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MacOSX Snow Leopard on Packard Bell iMax C2600 / Aspire Revo R3600

mercredi 3 février 2010, par Phi, 37944 Vues

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I have bought a Packard Bell iMax C2600 nettop at bargain prices. It includes an Atom processor, Nvidia ION chipset, 2 Go ram and 160 Go hard disk. As usual I tried my favorite hobby which is installing MacOSX on this computer.


Context and hardware

About Aspire Revo 3600 / Packard Bell iMax C2600

The Packard Bell Imax C2600 is the same as the Acer Aspire Revo 3600 (Packard Bell is an european brand from Acer, as Gateway is one for the US).

It was available for a bargain price of 149 euros in a french store (Surcouf), but Acer policy of refunding Vista Premium for 40 euros (shipping is paid by Acer) means it costs only 109 euros, really a rock bottom price.

The computer is also open to upgrade to Windows Seven Premium for the low price of 15 euros from Acer too (this company is bound to go broke one of these days by being so generous 8-) ).

Its main specifications are the following :
- Atom N230 at 1.6 Ghz : includes 64 bit, Hyperthreading and execute disable bit but is single core unlike its bigger brother Aspire Revo R3610 dual core Atom N330
- 2 Go ram
- 160 Go hard disk
- Nvidia IO chipset
- OS Vista Premium

Aspire Revo 3600 : supplied with keyboard and logitech optical mouse

Left to right : Power supply, VGA, HDMI, Ethernet, 4 USB

In addition : two USB (total 6 USB) on the top, and SD Reader, eSATA connector, headphones and microphone jacks on front - the connections are very complete for such a bargain computer as only thing missing would be bluetooth.

So I sent my new purchase to Acer for my Vista refund then set out to install MacOSX on it when I received it back.

About MacOSX installation

Installation of MacOSX on the iMax C2600 is challenging, as with most of the ATOM based computers because of the BIOS which crashes most installation disks (Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard) following faulty DSDT tables. That was the same on my EEEPC 900HA.

From what I found in Insanely Mac ION thread most often the path is to flash a modified bios, or to remove the hard drive physically from the computer and install from another computer.

I couldn’t find the modified bios for the iMax C2600 or Acer Aspire Revo R3600 - and I don’t like the idea of depending on another computer to install one - so the methods presented here don’t take either approach and a standalone Revo with an external DVD reader is all you need.

Moreover, my favorite distribution is iAtkos 1.0ir2 as it is extremely stable (months using it on several laptops with no kernel panic ever - or booting / shutdown problems) which is based on Leopard 10.5.1. However the Nvidia MCP790 ION chipset is only supported since 10.5.6, so that’s why I picked Snow Leopard this time.

Preparation

Bios Settings

Basically keep default settings ie :

You can keep Hyperthreading Enabled

And SATA mode AHCI, enable Legacy USB support

Change Wifi card

You save a lot of trouble by replacing the Wifi card with a Broadcom Mini PCI BCM94311 card which is often also labelled as Dell Mini 1390 wireless card. It must be around 10 $ on Ebay.

Just one screw

Carefully pry open the clips - note : don’t damage stupidly the serial number sticker (warranty) as I did, it doesn’t prevent opening as it is on the other side

Wifi card is on the lower left

Replaced by the classic Broadcom BCM94311 Mini-PCI card

It’s already done ! If you have trouble see the Aspire Revo disassembly video here

The easy method : Empire EFI and standard Snow Leopard DVD

Required
- Empire EFI 1085
- Snow Leopard standard DVD

Main steps

1) Boot : Boot on Empire EFI 1085, replace with standard Snow Leopard DVD

Empire EFI video is messed up if you have more than 2 partitions on your hard drive - and won’t work. Delete extras partitions if needed.

With 2 partitions you can already notice some garbage

Original Snow Leopard DVD boots up, awesome 8-)

2) Hard disk partition : Launch disk utility, erase hard disk and create an GUID hard drive with one partition. Format the Macintosh HD under HFS.

GUID partition table necessary with original Snow Leopard DVD - that means you lose everything on the hard drive

One partition, Macintosh HFS file system

That also means no XP, Vista or Seven installation on the same hard drive

3) Install Snow Leopard : on the new Macintosh partition

Target drive recognized

It takes up to one hour, be patient.

Installation is ok but fails on reboot - this is OK

4) MacOSX hard disk boot : Boot with Empire EFI, choose the new Snow Leopard partition installed

That’s it, you have Macintosh Snow Leopard 10.6 installed but it still needs the boot CD.

Open Empire EFI CD, folder Post-Install and launch MyHack.

MyHack launched

Choose the following settings under customize (and disable others) :

Com.apple.boot.plist - GraphicsEnabler - AHCIPortInjector

IOAHCIBlockStorageInjector - LegacyAppleRTC - NullCPUPowerManagement - OpenHaltRestart - PlatformUUID - SleepEnabler

and install. It will take a very long time to finish all the installation including the scripts and so on. If there is a problem in the end, just launch Chameleon RC3 install on Empire EFI CD.

Reboot on hard disk this time, you should be able to boot to MacOSX without CD or DVD.

5) Additional drivers : Sound

No sound yet

Put the following kext drivers in the package in Extra/Extensions :
- AsusK50IN.kext, HDEnabler.kext for sound

Zip - 54.6 ko
SL_Imax_C2600.zip

You will need to authentify.

Then download and launch kextutility to update Snow Leopard kext caches (it takes a while).

If you have a french PC keyboard, use the following customized keylayout

Zip - 3.5 ko
FrenchPC2.zip

by putting it in Users/Library/Keyboard Layouts and choosing the keyboard map under Language and Texts / Input Methods.

Note : PC keyboard have a slighty different layout as Mac keyboards - so you need a customized keylayout if you want 100% correct layout

Results

Main results are the following :

Hardware Works Don’t work Comments
Video native resolutions X On both HDMI and VGA
QE, Core Image, Open GL X X Seems to work, except for OpenGL (black screen)
Sound X But no sound output under HDMI
USB X Including hot plugging
Ethernet X Including hot plugging
Wifi X Don’t work, for best MacOSX experience it is easier to replace it with a Broadcomm Mini-PCI card
Sleep X  ? After a few reboots works OK
Deep sleep X First step works but reboot don’t. I think it is a chameleon / bios / dsdt.aml issue on memory recognition
Stability  ?  ? See below

Boot crashes ...

Stability is very good (never had a crash under Snow Leopard, or a shutdown problem) BUT the initial boot would crash one time out of three, and would take sometimes a long time. Not entirely clear why - root device or High definition audio.

The installation itself seems somewhat picky, I crashed it once without being able to recover by messing with the boot files.

The optimal method : customized Snow Leopard MBR DVD

This optimal method gives the following benefits over the previous one :
- dual boot with Windows Seven or other operating system thanks to MBR
- OpenGL compatibility for games (Warcraft III for example)
- seems more stable especially on the boot process

Required
- Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD
- Snow Leopard Boot 132 MBR CD
- Empire EFI 1085

Optional
- Snow Leopard standard DVD (for missing items on Snow Leopard customized MBR install)

Bios settings

Main Steps

1) Boot : Boot on Snow Leopard Boot 132 MBR CD, replace with Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD

Zip - 2.5 Mo
CD_Boot_Snow_Leopard

Note : Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD would only boot with the supplied Boot 132 CD on my Aspire Revo 3600

Lost lots of time today reinstalling on my 900HA EEE PC. To scan the drives when you replace the Snow Leopard Boot 132 MBR CD with Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD you must press the F10 key (F5 froze my EEEPC). And if you don’t have an USB mouse (most integrated laptop trackpads are PS2 ...) booting on the DVD will also crash the PC.

2) Hard disk partition : Launch disk utility, erase hard disk and create an MBR hard drive with two partitions (one for Windows 7 and one for Macintosh). Format the Macintosh HD under HFS.

Two partitions, one for Windows 7 and one for Snow Leopard

3) Install Snow Leopard : on the new Macintosh partition

New Macintosh HD target drive

This custom DVD doesn’t include everything - that’s OK, just use your standard Snow Leopard DVD after if you miss something

It says 30 min but on this hackintosh it’s more one hour

Installation is ok but fails on reboot - this is OK

4) MacOSX hard disk boot : Boot with Empire EFI (or Snow Leopard Boot 132 MBR CD), choose the new Snow Leopard partition installed

Boot 132 shows new Snow Leopard install

Willkommen video

That’s it, you have Macintosh Snow Leopard installed but it still needs the boot CD.

Open Empire EFI CD, folder Post-Install and launch MyHack

Choose the following settings under customize (and disable others) :

Com.apple.boot.plist

NullCPUPowerManagement - OpenHaltRestart - PlatformUUID - SleepEnabler

and install. It will take a very long time to finish all the installation including the scripts and so on. If there is a problem in the end, just launch Chameleon RC3 install on Empire EFI CD.

Snow Leopard dual boot with Windows Seven

Reboot on hard disk this time, you should be able to boot to MacOSX without CD or DVD.

5) Additional drivers : Sound and video

Put the kext drivers in the package in Extra/Extensions

Zip - 54.6 ko
SL_Imax_C2600.zip

The package includes
- AsusK50IN.kext, HDEnabler.kext for sound
- NVEnabler 64.kext for video including OpenGL

You will need to authentify.

Not many Extras/Extensions - including MyHack ones

Then download and launch kextutility to update Snow Leopard kext caches (it takes a while).

If you have a french PC keyboard, use the following customized keylayout

Zip - 3.5 ko
FrenchPC2.zip

by putting it in Users/Library/Keyboard Layouts and choosing the keyboard map under Language and Texts / Input Methods.

Note : PC keyboard have a slighty different layout as Mac keyboards - so you need a customized keylayout if you want 100% correct layout

If you need additional packages, insert your original Snow Leopard DVD and launch additional packages (for example : Rosetta, X11, Quicktime 7 and additional languages)

Hibernation fix

Just install the following specific Chameleon RC5 package with memory configuration recognition :

Zip - 511.2 ko
Chameleon_RC5.zip

it will display an error but it should work OK, now if you hibernate (or deep sleep), your state will be restored back correctly.

Results

Main results are the following :

Hardware Works Don’t work Comments
Video native resolutions X On both HDMI and VGA
QE, Core Image, Open GL X Seems to work, but still have trouble with 720p AVI under VLC
Sound X But no sound output under HDMI
USB X Including hot plugging
Ethernet X Including hot plugging
Wifi X Don’t work, for best MacOSX experience it is easier to replace it with a Broadcomm Mini-PCI card
eSATA port X Works OK (tested with external Blu-Ray recorder)
SD reader X
Sleep X
Deep sleep X Works OK with hibernate fix
Stability  ?  ? See below

Unrecognized NVIDIA graphics card - but it’s not a problem

High Definition audio with several input and outputs

As you can see it is a very good results. Almost everything works fine after you change the Wifi card for a broadcom :
- HDMI sound output doesn’t, this is not surprising due to HDCP. It is not that much of a problem as you can use headphone jack output with VGA, or with HDMI if your TV allows it.

It seems sound over HDMI is not supported under OSX so this is unlikely to be fixed soon

- Deep sleep doesn’t work, I think it is very close - but anyway deep sleep is not essential on a nettop which is unlike a laptop and has no battery

Deep sleep crash : not enough memory

Deep sleep works now with hibernation fix - see above

Stability is very good (never had a crash under Snow Leopard, or a shutdown problem) BUT one time out of 4 the initial boot would crash. Not entirely clear why - root device or High definition audio.

Without that issue, it would almost be perfect.

Conclusion

A Snow Leopard Mac mini for 109 euros (after Vista refund) how can you go wrong ?

Alizee Video OK but this is not high definition

It is almost perfect, a pity that most 720P videos are choppy under MacOSX on my iMax.

It appears only Quicktime X uses hardware acceleration - VLC use hardware acceleration for displaying (Open GL) but not for decoding. It is true that Quicktime native movies (1080P Apple trailers) are almost fluid at 720P display resolution and are far more choppy under VLC.

One user on InsanelyMac forum says that quicktime acceleration works only if you don’t install Perian, in my case I don’t see any difference in speed when I disable Perian.

Useful links

Hardware

Blogeee iMax C2600 thread In french - 149 euros less 40 euros from Vista refund at Surcouf store, that is only 109 euros !

Aspire Revo disassembly So simple you don’t need a video I guess

Software

Empire EFI I used version 1.085

Custom Mac OSX Snow Leopard MBR DVD Torrent file including both install DVD and Boot 132 CD - Only part of original Snow Leopard DVD (French and English languages)

Zip - 2.5 Mo
CD_Boot_Snow_Leopard

Custom Boot 132 Snow Leopard MBR CD

Zip - 54.6 ko
SL_Imax_C2600.zip

Snow Leopard video and sound drivers

Zip - 3.5 ko
FrenchPC2.zip

French PC keyboard layout for Packard Bell iMax C2600

Zip - 511.2 ko
Chameleon_RC5.zip

Specific Chameleon RC5 package with memory configuration recognition

Insanelymac Kextutility thread Necessary to update Snow Leopard drivers

InfiniteMac thread on ALC662 sound driver

Axionic Labs Snow Leopard Deep Sleep Widget Deep Sleep don’t work on my hackintosh - but this helps the testing

Information

Insanely Mac ION thread

How to detect Quartz Extreme and Core Image under Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard OpenCL benches Haven’t tried them yet


22 Messages

  • Hi Phil,

    Merci pour ton aide ! Ca marche impec pour moi. Juste un détail et une question :

    Le détail : la mise à jour cumulative 10.6.2 fout tout en l’air (pas de reboot) et le patch de teateam n’y fait rien (ou alors je l’ai mal installé malgré le fait que j’ai bien enlevé sleepenabler avant...). Es-tu parvenu à passer en 10.6.2 et si oui, pourrais-tu faire un second tuto aussi bien que celui-ci ?

    Deuxième chose : ton second tuto m’intéresse mais pourrais tu me dire quand il faut installer 7 et comment ?

    D’avance merci,

    JJ.

    repondre message

    • Salut,

      Pour la mise à jour 10.6.2. je ne l’ai pas effectuée. Plus généralement, je pense que les mises à jour sous MacOSX sont inutiles, mon netbook principal - qui est ma machine de travail - est depuis plusieurs mois sous 10.5.1. sans problème particulier.

      Pour mon deuxième tuto, dans mon cas j’ai partitionné le disque dur avec l’utilitaire de MacOSX en MBR, mais ensuite j’ai installé Windows 7 avant d’installer Snow Leopard, mais je pense que l’inverse aurait également marché une fois que les partitions sont bien reconnues par les installateurs de Windows 7 et Snow Leopard.

      Je n’ai pas partitionné avec le DVD de Window Seven, puisque ce dernier créait une partition système bizarre de 100 Mo qui faisait planter Empire EFI (mais qui fonctionne peut-etre avec Boot-132).

      A noter que j’ai utilisé un Window Seven boîte, puisque l’upgrade Windows Seven à 15 euros n’est pas bootable - la clé d’activation marche cependant sans problème avec.

      repondre message

      • Bonsoir Phi,

        J’ai essayé votre seconde methode...

        Le Cd de boot 132 affiche bien le cameleon et après avoir pressé F5 j’accède bien à l’écran de Boot du DVD d’install MBR. Dès que je le lance, j’ai un message "can’t find mach_kernel"

        A materiel et soft égal je ne m’explique pas cette différence de résultat. Avez-vous une idée et même mieux : une solution.

        D’avance merci,

        JJ.

        repondre message

        • Hum, c’est bizarre en effet, peut-être essayer de booter avec Empire EFI ? Sinon à priori s’il y a le message "can’t find mach_kernel", le DVD est peut-être mal gravé ?

          repondre message

          • En fait, avant de vous écrire, j’avais déjà essayé de regraver le 132 et toujours le même message...

            J’avais aussi essayé de prendre Empire pour booter mais pas de boot possible...

            Vous serait-il possible de mettre une image du votre sur mediafire (le boot 132) ? ou peut-etre connaissez-vous un autre lien, je suis à cours d’idées (nous avons eu les mêmes jusqu’alors).

            Merci,

            JJ.

            repondre message

            • Ok j’ai ajouté l’image Boot 132 utilisée sur mon article.

              Mais si vous avez un problème de boot kernel, c’est plutôt le DVD de Snow Leopard MBR qu’il faut regraver. Une autre piste serait des settings bios différents éventuellement, sinon si vous avez accès à un autre Macintosh ou Hackintosh, vous pouvez mettre le disque dur dans un boitier USB et lancer l’installation de Snow Leopard MBR depuis l’autre ordinateur pour installer sur le disque dur externe (attention à la sélection de la destination ...).

              repondre message

      • Bonsoir,

        pensez vous qu’il est possible d’installer MacOS X sur un disque dur USB comme sur n’importe quel Mac ?

        merci d’avance.

        cordialement,

        repondre message

        • Bonjour,

          Oui c’est possible. En tout cas je suis sur que cela fonctionne si vous l’installez sur votre disque interne et qu’ensuite vous mettez ce disque interne dans un boitier USB externe.

          Ce qui est paradoxal c’est que cela fonctionne pour Mac OSX et non pour Windows XP puisque le passage du disque interne au disque externe fait planter l’installation de Windows XP qui semble utiliser des références absolues au disque interne.

          repondre message

  • Hi Phi,
    Thanks a lot for the tutorial !
    I have two questions :

    *for the The easy method : you mention on the title that one need "Empire EFI and standard Snow Leopard DVD" but latter at the first step "1) Boot : Boot on Empire EFI 1085, replace with Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD". Which one should we use, standard Snow Leopard DVD or Snow Leopard customized MBR DVD ?

    *How about if I don’t have an external DVD reader ? Does it exist an alternative ?

    Thanks again, I try as soon as I can find a USB DVD drive.

    repondre message

  • I have been following your tutorial on an Aspire 3610 & have tried booting using the first & second method but I swap from the boot CD to the SL DVD mentioned, hit F5 but nothing happens. The boot menu remains the same.

    Any ideas ???

    repondre message

  • salut phi
    je voulais savoir si tu étais capable de faire fonctionner le hdmi et le vga en meme temps
    car moi je ne peut pas si j’essaie de detecter dautre écran je perds simplement le signal des ecrans

    apart ca tout fonctionne a merveille sur mon revo r3610

    repondre message

  • got this install - thanks alot !!!!!

    any way to then update to 10.6.4 ?

     :-)

    repondre message

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