Saturday, July 13, 2013

WiFi for Hacks

The dear reader may have noticed that a concept called hackintosh caught my attention. Actually, some years ago, when Leopard (OS-X 10.5), the thirst OS-X running on x86 hardware, came out, I already built various systems (Intel Q6600, Intel E4600) capable of running OS-X.
That gets us what a hackintosh actually is. It is a PC, mainly based on Intel processors, which is able to run Apple's OS-X under certain circumstances. To learn more, please search the internet, also about the legal implications/requirements.

The whole trick about hackintoshs is to find the right hardware, being compatible with the original OS-X. Mind you, the name hackintosh refers to the hardware, not the operation system, meaning, that the OS remains absolutely original, i.e. unchanged and non-hacked.

There are to mini PCI-e cards which are fully compatible with OS-X 10.8 that I know of (and actually tested):
  1. Broadcom BCM94322HML 
  2. Atheros AR5BHB92
My hackintoshs are based on GA-Z77N-WiFi and GA-H77N-WiFi mobos. Both boards come equipped with an Intel mini PCI-e WiFi/BT-combo-card. Whilst BlueTooth is working fine under OS-X, the WiFi part of this card is just dead.
Some additional info here, the Intel cards are equipped with 2 coax connectors, which is reflected by the 2 aerials provided with the mobos. Both cards mentioned above have 2 coax connectors.

From here, there are two options:
  1. keep the Intel card for BT and use something else for WiFi
  2. exchange the Intel with any of the two mentioned above and use something else for BT 
I personally went for option 2. And here is why:
There is a TPlink WiFi PCI-E card which is 100% compatible and works really well. However, there is only one PCI-E slot with the mobos mentioned above. Using this slot forces the use of the low power on-board graphics. There are other options like compatible USB WiFi devices, however, I believe that the bandwidth would be compromised here.
The second option provides full bandwidth for WiFi, leaving the single PCI-E slot for a GPU. On the downside, one now has to look for an alternative BlueTooth device. It happens that I own a couple of old USB BT devices. All those devices seem to be compatible with OS-X. Due to the low bandwidth of BT, I can easily live with the USB solution.