Thursday, July 08, 2010

Snow Leopard on eMachines E250

Few words before.

When it comes with idea to make cheapest netbook with OSX , I start looking for different hackintosh distros to make it possible
It looks simple at first, but after trying with Leo and tiger I found out few problems with incompotability - because this netbook made of latest chips so tiger and leo have problems with SATA driver (no hard disk access), video - GMA950/945. The best try was iDened and Empire EFI (with original Snow DVD)- at least I was able to install it, while iAtkos, Kaleway have more problems with installation itself. Finaly, I found one more Snow Leopard installation - Hazards DVD. So ....
Specifications of this device are:

CPU - Intel Atom N270 1,6 GHz

RAM - 1 Gb DDRII 667

HD - 160 Gb SATA

Chipset - Intel GMA 945GSE (buil it graphics) (native screen mode 1024x600 32 bit)

LAN - Atheros (Attansic) L1e v2

WiFi - Broadcom BCM4312 chip (with firmware not compotabile with original Airport kext)

Its possible! Yeah!

Only few things to remember - still (on 25.07.2010) no kext for internal Wi Fi card - its modification of Broadcom 4315. And no kext for LAN - Attansic L2. Solutions - replace internal wi fi with another or use USB dongle - works perfect!
So what do we need ?

eMachines e250 Win XP netbook , external DVD drive (connected via USB),
Hazard`s Snow Leopard DVD disk, external monitor - just for installation.

Ultra cheap netbook with latest Snow Leopard OSX (currently 10.6.4)

First, start booting form Hazard`s DVD.
When it comes to target disk selection - goto menu - Tools - Disk Utility
Choose internal hard drive, selection 1 partition (or if you plan to install second OS any other number of partitions) and click Apply.

After we prepare disk for installing OSX , you can close Disk Utility and return back to target disk selection. Select prepared disk and (IMPORTANT) click Customize to chose what options do we need for successful installation.

1. Kernel - You need to choose 10.2 for Atom proccesors. If you plan to proceed steps to upgrade your system to 10.6.4 - you will replace it by 10.3 kernel afterwards.

2. Audio- I prefer to use AppleHDA since its works fine and preserve compotability

3. It was the most tricky thing - CMOS_reset_Fix ! Its not only fix problem with CMOS reset (not important - only for 64 bit mode and not work for e250 ), it also change how kernel read DMI and though detect components such as trackpad for example. After I checked all combinations, I found that in our case AppleRTC gives best results. Since trackpad is detects fine we select VoodooPS2 Trackpad for our machine. Not sure if SATA_AHCI_Fix really necessary but I checked it to avoid future problems.

4. And at last few final selections - SMBIOSResolver and UUID for networking, Rosetta for compatibility with PowerPC applications and QT - you know why ).

Now everything is set and you can proceed installing Mac OS - it will be done automatically until rebooting.

After that I suggest you to connect external monitor to VGA out and continue setting up account on it.

Now, the next thing you need to do is install GMA945 video kext - you always can get latest version form . Its necessary to make hardware graphics acceleration work. You always can check if it works - first of all in Screen Preferences - there will be large selection of possible screen resolutions - compare to few when there is generic video driver. Second way - when switch to dashboard , adding new widget will make screen waving like water - nice 3D effect !

Its fine to stop here , because 10.6 update doesn't make any sense for this configuration. But if you want to - try !

So, here is how to update:

You may update kernel first or install the update and replace kernel file BEFORE rebooting.

Updating can be downloaded from Apple

You need Combo since it have all files from between updates, not only updated files from last update.

Solution from NetKas - respect mate !

Use any disabler for AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext, for example – NullCPUPM.kext, install it to Extra mkext and reboot, of course if you made AppleIntelCPUPM to speedstep your cpu, you can skip this step.

Make backup of your kexts, you might need some.

Remove SleepEnabler.kext if you use it, this is very important step, old sleepenabler + new kernel = panic.

Hit the update button, if you need to edit some kexts AFTER update and BEFORE reboot

Download and apply replacing match_kernel with new 10.3 kernel - after fixing permissions cross fingers and reboot.

Now you can plug in USB wifi card to access network ! We`ve done!

Since there is no network (yet) you have two ways to solve WiFi problem :

a) replace Acer`s WiFi module (Broadcom 4312 chip) with compatible module or if with the same re-branded to make it work with original Apple kext.
I was try to re-brand this module on the same e250 but its not possible on this device so you can take it to another notebook for this procedure.
b) use external USB WiFi whistle (e.g Asus WL-167g) - it comes with own driver and works fine.
I tryed different ways to make internal network ports to work but wth no success. Even patching Apple 801IO kext doesnt help - best attempt - system "see" network card pluged in but can`t identify sad.. but maybe soon there will be kext solution. Lets hope!

After successful installation you can visit to get additional kexts for your equipment.

Also I succefully updated to 10.6.4 (with preprared kernels PC_EFI from NetKas web site) and with the help of his updating guide. Only thing you need to be carefull with is AppleIntelCPUPowerManagment.kext. Since it usually make troubles due incomtability with wrong kernel versions. It made to me some difficulties when I updating kernel.

Goog luck!
p.s. this was done for education purposes only ! Respect copyrights.


Pablísimo said...

Thanks for this guide! I could install it on my e250, but I can only run it with an external display, if I try to run it without it, the netbook screen gets gray. Can you post the kext for the graphic card you used? I downloaded one from, but I can't get it installed (It says is for 10.5 and I have 10.6.2) Thanks!

Rafal said...

Hello guys,

I have the same problem, running only with external display otherwise it gets grey.
Other stuff works like hell.

Thanks for that guide.

MiG-45 said...

There are always fresh version of 950 kext on! if you got gray screen and work only on external display - try -f -v as a kernel parameters during boot.

Pedro Lucas França said...

My eMachines D250 comes with a Atheros AR5B95 Wi-Fi , it work on Snow Leopard 10.6.6 ?

MiG-45 said...

Probably not - I was replace WiFi module with broadcom chip. But it is possible that at present time there is a kext for this Atheros chip.