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Building a mac

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April 12, 2010 8:43:04 PM

Is it different to build a mac computer or is the os the only thing that is.
where could one search to find the hardware to build a mac

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April 12, 2010 10:46:43 PM

These days the only thing different between a PC and a Mac is the OS, the Apple-branded case and a few tweaks on the motherboard - Apple have their own motherboards supplied for them - they're not off-the-shelf ones like we could buy.

Now, what do you mean by building a Mac? Technically you can't build a Mac yourself because of the exclusive bits involved - you must go through Apple or probably pay through the nose going through eBay to get service bits or whatever.

You can however build a PC with identical components to a Mac and install OSX onto it, but you have to use a modified installer (Google Hackintosh or OSX86) to get around Apple's protection, and technically that's breaking Apple's EULA so it's illegal.

So, can you build a Mac yourself? Effectively no. Can you build an identical machine to run OSX? Yes, but with a few minor caveats.
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April 12, 2010 11:01:37 PM

Why would you want to? IMHO, the only thing Apple has going for it is great customer service which you would forgo if you built your own. Of course you pay dearly for the customer service up front even if you never use it and I'm sure you'd also pay a significant premium if you did as the above poster suggests. I think you've been watching too many Apple commercials.
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April 17, 2010 4:21:22 AM

ram1009 said:
Why would you want to? IMHO, the only thing Apple has going for it is great customer service which you would forgo if you built your own. Of course you pay dearly for the customer service up front even if you never use it and I'm sure you'd also pay a significant premium if you did as the above poster suggests. I think you've been watching too many Apple commercials.


building your own and making it a hackintosh build is a lot more cost effective, and some people (many on this site, we are enthusiasts) don't need customer support
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April 17, 2010 4:27:08 PM

^ Couldn't agree more. You might even found out that you're a lot better than the support personnel. :) 
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April 27, 2010 4:04:58 AM

Actually. You might find out differently with an Apple. This coming from a guy who's a pc enthusiast and who has been building pc's for a while. I got my Apple certification and have been working for a school district the last couple of years. I find that even though I consider myself very knowledgable, and have had laptops apart and back together before, sometimes I find that the folks at Apple are very knowledgable.
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April 27, 2010 4:43:59 AM

masterjaw said:
^ Couldn't agree more. You might even found out that you're a lot better than the support personnel. :) 


yup, last time i asked fro help was from a friend who fixed computers and he was more baffled then me


ohiou_grad_06 said:
Actually. You might find out differently with an Apple. This coming from a guy who's a pc enthusiast and who has been building pc's for a while. I got my Apple certification and have been working for a school district the last couple of years. I find that even though I consider myself very knowledgable, and have had laptops apart and back together before, sometimes I find that the folks at Apple are very knowledgable.


i find most people who do work retail (or in stores that sell computers first fix second) don't know that much, there are a few people here and there who know there stuff, but not many, and its why its useless for me to have someone else look at my computer (1: since my equipment rarely goes bad, knock on wood, 2: i know more then most people i can fix my own stuff)
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April 27, 2010 1:15:32 PM

My girlfriend's macbook crashes far more often than my PC.
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April 27, 2010 7:30:50 PM

mi1ez said:
My girlfriend's macbook crashes far more often than my PC.


the only crashes i have with my computers is when i OC, and that's to be expected
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April 28, 2010 6:02:28 AM

I would agree that some Apple tech could be more adept than me, at least for Apple stuffs but other than that, I think I can do things better. Especially when the fact that Macs are now running on top of a PC hardware.

I don't hate Macs, they're sleek and cool but its just not for me. I've just used a macbook pro for a day and I've quite bored to death with it. I really don't like the idea of restricting my control over my machine and let Apple lead my way. It's just too boring for me, e.g. unable to tweak the bios stuffs and get an extra demons out of my machine
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April 28, 2010 6:20:09 AM

tbh, they do look nice, but spending over twice as much for it

the laptop i just bought was $1300 and an equivalent MBP is $2700, and really i can't get the same cpu, mine is i7-720qm (quad core) and the MBP is the i7-620m (dual core)

specs:
Windows 7 x64
Arch Linux
Compal NBLB2
Intel Core i7-720QM
8GB(2x4GB) DDR3-1333
Radeon mobility HD5650
WD 640GB HDD
15.6" 1920x1080 (LED backlit LCD)
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April 28, 2010 12:58:31 PM

mindless728 said:
the only crashes i have with my computers is when i OC, and that's to be expected

My PC has a 50% OC and her mac has (unsurprisingly) nothing. OSX and Safari just seem like horribly unreliable pieces of software.
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April 28, 2010 2:27:18 PM

And when the time for cracking comes, they're be the ones who will go down first. Tried and tested in numerous hacking events. With that, having a lower user base is indeed beneficial for them.

I wonder what you'll get from the extra bucks you'll pay for them. Bragging rights maybe?
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April 28, 2010 11:34:38 PM

Hey you don't have to believe me, though I've worked with PC's, and done upgrades, builds, etc for about 10 years give or take, and have worked on macs for more than 2 years. My certification actually expired yesterday...:( . They are more expensive, but one thing about Apple, customer service is top notch. With the school I work for, I can call them about a laptop with a problem, usually have a box from them next day, and usually have it back within a week.

One thing you will find with macs if you try to work on the hardware side..good luck. Like a pc laptop takes a few minutes to change the lcd screen usually. A macbook for example, ha! You get the joy of taking the entire keyboard off, take out ram, hard drive, take the front bezel off(all kinds of annoying little clips, about 12 of em, maybe more....about the same # of screws...fun fun fun....I know because I've had one apart and back together(white 13 inch)...very interesting experience, but fun.
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April 29, 2010 12:44:03 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Hey you don't have to believe me, though I've worked with PC's, and done upgrades, builds, etc for about 10 years give or take, and have worked on macs for more than 2 years. My certification actually expired yesterday...:( . They are more expensive, but one thing about Apple, customer service is top notch. With the school I work for, I can call them about a laptop with a problem, usually have a box from them next day, and usually have it back within a week.

One thing you will find with macs if you try to work on the hardware side..good luck. Like a pc laptop takes a few minutes to change the lcd screen usually. A macbook for example, ha! You get the joy of taking the entire keyboard off, take out ram, hard drive, take the front bezel off(all kinds of annoying little clips, about 12 of em, maybe more....about the same # of screws...fun fun fun....I know because I've had one apart and back together(white 13 inch)...very interesting experience, but fun.


and again, i am my own tech support, i don't need someone that more than likely knows less to fix a problem i can fix, and personally the price is not a justification, especially when you start talking above the starting package (ie their macbook that is closest to mine is over 2x the cost)
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April 29, 2010 1:44:11 AM

mindless728 said:
tbh, they do look nice, but spending over twice as much for it

the laptop i just bought was $1300 and an equivalent MBP is $2700, and really i can't get the same cpu, mine is i7-720qm (quad core) and the MBP is the i7-620m (dual core)

specs:
Windows 7 x64
Arch Linux
<snipped>

Why Arch Linux?!?!? I'v tried Arch a while back and didn't like it. Fedora, openSUSE and openSolaris FTW!

(PS: Each to his own btw).
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April 29, 2010 1:46:04 AM

mindless728 said:
and again, i am my own tech support, i don't need someone that more than likely knows less to fix a problem i can fix, and personally the price is not a justification, especially when you start talking above the starting package (ie their macbook that is closest to mine is over 2x the cost)

Amen. +1000.
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April 29, 2010 1:55:55 AM

Shadow703793 said:
Why Arch Linux?!?!? I'v tried Arch a while back and didn't like it. Fedora, openSUSE and openSolaris FTW!

(PS: Each to his own btw).


because i enjoy arch, i can customize it from the ground up

its easy compared to the Linux From Scratch (LFS) build i did 6 months ago
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April 29, 2010 2:48:25 AM

Don't get me wrong and try to label me an Apple fanboy. I have a macbook through work, but personally I will likely never buy a mac due to pricing. However, my experience with Apple's tech support has been top notch, they seem to do well at their job on the whole. When you work with Macs on a day to day basis, you do learn a respect for them. I can honestly say there are things I can do on mac that I wish Windows would allow me to do. One example is on a mac, if a program starts acting funny, you can just delete it and reinstall. Try that on Windows 7 if say Internet Explorer acts up on you. My wife's laptop did that where IE just would not start. I tried the Internet Explorer reset/reinstall method, didn't work. Couldn't uninstall it completely, I was going to try just deleting it from the program files, and Windows would not allow me, even after I tried taking control of it with the permissions controllers. Finally had to do a system restore because of ONE stupid application. Something I could have done in 5 minutes on a mac I fight with for how long on Windows? Man that aggravated me. But I guess the joys of Windows will help my business...lol.

My point is just because you've worked on pc's don't assume everything is the same just because they use intel chips now. I work as a tech now, and am actually starting a computer business, but going from PC to mac is a learning curve.

In my opinion their hardware is more than what I would want to spend for hardware, it is nice stuff, and the service you receive is usually top notch, I have been able to easily and clearly communicate with their reps, and generally they are well trained and have good suggestions/ideas.

But just because you've built some computers and fixed some pc's, don't assume you know everything about Macs. Generally they aren't too bad, but sometimes do require special tools, or can make you scratch your head.

Example, one time had a couple of computers just not boot up. Guessed at the memory, tried known good memory in the machines, could not get them to boot up. Did further testing, guessed perhaps the mainboards were gone, if you can't get them to boot at all, you can't run diagnostics. Finally called Apple support, rep suggested it was the cmos batteries, so grabbed cmos batteries from a couple of junked pc's, and sure enough, powered right up. But you all know as well as I do that on a pc, usually your date and time might be wrong and you might have to reset some bios settings.

Long story short, it's fun even with the macs, you may not game on them, but as far as usability, I gotta say they are good. Thankfully not too many guys are writing much malware for mac as of yet.
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April 29, 2010 4:18:45 AM

Build your hackintosh ice and let us know how it turns out. I dislike macs, but kinda like the idea of the hackintosh. Not really a fan of OSX. If I want something other than Windows I use Linux (yay SUSE :D  )
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April 30, 2010 12:43:11 AM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
my experience with Apple's tech support has been top notch, they seem to do well at their job on the whole


Well that's to be expected from a manufacturer who charges extra royalty on their products. :D  Now you know where the extra money you paid goes (except for the bank account of Jobs :p )
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May 1, 2010 3:59:08 PM

Lol, I didn't buy it. Work provided:) . I'll tell you what though, for something I've used since January 2008, it's been pretty good. No viruses..lol. I only have one small crack on the palmrest, but Apple is changing the entire top cases on white 13 inch macbooks, even out of warranty units. At least that's what Apple reps told me. So if you know anyone with those issues, call them up.
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May 1, 2010 4:01:02 PM

ohiou_grad_06 said:
Lol, I didn't buy it. Work provided:) . I'll tell you what though, for something I've used since January 2008, it's been pretty good. No viruses..lol. I only have one small crack on the palmrest, but Apple is changing the entire top cases on white 13 inch macbooks, even out of warranty units. At least that's what Apple reps told me. So if you know anyone with those issues, call them up.


No viruses isn't really an excuse, all my computers are PC's so i have windows (except development environments, those are linux), and i don't get viruses
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May 3, 2010 1:17:05 PM

I run several boxes under my desk as a programmer and developer. Since I do a lot of UI development, including web enterprise interfaces, I have to develop for a wide variety of target platforms. My primary development platform is OS X, but I also develop in Windows and Linux (currently using a straight Debian distro). Why the variety in platforms? Because I develop for the customer, not the other way around. If the customer wants it to run in Windows, that's the environment I develop for.

As the end consumer, I can see the appeal in rolling your own Hackintosh. And if you were to go out there and do it, the only thing you would be violating would be the EULA, and that just means that Apple will not be held responsible for anything you end up doing on your Hackintosh (i.e., if your box ends up in flames and burns down your house because it didn't run properly with OS X, then you can't come to Apple with a list of damages). This also means that Apple isn't responsible if, for some unforeseen reason, the next patch breaks your kit. This has happened several times in the past as well, and not because Apple was maliciously targeting Hackintoshes.

If, however, you consider yourself a fairly competent individual, then as long as you are willing to accept that you are on your own (or, at least, reliant on a community of individuals in your same situation), then the sky is the limit. Go look up the OSX86 project. They have had a huge amount of success. The biggest hurdles they have had to overcome included the BIOS-EFI bootloader issue. Macs run EFI (hey, it's an Intel replacement for the BIOS, not an Apple thing) in order to bootstrap the machine into OS X. Since it is a full 32-bit environment, there is usually a lot more going on than what happens in BIOS. In order to get around this issue, the geniuses have found a way to load from BIOS into an environment that acts like EFI and then boostraps into OS X.

The next issue is the set of code that OS X uses in place of drivers, known as kernel extensions (kexts, as they are lovingly referred to). The OSX86 community has bred its own set of kext developers who have done amazing things to get hardware to work. I would not be surprised if Apple wasn't keeping an active eye on this community for future talent recruitment.

So, that's some of the skinny. You can take this as far as you want to, just make sure that if you do this, you purchase your own copy of OS X to be above-board, even though you plan on violating the EULA, and remember that Apple is not responsible for supporting your computer since you will violate the EULA.
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May 3, 2010 3:33:50 PM

Another interesting note.. anyone else see that Apple may soon be running AMD chips? I would love to see that.
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May 3, 2010 4:02:48 PM

Houndsteeth said:
just make sure that if you do this, you purchase your own copy of OS X to be above-board, even though you plan on violating the EULA, and remember that Apple is not responsible for supporting your computer since you will violate the EULA.


I thought the whole hooha was Apple are claiming violating the EULA is an illegal act and therefore punishable by law, even though you've bought a legit copy - you do not agree to the terms of the licence, therefore you are not a licenced user, therefore your usage if their software is illegal, etc. etc.
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May 3, 2010 5:09:18 PM

IANAL, but I have dealt with some software legalities before in the past. It is not criminally illegal, but rather that you, as the end user, have broken a contract (which, by the way, in many jurisdictions is not able to be upheld in a court of law) and that the terms of the contract are null and void. The difference is that any penalties, if brought to court, would be civil, not criminal, unless you are party to violating DMCA. It is also the responsibility of the aggrieved party to pursue justice, not the state, since this is a civil matter, not criminal. That is the way it works in the USA, at least.

Apple can sue you for damages for loss of business, or at the very least a cease and desist order, but if your intention is to make use of the software personally and you do not plan to resell or mass distribute the software, then the amount of business they have lost is fairly small and very few judges or juries would find merit in "throwing the book" at any given individual. Chasing after such small fries would be prohibitively expensive and result in very upset potential customers and a very busy legal department. In the end, Apple is better off spending that money making it more difficult to install OS X on non-Apple hardware than they are trying to pursue legal redress. Besides, if you buy a legal copy, you are at least in good stead for remunerating the company which wrote (most of) the software for their work.

As it is now, Apple is banking on the fact that anyone who pursues this endeavor will have a difficult time both in getting the software to run and in maintaining it, thus limiting this endeavor to a niche in a fringe community (PC enthusiasts who want to just about anything run on a toaster, etc.). If you do follow this route and build a computer for your own personal use (both for business or pleasure) then chances are extremely good that you will be well under the radar for Apple to pursue you for EULA violation, since that agreement is there mostly for large institutional violators who are looking at honing in on some of Apple's market without paying their due share (i.e., Psystar).
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May 3, 2010 5:23:00 PM

Right I getcha. I did think it was something along those lines, but Apple's done a lot of sabre-rattling regarding "clone" manufacturers so I wasn't sure what was what any more.

Speaking of Psystar...

Houndsteeth said:
since that agreement is there mostly for large institutional violators who are looking at honing in on some of Apple's market without paying their due share (i.e., Psystar).


Psystar bought every single copy of OSX they installed on their systems, so it was always a stretch that they didn't "pay their share". Shame really because I could never see in any sensible and rational argument (i.e. every argument Apple DIDN'T make) Apple was losing money - I should imagine most if not all of Psystar's customers went this route because they couldn't afford/wouldn't pay Apple's prices, so Apple never had a sale with them anyway.

Ah well, such is life.
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May 3, 2010 5:53:38 PM

Psystar really didn't "pay their share," either to Apple who has invested a good deal of research and development on their operating system and software (largely subsidized by hardware sales), or to the open community who gave them the roadmap to making computers that could run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware without violating DMCA. What Psystar was looking to do was patently illegal and performed on a scale that could drastically impinge on Apple's ability to do business, to the point that Apple had to pursue them in court or risk losing their business model altogether.
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May 8, 2010 2:28:17 AM

I vaguely remember 10+ years ago Apple opening the Market to independent 3rd party manufacturers to sell systems with the mac OS. I remember seeing a catalog with different models. Am I remembering correctly?
It was short lived and in a few years I never heard of it again. Perhaps Apple realized that it conflicted with their established marketing strategy, and brand recognition?

Edit: P.S.: I have a friend who only buys Macs(the first one he ever bought had a faulty hard drive).
He still has One of those cubes from the late 90's(estimated date) though.
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May 15, 2010 4:25:36 AM

Best answer selected by i2cub4.
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