Apple TV with OSX hack - exploring the possibilities...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by level5music, May 15, 2008.

  1. level5music macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    So, I don't know a great deal about this stuff, but I do know just a few tidbits of info that might actually make this a living room powerhouse. My goals for an ideal AppleTV would be.

    1 - Upgrade the hard drive. 500GB or 1TB 3.5 drives have been installed in these things with little headaches. Any input on the hard drive upgrade?

    2 - Full OSX Tiger. This would allow a plethora of things, like basic web browsing, but the main trick up my sleeve is...

    3 - MESS and MAME emulators. With the large amount of space, I'd be able to keep my roms on the AppleTV and use either USB controllers or BT ps3 controllers (it's been done apparently, not alot of concrete tutorials though), to play through my old school collection. I believe most games should run alright even with the 256MB RAM limit in the AppleTV.

    4 - Original AppleTV functionality. From what I hear, it's more than possible to install the original AppleTV software within OSX, meaning you wouldn't lose functionality. If not, I suppose there's FrontRow.

    I'm curious how the overall performance will be with 256MB of RAM, but then again, oh my old 1.4GHZ Athlon running XP with only 256MB of RAM all these things ran fine, so I'd expect no less from OSX.

    Thoughts? This thing would be a PERFECT media server/sofatop web browser, it's the emulation charictaristics I'm really shooting for. I know I COULD just do a mac mini, but the on-board TV input and 3.5" HDD expandability are what I'm thinking could set it over the top for alot less than anything comparable in performance.
  2. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    FWIW There are no PATA 2.5" drives larger then 250 GB, so that's all you can get in the :apple:TV, larger drives have been used, but require a new enclosure for the drive or :apple:TV. Once hacked you can also add storage via USB.

  3. level5music thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    Whoops.. I'm seeing that now. Even 250GB would be just fine by me. I hear Hitachi and Seagate have 500GB drives on the way.
  4. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    That are not IDE.
  5. level5music thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    LOL yeah... that are notebook drives and I assume would be compatible in an AppleTV
  6. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    No, they're SATA, not PATA (which the ATV takes unless you add a SATA controller to it).
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Actually there is a 500gb 2.5" IDE drive currently on the market, but it's 12.5mm thick, not sure if that fits into mini or not.

    I think some people managed to extend the IDE cable to connect to an external 3.5" drive, but it's not that elegant of a solution.

    Mac Mini would work the best, as it has more ports than Apple TV and you cn connect to storage via firewire, usb, or gigabit ethernet.
  8. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Won't work in an Apple TV, that's for sure. That drive has a SATA interface.
  9. consumedsoul macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008

    A bit off-topic, any of you travel w/ your AppleTV (w/ different cables, etc.) to use at your hotel, etc. by chance?

  10. level5music thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
    Well.. even 250 or 100GB would be more than enough for emulation. Minus MAME CHD images, I think the total amount of ROMs I have is less than 20GB, which would leave me a very acceptable remainder for other things, and then I'd probably just stream the rest off my Vista box.
  11. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    What part of 500gb 2.5" IDE PATA drive won't some people understand?
    A 1TB kit for MBP 17" is for sale. It removes out the DVD drive and put in another drive in it (so total 2x 500gb drive). The standard HD bay is SATA, but the MBP DVD drive is IDE. Read the specs for the optibay and you'll see that only IDE drives works with it.

    So if they are selling a 500GB drive for something that only works with IDE, then someone thinks the drive must be SATA?
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    OS X install breaks audio on the ATV. The ATV's version of Tiger has a special kernel, and no one has figured out how to install Tiger onto the ATV and maintain audio.
  13. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    There are no 500 gig 2.5" PATA drives available. You can check Samsung, Toshiba, WD, Hitachi or Seagate.

    The MCE device likely has a SATA to PATA controller on it to connect to the MB(P) IDE interface (JAE connector). There's no way that OptiBay adapter will fit inside of an Apple TV.
  14. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Apple TV modding

    But I do suggest a Mac Mini. If you are lucky, you can get a refurb Mini for $429. But I have not seen that for a few months now.

    I am not saying optibay fits inside the Apple TV.

    Optibay can only use IDE drives. They sell an optibay preconfigured with 500 GB 2.5" drive. Figure out the rest. Note this came out THIS WEEK.
  15. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    You inferred that when you quoted me.

    You don't know that. In fact, it is most likely you are wrong. The only thing we know for sure is that this OptiBay fits the DVD drive interface, which is IDE because it has a JAE connector.

    The ONLY 500 gig 2.5" drive currently on the market is Hitachi's 12.5 mm 5400 rpm SATA-interface drive. The next one out is Samsung's, some time this month, that is also a SATA drive (but 9.5mm). Therefore, the OptiBay adapter MUST have a PATA to SATA bridge.

    Can you show us a link to any of the hard drive manufacturers' web sites that show they make a 2.5" PATA drive?
  16. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    What I want the Apple TV to be able to do:

    - Be able to use the Apple Wireless Keyboard
    - An Apple TV version of Safari
  17. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Certainly how I would design it if there was sufficient room. The converter chips are cheap (I bought a converter for $6 retail) and the SATA drives have larger capacity and are cheaper than their PATA counterparts.

    I honestly don't understand why the :apple:TV uses PATA as Apple has been exclusively using SATA for a long time now and you'd think they'd want to use the same drives they use in the various MacBooks....

  18. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    What we need is a 44-pin PATA to SATA bridge, with the SATA connector at a right angle (and in the right direction), then all would be golden. One could easily put in a 500 gig 2.5" SATA drive in the ATV. By chance, do you know if such a thing exists?

    I don't understand, either. Unless there's something about the chipset that Apple needed, it sure makes a lot more sense to use SATA over PATA.
  19. Pigumon macrumors 6502


    Aug 4, 2004
    So all the people who've installed os x on their apple tv's have no audio?

    I find that VERY HARD [impossible] to believe. But then maybe they're all just hopeful...

    Back to the original topic, yeah it seems like Apple TV would be amazing to run mame and all the other emu's on your widescreen hdtv, i'm doing it with a Mac Mini right now.

    The Microsoft :( Xbox 360 controllers work almost seamlessly with OS X after downloading a driver from

    I even repainted my controller to match my mini. :D
  20. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, that seems to be the problem.

    Well, you're certainly welcome to believe/disbelieve what you want, but the ATV uses a different audio chip than do Macs.
  21. kmj1268 macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2009
    500gb 2.5 Ide Pata - Not Available

    In response to your ad and link....

    Even the link you posted details that the drive installed on the optibay is a SATA drive NOT a PATA IDE Drive. You can buy a adapter (another user, paduck has provided a link where you can buy it and allow a 500GB SATA drive to interface with the PATA-IDE interface on the Apple TV.

    Your link...

    "What part of 500gb 2.5" IDE PATA drive won't some people understand?"

    Now, click on the link and see where it mentions a SATA drive installed on the optibay. Like many of us on this forum have mentioned, there is not a 500GB 2.5" IDE drive available. You will have to use an IDE to SATA converter to make it work with a SATA drive.

    Good luck.

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