Psystar may have shown they can deliver their OS X-running Open Computer into customers’ hands, but now attention turns to whether this pre-built Hackintosh can offer comparable performance and, even more importantly, stability to Apple’s own range. Engadget have been running some preliminary tests [warning: loud autoplay video!] on their unit, and while the benchmarks seem to suggest the Open Computer falls somewhere within the Mac mini/iMac/MB/MBP range, they’ve also had some persistent hardware and software issues. These include regularly dropped network connections, incompatibility with the Apple System Profiler and a fan that sounds like a chopper taking off.
However it’s the lack of software updates that could cause the most issues. Psystar’s shipped unit arrived with 10.5.2, build 9C31, whereas the latest build from Apple is 9C7010. On a proper Mac that would just be a case of hitting update (or, more likely, letting it continually update itself in the background), but Psystar are yet to detail exactly how they’ll provide ongoing support. Considering the frequency of bug-fixes, patches and general tweaks these days, it won’t be long before your Open Computer is left trailing behind.
The question remains: who are Psystar targeting their machines at? Enthusiasts seem to concur that they could put together a better setup using the guidance of the freely-available OSX86 project, while those looking for a cheaper entry point into Apple’s well-publicised stability and ease of use will be disappointed by how ramshackle the Psystar system appears to be. More dangerously, while Apple has suffered the work of the OSX86 team quietly hacking away in a not-for-profit capacity, they’re unlikely to be so accommodating to Psystar who are trying to make money out of it, especially if it could lead to people believing OS X is buggy and temperamental. Some are suggesting that we’ll soon see updates pushed out from Apple that undermines the whole thing.
Still interested in a Psystar machine? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.