It Can Always Be Better

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hac-K-Intosh


I confess: I acquired a Hackintosh (A PC hacked to run Mac OS X). Due to circumstances—and refusal to put $2,500 plus on a credit card I wouldn’t be able to pay off—I really had no choice.

For the second time in a year, my MacPro became inoperable. It had something to do with a failed logic board and then a video card. Thanks to my AppleCare warranty, the repairs were covered 100%. Thanks to my decent backup and archiving system, no data was lost.

However, my revenue was not covered. My reputation with my customers was not covered. I had hundreds of images to work on. Unfinished work is money not in the bank. It also annoys customers. Of course, that’s not Apple Computer’s responsibility. A backup and archiving system is only complete with a backup workstation. Yet, it must be done within my small studio’s means.
 
I found an interesting prospect in Psystar. They were making and selling systems with Mac OS X on them. Of course, this is a violation of Apple Computer’s OSX End User License Agreements. Regardless, I built one on the site’s shopping cart. Desperation was sinking in.

However, I had a hunch that I might get my backup station faster if I search Craigslist in Chicago. That way I could see a used machine for myself before I purchase it. I would also avoid any questionable actions that wouldn't subtract from any blessing I may have accumulated for trying to run a socially responsible operation! If I could get a genuine MacPro, that would be nice.

After a quick search on Craigslist, I found a builder of a HacPro. That’s right: A PC turned into a MacPro clone. He needed to unload it before enlisting with the U.S. Armed Forces. For a fair exchange and drive to the south side in borrowed Toyota Prius, I got my backup workstation.


The specifications were perfect for my photo retouching work: Mac OS 10.5, dual-Core 2.0 Ghz, 4GB RAM, 1TB RAID, a better video card than my MacPro, widescreen monitor, keyboard, wireless mouse, web-cam, 10 USB ports, 5 various FW ports, more and more ports. Expandability options for this Hackintosh are almost endless. The box was built like a tank, with a key to lock it.

On the other hand, there are a few annoyances. One is the fans. It runs 3 times louder than my MacPro. However, the MacPro fans are practically silent! It also requires an arcane boot CD and the entry of a few numbers when it starts up.

Taking the advice of the seller, I managed to make some accurate copies of the boot CD with software from a company called Zenopolis. I also captured the BIOS startup sequence on my camcorder in case I need to reprogram the motherboard with an upgrade or replacement.


Overall, the experience added a little stress, more setup time and some education on BIOS subtleties. I have documented my setup process for a smoother transition when my main machine breaks down again.

4 comments:

Community Admin said...

So did it work? Are clients satisfied. Was it even slightly worth the effort? Macminds want to know.

Kateri said...

Very, very interesting. I am so glad for you that it is working. Long may it last.

Photo Grafix said...

Yes, it worked out fine. It wasn't without some difficulty—especially my LAN. However, I was able to get alot of work done.

Photo Grafix said...

It's back in a box until the next time I need it. Safe and sound!

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