I really don’t want to write a detailed tutorial on how I turned my tiny, yet sweet, Dell Mini 9 into my very first Hackintosh, that I’ve named my MacBook Mini. There are SO many articles all over the place that do that well.
I read them all, before I set out to make my creation. Each tutorial is a bit different than the next. Above all, I had discovered that I’d need a USB DVD drive in order to make it work. So, I asked around, and my pastor loaned me one of his. Following the instructions at Gizmodo, I got all the way to mounting the retail OSX install DVD, and it wouldn’t recognize the drive. Lame.
This sent me back to Google, in search of an alternative. Oh, BTW, if you have a Dell Mini, you MUST start reading MyDellMini.com. It’s the end-all, be-all for everything Dell Mini. Wandering the forums, I found what I think is the most recent, and most up-to-date, tutorial for installing OSX onto a Dell Mini.
This method tossed the whole USB DVD drive out the window. (Good for me, since my loaner wasn’t even recognized.) Instead, I was offered the option of installing with a pair of USB drives. No where could I find clear language separating the choice between using an actual hard drive and a flash drive. The instructions (as you’ll see below) called for a decent sized drive and one that could be quite small. So, I used one of each.
The steps below are what worked specifically well for me. Many of the various tutorials require the use of a Windows computer, for burning some specially stripped Linux OS, onto the flash drive and then booting from it. Well, I’m MS free around here! So, that was not a choice for me. That’s why I chose the tutorial I did, at MyDellMini.com. It offered an option to do all the prep work on a Mac. Below are the basic steps. If you choose to do this, please go to the forum and follow the detailed instructions.
- Dell Mini 9
- Retail Mac OS X Install DVD (any version from 10.5.0 to 10.5.6)
- Two USB Drives:
- One that is 8 GB or more
- A second that is at least 32 MB, 64 MB is preferred.
- A Mac
- And a few important home-grown apps.
- Use the retail OSX DVD and the larger USB drive to make your installation. You do this by tricking it into making a “restored” hard drive.
- Take one of the homegrown apps, called DellMiniBoot. Using the Terminal app, unpack DellMiniBoot, and install it to the smaller USB flash drive.
- Save whatever you want to keep that’s on the Dell Mini, right now!
- Turn off the Dell Mini and plug in the two USB drives.
- Boot, holding down the 2 key. There’s a couple of setup options you’ll have to verify are correct. Now boot of the USB flash drive. A stripped Linux loads, for the sole purpose of tricking the OSX install software into thinking that you’ve booted up a real Mac.
- Now you simply load the larger USB drive, and the Dell thinks it’s booted from it. Install OSX!
- If you’ve installed from a OSX 10.5.1 (anything lower than 10.5.6), like I did, you MUST update to 10.5.6 right away! Once I did that, everything was working; webcam, airport (WiFi), sound, etc.
- Install the other homegrown app, DellEFI. This one permanently makes a handful of changes; screen resolution, WiFi, sound, video, boot from SSD, and it adds a bootloader.
Have fun with your new Mac!
The first few things I did was streamline my OSX installation.
- Monolingual – app that dumps any unnecessary languages installed. It also dumps PowerPC code that you don’t need.
- I then hand selected several default apps that I just didn’t want clogging up space. This is highly subjective.
- Take a look at this tutorial too. A few good ideas that will probably help keep the MacBook Mini nice and lean.
- Now I downloaded all the important apps
- What’s next?
- Have fun with my awesome little Mac!
- Test out some touchpad driver choices.
If you want to see a few more photos, go see my set on Flickr.
******** UPDATE ********
I ran Xbench, a speed testing app, on the Dell Mac Mini 9/MacBookMini, and on my Mac Mini (1.66 Intel, 2 Gig ram). They’re both running 10.5.6.
Xbench used a 2.0 Ghz G5, 2.5 Gig ram, with 10.4.7 as the benchmark.
Relative to the benchmark machine, the MacBookMini got a score of 31.48. (The base score is 100.) My Mac Mini got 76.67. It seems low, but I don’t notice it running that slowly.
I’ll tell you this, that machine runs smooth and fast. If I could shoot like this machine runs, I’d be worth fearing.