Lifehacker: Build a Hackintosh Mac for Under $800. (Y)ou can build your own “Hackintosh”—a PC that runs a patched version of OS X Leopard. What?!, you say. Apple’s move to Intel processors in 2006 meant that running OS X on non-Apple hardware is possible, and a community hacking project called OSx86 launched with that goal in mind. Since then, OSx86 has covered major ground, making it possible for civilians—like you and me!—to put together their own Hackintosh running Mac OS 10.5. Today, I’ll show you how to build your own high end computer running Leopard from start to finish for under $800.

This is essentially a parlor trick for now. Why anyone would put OS X on a cheap PC is beyond me, given the relatively low cost of Apple’s own entry-level hardware — for not much more you could buy an iMac with roughly the same specs.

What’s potentially exciting about this is something entirely different: the possibility of putting the Mac OS on a better notebook than Apple is willing to sell. The ThinkPad line is still the absolute class, hardware-wise, in the field. And the X series — superlatively powerful and compact with the best keyboards around — is my favorite laptop form factor.

I’d buy one of those with the Mac OS in a heartbeat, and pay a premium. Apple refuses to sell a sub-notebook computer (though rumor has it that one is coming, extremely belatedly). If someone can hack the X40 or its heirs to run OS X reliably, I’ll give it a great deal of thought.

4 thoughts on “'Hackintosh' PC Runs OS X — Oh, the Possibilities

  1. Apple Low Price ? Maybe in the US, but here in France, Macs are quite expensive compared to desktop PC. So for many people, it would be the solution to switch from Windows …

  2. Are you kidding? An $800 PC will blow an iMac completely out of the water. It’ll be a Core2Quad instead of Core2Duo, come with 3GB of RAM instead of the iMac’s lowly 1GB and have a 500GB HD or a pair of 320’s instead of the single 320 that the iMac comes with. The PC will probably have crap video and a crap case, but the iMac’s video is low end for discrete graphics and can’t be upgraded for $99 like the PC can. With a PC you also get to choose your display. If you want crap viewing angles and reflections like Steve Jobs’ followers are stuck with you can have them, but I’d rather have wide gamut, consistent color.

    Maybe when Apple fixes the current iMac freeze problem being experienced by hundreds if not thousands of customers they can claim higher reliability but not right now.

    Sorry, but the iMac loses in every category right now.

  3. I can see your point about putting os X on a cheap PC box, but there is a Void in Apple’s product line between the iMac’s and the MacPros. I don’t need a $3000 workstation, but the iMac’s video card and processor (and lack of monitor choice) makes it a bad choice.

    As a Veteran Mac user, it was with a very heavy heart that I ended up purchasing a PC tower, Core 2 Quad Q6600, 2gb Ram, 500gb SATA HD, 8800GTX 768MB video card. Tons of upgrade room in the tower. Unfortunately I have to run Vista on the box and not OS X which would have been my first choice. So when someone finally hacks Leopard to run on my hardware, i’ll probably install it to play with and to possibly use most of the time.

  4. I was wondering the performance if I can get a Mac OS running on PC compare to running on Macintosh when I discover there is a Mac OS in the world. lol
    But it seems my dreams come true :O

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