Home > apple, computer, hackintosh > Who makes my next Computer?

Who makes my next Computer?

hackintoshIt’s the time of year when I take a look at my computer and ask if I want to upgrade anything. My Macbook (first generation 1.83Ghz) has been fairly solid for the year and a half since I got it. Sudden shutdowns were the biggest problem, and after six weeks of use it was off to Apple for a mystery repair. Apple said they replaced a cable and a bracket but the machine came back with a different hard drive as well. Around six months ago the dying battery was replaced for free, but then half the world seems to have suffered from defective batteries.
The source of this latest round of upgrade angst is Geekbench. It’s a processor benchmarking program that lets you compare processor performance in any supported operating system. I tested the VideoPC (Windows XP, Dual Xeon 2.4Ghz) and got a result of 1560. The Macbook was a surprise (Mac OS 10.5.1, Core Duo 1.83Ghz) returning 2304. I still use the VideoPC for a range of video editing tasks, but it’s a noisy power hungry beast. If the Macbook is 50% faster I would be better served moving all my work to the Macbook. especially since UK energy prices are going through the roof.

Then I got thinking, if the Macbook with it’s Core Duo is that much faster at a slower clock speed, how good are the newer Core 2 Duos? Or the Core 2 Quads? The problem is I want to run Mac OS. I don’t mind using Windows XP, having grown used to it’s quirks, but I don’t care much for Vista. I don’t want to start comparing Operating Systems, I just prefer the Mac OS. It makes more sense to me and I find it nicer to use. And there’s the dilemma. Apple don’t make the computer I want. The Mac Mini and iMac are not upgradeable or expandable enough, and the Mac Pro is too expensive. There isn’t a computer in the middle of Apple’s range that suites my needs, and I can’t build my own.
I recently found out that the last statement is no longer true. Hackers (and I mean that in the nice, hardware hacker sense) have been running Mac OS on unsupported off the shelf hardware for a while now, and the release of leopard (10.5) seems to have made this easier. Macs use EFI instead of a Bios to start the computer, and those clever hackers have created EFI emulation software that allows Mac OS to run on a range of hardware without major modification, and even use unmodified system updates.
The osx86 project has pages of hardware compatibility lists so hackintosh (as a DIY Mac is known) users can see what has been tried. The Geekbench results browser shows the results of many of these machines. Interestingly, all the top performing machines are Mac Pro’s, but then no-one appears to have installed Windows on these machines and tested them.
The processor of choice seems to be the Core 2 Quad 2.4Ghz at the moment, and this is returning a geekbench score of anywhere between 3500 to 7000 depending on processor speed. These CPU’s are great overclockers so the prospect of a 200% speed boost over the Macbook is good.
The Mac OS 10.5.2 update is due any time now, and is reported to fix a lot of the remaining issues with Leopard. I’m waiting for the hardware compatibility reports to come in before starting my hackintosh project, so come back soon for progress reports.

Hackintosh Part 1

Hackintosh Part 2

Hackintosh Part 3

Hackintosh part 4

Hackintosh part 5

Hackintosh part 6

Hackintosh part 7

Hackintosh part 8

Hackintosh part 9

  1. theanti9
    January 27, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Sounds like a good choice, go for the hackintosh! 😮 You can make a REALLY nice computer for not too much money.

  1. January 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm

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