New Hybrid Apple

Nearly a month ago I re­ceived my new iMac. I got the 20″ with a 750GB HD, 2.14GHz Core Duo and 1 GB of RAM. I or­dered it af­ter October 26th, so it shipped with Leopard. My in­ten­tion in get­ting an Intel-based Mac was so that I could avoid all of the cruft that now ac­com­pa­nies PC pur­chas­es and still run Windows XP and there­fore all my old com­put­er games; Starcraft, ho! No need to run an em­u­la­tion, to wor­ry about the in­evitable bog­ging down of Windows in­stalls, and na­tive on-the-fly in­stalls us­ing Boot Camp. Easy. Well, not re­al­ly.

There is a com­mon er­ror when us­ing BootCamp where the Windows in­stall doesn’t rec­og­nize any of the par­ti­tions cre­at­ed, so I quit the in­stall which cor­rupts the par­ti­tion map and gives the iMac a white screen on restart. I took it in to the Apple store for the first time and found out that it was bork­ing at the boot se­lec­tor, which is a se­ri­ous prob­lem.

After get­ting the dri­ve wiped, I tried again; this time ac­cept­ing the in­cor­rect par­ti­tion and try­ing to in­stall Windows. This time it worked well enough, in­stalling Windows at least, but XP thought the dri­ve on­ly had 130GB on it, and it de­stroyed the Leopard in­stall. Since I couldn’t boot from the Tiger disk and run Disk Utility from it, I had to go back to the Apple store, where the same guy wiped my dri­ve again. This time when I got home and re­in­stalled Tiger and Leopard, I wiped and repar­ti­tioned my ex­ter­nal dri­ve and in­stalled Leopard on it. This way if I borked things again I’d be able to wipe the HD on my own. Good thing I did this, be­cause I wiped the dri­ve 4 more times be­fore I got every­thing work­ing.

My XP vol­ume-li­censed disk was Service Pack 1, so I had to get my hands on an XP SP 2 vol­ume li­cense disk be­fore I got BootCamp to be­have it­self. This took a bit of time in it­self, as the disk I was us­ing kept throw­ing a Manifest Parse Error at me. Eventually I got both XP Pro and Leopard in­stalled on the same ma­chine and could start in­stalling soft­ware. Just about every­thing worked, but Leopard has some sim­i­lar prob­lems as Vista when in­stalling old­er soft­ware.

Apple sent me Tiger in­stall disks and the Leopard up­grade disk. Installing Leopard of­fers the op­tion to com­plete­ly erase Tiger and in­stall Leopard clean­ly. The prob­lem with do­ing this is that iL­ife is on­ly on the Tiger disk and won’t be in­stalled if you do an Erase and Install us­ing the Leopard up­grade. The Airport Express Base Station soft­ware disk can’t run on Leopard ei­ther, and Leopard doesn’t sup­port any Java run­time en­vi­ron­ments or de­vel­op­ment soft­ware, which has the Java de­vel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty up in arms.

On the plus side, my Mighty Mouse sup­ports right click­ing in XP, and oth­er nice dri­ver ac­cess is avail­able for disk eject and vol­ume con­trol from with­in Windows, and all of my pe­riph­er­als in­stalled clean­ly and seam­less­ly on the OS X side.

I bought an ex­treme­ly dis­count­ed paired kit of Mushkin 2GB RAM and in­stalled them on my own. Took about five min­utes, worked like a charm, and saved me $700 if I had pur­chased it through the Apple Store.

I al­so picked up Halo 2 for Vista us­ing my Best Buy Reward Zone cer­tifi­cates and us­ing a sim­ple hack found on­line, got it up and run­ning on XP. This ba­si­cal­ly proved that Microsoft mar­ket­ed and re­leased it as Vista-on­ly in or­der to en­cour­age more peo­ple to up­grade to Vista. It runs on Direct X 9 just fine, even though my iMac comes with Direct X 10. The on­ly goofy part is that Halo 2 doesn’t like my third-par­ty com­put­er con­troller, which meant I had to buy a Microsoft xBox 360 con­troller in or­der to play the game, which I pur­chased with the gift card that I got from Neighborhood Connections. Of course, the pro­pri­etary Microsoft con­troller [af­ter scroung­ing around for the cor­rect dri­ver to in­stall, since the web­site list­ed in the xBox con­troller man­u­al was non-ex­is­tent] worked like a charm. You al­so can’t play Halo 2 mul­ti­play­er on­line via a stan­dard serv­er set­up like every oth­er mul­ti­play­er on the mar­ket. You have to sub­scribe to Live. Screw you and your pro­pri­etary strong-arm­ing, Microsoft.

Now the on­ly prob­lem I have is that file-shar­ing be­tween the op­er­at­ing sys­tems is lim­it­ed be­cause you can on­ly do it na­tive­ly if Windows is in­stalled on a FAT32 which lim­its the size of the par­ti­tion to 32GB, and my Windows par­ti­tion is al­ready full! If I can find a third-par­ty piece of soft­ware that will en­able me to share files be­tween OS X and an NTFS par­ti­tion, I’ll wipe and re­in­stall Windows with all my games, with Visual Studio 2005 and be good to go, com­plete­ly, fi­nal­ly.

5 thoughts on “New Hybrid Apple

  1. I’ve been think­ing of do­ing this my­self. I’m hes­i­tant to spend the time and mon­ey, main­ly time tho. It would be nice for me to not have to wor­ry about the dread­ed “win­dows on­ly” sce­nario when look­ing for wid­gets and soft­ware and what not.
    That PC guy on the com­mer­cials should ask that emo wanker Mac guy why Apple’s ram prices are so ridicu­lous.

  2. Well, the up­side is that I’ve al­ready fig­ured out a bunch of the pit­falls, so if you do de­cide to fig­ure it out, I can act as the con­sul­tant for ya.

    Paired Mushkin 2GB RAM was $145 af­ter re­bate on NewEgg.

  3. I ran in­to the same lack of HD space on my mac lap­top. The on­ly way that I’ve thought of to get around it is to have ei­ther an­oth­er par­ti­tion or an ex­ter­nal dri­ve that was FAT 32 that be­came the “swap” space for the OS’s.

    I’m go­ing to mess around with Parallels over X-mas. If it works well I’ll let you know. I’ve heard great things about it.

  4. That ex­ter­nal dri­ve swap space sounds like a great workaround. I’ve got Time Machine eat­ing up my ex­ter­nal at the mo­ment though, so I don’t think that would work for me.

  5. You could al­so cre­ate a par­ti­tion on your in­ter­nal dri­ve to use as a swap. I hope that at some point soon Time Machine will work with a net­work dri­ve so I can elim­i­nate the ca­ble.

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