Running OS X on a dell

Hey mods delete this please if it’s violating anything or even if it’s thought in bad taste - I’m not sure how this is viewed nowadays.

My Mbp died - finally - a couple of weeks back (but miracles of miracles is still running metric halo mio 2882!) so I haven’t been that concerned as I can still play…

So I just cannot stomach the price of a replacement Mac and until metric halo brings out the loooooooong overdue 3D card (which will connect to a crumpet when released) but until then, OS X only…
I’ve found a few other computers that will run OS X and they’re more than half the cost of the equivalent Mac - it’s the dell inspirion 7559 and there are painfully extensive installation instructions…

So i was wondering does anyone else run OS X like this and what are your experiences - both good and bad - related to music production

I did briefly mess with hackingtoshing non-apple PCs, but soon gave up. The problem is, you need to put the hardware together with compatibility in mind, picking the most compatible components, or you’ll just keep banging your head against walls (physically, out of anger and frustration).
But maybe you are lucky and your dell is good for that… I know there’s different people here who are running MacOS on non-Apple hardware, I’m sure somebody can tell you more.

But you could also throw everything over board and just embrace Linux :slight_smile:

I’ve heard that WINE wrappers around VSTs are getting better, but are not yet trouble free in all cases. Depends largely on how the VST dev chose to implement their UI.

Personally, if I wanted to run a Dell for music with the least amount of hassle, I’d put Windows on it.

If you value your time then the price of a Macbook is not so bad. After decades of fighting with Windows and Linux I bought my first Mac in 2000 and have never looked back. More expensive? Yes. But I also spend a fraction of the time just trying to get it to work and wasting days fighting with drivers, registry entries, and configuration.

Running MacOS on non-Mac hardware is a recipe for lost time and productivity…

I should start by saying that I’m not an Apple fan. Never been and still am not. If at all I might be a Linux fan, but even that is probably a bit of a hyperbole.
This said, I would just buy a macbook.
Mostly for the reasons @emenel pointed out. I have spent many years assembling my own computers and happily ran Windows and even did some music with them, but at one point things started to work less and less. I’m talking about:

  • firewire audio interfaces dropping out and glitching due to bad chipsets
  • audio performance degrading over time
  • Windows freaking out if I would plug in USB devices on different ports than before

after 2 years I just got a 13" macbook, and all problems got solved. Plus all class-compliant hardware runs driver-free. I still have that computer and it runs fine still (it’s now 7 years old).
I doubt you’ll be able to make any recent macbook last more than 5 years (they really don’t make them as they used to anymore imho) but it still seems the best option to
me for the kind of stuff you do (if I assessed that correctly that is)

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I’ve researched it extensively and people recommend using a well tested laptop instead of a desktop (because of all the variables I guess - I was surprised initially at this) and the dell and levono (sic) the most recommended…

I went to apple and saw a Mac mini which is cool with me, I just need something that will run my interface. The ram is soldered to the motherboard so I would have to buy their crazy expensive ram and know how much I need for the life of the computer - just a dumb Apple move…

I’ve had my mbp for about 5 years and it’s been ok but every single part of it has eventually failed so I’m not sold on the “quality” pitch of the Mac. My FireWire port failed 2 years ago and I’ve been running it off a FireWire to lightning adaptor perfectly fine

I run a 2882 and they are about to release a 3D card which will run on win/OS X/Linux/iOS but right now is OS X only…

Sounds like you’ve got it sorted out. Computers break. I use all the platforms on a regular basis. They each have their strengths and weaknesses. There are definitely variations in price/performance/reliability that don’t always pencil out in straight arithmetic, but I wouldn’t make generalizations about this based on platform. It all shifts over time, from model to model within a product line, and throughout the industry as well.


I had OSX on an MSI Wind netbook around 2009 / 2010, though I’m sure things have come a long way since then. Back then one issue was that even if you had a working system, OS updates could cause issues are require manual fixes. Personally I feel that since getting reliable audio recording can be fiddly anyway, I wouldn’t want to introduce a hackintosh setup into the mix. I would probably just try to repair my MBP, or buy a used or refurb model to replace it.

I should add that I got a second-hand pre-dustbin Mac Pro for really little money last year, just add some compatible RAM and an SSH (you don’t have to get them from Apple btw.) and you got yourself a pretty decent workstation even if the thing is quite old now.

So I’ve been researching more and more and then I stopped myself and have decided that the last thing I need is a variable like a hackintosh when I’m busy with other stuff and potential conflicts, that because of the tiny amount of people using the same potential combination as me I’d have no idea if it was the dell causing the problem…

So I’ve decided on a second hand Mac mini…if anyone knows of a particular model that’s awesome or one that’s to be avoided please let me know :slight_smile:

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So it seems I may have avoided a scam! It was priced very well, dude wouldn’t talk on the phone but spoke great English on text - I got him to write my name and send me a pic with that, which he did…anyways, damn…what’s wrong with people???

So this has turned into a little bit of buying advise around the Mac mini if anyone is experienced?

This site makes it very easy to both identify and compare different models of Apple products.

Personally I wouldn’t run with less than 8GB of RAM and at least an I5 CPU, but 4GB and Core 2 Duo can be made to work if you are super careful about resource usage.

I had the 2012 quad core i7 Mac Mini until recently & would definitely recommend this model. 2nd hand prices are quite reasonable. I would look into installing an SSD if it comes with a mechanical drive - I would say that was the only downside of mine.

(OT - I’m pretty impressed with Windows 10 after a few years on OSx. I’m even happy using Edge where installing a 3rd party web browser was usually the first thing I did on a new PC).

Sorry for essentially cut/copy the ad but I couldn’t past the URL

So this one? 250 more than the non existent Dell :slight_smile:

Mac Mini Quad-Core i7 2.6 for sale, with original box. Ex-Media server. Ships Australia Wide.

22-nm Quad Core “Ivy Bridge” CTO 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 (3720QM) (Same CPU as 2013 Macbook Pro Retina);

6 MB shared level 3 cache;

16GB of 1600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (PC3-12800) memory;

1 TB Fusion drive (1TB HDD & 128GB SSD)

Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Ports: Firewire “800” port, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt, combined “audio line in (digital/analog)” and combined “audio line out/headphone (digital/analog)” minijacks, a 10/100/1000Base-T Gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and an SDXC card slot.


Geekbench 3 Single Core (64): 3208

Geekbench 3 Multi Core (64): 12567


*the miracle of the working MIO is no more. Lost Comms with her this afternoon…tear

I think mine was only 2.3 Ghz & had a regular mechanical drive rather than the fusion, but otherwise the same.

I suppose it depends what you want to do with it & how much it will cost you; I was still very happy with mine but had to dispose for logistical reasons (I lost the space to have a desktop computer/monitor at home).

Also worth considering how much longer Apple will officially support it for, that may or may not be an issue for you.

My processing needs are very minimal really. My dsp will be done in the MIO environment and I do all processing currently in the modular

But I always try and stroke the best performance/price I can like everyone I guess