Psystar Hoax Maybe Not a Hoax Afterall?

By Mike on 3:15 pm

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Maybe the Psystar Mac clones weren't a hoax after all. According to major tech website CNET, they have one ready for review. So, apparently, they are a real company after all. I'd be really interested to see their review of the system. In case you don't know, Psystar claimed to be selling Mac clones running OSX 10.5 Leopard on off the shelf PC hardware. The systems were selling as low as $400. According to CNET, the legitimacy issue created its payment handler to cut ties with the company, which raised questions as to whether or not this was a hoax. The systems run a hacked version of OS X created by the OSx86 project. However, OSx86 is not involved and does not endorse these systems.

Apple has yet to comment on this. According to the End User License Agreement, it is illegal to run OS X on anything but Apple hardware. This raises all sorts of legal questions upon what will happen to Psystar and even people who buy the systems. Personally, I don't think this is worth it. Not only is the legality questionable, the OS cannot be updated through conventional means. Each time a major update is released, you would have to download the latest cracked DVD ISO from OSx86 and reinstall the OS. If you really want a Mac, its best to buy Apple's own hardware such. Used and refurbished systems can be bought for the same price point provided you don't care about having the latest hardware.

I'll post a link to CNET's full review when it becomes available. As a side note, Psystar also sells the Open Computer with Vista Home Premium, Vista Ultimate, XP Pro, or Ubuntu 8.04. However, they don't preinstall Ubuntu. OS X either comes preinstalled or they'll let you do it yourself. Microsoft operating systems are preinstalled. Specs for the base model are as followed.

Gigabyte Motherboard (I don't know the exact model), Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 Allendale 2.2ghz, 250gb 7200rpm SATA HDD, Intel GMA950 Integrated grahics, 2gb DDR2. This is $399 with no OS, no keyboard and mouse, and no monitor.
The system can be upgraded to include a Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66ghz, 400gb HDD, Geforce 8600GT, firewire ports, 4gb DDR2, and built in Wifi.

Update: CNET gave the system a review in which it garnered 6 out of 10. That's pretty respectable for their site since they rarely give out anything above a 7 or 8. Apparently the system sounds like a jet engine when on. There's also the possiblilty Apple could brick these systems through an update like they tried to to with the hacked iPhone. CNET described them as being a system frozen in time, since the inability to update the software seems rather limiting. The system is a good value though and performs better than Apple's more expensive Mac Mini. It can also be upgraded. 

Endgadget also did some additional benchmarks through more technical tests and they compared it to genuine Macs on the market. The system seems comparable performance wise to a vanilla MacBook. 

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