Apple makes some really great software and hardware. We love it. But sometimes there are certain little things you want out of your computer that Apple can’t or won’t provide. That’s why we have jailbreaking and modding.
We love it when someone takes an Apple product and morphs it into something completely different. There have been a lot of Apple hardware mods that have crossed our desks over the last few years. Some have been simple, while others have required over a hundred hours of work. Here are the five greatest Apple hardware mods we’ve ever seen.
Creepy Mountain Lion hugging a flash drive? Uh… ok.
OS X is designed to run seamlessly on Mac hardware, but did you know that you can actually install Apple’s desktop operating system on a Windows PC and make what’s called a “Hackintosh?” Apple released OS X Mountain Lion in the Mac App Store last week, and it has already been downloaded 3 million times. But if you’re stuck with a PC, you can’t taste the forbidden fruits… until now. UniBeast, the tool used for creating a Hackintosh, has been updated with support for Mountain Lion.
Hackintoshing is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up to the challenge, it’s possible to get Mountain Lion up and running on your PC.
The Mac Pro is the most PC-like Mac, but it serves niches that other Macs and PCs can’t.
Apple quietly updated its Mac Pro line last week. The update was an important move even though the actual changes were so minor as to be barely noteworthy. The minor refresh gave high computing customers a sense of confidence that Apple wasn’t going to abandon the Mac Pro line anytime soon. That sense of confidence got a boost from New York Times columnist David Pogue, who was assured more substantive Mac Pro upgrades were in the works for 2013.
The Mac Pro is something of a relic when it comes to Apple’s current strategy. It’s the only Mac that features significant expansion options using industry standard hardware – a point made by Lifehacker columnist Adam Dachis, who compared the Mac Pro’s specs and costs to three hackintosh options. Looking at the Mac Pro as simply a series of specs, performance, and cost is appropriate for most users – but not for some important niche markets.
It just got a whole lot easier to install Lion on your hackintosh, thanks to Tonymacx86’s new “UniBeast” bootable USB drive utility. In case you didn’t know, a hackintosh is basically a PC that’s been modified to run OS X, and some people create pretty sweet hackintosh setups for half the price of an Apple-branded equivalent.
UniBeast is a new tool that makes it easy to install Apple’s newest desktop OS, Lion, on your hackintosh. Not only does UniBeast get rid of the need for an iBoot CD, but it also creates a bootable Lion USB flash drive.
Here, have a barf. Watch this guy assemble a random assemblage of PC parts, cram them into a tablet chassis, install Windows XP on the resulting mess and then have the sheer audacity to emblazon it with an Apple logo and call it the iPad 3… all to a soundtrack of nu-metal-for-fratties band Linkin Park, as apparently broadcast by AM radio to a receiver made out of a tin can.
Short of an official announcement from Apple, it’s anyone’s guess whether or not Apple’s next-generation desktops and notebooks will use Intel’s recently unveiled Sandy Bridge architecture… but even if Cupertino defies expectations and sits this CPU gen out, don’t sweat it: you’ll at least be able to put yourself together a Sandy Bridge Hackintosh.
With remarkable alacrity, hackers with early access to Sandy Bridge wasted little time upon the lapse of Intel’s non-disclosure agreement to install Mac OS X on a Sandy Bridge processor, pushing Snow Leopard onto a machine running the new Intel Core i5-2500K CPU running at 3.30GHz.
How’d it run? Not as well as it will once OS X officially supports Sandy Bridge: a Geekbench score of 8874 and an Xbench score of 282.40. As it is, the hackers needed to patch the kernel to even get Snow Leopard to boot. Still, if there was any doubt, the benchmark scores do make it pretty clear that when Snow Leopard starts supporting Sandy Bridge, we’ll all be looking at the fastest Macs yet.
Chinese knockoff maker DragonFly has just made their already shameless MacBook clone a little more so: while the 14-inch netbook already adhered closely enough to the Ive aesthetic to be mistaken for a real MacBook Pro by the Magoo-like, they’ve now gone even farther by replacing the original DragonFly logo with Apple’s own… plus Hackintoshing the notebook in the factory to run Snow Leopard. It even comes with a fake MagSafe charger!
Try this in America and Apple’s legal team would cram your head so forcibly up your posterior that you’d give a vomitous birth unto yourself, but DragonFly hails from China, so they’ll probably be fine. $436 will buy you one on the Beijing electronics blackmarket.
I sometimes wonder what monsters haunt the nightmares of Apple’s resident designer, Mr. Jonathan Ive. He’s so prim, so meticulous, so clean and proper, but on those nights when he has a slice of pepperoni pizza a little too close to bed time, what horrors does he dream up? Some horrible Cenobite iMac dragging itself bloodily across the floor whispering “Make way for the new flesh:” a biomechanical monstrosity of Foxconn components crammed into the pulsating sack of some skinless, cancerous stomach?
Or is it something more like this cardboard box Hackintosh, put together by the guys over at One Block Off the Grid — a cooperative for buying photovoltaic solar panels at a group discount — after one of their Macs proved too slow to run Adobe After Effects?
Those unconventional iconoclasts at Psystar might have been ground down to a gelatin paste by Apple’s legal team, but that’s not to say you can’t have a business selling Mac clones… as long as you don’t sell them with OS X pre-installed.
Just ask the guys at Quo Computers, “Apple enthusiasts who breathe and bleed Mac OS X” who have just announced their latest hackintosh: a truly ghastly tower called the maxQ2 with beefy hardware placing it somewhere between the performance of a high-end iMac and the Mac Pro.
Inside the chassis, the Q2 features an Intel Core i7 3.6GHz CPU, 12GB of RAM, a 240GB SSD, a 1TB hard drive and an NVIDIA 285 GTX GPU. The real appeal here, though, is the addition of Aestek’s liquid / copper cold plate cooling system, which will keep the innards frosty regardless of what you throw at it.
The maxQ2 will run Windows, OS X or Linux through EFI support… although Quo isn’t stupid enough to install OS X on it for you themselves. The Quo maxG2 starts at $3,675, and if you’re willing to trade aesthetic for horsepower while breaking OS X’s EULA in the process, it seems like an option worth considering.
Apple’s fastest Mac is the 12-Core Mac Pro, featuring two 2.93 GHz Xeon processors. Configure it with 25GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM, and Apple’s fastest Mac will cost you $8,749.00.
Yowza. That’s an extraordinary amount of money. If you don’t mind dropping an extra $300, though, you might be interested in Macintouch’s guide to building not Apple’s fastest Mac, but the world’s fastest Mac yourself.
Yup, according to Macintouch’s tests, their Hackintoshed monstrosity — a total beast of a machine running two 3.33GHz hexacore Westmere processors overclocked to 4.2GHz each and supplemented with 24GB of DDR3 RAM — melted the Mac Pro’s face off.
Of course, there’s a lot of drawbacks to this approach, including compatibility issues and a much louder system than the Mac Pro, as well as a desktop footprint that makes the Pro look compact. But as of right now, it seems that a Hackintosh is the fastest Mac in the world. God help us.