• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Is there ANY way to run OSX on a x86 processor?

Recommended Posts

macster    0
aaron901:

you did, no regret.

Ok, but it's not what he said...

He said try it and then trash it...

Just "burn" 2500$ for fun.

Hum...

I did not mean u can just trash it.

If u r smart enuf, u can always sell it off on Ebay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the evn show    138

There seams to be a lot of misinformation floating around (likely due to wishful thinking). Let's see if I can clear a bit of this up.

There is a way to run OS X on an x86 PC, I do it every couple of days: I just balance my powerbook on top of the case ;) Other than that you're SOL, at the moment.

About maintaining an x86 version

While this is officially just a rumor I wouldn't at all be surprised if apple kept an up-to-date x86 version of OS X. This wouldn't be as an "escape" plan if the Power970 fails, it is probably just to help spot bugs. If you maintain your software on different platforms you're more likely to spot flaws and assumptions in your code that aren't readily apparent. They could fall back on it in a worst case but there are plenty of reasons why this wouldn't really make a lot of sense, see here:

http://daringfireball.net/2003/04/qwerty.html

And now the long/boring part why emulation isn't likely any time soon

You can run OS 8 on x86 hardware: there are a few commercial emulators and also some GPL emulators that will get it working just fine. To be legal you're required to own a Macintosh ROM (which you get out of Macintosh computers), so you might as well just use the real thing - of course most people don't care about legality and just pirate a ROM from somewhere...

OS 8 has next to nothing in common with OS X, and at the binary level it has little in common with OS 9. OS 9 and X are designed to run exclusively on the PowerPC processor, OS 8 runs on the 68000 series. If someone could get a functional PC emulator (+video/sound/etc virtualization) working with OS 9 it would be a relative hop-skip-and-jump to get X to run. The problem ATM is that there isn't any PPC emulator worth mentioning.

It is very difficult to emulate a PPC processor on an x86 processor because of fundamental difference in the architectures. If people familiar with the topic will forgive my over simplification I'll try and explain.

A PPC processor has a two features that make it great at emulating other processors

1) Simple fixed length instructions.

2) A boat load of general purpose registers.

Number one is important because it's (comparatively) easy to take a "complex" x86 instruction and break it down into several smaller ppc instructions. Number two is important because you can just map all of the x86's registers to a GP register on the PPC CPU and let it go.

Those same features make it very difficult to emulate the PPC on an x86 at a useable speed because:

A PPC processor can execute it's simple instructions very quickly, an x86 executes it's complex instructions slower but they do more 'work' (ie: PPC would have a multiply by 2 instruction, and an add 3 instruction, and a multiply by -1 instruction. an x86 would have an Multiply-by-two-add-three-flip-the-sign instruction). It's easy to see how to break down the single complex instruction. on the other hand it's not so obvious that the 3 simple PPC instructions can be mapped to a single x86 instruction so the x86 must instead execute 3 slow commands that do little work rather than one command that does a lot.

The second reason is that a PPC has too many registers to map 1:1 onto an x86 chip. This means that every time you want to work with a register you have to:

1) save a GP registers current value to memory

2) load an emulated registers value from

3) repeat #1 - #2 for any other register needed in the calculation

4) 'translate' the instruction and perform the operation

5) save the emulated registers value back to memory

6) load the GP register's original value back from ram

There is so much overhead involved in emulating a single instruction that it's very difficult to get PPC emulation working - and nearly impossible to get it happening at a useful speed. Compared to the G4, the MIPS processor in the N64 is fairly simple so getting it emulated was fairly easy (and whey getting the GameCube emulated is not-so-easy).

It is possible that some very gifted programmer will come up with an amazing method dynamic recompilation but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting, the G3 has been out a very long time (>5 years), the PowerMac 6100 is almost 10 years old and nobody has a useful emulator for that yet. I hear the x86-64 spec adds a whole bunch of GP registers to the x86 so maybe you'll see an emulator sometime after the opteron is shipping in volume...

Again: I know I missed a lot of other valid reasons but these IMHO are the two biggest ones. Feel free to search google for more information on emulation and virtualization or send a PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
praseodymium    0

You're kidding right?  :blink:

Uh, no, why should that affect stability that much?I mean, its not like you have those kinds of extra features turned "on", unless you have the hardware that supports it, otherwise both Windows and Mac OS X would be slower with so much code running at once.

It's not the fact that all the drivers are "turned on" at once. It's the fact that Windows has to support 100X more pieces of hardware then MacOS does. And most of those pieces of hardware bring third party drivers with them. It's those third party drivers that help make Windows a little less stable. MacOS, for the most part, doesn't have to worry about third party drivers; thus, less stability issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
frod    0

heh this is pretty funny.

there are rumors that apple has os x running with full compatibility on an x86 machine. the main question here is will they ever actually release it for x86? i highly doubt it. apple's hardware devision would have to completely fail for them to release an x86 version of their os. os x was probably 75% of the reason i bought a mac. the other 25% was the fact i got my powerbook with more stuff for cheaper than a dell and that they look cool.

as soon as they release os x for x86 their hardware will drop in sales. it is not good marketing strategy for them to do this at all. with the recent development of ibm's ppc chip, i think we will see more competition between motorolla and ibm, thus reducing the price of chips (hopefully).

you also have to take into consideration supply in demand for prices. if you make 100000 chips, you can sell them for a lot cheaper than if you made 100 chips. i'm pretty sure that if more and more people buy macs, the prices will keep dropping.

one more questions... for personal use, how many of you actually have a use for over dual 1.42 GHz machines? mp3 encoding? video encoding? they are all speedy on my 1 GHz powerbook. the time lost to this is regained by the joy of being able to run XMMS next to Photoshop at full speed and compatibility. i'd like to see that done on any x86 machine. this is why i always tend to chuckle when people say there is more software available for windows. there are more games i give you that, i find that most of them are crap anyways and that the ones that come out for mac are the ones that actually made money. as for other things, why have 14 ftp clients when you onlly need 1? i can compile and run open source projects next to all the corporate mainstream products without emulation. i don't need to boot into a second operating system to do all of this. it's great

but i guess in the end it all comes down to preference eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tim Dorr    0

THANK YOU THE EVN SHOW!!

Finally, someone talking sense in here! :D I'll vouch for everything he said, as it's all true.

If you want a decent OS8 emulator, try http://sourceforge.net/projects/basilisk/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HPMCommander    0

holy crap, i like opened a huge can of worms... i just wanted osx on my box :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kairon    0
THANK YOU THE EVN SHOW!!

Finally, someone talking sense in here! :D I'll vouch for everything he said, as it's all true.

If you want a decent OS8 emulator, try http://sourceforge.net/projects/basilisk/

My sentiments exactly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aaron901    1
holy crap, i like opened a huge can of worms... i just wanted osx on my box :(

i hope you realize that you can only have it with an Apple machine now. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sparkleytone    0

You're kidding right???:blink:k:

Uh, no, why should that affect stability that much?I mean, its not like you have those kinds of extra features turned "on", unless you have the hardware that supports it, otherwise both Windows and Mac OS X would be slower with so much code running at once.

It's not the fact that all the drivers are "turned on" at once. It's the fact that Windows has to support 100X more pieces of hardware then MacOS does. And most of those pieces of hardware bring third party drivers with them. It's those third party drivers that help make Windows a little less stable. MacOS, for the most part, doesn't have to worry about third party drivers; thus, less stability issues.

why must people who don't know anything post as if they do? OS X includes multitudes of drivers for third part hardware. this is part and parcel of the mac experience. buy a component, plug it in, and it works. bam.

Edited by sparkleytone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+warwagon    13,976

The only reason people go nuts over the 17 inch Ibook is for the 17 inch screen. I mean its just a laptop for gosh sakes... any computer maker can make that.. its just that apple at the moment is alittle better... that and the 17 inch screen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
giantsnyy2002    0
The only reason people go nuts over the 17 inch Ibook is for the 17 inch screen. I mean its just a laptop for gosh sakes... any computer maker can make that.. its just that apple at the moment is alittle better... that and the 17 inch screen.

yes, but apple's products are quality, and OSX is simply awsome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
the evn show    138
The only reason people go nuts over the 17 inch Ibook is for the 17 inch screen. I mean its just a laptop for gosh sakes... any computer maker can make that.. its just that apple at the moment is alittle better... that and the 17 inch screen.

There's also the DVD-R, Gigabit ethernet, 54mbit wireless, bluetooth, 4.5 hour battery, sub-7 pound weight, 1" thickness, and backlit keyboard (not to mention the OS - Look at the title of this thread for proof of that). Sure anyone could make them and any car company could make an F50, but they don't - that's why people lust for Ferrari and Apple: it's not just the speed: it's the entire bundle of style, quality, performance, and features for both products that makes them so attractive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Redestium    1
There's also the DVD-R, Gigabit ethernet, 54mbit wireless, bluetooth, 4.5 hour battery, sub-7 pound weight, 1" thickness, and backlit keyboard (not to mention the OS - Look at the title of this thread for proof of that). Sure anyone could make them and any car company could make an F50, but they don't - that's why people lust for Ferrari and Apple: it's not just the speed: it's the entire bundle of style, quality, performance, and features for both products that makes them so attractive.

That's hilarious that you mention Ferrari and Apple in the same sentence. I don't believe that any computer is in that class.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i3iz    0
There's also the DVD-R, Gigabit ethernet, 54mbit wireless, bluetooth, 4.5 hour battery, sub-7 pound weight, 1" thickness, and backlit keyboard (not to mention the OS - Look at the title of this thread for proof of that). Sure anyone could make them and any car company could make an F50, but they don't - that's why people lust for Ferrari and Apple: it's not just the speed: it's the entire bundle of style, quality, performance, and features for both products that makes them so attractive.

ferraris are known to spend 50% of their life in the shop. If you want to compare the Apple to something, how about Lexus? Toyota is know for their reliability. Where as maybe a PC is a domestic car. While reliability is increasing, it still can not match the top competitor. and It is a crap shoot a lot of the time.

-a person running both...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
i3iz    0

I don't think the Zeta emulation of OS 9 will fully support all the "bigger" apps like Photoshop and Quark since it is highly dependent on the Altivec extensions to make it faster. Who would want to emulate OS 9 anyways? I'll get Zeta simply because its BeOS and its a hell of a lot easier to setup and configure then Linux and has a lot less quirks then Windows.

this is ridiculous, the quark that everyone uses v.4, is not reliant on altivec instructions. Because the latest quark v.5 sucks. Hopefully summer produces a better one v.6. But the latest version v.5 crashes everyones machines and is not even OS X compatible. It is the industry standard. but it is not likely to stay there for long. i think indesign will tak eit over, but the fact remains. Quark and Photoshop are available for Windows also. So to claim that someone would emulate them instead of just buy the real version is ridiculous. Things like Final Cut, are better examples of things people would want to emulate that are robust, and reliant on OS X. but come on, quark and photoshop? no one in their right mind would emulate those.

Here is my question? How would a mac handle something like 3ds max? i think they are at v.5 now. I do not claim to be an expert, and something may have changed since i last checked, a few years ago, but 3ds max is not available on the mac, so they would have to emulate.

from what i am gathering from this thread. It seems more probable to use a risc based powerpc processor to emulate soemthing that is not cross platform, than the otherway around.

but how successful is it?

Anyone doing this on their mac? I know microsoft just bought out virtual PC or whatever that pc emu product was. any forsite into how this will affect pc emu?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fusion    0
The only reason people go nuts over the 17 inch Ibook is for the 17 inch screen. I mean its just a laptop for gosh sakes... any computer maker can make that.. its just that apple at the moment is alittle better... that and the 17 inch screen.

Hmm thats funny. I could have swore there was no such thing as a 17 inch Ibook. I thought they just came in 12 and 14. Lol, :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
+warwagon    13,976

I ment Powerbook :-P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aaron901    1
The only reason people go nuts over the 17 inch Ibook is for the 17 inch screen. I mean its just a laptop for gosh sakes... any computer maker can make that.. its just that apple at the moment is alittle better... that and the 17 inch screen.

thats really bull**** man.

can i say that motorola can make a 5GHz processor thats much better than intel, its just that intel at the moment is a little bit better?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
aaron901    1
why must people who don't know anything post as if they do?

i second that :rolleyes:

and most of them don't even have experience with it, and just blah blah blah... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chicane-UK    675
Hmm thats funny. I could have swore there was no such thing as a 17 inch Ibook. I thought they just came in 12 and 14. Lol, :laugh:

http://www.apple.com/powerbook/index17.html

Um....... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wickedkitten    12

no matter how fast your pc is, it wont run osx, and besides that speed is relative. If you are an impatient person then go ahead and buy the fastest processor x86 machine and be happy. Me personally, I could care less if photoshop takes 5 seconds to open cos I don't normally sit there and watch it, I switch back to the browser and read a webpage.

I'm not going to close the thread because its been about contention so far without much flaming (which is good).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tran    0

Right now I'm using a P4 2.4GHz Sony. Downstairs by dad owns a G4 iMac at 800Mhz, a PowerBook at some speed (don't know) and my brother owns an iBook at 750Mhz. Now I haven't touched the iBook (cause he keeps it away from me) but have used the PowerBook (briefly, downloading Animatrix traielr) and the iMac (whenever my dad isn't home). I have to say that the iMac, to me, seems just as fast, not faster, then my Sony. This says something. I went to local Apple store (it's called B. Mac, I live in Ottawa), and my dad was looking at the Dual 1.25 GHz PowerMac, he and I were both blown away!!! (well not literally, it was attached to the 20" HD screen, that was nice) The PowerMac was amazing!!! It was really fast but my dad had his sights on the Dual 1.42 so I can only imagine... Truth is that I personally don't know which is faster, my current PC (cause my mom and I own the only PC in the house, mom owns a P3 750MHz Sony laptop) or the Dual 1.25 PoweMac. I do know for certain that mine is faster than the iMac downstairs, but I have yet to compare it to the latest iMac presently. The choice is yours, I really want a Mac but still keeping my PC. I like to have the best of both worlds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joshie    1,106
Me personally, I could care less if photoshop takes 5 seconds to open cos I don't normally sit there and watch it, I switch back to the browser and read a webpage.

Thing is, the do-something-else method of waiting for something to load is one of those points that can benefit either side of the argument, and in fact each side has usually used it in positive and negative ways.

For example, if Photoshop took longer to load in Windows, and opened instantly in OS X, OS X fans would preach about how totally awesome groovy tubular their computers are. If Photoshop, however, took longer in OS X, and loaded instantly in Windows, they'd say something much like what you said: "Who cares about a few seconds load time? I can just do something else while I wait. Speed isn't everything!!"

In fact, haven't I heard something like that in this very thread already?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wickedkitten    12
Thing is, the do-something-else method of waiting for something to load is one of those points that can benefit either side of the argument, and in fact each side has usually used it in positive and negative ways.

For example, if Photoshop took longer to load in Windows, and opened instantly in OS X, OS X fans would preach about how totally awesome groovy tubular their computers are. If Photoshop, however, took longer in OS X, and loaded instantly in Windows, they'd say something much like what you said: "Who cares about a few seconds load time? I can just do something else while I wait. Speed isn't everything!!"

In fact, haven't I heard something like that in this very thread already?

I'm not everyone else, I personally give a rats ass how long they load on either platform or how fast it takes to do anything on either platform.

I'm a true elitist mac ###### and not your typical mac fangirl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.