Robust and trouble free.
I published some early performance data for Mountain Lion on the Hackintosh a couple of weeks ago here, having earlier cautioned against early adoption owing to possible incompatibilities with older 32-bit applications.
Thus I determined to run Mountain Lion off back-up drives on three machines – the 2012 MacBook Air and my two Hackintoshes, HP100 and HP10. The latter pair use Gigabyte Z68X-UD2H-B3 motherboards, with Nvidia 9800GTX+ and GT430 twin monitor graphics cards, respectively. HP100 adds a third monitor via a DisplayLink USB dongle. The HP100 sports an i7 Sandy Bridge CPU, overclocked from 3.4GHZ to 4.4GHZ and the HP10 makes do with a modest i3 Sandy Bridge which cannot be overclocked, but serves just fine for streaming market data.
During the past two weeks I have used all three machines heavily at both my day job where I invest money and for processing my pictures using LR 4.1 and PS CS5.
It’s been pretty smooth sailing. All app vendors whom I favor have made sure their apps work with Mountain Lion with the natural exception of Xrite which prides itself on always being last, claiming they need to ‘test more’, even though Mountain Lion has gone through four Developer Previews in the six months before release. But that’s hardly news coming from a monopolist in the field of colorimeters – Huey, Eye1, Spyder – all Xrite, sadly. Still, while they screw around and generally act in their usual inept manner, you can be comforted with the knowledge that the Eye 1 display profiling app works perfectly fine with Mountain Lion, no thanks to Xrite, and likely unknown to them ….
As of today I am switching to Mountain Lion as the production OS on those three computers. It has proved bug free, robust and some of the enhancements are more than just eye candy. The addition of AirPlay, which permits anything on your screen to be routed to your TV to which an AppleTV is connected, is a tremendous value added and has all the TV companies searching for a change of underwear. Notifications and the ability to tailor these easily to your preference, are another great iOS feature which was overdue on the desktop. Safari is greatly improved, which probably says more about how dated it was with Lion, and installing Mountain Lion on a Hackintosh has never been easier. Overall speed may be a smidge slower than with the last version of Lion but it’s no big deal and my experience has shown that Apple generally speeds up a major OS as minor releases come along. CPU operating temperatures are unchanged from those seen in Lion.
I have had only one glitch and that was self-inflicted. The i7 Sandy Bridge overclocks easily up to 4.4GHz from 3.4GHz in stock form and when importing pictures and generating 1:1 previews in Lightroom on HP100, while simultaneously developing the early imports (hey, why wait?) I got a kernel panic. Turning down the CPU clock by some 2.5% to 4.3GHz solved the issue and while I could easily get to 4.5GHz or higher by messing with core voltages and a myriad of other variables in the BIOS, the return on effort and lower life span of the CPU mean I will not be going there. The machine is as fast as can be for my purposes.
So there are two messages from this experience:
- Once you are satisfied that your favorite apps will work, it’s safe to upgrade
- There has never been a better time to build a Hackintosh