Retail Mac vs. the Hackentosh

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While becoming deeply admiring Mac more and more, I have also become more and more curious to as how much an OEM Mac system would cost, which would make my Hackentosh experience a laughing piece of the past.

I had in mind that it would be so cool to have official drivers for my audio, video, net, and USB the first time I run OS X. It would be cool to benefit from the officially supported updates. It would be nice to run Leopard instead of Tiger.

All my thoughts on this issue have dropped. Upon investigating the prices for an OEM Mac (the complete system, not stand alone operating system), I have decided that yes: I would actually rather have a Hackentosh.

Why? Because I can probably do more with hacked drivers and unsupported hardware than I could with an officially manufactured Mac. With an OEM Mac, we are able to run Windows XP and Vista via Boot Camp emulation, however we are not able to install them as their own fully functioning operating systems. And the most important reason: I can build myself a more powerful system capable of Hackentosh for less than half the price it would cost for a powerful Mac.

Here are the details. There are only 6 classes of Mac systems currently sold (excluding the Hackentosh efforts). The 3 desktops are

  • Mac Mini (a very limited, non-upgradable box set)
  • Mac Pro (the monster performer desktop that cost too much)
  • iMac (the one piece system; again very limited and non-upgradable)

The Mac Mini is neat as it is built for TV display, very similar to the Windows Media Center models manufacturers flopped to deliver several years ago. The most powerful Mac Mini is nifty but weak only supporting a max speed of 2 GHz (Intel Duo), 2 GB of memory, and 1 x 160 GB hard drive. This little box (no mouse, no keyboard, no monitor, does include remote control) will cost you $1024 + tax + shipping and handling. The included graphics chip is only an Intel GMA 950 with 64 MB of memory…. that will never play a game and there are no PCI-E or AGP slots for future upgrading. So I do not suggest Apple’s affordable solution.

For $2000 the iMac has everything (hard drive, dvd drive, memory) built in to the monitor. This also means there is no option for future upgrades. The graphics are better for all multimedia tasks and gaming as they are powered by an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128 MB of memory. My opinion: you are stuck with what you have (and lost a lot of money in the process).

The Mac Pro would be a tasty, jet fueled, graphic pumping, performance driven system if I didn’t feel like I smacked a brick wall reading the price. Here is how bad the cheapest solution will rape your bank account:

  • Mac Pro Custom for $2299.00 (the CHEAPEST one)
  • One 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon (quad-core) Processor
  • 2GB (2 x 1GB) Memory
  • 320GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive
  • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB (Two dual-link DVI) Graphics
  • 16x double-layer SuperDrive that burns both CDs and DVD
  • Keyboard, Mouse, Mac OS X Leopard

After sight shopping, I have decided is is both nicer and cheaper to buy an Apple Mac OS X replacement keyboard for $39.95 and build my own Hackentosh…. Then again I can just continue to use my own keyboard that has my custom made stickers on the keys to remind me what the commands are and save a few more dollars πŸ™‚

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4 Responses to “Retail Mac vs. the Hackentosh”

  1. dana Says:

    Bootcamp is not windows “emulation” bootcamp runs windows native.

    In this case the word emulation is misleading and false.

  2. Rob Says:

    hmmm…. why is mac better anyways? πŸ˜›
    I would build it just as something to do and then show to ppl πŸ˜›

  3. Rod Says:

    at Tigerdirect you can get an

    HP Pavilion Slim s3430f AMD Desktop PC – AMD Phenom 9100e Quad Core 64, 4GB, 500GB, SATA DVDRW LS-RAM/Blu-Ray & HD-DVD Player, Flash, Tuner, 8500GT, Wireless, Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit SP1
    for $999.99

    why buy anything from Apple?

  4. Default User Says:

    Oh, no. Don’t buy complete systems or barebones from Tiger.

    They’re typically crap, and typically not directly supported by them. Sometimes Tiger is cheaper on parts, more often they’re simply the best option if you need your order QUICKLY.

    This article would be more helpful with links to hardware lists for making a Hackentosh.


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