« I bought myself a new chair | Main | Ride reward »

OSX on a Dell Inspiron 530

frakenmac.jpg
Pardon my geek for a moment. A year ago, some clever folks figured out how to run OSX, Apple's beloved operating system, on non-apple made machines. Intrigued, I gave it a try and failed miserably. With no real documentation around, I figured this project was one of those pie-in-the-sky hopes; the type of thing that only people who code their own video drivers for Linux could accomplish. A year passed and I heard that people were making streamlined installation discs, modifying their own drivers, and even documenting their installation process. So I thought to myself, "let's give'er another go".

Hardware Details
Motherboard: Dell Inspiron 530
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600
Memory: 4GB DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
Video: Radeon ATI HD 2600 XT (PCIe)
Wireless: Netgear wg311v3 (PCI)
Audo: Realtek ALC888 (onboard)
Ethernet: Intel 82566MM/DC (onboard)

The installation disc that most people with a Dell Inspiron 530 were having the most success with is the iPC OSx86 Universal 10.5.6 distribution. There are many other packages out there, some with better documentation, but this one was supposed to be the easiest for my Dell. I used the following options during the install.

Disc: iPC OSx86 Universal 10.5.6
Kernal:
9.6.0 Vanilla (default)
Bootloader: PC_EFI v9 (default)
Drivers:
Realtek ALC888
Intel ICHx SATA Drivers
Intel 82566MM/DC
Radeon ATI HD 2600 XT PCIe
Utilities:
Shutdown/Restart Fix
NTFS 3-G + MacFUSE
osx86 tools Utility

It worked! Sort of. The operating system ran, but a few things didn't quite work. The Netgear wireless card uses a Marvell chips which wasn't compatible with OSX. I decided to replace the wireless card with one that was using a Broadcom chipset: Asus WL-138G V2 ($30). Also, I couldn't force the video drivers to enable QE (Quartz Extreme). This was preventing many graphic and video related tasks from running properly (Coverflow, Quicktime, VLC, iMovie, screensavers). As it turns out, the driver package from the iPC disc was at fault. So I reinstalled everything, but this time:

Disc1: iPC OSx86 Universal 10.5.6
Kernal:
9.6.0 Vanilla (default)
Bootloader: PC_EFI v9 (default)
Drivers:
Realtek ALC888
Intel ICHx SATA Drivers
Intel 82566MM/DC
Broadcom Driver (wireless)
NO VIDEO DRIVER
Utilities:
Shutdown/Restart Fix
NTFS 3-G + MacFUSE
osx86 tools Utility
EFI Studio
Universal OSx86 Installer
Dual Boot Time Sync

This 2nd disc is just for the video driver and nothing else; I unchecked everything, including the installation of the operating system.

Disc2: XxX x86 10.5.6 Universal Final
Drivers:
Radeon ATI HD 2600 XT PCIe

And that's it! The final installation process about 2 hours but with all the research and trial-and-errors it was more like 30 hours. Everything seems to work so far. Some very useful resources I found along the way were: OSx86 Project Wiki's Hardware Compatibility List and a Dell 530 specific thread on InsanelyMac's Forum. So far, the computing experience has been interesting to say the least, but I'll save my comments for some other time.

About

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2009 11:53 AM.

The previous post in this blog was I bought myself a new chair.

The next post in this blog is Ride reward.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.