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5 bizarre Hackintosh projects we wish we could buy

These Mac mashups show what happens when Hackintoshing goes too far

Apple is well known for locking down its Macs, but that hasn’t stopped some brave pioneers from opening up their Macs to load them with custom parts. These Frankenstein machines are known has Hackintoshes, often featuring customized parts with Mac cases.

But why stop at just upgraded components? Why have a perfectly serviceable Hackintosh when you can run MacOS on a 30-year-old laptop that weighs 16 pounds? Or on a calculator? Whatever the form factor, we wanted to honor those intrepid souls who went the extra mile just because they could.

5. Going Pro?

Hackintosh credit André Motz
Credit André Motz

The Power Mac G3’s design is a real oddity of the computer world. While the iMac G3 shook the world with its fun, playful design that helped make computers more approachable, the Power Mac was meant for professionals, yet still retained the bubblegum stylings of its consumer sibling. Far from the all-metal appearance of the modern Mac Pro, the Power Mac G3 just didn’t look “pro.” It was like going to a job interview in a clown costume.

Still, it’s a fun quirk of Mac history, and that’s presumably what inspired André Motz to bring one back from the dead. After finding the case on eBay for $50 — and after much hacking and sawing to modify it — he stuffed it with an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of memory and a 500GB SSD. That’s a substantial improvement on the original components, even if the case looks a tad garish today.

4. Feel the fallout

Hackintosh credit d0c70rd0raz10
Credit d0c70rd0raz10

A lot of people hook their MacBooks up to external monitors to give themselves a bit more screen real estate, but few of them do it like this. Evidently for Reddit’s d0c70rd0raz10, the age of the CRT monitor isn’t quite over yet.

Their initial practice run consisted of hooking up a 2018 MacBook Pro to an Apple Multiple Scan 17 display from way back in 1995. Emboldened by this success, d0c70rd0raz10 took the next logical step: using a monochrome Apple Monitor II from 1984.

The result is a distinctly Fallout-esque vibe. The screen is rendered with a green, blurry effect overlaid with prominent scanlines. Just what your tired eyes will thank you for when you’re editing code at 1am.

3. The Abomination

Hackintosh credit parguin
Credit parguin

With a design inspired by the humble sunflower, the iMac G4 was a masterpiece of creative thinking in the computer world. Apple’s Cinema Display, meanwhile, was a high-end monitor meant for professionals who needed the ultimate in visual clarity at the time (and Apple’s new Pro Display XDR is its long-awaited heir).

So why not bolt the two together? That was Redditor parguin’s thinking when they created “The Abomination,” a Frankenstein creation that significantly upgrades both the resolution and internal components of the original iMac G4.

Parguin’s creation boasts an Intel Pentium G4560 processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, a 120GB SSD and an EVGA GT 710 graphics card. And while the Cinema Display’s 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution is nothing special these days, it’s perfectly acceptable and a good deal better than the iMac G4’s 1,024 x 768 resolution.

2. Macintosh Luggable

Hackintosh credit Patrick Blampied
Credit Patrick Blampied

Despite the name, the Macintosh Portable was anything but lightweight. It clocked in at a beefy 16 pounds, much of which was made up by the totally safe-sounding lead-acid batteries. It would set you back an eye-watering $7,300 in 1989 — roughly $15,000 today. And you thought the Mac Pro was expensive.

Yet those drawbacks weren’t enough to stop Patrick Blampied from performing a major restoration job on one to bring it up to date. Gone is the monochrome screen, switched out for a color replacement. The keyboard has been totally rewired and resoldered, while the fear-inducing lead-acid batteries have been replaced by the battery from a cordless drill, of all things.

If this doesn’t show both the ingenuity and insanity of the Hackintosh world, we’re not sure what does.

1. A problem of logic

Hackintosh credit This Does Not Compute
Credit This Does Not Compute

The prize for most bonkers Hackintosh project is not something that we award lightly, and the winning entry must display both top-tier technical proficiency and a cavalier disregard for both taste and reason. Thankfully, Reddit user’s d-a-v-i-d-’s creation (likely inspired by a video from This Does Not Compute) ticks both boxes with its Mac-on-a-calculator concept.

The idea of a Hackintosh is that you combine the modern features of MacOS with more powerful components. This entry, though, achieves neither, as it’s Apple’s System 7 running on a graphical calculator.

Ironically, the pairing may actually be a good fit: System 7 is so old it’s unlikely to be a strain on any device, and the calculator in question — a TI-Nspire CX CAS handheld — has a full keyboard and pointer system. Now all you need to do is run the Calculator app on System 7 running on a calculator for the perfect Calception moment.

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