My 2 Cents: For those of you that are interested in getting yourself a MAC but were a little worried about price (Starting at $550) this might be an option. This is pretty new so it might not be for faint of heart 😉 so you might want to wait for the kinks to be worked out but at that price might be fun to play with
Okay, so we’ve been playing with the Psystar Open Computer for a few hours now, and we’ve formed some early impressions and put together a short video of it in action. We haven’t really tried to stress the system yet, but based on our other experiences with OSx86 machines, we’re expecting things to generally go smoothly. That said, there are some definite rough patches and issues, all mostly having to do with the fact that OS X isn’t really built for this hardware. Here’s what we know so far:
- It’s running 10.5.2, build 9C31, which is behind the latest Apple build of 9C7010.
- The mobo is a Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L with an Intel G31 Express chipset. We’re not sure which model of Core 2 Duo is in there as of yet.
- The graphics card appears to be an NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT, but it doesn’t show up in ASP, so we have to confirm. Psystar’s store says it’s supposed to be a 256MB card, but we have 512MB — strange.
- It’s LOUD. Crazy loud. OS X doesn’t seem to interface with the fan controller, so it runs at full tilt all the time. It doesn’t really come across on the video, but it’s loud enough so that it’s hard to talk on the phone when the machine is running. There’s no way we could deal with this thing on a daily basis.
- The DHCP lease drops every fifteen minutes or so and you have to manually renew it in prefs.
- Apple System Profiler doesn’t know how to read the configurations of several systems, notably memory and audio. The Audio screen just says there’s no built-in audio, while the Memory page returns an error.
- That said, audio works just fine, showing up in prefs as HD Audio Output, and obviously the memory works fine.
- We plugged in a couple cameras, an iPod, and an iPhone, everything worked as expected.
- There’s no iMovie or iPhoto out of the box, since iLife doesn’t come with Leopard — you’ll have to buy it separately.
- Time Machine seemed to recognize an external HD, but we didn’t have time to fully test it out.
- The included copy of Leopard was out of the shrinkwrap, but there’s no way to install it — it shows up in Startup Disk but it won’t restart, and it’s not recognized at boot.
- Front Row works fine.
- You can grab the entire System Profiler file here, if you’re so inclined — just make sure and share with the group if you notice anything crazy, okay?
As far as benchmarks, it doesn’t exactly blow Apple’s gear away, but it definitely holds its own — and the GeForce card just destroys the integrated graphics in the MacBook / Mac mini. Check it out:
- All machines tested with Xbench 1.3.
- All machines tested were using Leopard.
- You can check the bold Xbench scores to compare the cumulative results for each test.