Egg Freckles
Notes from my Newton

Tue 5/23 | Single Slot

Single Slot

Late last month I listed three 1080p gaming graphics cards that could be used in a low-profile PC or hackintosh. I dared readers with only a single available PCI slot in their PCs to remove the coolers on either the MSI Geforce GTX 750 Ti or MSI Radeon RX 460 4GTMSI Radeon RX 460 4GT, and attempt to cool their card without taking up the room needed for a second slot. Although I was able to do this with my MSI Radeon RX 460 4GT, the results were unstable. The card would eventually thermal throttle after several minutes of gaming.

Luckily for us NVIDIA and MSI have come up with a single-slot solution in the form of the GeForce GT 1030 2G LP OC. The GT 1030 brings basic 1080p gaming to even the smallest home theater PCs. And at only a 30 watts of power, this card is cool enough to make it into even the most underpowered business PCs.

Did I mention it's hackintosh compatible?

Wed 5/17 | Panic Pwned

Panic Pwned

Steve Frank of Panic fame admits to having his company's source code stolen:

Last week, for about three days, the macOS video transcoding app HandBrake was compromised. One of the two download servers for HandBrake was serving up a special malware-infested version of the app, that, when launched, would essentially give hackers remote control of your computer.

In a case of extraordinarily bad luck, even for a guy that has a lot of bad computer luck, I happened to download HandBrake in that three day window, and my work Mac got pwned.

Long story short, somebody, somewhere, now has quite a bit of source code to several of our apps.

I am sorry this happened to Steven, but at the same time honestly documenting this breach in a well-written blog post is just one of the reasons I love Panic so much.

Would this have happened to Steven if Handbrake, like so many other powererful Mac Apps, was restricted from the Mac App Store? If Handbrake had been in the Appe Store and protected by Apple's review process Panic's source code may have never been protected. I think it is unfortunate Apple is prioritizing the protection of Mac App Store users who prefer simple apps and games over the power-users and developers who require apps that push the Macintosh platform forward.

Mon 4/24 | Low Profile GPUs

Low Profile GPUs

In the world of PC gaming there are full-height graphics cards or there is no game at all. PC gaming requires high-performance graphics cards. High-performance graphics cards generate heat. As PC gamaing has evolved and system requirements have increased, so has the size of the thermal solutions required to keep high-performance graphics cards cool.

But large PCs full of fans are not for everyone. Some of us want to build a miniature hackintosh we can leave on our desktop, or a whisper-quiet HTPC we can leave under our TVs. We used to have to sacrifice 1080p gaming in order to meet our goals but these days there are a few half-height gaming graphics cards designed to fit in small-formfactor PCs,

All of these cards take up two PCI slots, but because they each draw less than 75W of power none of them requires a extra plug from the power supply. This makes these low-profile GPUs compatible with compact business PCs with custom power supplies that can't spare an extra plug.

If you are like me and like to cram the most power into the smallest space possible, you can even remove the fans on the GTX 750 Ti and RX 460 to make it a one slot card. Just remember to direct plenty of case cooling or the card will quickly overheat, crash or thermal-throttle. Needless to say removing the fans will void your warranty.

Thanks to NVIDIA's Web Drivers both GTX cards work with a Hackintosh, and the RX 460 works out of the box after installing to the latest Mac OS.

Wed 4/19 | Free iApps

Free iApps

Yesterday Apple updated several of its Mac and iOS apps, making them available for free on Mac OS and iOS.

MacRumors has the story:

iMovie, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, and GarageBand for both Mac and iOS devices have been updated and are now listed in the App Store for free.

Previously, all of these apps were provided for free to customers who purchased a new Mac or iOS device, but now that purchase is not required to get the software. Many Apple customers were already likely eligible to download the software at no cost if they had made a device purchase in the last few years.

Hackintosh users will no doubt take advantage of Apple's generosity even if using these apps on commodity PC hardware is against the terms of the license agreement. The real winners though are schools and business who won't have to worry about managing these essential iApps using apple's confusing Volume Purchase Program.

Sat 4/ 8 | New Pascal Drivers for Mac OS

New Pascal Drivers for Mac OS

Yesterday NVIDIA revealed they would be releasing Mac OS drivers for their Pascal microarchitecture GPUs. "This comes despite the fact that Apple hasn’t sold a Mac Pro that can officially accept a PCIe video card in almost half a decade."

So why is NVIDIA releasing a Mac driver to a market that, officially speaking, is essentially dead? Ryan Smith writing for AnandTech explains:

Instead it’s the off-label use that makes this announcement interesting, and indeed gives NVIDIA any reason whatsoever to make a Pascal driver release. Within the Mac community there are small but none the less vocal user groups based around both unsupported external GPUs and not-even-Apple-hardware Hackintoshes. In the case of the former, while macOS doesn’t support external GPUs (and isn’t certified as eGFX complaint by Intel), it’s possible to use Macs with Thunderbolt eGFX chassis with a bit of OS patching. Meanwhile with a bit more hacking, it’s entirely possible to get macOS running on a custom-built PC, leading to the now long-running Hackintosh space.

As a Hackintosh user I am surprised by this announcement. Hackintosh and eGPU users are a small but vocal percentage of the Mac OS user base. I honestly didn't think NVIDIA would commit to supporting their latest GPU architecture on unsupported systems, but then again maybe my line of thinking has been clouded by an Apple state of mind.

Before NVIDIA's announcement I was in process of selling my main Hackintosh with a Pascal-based GTX 1060 installed. Now I might consider changing my plans, unless someone makes me a decent offer first.