Considering building a Hackintosh out of a DEll XPS 410

I have wanted to switch to MAC for a while.

Unfortunately I have not been in the position to make what would be for me a potentially expensive move. All new hardware, software, etc… And for the joy and class of a MAC you pay, a lot.

Recently our good friends the HappyCamperBus decided to abandon the work-a-day world to travel around the country (world???) in a VW bus. As part of this goal they were committed to giving up all earthly possessions that would not fit in the van. Much of these items were sold on ebay or yard sales. But some of them were donated to friends and family. Our friend Alan was given the gift of a DELL XPS 410 (duo-core). A big improvement over his now ancient Pentium 4. The DELL however uses the new BTX form factor for the motherboard, and the configuration made it so the motherboard could not be used in Alan’s rack mounted computer rig. Thus he took the chip and bought a new motherboard that would work. So I have inherited the case, motherboard, and ram.

This is a great deal for me as it cuts a lot of the base costs for me to build a new computer. Like Alan I had waited so long to upgrade I was going to have to replace most of the internal components such as video card, at least one hard drive, ram, and so on. The video card being the biggest deal as I need a high powered video card with dual DVI out and the best video cards are not cheap.

So it looked like my dreams of switching to a MAC were still somewhere in the future. But as I consulted with one of my business partners he suggested doing a hackintosh install.

A hackintosh install?

From the Wiki:

OSx86 (a portmanteau of OS X and x86) is a collaborative hacking project to run the Mac OS X computer operating system on non-Apple personal computers with x86 architecture processors. The effort started soon after the June 2005 Worldwide Developers Conference announcement that Apple would be transferring their personal computers from PowerPC to Intel microprocessors.

A computer built to run this type of Mac OS X is sometimes known as a Hackintosh, which is a recycled term originally denoting the modified Lisa 2/10 running Mac System.

So I began doing some research. Would this really work? Could I build a MAC for nearly a third of the cost?

That remains to be seen. I have more research to do as I finish buying my components today. If I go ahead with this I will let you know how it goes. Though I am a little leary of the whole thing, mainly due to the fact that the computer used to be a DELL and who knows what kind of funny proprietary drivers might be involved to make the onboard gigabit NIC and audio (7.1 surround onboard – alright).

If any of you have built hackintoshes I would love to hear your stories and see some pics.

I will keep you up-to-date.


Hack Macs image courtesy of Bascht at Flickr under a creative commons license.