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Mac/OSX - Macintosh vs Hackintosh? A debate

Discussion in 'Apple Hardware' started by Hades, 19 Oct 2009.

  1. Hades

    Caporegime

    Joined: 19 Oct 2002

    Posts: 25,202

    Location: Surrey

    First off, please don't steer this discussion into how you can run OSX on a PC because that will probably get the thread locked. Please keep it about the topic in hand.

    I've recently been toying with the idea of getting a macbook and it got me thinking about my desktop machine too. I have a reasonable spec quad core with 4gb memory (about to upgrade to 8gb) and a GTX260. I put this together for very little money indeed, having bought each of the components from the MM.

    Hypothetically speaking I could put a hacked version of OSX on here. I certainly don't intend to because it is my gaming machine. But in theory it would be very easy to do so. I even have a spare copy of Leopard and so arguably I have a spare license. Yet if I were to buy a similar Mac Pro, even second hand, it would cost a small fortune.

    So what is the advantage of getting genuine Mac hardware rather than a Hackintosh?

    Discuss...

    Reminder - please don't steer this discussion into how you can run OSX on a PC because that will probably get the thread locked. Please keep it about the topic in hand.
     
  2. Alex_L

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,026

    It's the only legal way to run OSX as I believe the license restricts it to being run on Apple hardware.

    The advantage to me is:

    Support, i goto an Apple store with a problem and they fix it for me, i don't have to spend my weekend tinkering with things to get it working

    Design, the laptops are beautifully crafted devices and I think other similarly specced systems (thinkpads, HP) are similarly priced anyway

    I don't have to faff about thinking about a million and one configurations when buying, i pick one of the models apple choose safe in the knowledge someone more informed than me has weighed up cost vs performance and selected accordingly

    A lot of the above come across as ease of ownership which to me is an important factor these days when i don't have the time that I used to to tinker with things.
     
  3. Hades

    Caporegime

    Joined: 19 Oct 2002

    Posts: 25,202

    Location: Surrey

    Yes, all valid points. I love the new unibody macbooks. But I think it's less clear cut as the the legality of running OSX on non-Apple hardware. If I recall correctly the license says it has to be "Apple labeled" which begs the question as to whether you could just stick an Apple label on the front (as some commentators have stated). I've no doubt Apple would go after any company trying to do that but I'm not convinced the legal issue is proven.

    However, I completely agree with how well designed the hardware is. I recently took my wifes old Powermac apart while trying to fix it (I think the mobo is faulty) and it is a thing of beauty inside.
     
  4. Spyhop

    Soldato

    Joined: 16 May 2005

    Posts: 6,511

    Location: Cold waters

    It might be against the license, but if you own a legit copy of OS X, does anyone really have grounds to give a ****?
     
  5. NickK

    Capodecina

    Joined: 13 Jan 2003

    Posts: 18,901

    However you licence OSX in conjunction with hardware, so Apple's business case is based around OSX+hardware rather than OSX alone..

    Personally it's the face that the hardware is of a specific configuration that allows OSX to be smaller and optimised for that configuration. Naturally that, by the other edge of the sword, is limiting.

    I see OSX+hackintosh like Linux in the issue of having to spend time messing around to get it to work (even then selecting specific hardware motherboards etc). Linux I find the same issue with package dependences - the reason I moved from Linux to my MBP.

    Different perspectives really - the MBP has, so far, delivered "boom it just works" compared to anything else. I'd be happy to bet a keg of beer that non-Apple configurations have their idiosyncrasies of things working or partially working..
     
  6. Alex_L

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 3,026

    The license says Apple branded computers. My suspicion is that taken on face value, yes you could simply stick an apple sticker they give you with any mac on a pc and install away. My guess is that somewhere else in the license/legal documentation is that apple branded is defined as computer hardware manufactured by Apple only.

    I think the advantage of the Apple hardware is the package of OSX + hardware that has been optimised versus software running on an untested hardware specification.

    Ultimately at some point it all comes down to how willing you are to pay a premium for ease of use and simplicity, something I think Apple has used very well as a means to commanding a significant premium on all its hardware.
     
  7. FreeStream

    Capodecina

    Joined: 10 Apr 2004

    Posts: 13,345

    The point is its designed for one set of hardware.

    It took my 6 months to plump for a Mac Pro, even tho it had issues at the start I'm over the moon with it now.

    You pay for the hardware + software for a reason....
     
  8. MikeHunt79

    Capodecina

    Joined: 4 Jan 2004

    Posts: 20,833

    Location: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Software update works on my macbook, yet every time I go for a software update on a hackingtosh things can (and do) go wrong.

    You won't ever see a Kernel Panic on a real mac, I can guarantee you'll see one on a hackingtosh...

    2 biggies right there.
     
  9. Feek

    Commissario

    Joined: 16 Oct 2002

    Posts: 230,204

    Location: In the radio shack

    I feel quite justified to comment here as I ran a hackintosh for a number of months before buying a real Mac.

    It was a great introduction to the OS. While getting it working for the first time on hardware that really wasn't great, I learned more techy stuff about the OS than a large percentage of users who had been using it for years. The reason I did it was because I'd never used a Mac and/or OS X before and I wanted to try it, but at that time I didn't have the spare cash to buy one. I knew that if I liked it enough, I'd be buying something (my original plan was to get a Mac Mini, I actually bought a Mac Pro, figure that logic out!).

    When I dumped that bit of kit and built my main PC as a hackintosh, it all worked very clearly and I've said numerous times that I'd challenge anyone who used it to be able to differentiate between it and a real Apple.

    But it wasn't perfect when it came to updates and I decided that the time was right for me to buy official hardware, which I did.

    Then I thought that I might want a laptop and the geek side in me came out again. I bought a Dell netbook on auction and made that into a hackindell (;)). It worked flawlessly, I could run software update without any problems and everything really did 'just work'. I got quite involved with a particular forum and built some installation routines and created various guides to getting this netbook working which are still being used now.

    So that proved to me that I did have a use for a laptop so I sold the Dell and bought a MBP.

    Each time though I was using a licensed version of OS X. When I first realised I liked the operating system, I bought it.

    Where is this all going?

    For me, the advantage of having non Apple hardware was that it gave me a chance to try the OS before I bought. It was a considerable learning experience and it gave me the opportunity to really delve into the system in ways that I'd never have done if I'd just gone straight out and bought a Mac. If I'd not been able to try it for a period of time, not just an hours play around in an Apple store then I'd still be using Windows.

    It's a stepping stone.
     
  10. Maccy

    Commissario

    Joined: 23 Nov 2004

    Posts: 37,392

    Location: Herts

    They look pretty and I've found the support to be great should something go wrong :)
     
  11. clv101

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,566

    Location: Bristol

    I ran a Hackintosh from Jan 2008 until a few weeks ago when I finally retasked it to a W7 HTPC.

    It took a few weeks to get it working perfectly, but perfect it did end up, sound, LAN, sleep, standby etc. I used a P35 board with an E2160 clocked to 3.2GHz. The total hardware cost was around £250 at the time... considerably less than a MacMini and it was way more powerful, dual monitor, large fast HDD etc. I had two drives in there, one a time machine of the first, when I broke it I could switch over to the time machine drive and go back.

    It can be tricky to set up and after the 2nd update to Leopard I didn't do any more. I don't follow the 'scene' these days.

    I wouldn't want to run a Hackintosh as my only system or for mission critical stuff but it can certainly be made to work well. I'd agree with Feek that it is more of a stepping stone than a permanent alternative.

    P.S. I ran a MacBook before and still have one now which I use daily.
     
  12. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Interesting - for my primary machine I wouldn't even think of it, I've heard too many bad stories about updates and the like to trust it. It seems to defeat the just works part of having a mac.

    I was thinking about building a gaming machine again recently and if I did I'd probably spec it with an eye on being able to get OSX running if I wanted to as a project.
     
  13. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,366

    Location: Staffordshire

    I run a VMWare hackintosh (as well as a macbook), mainly due to the fact that I cant always be bothered to get the macbook out when I just need to do a small amount of dev or testing.

    I used to run a fully fledged hackintosh on my desktop, but due to hardware incompatibilites it was far less stable than I would have liked (the VMWare hackintosh never crashes).

    I would buy a Mac Pro, if they weren't ridiculously expensive for no reason. I am tempted to get some Mac server hardware though, mainly for my own curiosity and learning.
     
  14. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

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    Location: London Town!

    Oh quit it, it's not ridiculously expensive, it's entirely price comparable with a HP or Dell workstation class machine. It's only expensive if you're one of the hoards who assume because it's the only mac they can buy to game on, it's somehow appropriate to compare it to their home built i7 machines to which it bares no resemblance and was never designed to compete with!

    What I will grant you is that the only machine apple think you need is an imac and that philosophy might be misguided but then again they've just recorded their best quarterly sales ever. So maybe not.
     
  15. paradigm

    Caporegime

    Joined: 26 Aug 2003

    Posts: 36,366

    Location: Staffordshire

    The point is, they could do a "Mac" (you know, like the macbook compared to the macbook pro), make it desktop CPU based rather than XEON, give it non-buffered RAM, and make it a good £500 cheaper. Oh, and allow for some decent video card options that don't for some reason cost the earth.

    I'd buy one in a flash.
     
  16. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    Oh I don't doubt it and I'd buy one instantly too. Lots of people here would. Now I'm not a market analyst and I'm sure apple employ somebody who is to tell them this is a good idea or otherwise but still they don't make that machine.

    I can only speculate it fits with an apple policy of keeping the product range relatively small, limiting overlap between products and maximizing their return on R&D investment (which per machine is high I expect).

    I'm not saying it makes sense to me, but it bugs me when people compare the mac pro to a consumer desktop because apple don't make a traditional consumer desktop.
     
  17. feriso

    Mobster

    Joined: 30 Dec 2004

    Posts: 2,872

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    I have to say I agree with Feek entirely, once I saw my bro running OSX on his MB I though - gotta get myself that! - but costs were prohibative and I wasn't really sure whether I'd like it. But once you use OSX and get to know its quirks, its good.
     
  18. feriso

    Mobster

    Joined: 30 Dec 2004

    Posts: 2,872

    Location: Stoke-on-Trent

    Well doesn't the iMac fit this category (the low end ones), or are you referring to stand alone base units
     
  19. bigredshark

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Jun 2005

    Posts: 9,516

    Location: London Town!

    I meant stand alone base units when I said conventional, personally I think the imac is as good a desktop as most people will need and the form factor makes a lot of sense as it cuts out clutter and wasted space.

    I think the truth is, in the wider world outside this forum, if you offered the all in one and the standalone tower plus monitor at exactly the same price with exactly the same spec - I think most people would choose the all in one - I mean why wouldn't you (accept those who want an upgradeable graphics card obviously...)
     
  20. clv101

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 10,566

    Location: Bristol

    Indeed, I don't understand why Apple don't produce something at looks like a MacPro but as paradigm said with lower cost 'consumer' processors, RAM etc. Sure it would be a bit more expensive than the equivalent Dell but still way more affordable than a full blown MacPro.

    The MacPro case is awesome, that's where the premium should be - I don't need anything more than a standard Q9550 and 4GB unbufferd RAM etc...