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Desktops (Apple) OS X Operating Systems Software The Almighty Buck Apple Build Hardware

Modern 'Hackintoshes' Show That Apple Should Probably Just Build a Mac Tower (arstechnica.com) 219

An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from a report written by Andrew Cunningham via Ars Technica: Apple is working on new desktop Macs, including a ground-up redesign of the tiny-but-controversial 2013 Mac Pro. We're also due for some new iMacs, which Apple says will include some features that will make less-demanding pro users happy. But we don't know when they're coming, and the Mac Pro in particular is going to take at least a year to get here. Apple's reassurances are nice, but it's a small comfort to anyone who wants high-end processing power in a Mac right now. Apple hasn't put out a new desktop since it refreshed the iMacs in October of 2015, and the older, slower components in these computers keeps Apple out of new high-end fields like VR. This is a problem for people who prefer or need macOS, since Apple's operating system is only really designed to work on Apple's hardware. But for the truly adventurous and desperate, there's another place to turn: fake Macs built with standard PC components, popularly known as "Hackintoshes." They've been around for a long time, but the state of Apple's desktop lineup is making them feel newly relevant these days. So we spoke with people who currently rely on Hackintoshes to see how the computers are being used -- and what they'd like to see from Apple.
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Modern 'Hackintoshes' Show That Apple Should Probably Just Build a Mac Tower

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  • Why a Hackintosh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kaka.mala.vachva ( 1164605 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @05:43PM (#54337043)
    For Hackintoshes to become popular, presumably, there is some software on a Mac that isn't available elsewhere. What is driving the Hackintosh need? Personally (note the qualifier), I totally fail to see the need for a Hackintosh - I think all operating systems are fairly advanced and usable now, and it doesn't take long to be proficient in Linux or Windows (or FreeBSD or whatever). Why push a path that isn't supported by Apple? Just use Linux (or Windows) instead - whatever alternate platform your preferred tools work on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, it's called OS X.

      • by p0p0 ( 1841106 )
        I'd rather run Windows 10 without Antivirus.
      • Actually, it's called macOS :)

      • Exactly. I find OS X itself to be both more powerful and aesthetically pleasing than anything Microsoft has released since Windows 8. To me, OS X is an adult OS, where Windows is the perfect complement for an Xbox One fan who digs color-changing gaming keyboards and Live Tiles. OS X is a POSIX compliant OS that also has a respectable volume of commercial applications and games, a huge array of command-line software through Brew and MacPorts, vendor support for video cards and most hardware, as well as ac

    • Re:Why a Hackintosh? (Score:4, Informative)

      by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:02PM (#54337159)

      Final Cut Pro is Mac-only. There are probably other examples.
      Artists in particular tend do like OSX and a Hackintosh is an interesting option if they need a powerful machine.

    • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:05PM (#54337173)

      To start with of course, all of the MANY developers for iOS need to use Xcode, and that is absolutely Mac only - not to mention a huge base of people who want compiles to be as fast as possible.

      Also some software that has become very popular with designers is Sketch, which is Mac only.

      But on top of that, even if you are using something like Photoshop which is cross platform, you may well just prefer how OS X works over Windows.

      Obviously Linux is simply a non-starter for any people that need a professional platform that is not primarily for development...

      • I've only ever owned one Mac, and I installed Gentoo on it after about a month, then sold it about a year later.

        OSX is a terrible interface, riddled with plenty of gotcha's that just frustrate the user eventually. Maybe its better now, but I used it back in 2008 or so.

        I personally prefer Linux, but I've spent some time in Windows land. I also use Photoshop/Illustrator on a regular basis, so I have Win10 in a VM on my main workstation.

        Even if I could use OSX in the same way (in a VM), while theoretically pos

        • OSX is a terrible interface, riddled with plenty of gotcha's that just frustrate the user eventually. Maybe its better now, but I used it back in 2008 or so.

          That was a quite a while ago - who gotchas? I've not really found any, and I came more from a UNIX than a Windows world.

          I've only ever owned one Mac, and I installed Gentoo on it after about a month,

          Why do that when you could just use the BSD tools that come with it along with an X-Windows server?

          Even if I could use OSX in the same way (in a VM)

          You can

        • OSX is a terrible interface, riddled with plenty of gotcha's that just frustrate the user eventually. Maybe its better now, but I used it back in 2008 or so.

          Care to expand on that? A few counter examples:

          The buttons in dialog boxes are all the correct way around. The 'proceed' item is on the right, the 'back' equivalent is on the left[1]. In contrast, Windows has them the wrong way around and Linux DEs have them inconsistently ordered (which is even worse: at least with Windows you eventually get used to the counterintuitive behaviour).

          Dialog box buttons are all labelled with verbs. For example 'print' or 'download' not 'okay' for the forward action. I

    • by guises ( 2423402 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:07PM (#54337187)
      Well, for starters, iOS development requires MacOS. Other things which Apple does tend to tie into MacOS as well - you can use iTunes in Windows, and technically you can make a couple versions of it work in Linux (sorta), but it only works well in MacOS. Just don't use iTunes, you say? That's fine as long as you don't need to "activate" an iPhone. Etc.

      Obviously, given this bullshit, it would be best to steer clear of Apple products all together, but some of us need to make money.
      • you can use iTunes in Windows

        You can, but it didn't port that well. It's not quite as much of a bloated, smelly mess in OS X.

    • by rs1n ( 1867908 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:12PM (#54337215)

      For Hackintoshes to become popular, presumably, there is some software on a Mac that isn't available elsewhere. What is driving the Hackintosh need? Personally (note the qualifier), I totally fail to see the need for a Hackintosh - I think all operating systems are fairly advanced and usable now, and it doesn't take long to be proficient in Linux or Windows (or FreeBSD or whatever). Why push a path that isn't supported by Apple? Just use Linux (or Windows) instead - whatever alternate platform your preferred tools work on.

      Final Cut is exclusive to Mac OS. A lot of folks who work with audio and visual media will likely find Final Cut useful and perhaps necessary.

      But beyond that, because is is much more "closed", has a much more uniform interface. Look at the hodge-podge of different widgets for a Linux desktop system. And on Windows, it's the same -- even the interfaces aren't uniform between different MS products, let alone between different vendors.

      My own personal preference is that it has a nice UI and was built on top of *nix. As someone who used to be a die-hard Linux fan, OS X has become a preferred operating system for reasons above.

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

      I totally fail to see the need for a Hackintosh.... Just use Linux (or Windows) instead - whatever alternate platform your preferred tools work on.

      There's a horde of video production people out there who prefer OS X for tools such an Final Cut or Adobe Creative Suite.

      Why push a path that isn't supported by Apple?

      Because the path is supported by Apple, just very poorly [apple.com]. It's one method of protesting for better support.

    • Why would you drive a Chevy instead of a Ford (realizing that Chrysler is a POS)? The UI for Windows and OS X as well as the workflows are sufficiently different such that people get used to / attached to one solution or the other. I work with Windows systems all day at work. I can get stuff done and actually a slightly modified Win 10 box isn't all that bad but I like OS X.

      Powershell is a vast improvement over the Command.com but I like Unix and Terminal.

      Even with Adobe's knuckle^Hfoot dragging, Creativ

    • I like *nix. The corporate IT folks built stuff around Windows, and support Macs since makes do fine in their environment.

      At my last two jobs, the corporation officially supported Mac, which isn't surprising because they are easier to support in a Windows-centric than Linux, FreeBSD. On a Mac you can use Microsoft Office, Active Directory, etc. So the employer will provide a Mac.

      The Mac is also full-on certified UNIX. Pop open a command line and can do anything you can do on Linux. Your Perl amd ahell scrip

      • Yup. It feels very workable for development. In Windows developers are almost all on an IDE exclusively, it's just too painful to use in other ways (cygwin is great but it adds a performance hit as Windows just isn't designed to work efficiently with the standard Unix API). Quick and dirty scripting is just so much easier with bash and unix utils and pipes; not impossible on Windows just harder to do. The Unix style is to compose commands together to do something more complex; the Windows style is to ho

        • Windows 10 has a new linux subsystem, WSL.

          • True. But I doubt that suddenly everyone who loves linux and OSX switched over. Everyone has formed their opinions in the prior years already, and this addition does not wipe away all flaws and makes Windows perfect.

            Does bash actually work well? Is it _integrated_ with Windows?? That is, at the command line, can I use forward slashes "/" for all Windows command line tools and it treats them as paths, or can you only use linux subsystem commands with it? Remember, Windows NT had the POSIX subsystem and i

    • OS X is the software desired, with xcode and some stuff from homebrew. That's what I want.

      Linux is not quite there, it has the right applications but the window system is still buggy and doesn't always do what I want, but it will do if nothing else exists. Last...there's windows, which I consider to be unusable with any amount of effort. It's a glorified game console now.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Why push a path that isn't supported by Apple? Just use Linux (or Windows) instead -

      Because maybe you're more productive on a Unix-like OS since you're adept at all the tools available, and you feel crippled running on Windows. Also, you can't stand the crappy monitor resolution scaling that Windows has vs MacOS, where Windows leaves you with tiny text you can't read right by oversized text.

      OTOH, You need things like your Desktop and Audio to just work. You need to be able to switch Input sources with

    • Re:Why a Hackintosh? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PhunkySchtuff ( 208108 ) <kai@@@automatica...com...au> on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:44PM (#54337751) Homepage

      It's familiarity with the platform that is the #1 driver.

      I've been using a Mac since the 90's, it took me a while to become as proficient with Mac OS X as I was with Classic MacOS when it first came out, by now I've been using the OS for so long that there are a multitude of tiny things that all add up to make a significant difference.

      I'm sitting at my desk here - I have a 2013 Mac pro and a newly built PC with i7 7700K, fast SSD, Decent GeForce graphics card and Windows 10 Enterprise.

      I have been forcing myself to use the PC on a regular basis to become more proficient with Windows 10, but there are so many little things that are just different that it makes life harder for me. It's not even application support, other than Sketch (which I don't really use) all the major software I use is on Windows and macOS - Office 2016, Adobe Creative Cloud, Fusion 360, TeamViewer, Sublime Text, Chrome, Firefox etc... I've even got a bash shell running natively in Windows 10 for when I need it.

      I won't deny that I find the Mac easier because that's what I know - but I have grown to work with what macOS delivers and when Windows doesn't do this, it grates.

      Little things like automatic spelling and text replacement that on macOS largely gets it right. I'm not a perfect typer and macOS usually doesn't get in my way (except, of course, when it does) when correcting mis-typed words as I'm typing. Support for adding extended characters and emoji easily to text. Built-in password management with the Keychain.

      Even some of the built-in apps - I much prefer Terminal.app over cmd.exe by defaults it uses a more readable font and it wraps text nicely (although I think Windows 10 now wraps text in cmd?)

      It's also the general look of it - Windows 10 looks sharper (largely due to it's font rendering trying to align on pixel boundaries) whereas macOS is a bit softer, but to my eyes at least, easier to read (again, probably due to font rendering not aligning to pixel boundaries for individual glyphs, but trying to space characters more closely to the printed page)

      I've begun the path to a hackintosh, but honestly it's too much trouble considering I've got a perfectly good Mac sitting on my desk at the moment.

      The main driver for hacintosh builds that I see are either creative professionals that want to tinker and don't mind wasting some time faffing around trying to get things working and are happy that they can save some money over the cost of purchasing a comparable Mac (when you factor in your time to get it working, this equation doesn't look so one-sided) and professionals that need more than Apple is able to offer - current generation, fast NVIDIA GPUs (for CUDA), expandable internal storage and RAID, lower-cost M.2 PCIe SSD storage. Whilst some pros are getting last-generation tower Mac Pro workstations and upgrading everything in them (faster Xeon CPUs, PCIe SSDs, GTX 1080 graphics cards etc), others prefer to deal with newer hardware and work though the hassles of hacking it to run macOS.

    • Final Cut Pro
      Logic Pro
      Adobe Creative Suite still runs slightly better (in my opinion)
      A little less bloat

      But really, I want an OS that has loads of commercial software available while still having a terminal with Bash out of the box. Being able to SSH into it is a huge plus too. If you're just looking for a development OS, Linux fits perfectly. But there are only a few good choices for video editing. I've been on Hackintosh for many years (I played around in Leopard and made it full time for Snow Leopard

    • I use all three, but there is one, read ONE killer feature on macs that I wish Windows / Linux would have: quicklook. Want to look in your Illustrator / photoshop / jpg / docx / xlsx / pdf / ppt / mp4 / mp3 / whatever document to see the contents without firing up the whole program just to see if it is the one you wanted, or to grab a bit of info? just hit space on a Mac and it pops up pretty much instantly... much faster than opening the dedicated program.

      You do have to suffer the drawbacks though, namely

      • Explorer in Windows 10 shows Office documents via the 'Preview pane'.

        • It does, but it's still a long way from quicklook - With quicklook you just push 'space' and preview your document, complete with a little 'send to' button, a fullscreen option, and an 'open in....' thingy too. With the preview pane, you click to turn it on/off, and it's limited to the right hand side of the window, and so you end up resizing it all the time. You have to remember to turn it off, or you end up previewing everything you click on, which you don't normally want to do.

          It's another example of a f

    • The operating system. Windows is awful in so many ways. OSX is awful but in far fewer ways. Windows 10 is just a disaster, Microsoft is copying mistakes from Apple and running with them to the extreme. I fnd that there's a lot less mouse clicking involved with OSX (with a few braindead exceptions). Windows catches up in some ways, it *finally* added in multiple switchable desktops even though OSX had this since 2007 and unix systems for even longer. And there's a decent command line instead of the DOS or

    • Why? Well, partly because it's there. A customer was getting rid of pro-level workstations and gave me one, so after it gathered dust I thought I'd take a stab at it. Took a lot of rebooting, trying this and that, starting over, and beer. Finally got it to work.

      Second reason: I'm considering getting a MacBook for my next laptop. Call this getting my feet wet. I use Windows for 2 things: gaming and Office. I don't game on my laptop and I use linux about 95% of the time on it. I can use macOS for a lo

    • by MrCoke ( 445461 )

      Logic Pro X and a ton of AU's would do it for me. Photoshop, Lightroom and XCode to complete the picture. I know there are open source alternatives and I occasionally check them out but they don't even come close in terms of features, stability and performance.

  • by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @05:50PM (#54337067)

    So we spoke with people who currently rely on Hackintoshes to see how the computers are being used -- and what they'd like to see from Apple.

    2TB NVME m.2 boot drive (+2x NVME m.2 slots)
    Intel Core i7 6950X overclockable liquid cooled
    2x NVidia Titan X
    4x empty drive bays for expansion
    8x PCIE 16x slots
    Subwoofer built into case
    RGB lighting
    -------
    $900

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      i think you are off by a zero in pricing for a apple product :)

      sent via win7 vm on a macbook pro

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I know you are joking, but just on a technical point consumer grade CPUs don't have enough PCIe lanes to support multiple SSDs and a reasonable number of slots and I/O. Even USB needs a few lanes now, since it has hit 10Gb.

      That's why you pay more for server CPUs. More PCIe lanes, among other things.

    • 4x empty drive bays for expansion

      Given it would be apple, that's going to be most of the way to your $900 budget right there...

  • Rubbish (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @05:51PM (#54337077)
    If the small (yes small) number of people who use Mackintoshes proves that Apple should build Towers, then the small (yes small) number of Windows Phone users proves we should all be using Windows phones. Stop believing that YOUR needs/wants = the majority, they aren't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This says nothing about what people "should be using".
      This is about what Apple should be providing to the people who would prefer to be using MacOS X (whatever number of people that is).

      Reading comprehension - give it a try.

      • Why should Apple provide anything ?
        The point was, the small numbers who need such a machine makes it a market not work pursuing. Its like the Xserves , Raid Array, Laser Printers, Screens and all the other hardware Apple has dumped, it became a fringe product that was simply not cost effective or too expensive to sell in numbers.

        They would probably be better off partnering with Dell, so when you buy FinalCutPro with a PC box (limited set of hardware specs) you get a Hackintosh version of OSX all install
    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 )

      If the small (yes small) number of people who use Mackintoshes proves that Apple should build Towers, then the small (yes small) number of Windows Phone users proves we should all be using Windows phones.

      Aside from the fact that the question of whether you should cater to a professional class of users by building a professional class product (think video production) and the question of whether "we should all" be using such a product are entirely different things...

      huh?

      Stop believing that YOUR needs/wants =

    • I think uptake would be *much* larger if people didn't have to do it themselves. If someone had Hackintoshes ready to go they'd sell out. Of course they'd be sued into oblivion.

      • I think uptake would be *much* larger if people didn't have to do it themselves. If someone had Hackintoshes ready to go they'd sell out. Of course they'd be sued into oblivion.

        OK, how large do you think the market really is ?

        No pie in the sky estimates, an honest logical guess.

        Based on my experience at a University, less than 1% of users. 95% of Mac users have not even maxed out the memory of their laptops/desktops. Simply doing that and replacing their HDs with an SSD would be a huge performance increase that the same 95% would not in reality make full use of.

        • You don't have to "make full use of" something for it to be worthwhile. My car is parked for 95% of the day.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2017 @06:05PM (#54337169)

    Built a powerful hackintosh a few years ago. Gathered all the parts from tonyosx86.com (or something like that) and kludged my way through an install of OSX. Every update required more hacking to keep the thing going. I eventually gave up and went back to Windows (10).

    All in all it was more of a pain in the ass to keep this thing running with sub optimal driver support, more tricking of the boot loader, and staying behind the time for patching that drove me away from bothering again. Apple will never build a desktop for the masses outside of their Mini line (which works well for desktop work). People who want to game on Mac's go get a MacBook Pro. Getting one of those trashcan towers is ludicrous.

    • Built a powerful hackintosh a few years ago. Gathered all the parts from tonyosx86.com (or something like that) and kludged my way through an install of OSX. Every update required more hacking to keep the thing going. I eventually gave up and went back to Windows (10).

      All in all it was more of a pain in the ass to keep this thing running with sub optimal driver support, more tricking of the boot loader, and staying behind the time for patching that drove me away from bothering again

      This. Whilst getting 80% of macOS running on current PC hardware isn't that difficult, the remaining 20% to make it work just like a real Mac will take 80% of the time.

      Things like having audio still work when waking from sleep. Having iCloud being able to sign in and having Messages actually work. Handoff and File Drop support. Being robust enough to survive a regular software update...

    • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @08:20PM (#54337993) Homepage

      It's better now. Get a good EFI bootloader (Clover) going and you can run the Apple updates directly - all the major differences between your hardware and the Mac hardware are abstracted away by the bootloader. You have to do major release upgrades by building a thumb drive with some extra tools, but otherwise it just works. That is, at least if you're buying hardware that already has OS support.

  • I was dissapointed by incremental updates of the cheese grater, and I got sick of waiting for the update on the garbage can, so I ended up running hackintoshes since 2010 or so. have been running on Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge i7's on z68 and z97 chipsets, and new haswells have been easy to move over to. When i started i was running Snow Leopard, Lion, ad they were airgapped video production computers that let us move through a few legacy FCP7 projects, and transitioned to FCPx.

    Game changer was the new
  • Most Slashdot articles that I care to read i've already read where they linked from - ArsTechnica. Is Slashdot now just an aggregator of other sites now?

  • by Jonathan C. Patschke ( 8016 ) on Monday May 01, 2017 @07:34PM (#54337697) Homepage

    I went Mac-exclusive in 2001 and stopped buying Apple products entirely in 2014. No Apple laptop made since my 17" 2010 MacBook Pro is as durable or expandable. No Apple desktop holds as much storage as my 2010 Mac Pro, and iPhones are no fun to use if I have to run iTunes on Windows. I've made peace with the notion that Apple makes more money selling gateways to their 30%-commissioned walled garden than they do by selling tools to people who write code and run lots of virtual machines. Rather than selling me a $3000 machine every other year, they passively collect constant income from easily-distracted end-users. Even if the numbers didn't make sense, the reduced level of effort certainly does. See also: Valve and why Half Life 3 is vaporware.

    In the time since it became really clear that Apple didn't want to chase the business of people like me, I've switched away from software that's OS X-specific. I built a CentOS desktop and a Windows 10 desktop to see which one I'd run next. Either is fine. I'd prefer FreeBSD, but graphics and power management are a little behind the curve.

    You see, Apple's disdain for pro customers isn't new, and it comes in long stretches. When they had the educational market in the US sewn up, they didn't need professional users. When that dried up, they successfully sold GUI Unix to hackers. If they need us, they know how to get in touch, but until they need us, they won't.

    That said, I do love my last two Macs. They mostly Just Work. They're not fast anymore (8 years of software bloat will do that), but they're acceptable. I lament that they won't be replaced by other Macs, but life goes on. In the interim, I have work to do that I can't do efficiently on a single-disk/single-screen machine or a tiny notebook with soldered-in storage.

    • by mfearby ( 1653 )

      I hear you. I abandoned Linux when Ubuntu went to the dogs 5 years ago when Unity and GNOME 3 seemed to go the same way. Since then I've been pretty happy with my late 2013 15" MacBook Pro, though it hasn't all been beer and skittles. The laptop sits underneath my monitor stand all the time and acts as a cheaper Mac Pro, because Mac Pro prices were and are just ridiculous.

      Xcode as an IDE is painful most of the time; it feels like a strait jacket, and the number of times Apple has changed Swift has lead me t

  • I saw the writing on the wall in 2008 and went back to Linux with a little bit of Windows. However, Dan Benjamin is pretty sharp and has a great guide if you still need/want a powerful mac desktop.

    http://hackintoshmethod.com/ [hackintoshmethod.com]
  • While other pro workstations had TB add in cards with an old voodoo video like loop back cable they pushed all video over the TB bus even HDMI and went with the laptop like custom video cards.

    Apple could of even had an low end video chip on board like server boards and some workstation boards to route TB over with real pci-e slots and real video cards with HDMI and DP versions higher then what you can get with TB.

    and the 1 cpu system cut down on the pci-e lanes forcing apple to only have 1 SSD card.

  • Since actually licensing and opening up their OS to other vendors isn't going to happen....

    Apple should just ship a couple "Apple labelled" standard format ATX'ish motherboards. A desktop Intel, a desktop AMD, and a multi-socket "Pro" of where applicable. Drivers for peripherals... That someone else's problem. Done.

  • I have a couple of hackintosh machines and a couple of macbook pro's at work i use an imac.
    My hackintosh machines have more ram and better graphics than the imac and 2 screens and an internal Sata Raid not quite as quiet as the imac which is a negative.

    My older hack can triple boot which is sometimes handy. I have a legacy nikon scanner which plugs into a legacy scsi card. The software is old as the hills but I booted windows 7 and used Parallels to run Windows 2000 which I passed the Scsi card too and it

//GO.SYSIN DD *, DOODAH, DOODAH

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