Please note: I’ve done another post detailing how to get OSX86 working (on iDeneb v1.5.1) with the same motherboard and an NVIDIA card, as the onboard Intel graphics don’t have full functionality. Click here to see the post.
Originally I bought this motherboard with the intention of running XBMC on top of OSX. It was a toss-up between Ubuntu 9.10 and an OSX86 Hackintosh flavour and in the end Ubuntu won, but only because it was marginally quicker to boot up and support for this setup on the XBMC forums seemed to be a little better.
Anyhow, I think that at least a few people should find this walk-through useful so I thought I’d write it up.
A word of warning before we begin – the highest resolution currently possible by the onboard Intel X4500 graphics card is 1280 x 1024px, nowhere near big enough to fill the 1920 x 1080 px resolution of the 37″ widescreen Toshiba TV I wanted to use it with. As it happens, support seems to be pretty dismal on Ubuntu as well, so after hours of research I found a graphics card that fit my requirements:
- OSX86 compatibility, including QE/CI (a bit like DirectX for Windows this does not work with the onboard Intel GPU)
- Ubuntu 9.10 compatibility
- DVI output at 1920 x 1080 px
- Low noise (eg, silent, fanless)
- Under £40
- NVIDIA chipset
Eventually I found the winner, an MSI N8400GS D512H graphics card which provided, as I discovered, near out-of-the-box functionality with OSX86 with only one box needing to be ticked in the setup – and that was good enough for me.
Setting up the BIOS
So, onwards and upwards. After installing all the components into the case (I used a SATA hard drive and port closest to the edge of the board) and having downloaded iATKOS V7 iso from one of the usual sources and burnt it to a DVD I had a quick wade through the BIOS to check the settings.
To start with I selected ‘Load Optimized Defaults’, save and exited in case the HDD needed to be redetected, then went back into the BIOS.
Here’s what I did on each page – I am only documenting settings I changed from the default:
Standard CMOS Features
On all IDE channels that weren’t in use I went into each and selected ‘NONE’. Although on the main page it already says ‘NONE’ I go into each and manually disable those not in use. In my experience it stops the motherboard detecting drives every time and can speed up the POST.
Drive A – ‘NONE
Halt on – ‘No Errors’
Advanced BIOS Features
First Boot Device – ‘Hard Disk’
Second Boot Device – ‘Disabled’
Third Boot Device – ‘Disabled’
Advanced Chipset Features
Don’t change any of these settings. I started messing around with the ‘PAVP Lite Mode’ and bumped up the memory allocation and had problems booting.
Onboard Serial Port 1 – ‘Disabled’
Onboard Parallel Port – ‘Disabled’ – I don’t use any parallel or serial devices.
USB Keyboard Function – ‘Enabled’
USB Mouse Function – ‘Enabled’ – Otherwise your (USB) keyboard won’t work during setup.
Power Management Setup
I left all these settings as default.
I left these as default.
PC Health Status
I left these settings as default, and couldn’t be bothered to take a screenshot.
Please note – it is best to do this part connected to a standard computer monitor/flatscreen. Otherwise you end up having to choose options and press buttons that aren’t visible on the screen, a bit like this:
Now the BIOS is sorted, let’s get on with the actual installation. Pop the CD in the caddy, hit ‘F12’ as it runs through the POST to bring up the Boot Menu and select ‘CDROM’.
When it asks to ‘Boot from CD/DVD’ make sure you hit return. Another message with something like ”Press any key to start up from CD ROM…’ pops up a few seconds after, hit return again.
You should have the Apple logo up whilst the installer loads – after a few minutes the a dialogue box pops up asking to ‘Click the button to continue..’
The next thing to do is prepare your hard drive. When the ‘Welcome’ screen pops up you get the Apple menu along the top of the screen. Click ‘Utilities’ – ‘Disk Utility…’
The entire contents of this drive are about to be erased. Please ensure you have no important information on your drive because if you come whining to me I will honestly not give a fuck.
Select your drive in the left hand pane (in the screen below I already had a ‘Mac OSX’ partition created, ignore this), and click on the ‘Erase’ option to the right of ‘First Aid’. Choose ‘Mac OS Extended (Journaled)’ and name your new partition (I used ‘Mac OSX’). Hit the ‘Erase…’ button. A warning dialogue box will pop up, just hit the ‘Erase’ button again.
As soon as that’s finished, close Disk Utility and click ‘Continue’ on the welcome screen.
Agree to the ‘Terms and Conditions’ that pop up.
Next the ‘Select a Destination’ window will pop up. Select your drive and click ‘Continue’
This next part is important. On the ‘Install Summary’ screen, hit the ‘Customize’ button.
Under ‘Drivers’ – ‘VGA’ – ‘Intel’ select the ‘GMA X3100’ box. Apparently the X3100 chipset shares some of the same features as the onboard X4500. I have no idea whether the installer will work without this ticked, but this is how I did it.
After clicking ‘Done’, hit ‘Install’. I normally skip the DVD consistency test that next pops up. If it is the first time you are intalling you may want to let this run.
The installation time will depend on the speed of your DVD (hardware) and hard drive. My DVD is pretty old and slow, so it took about 15 minutes to install.
Your machine should reboot and you should see that hideous Chameleon graphic before it boots into OSX. Next you should be asked to identify your keyboard. Follow the instructions and choose the country you’re in and your keyboard layout.
When it asked me if I already owned a Mac, I chose ‘Do not transfer my information now’.
On the ‘Registration Information’ screen, I typed in my name and made up everything else in the compulsory fields.
When ‘Create Your Account’ popped up, I filled in all the fields and chose a password.
I selected ‘I don’t want to try MobileMe for free right now’.
When the ‘Thank You’ screen popps up, hit ‘Go’. Boom, all done.
So you’ve got OSX installed. Now all you got to do is tackle the crappy resolution on your screen. Remember, without an NVIDIA GPU you’re pretty much stuck with it (don’t believe me? Check the thread on the insanelymac.com forum). But it is possible to up the resolution to 1280 x 1024. If you’re extremely stubborn and love banging your head against a brick wall I think I upped the resolution to 1280 x 1024 px by adding an entry to ‘/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.Boot.plist’. It is WAY easier to buy an NVIDIA card than fuck about with a legacy GPU that Apple have no interest in supporting. Trust me. Buy an NVIDIA card and be done with it.