The Hackintosh is back; say hello to projectQ

After some fits and starts in 2008 and 2009 by Psystar and some cheap Dell netbooks, the low-cost hackintosh may be coming soon to a screen near you.
Written by Jason D. O'Grady, Contributor
The Hackintosh is back, say Hello to projectQ - Jason O'Grady

In April 2008 a Florida company called Psystar arrived on the Mac scene with a desktop hackintosh called OpenMac, a $399 Mac-compatible tower built from generic PC components (naturally, I had to have one.)

Even though Apple released the original MacBook Air in January 2008, it was expensive and not small enough for some users. Enter the $400 DIY Apple netbook built atop a Dell mini 9. (Naturally, I had to build my own.) In April 2009 Dell cut the price of entry in half when it released the ultimate Hackintosh surrogate, the $200 Vostro A90.

While frankenMacs were a big hit with budget Mac crowd, a backlash ensued when netbook performance was found to be dismal and playing cat-and-mouse with Apple became more of a hassle than most were willing to put up with. Then in January, 2010 the arrival of $500 iPad was probably the final nail in the hackintosh coffin.

Or was it?

A thread on the Insanely Mac Forum mentions that a new motherboard from QUO Computer could signal the revival of the desktop hackintosh. According to the thread the board supports most Macintosh features (including Ethernet, Thunderbolt, Ivy Bridge, CPU and GPU) out-of-box. The projectQ (a.k.a. the QUO Z77MX All OS) motherboard includes an impressive array of ports, including:

  • FireWire 400 and 800
  • Thunderbolt
  • DVI
  • HDMI
  • USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
projectQ ports look impressive - Jason O'Grady


Additional details from a poster claiming to be one of the board's developers:

  • This board will require minimal (to none on future) user input for OS (X) boot, AOS stands for ALL OS, so is not just a board for hackint0sh, we are developing it for Windows and Linux too.
  • It will feature built in UEFI Open Boot Loader and as a future plan built in Chameleon for legacy boot, more info and details later.
  • Built in components: Intel 82574L LAN, Intel USB 3.0, TI FW800 2x ports on board and x1 FW400 on back, HD4000 Graphics(require CPU support), ALC892 Audio Codec, and 2x Cactus Ridge Thunderbolt ports all this in Micro ATX form factor.
  • All built in components works OOTB with our custom firmware (exception is audio).

Other items of interest about the projectQ mobo:

  • According to a post by iztech, projectQ is the first board to support FireWire 800 (1394b), Intel 82574L LAN and ALC892 Audio Codec.
  • It will allow you to boot installesd, chameleon, and fakesmc and do a complete OS X installation without anything else. 
  • It has the same Texas Instruments chip as in MacPro (Texas Instruments XIO2213A/B/XIO2221 IEEE-1394b OHCI Controller - Cheetah Express)
  • open-source BIOS

According to the company's FaceBook page, the QUO Computer website will be updated in "the weeks to come" with a configurator and a pre-order form for the projectQ motherboard. During the introduction period the Z77MX-QUO-AOS will be available for pre-order for $219 and builders will be able to purchase bulk packs of 10 at $199 per.

Count me in.

For more background on the hackintosh, I recommend this post on AnandTech.

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