Hackintosh: how to install Yosemite on an Intel based PC

In the last few days, I've thought about buying an expensive MacBook Pro with Retina display to start building some iOS applications. While I'm waiting for my new toy, is it possible to install Yosemite on an Intel-based PC?

First of all: installing OS X on a normal PC is not a perfect science. You will install the OS, again and again, trying out the perfect configuration that fits your hardware and at the end, there will be a high percentage that it won't work at all.

If you want a quick solution and you don't want to lose a few days on it, then buy a Mac.

I've decided to write down this step-by-step tutorial to help novice find the answers for all the question I had and have a guide to install Yosemite on my Asus U36SD laptop.
I like it and I had a few days off from work: the perfect combination to play with it!

Introduction

Before starting I suggest to search your hardware (if you have a laptop it will help a lot) on the web: if you won't find any discussion, it will be a bell ring.
I've searched my laptop and I've found some discussion (#1, #2), so I decided to go deep.

There are 2 different methods to create a USB installer:

  • UniBeast: it is an old method, still maintained. I've decided to use this one since I had some experience with it in the past.
  • Clover: it is a new bootloader. I've never tested it but seems very popular at the moment.

I'll describe the UniBeast method with some modifications from my experience, hope they can help you too.

NB: I will insert here the quick steps from the guide at this link. I really suggest you follow the guide on the tonymacx86.com site, I'll report it here because I've found some problem during the process and I don't want to forget how to resolve them.

Download OS X Yosemite

In order to create the USB Installer, you need a Mac up and running: I know it is tricky to need an OS X to install OS X, but there isn't another way.
Turn on your system and:

  1. Open App Store
  2. Log in with your Apple ID
  3. Download OS X Yosemite

Once finished, the Application Install OS X Yosemite will appear in /Applications.

Create a bootable USB drive

In order to create a bootable USB drive you need to download UniBeast from the tonymacx86 download page, so take your time to register to the site since a lot of information can be found there.
The second thing you need is a USB key - 8GB is the minimum size.

Once you have all you need:

  1. Insert the USB drive
  2. Open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility
  3. Highlight the USB drive in the left column
  4. Click on the **Partition **tab
  5. Click Current and choose 1 Partition
  6. Click Options...
  7. Choose Master Boot Record
  8. Under Format: choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  9. Click Apply

Now the format process should start.
When the entire process ends, you can open the UniBeast program you downloaded before to start creating the bootable USB and start the Yosemite installation.

The UniBeast process is pretty easy since there are only a few options to choose from. Here is a quick list:

  1. In the Destination menu select the USB drive you created before
  2. In the Select OS Installation menu to select Yosemite
  3. In the Installation Type menu you have to choose between Laptop and Legacy USB support: since I'm creating this guide for my laptop, I've chosen the first option.
    If you need more information please refers to the tonymacx86.com guide.
  4. Click Install

The installation will start and you will have a bootable Yosemite installation in 10-15 minutes.

Important: before starting the installation, remember to remove the ACPI kext from the USB drive. It is under this path:

/Extra/Extensions/AppleACPIPlatform.kext

This kext gave me a problem after the installation, so remove it before to start.

Yosemite Installation

Almost done! This is the easiest part of the process but some problem may be found.

  1. Turn on the computer
  2. Boot from USB (you can choose it changing a setting in the BIOS)
  3. When you see the **Chimera Boot Screen **choose the USB you created.

At this point you should have some problem starting the installation: don't be scared, it could happen.
You could use one or more boot flag in order to disable functionality or bypass problem for unsupported graphics card/machines.
Here is a little list of the common flags:

  • -v
  • -x
  • dart=0
  • GraphicsEnabler=Yes
  • PCIRootUID=1
  • maxmem=4096
  • maxmem=8192
  • npci=0x2000

The first one is the most important: it will start the process in the verbose mode, showing you the installation error.
For my installation I've used: -x dart=0

Once the installation starts, you need to format your disk, so:

  1. Open **Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility
  2. Choose **Partition ** and select the number you need
  3. Go to Option...
  4. Choose GUID Partition Method
  5. Under Name: type Yosemite (You can rename it later)
  6. Under Format: choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
  7. Click Apply then Partition
  8. Close Disk Utility

Now you can start the Yosemite installation process. Good luck!

Post Installation using Multi-Beast

This is the worst part of the entire process: you need to install your hardware drive (called kext in the OS X world): it is not a perfect science and a wrong kext will block your system.
You will reinstall the system, again and again, finding out the perfect kext for your hardware.

Just to let you know, I've reinstalled the system 43 times before finding out the perfect combination.

So open Multi-Beast and select this configuration:

  • Drivers / Audio / Universal VodooHDA 2.8.7
  • Drivers / Misc / PS2 Controller
  • Drivers / System / Apple ACPI Rollback
  • Bootloader / Chimera 4.0.0
  • Customize / System definition / MacBook Pro 8.1
  • Customize / Theme / tonymacx86 Black

With this configuration, you should be able to have a valid installation, but not all will work well: some kexts need to be installed manually.

This is a hard work: I suggest you ask on the tonymacosx86 forum for a little help, it is an amazing community and you will found out all you need for your installation.

Change boot loader flags

Now your system is installed properly and you can start and use it. What else?
It could happen that some problems come up and you want to fix them to make your installation perfect (that's my case 🙂 ).
In order to do that some boot flag can help, so go to: /Extra/org.chameleon.Boot.plist and update it to reflect your system needs.

After the installation I've found 2 problems in my system:

  • Memory detection didn't work: the RAM speed was on 0 Mhz. I've fixed it adding the flag UseMemDetect=No to the boot plist.
  • Graphics card not yet recognized. Still working on it: I can't play games, but it is enough to use it for work purpose.

Last but not the least: this is a zip file containing all the kexts I've used for my post installation. I've created an all-in-one USB containing all I need to make a valid installation and I keep it with me every day (just in case...).

And finally: congratulation! You have installed Yosemite on an Intel-based PC 🙂

Happy Hackintosh,
M.