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Apple

iBoot + MultiBeast: Install Mac OS X on any Intel-based PC

»Posted by on Nov 28, 2012 in Apple | 0 comments

Any OSx86 installation guide can seem daunting at first glance, especially when trying to remember cryptic terminal commands and sorting through volumes of misinformation on the web.  This guide requires no coding, terminal work, or Mac experience of any kind.  You will not need access to a Mac.  In fact, it’s easier and faster for me to install Snow Leopard with fully working components on my system than it is to install Windows 7.  And more fun.

The iBoot + MultiBeast method is designed and tested for any desktop or laptop running the latest line of Intel processors, the Core i3/i5/i7s.  I have had reports of success with older machines as well including CoreDuo, Core2Duo, and even Pentium 4.  However, AMD processors are not supported.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

  • If you have greater than 4gb of RAM, remove the extra RAM for a maximum of 4gb.  You can put back any extra RAM in after the installation process.
  • Use only 1 graphics card in the 1st PCIe slot with 1 monitor plugged in.
  • Remove any hard drives besides the blank drive being used for OS X.
  • Remove any USB peripherals besides keyboard and mouse.
  • Remove any PCI cards besides graphics- they may not be Mac compatible.
  • If using a Gigabyte 1156 board, use the blue Intel SATA ports- not the white Gigabyte SATA ports.
  • It’s best to use an empty hard drive- you will have to partition and format the drive.
  • Always back up any of your important data.
  • STEP 1: BIOS SETTINGS
    You will need to set your BIOS to ACHI mode and your Boot Priority to boot from CD-ROM first.  This is the most important step, and one many people overlook.  Make sure your bios settings match these.  It’s not difficult- the only thing I did on my Gigabyte board besides setting Boot Priority to CD/DVD first was set Optimized Defaults, change SATA to AHCI mode, and set HPET to 64-bit mode.


    STEP 2: INSTALL MAC OS X 

    In order to boot the Mac OS X Retail DVD, you’ll need to download and burn iBoot.  For desktops and laptops using unsupported Intel CPUs and graphics, a legacy version of iBoot can be downloaded here.

      1. Download iBoot
      2. Burn the image to CD
      3. Place iBoot in CD/DVD drive
      4. Restart computer
      5. At boot prompt, eject iBoot
      6. Insert your Mac OS X Snow Leopard Retail DVD and press F5
      7. When you see the screen below, press enter to begin the boot process

     

      1. When you get to the installation screen, open Utilities/Disk Utility.  NOTE: If you cannot get to the installation screen, retry from Step 4, type PCIRootUID=1 before hitting enter. If that doesn’t work then try PCIRootUID=1 -x or just -x which will enter Mac OS X Safe Mode and will allow you to proceed. For some graphics cards, use GraphicsEnabler=No boot flag to proceed. 
      2. Partition your hard drive to GUID Partition Table
      3. Format your hard drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled).   NOTE: The bootloader can only boot from a disk or partition of 1 TB or less.  Partition larger drives.
      4. For the purposes of this guide, name it Snow Leopard.  You can rename it later.
      5. Close Disk Utility
      6. When the installer asks you where to install, choose Snow Leopard
      7. Choose Customize‚ and uncheck additional options.  This will hasten the install process.  You can always install this stuff later.
      8. Restart computer.
      9. Place iBoot back in drive.
      10. When you get to the boot selection screen, choose your new Snow Leopard installation.
    1. View the super-cool Mac OS X Snow Leopard Welcome Video, and set up your computer!

TEP 3: UPDATE TO 10.6.8
If you have a Sandy Bridge system, please follow these specialized instructions to update to 10.6.8.

    1. Open Finder and navigate to your Snow Leopard drive.
    2. Download the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Combo Update
    3. Download MultiBeast
    4. Open MultiBeast- don’t run it yet, just leave it open.  Set up windows as shown.
  1. Mount MacOSXUpdCombo10.6.8.dmg
  2. Install MacOSXUpdCombo10.6.8.pkg
  3. Upon completion, the installer will ask you to reboot.  DO NOT REBOOT.
  4. Switch to the already open MultiBeast.  If it closes, just re-open it.

STEP 4: MULTIBEAST

MultiBeast is an all-in-one post-installation tool designed to enable boot from hard drive, and install support for Audio, Network, and Graphics. It contains two different complete post-installation solutions: EasyBeast and UserDSDT.  In addition it includes System Utilities to rebuild caches and repair permissions and a collection of drivers, boot loaders, boot time config files and handy software.

Choose one of the following options directly following a fresh installation and update:

EasyBeast is a DSDT-free solution for any Core/Core2/Core i system. It installs all of the essentials to allow your system to boot from the hard drive. Audio, Graphics and Network will have to be enabled separately.  

UserDSDT is a bare-minimum solution for those who have their own pre-edited DSDT. Place your DSDT.aml on the desktop before install. Audio, Graphics and Network will have to be enabled separately.  HINT: Check the DSDT Database for a pre-edited DSDT.

    1. Run MultiBeast.
    2. If you have a custom DSDT that’s been edited, place the file on your desktop and choose UserDSDT.
    3. All others select EasyBeast 
    4. Select System Utilities.
    5. Optionally, you may install further drivers via Advanced Options to enable ethernet, sound, graphics, etc…  Be sure to read the documentation provided about each installation option.  NOTE: EasyBeast, and UserDSDT install the bootloader by default, so you’ll not need to check that option.
  1. Install to Snow Leopard- it should take about 4 minutes to run scripts.
  2. Eject iBoot.
  3. Reboot- from your new Snow Leopard installation drive.
If your drive doesn’t boot on its own, and you get an error referencing boot0, fix it using the methods listed here.

Congratulations!  You’re done!!

Your PC is now fully operational, while running the latest version of Mac OS X Snow Leopard!  And you have a nice Boot CD to get into your system in case things go awry.  Boot your system from iBoot if you have issues.  You may run MultiBeast as often as you like.

If you can’t boot, try typing -x at the boot prompt to enter safe mode, or just boot with iBoot.  When you get to the desktop, you can make all of the changes you need to.  The best way to start fresh is delete whatever you’re trying to get rid of- including the whole /Extra folder, as most kexts are installed there.  Then you can re-run MultiBeast.  As long as you rebuild caches and repair permissions after you’re done, you can do just about anything you want to /Extra/Extensions and /System/Library/Extensions.  Anything can be tweaked and enabled upon subsequent uses of MultiBeast.

If you’ve had success using iBoot + MultiBeast, consider a contribution to help keep the sites going.  We’re constantly updating and tweaking our tools to help you.

Thanks in advance!

-tonymacx86 & MacMan

For our most current workarounds and solutions for issues such as USB and audio, check out the Mac OS X 10.6.3 Update Mac OS X 10.6.4 Update,  Mac OS X 10.6.5 UpdateMac OS X 10.6.6 Update, Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update, and Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update articles. Good luck, and see you on the forum!

Related Posts: Dual Boot Windows 7 and OS X Snow Leopard

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How to install Mac OS X Lion in Virtualbox [Windows]

»Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Apple | 0 comments

We’ve already covered how to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on a virtual machine with Virtualbox, which is great practice for installing Mac OS X on your actual computer. That guide focused on the legal method of Hackintoshing, which is to use a retail Snow Leopard installation DVD. However, there’s no way to install a retail copy of Mac OS X Lion on Virtualbox, unless you already own a Mac (which is a totally unreasonable requirement). If you want to install Lion on a virtual machine in Windows, you’ll have to take a different approach: distros.

LATEST UPDATE (July 31, 2012): Check out our guide to installing OS X Mountain Lion in Virtualbox.

For the unacquainted, distros are pirated copies of Mac OS X that have been modified to work with normal computers. Right now, using a distro is the only practical method for getting Mac OS X Lion to run a virtual machine in Windows.

To install Mac OS X Lion on a virtual machine, we’re going to use Virtualbox, which is a free and open-source virtualization suite. It’s important to note that Windows virtualization programs do not “officially” support Mac OS X, so you will not be able to enable full graphics support. This tutorial should only be taken as a proof of concept.
Computer Requirements
You need a computer with Windows to run Mac OS X on Windows (of course). The “System Type” of your copy of Windows needs to be 64-bit, because Mac OS X Lion is a 64-bit operating system. If you have a 32-bit copy of Windows, you can only install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on Virtualbox. You will need at least 4 GB of RAM and a dual-core (two core) processor or better. Personally, the computer I was using for this had a 4-core processor and 12 GB RAM, which is way more than enough. You also need about 10 GB of unused hard drive space.
Right click on “My Computer” on your desktop and click “Properties” to check the stats on your computer. If it doesn’t directly tell you how many cores your processor has, look up your processor model on Wikipedia or Google. You also want to find out whether your processor is made by “Intel” or “AMD”. Computers with AMD processors will not work with Lion. If you have a computer with an AMD processor, and you want to install Mac OS X in a virtual machine, you will have to settle with installing Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
General Requirements
  • Virtualbox : This virtualization suite is free, and though it doesn’t offer official support for Mac OS X, it works well enough.
  • iAtkos : This is a popular distro of Mac OS X Lion. I won’t go into details, but you can download it from just about any bittorrent website by using a bittorrent client (it’s about 4 GB in size). Unlike the retail version of Lion, you don’t have to use a boot CD like iBoot to start the Mac OS X installer.
You don’t have to use iAtkos; all distros and “bootable” versions of Mac OS X Lion do essentially the same thing. All of these distros will be downloaded as ISO files or DMG files, which are DVD images. Be sure not to download a VMWare Image of Lion, as those versions don’t work with Virtualbox.

Step 1: Prep

Download Virtualbox, install it, and open it up. Also, if you want to be able to view USB devices from your Mac OS X Lion virtual machine, download the Virtualbox Extension Pack and run it before going to Step 2.
Step 2: Create a new virtual machine.
Virtualbox lets you run Mac OSX within Windows by creating a virtual machine, which is a program that simulates a normal computer.  To create a virtual machine, open up Virtualbox and click “New” on the upper left. Give your new virtual machine a name, and choose “Mac OS X Server (64-bit)” for the OS Type.

Be sure to choose 64-bit and not 32-bit, because Mac OS X Lion only works with 64-bit. Choosing 32-bit will result in a critical “Guru Meditation” error later on.

I recommend assigning at least 4 GB of RAM to the virtual machine, but you can assign as little as 2 GB of RAM. Every time you turn on Mac OS X, that RAM that you assign here will be used to run the virtual machine. The RAM will be given back to your normal computer after you turn Virtualbox off.
You’ll need to create a new hard disk for the virtual machine. Virtualbox will ask you what type of disk you want to create: VDI, VDMK, or VHD. VDI is the original format for Virtualbox, while VDMK is the format used by VMWare. If you’re considering getting a copy of VMWare, you might want to choose VDMK. Otherwise, just choose VDI. I recommend creating a dynamically expanding disk; the only other option, fixed-size storage, will eat up your hard drive.
Step 3: Give your new virtual machine an operating system.
Your virtual machine will now be created. But don’t stop now–you still need to change a few settings before your machine will actually work. Your new virtual machine will show up on the left column of the Virtualbox start page.  Select your Mac OS X virtual machine (single-click) from the main page of Virtualbox, and open up the virtual machine settings. Once the settings open up, go to “System” and uncheck the “Enable EFI” box. This is by far the most important single setting that you will need to change.
EFI, which stands for Extended Firmware Interface, is a feature that helps operating systems start up. Unfortunately, Mac OSX requires ‘speshul’ EFI, so the EFI that Virtualbox uses doesn’t work.
In addition, make sure that “Enable IO APIC” is checked. Then, click on the “Acceleration” tab and check both of the options there. I’m not sure whether these options actually matter (EFI is definitely the most important variable), but it’s better safe than sorry.
Once you’re done with that, go to the settings for “Storage”. In the storage tree box, you’ll see a CD icon labeled “Empty”. Click on it and click “Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file”. In the window that pops up, choose the .iso or .dmg file for iAtkos (or whichever distro you downloaded).
Step 4: Install Mac OS X Lion
Start up your virtual machine. You should come up to a screen with the black-and-white picture of the iAtkos Lion.

Press enter to startup the Lion installer.

Continue, and you will eventually come up to a page that asks you for a “destination” for your Mac install. Oh no, the page is blank! We’ll have to fix that. To do this, start up Disk Utility (located under the Utilities menu).

Mac OSX can only be installed on a completely clean disk, so you need to use Disk Utility to wipe your Virtualbox hard disk. Click on the Virtualbox hard disk in Disk Utility and erase it. Don’t worry, there’s nothing important on it.

On the installation page for Mac OSX, the Virtualbox hard disk should now be showing up. Select it and continue.

Once that’s done with, Mac OSX will install itself. This will take at least 20 minutes.

When the installation finishes, Mac OS X will crash. This is normal.

Restart your virtual machine, eject iAtkos from your virtual DVD drive. To eject iAtkos, right-click on the CD icon at the bottom right of the Virtualbox window, and un-check the iAtkos DVD. (The below screenshot is different because it’s taken from my Snow Leopard guide, but it should look something like that.)

After ejecting the iAtkos CD, restart your virtual machine again. Now, at the bootup screen, you’ll see an icon for the hard drive where you installed Lion. Select it (use the arrow keys on your computer) and press “Enter”. Lion will boot, and you should eventually be led to the Mac OS X setup screen. Fill it out, then mission accomplished!

Step 5: Make the screen bigger
Though this step is optional, I still recommend you do it anyways. Anyways, when you first use your Mac OS X, you’ll probably notice one thing: your screen resolution is 1024×768. Since Virtualbox doesn’t “technically” support Mac OS X, there’s no official way to change this. But here’s how you can change it anyways:
Open up Finder and go to the folder “Extra” in the main hard drive, and open the file org.Chameleon.boot.plist. Between and in the file, insert the following line.
<key>Graphics Mode</key>
<string>1920x1080x32</string>

You can change “1920x1080x32″ to whatever resolution best fits your monitor. For instance, if you want to use the 1600×900 resolution, type in “1600x900x32″. Once you’ve saved it, turn off the virtual machine.

Next, open the Command Prompt in Windows. You can do this by opening the Start Menu, and typing “command prompt” into the Start Menu search bar. Then, type the following command into the Command Prompt.

cd “C:\Program Files\Oracle\Virtualbox”

This command will change the focus of the Command Prompt to the program folder for Virtualbox (if you installed Virtualbox somewhere different, then change the command to wherever you installed it). Next, type in this command:

vboxmanage setextradata “Name of virtual machine” “CustomVideoMode1″ “1920x1080x32″

This command activates “vboxmanage”, a command-line program included with Virtualbox that allows you to edit the properties of your virtual machine, including its built-in resolutions. Replace “Name of virtual machine” with the name of your virtual machine (in the screenshot below, my virtual machine is named “Mountain Mac 2″). Replace “1920x1080x32″ with whatever resolution you’re using.

Once that’s done, start your virtual machine again. It will now boot in full resolution. Congrats!

Step 6: Turn off updates.
First, an important note: DO NOT UPDATE NORMALLY. This is a golden rule of Hackintoshing, and it applies to virtual machines running Mac OS X too.
Anyways, Mac OS X is set to automatically update itself. This is bad. To turn off automatic updates, click on the Apple icon in the upper left hand corner of Mac OS X, go to System Preferences, and then click on “Software Update”. Uncheck the box that says “Check for Updates”.
Recap
I’ll just repeat what I said in my Snow Leopard guide. Installing Mac OS X on a virtual machine is excellent practice for the real thing: installing Mac OS X on your actual computer. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Compared to most computers, Virtualbox virtual machines are very “vanilla”, meaning that they’re very compatible with Mac OS X in the first place. After all, sound and ethernet work from the start. You can’t count on being that lucky with a real PC.

And even if you don’t plan on doing this for real, with a Hackintosh, it’s still a really cool thing to try out over the weekend.

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Can I install OS X on my PC? Read this first.

»Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Apple | 0 comments

Having compatible hardware in a Hackintosh (a PC running Mac OS X) makes the difference between success and failure. If you’re interested in installing Mac OS X on your PC, it’s important to know what hardware is compatible and what isn’t. Hackintosh compatibility varies, depending on whether your computer was self-built or prebuilt, and whether it’s a desktop PC or a laptop. (If you don’t know what hardware your current computer has, use a program like CPU-Z.)

LAST UPDATED: October 20, 2012

This article will help you determine whether your current PC can run Mac OS X. However, if you’re looking to build an entirely new computer for Hackintoshing, the easiest route is always to follow tonymacx86′s CustoMac build recommendations, or our own list of cheap Hackintosh builds. If you don’t want to build your own computer, check out our 2012 laptop buying guide, or our overview of the Dell XPS 8300 (which is pretty much the only well-documented, prebuilt desktop Hackintosh).

Self-Built Computers
Motherboard: If your computer’s motherboard was designed for Intel processors, and was manufactured in 2010-2012, there is a pretty good chance that it will work with Mac OS X. Motherboards made before 2010 are a lot trickier to work with, and may not be worth the effort.

Brand-wise, motherboards made by Gigabyte are the best-supported, since they’re the only boards that work by default with the CPU power management service built into Mac OS X. Most Gigabyte motherboards have DSDT files available in the DSDT section of tonymacx86, which is immensely helpful. DSDT files are configuration files that make Mac OS X to work with your specific motherboard (the DSDT for one motherboard will not work with another motherboard). And the newest Gigabyte motherboards, which use UEFI instead of BIOS, don’t even need a DSDT file.

If you don’t have a Gigabyte motherboard, check out tonymacx86′s DSDT section to see if they have a DSDT for your motherboard anyways. If not, you will have to search Google for specific Hackintoshing instructions for your particular motherboard. For example, if you have a Asus P8Z68-V LX Motherboard, then Google “P8Z68-V LX hackintosh”. You’ll also want to check the tonymacx86 wiki and the OSx86 wiki for two (incomplete) lists of compatible motherboards.

After Gigabyte, ASUS is the second most popular motherboard brand for Hackintoshes, so you can often find a lot of Hackintoshing guides about ASUS boards. You might also find Hackintoshing guides on motherboards from other brands, but they are far less common than guides for Gigabyte and ASUS boards.

Graphics card: Besides the motherboard, this is probably the most important part of your build. Mac OS X does not usually work with the built-in (“integrated”) graphics on any motherboard or CPU. You need to have a separate graphics card for your computer. The only exception to this rule are the built-in graphics cards of Intel Sandy Bridge processors and Intel Ivy Bridge processors; you can check the CPU section below for more info.

Older graphics cards (like the NVIDIA 8800GT and AMD Radeon 5770) will usually work with Mac OS X ”out of the box”, without the need for any extra modifications. As far as newer graphics cards go, most cards in the AMD Radeon 6600 and 6800 series will work in Mac OS X out of the box, as well. Some cards in the NVIDIA 400 series also work out of the box, but most of them require you to install OpenCL Enabler in Multibeast (for Lion and Mountain Lion), or the official NVIDIA drivers (for Snow Leopard).

Cards from the NVIDIA 500 series only work with Mac OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, while cards from the 600 series only work with OS X Mountain Lion. To enable graphics support for the 500 series in Mac OS X Lion, you have to install OpenCL Enabler in Multibeast. In OS X Mountain Lion, the 500 series and 600 series work out of the box, though not always (so you may have to install OpenCL Enabler anyways).

The AMD 6900 series and 7000 series of graphics cards aren’t supported yet. Additionally, ATI CrossfireX and NVIDIA SLI, which allow you to run two separate graphics cards as a single graphics card on Windows, do not work on a Hackintosh. Mac OS X will always recognize double-card setups as two separate graphics card.

Check out the tonymacx86 wiki and the OSx86 wiki for two (incomplete) lists of compatible graphics cards. It’s important to note that Mac OS X is very picky about graphics cards; the manufacturer of the card matters just as much as the card’s model. For example, a Gigabyte Radeon 5770 graphics card might work better than a Sapphire Radeon 5770 graphics card.

For more detailed information, check out our guide on Hackintosh graphics cards.

CPU: Almost any 2010-2012 Intel CPU will work with Mac OS X. AMD CPUs are barely supported, and therefore not recommended. Older Intel CPUs can usually run Mac OS X Snow Leopard, but many don’t work with Mac OS X Lion. Lion is a 64-bit operating system (x86-64), so it’s incompatible with the 32-bit architecture (x86) that older CPUs use.

The Sandy Bridge generation of Intel Core processors include built-in graphics cards. (Sandy Bridge processors are the processors with a model number in the 2000′s, such as the Core i5-2500.) These built-in graphics cards work with Mac OS X Lion (but not Snow Leopard), and come in two versions: HD 2000 and HD 3000. Unfortunately, only HD 3000 graphics are officially supported. HD 2000 sort of works, but it doesn’t have graphics acceleration, so it’s not recommended.

Intel’s newest Ivy Bridge processors are supported by Mac OS X 10.7.5 and all versions of OS X Mountain Lion. (Ivy Bridge processors have a model number in the 3000′s, such as the Core i5-3450.) Ivy Bridge does not work with Mac OS X Snow Leopard; normally, you must have access to a real Mac or an existing Hackintosh (or a Mac OS X virtual machine) before you can install Mac OS X on your Ivy Bridge computer. You might be able install Snow Leopard on Ivy Bridge by using iBoot Legacy, but results vary. The integrated HD 4000 graphics on some Ivy Bridge processors works with OS X Mountain Lion and Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7.5 and above). HD 2500 graphics aren’t supported.

P.S. Intel Sandy Bridge processors don’t work very well with Mac OS X Snow Leopard version 10.6.8. I recommend that you update to version 10.6.7 instead. You can still update to Mac OS X Lion from 10.6.7 (Mountain Lion requires 10.6.8, but you might be able to circumvent this requirement by spoofing your system version).

For more detailed information, check out our guide on Hackintosh CPUs.

And the rest: Most WiFi adapters and WiFi cards don’t work with Mac OS X. Using a wired internet connection with a Ethernet cord is preferred. If you need WiFi, check out MacBreaker’s list of natively-supported WiFi adapters.

While most Bluetooth adapters technically work with Mac OS X, a large majority will break sleep mode. If you want to use a wireless mouse that needs Bluetooth (such as the Apple Magic Mouse), but you also want to use sleep mode, check out our list of recommended Bluetooth adapters.

Most hard drives should work fine, though there are occasional exceptions. Hard drives with 4096 byte sectors (instead of normal 512 byte sectors) have problems booting Mac OS X, and need a rather complicated Terminal fix. This issue is most common in Western Digital Caviar Green hard drives.

Just about every solid state drive (SSD) will work with Mac OS X by default. However, some SSDs don’t have built-in garbage collection services, so you’ll need to enable TRIM in Mac OS X by yourself.

Additionally, some optical drives may prevent Mac OS X from sleeping. If you want a safe choice, buy a from a confirmed DVD drive series like Sony Optiarc. Hackintoshes can read and write Blu-ray discs with a Blu-ray drive, but you can’t play Blu-ray movies because they don’t support Mac OS X.

If a webcam claims to be compatible with Mac OS X, then it’s likely that it will work for Hackintoshes too. (Note that most webcams will not need drivers to run on OS X.)

The same goes for any other peripherals, such as mice and keyboards: most of them work, but you can never know for sure until you’ve tried it.

To check the compatibility of specific peripherals, be sure to take a look at the OSx86 Wiki. The tonymacx86 Wiki also includes a (short) lists of compatible peripherals. Neither of these lists are very big, so you’ll probably have to guess and check most of the time.

Pre-built desktop computers
Okay, so maybe building a new computer isn’t an option for you. It’s definitely possible to turn a normal pre-built computer into a Hackintosh. It’s just not very likely. If you want to attempt an install of Mac OS X on a pre-built computer, you need to do your research beforehand.

The main problem with pre-built computers is that they have really weird motherboards. When building PCs, manufacturers tend to use their own proprietary motherboards that nobody has ever heard of, so nobody has ever had to chance to make them compatible with Mac OS X.

You will have to search Google for specific Hackintoshing instructions for your particular model of computer. For example, if you have a Dell Optiplex 745, search “Dell Optiplex 745 hackintosh” on Google.

Additionally, check out the OSx86 Wiki for several lists of compatible desktop computers. The tonymacx86 Wiki also has a few lists of compatible desktop computers, but there’s no single page for that information. Either way, the lists are very incomplete.

If you can’t find a Hackintoshing guide (or wiki entry) for your desktop computer model, then the Hackintoshing process becomes a bit of a crapshoot. If your computer is a relatively new model and uses an Intel processor, there’s a chance that it can run Mac OS X reasonably well. You will generally have the best luck with gaming PCs, since they tend to use publicly available motherboards. However, without the help of a guide, I can’t make any guarantees.

Laptops

When it comes to Mac OS X compatibility, laptops are even worse than pre-built desktop computers. As mentioned earlier, very few WiFi cards work with OS X, and if your trackpad turns out to be incompatible, you can’t even get past the first page of the Mac OS X installer.

The same rules for pre-built desktops apply to laptops: search Google for specific Hackintoshing instructions for your laptop model. Check the OSx86 Wiki and tonymacx86 Wiki (luckily, the compatibility pages for laptops are more extensive than the pages for desktops).

And good luck Hackintoshing.

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The Best Hackintosh Laptops Of 2012 – For Lion

»Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Apple | 0 comments

The Best Hackintosh Laptops Of 2012 – For Lion

SEE ALSO: The Best Hackintosh Laptops of 2012 – For Mountain Lion

It’s very difficult to find a laptop that can easily be turned into Hackintosh. As mentioned in our Hackintosh compatibility guide, most laptops aren’t good Hackintoshes, because the compact design of laptops makes it very difficult to replace non-compatible parts.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of Hackintosh-compatible laptops, all of which can run Mac OS X Lion without the need to replace any hardware. Some of these laptops were chosen because they were exceptionally compatible with Mac OS X, while others were chosen because they had a large Hackintosh community backing them. Most of the guides provided below are from tonymacx86, and have files attached to them. To view and download attached files on tonymacx86, you have to register an account on the website.

LATEST UPDATE (September 22, 2012): Added the Lenovo G470 to the list. Fixed archived links to tonymacx86. 

Of course, keep in mind that no laptop will ever run Mac OS X as well as a real Macbook. But some laptops can get pretty close.

HP ProBook 4530s ($500-$950)

What You Get: The HP ProBook 4530s is a standard sized laptop with a 15.6-inch screen, and a pretty great keyboard. The 4530s uses 2nd-generation Intel processors (Sandy Bridge), with models varying from the lowest-end Core i3 to the highest-end Core i7. Overall, it’s a very diverse selection. If you’re looking for a standard sized laptop, the ProBook 4530s line will probably have the right laptop for you. The battery life for the 4530s on Mac OS X is about 3 hours, which isn’t great, but it’s not a dealbreaker, either.

Hackintosh Ability: This laptop is the only one on the list that I would recommend to someone without previous Hackintoshing experience– when it comes to ease of installation, the ProBook 4530s is pretty much the gold standard. If you’ve never set up a Hackintosh before, get this laptop. It’s even endorsed by tonymacx86 himself.

Most Hackintosh laptops require a ton of extra tweaking to get Mac OS X running well, but almost everything on the ProBook 4530s works automatically. WiFi, audio, ethernet, sleep, bluetooth, USB 3.0, the battery meter, the trackpad, and the SD card reader can all be enabled within a few minutes of your initial installation of Mac OS X. Tweaking can be kept to a minimum, since the HP ProBook 4530s forum on tonymacx86 has more or less figured out everything for you. If you’re looking for a truly Hackintosh-friendly laptop, go with this one.

That being said, not everything is perfect. Bluetooth won’t work after waking up from sleep, but screen brightness controls won’t work before waking up from sleep. So you’ll have to decide which feature is more important to you. Also, Bluetooth doesn’t work after a restart (only a cold bootup will make it work), the VGA port is unreliable, and the external microphone doesn’t work at all. However, don’t let all of these problems with the 4530s discourage you; none of the problems really affect the laptop’s usability. In fact, the 4530s actually has fewer problems than most Hackintosh laptops. It just happens that the glitches for the 4530s are better documented.

Resources: Snow Leopard install guide | Lion install guide | Forum | FAQ

HP ProBook 4430s ($500-$700)
What You Get: The ProBook 4430s is the smaller brother of the 4530s. While the design and most of the technical specifications are identical, the 4430s uses a slightly smaller 14-inch screen. Additionally, while the 4430s can use both Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors, there aren’t any models with Core i7. With such a compact screen, this laptop begs a comparison to the 13-inch Macbook Pro. In most aspects, the 4430s and the 13-inch Macbook Pro are essentially equal. However, the lower price of the 4430s comes with its own costs: remember that ProBooks usually only get about 3 hours of battery life on Mac OS X, while the Macbook Pro tops off at nearly 7 hours.

Hackintosh Ability: The ProBook 4430s lives up to the Hackintosh-friendly reputation of the HP ProBook line. Compatibility-wise, the 4430s is just as good as the highly-regarded 4530s: all of the laptop’s features work with little to no effort. However, like all ProBooks, the ProBook 4430s has issues with bluetooth and brightness controls, and the VGA port and external microphone don’t work.

Resources: Snow Leopard install guide | Lion install guide FAQ
The 4430s isn’t a very popular Hackintosh laptop, so there aren’t many Hackintoshing guides about it. Fortunately, Hackintoshing guides for the ProBook 4530s (linked above) usually work for the 4430s without any trouble.

HP ProBook 4730s ($800-$1100)
What You Get: The ProBook 4730s is a larger, higher-end version of the ProBook 4530s. Unlike the 4530s, the 4730s has a 17.3-inch screen, so it’s large enough to replace your desktop computer. In addition, the ProBook 4730s uses higher-end parts; every model of the 4730s uses either a Core i5 or Core i7 processor. The 4730s also uses a discrete graphics card (the AMD Radeon 6490M) instead of the processor’s built-in HD 3000 graphics.

Hackintosh Ability: The ProBook 4730s mostly works with Mac OS X Lion, but it’s not nearly as Hackintosh-compatible as the 4530s. The graphics card in the 4730s (the AMD Radeon 6490M) doesn’t work with Mac OS X, so you’ll have to disable it in the BIOS. This isn’t a huge loss, but it’s inconvenient, and it definitely complicates the installation procedure. The 4730s also has problems displaying Mac OS X at the correct screen resolution, since it uses a different resolution (1600×900) than other ProBook models.

Most importantly, this laptop sometimes experiences graphical glitches in Mac OS X, that prevent you from using Mission Control or the Dock. Though it’s not hard to work without the Mission Control and the Dock, it’s extremely annoying, so keep this in mind. Otherwise, everything else (WiFi, audio. ethernet, trackpad, etc.) should work pretty well. Like all of the ProBooks, the 4730s has problems with bluetooth, brightness controls, the VGA port, and the microphone.

Resources: Snow Leopard install guide | Lion install guide | Improved Lion Install Guide FAQ
The first two links are for the HP ProBook 4530s, but the installation procedure for the 4730s is pretty much the same. The third link is a mini-guide that’s adapted specifically for the 4730s (though I recommend that you read the first two links beforehand).

Lenovo G470 ($500)

What You Get: Specifications-wise, the 14-inch Lenovo G470 laptop is rather similar to the previously mentioned HP ProBook 4430s. After all, both laptops use 2nd-generation Intel processors (ranging from the low-end Core i3 to the mid-end Core i5), and both use Intel HD 3000 graphics. The main differentiating features of the G470 are its excellent Lenovo-style keyboard, and its option to replace the built-in HD 3000 graphics with a slightly better AMD Radeon HD 6370M graphics card. For Hackintoshing purposes, however, you’ll want to purchase a G470 model that uses an i5 processor and HD 3000 graphics.

Hackintosh Ability: Setting up Mac OS X on the Lenovo G470 is not totally straightforward. Fortunately, the standard Unibeast installation method works. After the initial installation, all you have to do is run Multibeast once and install a few extra extra kext files. From there, almost everything will work properly: graphics, WiFi, ethernet, Bluetooth, sound, trackpad gestures, the battery meter, and even the Fn keys on the keyboard. The laptop does not automatically go to sleep when you close the lid, but you can still sleep manually (by clicking the “Sleep” button in the Apple icon menu, at the top-left of Mac OS X). The webcam also works, though it apparently suffers from brightness issues. The only parts of the laptop that don’t work at all are the SD card reader and the brightness controls, neither of which is a major issue.

The biggest problem with the Lenovo G470 is the lack of easy-to-follow guides for it. Luckily, the process is reasonably brief: first, install Mac OS X Lion on your G470 with Unibeast. Download the DSDT file and some extra kexts (linked below in “Post-Installation Files”). Unzip the downloaded archive by double-clicking on it; a folder will appear. Drag the file “DSDT.aml” out from the folder, onto the desktop of Mac OS X. Run Multibeast and select these following options (choose whichever version of Patched AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement that applies for your copy of Mac OS X). Finally, install all of the kexts in the unzipped folder by using Kextbeast. You’re done!

Resources: Lion Post-Installation Files | Lion installation thread

Lenovo IdeaPad B570 ($500-700)

What You Get: The Lenovo B570 is an average 15.6-inch laptop with a great keyboard (like all Lenovo laptops). The specifications of the B570 are comparable to that of other recommended laptops, like the HP ProBook 4530s: you’ll find a 2nd-generation Intel processor and Intel HD graphics inside this laptop. The cheapest model of the B570 uses a Intel Celeron processor, but to enable graphics support on Mac OS X, you have to purchase a model that uses a Intel Core processor (preferably the Core i3-2330m).

Hackintosh Ability: With a good amount of tweaking, you can get everything on the Lenovo B570 to work except for the card reader. WiFi, ethernet, graphics, audio, CPU power management, battery, sleep, and the trackpad all work. The webcam does not work normally, though it works with the app CamTwist (this is a common Hackintosh quirk). However, the post-installation process for the B570 isn’t a one-click process; installing Mac OS X on this laptop is much more complicated than running Multibeast. The guide for the B570 (provided in the “Resources” section below) is very hard to read if you’re not already very familiar with Hackintoshing, so be warned.

To install Mac OS X Lion on the B570, instead of following tonymacx86′s Unibeast method, you have to set up your own specialized iAtkos USB drive (with some extra kexts and a new smbios.plist file installed). After the initial installation of Lion, you’ll have to work with nearly two-dozen separate kexts and other system files in the post-installation, since the guide for the B570 doesn’t use Multibeast. Luckily, there’s a DSDT file available for the B570, which enables audio and WiFi without the need for any more kexts. However, this DSDT only works with models of the B570 that use an Intel Core i3-2330m processor. If you have a different model of the B570, you can edit your own DSDT based off the DSDT for the Core i3-2330m model, but this is very complicated (we won’t be covering DSDT editing on this website).

Resources: Lion installation guide
There are three downloads in the Lion installation guide (linked above). The first download is an “Extra” folder for your B570, which includes a DSDT file, system files, and general kexts. The second download is a set of extra power management kexts, which allow you to run Mac OS X without using the NullCPUPowerManagement and SleepEnabler kexts (from the first download). The third download is an improved DSDT file that enables WiFi and sound, so that you don’t have to install the AppleHDA or IO80211Family kexts (from the first download).

Acer Aspire 5750G ($550-$830)

What You Get: The Aspire 5750G has (more or less) the same feature set and price as the HP ProBook 4530s: a 15.6-inch screen, a 2nd-generation Intel processor, etc. The main difference is that the 5750G uses a separate NVIDIA 540M graphics card, instead of the processor’s built-in HD 3000 graphics.

Hackintosh Ability: The Aspire 5750G has a smaller support community than the HP ProBook, but it still works pretty well with Mac OS X. The biggest problem with Hackintoshing this laptop is that there isn’t any comprehensive, up-to-date guide about it. A lot of people have been able to get the 5750G running with full OS X compatibility, but the necessary information is spread throughout the 30+ page installation thread on tonymacx86.

All of the essentials, such as WiFi, audio, and the trackpad, will probably work when you install the kext pack (in the “Resources” section below). However, there are many different models of the 5750G, so full compatibility isn’t guaranteed. Enabling gestures, such as two-finger scrolling, for the 5750G’s trackpad can be particularly difficult. The 5750G’s discrete graphics card probably won’t work, so you’ll have to turn it off in the BIOS, thereby eliminating the biggest advantage that the 5750G has over similarly-priced laptops. There is a DSDT patch (how to patch a DSDT) available for the 5750G, but your results may vary. This laptop definitely isn’t a project for the light-hearted; the information is out there, but getting everything on this laptop to work with Mac OS X can be a lesson in frustration.

Resources: Kext packLion install guide (archived) | DSDT patch | Trackpad kexts | Alternative audio kexts | 5750G Hackintosh thread

ASUS G53JW – A1 ($1400-$1700)

What You Get: The ASUS G53Jw is one beast of a laptop– it’s essentially a full-fledged desktop computer crammed into a laptop’s shell, and it runs Mac OS X Lion pretty well. It has the same screen size as the HP ProBook 4530s and Acer Aspire 5750G (15.6-inch), but the similarities end there. The G53Jw uses a discrete graphics card (the NVIDIA GTX 460M), and unlike most discrete laptop cards, this one actually works on Mac OS X. Other features of note include dual hard drive support, a Bluray drive, and a backlighted keyboard. Technically, the G53Jw uses older hardware than the other options on this list (so it’s not really a laptop “for 2012″), but it’ll still run faster than most of the other options on this list.

Hackintosh Ability:  If you’re looking for a high-end Hackintosh laptop, the ASUS G53Jw isn’t a bad choice, as long as you’re willing to spend some time on the installation. Be sure to get the A1 model of the G53Jw if you can– this is the best supported model. There’s a guide for installing Mac OS X on the G53Jw, but it’s not a simple installation process, so you’ll need some previous Hackintosh experience to pull off this install.

With the right kexts (available in the guide linked below), you can get it up and running with almost full functionality. Graphics, WiFi, audio, sleep, bluetooth, the trackpad, and even the keyboard backlights all work. The only things that don’t work at all are the microphone, the SD card reader, and some of the Fn keys (function keys). Fn keys, microphones, and card readers are all optional components for a laptop, so depending on your needs, this might not even be a big deal.

Resources: ASUS G53Jw installation guide

ASUS G73Sw ($1400-$1800)

What You Get: The ASUS G73Sw is a larger, newer version of the G53Jw. Both laptops are part of ASUS’s line of high-end gaming laptops, and specifications-wise, they’re mostly the same: the G73Sw and G53Jw both have a Bluray drive, a backlighted keyboard, dual hard drive support, and a NVIDIA GTX 460M graphics card. The main difference is the G73Sw’s updated 2nd-generation Intel processor, which gives it a large performance boost. You’ll also notice that the G73Sw has a 17.3-inch screen, making it the largest (and heaviest) laptop on this list. The G73Sw weighs a hefty 8.5 pounds (about 3.9 kg), but if you’re not looking for portability, it can act as a powerful desktop computer replacement.

Hackintosh Ability: Unfortunately, there isn’t a comprehensive guide to setting up Mac OS X on the G73Sw, so you’ll need a lot of previous Hackintosh experience to pull off the installation. Once you finish the post-installation, most of the things work: graphics, WiFi, audio, sleep, bluetooth, and the trackpad. The keyboard backlights should work as well, though the results differ from person to person. However, like the G53Jw, the Fn keys and microphone on the G73Sw don’t work. The SD card reader built into the laptop hasn’t been confirmed to work, either. There is a DSDT patch available for the laptop on Olarila (how to patch a DSDT).

Resources: Kexts for Mac OS X Lion | Snow Leopard installation thread | Lion installation thread (archived) | DSDT Patch
In addition to these installation threads, check out the installation guide for ASUS G53Jw (in the above section). After installing Mac OS X Lion on the G73Sw, install all of the kexts from the above link called “Kexts”.

Conclusion
There are a lot more compatible laptops in the Hackintoshing world, but most of them use outdated hardware, or don’t have a coherent installation method for Mac OS X Lion. When this buyer’s guide was created in March 25, 2012, there were only 4 laptops in this list. This list is constantly expanding, as I find more laptops that fulfill these requirements. For now, keep your eyes peeled on tonymacx86′s laptop forum, as well as InsanelyMac’s own notebook forum and tutorials section.

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