An overview of the process to create a Hackintosh

hackintosh

Recently I had made some computer changes in our home to free up some more space. One of those was to make our computers more mobile so we can use them anywhere in the house. This does two things for us: first we actually spend more time together as a family in the common room, second it frees up more room by removing pre-existing desks.

I should have probably prefaced the fact that we have many computing devices and desktops are no longer serving the purpose they once did as the only method of computing. Between myself, my wife and our 11 year old daughter, we have:

3 ipads, 3 iphones, 4 ipods, a google chrome, an android stick, a raspberry pi, 2 macbook airs, 2 imacs, a Kindle Fire, an Intel NUC and an old Dell laptop.

That averages out to about 6+ computing devices per person.

The imacs had the most storage on them with about 1TB of space each, so when we decided to get rid of them, we had the dilema of not having a place for the data to go. The decision was to use a 4TB drobo that we had to act as the file share, but since it was a 1st generation device it was USB only. Initially we had windows XP running on the Dell laptop (which was used mostly for it’s serial port to configure routers), so we created an SMB share on it and attached the drobo.

However, the performance over the network was not good enough to stream multi-gig MKV files to the Android stick running XBMC. So it ended up causing videos to buffer every 5 minutes and reduced the watchability.

On an AFP share on a mac, the same issue was not there. So we opted to go with a native HFS+ file system and an AFP share on the mac to do the job.

Now only if the old Dell laptop was a mac, all our problems would be solved. This is where the hackintoshing came in.

A few years ago when Apple switched over to Intel processors, the hackintosh movement began with people running OSX on PCs that had better specs than what you could get in a MacPro, or on netbooks that were cheaper than a used iPad. Initially, the process was very convoluted and required a lot of hacks just to get it going on specific hardware with very slow performance.

That has changed dramatically now and after several generations of bootloaders and workarounds, the process is very simple.

Enter in Unibeast and MyHack, the two main methods for creating a hackintosh.

Unibeast is a combination of a tool called iBoot (which acts as the bootloader) and the OSX install media. The Unibeast tool is run and it will take the iBoot tool, put it on an 8GB USB drive, then take the OSX install media and layer it on top. This gives you an installable USB drive with OSX that will install OSX. MyHack does the same thing, but it also works on external USB drives like the WD myBook.

After the setup process is done, then the specific drivers for the system have to be added to enable network, sound, enhanced graphics, etc. This is done by adding kernel extensions (kexts) to the system. A great resource for kexts is a site call OSXLatitude, which has a compatibility chart of hardware to OSX versions and all the kexts required to make it work.

Here is the link to the Unibeast site:

http://www.tonymacx86.com/home.php

After Unibeast is installed, use the tool called multibeast to install the kexts.

Here is the link to the MyHack site:

http://myhack.sojugarden.com/guide/

Here is the link to OSXLatitude, where you can get the kexts to install with MyHack:

http://www.osxlatitude.com/

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