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DIY MacBook for Less than 3000rmb

Turn a Dell into a MacBook 

MacBooks are awesome, but the thought of forking over more than 10,000rmb for the low-end model is just too depressing. But with a little hacking, you can DIY your own ‘hackintosh’ out of a 3,000rmb Dell ultraportable laptop.

The Hack

What is a hackintosh? It means installing Mac OS on a non-Apple machine. Only certain PC models’ hardware are compatible with Mac OS, and the Dell Mini 9 is reported to be ideal for the conversion. There is a step-by-step tutorial to handling the Mini 9 conversion via Gizmodo. And here is some more info on it. These guides say that the steps to convert the machine are simple and easy to follow. 


The Dell Mini 9

First off, these things are tiny. Aesthetically, this little laptop is very similar to something in the MacBook line;  it’s got a nice glossy case. But it is much smaller than anything Apple offers and should be excellent as an ultraportable option. They come in black and white, so be sure to make your preference clear to the Taobao Seller before you buy. Hard drives are also small, at 4, 8, or 16gb. You will need 16gb for the hack to work.

Get the 7-day Guaranteeseven-day-guarantee

There are several Sellers on Taobao who offer the seven-day unconditional refund guarantee on the Mini 9. I think this is a good idea, as it will give you an easy out if anything just doesn’t feel right. When you get it, test the hell out of it. You won’t have to worry about coverage past 7 days. Because once you hack the OS, you probably forgo any extended warranty. 

Dell Mini 9 – as low as 2900rmb

(link goes to search page, results may vary over time)


  • Lawrence said:

    Strangely enough (unless you are just reading all my posts on twitter and shexpat) I’ve built one of these already.



    Really really easy to install too.
    Download the boot132 iso from the Dell Mini site


    Burn to CD, boot from external CD, then plug in the Leopard DVD that you bought to do this legally.

    Install as normal, then reboot (put back the boot132 cd to boot)
    on reboot choose the hdd then type -f

    Finish the install, then install 10.5.6 if your DVD isn’t a recent one, then install the drivers from the boot132 cd.

    Takes about 30 minutes, and is really really easy.

  • The Field Guide (author) said:

    Thanks for the Field Report Lawrence. The conversion seems much easier than expected. And that looks like a sweet website you got running on the first pic there.

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