Monday, 5 April 2010

Mac on a PC, are you mad?

iATKOS[Concrete/ Quite Interesting]  Well probably, but that’s not important now. I came home from a short trip to Malaysia to find my Windows 7 desktop had crashed. We have a lot of laptops at home but the desktop is the family machine. It’s connected to my Samsung 6000 LED TV and we use it for music, pictures and 1080p movies.

After a day trying to recover a crashed registry, I finally decided it would be simpler to reinstall Windows. The data on this machine is important and lives mostly on a 1TB USB drive, so re-install is not a problem. Then I had a mad idea – why Windows, why not Mac OSX?

Mac OS -  Why, because I can

macvwin As always, I’m very busy. I’ve got a couple of development projects running, some updates to write, articles, work and with the family away, a golden opportunity to clean the house from top to bottom. But I want to – why, because I can.

Not just because I can, but also because I like Mac OSX. I’m 90% Microsoft and very comfortable with their operating systems. I’ve worked with Windows since pre-release version 1 in 1984, matured alongside the operating systems, had a deep appreciation for Windows 3.1, briefly flirted with OS/2 and Presentation Manager then back to Windows NT through to the present day Windows 7. But the other 10% has an eye for Mac OS and over time I’ve been more and more seduced by the ‘I don’t know where the operating system is, and I don’t care’ attitude flaunted by Mac OSX.

Then there are my children – my two older kids only know Microsoft, the two little ones have had the opportunity to play with both operating systems – I think it’s important they all are able to experience the best of both operating systems.


iATKOS1 So where to start. Well we need to install an x86 version of Mac OSX – known as Mac OSX86. I have a Mac Book running Mac OSX 10.6.3 – a.k.a Snow Leopard. So a single step installation of this operating systems would be good.

After some research, I settled on iATKOS v7 – this provides a one step installation of OSX 10.5.x on Intel/AMD chipsets. Ok, not Snow Leopard, but Leopard is close enough.

You can get a copy of iATKOS v7 from the internet, download from Torrent or RapidShare, just search for iATKOS v7.

Tip – Solve it with cheap hardware.

iATKOS is very good but takes some getting used to. After many days I still had a problem with my network card not being recognized. I tried vanilla install, selecting drivers, installing and applying drivers, following some very detailed hacks, but nothing worked. Either, no network, occasionally, no operating system.

Then I went out to PC World and bought a cheap 10/100 LAN card. The sales assistant treated me like an escaped lunatic but I found a cheap card with a Mac OSX symbol on the side.

macTHN1001_F5D5000 I chose a Belkin F5D5000 32-bit PCI network card. It cost about £10 and Belkin have Mac OS drivers. Put the card in, did a vanilla install and it worked first time.

Almost done – Quartz Support

Great – all working. Well not quite. I noticed that screen savers were not running, but wasn’t too concerned since these are not important. I then installed iLife – great application suite, the best photo slideshows I’ve ever seen through iPhoto.

But iPhoto slideshows didn’t work. After some digging I found out that certain graphics functions require Quartz Extreme support.

Quartz Extreme is hardware accelerated graphics support based on OpenGL commands. For this you need an AGP 2X graphics card or better. (AGP 4X, 8X and PCI Express).

g_02510043 Again, the simplest solution was a trip to PC World and I picked up an NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS for about £25 which did the trick. Simply replaced my graphics card and it worked first time.


The Results

So was it worth it. I think so. Take a look at the results:


Samsung 6000 LED and Virgin


Turn over to Mac OSX86 Leopard


Running iPhoto


and my favourite, XBMC media centre.


Give it a try for yourself.