Tag Archives: intel

Cheapest possible Hackintosh Mainboard and CPU

Here is some advice for penny pinchers and bargain hunters: the cheapest possible motherboard and CPU available for hackintosh (apple replica computers) out there.

Price in Europe: 69,47€
Price in the USA: $86.40

Mainboard: Gigabyte GA-H61M-S2PV

Screenshot 2013-12-12 14.11.45
41,48€ on Amazon Germany
$51.27 on Amazon US

CPU: Intel BX80637G1610 Celeron Dual-Core 1.6GHZ

Screenshot 2013-12-12 14.11.59
27,99€ on Amazon Germany
$35.13 on Amazon US

The iGPU (internal graphics card) is a Intel HD2000 iGPU which can be used with hackintosh kexts. There are only small modifications to be done, which are outlined in this forum post.

AMD Radeon 6970 GPU working in Lion, Intel HD4000 and other Kext Updates for Hackintoshing

netkas reported success in getting a AMD Radeon 6970 working in his hackintosh using Mac OSX 10.7 Lion. Besides that news the Nvidia Geforce gtx6xx among Intel HD4000 drivers are also working, as well as USB 3.0 kexts for Z77 based mainboards.

This is all due to the MBP 2012 release adding some drivers (kexts); but the 11G15 Mac OSX Lion 10.7.5 beta update also adds those drivers, so chose whatever way you want to get your 6970 up and running.

We can recommend the Radeon XFX HD 6970 2GB GPU for use with hackintosh. If you are unsure or want some customac built, there are some recommended people setting up hackintoshes in europe.

Recommended SSD Solid State Drives for your Apple Mac, MacBook Pro and your Hackintosh

Since the SSD technology already matured a lot and the drives are mostly more stable than Hard Disk, the only question remains on which drive to choose. Actually, the answer is more simple than you might have thought: go for the longest warranty.

The OCZ Vertex 3 is a very cheap and awesome piece of hardware (read the benchmarks here: OCZ Vertex 3 vs. Intel 520 SSD) but the Vertex 3 has one major problem: it features only 3 years of warranty. So what drives are currently offering more than 3 years? The OCZ Vertex 4 and the Intel 520 SSD drives, both the cutting edge of speed and durability offer 5 years of warranty.

OCZ Vertex 4 features the best 4K random performance, so this is the drive to look out for! highly recommended!

OCZ Vertex 4 features the best 4K random performance, so this is the drive to look out for! highly recommended!

Both drives feature a 5 year warranty, which shows us that the drives are really high quality.

The Intel 520 Cherryville Solid State Drives are built with duarbility in mind: Intel has a very good reputation when it comes to Solid State Drives - nanofunk can highly recommend this SSD for Hackintosh or Apple usage!

The Intel 520 Cherryville Solid State Drives are built with duarbility in mind: Intel has a very good reputation when it comes to Solid State Drives - nanofunk can highly recommend this SSD for Hackintosh or Apple usage!

OCZ Vertex 3 vs. Intel 520 SSD Benchmarks on OSX (Hackintosh)

Long story short, the Intel 520 240GB SSD is a bit faster than the OCZ Vertex 3 240GB.

The tool to test read/write speeds: AJA System Test is a free download from AJA. The Software is available for Mac and Windows, the Tests performed were on a 10.7.2 Z68 Chipset Hackintosh System (Intel Chipset).

OCZ Vertex 3 240GB Benchmark Performance AJA Disk Test slower drive almost equal

OCZ Vertex 3, Firmware v2.15 240 GB (SATA 6GBPS)

Intel 520 Cherryville 240GB AJA Disk Test Performance Results Benchmark Winner

Intel 520 Cherryville 240 GB SATA6GBPS

Booting and Installing Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion on Hackintosh (and 10.7 as well)

Chimera Boots Mac OSX 10.7 and 10.8 Lion Mountain Lion OS Apple

Besides running hackintosh on Intel Sandy Bridge-E, there are more good news from the front:

Chimera, the bootloader that powers standard PC hardware to boot up Mac OS X, received an update allowing it to support OS X Mountain Lion. To obtain OS X Mountain Lion you need an Apple Developer Account that’ll cost you $99 per year, but of course your might already know where to find Mac OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion by yourself.

Today MacMan updated Chimera to version 1.8. For Mac OS X developers, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion support has been added. This version will be included in the next MultiBeast release. (via tonymacx86)

osxfuse: successor to macfuse brings NTFS and lots of file systems to Mac OS X

Since I wanted to use write-support for Windows NTFS drives on Apple Mac OS X, I was researching on alternatives and possibilities. I knew about the macfuse FUSE Project (File System in Userspace), but since it was not maintained anymore – what would one do?

Meet FUSEOSX (FUSE for OS X), the successor to MacFuse.

FUSE for OS X allows you to extend OS X's native file handling capabilities via third-party file systems. OSXFUSE is a successor to MacFUSE, which has been used as a software building block by dozens of products, but is no longer being maintained.

FUSE for OS X allows you to extend OS X’s native file handling capabilities via third-party file systems. OSXFUSE is a successor to MacFUSE, which has been used as a software building block by dozens of products, but is no longer being maintained.

As a user, installing the “FUSE for OS X” software package will let you use any third-party file system written atop “FUSE for OS X” or MacFUSE, if you choose to install the MacFUSE compatibility layer. As a developer, you can use the OSXFUSE SDK to write numerous types of new file systems as regular user space programs.

The most used extensions are SSHFS and NTFS-3G for Mac OS X, but there are lots of them out there.

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Sandy Bridge-E Intel 2011 Socket confirmed working with Hackintosh

[Update] Intel Socket 2011 does not only support Sandy Bridge-E, but also the upcoming Ivy Bridge-E Chipset, as outlined by one of our commenters. That makes the Socket-2011 Mainboards a perfect choice for a hackintosh system.

Many of us are waiting for an update to the Sandy Bridge (E) Chipset to the upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge (along with the release of new Apple Hardware), that would allow running the new Intel Chipset with Hackintoshed customac systems.

But what about Sandy Bridge-E?
Ivy Bridge will be Quad-Core. If you want more threads and cores, go for SB-E. Sandy Bridge-E as well as Ivy Bridge will have PCIe 3.0. SB-E has 40 PCIe lanes (compared to 16 lanes in Sandy Bridge) as well as 1600MHz memory speed (quad-channel memory) which should be around 33% faster in theory.

There are confirmed builds that can run Mac OSX 10.7 (Lion) as well as 10.6 (Snow Leopard) with the Intel Sandy Bridge-E (SB-E) X79 Chipset. Integrated Graphics are not supported, but who needs them anyway, since the AMD 6990 GPU or the upcoming 7990
Here is a list of the confirmed mainboards:

ASUS Asustek P9X79 Mainboard Socket S2011 hackintosh chimera

Asus P9X79 Deluxe (user: vonmolk)
$370 in the US, €299 in Europe

Pro: good build quality (compared to other versions of that board)
Cons: none. The Asus Rampage IV has even better build quality.

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 Mainboard Socket 2011 (ATX, DDR3 Speicher, SATA III, USB 3.0) Intel Hackintosh chimera

Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7 (user: machacks)
€297 in Europe, ??? in the USA

Pro: Awesome board! (nanofunk recommendation). Gigabyte has a longer history of hackintosh-capable boards, so get one of those.
Cons: none, really. Overclocking features could be better.

ASUS RAMPAGE IV EXTREME - LGA2011 - X79 - 8x DIMM - PCIe 3.0 Motherboards Hackintosh chimera

* ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (user: nfsking2)
$415 in the US, €369 in Europe

Pro: awesome build quality, extreme overclocking support.
Cons: expensive.

The MSI X79 Big Bang XPower II is suspected to work as well (once it becomes available). Theoretically, most of the X79 boards should work, we just have to wait and see what early birds (early adopters) are coming up with. Keep up the great work, ppl! (and don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below)

OCZ Vertex 3 Fail: “Runtime corruption detected on SSD” and why SSD drives are not safe yet.

After almost 9 months with the OCZ Vertex 3 SATA-6GBPs (read about my OptiBay two-drive setup) and mostly no issues, the drive died on me. Starting with several GSOD (Grey Screens of Death) on my OSX Lion MacBook Pro, the drive became more and more unreliable.

Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: FindNextLeafNode: Error from hfs_swap_BTNode (node 9852)
Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs_swap_HFSPlusBTInternalNode: catalog key #54 too big
Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: Runtime corruption detected on SSD, fsck will be forced on next mount.
Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: FindNextLeafNode: Error from hfs_swap_BTNode (node 10370)
Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs_swap_HFSPlusBTInternalNode: catalog record #22 keyLength=32 expected=65568
Nov 28 18:30:42 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: node=10965 fileID=4 volume=SSD device=/dev/disk0s2
Nov 28 18:30:43 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: Runtime corruption detected on SSD, fsck will be forced on next mount.
Nov 28 18:30:43 mbp kernel[0]: hfs: FindNextLeafNode: Error from hfs_swap_BTNode (node 14503)
Nov 28 18:30:43 mbp kernel[0]: hfs_swap_BTNode: record #55 invalid offset (0x9B46)

It was getting slower and slower, reporting tons of errors in the Console.app. Then, it did not reboot anymore. Even in an external USB drive enclosure the drive did not mount anymore. Contacting OCZ about this issue, they sent me an RMA number right away and told me they will replace the drive. Does this mean our data is not safe in SSD? What can we learn from this?

First of all, it is a myth that SSDs are more reliable than hard drives. Secondly, they are not even fully supported on OSX yet (see Should I use Trim Enabler on Lion for the OCZ Vertex 3? No!) – at least if you install the drives yourself (which is also what I would suggest, since Apple does not offer any decent SATA 6GBPs drives yet).

So where is the proof, you ask?

Proof #1: The Hot/Crazy Solid State Drive Scale (via Coding Horror)

Super Talent 32 GB SSD, failed after 137 days
OCZ Vertex 1 250 GB SSD, failed after 512 days
G.Skill 64 GB SSD, failed after 251 days
G.Skill 64 GB SSD, failed after 276 days
Crucial 64 GB SSD, failed after 350 days
OCZ Agility 60 GB SSD, failed after 72 days
Intel X25-M 80 GB SSD, failed after 15 days
Intel X25-M 80 GB SSD, failed after 206 days

As a commenter put it: “Average life of SSD = 227.375 days (based on Wills’ data)” – which is also what I can confirm.

SOLUTION: Backup early, backup often. Don’t rely on the SSD and make two local backups plus one backup in the cloud.

Proof #2: long-term study of SSD failure rates (via Tomshardware)

SSD vs HDD Failure Chart

SOLUTION: Buy drives that come with a very long warranty. Be prepared to let your drive replace for several times.

I am still waiting for my replacement OCZ Vertex and I will benchmark how fast it will die again. Since OCZ told me, it can take up to three weeks for my replacement to arrive, I bought myself a Seagate ST750LX003 750 GB SATA 600, Momentus XT, 8 GB SLC – it’s a hybrid 750GB HDD with an 8GB SLC cache. The drive shifts data that is used often in the 8GB SLC SSD space automatically. While the SSD part of this hybrid drive can also fail, the data won’t be lost and it will suffer just some minor speed loss (if it fails, since SLC is said to be more reliable than MLC chips). While this disk is now my main startup disk, i will go back to using the OCZ Vertex 3 again, once the replacement arrives. I just need to backup regularly – the speed gain is really worth the trouble.

Facebook “Open Compute” Server tested by Anandtech

Facebook designed an AMD and an Intel motherboard – all manufactured by Quanta. Their main aim was to make more efficient and cheaper servers: “The result is a data center full of vanity free servers which is 38% more efficient and 24% less expensive to build and run than other state-of-the-art data centers.” The efficiency of the voltage regulators: 94%. Everything was removed, that was not absolutely necessary: the motherboards have no BMC, very few USB (2) and NIC ports (2), one expansion slot, and are headless (no videochip).

Facebook had 22 Million active users in the middle of 2007; fast forward to 2011 and the site now has 800 Million active users, with 400 million of them logging in every day. Facebook has grown exponentially, to say the least! To cope with this kind of exceptional growth and at the same time offer a reliable and cost effective service requires out of the box thinking. Typical high-end, brute force, ultra redundant software and hardware platforms (for example Oracle RAC databases running on top of a few IBM Power 795 systems) won’t do as they’re too complicated, power hungry, and most importantly far too expensive for such extreme scaling. (quoting Anandtech)

“The AMD servers are mostly used as Memcached servers, as the four channels of AMD Magny-cours Opterons 6100 are capable of using 12 DIMMs per CPU, or 24 DIMMs in total. That works out to 384GB of caching memory.”

It remains unclear, when or if that server hardware will be available for purchase – but it looks like there will be some cloud/datacenter providers jumping on the idea of the open compute servers, so it might be possible to rent them.

Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID system for high-speed data demands: 6x3TB for a total of 18TB (mod)

[Edit 23.12.2011] CAUTION! People trying the below mentioned modification of the Promise Thunderbolt reported issues and data loss. Please consult the Promise Support if you are planning to do modifications or already did!

[UPDATE] with the announced Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 4000GB(4TB), 5K4000 as well as the 4TB Seagate Barracuda XT a total of 24TB could be reached when modding the Promise Pegasus just replacing the 2TB drives it comes with. 5TB HDDs are reported arriving in January 2012. Read our updated Article: Caution with Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID 6x3TB (18TB) or 6x4TB (24TB) modification. 6x5TB (30TB) possible as of January 2012?

The Promise Pegasus is the most “promising” hardware for enthusiasts and pro users, since it offers really fast transfer speeds, even topping the OCZ Vertex 3 SATA 6Gbps internal SSD on Macbook Pro computers.

Delivering over 800MB/s of disk performance, Pegasus is compatible with Mac systems with Thunderbolt


Compare the Promise Pegasus R4 (4x 2TB) and the Promise Pegasus R6 (8x 2TB). Of course, if you want to pimp your pegasus, you can replace the internal drives with different ones.

Internally Promise uses a PMC Sierra PM8011 8-port SAS-2 RAID controller. This is an 8-lane PCIe Gen 2 controller with eight SAS/SATA 6Gbps ports. On the R6 obviously only six of those ports are functional. The PM8011 has an embedded 600MHz MIPS processor and is paired with 512MB of DDR2-533. (via Anandtech)

DSC 4155

Possible replacements and hacks for the Promise Pegasus:

* replace the internal hard drives with SSD drives: at the current date this still has stability issues. We are waiting for updated drivers or a response from Pegasus about the current freezes and issues with SSD drives. If you really have to test it out, make sure you get 6Gbps SSD drives. 2.5inch drives will also fit in the caddy.

* replacing the internal drives with 3TB drives: this is a confirmed and stable way of pimping your pegasus drives. Pegasus comes with 2TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 drives, so make sure you are getting 3TB drives from the same brand. We can recommend the Hitachi 3TB 7200RPM drive, but also we can confirm the Pegasus runs with the Western Digital 3 TB SATA II Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive and the SEAGATE Barracuda XT 3 TB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 64 MB Cache. Just keep in mind, not to mix up brands: you should get 6 times the same hard disk for the most stable system.

* replacing the internal drives with SAS 6Gbps Hard Disks: while this would render the promise pegasus a real pro system that is rock stable, drives should be used, that offer a compatible SAS-connector. Since SAS-drives are generally compatible to SATA-connectors, we can generally recommend the Seagate Constellation ES.2 3 TB Internal Hard Drive SAS 600 7200rpm 64MB

Conclusio: The Promise Pegasus is a fast solution for great read/write speed plus the extra feature of having the possibility to daisy-chain more Pegasus devices together, to increase the space when needed. Compared to the Data Robotics DROBO PRO System, it only offers 1-drive fail (1 drive can get corrupted, if 2 fail your data is lost) while the DROBO offers dual drive redundancy. Also, the DROBO PRO supports different sized drives, while you can only put drives of the same size (and it is recommended to also only use the exact same drive models) in the Promise Pegasus.
Overall, nanofunk is recommending the Pegasus R4 and R6, because of its faster speed and possibilty to enhance the system. Since we had our DROBO PRO replaced twice (the unit itself was faulty) we are currently fully in favor of the Promise Pegasus.

MacBook Pro Early 2011 freezes and kernel panics: revert to 32bit to have a stable system

As we already blogged some time ago, we had severe overheating issues and frequent kernel panics with our early 2011 models of the MacBook Pro Core-i7 quad. Still, after the updates there are crashes from time to time – the early 2011 models are far away from being stable machines to use for serious work.

After days of trying to figure out what is really the issue, we found that most of the times device drivers or other third party apps are mostly causing the crashes – but also CPU-intensive apps such as games sometimes bring the system down. Solution? Yes, there is one: change your system to a 32bit Kernel.

1) The bootup way (temporary solution, great for testing)

If you just want to test if changing to 32bit changes anything, you can reboot your mac and hold down the “3” and “2” keys as soon as you hit the power button. This boots up your Apple in 32bit mode temporarily. If the system

2) The Terminal Way (see the Apple Support Document for more information)

sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture i386

if you need to change your system back to normal for any case, you can enter the following command into Terminal.app:

sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture x86_64

Just to make it clear: your applications will still run in 64bit mode, you can make sure this is the case by hitting cmd+i on the application icon and see if “Open in 32-bit mode” is checked. See this article from simplehelp with details and images on 32-bit mode. So why should I care then, you might ask: since drivers and 3rd party apps and extensions that are loaded on startup are most of the time the issue with system freezes and hangs, changing to a 32bit kernel did the trick for us and now we have a stable 2011 MBP quad-core system.

[UPDATE] 10.6.8 seems to work with 64bit kernel much more stable than 10.6.7. Still, to be on the safe side we are using the 32bit kernel and had no freezes yet.

2011 Macbook Pro and SATA III 6Gbps, Optibay: two HD drives – setup explained

Since we recently purchased two 2011 MacBook Pros (with lots of issues, as previously reported) we were wondering if SATA III 6Gbps drives would be supported. The short answer is YES, the longer answer is: only on the original Hard Drive port. Here are recommendations on which drive setup is best  suited for getting the maximum out of the 2011 Apple machines.

Which type are you?

  • the collector: two 750GB SATAII Drives
  • fast, but not furious: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 750GB HDD in the optical drive slot
  • the caretaker: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 500GB SATAII hybrid drive in the optical drive slot
  • speed enthusiast: 256GB SSD SATAIII drive + 256GB SSD SATAII drive in the optical drive slot
  • humongous and rich: 512GB SSD SATAIII drive + 512GB SSD SATAII drive in the optical drive slot

The recommended steps are to select your setup, get an OptiBay, choose an external casing for your optical drive and get your hands dirty. Read our recommendations and tell us which type you are!

The new MCE OptiBay was created for users who want as much hard drive capacity as possible inside their MacBook Pro, MacBook, PowerBook G4, iMac, or Mac mini. Period

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Apple MacBook Pro Quad Core (early 2011) i7: fast powerhorse with design flaws and hardware issues

Apple gets sloppy: too much thermal paste on the early 2011 MacBook Pro

While the new Apple MacBook Pro Machines are really fast desktop-like speed packed monsters, it seems like they also have severe hardware design faults as outlined by zdnet and ifixit. With a geekbench score over 10.000 the new MacBook Pro (early 2011) beats the Mac Pro (Early 2009) Intel Xeon W5590 3.33 GHz (4 cores). All the good talk and benchmarks cannot make up for the current problems Apple users are facing with their brand new machines:

Come on Apple, wake up and fix those machine fast, as lots of us could benefit from a stable quad-core laptop solution (talking audio plugs and realtime audio performance).

We can recommend to tell apple to send the replacements before they pick up the faulty machines, so it is easier to transfer the data already on it. (apple care even suggested it this way)

[UPDATE] Gregg Keizer from Computerworld also writes about quality concerns regarding the new Apple Notebooks and there is also a discussion about actual “Overheating” going on in the Apple Forums. Well, I can confirm the issue exists and the current MacBook Pro Models freeze a lot. If it is a hardware, software or firmware issue remains unclear.

[UPDATE] There is a macrumors forum thread discussing that there were issues with the 2010 MBPs as well when they came out. Another thread at macrumors forum tries to sort out if it is a hardware or software issue.
Some people suspect it is related to internal graphics switching, but there really seems to be something going on since also reports on the apple discussion forums are increasing.

[UPDATE] as of 2011/03/14 macrumors suggest in their forum to “go 2010 or wait for ivy bridge“. The early 2011 version of the MacBook Pro das 45W TDP vs. last generation’s 35w. That’s a big increase which automatically makes the whole series go louder and more hot than the 2010 model.

[UPDATE] 2011/03/21: Macrumors posted a story: “2011 MacBook Pros Crashing Under Load?

[UPDATE] 2011/03/21: Mac OSX 10.6.7 Update was just announced by Apple. Unfortunately, on the two machines we have here, the update does not fix anything related to CPU temperature. Still there are frequent freezes as well.

[UPDATE] 2011/03/22: dailytech confirms that New MacBook Pros Freezing When Stressed, Update Adds More Problems

[UPDATE] 2011/03/28: we received our two replacement MacBook Pros. They don’t seem to have any issues and also still did not freeze on us! Also the fans are not spinning like crazy anymore! For all people affected by any of the issues reported above: get your Notebooks replaced! Apple is aware of the issues and replaces faulty hardware (we had to wait for two weeks though).

[UPDATE] 2011/04/23: the current Systems freeze 2-3 times a day. Not all the issues seem to be solved! You should definitely get a late 2010 model, if you need a highly stable system!

[UPDATE] 2011/11/01: Apple replaced one of our 15-inch MBP MC721LL/A machine and the freezes are not appearing anymore. Reports from other users that bought an early 2011 model are positive, so currently the advice would be to get a refurbished Apple MacBook Pro MC721LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop even before getting a MD318LL/A 15.4-Inch (late 2011) version, not only because of saving some bucks, but also since the Apple MacBook Pro early 2011 performs better in most of the situations compared to the late 2011 version.

Besides the heating issues, there are also reported “intermittent flickering, brief blackouts and other periodic but noticeable flaws” reported in the Apple Discussion Forums. We are getting replacement Machines – let’s see if there is any improvement after the first round of shipping!

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hackintosh: XPC Bootloader Can Boot Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

[Update 2012]: using Multibeast is the preferred way to install 10.7 Lion or 10.8 Mountain Lion
see the Nanofunk Post: Booting and Installing Mac OSX 10.7 and 10.8 Mountain Lion on Hackintosh

lion is booting with some old xpc version” ~ Netkas

Some people are claiming to boot the recent Mac OSX 10.7 Lion with the XPC Bootloader project. More and more voices are popping up, so I am just pointing in the right direction, since “Any and all information about downloading and installing Lion, as well as any details are under Non-Disclosure Agreement from Apple.”. You probably find updates on Netkas’ Blog as well.

UPDATE: see a posting/ short guide on a popular board as well: Mac OS X 10.7 Lion [Beta/HowTo]