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Written by David Ramsey   
Monday, 08 August 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy Bridge
Installation Fun
Hackintosh Performance
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Installation Fun

Historically, Macs have always come with installation DVDs for their OS; the previous generation MacBook Airs came with Snow Leopard on a read-only USB key. Apple's moving away from physical media, with the latest generation MacBook Air computers supplied with no installation media at all, but rather a recovery partition on their SSDs, much like consumer Windows machines. However, unlike Windows machines, the new Airs can restore their OS via a WiFi connection even if their SSDs are completely erased.

None of this matters to a Hackintosher, of course, since you'll need a physical copy of an OS X installation disk or USB key to bring your machine up. As of this writing Apple still sells Snow Leopard 10.6.3 for $29.99, while OS X 10.7 Lion is available only as a download from Apple's App Store at $29.99 (although it's easy to extract a disk image file from the download and use it to create a bootable installation DVD). Apple plans to offer Lion on a USB key in a month or so.

The regae boot CD has a pre-configured Chameleon boot loader and some utility software. After assembling the hardware for my Hackintosh, I booted from this disk, swapped it for the standard Snow Leopard installation DVD, and formatted the hard disk and installed Snow Leopard. At this point I could boot Snow Leopard 10.6.3 (after booting from the regae boot CD first), but video resolution was fixed at 1024x768, and audio and networking were nonfunctional.

My next step was to apply the 10.6.8 combo update. This 1gb update file can be downloaded for free directly from Apple, but make sure you get the combo update, and not just the smaller 10.6.8 update, which is only good if you have 10.6.7 installed. The combo updater will update any previous version of the OS. Before you can run the update, though, you must dig deep within the OS X library and remove a specific kernel extension to avoid a crash in the update process. The regae boot CD comes with a nice Mac OS X 10.6.8 Helper utility that will do this for you. You'll need to reboot afterwards, then run the 10.6.8 update, then run the Mac OS X 10.6.8 Helper again to restore the kernel extension you removed previously. Remember that operating system updates that cause OS X to crash are just part of the Hackintosh experience.

Booting to a black screen

One nice thing about the 10.6.8 update is that it includes native drivers for the Radeon 5xxx series of video cards, like the Radeon 5870 I'm using. However, after installing the update and rebooting, I was presented with a black screen after the initial gray Apple screen. Fortunately, I'd run into this before as I described in my previous Hackintosh article: the solution is to edit a few strings in the file to explicitly set the OS X desktop to the native resolution of my monitor.

After that, I could boot into 10.6.8 (after booting from the regae boot CD) with the full 1920x1200 resolution of my Dell 27" monitor, with full video acceleration. However, I still had to boot in two stages, and had no networking or sound. The next step is to install the Chameleon boot loader as well as the various kernel extensions that enable these features. Included on the regae boot CD is a "regaePackage v3.0" installer that allows you to configure and install a number of kernel extensions (kexts) that should enable these functions, as well as writing a copy of the Chameleon boot loader so you can boot directly from your hard disk. However, picking and choosing the kernel extensions required (and DSDT and other stuff) isn't straightforward, and since only the kexts for the ASUS P8P67 Deluxe motherboard are included, this wasn't a good solution for me since I had a different motherboard.

The solution was to use an installer package from the second guide on Note that three installers are provided: one each for the vanilla P8P67, one for the P8P67 Pro, and one for the Sabertooth P8P67. I downloaded the first package, ran it, selected my hard disk and...success! With Chameleon and the proper kernel extensions automatically installed, I booted directly into OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard and had full network and audio. The package even enabled the Bluetooth module on the P8P67 and I was able to connect and use my Magic Trackpad.

Moving the Hardware

Now that my Sandy Bridge Hackintosh was working, it was time to move the hardware into my HP Blackbird case. The only problem was the water cooling: the Blackbird came with an integrated Asetek LCLC cooler (the basis for most of the all-in-one water cooler kits introduced since then) with a 120x240mm radiator built into the top of the case. The original pump/water block mounting system was for Intel Socket 775, and I was able to buy a Socket 1366 mounting system when I upgraded the system later. However, as far as I can tell, Asetek has never provided a Socket 1155/56 mount as a separate item, so I wound up using the Intel mount from an Antec Kühler H2O 920 Liquid Cooler. Since even the Antec cooler is based on the Asetek design, this worked perfectly:


UPDATE: Asetek contacted me to let me know that they sell a universal Intel/AMD mounting kit, and will have new kits available for motherboards based on Intel's upcoming LGA2011 socket, too. You can get the current mounting kit, which accomodates Inel socket 775, 1155/56, and 1366 as well as AMD sockets here for $10.

With all the hardware installed, there was only one last step: restoring all my user applications and data from a Time Machine backup of my previous Hackintosh. This took several hours but when it finished I booted to a clone of my original system. Really, Time Machine rocks. The only extra thing I had to do was re-install a printer driver.


How did it perform? Join me in the next section to see.



# RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy BridgeThe Techno_Alien 2011-08-17 06:11
Before I go any further..
That's the kind of case I am looking for, What model is that?
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# RE: RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy BridgeDavid Ramsey 2011-08-17 07:52
Which case? The red open-air case you see in the front of the article is a Lian Li PC-T60; I reviewed it here:

The case the finished computer is in is an HP Blackbird case. It was never really available for retail sale-- you got it by purchasing an HP Blackbird computer. When HP shut down that division they did have a few cases for sale, but they were $1,000 each.
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# ThanksDavid Siebert 2011-08-17 07:35
I am a long time computer user SuperPet->C64->CP/M->MS-DOS->Amiga->MS-DOS->Windows->Linux->OS/X. I had to start using OS/X to do IOS dev work and I must say that I think it is a very good OS. Just thought that I would get that out of way for the haters.
I would like to see more about this subject if I might suggest.
1. The cheapest full functioning build possible. How cheap can one build a workable Hackintosh where everything works including sleep. Will it be cheaper than a Mini?
2. And inexpensive notebook build. Can you find a sub $350 notebook.
3. A MacPro. Xeons and everything.
4. An i5 and i3 build. Nice middle ground systems.

Again thanks for your efforts.
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# RE: ThanksDavid Ramsey 2011-08-17 07:59
Fun suggestions all, David. i3 and i5 builds should go about as smoothly as this one assuming you used the same motherboard (it's the motherboard that's the real compatibility issue, once you have support for a given family of processors). But we'd have to buy a lot of hardware, especially for the Mac Pro/Xeon build! Used to be that you could build a Hackintosh around the Intel Atom processor, but that doesn't work since Apple changed the OS kernel a year or two back.

I'd suggest you check out the big Hackintosh sites like and You'll find tons of information there, and folks are building Hackintoshes out of damn near everything.
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# Been thereDavid Siebert 2011-08-17 12:34
I have looked but it would nice to have a well written article that lays out this +this+this works perfect and you can buy them here. Maybe New Egg would offer to donate some parts for this.
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# [email protected]David Ramsey 2011-08-17 12:54
With Hackintosh, there is never a "It just works" scenario!
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# RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy Bridgeyclee 2011-08-17 20:33
why do this? just run it inside a vm... unless 3d accel is not support via vm driver yet.
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# RE: RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy BridgeDavid Ramsey 2011-08-17 21:29
As far as I know, nobody has ever successfully run OS X inside a VM except on a real Macintosh. That's why.
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# OSX Virtual way..David 2011-08-22 11:26
# RE: RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy Bridge ? David Ramsey 2011-08-17 21:29
As far as I know, nobody has ever successfully run OS X inside a VM except on a real Macintosh. That's why."


I have. Inside Virtualbox. You just install OSX the same way with a chameleon bootloader inside the Virtualbox VM bubble. There are guides out there that explain how and its fairly easy. Though its more stable as a stand alone install with Chameleon..
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# RE: OSX Virtual way..David Ramsey 2011-08-22 22:24
Interesting...I didn't know you could do that.
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# RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy Bridgeaberkae 2011-08-28 11:23
My boy wants to purchase a Mac, i'm telling him not to and instead help him build something similar minus the case, any suggestions on where to start.
I built my own $4k pc last year but this seams more challenging.
Also, does a hakintosh support the latest ssds like the m4?
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# RE: RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy BridgeDavid Ramsey 2011-08-28 11:34
You can review my two articles to see what I did, initially with an X58 platform and then moving to a P67 platform. Check out the web sites I mention in the articles for tips.

Nothing is guaranteed with a Hackintosh, but with the resources available it's easier than ever to get one going.
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# RE: RE: RE: Apple Hackintosh: Moving to Intel Sandy Bridgeaberkae 2011-08-28 11:39
thanks that's why i love the web, i actually did read both articles, and now will do further research.
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# My recommendationdavidm 2011-08-28 12:13
I recommend going with an Asus Z68 pro or deluxe. I did it initially with a p67 but swaped it for a z68. You should have no issues running a sata 6 SSD drive but it will probably limited to sata3 speeds unless someone hacks some kexts to get it going. Also trim support in Snow Leopard needs a trim enabler hack. Not sure about Lion as its suppose to have trim but have not tried hackintoshing Lion. Also there is support for the marvel raid controller. I have a two disk raid 0 running shared between windows and osx. Good luck.
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# RE: My recommendationDavid Ramsey 2011-08-28 12:26
I don't think a Z68 board would have any advantage over a P67 board for a Hackintosh. As far as I know, nobody's gotten the Sandy Bridge iGPU running on a Hackintosh, which means you'll still need a separate video card; and there's also no way to enable the Intel SSD caching scheme the Z68 also supports. Since these two capabilities are the main things distinguishing a Z68 from a P67, you might as well go with the cheaper platform.
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# I disagreedavidm 2011-08-28 12:41
Not over a Hackintosh there may not be immediate advantage but its a better choice. Let me tell you why. Firstly I had issues with my p67 even after two rma exchanges primarily due to the sandy bridge issues. Secondly you dont have to use the igpu feature and on the Z68 Deluxe that feature isnt even available unless within Windows you need a coprocessor to help out video encoding. I dual boot between Osx and Windows. Also whats wrong with using a discrete graphics card and still having ssd caching for your Windows install? Its like having your cake and eating it too!
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# RE: I disagreeDavid Ramsey 2011-08-28 13:15
Ah, it does make sense if you're going to be dual-booting the machine into Windows!
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# Another thoughtdavidm 2011-08-28 12:57
The only reason I can think of going with P67 might be because there may be a dsdt available which maybe true for Gigabyte boards. Though dsdts are complicated to implement supposedly it helps your devices get properly recognized by osx however not neccessary. In which case going Z68 may have a wait before someone posts a compatible dsdt. I personally tried to make one but gave up.
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