How I Got an Ultra-Portable 2.5lbs Mac OS X Netbook with a 10″ LCD for $204
So you want a small lightweight portable Mac OS X machine, the closest thing Apple has in this area is the MacBook Air which is $1600 or more. No doubt about it, the MacBook Air is a great machine but I don’t want to spend anywhere near $1600 for another laptop when I already have a MacBook Pro. I’m thinking a small budget, like really small by Mac standards, how about $250 or less? Impossible you say? Wrong! It’s possible and I did it! Here’s how you can too. Be warned, this is not sanctioned by Apple, and it’s breaking the Mac OS X EULA agreement.
What You Will Need
* $200-$250, expenses vary based on your particular model, coupon code, and luck at the Dell Outlet
* 8gb USB key or external USB hard drive you don’t mind formatting
* Mac OS X 10.5 install DVD or image
* some patience
Finding a Cheap Dell Mini 10v for Hackintosh Purposes
So now you need to find the cheap Dell Mini 10v, the refurbs from Dell Outlet serve this purpose wonderfully. Combined with a discount code from the DellOutlet Twitter, and you have yourself a very affordable Hackintosh. My final price was $204 shipped!
Twitter: DellOutlet – follow DellOutlet on Twitter to get product discount codes, I got one for 15% off from here. They pop up once a week or so and have a limited duration.
Dell.com/Outlet – Mini 10v – check stock and sort by price, it’s a live search so you can constantly refresh it and see different stock from other people dumping their carts. I have seen a Mini 10v for as low as $219 BEFORE using the 15% coupon!
Hackintosh: Installing Mac OS X on the Dell Mini 10v
Gizmodo Guide to install Snow Leopard on the Dell Mini 10v – this is based on the information from MyDellMini forums but it’s made a bit easier to follow and has some nice pictures of progress. If you want to install Snow Leopard on your Mini 10v, this is a great guide to follow.
MyDellMini: Fool Proof No Hassle Mini 10v Install Guide – Fellow OS X Daily author Bill Ellis wrote about theHackintosh Dell Mini 10v several weeks ago, which is what first perked my interest in the topic. I followed the guide he suggested, it works, just follow the steps carefully and it will work for you too.
Upgrades, Troubleshooting, and more
MyDellMini – Install 2GB RAM Upgrade on Dell 10v – I followed the videos here to upgrade the memory. Ok I admit, the RAM upgrade was a total pain, but OS X smokes with 2gb of ram on the Mini 10v so if you’re technically competent and have the patience, it’s the best $19 you’ll have spent in a while. For what it’s worth, OS X runs just fine with only 1GB of RAM but you will see a noticeable speed bump with the 2GB upgrade.
MyDellMini Forums – this is a wildly helpful bunch of people that are quick to help and extremely knowledgeable on the topic, if you have any questions or run into problems at all, this is probably the best place to go.
MyDellMini Forums: Snow Leopard – Now that Snow Leopard is out I’d love to get it running on my little Hackintosh, but I’m going to wait until the process is a bit more streamlined before attempting this. If you follow the MyDellMini forums though, you’ll see many people have successfully installed it already, it’s just a bit complicated. I imagine the Hackintosh community will sort this out pretty soon, it’s a smart group.
Final Thoughts on Hackintosh
Considering how vibrant the Hackintosh community is, particularly focused on Netbooks, I think it points to a hole in Apple’s current product line: a cheap, lightweight, super-portable Mac. Until Apple fills this niche with something (the rumored Mac Tablet, or whatever), I’ll bet the Hackintosh community continues to grow, especially when people are pinching pennies in a recessionary economy. Hopefully Apple steps up and delivers, an Official Mac Netbook or equivalent would be awesome and I would buy one!