Friday, January 14, 2011

My Recent Hackintosh/Windows/Linux Install

I recently built my first Hackintosh and I am extremely pleased with it so I thought I would write about my experience. I needed a new computer and really like OSX, but I was not willing to pay the price for a new Macbook or iMac. Since a desktop is perfectly fine for my purposes and I already had the monitors for it, I figure I'd save some money and build an awesome machine running OSX. Thus, I bought everything on Newegg on black friday.

Here are the specs:

  • Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor
  • OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 90GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
  • ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
  • EVGA GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • SAMSUNG Spinpoint 2TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory 
  • GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Snow Leopard Install CD (the cheap $29 upgrade one that Apple sells)

Of those, I learned the most important things you need to check for compatibility with are the motherboard, the processor, and the video card. In short, what I found after research was that Gigabyte boards seem the most well supported, basically everyone uses the i5-750 or i7-860 processor, and there are a ton of video cards that work if you're willing to put in the time to fiddle with it.

To get going, I primarily used these four articles which I highly recommend reading:

I'll now go through my experience. It was a bit more complicated because for some reason I wanted a triple boot OSX, Windows 7, and Ubuntu installation.

First, I installed OSX (partitioning my hard drive into 3 partitions along the way), and updated the OS to 10.6.5 using the tonymac link above. I had no problems with this! Next, I jumped over to the first lifehacker tutorial and installed Windows 7, and had no problems there either. Finally, I installed Ubuntu 10.10 which I downloaded for free via bit torrent and didn't have any problems with that either. To get these working, I needed to play with some internals and get the chameleon boot loader working, as described on lifehacker. However, once I got the chameleon boot loader to work, OSX no longer worked for some reason... I never could figure out why. 

At this point the chameleon boot loader, the Windows 7 partition, and the Ubuntu partition all worked perfectly, but I had a dead OSX partition. I decided to wipe OSX clean and start with a fresh install. I booted using iBoot, and then put the OSX 10.6.3 install disk I bought from the store in. I updated the OS using the 10.6.5 combo update (1gb free download from apple). It is important to not restart the computer after completing this update!

After doing this, my OSX partition worked, but there was no audio and the video resolution was terrible because it wasn't utilizing my video card at all. As a side note, even though OSX didn't "recognize" my video card, the display still worked even though I connected it to my video card. To get the video card and audio working, I installed Multibeast from tonymac with the following things selected:

  • UserDSDT (placed the DSDT-GA-P55-USB3-2.0-F8.aml file on the desktop)
  • System Utilities (all)
  • Under advanced options:
    • NO AUDIO
    • NO DISK
    • NVEnabler
    • Realtek R1000SL
    • FakeSMC
    • 64-bit-Apple Boot Screen

After this completed, I restarted the computer. Next, I installed the realtek driver named RealtekRTL81xx-0_0_67.pkg located at http://lnx2mac.blogspot.com/p/realtekrtl81xx-osx-driver.html.

I then restarted the computer again. Next I installed VoodooHDA.kext (version 0.2.56) by downloading it from http://nawcom.com/osx86/files/10.6/Audio/VoodooHDA/0.2.56/kexts/ and dragging onto something called kext Utility which I downloaded at some point. 

Finally, after restarting my computer one final time, everything worked perfectly! And now I have a relatively inexpensive iMac thanks to about a day of work and Newegg's insane deals during black friday. Its XBench score is 273 in case you were curious. 

Looking back on it, I don't think I needed to partition my hard drive 3 ways. It has been working for over a month now and I never touch Windows or Linux anymore. My OSX partition absolutely never crashes which is fantastic. For reference though, if something were to happen with the OSX partition, these partitions could access each others' file systems by using this guide.

I hope this helps someone out there!