• Hackintosh - It Doesn't Suck Now

    Apple's product line up is second to none. You don't get to be the biggest company in the world by making products nobody wants. However, Apple doesn't have one product I'd like them to have. An old fashioned desktop PC. A DESKTOP PC? WHAT IS THIS? 1989? GET OUT OF HERE OLD MAN, I HEAR THERE'S A SALE ON FLOPPY DISKS AT OFFICEWORKS, GEEEEZZUS!

    Look, I know the iMac is a thing, and I know the market is moving away from things on desks to things with batteries. I even know that iOS is the main engine of Apple these days and that the Mac is a "legacy" platform and in 5-10 years, we'll all be using iPads and stuff because desktop computers are lame. I agree with that, I think it is happening now and everything you're thinking about in regards this totally vintage idea of a desktop Mac is correct.

    But there's some of us out there who buck that trend. Not because we hate it, not because we even want to, but because we do. I don't want to say that the iPad and iOS devices aren't places for "serious" work, because that's bullshit. I can do serious work on an iPad. But I like sitting at my giant desk, in a comfortable chair, with a full sized keyboard and a mouse, three 27" monitors, 64GB of RAM, 50 petabytes of storage and graphics cards and CPUs that will burn your hand if you touch them. Hunkering down at a battlestation to do some work with shitty apps with poor UI made by people with non-trendy facial hair, is where I'm comfortable. That isn't to say mobile devices are not for working on or creating stuff - they just aren't mutually exclusive like some people, almost militantly, espouse.

    That's also why Hackintosh still exists and why I bothered to even look in its general direction. There's a flood of cheap, high quality PC components that when chosen carefully, create a great bang for buck Mac that is highly suitable for us neckbeards who desire such a thing outside Apple's product matrix.

    Hackintosh is also easier than ever. Check out this guide from TonyMacOSX86. It's literally as simple as this:

    • Buy Mountain Lion off the App Store
    • Downloading this app called Unibeast
    • Plugging in an 8GB of larger USB drive into a Mac
    • Running Unibeast
    • Plugging the USB drive into your PC and rebooting the PC off the USB drive
    • Installing Mountain Lion as usual

    What more do you want? Only way it could get easier is someone to do it for you.

    The tricky part of Hackintosh however (which isn't that tricky really), is drivers. With a "genuine" Mac, the drivers are already in Mac OS X, because Apple made that computer and of course they have included support for it in the OS. But with a home built computer, and the varying array of devices it could be built out of, may or may not have support in Mac OS X.

    If you assemble a PC with devices supported in Mac OS X out of the box, then the Hackintosh experience is pretty seamless. Mac OS X updates are generally uneventful, with problems only arising if drivers are updated that don't support your device. Luckily for us, most devices that don't suck, are actually supported out of the box in OS X. Things like power management, cooling systems, sleeping and so on, are supported too, as the BIOS (pardon me, UEFI - BIOS is prehistoric era stuff now) and chipsets do that stuff together with the OS, and seeing as the hardware at a motherboard (aka logic board, hah) level are the same, well, shit just works.There's even a central repository of drivers for Hackintosh now, called MultiBeast, that makes installing drivers a piece of cake, if you have to.

    That's it. That's all you need to do. Once you've got your drivers installed, you can use your Frankenstein computer just like you would a regular Mac. When the next OS update comes around, wait a day or two before installing, see if anyone has any issues and if there isn't (chances are there won't be), make a backup (like you do anyways, right?) and go for it.

    So if you're in the market for a new Mac, and the iMac doesn't do it for you (good luck getting an SSD into there) or the Mac Pro is just too old and expensive, take a second look at Hackintosh. It's alright.

    Anthony Agius was one of the original founders of MacTalk. Now he organises the iOS conference, One More Thing. He's also on Twitter as @decryption
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