Hackintosh Fail

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.

You can read the story over at the Houston Chronicle’s TechBlog, where Dwight Silverman let me post as a guest blogger.  It also got picked up on Digg, MacSurfer and CrunchGear.

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…

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Judging by the bridge in the background, I’m guessing that you have a boat in a Kemah marina?

  • Fantastic eye, sir! Unfortunately, it was just at the boat show. I’ve got a little 15′ sailboat, but that’s it.

  • Admit it, you’re just a cheapskate.. like me (^_^)

    Unfortunately, MacPro’s are too damn expensive or I’d have one..

  • Thanks for the update. So installing OS X on your new box didn’t work. I think I missed the post about what happened. Can you point me in the right direction so I can read about it.

    How is that Dell Mini 9? Is it hard to type on. I have big, fat knuckle drager hands from doing things in another life. I love my MBP but am always looking for ways to lighten my load. I was thinking about an MB Air but if you have other/cheaper options that run OS X I am very interested.

  • Jonathan – it’s the second link in this blog post. I don’t have a Dell Mini 9 myself – I was just repeating what the commenters on the story were saying. I’m not really interested in the Mini 9’s. I found ’em interesting when I was flying a lot, but with the travel cutbacks lately it hasn’t been a big issue for me.

  • Isnt Apple all over people trying to install unauthorized versions of OSX?

  • The machine might have failed for OSX, but I am sure it will be a BEAST as a WIN7 machine!

  • I could have done that install on that motherboard and it would be perfect. The problem was your installation method.

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