Adding an SSD to a hackintosh HD installation

November 3, 2012 4 comments

There is much interest in Apple’s new Fusion Drive for Macs, where an SSD and conventional Hard Drive are paired into one drive. Files are automatically moved between the SSD and HD depending on usage, so the most frequently accessed files reside on the faster SSD and the HD provides greater capacity for infrequently used files. The feature sounds like a step forward for users with more files than a reasonably priced SSD can store, but there are still many answers and reliability tests needed before it’s something to recommend for use on a hackintosh.

After recently buying a 128Gb OCZ Vertex Plus SSD from Aria, for the bargain price of £40, I have been looking at ways to use this with my 2Gb hard drive. I recently added a Seagate 2Gb 7200.14 drive, using my previous 2Gb drive as a backup. The new Seagate gave a big boost to read/write performance, going from around 50Mb/s read/write on the old HD to 140Mb/s read/write on the Seagate 7200.14. This testing was done using the free Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app for the Mac appstore, so while in no way comprehensive does show a big speed increase for sequential access.

The OCZ Vertex Plus SSD is an older generation device that gives around 160Mb/s write and 200Mb/s read speeds. This is way below the 500MB/s+ speeds that newer SSD’s can offer, but this was intended as a cheap test before committing to a more expensive SSD. The next decision is how to use the two drives, with three main options available: Read more…

Switching from BIOS to UEFI

November 3, 2012 1 comment

For the past few generations of OSX on generic Intel hardware there has been a choice between using a DSDT matched to your motherboard and BIOS, or a selection of additional files to provide full hardware support. My own machines have used the DSDT approach, where a well edited DSDT file provided the best compatibility and smoothest experience. Many of these DSDT files are available with all the hard work done for you at tonymacx86, whose selection of files cover seven motherboard manufacturers including my favourite Gigabyte.

Earlier this year there was much excitement at Gigabyte’s release of the Z77 motherboards which used a new UEFI rather than the traditional BIOS. The biggest surprise here was that Gigabyte boards with the new UEFI did not need a DSDT file for all hardware to work, simplifying the job of getting a hackintosh running well. My own board, a GA-Z68XP-UD3 had a beta UEFI available, soon followed by release U1g. I followed a couple of great guides at TonyMacX86 for upgrading my motherboard from BIOS to UEFI, then configuring the UEFI settings (this is for 7 series motherboards but worked well for me). Read more…

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OS X Mountain Lion Update v10.8.1 released

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

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The first Mac OS X 10.8 update is now available through the app store, weighing in at a surprisingly trim 24.2 Mb. It’s just installed on my Macbook Air while my main Hackintosh starts the ritual backup before a system update. No mention of the widely reported battery life issue 10.8 brought to some Mac laptop users.

No problems with the update on Apple hardware so far, the only warning I received was of incompatible software. This turned out to be the Avira antivirus I have been trying, but it’s still present and working correctly. Here are the official Apple release notes for issues addressed by the 10.8.1 update.

About OS X Mountain Lion Update v10.8.1

This update includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability and compatibility of your Mac, including fixes that:

  • Resolve an issue that may cause Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit
  • Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail
  • Address an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display
  • Resolve an issue that could prevent iMessages from being sent
  • Address an issue that could cause the system to become unresponsive when using Pinyin input
  • Resolve an issue when connecting to SMB servers with long names
  • Address a issue that may prevent Safari from launching when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file
  • Improve 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials.

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5418.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.

Hackintosh upgrade from 10.7 to 10.8

July 26, 2012 7 comments

There are plenty of excellent reviews of Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, so this post will focus on the steps taken to upgrade my fully working 10.7.4 system to 10.8. This is not intended as a complete install-from-nothing guide, requiring a working 10.7.x system to start with.

First some details on the hardware used. My Gigabyte P35-DS3R/Q6600 system was re-purposed at the start of 2012, and replaced with the following:

  • Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3 Motherboard
  • Intel Core i5 2500k cpu
  • 16Gb DDR3 Ram
  • Nvidia 9800GT 1Gb video card from previous system
  • 2Tb and 1.5Tb hard drives from previous system
  •  DVD-RW  and BD-Rom from previous system Read more…

iPad WiFi 3rd generation review

March 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The launch of The New iPad is following a similar pattern to some previous Apple device launches. The initial reviews are a mix of “it’s amazing“, “it’s a great device with frustrating Apple limitations” and “it’s rubbish, no-one will buy this but Apple fanboys“. Shortly followed by a much hyped hardware scandal, in this case the device becoming a bit warm under intensive use. While the 2% of Apple and Android advocates rage, the other 98% of the world (the people Apple targets) continue to buy the iPad in ever-increasing numbers.

Having lived with The New iPad  for two weeks (iPad G3 for the rest of this article), here are some thoughts. As the owner of a first generation iPad I skipped the iPad 2, so all of my comparisons are between the two iPad’s I have owned and used daily. Read more…

iPad 3rd Generation unboxing and screenshots

March 16, 2012 Leave a comment

My new iPad arrived at around 11am, so here are my first thoughts and some unboxing photo’s. More to follow as I compare it to my 1st Generation iPad, with some screengrabs from both to get an idea of the improvement in screen resolution.

The new screen is the first thing that impresses, and the difference between icons for Apple’s updated apps and those still at lower resolution.

Read more…

Thoughts on the new iPad

March 11, 2012 1 comment


The image above sums up my thoughts,  I ordered a 64Gb WiFi only iPad 3rd generation as soon as they were available for pre-order in the UK. As the owner of a 32Gb first generation iPad that I use every day it didn’t take much consideration. I recently read 35 years of the weekly UK comic 2000AD (over 1700 issues) on my iPad, and as a subscriber to the comic I can’t wait to see it on the 3 megapixel HD+ display. I want to see how much better HD video looks , and photo’s, and text. That’s enough reason for me to want one asap, without the huge processing and graphical  performance boost over the first iPad. Decent camera with iMovie and iPhoto? This just highlights the different approach Apple takes to the competition. It’s not about the hardware specifications, it’s about what you can do with the device.

The one thing I can’t grasp is how some news sources have claimed the new iPad (iPad G3) offers little more than “incremental improvements”. Sure, the iPad G1 had a good screen, and the iPad G3 has a better screen, but that’s like saying 1080p HD is just a little jump over standard definition. The iPad G3 camera can be described as just an improvement over the iPad G2 version. That doesn’t acknowledge that the iPad G2 camera was poor and the iPad G3 camera is a 5 megapixel version of the iPhone 4S camera, one of the best phone camera’s currently available.

I don’t use the Android operating system, but I am happy that it exists and continues to be very popular. Likewise, I’m happy that Microsoft has a Windows 8/Metro strategy that looks credible. Aggressive competition is good for the consumer, and drives innovation. Unfortunately some people just can’t seem to spot a killer product that has in previous models twice proved to be a massive success.

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