The content of the article
Most often, people plan to build a hackintosh for some specific purpose: to master a new operating system for themselves or to do something that requires a poppy. They choose a hardware configuration, buy hardware, and, as a last resort, think about where to put this hardware. It turned out quite the opposite: by chance I got a magnificent case from the Power Mac G5, for which I could not find better application than to assemble a hackintosh on it on the Intel platform.
This Power Mac G5 has a difficult fate. For many years he worked faithfully with my friend, until one day the motherboard failed on the computer. A friend ordered a similar board on eBay, but somewhere between Los Angeles and Taganrog, Russian Post dropped a parcel with an elephant on it, as a result of which this board finally became unusable. Desperate, the owner decided to turn in the prematurely lost Power Mac in color, but I dissuaded him from this venture in time and exchanged a lifeless computer carcass for a couple of Spaten bottles. Since then, the G5 has been gathering dust on my mezzanines, waiting for the moment when my hands finally reach me to make something useful out of it. Free time appeared with the onset of the coronavirus apocalypse, and I did not lose it in vain.
From the very beginning, I decided not to restore the computer in its authentic configuration: the Power PC platform, although it still has loyal fans, is now morally obsolete. Under the old OS X there is no modern software, browsers are not able to adequately display web pages, and this OS is working, frankly, not fast. However, with the transition of Apple to the Intel platform, it became possible to run macOS not only on real "apple" technology, but also on ordinary PCs with compatible hardware characteristics. Yes, unlike real poppies, not everything works out of the box in hackintosh, and sometimes you have to tinker a lot with setting up the operating system. But, as Little Red Riding Hood said from a popular joke, "I know the way, I love sex." The difficulties did not scare me.
Having established myself in the idea of assembling a hackintosh, I set myself another task: to spend as little finance as possible on a planned scientific and technical experiment. An elegant case, similar to a stylish aluminum grater, I already had. The old upgrades and computer repairs left a couple of DDR3 memory modules, an AMD Radeon HD 5800 graphics card, a good 450W power supply, and even a 120 GB laptop SSD. The most important thing was missing: the processor and motherboard. Just in case, I note that before the start of this epic, I never did anything similar – this was my first experience of self-assembly of a hackintosh, and I had no idea what exactly I would encounter.
Having gone through the forums and having smoked the manuals, I found out that the choice of components should not be approached as I did, but consciously. Enthusiasts publish special compatibility tables to determine which hardware macOS can run on without problems, which will work only with the sounds of a tambourine, and which is better not to mess with at all. Fortunately, my video card was in the list of supported devices. Among motherboards, many Gigabyte products and some ASUS models have the best compatibility, but most of them do not fit into the budget category. At one of the forums, I came across a mention that the Chinese have long and productively been selling low-cost motherboards for Intel Xeon processors on AliExpress that are great for building hackintosh.
You can find the latest information on macOS compatible hardware on the following sites:
- Тonymacx86 – One of the most famous English-language resources dedicated to hackintosh.
- Hackintosh.com – the name speaks for itself. Here you can find useful instructions and guides.
- OSX86Project – One of the oldest hacker projects dedicated to installing macOS on PC. The Russian-language forum seems to have died long ago, but the English-speaking forum is more alive than all the living.
- Branch on w3bsit3-dns.comdedicated to hackintosh. Forum w3bsit3-dns.com is generally a storehouse of useful information in Russian on this topic.
- Section about hackintosh on Android + 1 – here I found some useful manuals on the device factory.
- Applelife.ru – A great forum where you can find instructions on the factory video cards, sound and other devices on hackintosh.
- And of course video tutorials on YouTube.
I opted for the Chinese board g218a rev 1.2 for the socket 2011 with the 6-core Intel Xeon E5-2620 processor installed on it, which I bought on Avito for a couple of thousand rubles on the occasion. In addition to the low price, the board is interesting in that it has as many as four DDR3 slots in which you can install server memory with ECC REG support. Strange as it may seem, this memory is sold much cheaper than the usual “desktop” one (and in the “used” version, it’s almost for nothing), despite the fact that the board itself supports four-channel mode. It’s probably no longer possible to find such boards on Ali, but there are modern and very inexpensive analogs like Jingsha x79, as well as various boards under the Huanan brand. Anyway, with socket 2011 on AliExpress you can find a lot of OEM boards of the well-known Chinese company NoNaMe, the main thing is to google if the chipset is suitable for designing a hackintosh.
The first step in the construction of the hackintosh was the barbaric dismantling of the guts of the Apple Power Mac from the corporate building. The defective motherboard went to the trash, followed by the power supply, which in this machine is very compactly located at the bottom of the case. Both processors, the cooling system, vidyaha and other serviceable liveries were put up for a penny on the notice board and whistled away to the new owners literally the next day. The huge pile of fans that the G5 was equipped with filled a separate garbage bag.
Finally, the hull was freed from unnecessary structural elements.
Since the mounting points of modern motherboards are located differently than on a board with Power PC processors, and the placement of elements on the back wall of the system unit is fundamentally different, I decided not to bother with artistic metal sawing, but to take the path of least resistance. An old computer case of MiniTower format was found in social networks, from which I unscrewed and returned the power supply to the owner, so I got the box “for pickup”. The fact that the case is old was only at hand: in ancient times, manufacturers did not spare metal for computer cases, so they were strong, unlike modern ones made of lousy foil.
I only needed a pallet from the case, to which the board is attached, and the back wall with a hole for the motherboard bracket and slots for expansion cards – I successfully sawed this piece with a dremel. Having tried on a pallet in the G5 case, I marked the corresponding holes on the back wall, after which I removed everything unnecessarily with the same dremel. After installing a new board, I closed the remaining holes with a plate cut out of aluminum sheet, which I fastened on rivets, and glued to the joints a decorative aluminum corner from a hardware store.
For fastening the pallet in the case, I used furniture corners from the nearest building market, and I filled the seams at the joints of the tab with the case with silicone sealant – both for reliability and to avoid chatter when the pallet vibrates under the influence of working coolers.
Separately, I had to tinker with the optical drive. As a multidrive in G5, we used a regular CD-ROM with an IDE interface, which is not available on a modern motherboard. The DVD writer with the SATA connector that I found in the box with computer trash approached the seats just perfectly, only the end plate of the tray did not crawl into the casement on the case. Armed again with a dremel with a grinding nozzle, I modified the tray a bit, sawed off three millimeters on each side of it and breathed in a lot of plastic dust.
Continuation is available only to participants
Materials from the latest issues become available separately only two months after publication. To continue reading, you must become a member of the Xakep.ru community.
Join the Xakep.ru Community!
Membership in the community during the specified period will open you access to ALL Hacker materials, increase your personal cumulative discount and allow you to accumulate a professional Xakep Score!
I am already a member of Xakep.ru