Hackintosh part 9
I’ve been using my DIY Mac for about a month so it’s time for an update on how well everything is working. I haven’t had any major show stoppers so far, more minor irritations and puzzling behaviours. It’s a pleasure to use the hackintosh and having run Mac OS on several machines in the past the huge performance improvement makes the OS more responsive than ever. I’ve read reviews in the past that say you haven’t experienced Mac OS at it’s best until you try a Mac Pro, and they’re not exagerating.
- CPU – The biggest problem here is the ‘About this Mac’ window showing unknown for the processor type, which is pretty much a non-issue. Performance of the Core 2 Quad has been excellent over clocked to 3Ghz, with no instability, crashes or flakiness of any kind. The biggest surprise has been how little software, apart from the pro apps, uses more than one processor.
- Graphics – Again no issues, with spaces and other graphical effect smooth and consistent. I’ve tried Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 to see how non-cutting edge games fare, and at 1680×1050 there’s no jerkiness or slowdown on the 7300Gt. I see no reason to upgrade the graphics card at the moment, even if the new 9600 is looking good.
- CD/DVD – This is the area where I have encountered the most problems. The Plextor 755SA has started disappearing from the system whenever an error with reading or burning occurs. For example, if I use iTunes to burn some tracks to a CD and try to eject the disc at the end of the burn before iTunes has recognised it, the drive vanishes. If I allow it to appear in the iTunes sidebar and then eject it, it’s fine. It’s easy enough to live with if I remember the limitations, but I will probably buy a Pioneer SATA drive and try that since there have been several reports of the Plextor drive suffering this problem. The next time it disappears I will plug in an external USB Pioneer drive for testing.
- Hard Drive – Fast and quiet, the only thing I have noticed is that the drive isn’t seen in the startup disk preference pane. I have made a full backup using Superduper which worked fine, but again the external USB backup drive isn’t recognised as a startup disk although it mounts and is usable. I will try making a bootable backup in the next few days and share my results.
- Sound – Stereo sound output and input works fine, and that’s as far as I have gone at the moment. I don’t need multi channel so I haven’t tested further.
- Network – The network performance of the Hackintosh is level with my first generation Macbook, which means it works and shares can be mounted but do not reliably appear in the Finder sidebar.
- Power Management – System shutdowns have been a bit mixed, sometimes the system will completely power down, other times it stops in an idle state with no display output or disk activity but the fans running and motherboard power LED on. I haven’t figured out the cause yet, but it’s so small an issue it’s not worth experimenting with modified kernels. Sleep doesn’t work reliably, but I don’t use it.
- Windows/Linux etc. I have Windows XP running very well using the free Virtualbox for those times I have to run Windows software, and I’m currently emptying a spare 120Gb SATA hard drive to install Windows Vista and Linux on to try the quad core processor with other operating systems. I haven’t decided on which variety of Linux to try, although Linux Mint and Dreamlinux are favourite at the moment.