Hackintosh Netbook Makers Rejoice: Apple Restores Intel Atom Support

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Apple has long opted for a system of closed computer hardware, disallowing third party OS X computers. Nonetheless, small companies retailing cheaper OS X boxes have continually popped up, the latest of which is Psystar. Legal pressure from Apple has typically succeeded in eventually killing such companies, but it typically isn’t long before a new one pops up.

Individual users also are forbidden from building their own OS X machines, something that has long irritated enthusiasts who like Apple (largely graphics professionals). However, for years rebellious customers have created “Hackintoshes” — custom built computers running OS X. Among the most popular recent builds are netbook Hackintoshes, as OS X, like Linux tends to run rather lean (Snow Leopard uses ~225 MB of memory when active), perfect for an ultraportable PC with minimalist hardware.

Several sources had broke news that Apple had killed support for Intel Atom processors in the latest developer build of OS X 10.6.2, presumably in an attempt to stop the spread of netbook Hackintoshes.

Among those that first posted the news was Stell’s Blog, the blog of an avid developer and Hackintosh fan. In a recently posted update he breaks the good news that Atom support has been resurrected “zombie style” in the latest developer build, 10C535. He writes:

Wow, didn’t expect to get linked all over the internet for this damn post. Anyways, in the latest development build Atom appears to have resurrected itself zombie style in 10C535. The Atom lives another day, but nothing is concrete until the final version of 10.6.2 is out.

For those interested in exploring the world of Hackintoshes, a good place to start is the OSx86 projected, located here. This project provides on of the web’s best sources of software to help you get OS X on your custom machine and also provides a lot of detailed information about what hardware OS X supports, etc. For beginning users looking for a completely frustration-free installation process, you also might want to check out Psystar’s RebelEFI hack, a $50 piece of software that allows ultra-easy installation of OS X on custom hardware.