Dan Gillmor

'Hackintosh' PC Runs OS X — Oh, the Possibilities

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.