Boy, I'm glad I didn't waste my money on a Psystar OpenComputer!

Here's some free advice for any company out there thinking about making Mac clones - at least go to the trouble of making them half-decent. Having seen the first few reviews of the Psystar OpenComputer, I'm glad that I didn't waste my money on one.

Here's some free advice for any company out there thinking about making Mac clones - at least go to the trouble of making them half-decent. Having seen the first few reviews of the Psystar OpenComputer, I'm glad that I didn't waste my money on one.

Let's start with the presentation and packaging. Watching this unboxing video shows that little care has been taken in the packaging of the unit. I've seem better care and attention given to packaging $30 PC cases. Just dumping the whole unit in a box and filling the remaining space with Styrofoam peanuts is totally inadequate.

Psystar unboxing

But the devil's in the details, and Engadget has spilled the dirt on the OpenComputer. Here are some of the most obvious system flaws:

  • It's LOUD. Crazy loud. OS X doesn't seem to interface with the fan controller, so it runs at full tilt all the time. It doesn't really come across on the video, but it's loud enough so that it's hard to talk on the phone when the machine is running. There's no way we could deal with this thing on a daily basis.
  • The DHCP lease drops every fifteen minutes or so and you have to manually renew it in prefs.
  • Apple System Profiler doesn't know how to read the configurations of several systems, notably memory and audio. The Audio screen just says there's no built-in audio, while the Memory page returns an error.
  • The included copy of Leopard was out of the shrinkwrap, but there's no way to install it -- it shows up in Startup Disk but it won't restart, and it's not recognized at boot.

Wow! Talk about a series of total deal-breakers. The most worrying revelation is the fact that the copy of Leopard included with the system is useless for recovering the system. This seems to indicate that Psystar has had to tinker with the system to get Mac OS X to load, and that users who run into problems at some point down the line end up with a disc that's no good to them.

I wish I could say "close, but no cigar" but I'm afraid this doesn't come even remotely close.

Me, I just can't wait for an owner to call Apple tech support looking for help with their Psystar unit ... c'mon, you know it's gonna happen!