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HOW TO: Convert a Mac into an x86 296

Posted by timothy
from the apropos dept.
inventgeek writes "With the recent announcements Apple has made regarding its operating environment, Inventgeek.com has a mod that seems rather fitting. They have converted a Mac G3 to an Intel P4 System capable of running Windows or Linux. Full how to is available on there site for those brave enough to bask in what many say could be Apples greatest folly, and a blow to Linux." Update: 06/08 17:53 GMT by T : A few further Mac-OS-X-on-Intel notes, about the new Intel development kit from Apple: Readers jimboman78 and shooflot sent in, respectively, links to (mostly positive) comments on the front page of Accelerate Your Mac and a more skeptical but equally preliminary description at Think Secret.
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HOW TO: Convert a Mac into an x86

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  • RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by allometry (840925) * on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:42PM (#12759710)
    RTFA, the description here is misleading.

    The case mod for the G3 was interesting for the most part. The author includes several pictures and descriptions of the mod and is nice enough to include price points and a scale that makes no sense.
    • Re:RTFA (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OS24Ever (245667) *
      Not to mention it's two kinds of pretty. Pretty Ugly, and Pretty Apt to Stay that way. The windows-fied apple logo with LEDs...ugh.

      Caveat: I dislike lighted cases, waste of electricity and looks silly to me. I'm more of a 'silent running' type who wants the only noise to be my typing & mouse movement.
  • All pages (not just page 1) mirrored here [networkmirror.com]. It's not as cool as Bender, but it's certainly clever. ~
  • Not impressed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by building_970 (890222) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:43PM (#12759717)
    This is just another "fit a PC in a mac" mod. It has nothing to do with Apple's decision to move to Intel chips, nor is it a particularly inventive thing to do. And, ooh, he put an LED in the case. That's *classy*.
    • Re:Not impressed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jc2it (759457) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:58PM (#12759913) Homepage
      I agree, When I first read the slashdot post I thought, "Cool, somebody figured out the pinouts of the G3, and shoehorned an Intel chip in it's place." Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. All they did was gut the G3 and put in a Pentium mobo. That is all fine and good, but why do we need to know about the latest case modder's dream at slashdot? Unless the whole point to this is a politically motivated tecnilogical statement. (Say that ten times real fast;-)
      • is a politically motivated tecnilogical statement. (Say that ten times real fast;-)

        Or spell that ten times fast ;-) Technological [reference.com]

        Sorry, I don't usually like being nitpicky, but this time I just couldn't resist!

        ...BTW, I agree with you completely.

    • Re:Not impressed (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fanblade (863089)
      FTFA: "Plastic side put back on. Looking good me thinks. Real good. In fact I wonder if ole Steve Jobs is looking for some one to design the new G6 when it comes out...."

      New G6 processor? Ha! There is no possible way this hack was a play on the switch to Intel concept.
  • Or.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099) * on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:43PM (#12759719) Homepage Journal
    ...save yourself a few bucks and just buy an X86 box for much, much cheaper....
  • Don't RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <<slashdot> <at> <jgc.org>> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:43PM (#12759721) Homepage Journal
    It's just a case mod and consists of the following:

    1. Buy a Mac G3
    2. Through away all the electronicsy bits
    3. Buy a PC
    4. Put PC electronicsy bits inside the G3 case
    5. Stick a Windows logo on case
    6. ?
    7. You are so not l33t

    John.
  • EH? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GSpot (134221) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:45PM (#12759735) Homepage
    The headline should read: "How to put an Intel based processor motherboard into a G3 chassis."

    There is no "conversion" going on here.

    This is no t the article you are looking for, move along.
  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:45PM (#12759741) Homepage

    I still don't get the hooplah over this in terms of Linux usage. I see the two as being very distinct. Yes, I know OS X runs a BSD (?) variant, but it is still a vendor product. Even if I could run OSX on a whitebox system I probably wouldn't, since I know the backup and support for is going to be superior to any that Apple (single vendor) will give me.

    Given that one of the major selling points of Linux (aside from the stability and lack of virus attacks) is the ability to be choosy with vendors, I can't imagine someone trading in Vendor M for Vendor A. If I were a network admin or a CIO, I'd be looking at being vendor free as much as possible.

    Just my $.02 - whatever that's worth these days...

    • See, you just don't get it do you? These prediculators have a job which forces them to spew out stuff every day and even if most of it is garbage it is okay as long as it generates page hits. Now, people in the market for a computer have three choices all of which involve an intel "like" machine.

      Most people really don't care what is inside the box and that includes the kernel. They just want the damn thing to work. Apples work even if you have to pay more. In the end it won't really matter one way or the o
    • I agree. We're still going to be looking at price competition between Windows and OSX, and Linux (for the most part) is still free. Besides, both Windows and OSX are closed-source and proprietary, so what kind of "blow" to Linux this may pose may still be trivial.
    • by Omega (1602) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:05PM (#12759981) Homepage
      This "Blow to Linux" issue is just blowing smoke. If FREE Solaris for the x86 wasn't a blow to Linux, then $115 Mac OS X won't be a blow to Linux.

      Companies don't use Linux because they like the UI. Companies go with Linux because it's highly customizeable, they have full access to the source and there are no royalties or licensing fees. Mac-Intel won't impact any desktop Linux users because you won't be able to run Mac OS X on an Intel whitebox.

      • If FREE Solaris for the x86 wasn't a blow to Linux, then $115 Mac OS X won't be a blow to Linux.

        Solaris doesn't run Word, Photoshop, iLife, Final Cut Pro and Apple's other pro apps.

      • This "Blow to Linux" issue is just blowing smoke. If FREE Solaris for the x86 wasn't a blow to Linux, then $115 Mac OS X won't be a blow to Linux.

        Indeed. I'll keep my FreeBSD machine as it is. If I could get a copy of OS/X and plunk it onto PC hardware, Windows would be in a bigger threat than my free OS would be.
    • Here's the blow... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by uberdave (526529)
      If Apple ports their OS to Intel, so that it can run on standard PC architecture, then they become an OS vendor, rather than a Mac appliance vendor. Consumers would be faced with three options: Microsoft, with its reputation for unreliability and lack of security; Linux, with its reputation for difficult installation, not being ready for the masses, and no support; and MacOS, secure, stable, and widely supported.

      I know which way I'd steer people.
    • Come on. Free, source code, runs on any/cheap hardware. That isn't Apple at all.

      It could on the other hand be good for Linux. Load up GNUstep [gnustep.org] add a bit of code to the Linux kernel to run OSX binaries and it's conceivable that you could have OSX apps running natively on Linux under a very OSX like interface. Hang on, why would I need a Mac then?

    • I know the backup and support for is going to be superior to any that Apple (single vendor) will give me. [...] If I were a network admin or a CIO, I'd be looking at being vendor free as much as possible.

      Your world view may be entirely valid, but it is not consistent with many companies I know of. Many people who are put in charge of information systems feel more confident with vendor support.

      I still don't get the hooplah over this in terms of Linux usage. I see the two as being very distinct.

      The un

  • Having ANOTHER story about the Apple/Intel issue, or the "humor" from that article....
  • I don't get (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SQLz (564901) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:48PM (#12759776) Homepage Journal
    How is Mac OSX going to hurt Linux? I mean, people buy Macs to install Linux on them and its not like Apple is going to allow people to install OSX on commodity hardware. Apple is still a hardware company. If anything, the new machiens will just be overpriced commodity Intel gear. $500 for 512 megs of RAM, shit like that.

    If anything, its hurts Microsoft bad. Linux is a server OS first, desktop second. There are far more Linux servers out there than desktops and the enterpise is looking for Linux servers to interoperate with their Windows desktops. I don't see OSX making any inroads into the Linux server market, hence, I don't see it to be a threat.

    On the other hand, those company's looking to move an alternative desktop may choose OSX over Linux but might have anyway. Not to mention, in a recent survey post people choose Linux to avoid vendor lock in, which is Apple's specialty.
  • by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:49PM (#12759783) Homepage
    "NEXT WEEK ON SLASHDOT: We put a PC into.... A CARDBOARD BOX! Is there ANYPLACE that's too wacky for us to use?"

    Not only is this a dupe of another lackluster "roflolol i put a pc ina mac case" story from a few months ago, but it's completely un-newsworthy on its own merits.

    This is as akin "turning a mac into a PC" as "wearing Davey Crockett's hat" is to making you a raccoon.

    Now, if it were something really clever, like, say, taping a camera to an R/C tank and calling it a 'basement exploring robot', that would be totally different. Why, anyone who would do that would be pure genius!
    • Is there ANYPLACE that's too wacky for us to use?

      I'm thinking that inside the goatse guy would probably be too wacky.
      • > > Is there ANYPLACE that's too wacky for us to use?

        > I'm thinking that inside the goatse guy would probably be too wacky.

        That's one case the modding geeks won't want to fit lights inside...

        It also gives you a good excuse for *not* upgrading your system.
      • You have guts.

        First of all, you have given information that indicates you have clicked on that link.

        Secondly, you have obviously spent time thinking about what you saw there.

        Thirdly, you have not posted anonymously.

        I don't know which is most disturbing.

        No, I have not clicked on that link.
        • You have guts.

          Well at least you can't see them. :)

          First of all, you have given information that indicates you have clicked on that link.

          Yup, I got suckered. Once.

          Secondly, you have obviously spent time thinking about what you saw there.

          It's an image that is unfortunately, difficult to forget.

          Thirdly, you have not posted anonymously

          Never have, never will.

          No, I have not clicked on that link.

          93% of all Slashdotters have clicked on that link

          7% of all Slashdotters lie about it. :)
    • "NEXT WEEK ON SLASHDOT: We put a PC into.... A CARDBOARD BOX! Is there ANYPLACE that's too wacky for us to use?"

      Wow! It's been done already! [spodesabode.com]

    • You're not a techie until you've posted a system on a motherboard box
    • It's been done already [mini-itx.com] +5 Informative, thankyou please.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:49PM (#12759784) Homepage Journal
    But unfortunately, I can't really wait a year or two while they transition over. And buying a current PowerBook isn't an option either--the hardware is already obsolete by PPC standards. I guess it's just a ThinkPad for me (or any other laptop with excellent Linux support).

    Anyways, that is a cool case mod though.
  • It's THEIR site. What fucking use is an editor that can't spell?
  • What is the attraction of case lights? They look hideous (especially the ones in this article) and I can't imagine they don't generate heat. Why do people use these things?
    • If they're LEDs, next to no heat output. Even cold cathodes are pretty low in heat.

      As far as why you'd want them... eh.. don't have an answer. Two the fans in my case have LEDs, but it'd be no big loss if they didn't. Its sort of a "oh, that's nifty" type of thing.

    • Why do people use these things?

      Like, duh.... it makes the computer go faster.

  • ... to see a zillion of these articles once people get a hold of the version of OS X for intel.

    People are going to mod either their box or the build of OS X to run on their dell or white box, whatever and for some reason, we're going to keep posting the same old screenshots over and over.

    I understand this is slashdot, and we're all part of the geek community. However, I'm already dreading the forthcoming glut of articles on modded/hacked/whatever OS X installs.
  • by asv108 (141455) <alex AT phataudio DOT org> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:55PM (#12759864) Homepage Journal
    The X86 OSX is going to be a blow to Linux crap? How does changing the processor for OSX make it more or less of a threat to Linux? It simply doesn't make any sense. All the advantages/disadvantages of Linux over OSX remain constant regardless of what processor Apple chooses for their systems.

    Now if Apple decided to allow OSX to be run on commodity hardware, that would be threating to both windows, linux and every other OS. If Apple decided to open up the propriatary components that really define OSX, that could lead to people switching to OSX. As it stands now, the likelihood of Apple doing either is very slim.

    • Now if Apple decided to allow OSX to be run on commodity hardware,

      Which would then require about a zillion additional hardware drivers for OSX.

    • All the advantages/disadvantages of Linux over OSX remain constant regardless of what processor Apple chooses for their systems.

      I'm not arguing that MacOS X is going to be a real threat to Linux on the desktop, but this point is probably wrong. If the Mac will dual-boot Windows, as reports have said it will, then the Mac is equalizing what some (think games, for one) would feel is an advantage of x86 Linux over PPC MacOS X. It's hard to say how big that market is at this point, but it's almost certainly

    • The only reason I haven't purchased a Mac is because I do not have the option of dual-booting to play games on Windows. Sad, but true. I would but a x86 Mac today if I could, and use it as the main OS. And why the hell would I write open-source software for an OS I don't use every day? Let some Linux fan port the code if they want to use it.

      There are lots of developers out there like me, who write code for the OS they use, and who would get a Mac86. Linux will be hurt by this move, but it will also ke
  • exclusivity? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigpat (158134) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @01:55PM (#12759873)
    "Full how to is available on there site for those brave enough to bask in what many say could be Apples greatest folly, and a blow to Linux."

    I don't think their is any exclusivity to Apple's agreement with Intel, so conceivably some models could continue to be PowerPC/Cell based while others move to Intel. Seems like Apple would then be in a good position, if IBM's Cell processors are compelling, to keep some of its machines based on that platform. This could work out for both Apple and consumers.

    http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2005/jun/06intel.h tml [apple.com]

  • by dlZ (798734)
    I remember they did this in 2002 and called it the rotten apple. http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MzUx [hardocp.com]

    I also think what they did with the colors was a lot more interesting than this mod.
  • Full how to is available on there site for those brave enough to bask in what many say could be Apples greatest folly, and a blow to Linux."

    Wow, more typical slashdot flamebait added at the end of a summary, way to go inventgeek that was real original there. What does Linux have to do with this, did I miss something? And "Apple's greatest folly"? What happens if it turns out to be Apple's greatest success? How come that wasn't in there? Too bad article submissions cannot be moderated themselves afte

  • ... Was the section entitled "Putting it togeather[sic]". Somehow, I think I'd have a hard time following the directions of someone who couldn't properly spell the word 'together'.
  • ...as soon as I come across a few hundred dollars that I would otherwise just flush down the toilet.
  • A P4 in a G3 case (yawn).

    Now if he'd put it into a Cube, that would have been interesting!

  • This would be like gutting my iPod Photo and putting my Diamond Rio in it.
  • This guy's website about has-been computer mods is so bad, he can't even get it Slashdotted to his bandwidth limit or to the point of crashing a server.

    IronChefMorimoto
  • by null etc. (524767) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:12PM (#12760042)
    what many say could be Apples greatest folly, and a blow to Linux.

    So Dvorak, who is an idiot, claims that Linux will die because of this move. Remember, he's the guy who claimed that Microsoft will die in less than 10 years. And since when does "Dvorak" constitute "many"?

    And now every fucking Mac article has to mention how "Macs on Intel" are a blow to Linux.

    How about this. I propose that you blow Linux, instead of blowing all that nonsense hot air that has absolutely no merit.

  • or how to put a PC motherboard in a Mac case.

    Not much different that putting one in a PC case, or an SGI case, or a Sun case, or a Tie Fighter case or a . . .
  • by allanc (25681) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:13PM (#12760053) Homepage
    Raises an interesting question:

    1. Apple will not be allowing OSX to run on standard PC hardware. Part of this will almost certainly be because of incompatible hardware, but Apple's had language in its EULAs saying you can only run MacOS on Apple hardware ever since the end of the clone era.
    2. Given that Darwin, the underpinnings of OSX, runs quite well on stock PC hardware, it seems unlikely to me that someone won't figure out how to get OSX/x86 running on standard PCs.
    3. Therefore, would it be against the Apple EULA to run OSX/x86 on a standard PC motherboard shoehorned into an old Mac?

    Of course, this is all theoretical right now since OSX/x86 isn't really shipping yet.
    • by Critical_ (25211) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @02:25PM (#12760175) Homepage
      from the article:

      The machines do not have Open Firmware. They use a Phoenix BIOS. That;s right, a Mac with a BIOS. (I asked if the Bios had any tweaks like Memory Timing which is common for many PC motherboards, although Intel OEM motherboards don't usually have any end user tweaks like that.-Mike) They won't tell us how to get in the BIOS. I'm sure we can figure it out when out dev kits arrive.

      They run Windows fine. All the chipset is standard Intel stuff, so you can download drivers and run XP on the box.

      Now this is regarding the DEV machines Apple is handing. I know everyone on slashdot has ASSUMED that Apple will control the hardware based on the CNET article that said Apple would not allow users to install OSX on non-Apple hardware. However, what if this threat is just Apple saying that they'll use the lawyers instead of a technological solution? Think about it, Apple will have limited driver choices out there since it wil be a limited Apple-controlled machine. So either someone writes the drivers or your machines is close enough to run OSX. I think those of us with Pentium M notebooks will have the easiest time with OS X. Now, what I want to know is... if these machines have EVERYTHING any other PC does, why is it not possible to run a copy of MacOSX on a normal white box PC.

      • If they are using a standard motherboard chipset and BIOS and whatnot, it seems likely that they'll put some sort of Apple Hardware Widget on the board in addition to the standard stuff which OSX can query to see if it's allowed to run or not. This is really something too fundamental for Apple to fight with only lawyers.

        On the other hand, I was damn near certain that they'd be going with Intel-made PPCs instead of switching to x86, so what do I know? :)
      • by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:31PM (#12760876) Homepage
        The obvious answer: These machines bear no resemblance internally to the machines Apple will release to end users in 2006. They're just dev kits hacked together to let developers get a crack at the x86 architecture and get their apps ported in time, like the Yikes machines were hacked together to ship more G4s while working out the kinks in the next-generation Sawtooth motherboards. The final x86 Macs will probably use EFI [intel.com], for one thing, and other custom parts that Apple hasn't developed yet and will never be available on the open market.
      • Oh, and for the record, my comment was about the article posted pre-update. So no, I didn't read the article you're asking incredulously if I read.
    • 2. Given that Darwin, the underpinnings of OSX, runs quite well on stock PC hardware, it seems unlikely to me that someone won't figure out how to get OSX/x86 running on standard PCs.

      Well non-Apple PPC hardware has been around for a long time, and I haven't heard of anyone getting Mac OS working (natively) on any of it.

      There will be more interest when it's x86, but I don't see any fundamental change here.
  • .. that's what'll impress me. This is nothing but another case mod.

    Not a slam against the modder, who did a fine job, but against the article poster for posting such a misleading article.

  • Almost as cool as putting a PC motherboard into a Commodore SX-64. That was a great mod.

    But I would suggest to the really ambitious modder to actually get hold of an Altair 8800, gut it, cut away those useless LEDs in the front and put a Pentium 4 inside! Now THAT would be worthy of bragging! Put up a "full how to" on the 'net so other budding modders can learn and imitate.

    Don't forget to include a picture of yourself, and wear that had that reads "Tool", that would be truly fitting.
  • Back in 2002, [H]ardOCP did a project called "The Rotten Apple".
    Its far more creative and looks a hell of a lot nicer.

    http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MzUx [hardocp.com]

    Mac G3 to PC mods are (were) fairly common, due to the overall niceness of the G3 case.
    Note that this isn't really a conversion so much as it is a "gutting and stuffing".

    Of course, I've never thought case-mods were newsworthy.
    The only probable reason this made it to the front page is to exploit the apple switch buzz.

    Boo timothy.
  • This has been around for a while. My ex-roommate did this 2 years ago, easily. Maybe /. has a different definition for the word "news" than I do.
  • Gee, I never would have figured out that you can stick a cottonpickin x86 motherboard into an Apple box! Who'd a thunk it?

    This article made it sound as if there were some way you could build a daughterboard with a P4 on it that could plug into where the G3 processor is supposed to go, and with some weird soldering hacks to the chipset, a couple of extra wires added to the motherboard, maybe some resistors, a capacitor or two, adding a pin to the processor, and cutting one of the pins off the RAM and routing

  • by brontus3927 (865730) <(edwardra3) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:21PM (#12760773) Homepage Journal
    Although everyone is saying that OS X won't run on generic x86 hardware, everything I've been reading suggests that it should be possible. There will be limitations, but so long as Apple doesn't have a special mobo built with some sort of "Apple verifier" that OS X will check, it doesn't look like a problem.

    The devkit runs a P4 660, a stock proccessor that you can buy on newegg, it has Intel GMA integrated graphics, but will support existing (and future) PC video cards so long as the vendors have supplied a OS X driver. 533MHz DDR2 memory, SATA-2 hard drive. Firewire 400, USB 2, Pheonix BIOS. There is already a list [xlr8yourmac.com] out of wireless adapters that do and don't work with x86 OS X. I haven't read anything about the ethernet controller, but it is most likely a Realtek or something similar.

    1)So best case senario, the x86 version of OS X will run on any PC with commodity hardware so long OS X drivers are available.

    2)Mid case senario 1: OS X will require a certain Intel chipset (such as the 945G) and any mobo with that chipset will run OS X.

    3)Mid case senario 2: OS X will require the same model Intel motherboard that Apple will be shipping with.

    4)Worst case senario, OS X will require an "available to Apple only" motherbard and won't run on any other board.

    Cases 1 & 2 would require minimal to no investment to get me running OS X on my existing P4 box. Case #3 would be something I would do with my next PC, but still very easy to manage. Cases 2 & 3 aren't even likely, or even feasible, beacause of upgrading issues. Case #4 would be the existing Apple lock-in.

    Apple has been moving towards commodity hardware for years. The existing G5's use IDE hard & optical drives, a PCI bus for expansion cards, and 8X AGP. Now that Apple will be moving to an x86 proccessor, the only thing Apple could do to prevent OS X on a "Dell" would be a "Apple-Inside" chip.

    • There will be limitations, but so long as Apple doesn't have a special mobo built with some sort of "Apple verifier" that OS X will check, it doesn't look like a problem.

      Personally, I can't see Apple not putting in such a verifier - at least in the initial boxes. As everyone says, Apple makes most of their money on hardware. Not to say you won't be able to circumvent it, but I suspect such a thing'll be in there.

  • OMG, someone's already converted (case mod) a PPC mac to an x86 intel.

    Quick, someone call Dvorak. This has just gotta spell the impending dead of linux. I'm sure he'll think up something.

  • Greatest Folley!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by i8myh8 (859764) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @03:35PM (#12760912) Homepage
    Not so, in my humble opinion. The only thing that made a mac unique was the OS and the processor, and the processor was making the pc cost-prohibitive for joe america to own, and quite frankly making it impossible for mac to compete on any real level with intel and amd. Put an intel in a mac, and it's still a mac. It's all in the OS.
  • The article should be called:-

    "How to turn a potential classic computer into a piece of junk"

    Now taking an original IBM XT and turning it into a powerful Apple computer would be far more interesting

    Next patient please!

    =

    Just because you can do something, does mean that you should do it....
  • by artifex2004 (766107) on Wednesday June 08, 2005 @05:54PM (#12762383) Journal
    ...is that it's a rental from Apple. They want the developer box back in 2006. They don't want you to think this is representative of hardware they're going to put in production machines, as far as performance, etc. Which is odd, because developers can't optimize until they know the platform, but that's the way it is. I'm guessing they're just having these out until they can come out with the first production model, and then everyone should build off that.

    I really don't think that numbers generated from XBench running on Rosetta running on a developer preview of 10.4.1 for Intel, like ThinkSecret is showing, are truly indicative of the performance we'll get from native apps on Leopard, which will be the first shipping version with the Intel platform.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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