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Building my Own Alternative to a MBA.

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by WAM2, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502a


    Before anyone tell me this isn't a complete alternative to the MacBook Air, this is obvious, its my own little experiment to build a cheap alternative to one, The whole thing has cost me below $300 and I'm excited to see how it turns out. First off YES, I Have Bought both Snow Leopard And Lion, Lion on the App Store and Snow Leopard from an Apple Store, so theres that.

    The Main Computer is an HP Mini 311-1037nr, The Special Thing about this Netbook is its an LED 11.6" (like the MacBook Air) has 2 PCI-e Slots (So we can pack a lot of features into this baby), and has the NVIDIA Ion LE (Which can be unlocked to the FULL Ion and the Ion is actually just a 9400m, which was used in the MacBook Air and is fully OSX Compatible).

    Now I Also bought a 2gb and 4gb DDR3-1066 Stick, as some of these 311's can hold up to 5gb of ram (5gb? Yes, 5gb because 1gb is actually soldered to the motherboard and there is one DIMM slot. So if mine turns out to not be able to use 5gb I'll just throw in the 2gb and have 3gb.)

    Next Up, we have to make use of the 2 PCI-e slots so I Went with a Full Size OSX Compatible Bluetooth 2.1 Card (Now you can actually get a 3G Card thats compatible with OSX and use that, which I Do PLAN on doing, but this is just for now.)

    Theres also a Half size slot so I went with a OSX Compatible Wireless-N Card. (If you go with the 3G Card in the Full Size, you can get a Wireless-N/Bluetooth Combo half card that is OSX Compatible, so you have all these.)

    Next, The MacBook Air is solid state, So I Got a 60gb Corsair NOVA 2 SSD, which is really the fastest SATA 2 SSD, and 60gb is all I need.

    Also, What About the MacBook's awesome Battery Life? Well I Went with a 6600mAh Replacement battery which is no bigger than the default battery and gets 6+ hours, you can get 9cell 7800mAh batteries that are bigger, but get up to 12hr Battery life.

    Finally The Keyboard on this netbook isn't something I would like on a MBA alternative so I Bought a HP Mini 210 Replacement keyboard which is the same size but a Chiplet keyboard like the MBA, the connectors look to be the same, so we will find out.

    Now you may be wondering, but its a Atom system compared to the MBA's C2D (at the time when it had to 9400m), Well sure we aren't going to get a C2D in this little beast, but the BIOS can be flashed to an unlocked one and it gives full overclocking abilities, so I got the Mini 311 that has the 1.66ghz Atom with the Faster FSB, and We can overclock up to 2.5ghz, so its a little powerhouse for less than $300.

    I'll be posting videos and giving updates to this thread as the parts arrive, and I really think this will turn out well, for less than $300 I think this will be a nice MBA hackintosh Alternative.
  2. macrumors newbie

    HUH? How do you run Lion on that machine?
  3. macrumors 6502a


    This machines fully hackintoshable. You can install Snow Leopard and have full functionality, Though there is some success with Lion, So I Have both to use whichever works.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Perhaps you can build a few of them, sell them for 5-10% on top of your cost and buy a MBA eventually.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    That Would be nice, buts its not really legal to sell them with OSX. Thus I Think this will just be a nice hobby project.
  6. macrumors regular


    nice post and looking forward to pics and updates on your success and final cost.

    although i buy Macbooks fairly often i also have built many hackintosh units as well and if you get the right setup they run and update perfectly.

    good luck
  7. macrumors newbie

    I didn't read the entire terms of service for OSX but I would imagine it's not legal to use it on non apple HW as well.. If you are concerned about laws, I think breaking one more isn't going to hurt you.

    I would take them to swap meets and sell them..
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Thanks will do! The machine will be here tomorrow!


    Thanks for the advice, Personal Opinion though is that I Think apple cares ALOT less if you buy their os and install it on your own computer, rather than buying their OS once and installing it on many and selling them. Thanks again though.
  9. macrumors newbie

    No problem.. If you need any other ideas on how to save a few dollars let me know, I have lots of ideas.
  10. macrumors 65816


    I like this idea. Let us know how it turns out, and post pics, geekbench results, etc. in this topic!

    I had an HP Mini 1000, which I had hackintoshed. My advice: Go with Snow Leopard instead of Lion. SL ran pretty smooth and good on it, Lion was ssllloowww. Another bonus is that installing system updates on a hackintosh is a PITA, but since there probably won't be any more major updates to 10.6, this isn't a problem.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Will do! Everything's got 3 day shipping, so Should have everything by saturday. Looking forward to it! And Yeah, Will most likely be staying with Snow Leopard. Although I'm sure Lion would be fine on it with the Decent Graphics and Faster Atom/More Ram.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Any updates?
  13. macrumors 65816

    I really respect the technical experiment here, but I cant help but wonder if you couldn't just buy the Air if you spent 30% of the time you are spending on this Frankenstein working a parttime or side job.

    Regardless, I'm watching this thread and waiting to hear more...
  14. macrumors regular


    when i was building my hackintosh's it was the thrill of the success probably more than the dollars saved.

    maybe the OP here thinks differently though
  15. macrumors newbie

    This is a great experiment :cool:
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Believe me, there's no such a thing as fully hackintoshable.

    Last year I bought a HP that was in theory fully hackintoshable as per the internal components (mother board, GPU, etc)... Well, I got OSX installed and running, but there's always been little glitches that I never managed to patch:

    - the volume control would be stuck at max level. I never figured out why.
    - my headset would only receive audio, not voice. Never figured out why.
    - It would not wake up from hybernation. Never figured out why.
    - and many other small little things like that.

    Eventually I got fed up of trying a hundred patches that would fix an issue and would break something else, and I bought a proper MBA.

    Hackintosh'ing is fun for nerds like me, but it's a very frustrating and never-ending patching/fixing/updating process that eventually drove me nuts. All in all? not worth the few hundred bucks you save.
  17. macrumors 68000

    Definitely sounds like a fun project. Look forward to seeing what it looks like, especially with a nice chicklet keyboard.
  18. Moderator


    Staff Member

    I had a dell mini running OSX, the CPU and GPU were underpowered for the demands of OSX.

    How do you think the HP Mini 311-1037nr will handle it?
  19. macrumors regular

    Buying an HP was your problem. There are PLENTY of super easy builds that are FULLY functioning (sleep, wifi, bluetooth, App store, updates etc.) and can be put together for less than 1/2 the price of the Mac. If you can build a PC you can build a hack and install OS X Lion (and Mtn Lion) very easily.

    Just browse around here and see for yourself. http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewforum.php?f=264&sid=5362f5dec1395123e663dbebe7ec307d
  20. macrumors member


    The aluminum case. The machined, honed, perfect aluminum case.

    The thing is: You just can’t duplicate or approximate the MBA that way. Your efforts are misguided.

    You need to focus on the paint scheme of a MBA. The only downfall of the MacBook-A is the paint.

    When is should look like this:


    The paint in fact looks like this:

  21. macrumors 65816


    So to revive an old thread....

    from the lack of updates, guessing this didn't work out so well?


    Or did it end up costing more than that?
  22. macrumors 601

    Why go through all the trouble. Google, there is a China Air Clone out there that can be had for usd$400. Looks identical, but they are honest to warn you it's not an Air, the case is not as rigid (don't hold it with one hand!) and the battery only lasts 3 hours so in actuality 2. ;)
  23. macrumors 65816

    This was doomed from the beginning...
  24. macrumors 6502a


    Guys sorry for no updates to this thread for the longest of time. I Did end up getting it all finished. But to my surprise the reason i wasn't updating the thread or anything, was that when my school year started we were provided 11" MacBook Airs. The Hackintosh has just been in the drawer. If anyone has any ideas i could do with it hit the thread up.
  25. macrumors 601

    Donate it to the museum as a prototype that never got out the door because Apple beat you to it!

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