A quick look at the pinouts of an Intel 8086 & 8088 processor reveals a 20 bit address bus. There was high demand for the ability to address 1 meg (2^20) of address space, and Intel delivered. However, a curious individual would wonder how they can achieve such a feat with only 16 bit registers. Intel solved this riddle by combining two registers so they could make it compatible with code written for the 8008, 8080 & 8085. The process they use can be a bit confusing when trying to figure out where to locate your code in the ROM. In this article, we are going to go over the basics of how the Physical Address is calculated and how to locate your code correctly in ROM.
As if bankruptcy shenanigans and an unresolved exchange of lawsuits with Apple weren’t enough, Mac clone maker Psystar is really swatting the beehive now with the release of Rebel EFI, a $50 software package that promises a straightforward installation of Mac OS X on a variety of commodity x86 systems.
Setting up one’s own “Hackintosh” system has traditionally been a painstaking process of duplicating the OS install disc and fiddling around with various kernel extensions. Rebel EFI claims to do away with all this, bringing click-and-drool simplicity to the Hackintosh experience. The package can be downloaded free of charge in order to test compatibility with one’s hardware before committing to buy; in this trial mode, the system is limited to two hours run time. Minimum requirements include an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core i7, or Xeon Nehalem CPU.
Normally we’re all for voiding warranties, challenging EULAs, and sticking it to The Man, but some have been calling Psystar’s underdog image a charade, claiming the commercial Rebel EFI software is simply an uncredited derivative of open source efforts such as the Chameleon bootloader. Whether or not this proves true, it will be interesting to see how this whole surreal skit plays out between Apple, Psystar and the open source Hackintosh community.
A friend recently commissioned us to install OSX on a netbook. We advised him to purchase the Dell Vostro A90. It’s essentially a rebadged Dell Mini 9, a model that has been discontinued, but is well suited for OSX. It’s only available with a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB RAM, and 16GB SSD. Depending on what deals are available, it’s $250-$300. We also had him purchase a 2GB stick of RAM which is the upper limit supported by the BIOS. Continue reading “Dell Vostro A90 hackintosh”
AppleDifferent decided to run some benchmarks on their MSI Wind hackintosh to see how it stacked up to real Apple hardware. It comes in under the MacBook Air in most cases and they conclude that it performs about as well as a four year old G4. Being so small and inexpensive, you can’t really expect much better. As a counterpoint, Obsessable posted a video demoing just how slow a first generation Eee PC can be (embedded below). Boing Boing Gadgets is maintaining an OSX netbook compatibility chart. It shows that the MSI Wind is probably the best case for OSX usability. If we were buying today, we’d probably pick up a Dell Mini 9 even though it requires an SSD upgrade before it will sleep properly.
Are any of you running OSX as the primary OS on your netbooks? What has your experience been?
Wired Gadget Lab has taken down a video made by [Brian X. Chen] in which he gives a brief overview and demonstration of how to install OSX on an MSI Wind netbook. This apparently didn’t sit well with Apple, who contacted Wired and complained; Wired agreed and removed the video. Frankly, we’re disappointed with Wired’s response. While they were technically posting content which is questionable at best—in the video, Brian mentions that this is illegal and that it would be a good idea to have a retail copy of OSX on hand, but then goes on to point out that you can also download the hacked operating system off The Pirate Bay, Isohunt, etc—the video in and of itself wasn’t illegal, and thus Wired comes off as susceptible to what amounts to bullying by Apple. We’re all about creativity and innovation, and stifling that innovative spirit has never worked well in the long run.
Fortunately, if you’re feeling like you’ve missed out on the video, don’t despair: Gizmodo has posted the video on their website for you to view and enjoy.
[photo: Brian X. Chen]
Gadget blogs have been a fluster the last day about TechCrunch stating that netbooks “just aren’t good enough“. Writing a response post hasn’t proven very hard given the number of factual errors in the original. Boing Boing Gadgets points out that the low-end of the spectrum that TC post seems to cover are almost impossible to purchase because they’re so outdated. Liliputing rightly states that comparing the browsing experience to the iPhone isn’t worthwhile since it’s entirely a software problem. Laptop goes so far as to recommend the HP Mini 1000 and Samsung NC10 specifically for their keyboard. TechCrunch isn’t alone in their opinion; this week Intel stated that using the ultra portable devices was “fine for an hour“. TechCrunch is designing a web tablet right now using the collective wisdom of blog commenters. Looks like they’re just reboxing a netbook for the prototype.
We cover the netbook market for different reasons than most: Their low low price makes people much more willing to hack on the device. For the price of a smartphone, you’re getting a fully capable laptop. The low performance doesn’t matter as much since we’re running different flavors of Linux that are much lighter than Windows. People running OSX86 are doing it to address a market that Apple doesn’t.
What’s your experience with netbooks? Do you have one that you adore or are you annoyed by their shortcomings? Models we’ve covered in the past include the Acer Aspire One, Asus Eee PC, Dell Mini 9, and MSI Wind.
[Photo: Onken Bio-pot]
We have run many EeePC hacks before. Like most people, what we really want is a Mac netbook. The folks over at Wired have written up some nice instructions to help you run OSX on your EeePC. The process is a little involved, so don’t expect to just pop in a disk and be home free. There are a few setbacks though. No flash support, hardware F-keys don’t work (volume, brightness, etc), and ethernet doesn’t work. WiFi works but only with a third party driver/app.