore those databases, the faster I can get my work done. To give you some indication, my other machine is a Dell PowerEdge 1900 with six drives in a RAID 10 array. This issue came up several times in the comments, which always infuriates me with the intertubez: people love to tell you what you don’t need.
“Why not plug a bunch of FireWire drives into an iMac?” Because an iMac only has one FireWire 800 port, and I’d be daisy chaining things together like crazy and bottlenecking my bandwidth. Plus a bunch of FireWire drive enclosures are ugly and expensive.
“Why not buy an iMac and a Drobo?” Were you even listening about the cheap part? The smallest 24″ iMac is $1,500 and the cheapest 4-bay Drobo is $500. At that point, I’m within spitting distance of a Mac Pro, which takes more memory, more CPUs and has 4 internal drive bays.
“I installed OSX on my Dell Mini 9 netbook and it works great.” Yep, you nailed the cheap part. Now about the fast part…