I like to tinker, so the thought of converting my homemade full tower into a ‘roll your own’ Macintosh had a certain appeal. Also, Lifehacker maintains a series on it, so it seemed mainstream enough to try without going too far into uncharted territory. The appeal, by and large, comes from the fact that a) you get to build this thing yourself and b) if you do it successfully – you’ve created a machine that has the feature/functionality equivalent of a Mac Tower at less than half of the cost. Why not?
Well…the so-so news is that I got it to work. After following a series of instructions (very thorough and well documented) on file conversion, bootable usb’s, motherboard tuning, etc – I had OSX Mavericks (Apple’s latest mac operating system) running on what had once been a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 machine. The bad news – and this is the only way I can describe it – is that it wasn’t Mac quality. And that was the biggest downer. What I like about Macs is the completeness of the system from hardware, to software, to an ecosystem that works extremely well together. What resulted in my hack project felt very piece-meal. Mac’s are proprietary for a reason. Apple wants to deliver a total experience. Putting the OS in places for which it was not designed can dramatically degrade that experience. And also breaks the EULA - lol!
The hack (aptly named) required 3rd party code to help boot the OS (the code is great, but you notice the UI – it just doesn’t look right). Additionally, once built, there are a significant number of drivers to load and additional configuration parameters to set (many were also hacks to accomodate hardware components that might not have been designed for the Mac OS). I’m pretty good with machines, so I had started down this path with no problems, but the end result was feeling sub-standard.
So deep sigh, after a few hours of building my Pseudo-Mac, I decided to reverse my process and reinstate the Windows machine in all its glory. I suppose this is a plus about Windows (relative to Macs) – the driver ecosystem is very robust given that so many hardware platforms and peripherals have to work with it. My only setback here was a rather old copy of Windows 7 (I refuse to install Windows 8 ) so I had 146 updates to sort through. Fortunately this was largely automated so I let it run into the wee hours. This morning I reloaded Office 2010, security, and other apps and am now back to where I started less than 24 hours ago.
Incidentally, in spite of my title, I don’t want to knock the ‘Hackintosh’ process and certainly don’t want to knock the hard work that went into these projects and plans. The folks who support these projects have developed some really impressive code and are undoutedly very savvy engineers. And based on the community forums, it looks like a large number of folks have done this successfully and are enjoying their new creations. Bottom line, it just wasn’t for me (and looking back at my ‘time in’ there are plenty of other things I could have been doing).
For me? I’ll let my Macs be Macs and my Windows be Windows. They each have their purpose and I enjoy both for different reasons. I suppose I’m a two OS guy. I can live with that.