Installing OS X on an HP nw8240 laptop

4 Aug
2008

So I was doing a little research on how Apple has differentiated itself with its hardware compared to that of the commodity hardware in the PC Markets. I’ve heard of several stories when Apple converted to Intel processors of hackers trying to run OS X on non-Apple hardware. The biggest setback is the legacy BIOS that many PC’s still use today. Given that Apple controls the entire user experience by designing best-of-breed hardware with an operating system developed around this hardware they can pretty much choose whatever works best and fits their designs. One of these design requirements has been the use of Intel’s EFI which is an entire generation of technologies ahead of other PC makers.


This of course makes it next to impossible to install OS X which utilizes this EFI firmware to boot. Through Intel’s own spec they have developed a software specification for emulating this which is how some clever hackers have gotten past this requirement on PC’s with legacy BIOS’.

As you may have read through other posts I’ve been very happy running the latest 8.04 version of Ubuntu on my old HP nw8240 complete with the Compiz effects. However after reading this I had to see if I could get OS X to run on my laptop to see how it compared with Ubuntu on the same hardware. After doing a little searching I came across several articles on how to do this but none on how to do this on my specific hardware.

There are not many updates that can be made to the nw8240 bios however the one change that I made that eventually allowed me to boot the install disc was to enable multi-boot and set the timeout to 10 seconds. After that I was able to accept the defaults on the patched install disc and proceed with the install.

A couple of minutes later I was greeted with the following screen that gave me some glimmer of hope this would work.


A couple of more minutes later I got the initial install screen for Leopard.


After the typical registration screens I was greeted with a paltry sized 1024×768 resolution OS X desktop; a far cry from the 1920×1200 this LCD is capable of. Audio worked beautifully, Performance was moderately zippy. Since I didn’t have any wireless access I connected to an Ethernet cable and was quickly online with Safari. I downloaded Quicksilver and Firefox and was good to go. I changed the default background image and started looking at the core animation features built into the OS and quickly found out that their are several functions that rely on the OpenGL capabilities of the graphics card to work. While the FireGL 5000 adapter in the nw8240 is certainly capable of handling this the driver on the patched DVD I used did not support this by default so I was out of luck. Also updating this hackintosh caused a panic on reboot so I had to reinstall to get back to where I was before the updates.

Overall Impressions…

While this was just an exercise to see if I could get this to work I had no intention of keeping this on my laptop. I have become much too attached to Linux and compiz on this PC to move away so quickly not to mention I have a fully functional MacBook Pro that functions as my daily PC anyway and runs Windows and Ubuntu VM’s perfectly well. If you want to use OS X buy an Apple and take advantage of the integrated HW support. Yes, their hardware is more expensive but IMHO it is worth it if you really want to run OS X and support isn’t too far away for most people within a drive to an Apple store. The resolution and inability to change the underlying video drivers (and yes I tried) as well as the lack of updates were a big killer for me. This attempt while successful will quickly be rolled back to the latest version of Ubuntu which runs way better on this legacy hardware anyway.

Do you need OS X? Well that’s a topic for another post but I don’t think I can recommend anyone switch given the breadth of applications available on the Windows platform and the developer base is far greater for .Net applications than for Coco. For me I love the underlying *nix framework OS X is based on (BSD) which allows me some flexibility in mounting different drives, shell access to web servers, etc… Sure you can accomplish these things on a Windows server but running native Linux apps via X11 server on OS X is a killer feature baked right into the OS. Cygwin, while very useful, never really cut it for me on XP.


6 Responses to Installing OS X on an HP nw8240 laptop

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David Arvelo

August 20th, 2008 at 4:15 am

Hey, I have the same model laptop and I’m trying to install OS X to no avail. Which install disk did you use and what patches if any did you need to get it up and running? The OS installs fine from disk but I can’t get it to boot; it just restarts.

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Cary Brown

August 20th, 2008 at 7:33 am

I took the easy route and downloaded a pre-patched version via BitTorrent. I’ll point to Lifehacker’s link on how they did it which should help you find what you are looking for on the Torrent network.

http://lifehacker.com/348653/install-os-x-on-your-hackintosh-pc-no-hacking-required/

I didn’t keep it on for more than a day or so before replacing it with Ubuntu. The full resolution of the display was not supported under this default installation but I would be interested in hearing if you are able to get the drivers working properly. Good Luck…

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Wen

September 17th, 2008 at 7:33 am

Hi Cary

I am also using the same machine to install OSX, HOwever, I can not even pass the boot procedure.
Could you show me the BIOS setting of yours to me?

There are more than 50 times of installing I had tried, it can not be booted.

BR

Wen

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Cary Brown

September 17th, 2008 at 8:29 am

Hi Wen,

I have since installed Ubuntu back on the laptop. What worked for me for this OS X installation was to set the BIOS to the factory defaults. I then changed the boot order to ensure the laptop booted from the CD. There are different revisions of the boot CD so you might want to try a different revision.

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Wen

September 17th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Hi Cary

Thank you for your explaination. Since I tried several revisio of boot CD, but I still can not boot it successfully.

Could you hint me the revision of yours via mailing to me.

Thank you

BR

Wen

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George

April 21st, 2009 at 6:08 am

I have tried almost every version of iatkos and kalyway.. nothing works on the nw8240!!! what did you use?!

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