We Interview EFiX Creators: OS X on PC

Some technical details about the EFiX module

Tuan: We’re very interested in it from both a technical point of view as well as a legal point of view — you know the legal question was coming!

Davide: I’m happy to explain that our module is perfectly legal, for a number of reasons, most of them technical. So we can reattach to the tech discussion too. First of all, the EFiX is absolutely not related to the hackintosh underworld. It doesn’t use a single line of patched code, and I am going to explain to you why.

The EFiX is not a pen-drive at all. Inside it, there is a very powerful CPU and several gigabytes of dedicated static RAM. The module has its own code, language and endless functions. So there is absolutely no way that we even thought about using the patch-a-boo approach of "hackintosh".

Tuan: Essentially you’ve developed a module that sits between the host system BIOS and Leopard letting a genuine, unpatched copy of the OS think the host is a Mac?

Davide: That’s just a small part of it. The EFiX is a total expansion for the PC, it takes over the low-level functions of the board and supports all of the onboard hardware. I’m afraid I can’t tell you the secrets, but I can surely tell you the main characteristics.

For example, having a multi-boot setup is just one of the many features of the module. Now I’m afraid I can’t go into that, but there is a lot of stuff planned in the near future.

Tuan: Several years ago, during the 486 days, companies like Evergreen developed PCI boards that contained complete embedded systems, allowing users to upgrade their aging 486 computers to a full Pentium-level system, using a real Pentium chip with separate memory and all. Is this what your product essentially does? Replace the BIOS calls and riding the USB interface?

Davide: Ah I think I remember that. This also happened on the Mac platforms.

Tuan: So is it safe to assume that the EFiX works in similar ways?

Davide: Our product doesn’t take over the main CPU of course, it just manages its own functions, and helps vastly in the peripheral management. So not only is the EFiX not a "hackintosh" thing, it does much more, and will do much more. [You can] run a perfectly legal, original copy of Leopard on your PC.

Tuan: I see. That’s great for the community then, if they can just plug in the EFiX and have a go at Leopard.

Davide: And I can tell you some juicy news too actually. X48 support is nearly finalized. The testing is going quite well so far. By the time you receive the modules, X48 support should be included too. My personal board is a [Gigabyte] X48 DQ6, best board I ever had.

Tuan: Actually that reminds me. I have another question for you. Why will the 8800GTX I have to test the EFiX with be limited to just 256 MB of memory?

Davide: It is just a cosmetic thing, and anyway, that is going to be fixed with the new firmware — Like the memory speed. System memory speed is always read at 800 MHz now. Even if it is faster. That will also be amended.

I forgot to tell you one of the most important things.

Tuan: What’s that?

Davide: The EFiX is the first BPU (boot processing unit) on the market.

  • Pricing?! Availability?

    I would hope its priced fairly reasonable considering one would also need to purchase a copy of OSX.

    Look forward to it!

  • cruiseoveride
    Apple must have what belongs to them.
    What the hell does that mean?

    Why PC users want to even imitate Apple is so humiliating.

    And the whole "avoiding the EULA" seems very Napster. And we all know what happened to that. Or when the Florida state wanted to reduce drug abuse, they didnt go around taking drugs from users, instead they went to the supplier and shut them down.

    Why would the "liquid cooled" modder, ever want to run OSX? or Linux even for that matter? None of them would even have i2c drivers for the 101 sensors on the hardware. And needless to say that, the most sophisticated 3D application you will ever run would be the screensaver. It would be like buying a BMW M5 just to listen to the radio. It doesn't make sense.

    Windows users that want to use OSX really need to wake up. Regardless of the lack of 3rd party hardware compatibility, how long are you going to stare at iLife. For each OSX app, there is a thousand more Windows applications, and a million more Linux applications. Yes some smart ass will come in and argue, Quality/Quantity. And if that is your only retort, you deserve to use OSX on a PC.

    Multi-billion dollar companies like IBM dont turn their entire business around to pursue Linux and open source related projects, because they think its "cool". They probably have more people in management analysing growth options in open source, than EFiX and Toms Hardware have in the entire company.

    Linux has always had everything OSX has. And Windows for that matter, haha you cant even have multiple file locks yet! Linux has supported that since day 1 (over 15years ago), just an example to the extent at which Windows is behind. OSX is pretty shitty too, they took an old version of BSD and hacked it to death. The underlying operating system hardly resembles BSD anymore. So if you think a watered down version of BSD, with a body kit, is cool, enjoy. After all ignorance is bliss.

    OSX And Windows are both playing "copy the coolest", When Reebok tried to copy Nike, they lost $100 million in net worth.

    If there does exist a person who "liquid cools" and wants to run OSX on his/her PC, please show us some evidence Mr EFiX.

    Oh and.... Linux rules!
  • chaohsiangchen
    I say that Apple Corporation will sue whoever make and sell EFiX very soon after they find it even remotely popular. Software is protected by both copy-right and patent law. If they can't sue for violating EULA, they will find the other way to sue them into bankruptcy. It is likely that EFiX contain BIOS code from Apple Corporation. Overpriced hardware is the only reason that Apple Corporation's stock price is that high ($131.05 at the moment, down from $154 a month ago).

    Other than that, Apple Corporation can still be a total ass, if they aren't enough already, and issue renewed Leopard update with a hidden BIOS refresh to get around the USB booting device. That refresh might kill any none-Mac mobo running Leopard. And then you need another new version EFiX to deal with it after the mobo returned from RMA, if it's not forced out of business by Apple Corporation at that time. You think it's impossible that Apple Corporation can be a total ass to do that? Then think again. They just released iTune update to Windows with hidden driver update that will cause lock ups and BSOD on Windows Vista 64. The speedy withdraw of that faulty software makes me even more suspicious of Apple Corp.'s motive on the whole event.

    There are cheap macs, such as MacBook with 1GB RAM ($1049 on newegg.com) and Mac Mini. Well, it's "cheap" to people who, according to Sen. John Biden, should pay more tax for patriotism, which I totally agree. I am totally fine with $50 AMD Athlon 4850e and $50 HTPC board that I got from ebay and newegg as my tvpvrtypewritingspreadsheeter. Just try getting cheaper than this, and I might get interested.
  • ilovebarny
    mm i like it. Ive always wanted to try macs but i dont really need a mac. this might provide an alternative.
  • chaohsiangchen
    MadGoatPricing?! Availability? I would hope its priced fairly reasonable considering one would also need to purchase a copy of OSX. Look forward to it!~MG~
    You know that installing OSX on none-Mac, or "not Apple-labeled machines" is direct violation of Apple EULA, right? Like it or not, use it at your own risk.

    I've read from overclock.net that they will sell this thing for $150 a piece. Windows Vista Ultimate OEM is $178 on newegg, and linux is always for free. So buying this thing plus a copy of Leopard is like paying retail version of Vista Ultimate.
  • bydesign
    Why, it's not all that stable on a Mac and they know what hardware they're working with. I suppose it supports my argument that Apple people aren't productive members of society.
  • BallistaMan
    I'm probably one of the few people here who grew up on a Mac and ended up switching to Windows. Originally it was out of necessity - half of the games I enjoyed couldn't be run on OS7, 8, etc. Now I wouldn't switch back.

    Honestly, as nice as OSX may be, once Apple became popular, everything went downhill. Old Macs were fun because they had their unique quirks. Now that they're the "hip" thing they pretty much lost most of their potential to be the "best" thing.

    As for this little device. I like the concept and I think it'll open up some interesting doors provided Apple doesn't sue it on sight (something which I'm unfortunately expecting), but I doubt *I* will have much use for it. I've used OSX plenty at work, discovered it's not compatible at all with my computing style (who on earth thought that GUI intuitive? Limited maybe...) and that's enough for me.
  • enforcer22
    actualy paying the retail price for vista is about double that, That is the OEM price. Mac OS would be for me like buying something i leave in a box and sit in a shelf somewhere since i cant do a damn thing i want to do with it. Linux for me is almost as bad but at least i wouldnt have to pay for it. So personaly i would rather buy the windows OS since i never have to think "will this do what i want? will the hardware or software i want work on it?" I know im one of the few that looks at $300 knowing im buying this for about 5 years and doesnt see much cost but hey thats logic for ya. Sorry EFix i have a operating system thats stable only crashed when my memory went bad and doesnt requier vary specific hardware that wont run anything i want to run with the quality i want it run at.

    But yeah i see this getting sued out of exsistance really fast though i do like the idea. Booting other os's from a thumb drive to toy around has always been fun.

    To the guy up there boasting about linux you got it backwords. though not entierly true it should be millions of windows apps and thousands of linux apps. One thing you cannot say is either have more programs or more support then windows. and i think you took the artical wrong i believe he said the target isnt the people with the OC'ed fridge cooled pc's since they wouldnt be interested.

    IBM and other companys switched to linux for 2 good reasons. #1 cost of operation. #2 they got sick of microsfts vary limiting licences.
  • I have to disagree with EnFoRceR22, as an engineering student i use computers every day...and i run a whole range of apps, I started using Linux about a month ago and my biggest problem so far has been deciding which app to use, there are just so many of them. Sure windows (which i use for gaming only now) has just as many apps but only a limited selection in each category that are really good. I haven't been using Linux long enough to know the good / bad ratio of apps yet but i'm sure it will be the same as windows a few good ones in each category and they will be the ones i end up using. As for OS X *shrug i don't see the point.....my Linux with compiz is better looking and really really stable and super easy to use (i was surprised)
  • crinosil
    Can you say con job?? The EFix are in the mail!!! LOL!!!