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Thread: Running OSX on My Regular Computer

  1. #1
    ALTMAN BE PRAISED Dopefish's Avatar
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    Running OSX on My Regular Computer

    Let me start off with saying that this is not for everyone and it requires not being afraid to mess around with stuff, knowledge of harddrives and partitions, knowledge of your hardware, etc., etc., etc.



    I have several OSX systems already, but they're all PPC. They're aging and just don't have the processing power to handle today's applications.

    A long time ago, when Tiger was first announced of x86 systems, I remember giving it a try. I had an AMD64 system with SSE2 support and most of the compatible hardware. To get it going, I had to rip my Tiger disc to my computer, apply some patches to it, and re-burn it. When you boot the disc and install, you needed to run some console commands to replace files on the installed system before you exited the installer. Once everything was done, you booted into Tiger. Several things of mine were not support. It did not detect my monitor and limited the screen size to 1024x768. It did not detect my on-board audio or my on-board NIC. Since my processor only supported SSE2, I could also not run certain applications. In other words, this system was neat to get up and say "Look, Tiger on my x86 system." There really wasn't anything else you could do with it.

    Now, things have changed a lot. I have a newer system with a 680i chipset and Intel Core 2 Duo E6600. Also, Leopard has come out since then. I decided to give this another shot.

    The first thing I did was head over to the OSx86 Project site and read up on what's changed since I last looked into it. I also did a bunch of Google searches to gather as much information as I could. Eventually, I came across this interesting article. I already bought Leopard, which has a 5-user license, so I proceeded to download this Kalyway disc image. The article is for a 10.5.1 installation, but the disc I found was already 10.5.2. Once downloaded, I burned the disc.

    Using that article above, I followed the various steps and selected the hardware and drivers. I selected the harddrive and installed Leopard. I exited the installer like normal and it booted perfectly. Now, I didn't do as much research as I should have, because two things didn't work right: the audio and the on-board NIC. I already knew the audio wouldn't work because Creative is a terrible company when it comes to driver support. My motherboard has on-board audio so I looked into it and found that my on-board audio was a RealTek ALC885 chipset. I browsed the forums at InsanelyMac and found a patcher that will add support for the ALC885 chipset. My audio works fine now except I can't get the microphone to work. I read about this and people reported the same thing, but other people also reported that there is a way to enable it. I haven't researched it further yet so that option is still on the table for me.

    As for the on-board NIC, it uses a Marvell 88E1116 chipset. This chipset is basically completely unsupported at the moment. There are hacked drivers to get it working, but it's a mix as to whether it works for you or not. Even then, it has several issues related to multiple processors and synchronization. I remembered I had an old RealTek 8139 NIC laying around (who doesn't?) so I found it and installed it in my system. Upon booting, it saw it and I had networking. All was well, I thought. After doing some heavy file transfers over the network, the network connection just flat out dropped and would not come back. It was back to browsing the forums. I discovered that this RealTek driver also suffers from the same problem as the Marvell one when it came to multiple processors. The only 100% known working solution is to boot with "cpus=1" and the network will not drop anymore. I tried all kinds of tricks and different drivers and they all drop the connection on large transfers. So for awhile I stayed booted with only one core active. I did all my large file transfers and everything worked. I've since then rebooted and am using two cores again, and the network has been completely stable so far, but I also haven't done any large file transfers. So this is an acceptable solution to me until I get a better NIC.

    If you plan on setting up a system like this, check out the hardware compatibility lists and see which hardware is best supported so you can have a completely stable system.


    Anyway, other than patching a driver for ALC885 support and installing a RealTek NIC in my system, the install was very simple and flawless. All of my other hardware was completely supported. I now have a multi-thousand dollar OSX system that cost me only hundreds of dollars a long time ago.


    My current hardware setup:
    Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
    Motherboard - eVGA nForce 680i
    Harddrives - A bunch of various SATA drives
    Sound - Creative SB X-Fi Fatality / On-board ALC885
    Network - RealTek 8139 / On-board Marvell 88E1116
    Video - nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB
    DVD - Some Samsung DVD writer that writes everything

    I think that's all the hardware. So if you have a similar hardware setup, you can probably give the installation a shot, as well. The only thing I'd really check on is for on-board sound support and network card.

    All software works, games work fine, it's fast as hell, and it's awesome.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Running OSX on My Regular Computer-picture-1.png  

  2. #2
    Beagle Rancher Gantua's Avatar
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    Someone got drunk last night....

  3. #3
    ಠ_ಠ panic!'s Avatar
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    I attempted to do this on my System the other day (Asus P5N-E SLI 650i) and it was a pain to actually get it to boot into the installer. Sometimes it would load the Nvidia software, and sometimes it won't. Playing around with my bios I finally got it going and it was installing, near the end it just failed and I had to reboot. After that it wouldn't boot into the installer again at all. So I just gave up on it.

    My next motherboard I get I'm planning to get a p35 (or some Intel board) that seems pretty compatible with Vanilla installs.

    This guide you found has some pretty important steps I totally missed, I'll give it another shot tonight.
    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    denny, i didn't know your cadillac had crank windows.

  4. #4
    ALTMAN BE PRAISED Dopefish's Avatar
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    Yeah, it was a really painless install for me. The install disc booted fine everytime. The only thing I do is that when I boot sometimes, I'll press enter to give it more options and I'll pass the arguments: -v cpus=1. The -v option basically gets rid of the grey screen with the spinning circle and shows you what's going on. It's not necessary but I find it less boring than watching that spinning thing. Specifying cpus=1 will limit it to one core. Like I said above, it's only needed if you have an unstable network connection. If your card is fully supported, then you should just be able to boot without specifying anything.

  5. #5
    ALTMAN BE PRAISED Dopefish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gantua View Post
    Someone got drunk last night....
    GTFO

    I do this stuff all the time just for fun. Besides, I'm always drunk.

  6. #6
    may the Bruce be with you CoffeeShark's Avatar
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    sounds cool, always wanted to give it a shot without buying a mac.

  7. #7
    Worst. Player. Ever. SonicSpeed's Avatar
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    I've tried it before, but it is very very hit or miss. If you have one wrong component (in my case it was a PATA burner instead of a SATA one) then it doesn't work at all.

    But the guys over at the OSx86 Project have a decent wiki and HCL list.
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  8. #8
    m00tini! wootini's Avatar
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    Nice work Dope.

  9. #9
    Registered User No-Fear's Avatar
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    I so want to do this...how long did it take you dope???
    Antec Nine Hundred HomebrewV2.9.1 | Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 @ 3.4ghz |4gb 800mhz ddr2 corsair xms2 led ram | WD VelociRaptor 300gb(x3) |Dual 1GB GeForce GTX 285 XXX Cards | Asus Striker Extreme | 1000Watt Enermax Galaxy | Windows 7 Pro | Sony Bravia 32' LCD | Windows 7 Performance Score 6.9 |3d Mark 06 23,106 |

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  10. #10
    living the clean life Tulkas's Avatar
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    I'm surprised it works well, because despite the commercials, I find XP on my mac laptop doesn't work as well it does on my desktop PC.

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