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First 'hackintosh' modchip surfaces

First 'hackintosh' modchip surfaces

The EFi-X chip connects to a spare USB header and provides compatibility with MacOS X - but is of questionable legality.

If you thought those shady modchips were just for the console crowd, think again: a hardware device for simplifying the installation of Apple's MacOS X operating system on a generic x86 PC has been surfacing around the web.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog noticed that several Apple fan sites around the web have started posting pictures of the internal USB dongle dubbed the EFi-X, including members of the InsanelyMac forum and the Incomplete News Project.

So, why the big fuss? Well, in a similar way to the questionable legalities of modchips designed for consoles – some of which enable sort-of-legal functionality like the playback of imported games, others of which exist purely to facilitate software piracy – there is a certain feeling of unease when you first boot up MacOS X on a standard off-the-shelf PC. Sure, the hardware is pretty identical to that supplied by Appe – but the company's end-user licence agreement clearly states that you're not to do what you're doing.

Although methods for creating an OS X PC – affectionately known as a 'hackintosh' – have existed for a while, most require the modification of the BIOS: not a procedure for the faint of heart. The EFi-X chip aims to do away with all that: connect it to a spare USB header on your motherboard and, providing your hardware is compatible, start installing MacOS X.

Reports as to the efficacy of the device are mixed, with some users claiming success on allegedly unsupported hardware while others struggle to get the chip operating correctly on seemingly fully compatible systems. One thing is certain – with the providers of commercial 'hackintosh' systems firmly in Apple's sights, it's unlikely that the company behind EFi-X is going to fly under Apple's radar for long.

Are you tempted into getting a PC modchip and trying out the operating system from the dark – or, at least, pretty – side, or is the whole idea of a 'hackintosh' relatively pointless – especially if it costs money? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

21 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
liratheal 15th September 2008, 14:26 Quote
I can imagine the Apple legal team in neon orange clothing, loading the shotguns.

I did catch something about this thing before it was released, but never figured it'd actually make it out before they got legal buckshot in the face.

Also loving the countries for sale, Sweden, Russia, Bulgaria etc?
DougEdey 15th September 2008, 14:37 Quote
Me like. I never knew it was so complicated to install Mac OS.

Surely apple would make more money if they made it available to specific hardware setups running specific BIOS'
liratheal 15th September 2008, 14:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Me like. I never knew it was so complicated to install Mac OS.

Surely apple would make more money if they made it available to specific hardware setups running specific BIOS'

Entirely likely that they would lose money.

The extreme markup on their hardware is probably where they make the majority of their computer sales related wonga. If they opened the OS up to run on all platforms, where's the need for someone to spend (sometimes) twice as much as they could do on a non-apple machine, and just install OS X on it?

The only upside to buying the Apple hardware, really, would be the asthetics. Would you pay a hefty markup for the machine, and the typically unreasonable markup in the upgrade parts (Specifically graphics cards, since RAM etc. is pretty easy to go 3rd party for).

Limiting it to specific hardware/bios combinations is pretty much all they do right now - Except they put a pretty case on it, and a few extra zeros.
Jack_Pepsi 15th September 2008, 14:47 Quote
Surely they'd lose more money if they sold OS X separately that worked on non-Apple hardware? It would slowly make i/PowerMacs redundant... right?
bowman 15th September 2008, 14:52 Quote
Can't say I care. I'll stick to my laptop without the crazy markup, and some sweet, free, non-bloated Linux instead. They can keep their fancy OS X.
steveo_mcg 15th September 2008, 14:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack_Pepsi
Surely they'd lose more money if they sold OS X separately that worked on non-Apple hardware? It would slowly make i/PowerMacs redundant... right?

Plus you introduce the issue of having to work on multiple platforms, just look at the issues MS has every release or patch. Apple doesn't want that kind of problem there catch phrase is "just works" remember.
TreeDude 15th September 2008, 15:36 Quote
Being sold for $165USD on Ebay. That is pretty steep if you ask me.
Vode 15th September 2008, 15:47 Quote
Less than the mark-up on a real Mac :P
koola 15th September 2008, 16:02 Quote
Pointless, Apple will block it with a update and that little usb modchip will be nothing more than a paper weight.
Madjock 15th September 2008, 16:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by koola
Pointless, Apple will block it with a update and that little usb modchip will be nothing more than a paper weight.

I wouldn't under estimate the hacking community, they live for this cat and mouse stuff, especially when there's hardware to be sold.
TreeDude 15th September 2008, 17:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Madjock
Quote:
Originally Posted by koola
Pointless, Apple will block it with a update and that little usb modchip will be nothing more than a paper weight.

I wouldn't under estimate the hacking community, they live for this cat and mouse stuff, especially when there's hardware to be sold.

I agree. Look at what happened when Nintendo tried blocking mods on the Wii. It honestly only made the modders try that much harder and now it is easier than ever.
Firehed 15th September 2008, 18:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
Me like. I never knew it was so complicated to install Mac OS.

Surely apple would make more money if they made it available to specific hardware setups running specific BIOS'

The process is as trivial as it gets on Apple hardware, as you'd expect. But no, they'd barely make anything if they sold OS X alone - the software is practically a loss leader once you figure in development costs, in order to sell the hardware and make their markup there.

But I've spent more than enough time trying to make hackintoshes work properly. I'll hang on to my Mac Pro.
-EVRE- 15th September 2008, 21:42 Quote
Wow, youd really have to be happy with what you got in the box to buy an Apple... I was looking at the compatible hardware list from that site... there are so few gfx cards supported......

Apple buyer.. apple products or products that manufacturers went through the trouble to make drivers for

PC: Everything else.....

basically Apple is a democrat, they, the government decide whats good for you and PC is the republican, they let you choose what you think is best for you. Or you could compare it so socialism and free market.....

I dont see how a mod chip in this case can be illegal.. after all what is in violation is the END USER AGREEMENT
so..... there is nothing illegal about the chip, its the user who's breaking the agreement.

:D
perplekks45 15th September 2008, 22:11 Quote
Off topic:

So republican = Laissez-faire? :|

On topic:

Someone's trying to make some money by making hacked tools and stuff available to the masses. Might actually work. Not my cup of tea though. If I wanted OS X I'd want to work my way there. ;)
nemesis80 16th September 2008, 06:32 Quote
" Sure, the hardware is pretty identical to that supplied by Appe – but the company's "

Mispelled Apple.

-nemesis80
[USRF]Obiwan 16th September 2008, 14:19 Quote
who the hell wants a mac anyway. Useless single mouse button overrated and over expensive crappy OS wit ditto hardware.
koola 16th September 2008, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
who the hell wants a mac anyway. Useless single mouse button overrated and over expensive crappy OS wit ditto hardware.

Th4mXXBNV38
[USRF]Obiwan 16th September 2008, 15:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by koola
Th4mXXBNV38

Hahaha very funy, but useless because I work on a mac for design (photshop, illustrator etc), but can do exactly the same on my pc that cost a fraction of the mac (almost half). Thats why I think it is overated overpriced crap. And I stand by my opinion.
p3n 16th September 2008, 19:06 Quote
Apple hardware aside (even if their laptops are awesome!), hands off the OS - Unix is so far ahead of windows its unreal.

Oh yeah mr. design boi, if your getting slowed down by a single mouse button in photoshop you want to buy photoshop for dummies and learn some keyboard shortcuts... (and buy a two button mouse?)
staples 22nd September 2008, 02:16 Quote
Gimme gimme gimme!
haha!

Would be fun to have OS X and Logic Pro 8 on a pc!
~tjb~ 22nd September 2008, 04:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by koola
Th4mXXBNV38
I knew that was coming.
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