Hey everybody! It’s that time again: let’s do something entirely random and probably useless!
Check this thing out! This is my old computer, which to be honest I don’t really remember when I built it, but it was probably back around 2014 if I had to guess. Specs wise it’s not too bad: AMD A10-5800k with 8GB of RAM. The HDD is a 1TB WD Green and was pulled out of a USB HDD. As for graphics, this computer spent most of it’s life being used with the integrated Radeon graphics (which was good *enough*).
You may have noticed the GPU in the picture though, just a few weeks ago EspiDev decided to give me a Quadro 600, so I decided to throw that in there too.
Ok… now for the fun stuff, let’s install Mac OS X on it! Why? Uh… who knows. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Ok so the first Hackintosh distro I tried was Niresh’s OS X 10.7 Lion. Two reasons, one because I thought Lion would suit this hardware well (I was wrong), and it was the last release that would fit on a single layer DVD (< 4.7G).
I also want to take this moment to point out that this is probably one of the more sketchy computers to put OS X on, since it has an AMD CPU. If you don’t know: the stock Darwin kernel in OS X basically doesn’t work at all, so these Hackintosh distros ship custom compiled kernels with AMD support. These kernels are of dubious quality and *probably* shouldn’t be trusted. Anyway, on with the install:
I just followed the instructions to load the AMD kernel and boot, and to my surprise it actually booted!
I just partitioned the disk, selected the drivers I thought I would need (GPU, Network, etc), and it started installing. This was going pretty smooth…
What!? It just rebooted into the OOBE just like that? Actually no.. for some reason the bootloader refused to work upon reboot. A quick Google search revealed that this old version of Chameleon doesn’t like the larger sector sizes of my HDD. Not to worry though, I just used the DVD’s boot loader to load OS X.
And we are in! Woo! Time to celebrate… not so fast. As it turns out Lion was just a little too old to support this hardware properly. The Nvidia GPU was recognized, but didn’t seem to actually be accelerating anything. Not much of an issue since I intend to use this computer as a server. The problem though, was the network card. I tried and tried to load all sorts of kexts to no avail.
At this point I realized Lion probably wouldn’t work. At this point I tried High Sierra, which I though might work. Sadly though, the Hackintosh builds of High Sierra target AMD CPUs too new compared to this A10 (they probably work on Ryzen generation). I didn’t want to give up, though.
I decided to give OS X 10.9 Mavericks a shot. Lion worked (it atleast booted), High Sierra didn’t, so I hoped Mavericks would be the perfect middle ground. Here is the problem though: It refused to boot from USB. Remember how I said Lion was the last OS X version to fit on a Single Layer DVD? With High Sierra I had to boot from a USB. This worked, but for some reason Mavericks just didn’t have any of it. I tried using Disk Utility, dd (with dmg2img), the built in Niresh flashing tool. Nothing seemed to make the USB boot work.
Verbatim to the rescue! I was in Best Buy a few days later (unrelated to this adventure) and wonder if I could find some Dual Layer DVDs while I was there. And as it turns out, in literally the corner of the store was a couple of packages of (fairly pricey) Dual Layer DVDs. Awesome! I burned 10.9 onto the DVDs and hoped for the best.
And it worked! Everything from the GPU, to sound, to (most importantly) the network card! I was right, OS X 10.9 was the sweet spot.
Now you may be wondering what I actually plan on using this for. I will say that you may cringe, so viewer discretion is advised.
Since this is a 1TB HDD I decided this would work as a nice storage server. So, I used OS X’s built in SMB server, and that worked no problem. The only thing though is I wanted a way to access to access my files remotely (and one does not simply expose an outdated SMB server to the network). I’ve used NextCloud before but I don’t believe it works (not easily, anyway) natively on Mac OS. So I installed VirtualBox and used Turnkey Linux’s NextCloud image (hey, I was pretty lazy after all this). Surprisingly this works and pretty darn well. NextCloud’s External Storage plugin plays nice with OS X’s SMB server. A little while later I setup some other services on OS X, like Transmission so I can seed some Linux ISO torrents and whatnot (with Combustion as the WebUI, it’s pretty slick).
Please feel free to vent your anger.
So there you go, quite the adventure and now I have a pretty sketchy server. Who knows how long it will last. I also want to point out that this took longer than it may have seemed, it spanned over a few days and a lot of trial and error.
Anyway, se you guys next time!