The Best Hackintosh Distribution is No Distro

August 13, 2009 · View Comments

in Hackintosh, Tips

Despite huge developments by the OSx86 community the past four years since Apple introduced the Macintel, many still struggle to build their first Hackintosh. Truth to tell, running any version of Mac OS X on a PC is never straightforward as many newbies later find out the hard and frustrating way. If you’re looking for the ultimate tutorial that can tell you exactly what you need to do in order to successfully run OS X on your PC step-by-step, you’ll be frustrated too, unless your hardware happens to be similar to that of the author of the tutorial.

Hardware Compatibility

If you want to start from scratch, then there are plenty of resources on the Web where you can find hardware compatibility lists (HCL), that tells you what specific Desktop or Portable Computers and Components that have been proven to run OS X. Then you can go hardware hunting to get the same specs and hope for the best because there’s still no guarantee it would work 100 percent. The key is to keep on searching and reading from others’ experiences. The good news is, there is no shortage of Hackintosh user experiences on the Net.

Sources for Hardware Compatibility List (HCL):
OSx86 Project Wiki
InsanelyMac OSx86 Database

Hackintosh Distributions

Hackintosh distributions are patched/modified Mac OS X versions that will let you boot and run OS X on your PC. The problem however is that different PCs have different specs and components and not all of them are supported by the device drivers (kexts) included in the distribution. The last time I checked, there are around 5 or 6 different Hackintosh distributions available on the Net. Choosing what is best for you often is a trial-and-error process, until installing from a Mac OS X retail DVD became possible. Most Hackintosh distributions I tried before works well for the existing Mac OS X versions at the time but updating to a newly released Mac OS X version means doing additional hacks or waiting for a patched version of the Hackintosh distro. Not good. But since I built my Hackintosh on Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.4 using a retail DVD and the Boot-132 CD, all future updates of the Mac OS X Leopard can be done from the Software Update in the OS itself–just like a Mac user would. That is true for all other updates such as security patches and application updates.

Here is my Hackintosh Update history:

Tiger 10.4.9 – Uphuck 2.0
Leopard 10.5.1 – iATKOS v1.0r2
Leopard 10.5.2 – iATKOS v1.0ir2 + KalywayComboUpdate 10.5.2
Leopard 10.5.3 – iATKOS v1.0ir2 + Mysticus Update Package 10.5.3
Leopard 10.5.4 – iATKOS v4i
Leopard 10.5.4 – Mac OS X Retail DVD + Boot-132
Leopard 10.5.5 – Software Update
Leopard 10.5.6 – Software Update
Leopard 10.5.7 – Software Update
Leopard 10.5.8 – Software Update

As you can see, from Mac OS X 10.5.4 to the latest 10.5.8, all I did was to select Software Update from the OS itself. Since this works well for me, I think I have already the perfect Hackintosh, so I haven’t really devoted much time on updating myself on what the OSx86 community has to offer lately–until perhaps Snow Leopard is released.

Backup Your Extensions

Although there was a time I lost my network connection after an update, I just copied the old network kexts to the new version to get it back. An important lesson here is to backup your Extensions before performing an update.

This is my Hackintosh hardware specs since Tiger 10.4.9:

Foxconn G965 Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz Processor
ICH8R and Jmicron 361 Controller
NVidia 7200GS (same ID as 7300 SE)
Marvell Yukon Gigabit Ethernet
250 GB Hitachi SATA (Vista & Windows Server 2003 virtual machine)
160 GB Seagate SATA (Ubuntu)
160 GB Samsung SATA (Leopard)
DVD-RW Drive (with IDE to SATA Converter)

Hackintosh Tutorial: Install a Mac Leopard OS X Retail DVD on a PC

Other Hackintosh/OSx86 Sources:

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  • RobertLMach
    It is not surprising that these 2 people are divided into 2 groups: with the plow, shovel and those of WHO. Here are some tips to best snow blower help you enjoy the white stuff.
  • Are you going to upgrade to Snow Leopard on your Hackintosh? I found your Leo install guide very helpful and would be interested to see your progress on SL.

  • Dan
    Have you checked out the new chameleon at all? The boot screen looks pretty nice. I have had my hackintosh working for about a year thanks to your original tutorial. It would be nice to have a cleaner boot option though...worth checking out?

  • Dan
    To add to my first comment. My setup is almost exactly like yours. I have windows 7 on one drive, and an updated OSX on a different hard drive. I currently just do the "type in 81" method to choose what to boot to. This would be a great solution to make things more user friendly for my wife...but i'm a little afraid to mess with things too much
  • wolfmage
    I just read your post that you have win7 on 1 hdd and the OSX on another one.....who knows if its possible to just put them on seperate partitions on the same hard drive?
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