Friday, February 1, 2008

OSX on a PC!!

That's right. the holy grail.
Finally freedom from lame windows.
OSX running on your PC hardware. I have always been a fan of PCs, changeing motherboards, overclocking CPUs, plugging in weird Video cards, and getting the whole thing to work only to be confronted at the end with lame Windows XP (don't even mention Vista).
Its kind of like building the best car ever, getting dressed up in you best clothes, and going out on the town, only to find yourself at a party with 10 workmates who you hate, talking about a TV program that was cancelled 15 years ago, that you also hated, and even getting that wrong.
Well anyway, if you want the blow by blow how to, please see my article

Who did what?
The problem with getting OSX to run on a PC, is that most PCs run at the lowest level, a program called a BIOS (Basic Input Output System). This is used to direct calls from the operating system to the hardware.
BIOS has been with us since the first PCs back in 86'.
Macs use a system called EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface).

Why is this good for Apple?
Apple makes great stuff, but they are stuck in the 10 - 12% of total machines out there. If they don't want to play second fiddle to Microsoft, they are going to somehow have to get that up to 30 or 40. How?

Why is this good for Apple Users?

Why is this good for PC Users?

Why is this really REALLY bad for Microsoft?

Monday, January 28, 2008

OSx86 on GA-G31M-S2L (Instructions)

These are the verbose instructions for installing OSX on a Gigabyte GA-31M-S2L motherboard. For an explanation on this, see the next article. If you have a different motherboard, you may still find this useful, since I worked through some interesting issues that would affect everyone.

For extra help and instructions, go to and read alot.
You find everything you need there. Since there is a alot of hunting around, I have tried to centralise everything I did here.

What I have;
  • Motherboard; Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L firmware F4 (latest)
  • CPU; Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 running at 2.66Ghz
  • Video Card; MSI NX7900GT 256MB (and MSI 8600GT)256MB
  • RAM; 2GB Corsair XMS 800;
What you will need;
  • Similar Hardware to above. Particularly the MB, since that has the Sound and Ethernet adapters.
  • The Software; the "Kelyway Leo 10.5.1 SSE2 SSE3" DVD image. Get it off bit torrent. The file is about 4 GB
  • Realtek RTL8111C is the onboard NIC for this the motherboard. Get the drivers here. You will probably want to copy them onto a USB key or something so you can copy them onto the Hakintosh.
  • ALC662 The Onboard soundcard for this motherboard is not supported, and there are no drivers (yet), however the motherboard does support Azalia HD sound. There is a driver for that which you should get and install once you have OSX actually running. Get it here.
  • NVIDIA Geforce 8 series will also need post install drivers that you can get here.
Things to remember;
Although my install (after a couple of days) is quite stable, this is not a serious solution (running OSX on PC hardware). It is a hack, and is fun for that purpose only.
If you are thinking of using a system like this for serious or commercial purposes, you are insane.
If you like OSX, go out and buy a Mac!, if you really can't do that, then at least go and buy a copy of OSX.
  • The system for this has been evolving over the past 2 years, and alot of the (previously important) help is now redundant. There are many references to installing EFI drivers.
  • With the Kelyway DVD listed above, that is done automatically so you don't have to. I wish someone had told me that :).
Prerequisites (you)
  • Do you know the difference between IDE and SATA?
  • Can you set your IDE DVD player to "slave mode"?
  • Do you know how to change settings in the BIOS?
  • Do you know how to burn an ISO image?
  • Do You know the difference between a volume and a partition?
  • If you answered "no" to any of these questions, then go away and find out before proceeding (ask a nerd friend).
Preparation of the machine;
  • First off; Multi boot. There are so many questions/problems with multi boot (installing this and windows XP/Vista on the same HDD) I can't believe it.
  • While it is possible, it is quite problematic and relativly pointless.
  • If you want to do multi boot, wait until you know what you are doing.
  • In the meantime get a HDD which you can totally reformat/repartition that has no data on it that you need.
  • The HDD will be wiped, and any data on it will be gone
  • Next Configure the drives in such a way that the harddisk is the first drive (ie SATA port 0, or master of the IDE channel).
  • Change These Settings in the BIOS;
  • CPU Ehanced - Disabled; EIST - Disabled; Virtualisation -Disabled; Init Display - PEG; ACPI Suspend s3 (STR); set the USB Keyboard support to enabled; and USB mouse support to enabled;
  • You may be fine with a PS2 keyboard, but a USB keyboard makes life a little easier.
Begin the Install;

Boot from the Kelyway DVD, it should take a few minutes to boot into the installer.

Preparing the Disk
  • Once you are in the installer Select "Disk Utility" from the "Utilities" menu.
  • Select your hard drive and erase any partitions and create a new single partition (or any amount if you know what you are doing) format it as "MAC OS Extended (journaled) and make sure the partition is set to Master Boot Record (MBR).
  • Once that is set up you may continue with the installation.
  • Select a Target Disk (the one you just created should be your only option.

Final install;
  • The final installation screen which will have a "Customise" button. press that and select the following....
Select both settings for the top option (Vanilla ACPI and ACPI_Fix)
Select SSE2
Select The Geforce Video driver if you have a series 6 or 7, otherwise just leave it. (I have a series 8), although my original series seven worked perfectly with the default "geforce Desktop" drivers.
Select the EFI_MBR for the last option --- IMPORTANT! This usually defaults to the wrong setting so make sure it is the correct "MBR" Setting. I am assuming you partitioned the disk with MBR (as described earlier).
  • When you are finished go back and begin the install proper.... It will go for about 10 minutes (although it will report something like 40 at the begining). Another important tip! move the mouse every two minutes or so during the install. . I know this sounds dumb, but I found that if I just left it, it would sleep the HDD (or something) and the install would fail near the end...
  • When that has completed, it will restart.
Remove the DVD, and you should boot into OSX!!
If you get the dreaded "b0 error" and no start, try to make the OSX partition "active" this can be done by booting from the install DVD and breaking into the command line, then using fdisk. There is an excellent tute on how to do this at just search for "active partition" or "b0 error".
All other things being equal you should boot into OSX.
The first thing you should do is copy the Network drivers from the USB key as previously discussed. If your USB key works, it should mount as a disk on the desktop and just run the drivers from there. you may have to fluff around with manual link speeds, before you get a result. I found I needed to reboot a couple of times, and spent a while with it on 10Mbps before it was happy at 100Mbps (I will discuss this process more later). Reboot
Next install the Azalea drivers. Reboot
If you have a Geforce 8, install those drivers now. Reboot.
Sometimes the ethernet port will not seem to connect properly, particulary when you have just been running windows on it (I guess the windows driver does something to the autosense mode or something) anyway, if that happens, go into the BIOS and run the "Smart Lan" option [from "integrated perepherals" I think] and let it do whatever the heck that actually does for about ten seconds, then reboot (you don't have to save the BIOS again). All should be OK.
Now you should be Double Happy! go and download Xbench and work out how fast your mac is compared to the others.