The Sandy Bridge Hackintosh; run Mac OS X on Intel’s new Core i

“Today’s Macs use standard Intel-type components. A key difference from Windows is that Mac OS X loads though a boot mechanism known as EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface),” Chris Bidmead reports for The Register. “Some obscure Apple-proprietary concoction, no doubt? Far from it. EFI, now officially called UEFI – the ‘U’ stands for ‘universal’ – is an open standard, originally devised by Intel as a replacement for the ageing Bios boot system.”

“Unlike the 16-bit Bios, EFI can be 32- or 64-bit, and is much more flexible,” Bidmead reports. “In particular, with suitable hardware, you can tweak EFI to persuade a Mac OS X installer that it’s installing onto a Mac. A generic Intel machine on which you’re running the Mac operating system has become known as a ‘Hackintosh.'”

Bidmead reports, “Pioneer Hackintoshers had to hack the official Mac operating system. These days it’s easier: you just buy the standard Snow Leopard installation disk from the Apple Store, and rely on EFI to set up the hardware environment and install the necessary kexts.”

Read on in the full article here.


  1. Why is MDN giving added notoriety to a means of depriving Apple of revenue they deserve for writing OS X and selling it as cheap as they do? They need hardware sales and their licensing agreement requires that OS X be run on Apple hardware.

      1. Ahh! I found it. At the very end of article in The Register. A solid legal analysis. All one needs are those white decals of Apple’s logo that Apple provides for free. The article reads as follows:

        However, as you’ll have read in the Snow Leopard End User Licence Agreement – and of course we all always read these EULAs – “You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer…”

        You’re on your own with this. I’m in some doubt myself about the legal standing of “non-Apple branded” in this context. The Snow Leopard distribution disk you bought in the Apple store conveniently provides you with a pair of white apple-shaped stickers, presumably to attach in some way to your computer. Does your Hackintosh with such a sticker attached become “Apple-branded”?

      2. The Register (and the people working for/writing for The Register) HATES Apple. Those same people seem to really like Apple products and technologies.

        This goes all the way back to the early Orlowski days at The Register. His (and those of others there) articles about Apple products were/are often very favorable — about the products — but were/are often pure BS and hit pieces when it came to Apple itself and actions they claimed about Apple the company and the people who work at Apple.

        I used to go back and forth with Orlowski about how blatantly inaccurate his articles were. Then I gave up when I realized he didn’t care about the facts.

    1. I gave a Windows/Linux friend of mine my original mini-ATX Core 2 Duo based ‘hack to play around with when I moved up to a quad-core. He is now running on a personally bought, 15″ i7 MBP. He was never anti-Apple, he just never saw a compelling reason to spend the extra money on Apple hardware. The ‘hack showed him 2 things: 1. Why I was always raving about Mac OS X and 2. Why you want Apple hardware for your main machine.


      1. oops… Finger slip. To finish:

        Hackintosh is a great gateway drug to Apple sales. I think Apple knows it, or it would make it a lot harder to install OS X on non-Apple hardware.

      2. The same happens with software. Some people use pirated software to run on their machines. But, if the software worth being used, then sooner or later the user will buy an original copy.
        In the 70s or 80s there was a minicomputer form Philips with his very own OS and very own programming language. And only people inside Philips could program on it. If a person quit form Philips, the contract ban him to program that computer.

        I guess why they didn’t succeed…

        Shit happens, sometimes®

    2. Hackintoshers are not going to buy Apple Hardware anyway. I have not read about anyone hacking systems to get Windows to run on them. People are swearing their heads off just trying to get Windows to work on machines it is supposed to work on. This does practically no damage to Apple’s bottom line. It does feed interest for those not capable of hackintoshing and may get them to buy a Mac product. It is free advertising by people that would not buy the Mac anyway. Now…if they try sell their hackintoshes…that is when Apple will go after them, and should. For now, hackintoshing either does nothing, or helps Apple. After all, why would anyone hackintosh unless it was cool?

      I am not worried about it. They managed to get it on a regular PC. Cool. Even cooler that Mac OS is worth it to try and even do that. That’s Apple in the news again. Free publicity. Thanks.

      1. A student of mine bought an iPhone. Then he put OS X on his formerly Windows laptop. It gave him about 90% functionality. He loved it, but coveted a real Mac. He saved up money for a MacBook and is thrilled with the purchase. It does happen.

    3. Another thought. Telling everyone how to do it does put them in violation of the “enable others to do so” clause of the license. Not that Apple will go after them for that. They will go after them if they try make money selling hackintoshes, giving paid seminars or charging people to do it for them.

  2. Yeah this info has been around for awhile, nothing new.

    Hackintosh’s are fun machines if you don’t mind tinkering a bit to get things running.

    I started with an old Dell GX270 running Leopard and that thing flew with OS X on it.

    Using tonymac’s resources and boot loader if you pick your hardware correctly you can install vanilla OS X on a Corei5 or i7 with no problems at all.

    As for depriving Apple of revenue that might not always be the case.

    My first Hackintosh is actually what prompted me to purchase a Mac Mini. I still have a hackintosh but I use my Mini far more than any other computer in the house! I will buy another one too.

  3. I haven’t heard a word about Hackintoshes in so long, I can’t remember when. It’s Apple’s no longer worried. And why should they be? The appeal of buying into the Apple ecosystem is that stuff just works. Having to hack around in EFI and install the OS yourself doesn’t appeal to the average Apple customer. Of those folks who like that kind of thing, I would guess that the majority run Linux.


  4. Let’s not be silly. How many people will do this? There are folks who are going to dink around and try this out because they are drawn to uber-geek challenges. Apple sells tons of gear because the vast majority of customers realize that their Apple products just work. They don’t know and don’t care why much less what a command line is.

    1. I agree. I don’t have a problem with the Hacksintoshes simply for the reason you cite: not many (only propeller heads) are going to bother. I do have a bit of a problem with MDN passing along this article without one of his snidely comments dissing the practice.

  5. “Unlike the 16-bit Bios, EFI can be 32- or 64-bit”

    All the PCs I know of still use creaky old BIOS. This of course is part of the problem of getting the PC box community to go 64-bit at long frickin’ last.

    Q: How common are EFI non-Apple PCs? I’ve read recently that you can ‘buy’ EFI PCs, but do ANY of the standard PC makers actually ship any EFI PCs? Are we talking about non-standard motherboards in order to get EFI?

  6. “The internet is awash with information about Hackintosh building, and I haven’t seen any signs of this attracting any cease and desist orders from Cupertino.”

    Oh really. Never heard of Psystar? You didn’t look very hard.

    1. I think the reference is to “individual” hackintosh builders. Not companies whose business practice was mass production of a hackintosh machine for resell.

      So context of the comment helps.

  7. @Derek Currie
    Indeed I’ve heard of Psystar. They weren’t just giving information about how to build Hackintoshes, they were building them and selling them. A much easier and quite different case to pursue through the courts.

    It’s great that there are still folks like jturnbow about who know how to read… 🙂


  8. Old crap. No-one wants to use a computer in the old way – we want to do things with them, hence the iPad.

    Computing is a hobby for geeks; Using a computer for a task or tasks makes it an appliance.
    Thats what Jobs means when he says ‘post-PC.’

    Hackintosh and the Register? No-one is interested in them anymore.
    Go and hack your car, or your TV set – who cares.

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