Mac OS X on x86 reviewed

Mac OS X on x86 reviewed

Summary: It's been proven that OS X can be hacked to run on Intel's x86 hardware platform, but is the performance going to suffer?


Almost as soon as Apple released their OS X for Intel developer kit, enterprising hackers undid the security scheme that was supposed to prevent it from being installed on any old generic beige box. In addition to being able to install OS X on a cheap PC from Wal-Mart, they've turned it into a sport to see how cheap you can build an x86 Mac.

I'm not interested in installing the hacks to try to get OS X running on one of my old PCs—I already have OS X running on a perfectly serviceable PowerBook G4—I'm waiting for the Intel Macs to be announced so that I can dual boot into Windows XP on those rare occasions when I need to run something that'll only run on Windows. Let's hope that the powers that be in Cupertino allow us to dual boot our Intel Macs.

That didn't stop my colleagues at ZDNet UK from giving it a go however. Those crazy brits threw caution to the wind and installed the OS X developer kit on a Toshiba laptop

Mac OS X looks in amazingly good early form on the x86 platform. As far as power consumption and OS performance are concerned, it can already keep up with Windows XP. Application performance clearly lags behind, though, and still needs to improve.

While it's a violation of every EULA and developer NDA imaginable, ZDNet's test proves that OS X on Intel is viable, but more than that it proves that x86 users are looking for alternatives to the Windows OS. I doubt that Apple will release OS X for generic Intel boxes any time soon, as it will surely cannibalize their hardware business, but it may force Apple to consider becoming a software company in the interest of greater market share.

If Apple plays their cards right and allows the Intel Macs to dual boot (sans hack), they'll lift one of the major barriers in the platform wars of the past two decades. Users will finally have a choice of OSes and they won't have to resort to surreptitious methods to get them. The last remining barrier to the Mac OS taking over the world will be price, and Apple will have to learn to compete in that arena.

Topic: Operating Systems

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  • Dual boot

    Since Windoze destroys other OS boot records (something they have researched I'm sure), you have to install Windoze FIRST before you can install - say Linux. If Apple adopts that same attitude, then it will be impossible to dual boot. OTOH it was impossible to TRIPLE boot Solaris when I last tried it (Solaris required some funky boot partition), but Sun has recently adopted a more Linux-like boot process for Solaris, so triple-boot is now possible. Will Apple be like M$ or Sun? Only time will tell.
    Roger Ramjet
    • roger that

      apple must make a decision to be a problem or a solution.

      The answer will be hard and punitive apple risk alienating a lots of its former user(ppc onwer) and risk alienating the new customer (x86 potentiel onwer)

      Remember apple survive there first chip change this one may be the last change they have to become the true alternative osx is really

  • what ever the reason osx is needed

    a other alternative is needed even if its unsupport.
    people are sick and tired of winshit materiel, linux is great but only if you like learning stuff.

    so apple osx is very much needed as a simpler alternative period and people will find a way legal or not to get over winshit and office.

    as a former apple user ( g4 burn off no way ill buy a new one too expensive) mini mac is cute but not worthy .. unless your willing to transform your mini mac as a powermac with new case ,new HD 2.5/3.5 ide converter and a new dvd burner a 300 buck move that may void your Mac mini warranty.

    home user will go the extra miles to get rid of winshit....
    everywhere on the net you have ways to install osx on x86 machine with a linux live cd and a portable hd .......

    Apple must live up to the challenge and put osx to abroad or suffer the reality of hacking ....

    there country that dont give a rat ass about eula and copyright solution will be developp else where .....

  • That was a review?!?! NT

  • No thanks

    The problem with the Mac is only partly the needlessly expensive hardware. The other problem is the ciunter-intuitive, profoundly counter-productive user interface. Despite the propaganda, the Mac makes simple tasks difficult and complex tasks impossible. Do not believe the hype. The Mac is good for web surfing and playing DVDs, not for doing real work.

    Putting the Mac interface on Intel hardware is a huge step backward: the Linux (KDE) and Windows user interfaces are both superior to that of the Mac, and having Intel (or AMD) inside a Mac doesn't change this.
    • Troll !

      "The Mac is good for web surfing and playing DVDs, not for doing
      real work."

      Tell that to the professionals that use Macs in our daily work !

      Adobe is a simple guide. Roughly half of their sales goes to Mac
      Users. You think I paid for PhotoShop and InDesign as toys?
      • OS9

        "Tell that to the professionals that use Macs in our daily work !"

        OS9 still has a superior interface. If Apple could have kept the interface for OSX, that would have been something to brag about. Simply put, the OSX interface sucks!
  • yhenfcd 98 jzb

    rlxtew,sahywvnp42, hgovo.