Hackintosh Netbook / Macbook / Other for Master Thesis

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jciapara, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. jciapara macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Hi All,

    (important points on bold)

    I know this question (Hackintosh vs Macbook) has been asked many times in the past but I didn't found any recent posts and the hackintosh options change with every new netbook released (i think), plus I have additional needs and would like your informed opinion.

    Right now I have an iMac 24" which I bought in January 2008 and 7.5 Years old 15" Powerbook which I use rarely (or never) for the past 8 months. As of mid-march of this year, I will be starting to write my Master Thesis, I will be doing a lot of work on a lab (on which I have a computer), some other at home where I would be using my iMac but I think I need something portable in case I need to go to the library of the university on which no computers are available for work (only to search for books), I'll also be doing some traveling on certain weekdays and would like to do some work while on the go or go write a report at the coffee shop or just outside.

    Anyway, at first I was planning to use my Powerbook for those purposes, but I feel like it's too big for my current mobility needs plus the screen has some flickering problems (7.5 years is a lot to be still alive with my usage/care), so I was thinking I can maybe go the netbook route, although I once said I would never go there because of the slow atom processor, but I think for what I need it might be enough, or I could go the macbook route, the only problem with this is my budget, which is 400 Euros (~580 USD).

    What would you guys do or what would you recommend?, also if you recommend the netbook route, which one would you recommend that is easy to hackintosh and is know for not causing many troubles while keeping it hackintoshed trough updates. I might be able to buy the computer in the US as I am going there for a week or 2 in march, so any buying advice you have is welcome.

    P.S. Sorry for the long post, hope you didn't get bored. I've put on bold important things if you came all the way to the end without reading. Sorry if it was harder to read changing from to bold to normal. Thanks
  2. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    One of the students jobbing at my company has an Asus EeePC with Ubuntu Netbook Edition on it, and this thing is fast enough to even playback movies. And if a computer is powerful enough to playback videos, it certainly is powerful enough for word processing. The EeePC certainly felt fast enough for the usual tasks, and in all likelihood it will be faster than your old PowerBook.

    I think almost all of the currently available netbooks have successfully been used as Hackintoshes, especially the Dell Mini and the MSI Wind. The only tricky thing seems to be the wireless card - some are simply not supported by OS X. However, the Dell 1395 WLAN card definitely works in OS X (I've used it in a Hackintosh myself).

    The question is if you really need OS X. At all.

    For your budget, you can buy a Dell Vostro V13 notebook with Windows 7 on it. OpenOffice.org is available for free, and even Microsoft's Home and Student versions of Office are available for around 80 Euros, if you think that you really need that beast. Add a free Anti-Virus software like Avira and that base is covered as well.

    But unless you have a need for a certain application that only exists for Mac OS X (or Windows), Ubuntu 9.10 has matured to a point where I can easily recommend it as a daily working horse. Ubuntu has come a LONG way in the last couple of years, and the operating system is now finally easy, friendly and robust enough to use even for non-computer geeks. The only remaining issue can be your individual application needs, but such needs usually also keep people from migrating from Windows to the Mac or vice versa.

    Anyway. If you want to go down the Hackintosh road and if you do NOT want to use a netbook (for which complete ISO Hackintosh images exist), make sure that the computer that you purchase uses an Intel CPU (Core Duo or Core 2 Duo), an Intel Chipset, a compatible Broadcom WLAN chip and maybe an nVidia graphics card -- this will make your life in Hackintosh (and even in Linux) land much easier. Also don't go below 2 GB of RAM; Snow Leopard is a RAM hungry beast.
  3. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I would not recommend writing a master's thesis on a netbook.
  4. palane macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2009
    I would argue that if you want a netbook, get a netbook and follow the strategy outlined in another post (OpenOffice).

    If you want a Mac, spend a little extra and get a MacBook. It's a good machine for the price. Possibly consider the refurb route.

    I'll also note that the use of bold in your post made it difficult to read. Frankly, I skipped past most of the latter portion as it was jarring going back and forth from regular to bold. Bold is fine for emphasis, but then pick one or at most two short points to emphasize.

  5. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    I take it you didn't read the entire post, I won't be writing my master thesis on a netbook, for the most part I have the machine at the Lab which runs Linux and is a beast to run all the simulation programs, at home I have my iMac on which I can do some other work because it can run programs using X11 or I can even SSH to the computer at lab and work. The netbook is for other light work I need to do, either at the Library (Research), there I need to take notes maybe write something or when doing traveling and bringing a book with me and be able to write something or check internet for some clarifications.

    Anyway getting back on topic, @Winni, thanks for your input I hadn't even considered using Linux on the netbook, but it's a good option since I certainly don't want/need windows, since I've OS X for the past 9 years, it would be easier to use all the same basic programs that I have on my iMac, I've also used Linux for the past 5 years but mainly at the Uni Computers.

    As for the cost, I mostly count only the computer itself, since I'll be using open office, and I have a snow leopard disc for the family and still have 2 licenses left.

    So you would guys recommend the Dell Mini 10?

    Thanks again and if you have any other options please post them.
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Ok. I still don't recommend a netbook. You're just adding an extra step taking notes with a netbook when you can do the same thing on a piece of paper. You already have a laptop that can access the internet.
  7. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    I have run Ubuntu (UNR) 9.10 on my netbook and its very stable and probably ideal for your needs. Although I have to say that battery life is better on both XP and Windows 7.
  8. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Ok, thanks for the advice, I also didn't want to buy an extra computer, but for what I want the netbook, I think my current 15" Powerbook is too large and heavy (heavier than current 15" MBP). I definitely take into consideration Linux, for the reason that Snow Leopard might be slower due to RAM limitations on netbook. Again OS X won't cost me any extra money and plan on using Open Office, either on OS X or Linux.

    How can I check which wireless adapters are compatible with OS X and Linux? because accessing internet through WiFi will be one of the main things I'll be doing.
  9. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    If you were to use something like Google Documents, the OS wouldn't matter, and you'd have access to your work from anywhere, so a cheap netbook could be a nice way to have access to your thesis and notes (as an aside, something like Evernote is awesome for keeping notes for this type of project too). The fact that it wasn't great for extended typing and not that powerful would be moot.
  10. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Ok so I went to the Dell site and saw that the Mini 10 has 1 GB of Ram and there is no option to upgrade to 2GB. I will most probably go the Hackintosh route, so do you think 1GB is enough to run Snow Leopard, Winni you told be I would need 2GB for it to run Ok, is there any way to upgrade the Dell Mini 10 to 2 GB Ram? (Edit: I've searched on Google and supposedly it can be done and it's quite easy to do so, I just thought it was harder because Dell doesn't offer the option to upgrade due to it shipping with Win XP apparently)

    This is the one I'm looking at:


    or in English


    These are easy to Hackintosh right? and Winni, you said the Dell 1395 WLAN Card worked ok with OS X, does the same hold true for the 1397 (in current dell mini 10)?

    Also feedback on the this Dell Mini would be welcome, although I will also do my research before pulling the trigger. Thanks.
  11. ibglowin macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2005
    If you really want to go the Netbook route (they are really small) Jump on the Dell Mini 10v ASAP. They are by far the easiest to hack ATM and have loads of people currently using them.

    I upgraded mine from 1GB to 2GB in about 30 minutes by watching the videos posted on you tube.

    Head over to MyDellmini.com for all you will need to start hacking away.
  12. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Thanks for the link, I posted a question there, since I will be buying the Mini 10 in the German store, but they don't have the 10v just 10, but specs seem to me a bit better that the 10v, but the graphics card is what worries me since it's a newer version than the one on the 10v, so I don't know if hackintosh will work on ir
  13. couto27 macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2008
    i dont recomend a netbook for no one.
    i had one hp mini 1110 with w7( £280 ) for 2 weeks i return it to the store , because i really hate windows and antivirus, i could install mac osx in but ,too much drives and than upgrades and more cracks it would be a pain in the ass, forget the hacintosh

    i got a macbook air for rev A for £500 with superdrive on ebay , they are getting very cheap , best choise you can make for the master thesis
  14. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    You should consider a Toshiba NB205 which is pretty easy to hack and it has a good keyboard. If you want something with higher resolution and still good keyboard get the HP 2140 which is 99% compatible except for sleep.
  15. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    Do NOT buy the 10 - only the 10v is hackintoshable.
  16. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    I say get a MSI netbook U100 :p
    check out the site insanelywind.com, it might help ya out.
  17. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    **DISCLAIMER** This is PURELY my opinion. Thank you.

    I had a netbook - and hated it with a passion. It wasn't the speed, per se; it wasn't the form factor; it was (mostly) the cheapness of it all and the toy feel of it. I sold my netbook to buy a used PowerBook, which was great other than the fact that it was old as dirt and slow as mud. Needless to say, I sold it and just bought a Windows 7 laptop and have been happy ever since.

    So what do I recommend? Nothing in particular. Its your decision. Just wanted to share my opinions on this. PERSONALLY, I wouldn't buy the netbook (though they're getting better) - I would buy a thin and light Windows 7 laptop like the Dell 14z or 11z, or like my Acer in my sig. These are just a tiny but above netbooks in price, but worlds better in terms of usability.

    Again, just my opinion... :D
  18. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Thank you

    Thanks for all your great advice,

    So after going through some other forums and doing some research on other options, I decided to buy the Dell Mini 10v, because for what you told me and from what I read, it is one of the easiest to hackintosh. I still haven't decided if I will install OS X or Linux on it. Once I have it, I will evaluate the pros and cons to see what suits me better. I will also get a 2GB Memory Ram Module, to upgrade it myself, although it seems you have to disassemble almost the complete netbook, but is easy enough. Again thanks for your help, now I just need to wait 5 days until it arrives.
  19. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    re: the ram upgrade on a 10v

    As my father used to say, it will put hair on your chest. :p
  20. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    I have that 10v; the ram/hdd upgrade is a pain, so if you can afford it just order it with those parts already installed (seriously, it's not expert level but it's not for the faint of heart either, it takes about 1-2 hours and requires a complete disassembly of the lower half); plus as an add-on, the 2g stick costs about the same pre-installed as it does to buy and install yourself, I think it was like $5 cheaper when I did it.

    It runs Snow Leopard really well with the proper hacks, but I agree with the earlier post about if you want a Mac, spend the extra on a mac (a used 1st or second gen Macbook would be relatively cheap and would be much better for your needs, the extra 3 inches will come in handy for writing) as there's no guarantee that 10.6.3 and beyond will support the Atom processor; and actually, one of the developer builds of 10.6.2 didn't, though the final version does. Also, Ubuntu's netbook OS is beautiful, so you may want to consider using it or one of the many other netbook specific OS's, as it's legal and designed for the hardware/form factor. OSX on a netbook has some bugs (Apple apps will open larger than the screen sometimes, and since the resize corner is on the bottom, you can't resize it easily) and of course you're working on a single 1.6gHz processor, so it isn't ideal, but it does work pretty well, and the 10v is 100% compatible if you flash the bios and do the install properly (there's a whole section on the mydellmini forums dedicated to it).

    That said, if you do go the Hackintosh route, buy a legal copy of Snow Leopard. It'll make the install a lot easier (torrents are unreliable at best) and really, it's like $25-30 depending where you buy it, so support Apple in at least that little way. Personally I would have spent the extra $100-150 on a Mac netbook if they made one, and will if and when one comes out, but for now my 10v works really well for me...

    EDIT: One final note--the touchpad takes some getting used to. It in and of itself works really well (and you can set it using system preferences to work like the Macbook one, with touch scrolling and the like), and I really like having the right and left click, but because the keyboard isn't reduced much (I think it's MAYBE 8%, likely less, smaller than a standard laptop keyboard, which is really, really nice) I find that I have to be careful when typing not to hit the touchpad, as I won't notice and then portions of text will end up in random parts of the document.

    On the plus side, I didn't notice much slowdown when using dual monitors (though VGA is the only option for that), which was a problem friends who have other makes of netbook said they noticed.
  21. bericd macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2005
    Bay Area, California
    Syncing data

    I do something similar. I have a Mac Mini at home, a PC at work, a macbook pro for my main portable, and an eeepc netbook for more portable. I use Dropbox to sync all my data together, and it works seemlessly - I've got multiple redundancy, and can work on whatever computer I happen to be near knowing that my docs are there.

    The netbook should be fine for what you want it for - portable word processing, just don't expect too much from it.
  22. jciapara thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Thank you all for the useful tips, I was actually planning on updating to 2GB through the DELL webpage but the option is not given, so I´m left to do it myself. As you say, you really need to disassemble almost the complete lower half, but there are many videos and picture guides, and I am fairly good at doing own repairs to computers and some other electronics. The computer will be arriving on Monday, hopefully I won´t be disappointed on the whole netbook thing, although I´m conscious of the limitations. Thanks
  23. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    One note to help you out--even if the tutorial says something is not necessary to remove, remove it anyway (the wireless card, in my case); NOT removing it makes the final steps really, really difficult as the "unnecessary to remove" bits leave the mobo slotted into the lower corner, which makes getting at the RAM difficult and potentially damaging (I got lucky, but I really thought I was going to snap the Mobo in two at one point). And at that stage I would have had to reassemble half of it to get enough torque on the screws. So basically, if you can see a screw, remove it regardless of what the guide says...
  24. 1rottenapple macrumors 68000

    Apr 21, 2004
    Well if you go with a netbook, just note the compromises in the keyboard. To me it just not the same even if its the same size due to the trackpad placement. Id go with a fullsize kb such as an old school macbook, not too expensize but will meet your needs.
  25. sweex macrumors member

    Oct 27, 2009
    A bit too late, he already bought his netbook :)

Share This Page