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Hardware Hacking Portables (Apple) Apple Build

MacBook Mod Gives Base Station Chassis New Purpose 129

Posted by timothy
from the hyper-extension dept.
odysseus31173 writes "A little over a year ago, I began developing for the iPhone and needed a working mac (not a Hackintosh), so I decided to purchase a MacBook logic board to save on cost. I modded a Linksys case to accept the logic board (along with all of the other hardware) and made it function again. The Mac currently runs Leopard and has a working iSight and mic along with fully functional WiFi and bluetooth. The RAM is the standard 1 gig, but the hard drive has been upgraded to 160 gigs. The iSight/mic holes in the front panel are hard to see and this could be used as a nanny cam of sorts."
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MacBook Mod Gives Base Station Chassis New Purpose

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  • Down already? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Slashdotted already?!? Damn you people!

  • Um (Score:4, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:35AM (#30283736) Homepage Journal

    I think hacking together your own "Mac" out of a mac logic board and non-mac hardware still counts as being a "Hackintosh".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bsDaemon (87307)
      Still counts? I think this is the quintessential definition of "hackintosh."
    • Re:Um (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:57AM (#30284052)

      With the important distinction that as far as the OS cares it's a real Mac. Thus OS updates work with no problem.

    • by jim_v2000 (818799)
      What do you mean "non-mac hardware"? The mainboard is the only "mac" hardware in the machine. The rest is Intel, Nvidia, ATI, and Western Digitital, LG, etc.
      • I am aware of that. There are not drivers for everything though, and even if you use exactly the same components as are in a kosher Mac, I still doubt ol' Steve would be too happy with you. Unless maybe you fit it all in an Apple case, then nobody is really going to be able to tell the difference. The EULA for OSX does talk about "Apple-branded hardware" after all. I suppose if you etched/burned/embossed/whatever on an Apple logo, that might technically make things nice and legal.

        I don't see why anyone who

        • BTW I googled around to see if there are any decent repositories for OSX, and found Darwin Ports. I remember trying it before. It was better than trying to compile everything completely manually, but still wasn't quite perfect, pretty sure it had issues with dependencies a few times etc. I ended up trying out Ubuntu and loving how everything "just worked" ;)

        • There are not drivers for everything though, and even if you use exactly the same components as are in a kosher Mac, I still doubt ol' Steve would be too happy with you.

          Umm... who the hell cares what Steve Jobs would think? If he's even a little bit of a true geek, he ought to appreciate the ingenuity involved.

          • There's not that much ingenuity to it. It's even less ingenious than performing an engine swap from one car to another. I pointed out what Steve jobs would think because if a *lot* of people start doing this kind of thing, then Apple will look for ways to shut them down.

    • Re:Um (Score:4, Informative)

      by MrCrassic (994046) <deprecatedNO@SPAMema.il> on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @06:12PM (#30289766) Journal

      Just in case anyone thinks building a Hackintosh is clearly bad...

      Installing OS X can be an easy process IF the hardware which it's being installed on plays nice with it. I believe a lot of people, myself included, got turned off to getting OS X working on their machines because of the *MANY* issues people faced while trying to get Tiger to work. Now that the entire OS is written for the x86 platform, many machines with Core 2 Duo processors or higher can at least install OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard using the retail disc, which was never possible previously. The only thing that's needed to get the disc to boot is a bootloader that can recognize it.

      Choosing the right hardware makes a huge difference in getting OS X running just right. Lots of people run into issues with sound, graphics and wireless, but they also fail to consider that these fail because OS X lacks the native support to make them work. Furthermore, many of those experiencing growing pains fail to look at the HUGE wiki of compatible devices that have been tried and proven working.

      I was able to get OS X Snow Leopard installed on my Dell Latitude E-series laptop with minimal pitfalls. The only trip-ups are in areas that don't bother me, but might bother others. I can't sleep the machine if I want to keep my webcam and USB 2.0 at the moment, and everyone's having problems shutting down and restarting their machines using ACPI. Considering the minimal amount of time I needed to get it up and urnning, I consider these side effects negligible. The fact that I can use OS X in my daily workflow and virtualize Windows 7 within it is more than enough to keep me happy.

      In the end, though, I wouldn't recommend that people build rigs expressly for getting OS X installed on it unless it differs significantly from Apple's offerings and is significantly less expensive. Their prices are coming down quite nicely, so I don't think they are as unreasonable as they used to be. Plus, their Mac Pro is pretty nice...

      • Heh. I went the other way, had a Pro that I installed Ubuntu on and got fed up with the lack of decent EFI support and a couple of other issues. Now I use a Dell netbook with Ubuntu for basically everything (including work), the MBP only comes out when I need to run a Windows VM.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:35AM (#30283738)

    ... and put it in a case.

    And it worked.

    Umm yeah , and?

    Must be a REALLY slow news day today.

    • by Aeros (668253)
      I wasn't sure if I was missing the rest of the story or not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      no shit. hey, i bought a PC with a beige case and painted it orange. do i get my own slashdot story now too? we can talk about the technical differences between latex and enamel paints, glossy versus flat, and other really fascinating pieces of technicality! it'll be great ... for a slow news day
      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:50AM (#30283948)

        no shit. hey, i bought a PC with a beige case and painted it orange. do i get my own slashdot story now too? we can talk about the technical differences between latex and enamel paints, glossy versus flat, and other really fascinating pieces of technicality! it'll be great ... for a slow news day

        There have been a few slashdot stories about people painting laptops, and a few on restoring old cases... So, yes.

        • There have been a few slashdot stories about people painting laptops, and a few on restoring old cases... So, yes.

          That chemical that reverses the UV yellowing of plastics was totally worthy of it's /. article.

      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:06PM (#30284168) Homepage

        no shit. hey, i bought a PC with a beige case and painted it orange. do i get my own slashdot story now too? we can talk about the technical differences between latex and enamel paints, glossy versus flat, and other really fascinating pieces of technicality! it'll be great ... for a slow news day

        Don't be absurd, that's not news at all.

        Now if you were to make a stencil of the Apple logo and paint it on the side of your machine, you could write a howto on that and make the front page of Slashdot for sure.

    • by cerberusss (660701) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:48AM (#30283924) Homepage Journal

      ... and put it in a case.

      And it worked.

      Worked, past tense.

      He hosted TFArticle on the abomination, and it apparently decided to put itself out of its misery.

    • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:54AM (#30283994)

      Not to mention it's another "my time is of no value" story. Why not buy a used Mac and start developing?

      Well, I need some breakfast. Excuse me while I go raise a pig and a chicken and sow some wheat.

      • by kklein (900361)

        Not to mention it's another "my time is of no value" story. Why not buy a used Mac and start developing?

        Yes. This is actually part of how I ended up on the Mac. I used them until 1998, but then was drawn to Windows because it was better at the time, and because I was lured in by how cheaply you could buy parts and build your own machine. This made a lot of sense to a poor college student. However, as the years went on, and as I told everyone this was no problem and anyone could do it, I started really hating losing tons of time. Then Vista came out. And handing a company a wad of cash and getting a machine th

    • So you bolted together a Mac from parts and put it in a case.

      And it worked.

      Umm yeah , and?

      And now it's a nice puddle of Slashdottedness.

    • by Sandbags (964742) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @01:40PM (#30285456) Journal

      if he did it for less than the cost of buying the same model Mac (used, and out of waranty), then it's a win. If a used/refurb Mac of the same or better model WITH a waranty costs less, then it;s a big lose... In fact, I'd say, to be a viable system and worth the effort, it would have to cost 70% or less than a used Mac with a waranty, including all the parts needed to make this what it is.

      • by kriston (7886)

        Well, he did sacrifice not one, but two Linksys routers to do it. I was wondering why it is so long.

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      It's a somewhat unusual case mod. /. gets the occasional case mod story and this one is no different.
    • Did you read the article. The guy took a Macbook motherboard, components, and mounted them inside a Linksys router case and it worked!

      That's some real skills. Something you obviously lack.
    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      So when someone puts together a standard PC into a strange case, it is awesome, yet when it is a Mac it gets a yawn?

      I personally think it's neat. Just wish I had enough time to screw around with stuff like this (I spend enough time raking up the dang leaves in my yard. Well using the leaf blower, but you get the point).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I've built plenty of computers in my day, and never submitted a story about it. Now get the hell off of my lawn.
  • Ok, I know it isn't OSX installed on a PC but, when you've done that much work to make a computer that runs OSX, I think it qualifies as a Hackintosh.

    And that's not a bad thing - I use a Mac every day and recently got myself an MSI Wind and set it up to dual boot Ubuntu and OSX so I'm all for a little Hackintosh love so don't take my above comment as a knock. If anything, I respect the work you did. But, let's call it what it is - you've hacked together some hardware to get a computer running OSX. It be a
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 0racle (667029)

      when you've done that much work to make a computer that runs OSX, I think it qualifies as a Hackintosh.

      Unless 'that much work' amounts to putting a Mac in a different case. He made a non-portable MacBook, but of course OS X installed on it, it is an Apple computer.

    • by MsGeek (162936) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @12:26PM (#30284438) Homepage Journal

      Hackintosh = bog standard PC running Mac OS X.
      Case mod = hardware stuffed into a case that is wildly different or decorative or super-functional.
      Mac case mod = Mac logic board stuffed into a case that is wildly different from standard Macs.

      I still want to do a Classic Mac modded with a Mac mini inside and an LCD replacing the old CRT.

      • I still want to do a Classic Mac modded with a Mac mini inside and an LCD replacing the old CRT.

        If I knew more about hardware mods, I'd do that! That would RULE!

      • by Predius (560344)

        I never could find an appropriate LCD for this, but that was pre netbook era so maybe things have improved. My hang up was wanting better than 800x600 in that size. I almost went with a CRT instead as you can still find old high res VGA displays from sales terminals in 8" but never pulled the trigger.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        What would you do with all the rest of the empty space inside?

        • by Again (1351325)
          You could drill a hole in the case, pipe some water in and then have a water fountain coming out of the top of your computer. I'll bet you would be the first person to do that hack!
        • HDD array! Use the thing as a server.

      • This guy has done one [destruc.tv], although it's not a step-by-step, most of the important details of how he did it are missing.

  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @11:39AM (#30283780)

    ...er, box. I'm tellin' Apple!

    • It was Apple branded, that was the point. He used entirely genuine Apple parts, except for the case...
      • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

        by Sandbags (964742)

        and that's the problem. The board itself does not carry an OEM license, so upgrade copies still do not apply.

        Granted, it works flawlessly and installs Apple updates automatically, and I don't think Apple would give a crap since they clearly don't have to support it, and likely profited off the OS license, iLife license, and the spare parts too...

        Apple doesn't want COMPANIES making systems, or facilitating hacks, but they have made it know they actualyl appreciate the general hacking community and have no i

        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          "and that's the problem. The board itself does not carry an OEM license, so upgrade copies still do not apply."

          And why not? Plenty of companies sell Apple products in different cases, and they're blessed by Apple.

          Hell, I'm pretty sure I remember Steve Jobs playing with a 3rd party Apple tablet that was on display at MacWorld a few years ago. Pretty sure it was the ModBook, which not only was on display at MacWorld, but is commercially available, and considered by Apple to be licensed for OS X.

          "Apple doesn't

  • Not the greatest mod ever, but he probably saved a ton of cash by buying the logic board and doing it this way. Gives me some ideas actually. Using the linksys box is kind of an interesting choice, but hey, whatever works. Kinda amazed he was able to get the isight thinger working too. I wonder how airflow will be? May wanna mount in a fan or two for exhaust and intake...
    • Not the greatest mod ever, but he probably saved a ton of cash

      Unlikely.

      Logic board http://www.powerbookmedic.com/xcart1/product.php?productid=17001 [powerbookmedic.com] : $250.

      + drive, memory.

      Or he could have spent a bit more and bought a (new) Mac Mini and had something nice.

      Gee, case, PS, MB, memory, disk, graphics card. Et voila, look ma, I built a computer. Get your hands on a Mac Pro MB and the rest of the parts are the same as for any other PC.

      Color me unimpressed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by OrangeTide (124937)

        drive and memory is cheap. 500GB 2.5" is $70. So we can safely say that new you can get them for under $100.

        I think it is reasonable to say that a $350 is significantly less than $600.

        And if you go on ebay(ewww) and buy a semi-broken macbook and take its logic board, or buy a used working logic board they are significantly less than $250. Most of the buy-it-now prices are more than $250, but you can usually get one for under $200 with a little effort.

        • by njfuzzy (734116)
          How much is your time worth?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by th1nk (575552)
            The worth of his time is only relevant if he was trying to sell these for profit.

            See, people have these things called hobbies that keep them entertained.

            I, for instance, enjoy working on my car. Sometimes it takes me 3 or 4 times longer than it would take a shop. Is it worth my time? Absolutely--it's fun.
          • Well, since I'm a nerd...

            I often PAY money for entertainment. This "work" would then be worth a negative value to me... ie, getting to do the mod is a value on top of saving the money of not just buying a replacement case.

            Now if I was just buying a replacement case, then I would think "how much is it costing me to do this" because then it wouldn't be FUN.

            Come on, this is slashdot. How much is your time worth indeed.

            Sam

      • You can get second-hand logic boards on eBay for well under half that price, although there aren't usually many available. It's probably possible to do it cheaper than buying a new Mac (especially if you have some parts salvaged from other machines lying around). Not particularly noteworthy though.
  • The link to the article on the mod is already dead and showing a "database error".
    • by benjymous (69893)

      He slashdotted himself...

      • How may I assist you in futhering your laudable goal to become a grapefruit?
        Probably best to indicate your preferred variety (from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/grapefruit.html#Varieties [purdue.edu] )
        'Duncan'
        'Foster' ('Foster Pink Flesh')
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        'Oroblanco'
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        'Redblush' (including 'Ruby', 'Ruby Red', 'Shary Red', 'Curry Red', 'Fawcett Red', 'Red Radiance', and 'Webb'
        'Star Ruby'
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        'Thompson' (Pink Marsh')

        I find your idea intriguing and would like to subscribe t

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      RSS feed on feedburner still works http://feeds.feedburner.com/phantomdev/lHhb

  • That double-wide Linksys case looks stupid. I'm just sayin'.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is more of a "case mod" type hack than a hardware or software hack. Style points gained for actually putting it together. No points awarded for doing anything new.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @01:23PM (#30285216) Homepage Journal

    He just used a logic board? Well, I just ordered a new case for my 13-inch MacBook. The universe is in harmony again.

    • RTFA. He used more than the motherboard of the Macbook.

      That's why reading is important. It helps prevent you from looking stupid.
      • I did RTFA you useless troll.

        He also acquired a few other bits, such as the wifi, bluetooth, isight, cables, etc. I think to have the universe in real harmony you need to buy the trackpad and keyboard for $130. to go with his internal macbook bits and my case. or you can shut the hell up.

  • Or... (Score:3, Funny)

    by jours (663228) on Tuesday December 01, 2009 @01:38PM (#30285430)

    Huh. I see the top case with the keyboard in one of your pictures. So for less than $200 shipped (and a lot less work) you could've bought the bottom case [ebay.com] and a replacement screen [ebay.com] and built a laptop.

    Of course then you wouldn't be on slashdot.

  • Installing OSX on a Linksys router, now that'd be impressive.

    (You can already install Linux, of course - http://lifehacker.com/178132/hack-attack-turn-your-60-router-into-a-600-router [lifehacker.com])
  • This was a big thing a few years back, when everyone seemed to want a small Mac desktop in a "pizza box" form factor. I guess this was pre-Mac Mini. You would get a PowerMac G4 logic board and power supply, and add your own case and accessories. Someone even came up with a concept for a ready made kit called the iBox which was a bring-your-own-logic-board PowerMac system. Not sure if that ever really saw the light of day. I really wanted one.

    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2003/04/58310 [wired.com]

  • Was I the only one expecting a lava lamp?
  • "You should post this on a modding website – you would get a bunch of traffic I bet!"

    I'm sure that now this is on /. he's getting a bunch of traffic just fine without needing to post it on a modding website.
  • The Macbook Air motherboard might lend itself quite well to the innards of a eviGroup tablet, or something along those lines (I also happen to have a Samsung Q1 Ultra I'm barely using). It wont be a pretty, nor cheap, Apple Tablet, but if Apple doesn't pull their heads out, it might be the only way to get one that's legal.

    Though, with the economy the way it is lately, I don't have that kind of throw-away money right now. But the idea keeps sitting there in the back of my mind...

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