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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…

Hack Mini ITX 10.7 Server

December 10, 2011 5 comments

In July 2009 I built a small Intel Atom based file server that ran Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. It served as a NAS box and later ran 10.6 Snow Leopard with the Plex media server feeding my HTPC and a WDTV box through network shares. While there was enough processor power available for these simple tasks, new developments were beyond the limited power the Atom offers. The Plex Media Server can now stream and transcode to iOS clients, if your CPU is up to the task. Lion Server is available as a $50/£35 add-on for the Lion operating system, adding all the server functionality you could want. iTunes will act as a music server for all the computers in the house. With so many possibilities available, it was clearly time for an upgrade. Read more…

Buying Lion on a Hackintosh

August 15, 2011 6 comments


After the changes made upgrading my P35-DS3R/Q6600 hackintosh to 10.6.8, I expected downloading Mac OS 10.7 to be a breeze. It appears that the App store application has some built in checks that block the purchase/download on unsupported hardware. My first response was to try some different smbios.plist files, including the widely suggested MacPro 3,1 type, then try editing these. None of those attempts gave any success, so the next step was a search for suggestions from the many excellent Hackintosh forums.

One method I found was to install the latest version of Tonymac86’s Chimera bootloader, V1.4.1. This is available from the Tonymac86 site as either a standalone installer or part of the MultiBeast package. The Lion purchase/download then worked perfectly. I had some unexpected side effects as well, such as losing my VPN configuration and being unable to get it working again. I searched for reasons for this and suspect it was something to do with changes to the Ethernet port en0 setup. The easiest and fastest fix was to copy the Lion installer to my server and restore the disk to the backup I had made just before installing Chimera, finally copying the Lion Installer back again. I always repeat how important it is to make a backup before any big changes to a hackintosh installation, and once again it saved me a lot of time and effort.

This ended up being a lot of effort to buy and download Lion. I’ve always felt it’s important to buy the software even if I’m not within the terms of the EULA by running it on generic hardware. At £20.99/$29.99 it’s very cheap compared to the cost up upgrading a Windows system, and rampant piracy within the hackintosh community will not encourage Apple to continue to ignore us as it has done so far. Also, I already save a huge amount running Mac OS on generic hardware, saving £21 more seems as petty.

10.6.8 on Hackintosh

August 4, 2011 3 comments

This post has been delayed a long time, partly due to the changes I made to my Hackintosh during the 10.6.8 update and partly due to Mac OS 10.7 Lion. Previous 10.6.x updates had been fairly straightforward, often needing nothing more than a change to the PMversion of SleepEnabler in com.apple.Boot.plist. That approach didn’t work with the 10.6.8 update. I tried using PMversion=23 but this resulted in a crash during boot for PMversion/kernel miss-match. A search of several hackintosh forums showed that this was working for some people, while others were using PMversion=0 to disable SleepEnabler. Read more…

10.6.5 on Hackintosh

November 13, 2010 12 comments

Mac OS X 10.6.5 is out, and I have sucessfully installed the update on my main hackintosh with one minor change to my com.apple.Boot.plist. To recap, the important hardware in this hackintosh comprises:

  • Gigabyte Ga-P35-DS3R motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor
  • 4Gb 667 Mhz DDR2 SDRam
  • Nvidia GeForce 9800GT video card

The 10.6.5 update includes a new Kernel (Darwin 10.5.0) which doesn’t match the current custom SleepEnabler.kext, so will cause a kernel panic during startup. This is easily fixed, as SleepEnabler.kext can be passed an instruction through the com.apple.Boot.plist Kernel Flags section to set its declared version to match the kernel. Here’s my com.apple.Boot.plist from /Extra with the added instruction in red. Read more…

Lnx2Mac’s Realtek RTL81xx Driver

October 14, 2010 1 comment

One of the problems I encountered with my original Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R motherboard based hackintosh was the network interface. The Realtek 8111B chip on the motherboard didn’t work very well with OSX’s drivers, and a workaround was required. With Snow Leopard I used a modified version of ifconfig and a script to get the network interface working correctly with bonjour, so the useful auto discovery features would work (iTunes, Finder etc.)

This worked well but wasn’t very elegant, so I was happy to discover Lnx2Mac’s port of the Realtek Linux RTL81xx driver. I disabled the ifconfig script and dropped Lnx2Mac’s driver into /Extra/Extensions, and after running a few terminal commands to set permissions/owners and rebuilt caches (see step 6 here) it’s working great.

Thanks to Lnx2Mac for the work that went into porting this driver, and if it helps you out you can make a donation from the project page.

The Hackinfireplace

June 21, 2010 1 comment

I’ve been working on my latest hackintosh for a while now, with the last finishing touches taking much longer than anticipated. They’re all in place now so it’s time to reveal the hackinfireplace. That’s it in the video above, showing a couple of the HD videos that are launched using the function keys of a small wireless keyboard/trackpad. There’s a kitchen plinth heater hidden behind a removable piece of skirting under the display for those rare occasions when a bit of extra heating is needed.

The birth of this project was a visit to a DIY superstore as part of gutting and decorating the Lounge/Living Room. The choice of wall colours was easy, Oak floor agreed on and a new Leather Sofa and chairs a given. The choice of fireplace was more problematic. The existing fireplace was old, but not in a good antique way. Modern hang on the wall electric fires can look tacky with their fake flame effects, and the more expensive electric and gas wall mounted fires can get very costly. Most of those I saw with relatively easy fitting hung on the wall, protruding anywhere from four to six inches. They look fine from the front, but not so good from the side. What I really wanted was a fire flush with the wall, but that’s the point the cost starts rocketing. While in the DIY store myself and Mrs Basshead saw an LCD wall hung fire. A 19 inch screen played video’s of various fire’s, and there were also a few other scenes available. A remote control selected the video’s and also operated the 2kw heaters . A nice idea, but still wall hung not flush. The available video’s were also not great quality and the screen was not very high resolution. Read more…

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