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Dell Inspirion i3168-3272


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#1
DabblingMacer

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I'm on a quest to find an 11.6" laptop that I can run OSX on. The reason I want 11.6" is so that I can comfortably use it while couch-surfing and hanging out with the family. 

 

I've been looking at the Dell Inspiron i3168-3272GRY, it's very comfortable and seems beefy enough. Here are the specs:

  • Intel Pentium N3710 1.6 GHZ Processor
  • 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM Included; 4 GB Maximum
  • 500GB 5400rpm HD; Optical Drive Not included
  • 11.6 Inch HD (1366x768 pixels) LED-Lit Touchscreen Display
  • Windows 10 MSSI Operating System; Foggy Night

I'm a software architect, so to me the most important thing is that I can run XCode. I'm not looking for a powerhouse however, because this is kind of a side thing and I want to familiarize myself with Swift, Obj-C, and XCode itself (while playing with the OS, which I'm not comfortable with at all).

 

I'd be ok if I would need to run a OSX VM on it if it would perform better. Does this laptop seem like it's worth it?



#2
nawcom

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The Pentium N3710 is of the Silvermont SoC microarchitecture which isn't supported. You could use a modded kernel to get it booting up but you wouldn't have any accelerated graphics and you'd be stuck with a 1024x768 stretched screen. Same if you wanted to run OS X from a VM on it - you'll need to patch the kernel and the VM is going to be pretty slow as it's not that great of a CPU.

 

I'll see if I can find a decent 11.6" laptop that'll run OS X fine and I'll post you a reply here, but be aware that most of them that are made these days seem to either use an unsupported SoC or lacks graphics support. If you're talking older hardware though, there are more 11.6" ones that are supported.



#3
nawcom

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Here's an 11.6" Chromebook one that you might have a chance with: https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B00KOUIZBC/

 

It has a Core i3-4005U that uses HD4400 graphics which people have gotten working. The cheaper model with the Celeron CPU won't work.

 

Here's a whole reddit thread covering it: https://www.reddit.c...n_on_acer_c720/

 

One negative on this though is according to everything I'm finding out about it via pictures, vids, etc is that the wireless card (an Atheros/Qualcomm AR9462) is actually soldered onto the motherboard so unlike your typical laptop, you won't be able to replace it with a supported one. This is the first one I've seen to do that. That said, they do claim that they got this wireless card working in 10.11.x via a modded kext (with occasional issues) so it might work out and you won't have to buy an ugly USB wifi card.

 

edit: I'm personally curious on why they can't get it working in 10.12. I'll probably take a look at the binary and see what they changed and figure out why the same mod couldn't be done to the updated 10.12 driver binaries. If they tried using the 10.11 driver in 10.12 without success then I wouldn't be surprised.



#4
nawcom

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There's a Dell equivalent to this - the Dell Chromebook 11 (with i3 processor, not Celeron) which seems to use the same hardware. The wireless card is replaceable. The negative aspects to it is the SSD is only 16GB and is pretty much glued into place on the motherboard which you'll have to completely remove by itself. It'll take some work to actually replace it with a better SSD.



#5
DabblingMacer

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Hey Nawcom, thanks for all the advice.

 

I think the simplest, cost effective thing for me to do would be to use the current Mac VM I have on my desktop (with 16GB RAM, i5 processor), place it on the network, and remote into it from another computer. 

 

Since I have 8GB dedicated to the VM, it's more than enough for what I want to do, and the specs of the Inspirion seem like they should be able to keep a nice connection open.

 

Would you agree? I'm not a network guy -- at all -- but that's my understanding. I'll probably test it out with my Surface tonight and see how it goes.

 

Again, thank you very much for the advice!



#6
nawcom

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If VNC quality is good enough for you then go for it.







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