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Best iMac alternative


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#1
johnjingle

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I have looked at computers from Shuttle, MSI, and HP(slimline). Which company and model offers the best OS X Snow Leopard integration out of the box. I don't care how much money I spend. I am just upset that I have a perfectly good monitor on my iMac, but the hardware behind it is failing. I don't want to have that happen again. I wish Apple offered something between a Mac mini and the Mac Pro, I would buy it in a heart beat!

Any help is greatly appreciated!

#2
Zaap

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Which company and model offers the best OS X Snow Leopard integration out of the box. I don't care how much money I spend.

Basically, these guys.



I am just upset that I have a perfectly good monitor on my iMac, but the hardware behind it is failing. I don't want to have that happen again. I wish Apple offered something between a Mac mini and the Mac Pro, I would buy it in a heart beat!

Any help is greatly appreciated!


If you're truly looking for a Hackintosh solution, especially for Snow Leopard- just know there aren't really any effortless 'out of box' solutions. All of this takes a modest amount of conscious effort if you want a truly stable and reliable system. Also, consider that the best systems for this are ones you build yourself, from a precise list of known-working parts, and following a well documented guide.

Lots of people want to know about newer exact models of computers from Dell and others that "just work" for Hackintosh, but the truth is closer to there really isn't any such thing (for Leopard- possibly, for SL- not so much). Any system is going to require following a guide to set up. And just picking random hardware and hoping it will work is often the kiss of death for Hackintosh. Snow Leopard installs are definitely much trickier than Leopard was- anyone who tells you a prebuilt system from a box-maker will work for SL -based on a guess, and not owning the actual hardware and having set it up properly- is just flat out full of it.

You can certainly build a reliable system that's between a Mini and MacPro- that's exactly the void that the Hackintosh fills. I recommend researching it and build your own. If you stay with a socket 775- based mini tower system, then the critical hardware in the lifehacker Snow Leopard build works well. Also consider the EFI-X and compatible motherboard if you don't mind adding about $200 to the budget, but want hassle-free system updates like a real Mac.

If you want an i7 based system, then check the forum for working part lists and guides. (Personally, I haven't built an i7 Hackintosh yet, so can't recommend anything specific).

#3
Zaap

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Just curious also- how is your iMac hardware 'failing'? Is it an actual hardware problem that really requires replacing the machine?

IE: the most common sort of problems caused by a failing hard drive or RAM are easily fixed with part replacements rather than ditching the whole shebang. (I ask because I'm amazed how many times I've built systems for people only to find out the original 'problem with their hardware' prompting them to get a new comp in the first place was easily fixable.)

#4
johnjingle

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Just curious also- how is your iMac hardware 'failing'? Is it an actual hardware problem that really requires replacing the machine?

IE: the most common sort of problems caused by a failing hard drive or RAM are easily fixed with part replacements rather than ditching the whole shebang. (I ask because I'm amazed how many times I've built systems for people only to find out the original 'problem with their hardware' prompting them to get a new comp in the first place was easily fixable.)

Thanks for the advice Zaap!

As far as my iMac it's a G5 ambient light sensor, OS X 10.5.8, originally Maxtor 250GB HD (also I have tried using a new WD 500GB HD), originally 1.5 GB of RAM from Apple (also I have tried using 2 - 1GB Corsair RAM separately and together)

Symptom: Computer won't start, get's stuck at gray screen or gray screen w/ Apple logo and then the fans kick in on high speed (really loud!).

After restarting many, many times using different boot options I randomly get it to start, but if it is left on overnight it's frozen in the morning.

I have re-installed the OS on both hard drives multiple times and it doesn't change anything. The inside of the case is clean i.e. no dust.

The kernel panic I get when it does start is: Missing CPU diode calibration information.

Any insight on that would be much appreciated! ;)

#5
Zaap

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Well sounds like you've eliminated the obvious stuff, so yeah, maybe a good time to upgrade. Personally, I wouldn't expend a whole lot of effort and certainly not $ on a G5 at this stage, if it wasn't a very obvious and inexpensive fix. I'm biased, but I've never liked the idea of all-in-ones for this very reason.
(An aside- I wonder if anyone has ever done a mod whereby they plugged the video output of a new computer to use the monitor of a flat screen iMac? Now that I'd like to see!)

What are your exact needs for a replacement computer?

You mention a slimline type of PC- but I'm curious why would that nessisarily be a better solution than a Mini? The stats on the new Mini is pretty good.

If a mini-tower suits your needs, then a Hackintosh is a good idea.

#6
johnjingle

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Mac Mini => 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB, 320GB SATA HD = $1049 (no keyboard, mouse, monitor... $98 for keyboard/mouse)

iMac 24" => 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB, 640GB SATA HD = $1499

If I were to buy another Mac, considering the faster CPU and double HD size of the iMac, I would probably by an iMac.

I think I'll go Hackintosh, my needs aren't that much... I do computer programming for a pretty big health care company, so I use Windows most of the time during the day. I just prefer OS X at home for movies, music, and recording.





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