Building a Hackintosh Successful Attempt #1

Since getting a Mac Book Pro for work, I’ve become quite the fan of OS X. As a unix/software guy, I really enjoy having the power of a BSD/Unix system readily available, without having to install some hack like cygwin. (I’m not knocking cygwin, it’s a really nice Windows add-on, but I prefer not to run Windows, in general.) I also like the OS X user interface, and lately, that it runs the very cool boxee media center software. So, I wanted to build a boxee box. My options were AppleTV, Mac Mini, or Hackintosh. The Mac Mini was more money than I wanted to spend for an untested solution. The AppleTV would probably be a good solution, especially now that it’s getting more testing from the boxee¬†community, but I wasn’t sure about it. Finally, I thought that a Hackintosh would be a cool project, give me not just boxee but a full OS X system, and I could buy the parts for $235 from newegg. That’s a cheap computer, and especially a cheap Mac.

I went with an Intel D945GCLF2 motherboard. It’s a mini-ITX board with built in dual Atom 330 processors, the kind of CPU’s used in the new and inexpensive NetBook computers. It’s a very low power solution, but with the dual processors most of the research I did suggested it should do 720p HD content. It has a S/PDIF header for digital audio out, but requires an extra cable and I have yet to test it. VGA out is less preferable than DVI, but again, this is cheap, and my Samsung 46″ LCD has VGA-input, so it certainly works. Also, it’s limited to a single 2GB DIMM, so max out that RAM early. ūüôā

I bought the following from newegg:

  • D945GCLF2 motherboard – $80
  • Any old PATA (SATA should work, too) DVD Burner – $25
  • 2GB Kingston 240-pin DDR2 667 SDRAM – $21
  • APEX MI-100 Black/Silver Mini-ITX Case w/ 250w PSU – $56
  • 80GB Western Digital SATA Hard Drive – $37
  • Shipping/Handling + rush processing – $15

Total cost: $234

Full disclosure: I later bought a cheap USB bluetooth dongle ($25) and Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (full retail, ouch) as that was the best wireless control solution, but any USB keyboard and mouse combo should work fine for normal usage.

INSTALL GUIDE FOR RETAIL OS X on D945GCLF2


Original info from: http://forum.insanelymac.com/index.php?showtopic=138881 

You’ll need to download the following items:

You’ll need access to all these files once you get your system running, so you should have them available on a USB drive of some kind.

Also note, the driver/patch package includes an ISO image:¬†D945GCLF2_boot_132.iso . ¬†You’ll need to burn that to a blank CD. This is a helper boot CD.¬†Everything referenced below that needs to be installed or used is part of the Driver/Patch package except for the OSx86 Tools and the Combo Updater.

HARDWARE SETUP

  • D945GCLF2 motherboard
  • 2GB memory, 240-pin DDR2 SDRAM 533MHz DIMM
  • IDE (PATA) DVD-ROM, jumper set to IDE MASTER
  • SATA 80GB HD

This can be critical; not having the jumper set properly gave me serious issues with booting.

BIOS SETUP

  • Reset D945GCLF2 BIOS to defaults
This can be critical; not having default settings caused me problems with the video driver.

INITIAL BOOT

  1. Boot with boot132.iso CD
  2. when prompted, insert retail OSX 10.5.4 dvd.
  3. when disk has spun up, hit enter until prompted to boot by DVD
  4. hit F8, type ” -v ” and hit enter (This turns on verbose mode, as I like to know WHY when something breaks)

INITIAL INSTALL

  1. Choose language
  2. From Utilities Menu,  choose Disk Utility
  3. Repartition hard drive as GUID
  4. Quit Disk Utility
  5. Proceed with normal installation
  6. (optional) to speed up my install, i customized and removed X11, Language Translations, and Printer Drivers. I can add what I need later. This saves almost 5GB (almost half the default 11.2GB needed for install)
  7. when finished, reboot.

BOOT SYSTEM FROM CD

  1. after reboot, re-insert boot123.iso CD
  2. when promtped hit ESC and type 80 (81, if installed OSX to second HD),  hit enter
  3. hit enter to boot, OR type “-v” then hit enter for verbose

BASIC SETUP AND UPDATE

  1. follow normal setup (likely you’ll have to identify your keyboard, then create a user)
  2. Update to 10.5.6 using downloaded combo update, manual install. 
  3. Reboot using BOOT SYSTEM FROM CD above (restart may require hard reset/power cycle)

CUSTOMIZE DRIVERS

  1. Using the OSX86 Tool:
    1. Install custom video kexts (drivers) — optionally backup Extensions first
    2. repair permissions
    3. clear extension cache 
  2. Reboot using BOOT SYSTEM FROM CD above (restart may require hard reset/power cycle)
  3. Using OSX86 Tool:
    1. Install custom System and Audio kexts (drivers) 
    2. repair permissions
    3. clear extension cache . 
  4. Reboot using BOOT SYSTEM FROM CD above

FINAL TWEAKS

  1. Patch the DSDT using patcher
  2. when the “Terminal” script asks what OS to emulate, type 0 (for Darwin) and hit enter
  3. when it completes there will be a “dsdt.aml” file in the same directory as the DSDT patcher. drag that onto your “Hard Drive”
  4. Install the chameleon bootloader version 1.0.12
  5. Ensure the hard drive is bootable. Open Terminal and type:

    sudo fdisk -e /dev/rdisk0<br /> p (view partition list)<br /> f 1 (activate first partition, only do different if you are REALLY sure)<br /> w (writes changes to disk)<br /> y (when prompted that a reboot will be needed)<br /> q (quit fdisk)<br />

  6. Make sure you eject the boot123.iso CD then reboot normally.

You should have a pretty darned happy OS X 10.5.6 install!

 

Update 2008-02-18: Photos from building the box: