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Articles > How to install Mac OS X Snow Leopard on your AMD system!


Installing OS X on a normal desktop computer has been exclusive to Intel-based systems for a long time. Since the release of the first AMD kernel for Mac OS X 10.4.8, many AMD-users have been trying to Hackintosh their computers too.
Things got easier when Mac OS X 10.6 was released, when pro-AMD developer Nawcom released AMD-kernels and his ModCD. This whole guide is based on his work, so we’re very happy that he did all this work just for us, AMD-users!

What you’ll need:

  • A Gigabyte AMD (890X maximum) or nForce motherboard, ASUS AMD (790X maximum) or nForce motherboard.
  • An empty harddisk, the used filesystem does not matter at the moment
  • A retail Snow Leopard DVD
  • An empty cd or DVD
  • Patience!

What’s in my pc?

Before proceeding with this guide, please make sure you have collected all of your system’s hardware information. The Windows application CPU-Z can help you with this.

This guide is seperated in two different methods, one for AMD chipsets and one for Nforce-based chipsets. Follow the method optimized for your system.

Please read the guide in advance! If you encounter anything unfamiliar or see something you don’t quite understand, feel free to ask in the forums.

The installation

1) Configuring the BIOS

The first thing you’ll need to do is to adjust some settings in your motherboard’ BIOS. To access yours, press the key that corresponds to the BIOS settings when you power on the system. This is mostly something like F12 or the Delete-key (DEL).

The good thing here is that most AMD and Nforce BIOS’s are similar but not always the same. That’s why we can’t tell the exact naming of some things, but we can tell you what to look for. Here is a list of things you should adjust to make your hardware Hackintosh-ready:

  • Change the SATA-mode to AHCI. By default, it is configured as IDE, so you’ll need to change it to AHCI. Don’t change this when you have a working Windows-installation, it will break it!
  • Configure standby mode to S3. Some manufacturers already have this mode as default. If this is not the case, change it to S3 or S3 (STR).
  • Adjust Boot Device Order parameters. The first steps in installing OS X on your machine require booting from a cd. Make sure your optical drive is set as the first boot device. The second item in the order should be the hard drive where you are going to install OS X on.

 2)  Getting to the installer and preparing your hard drive

The first thing you’ll need to do is downloading and burning Nawcom’s ModCD onto an empty cd. You can download the .iso file from here. When the burning has been finished, reboot your computer and let it boot from it. When it is booted, follow these steps to iniate the installation:

  1. If everything went well, you should be greeted with the bootloader.
  2. Now, swap your ModCD with your retail Snow Leopard copy. Give it some time to read the disc and press F5.
  3. When the icon saying “Install Snow Leopard” appears, press your Enter-key. Some text will appear, Wait until the line “Press any key to continue” appears. Press any key to continue.
  4. For a period of time, the only thing you’ll see is a bunch of white text scrolling down on a black background. This is the retail DVD trying to boot the installer. This could take a while and don’t panic when it seems stuck.
  5.  After a while, the installer should come up. You may press Continue.
  6. Accept the license and click the button Utilities found in the menubar. A drop-down list will appear. One of the options there is Disk Utility. Click on it and the window will appear.
  7. We can manage and format our hard disks with this tool.  On the left side, you’ll see all of your hard drivers. Select the one where OS X will be installed on and click on the Format-button. Select “Mac OS X Formatted (Journaled) as filesystem and give it a pretty name.

3)  Customizing your installation

We are getting closer to actually installing OS X. What we need to do now is to select the right kexts for your chipset. Pay attention now, because this is where the guide will be divided in two. One for each type of chipset, AMD and Nforce.

  1. A dialog will appear where you can select where you want to install Snow Leopard onto. In the bottom left corner is a button called Customize. Click it.
  2. A list box will show up. Click the arrow next to Custom options. You’ll need to select certain things here, which are different for each chipset. Follow the steps for your chipset.

AMD chipset

Select the following options:

  • Legacy Kernel
  • AppleATIATA
  • VoodooHDA
Networking should’ve been detected automatically and do not select GraphicsEnabler and Sleepenabler!

Nforce chipset

Select the following options:

  • Legacy Kernel
  • AppleNForceATA
  • VoodooHDA
Networking should’ve been detected automatically and do not select GraphicsEnabler and Sleepenabler!

4)  The actual installation

When all options are selected, we can proceed to the installation. Press OK on the list box and click Install.

Installation can take up to 20 minutes! If it seems stuck after a couple of minutes, move the mouse and in most cases it will work again.

5)  Post-installation

Hooray! You are getting closer and closer to have a working AMD Hackintosh! You’ll just need to follow these last steps to make your installation boot on it’s own, and make it safe for updates that will be installed in the future.
  1. When the installation is done, the system will reboot itself. Swap your retail Snow Leopard copy back for the ModCD.
  2. Let it boot until you reach the bootloader. Select your own Snow Leopard partition here with the direction keys and press Enter when you have selected it.
  3. Have patience here as the first boot always takes a lot of time. Probably will take between five and ten minutes.
  4. When booted, fill in the forms given by OS X. This can be a bit sluggish, that’s because the graphics card is not yet installed.
  5. Now we need to install a bootloader, so that our system can boot on it’s own. Something like Chameleon v2.1 will do. The one we’ll be using can be installed with myHack, that could be found here.  Inside myHack is always the newest Chameleon, that is tested and verified by Conti.
  6. Extract the file using the built-in unarchiver. You’ll end up with a .pkg file. You can execute it by double-clicking on it. Follow the steps given in the installer and finish installation.
  7. Reboot your system and eject the ModCD. Your Hackintosh can now boot on it’s own.
If everything went well, you should be greeted with the OS X desktop. There are still a few things missing, including graphics acceleration. We’ll fix that in the next chapter.

6)  Some graphics acceleration for you, sir?

Graphics acceleration is absolutely needed for having the perfect OS X experience. Without it, everything will be pretty sluggish and slow, and certain applications won’t even work. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to have read this guide before doing the actual installation.

However! Nowadays, most (modern) graphics cards are supported due to the updates Chameleon has got in the recent years. The following steps can be applied to most graphics cards; if it does not work out for you, let us know in the forums! That way we can search a solution for you!

GraphicsEnabler is an automatic graphics card injector built into your Chameleon bootloader. It has got more compatible with different cards over the years, so chances are high it will work with your system too!

  • Most cards from Nvidia: from the 7xxx series all the way to the modern 5xx cards (although not always stable)
  • Modern cards from AMD: HD5xxx to HD6xxx are out-of-the-box, older cards are trial and error.
To check if it works with your current setup, simply type in GraphicsEnabler=yes when in the bootloader. Chameleon then will boot with that given parameter. If it works (eg. you have a transparent menubar), follow the next steps so we can make it permanent.
  1. Open Finder and click on the Go option in your menubar. A dropdown list will appear with the Go to folder option. Click it and enter the following: /extra
  2. A Finder window will appear. There will be a file called org.chameleon.boot.plist. Click and drag the file to your desktop, to make sure it is editable.
  3. Open the file and underneath the last line, type in the following:
  4. Put the edited file back so it overwrites the previous one.
  5. Reboot OS X and enjoy your working GPU!

The next page explains how you can update your new AMD Hackintosh!