During the Christmas holidays last year I decided to attempt to install Mac OS X on standard PC hardware, and this is what happened.

I started by looking at compatibility lists on the internet, then proceeded to buy a bunch of hardware. I wasn’t too concerned at this stage to plan things down to the last bolt, as I figured there was a good chance I’d run out of talent before it worked……

I ended up buying-

Antec case

Intel Quad Core 2.33GHz CPU

OEM nVidia 9800GT video card

Asus P5K-E Motherboard

and I used hard drives, ram and DVD drives from stock. At the time, it seemed that the best install was the Kalyway one (search Bit Torrent if you are interested) so I duly downloaded that….

Assembling the PC was a real lesson, and makes you appreciate Apple’s design team. Overall things went smoothly however it was very difficult to route the cables neatly and I didn’t feel that it was possible to get the build to a standard I would feel was acceptable. But hey it’s just a play project, right?

The Kalyway install is detailed all over the place so I won’t go into that, but when I came to restart after the install I found I still had a lot of work to go! All sorts of things didn’t work properly- no ethernet (no internet!), video res stuck at 1024×768, won’t sleep, etc.

Then the real work started trying to get all of these foreign bits of hardware to play nice with the OS. It wasn’t a 5 minute job, but I learnt a lot about how Apple’s OS is structured, how drivers work and how to edit plist files.

There are lots of  instructions on the net, unfortunately NONE of them give you step by step instructions that actually work- they all leave out critical information. It’s not hard to understand why because nobody seems to write the instructions down while they are installing, they do it from memory after the fact. Even the Dell Mini 9 hack which I have also completed was less than trivial and it is one of the most well developed installs.

Soooooo, my measure of success was if I could get it running 10.5.6 reliably, I would use it as my main machine for a while. It did, so I did. Then I had the smart idea of re installing using the Boot- 132 method. This has a couple of theoretical advantages-

1. You can use a retail version of the Mac OS X installer DVD

2. It has been written in Darwin, Apple’s open source version of the OS, which means that it doesn’t violate any DCMA style laws. Meaning Apple may not sue you for doing it. As long as you put an Apple sticker on the box to satisfy Apple’s EULA. Maybe, possibly, perhaps.

So I did the install again, only to find that the difficulty level was similar, and you still can’t safely install Apple updates.

Interested? Give it a go if you have lots of time on your hands, and you enjoy sticking pins in yourself. I can highly recommend it for anyone with masochist leanings. However I did learn a lot…….

More info at this link