Best USB 3.0 controller for a Hackintosh

My rather dated ASUS P6T based Hackintosh lacked USB 3.0, a feature I really wanted because I already own an external USB 3 SSD drive which I’m using on my notebook. Quite a while ago, I bought this dirt cheap PCI-express 4 port USB card for $11 on eBay. However, the controller didn’t work on OS X no matter what (MultiBeast-)driver I tried. The connected SSD drive finally showed up once I applied some obscure XHCI compatibility settings to the .plist of the Apple USB driver but transferring files from/to the drive was beyond slow.

Last week, I noticed an USB 3 related entry in the MultiBeast release notes:

Added USB 3.0 – Universal which is RehabMan’s branch of Zenith432’s GenericUSBXHCI.kext

Once I installed this new driver using the latest MultiBeast and rebooted my Hackintosh, my external SSD started working like a treat! While I have no idea if this $11 controller is the best Hackintosh USB 3.0 controller (that was just a bait to lure you in) it’s still a good bang for your buck. This controller/driver combo might even work on a Mac Pro, which to this date still don’t have USB 3 support.

usb3-controller-hackintosh

Kudos go out to everyone involved in creating this universal USB 3 driver. You’re awesome!

ASUS P6T Hackintosh & OS X Mountain Lion

I just finished installing OS X Mountain Lion (latest preview) on my new Intel 520 SSD. The 520 is one of the fastest consumer SSD’s on the market today. Even though my 3 year old ASUS P6T mainboard doesn’t support SATA-3, the 520 still performs ridiculously fast. It takes a mere 6 seconds from the Apple logo to the desktop. The spinning Apple circle doesn’t even show up.

Installation went pretty smoothly using Tonymacx86’s UniBeast and MultiBeast.

Will somebody please teach the guys in Redmond about how to speed up an operating system boot?

Best Ethernet network adapter/NIC for a Hackintosh

Added 8-15-2014: This post ist outdated, please see here for more information on natively supported PCI-e network cards for OS X.

My ASUS P6T motherboard features a gigabit-capable Realtek 8111C onboard NIC. There’s an official but old OS X driver for this network adapter available from Realtek, but it crashes my Hackintosh whenever I try to use an OpenVPN connection to a remote server. Luckily, there’s an alternate RTL 81xx driver from Lnx2Mac which doesn’t suffer from this limitation. However, when I did some network benchmarking using a remote Linux server, I wasn’t getting consistent results regarding throughput. It seemed that the further a remote server was away, the less consistent was the throughput I got. It even got worse when using a VPN. It took me quite a while until I found out that the culprit was the Lnx2Mac driver for my onboard network adapter. Don’t get me wrong, the Lnx2Mac driver is perfect if you just need some sort if Internet connection and I appreciate the efforts that have been put into it. But since I was looking for a high performance driver, it didn’t seem to be a good choice. Continue reading

OS X 10.7.4 update breaks Asus P6T X58 compatibility

For the first time ever, an OS X update breaks compatibility with the X58 chipset. After applying the 10.7.4 update most X58-based Hackintoshs will see (if booted with the -v option) an ACPI related kernel panic or the kernel will just hang early in the boot process with a message like

IOAPIC: Version 0x20 Vectors 64:87
IOAPIC: Version 0x20 Vectors 88:111

Reverting  back to an older AppleACPIPlatform.kext will most likely bring the Hackintosh back from the dead. In order to get access to the disk you’ll need some sort of OS X boot/recovery drive. Make sure you rebuild the kext-cache or temporarily disable support for kernelcache in Chimera/Chameleon.

See this thread on insanelymac.com for a working AppleACPIPlatform.kext. Hopefully, someone finds out what changes need to be made in the boot loader and/or DSDT.

Tips & tricks using XPC for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion developer preview 2

The latest XPC EFI boot loader version 0.83.02 allows you to install Mac OS X 10.7 Lion dev preview 2 without having to change or copy a single file on the OS X install volume. Apart from configuring XPC it all works out of the box which simplifies installing OS X Lion a whole lot. XPC now fully supports the new disk-image based installation process that was first introduced in Lion dev preview 1 and is able to boot from mounted .dmg volume images. I just gave it a try and it worked flawlessly on my Hackintosh rig! Continue reading

ASUS P6T & Mac OS X Lion 10.7 dev preview using XPC boot loader

I finally managed to run Mac OS X Lion 10.7 developer preview on my ASUS P6T Hackintosh rig. Installation from a USB thumb drive is not as easy as it used to be in 10.6 and earlier because the new OS X installer boots from a BaseSystem.dmg in 10.7 Lion. But the really hard part was to find an EFI boot loader that doesn’t double panic/double fault when the Mach kernel is being loaded from an SATA-drive, once the installation is completed.

Chameleon and iBoot didn’t work on my Nehalem Core-i7 equipped P6T mobo, and I tried every version I could get hold of. Continue reading

ASUS P6T & OS X 10.6.5 update – still no support for SSD TRIM command

I just updated my ASUS P6T Hackintosh to the latest Mac OS X 10.6.5 developer build and it looks like there aren’t going to be any changes regarding the support for the SSD TRIM command for the official release of Mac OS X 10.6.5.

  Model:	INTEL SSDSA2M080G2GN
  Revision:	2CV102HD
  Serial Number:	CVPO942200DA080BGN
  Native Command Queuing:	Yes
  Queue Depth:	32
  Removable Media:	No
  Detachable Drive:	No
  BSD Name:	disk0
  Medium Type:	Solid State
  TRIM Support:	No <--

My 2nd generation Intel SSD supports the TRIM command in Windows 7 even though Mac OS System Profiler thinks it doesn’t. By the way, aside from the AppleHDA-kext replacement the update process from 10.6.4 to 10.6.5 went smoothly as usual on my ASUS P6T rig.

ASUS P6T, OS X 10.6.3 update and a new SSD

I just updated my ASUS P6T rig to OS X 10.6.3 with the built-in online Software Update application without any problems. It comes with a new Darwin kernel which has the number 10.3.0.

I also installed a brand new Intel X-25 M G2 solid state disk (SSD) and boy, this setup is starting to fly. Boot time from the grey apple logo to the login window is just 11 seconds! Applications like Mail or Safari start instantly, it’s like clicking an application icon and BOOM the software is on the screen. Even Photoshop CS4 with the default plugins enabled starts in less than 4 seconds. The performance increase is awesome. Forget about buying that slightly faster CPU… pour your hard earned money into a fast SSD. The only downside is that OS X still lacks support for the TRIM command for SSDs. It’s already available in Windows 7 and even in Linux… but unfortunately not OS X. Considering that Apple already ships its own notebooks with (overpriced) optional SSDs for quite some time that’s certainly a bit lame. Continue reading

ASUS P6T, OSX86 and FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b)

I just bought an external Iomega eGO Portable Mac Edition USB 2.0/FireWire hard drive with the intention to use it on my ASUS P6T Hackintosh (dubbed Hac Pro) for wickedly fast file transfers. The eGO draws its power from the FireWire port so there’s no external power supply needed.

When I tried to plug that FireWire 800 cable into my P6T I found out that the P6T only has a 6-Pin FireWire 400 connector. Doh! Guess I should have read the manual. Fortunately, the Iomega eGO also sports a FireWire 400 connector. Well, according to this Wikipedia article FireWire 400 is still a lot faster than USB 2.0 (almost twice).

Unfortunately, after hot plugging the Iomega eGO using the FireWire 400 cable, no new drive showed up on my OS X desktop. An inspection of the /var/log/system.log revealed a strange error message saying “ICANotifications framework timed out waiting for a FireWire device with GUID ‘40718943393659308’”. Continue reading

MSI Wind U100 netbook: How to update to 10.6.2

Because Apple didn’t release the Darwin 10.2.0 XNU sources (the kernel in Mac OS X 10.6.2)  yet (as of 11-14-09), there’s no way to re-enable Atom CPU support on the MSI Wind (and other Atom based netbooks) once you update to 10.6.2. I’ve seen some russian bin-hacks (Tea’s kernel) but they don’t work on the Wind, the kernel panics while booting. Once the XNU sources are out it will be pretty easy to compile a modified kernel with Atom CPU support but for the time being, you might as well re-use the kernel that came with your 10.6.0 Snow Leopard installation. So far, I haven’t seen any limitations using the older kernel in 10.6.2.

All you need is the USB stick you initially installed Snow Leopard from and some basic Terminal skills.
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Snow Leopard 10.6 on MSI Wind U100 netbook

This is not a how-to guide, tutorial or walk-through, I just list the kexts and settings needed to get Snow Leopard 10.6.0 or 10.6.1 up and running on an MSI Wind U100 netbook. Even though I haven’t personally tested it, the kexts should also work in the Wind U100 plus model. Up to OS X 10.6.1 the Atom 270/280 CPUs are natively supported by the Darwin kernel a.k.a. the vanilla kernel. There are rumors that this may change in a later release of OS X. In fact, Apple already seeded an OS X 10.6.2 developer version with Atom support disabled.

Added 11/10/09: Do NOT update to 10.6.2 as Apple deliberately disabled Atom CPU support and your MSI Wind netbook will go into a reboot loop or simply crash! You’ll need a modified kernel to run 10.6.2 or higher on an Atom CPU! If you’re fluent with Terminal, you might as well install the 10.6.2 update and reinstall the old kernel, see this post for more information. I tried it and it works fantastic!

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