EFi-X USA to sell pre-made PCs as do-it-yourself Mac clones

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Leveraging an internal adapter that lets many generic PCs run Mac OS X, a company called EFi-X USA now plans to offer a solution that potentially allows customers to create their own Mac systems.



Unlike the offerings from besieged clone maker Psystar, the EFi-X USA Millennium 4 will be targeted directly at the performance crowd. It's expected to boast a Core 2 Quad processor overclocked to at least 3.8GHz, 4GB of memory, a GeForce 8800 GTS video card and a high-speed disk combination that includes a 150GB, 10,000RPM boot drive and a 1TB, 7,200RPM secondary drive that holds the bulk of the computer's storage. Two DVD rewriters will also be included.



The system will reportedly sell for $1,899 (plus the additional cost of a $199 EFi-X dongle) and deliver "85-90%" of the performance of a top-end Mac Pro for less than half the price, according to a company spokesman. Buyers can also potentially custom-order systems themselves.



Even faster models based on Xeon hardware, nicknamed the Millennium 8, 16 and 24 for their uses of two, four, and six quad-core processors, are due in as little as 60 days. The Millennium 24 is known to have six 2.13GHz Xeon L7455 chips that trade their raw clock speed for multi-processor support.



The emphasis on performance also switches the target market. While Psystar and others have mostly tried to recruit Windows veterans looking for a familiar system, EFi-X USA is actively seeking existing Mac users, especially those who would otherwise be faced with buying a Mac Pro to get the performance they want. The company is expanding beyond making the adapters alone because it sees existing desktop Mac users as wanting speed and simplicity at the same time.



"Of those [desktop buyers], I think there are a fair amount of them that would like something faster," the EFi-X USA spokesman said. "Most people that are new to the Mac buy an iMac or a laptop. [But] Mac people want easy."



This extends to the EFi-X adapter itself, which is the essential ingredient and replaces the BIOS of the motherbard with an autosensing EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) subsystem that controls the pre-boot environment of a system. The solutions provider is confident its approach won't cause the technical problems that have plagued Psystar and other first-wave clone builders.



The EFi-X card's firmware allows the Millennium 4 to run a variety of operating systems, including Mac OS X, and won't force owners to turn to the command line or to skip important updates when a hack isn't available. Apple's Software Update and other downloads purportedly work as they do on an official Mac.



Accordingly, the Millennium's mainboard and other components have been chosen for their similarity to hardware supported by Mac OS X, which should recognize the parts as though they were Apple's own.



Standard and custom-order Millennium 4s will ship in an Antec P180 enclosure.



More importantly, the systems will potentially avoid the legal pitfalls that have spurred an exchange of lawsuits and countersuits between Apple and Psystar. EFi-X USA will mention Mac OS X as one of the operating systems supported by the system, but won't install the software itself. "We want to be clear about that," the spokesman says. The company also won't sell the EFi-X dongle pre-installed in the Millennium; it must be purchased as a separate product.



Whether or not this will stand Apple's scrutiny is yet to be determined. Although it's true the brunt of Apple's case against Psystar has focused on violating the end-user license agreement by running Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, the current version of the Mac maker's lawsuit accuses the Florida-based defendant of contributing to infringement by letting users run a system that violates the license. Still, EFi-X USA believes it can at least prevent customers' systems from being knocked out by Apple software updates or revisions that might lock out competing clones.



"According to [our] engineers, there is no way Apple can disable the EFi-X card without disabling their own Intel Macs," the spokesman further points out. "There is no way that Apple can disable the EFi-X card because it utilizes the same open firmware that [its] own boards use and thus would render all of [Apple's] own desktops useless as a result."



The EFi-X USA website is expected to be updated with purchase details on the Millennium 4 this coming Monday.



Update: Art Studios Entertainment Media, which owns the EFI-X logo and trademark, sent AppleInsider a statement saying it is surprised at EFi-X's approach to its new multi-OS systems and "denies officially any involvement with this Millennium project."



"Art Studios Entertainment Media is now completely untied to and not approving ANY of the Millennium project of EFIX USA LLC, and denies whatsoever implication with it," a spokesperson said.



EFi-X and EFi-X USA are two different companies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 217
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    The cloners are circling Apple's wagon. I don't believe Apple will be able to fend them all off and will eventually have to give in. They may be forced to give in.
  • Reply 2 of 217
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    The cloners are circling Apple's wagon. I don't believe Apple will be able to fend them all off and will eventually have to give in. They may be forced to give in.



    No Apple will continue to hit them with everything they got.
  • Reply 3 of 217
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTel View Post


    The cloners are circling Apple's wagon. I don't believe Apple will be able to fend them all off and will eventually have to give in. They may be forced to give in.



    It is not that simple. There are billions of dollars at stake here. If Apple with more than $20 billion in cash cannot defend their products and business plan, who could?!



    I think we know one more John Doe now.
  • Reply 4 of 217
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    People who don't want to play by the rules always ruin the fun for those of us that do. Now are we going back to proprietary firmware, product serial numbers, activation and so forth?
  • Reply 5 of 217
    It shows an underlying desire by a larger and larger segment of the population to have the Apple experience without paying for Apple hardware. The halo works.



    Eventually Apple may choose to reel them in with cheaper hardware options, license hardware production to a third party (like HP) or (highly-unlikely) license the OS to other OEMs.



    The commodity players out there only have Windows…and it's clearly becoming less and less desirable as their market gets more and more hyper competitive. Netbooks have eaten everyone's lunch in year one – what happens next year when things get more economically challenging?



    All the balls really seem in Apple's court. Let's hope they capitalize on them.
  • Reply 6 of 217
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bandalay View Post


    It shows an underlying desire by a larger and larger segment of the population to have the Apple experience without paying for Apple hardware. The Halo works.



    I think this shows the underlying desire by many to make money off Apples success



    Quote:

    Eventually Apple may choose to reel them in with cheaper hardware options, license hardware production to a third party (like HP) or (highly-unlikely) license the OS to other OEMs.



    Apple already tried that before and did not work. They almost went bankrupt as a result.
  • Reply 7 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    People who don't want to play by the rules always ruin the fun for those of us that do. Now are we going back to proprietary firmware, product serial numbers, activation and so forth?



    This is my concern also. If Apple can't legally stop stuff like this then they're simply going to have to crack down on the distribution of Mac OS X. Right now they are only protected by the EULA on boxed copies of Leopard, and who knows if that will stand up to a legal challenge? In the future I'm guessing we'll be seeing Apple being much more controlling over the distribution of Mac OS X updates, so that people can't use the "loophole" of being able to buy a boxed copy of Mac OS X as a reason to allow them to install it on a non-Apple machine.
  • Reply 8 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    People who don't want to play by the rules always ruin the fun for those of us that do. Now are we going back to proprietary firmware, product serial numbers, activation and so forth?



    Pretty much. I figured Apple moving to Intel would create the birth of the Hackintosh from the fan that want to tinker but never did I think that 3 companies would try to leech off of Apple as a business model.



    All these companies are doing is fcking up the chance for you to dabble with a Hackintosh in the future. Apple is going to end up locking the OS down to a TPM chip on the motherboard and it will kill the happy hacking stuff that users want to do.



    This shit just bugs me. Yes I think Mac Pro should be a bit cheaper but I'm not condoning some leech company siphoning from the platform when they haven't contributed a damn thing.
  • Reply 9 of 217
    crebcreb Posts: 276member
    I purchase a Mac because of its design, quality, and other issues they this device, and hardware cannot provide. I do not see myself changing any time soon.
  • Reply 10 of 217
    Is the EFi-X really unstoppable? Couldn't Apple simply bring out an EFI update to all Macs that say adds some proprietary power management code that would obviously be optimized for Mac hardware and be critical to OS X functionality. That isn't necessarily malicious since it may make sense to place power management code at such a low level and may be useful during pre-boot and for Boot Camp, but EFi-X can't copy it without infringement. And Psystar computers presumably still use a BIOS so couldn't really implement the code at all.



    All this fuss, it makes you wonder why Apple didn't just implement TPM on every Intel Mac and avoid this issue from the beginning.
  • Reply 11 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    People who don't want to play by the rules always ruin the fun for those of us that do. Now are we going back to proprietary firmware, product serial numbers, activation and so forth?



    Indeed. And I find it disturbing how many people on AI and other mac forums support Psystar. Short sighted dimwits spoiling it for everyone else. Too many ex PC users on the platform nowadays is my honest opinion!
  • Reply 12 of 217
    ...a midrange tower and I *swear* I won't buy a competitor's hardware. I *like* your hardware. I just want something I can upgrade that doesn't cost a bazillion dollars.
  • Reply 13 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post


    Apple is going to end up locking the OS down to a TPM chip on the motherboard and it will kill the happy hacking stuff that users want to do.



    This might be difficult being as Apple haven't been including a TPM chip on any Intel Macs since the original ones.
  • Reply 14 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by godrifle View Post


    ...a midrange tower and I *swear* I won't buy a competitor's hardware. I *like* your hardware. I just want something I can upgrade that doesn't cost a bazillion dollars.



    There are no competitor hardware. Buy a hackintosh all you want but you have no support and one day you may be locked out. It's not worth it IMO. I'm simply not going to rely on a machine that's one system update from trouble.
  • Reply 15 of 217
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Indeed. And I find it disturbing how many people on AI and other mac forums support Psystar. Short sighted dimwits spoiling it for everyone else. Too many ex PC users on the platform nowadays is my honest opinion!



    I have a feeling it's going to come in Snow Leopard, and we will have a lot of complaining from the Mac community but that's life, thanks for ruining it for the rest of us.
  • Reply 16 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dr_lha View Post


    This might be difficult being as Apple haven't been including a TPM chip on any Intel Macs since the original ones.



    Doesn't mean they won't start doing with their next hardware revision... I'll bet they do in fact. It wouldn't be that hard to do; all they need is a chip that has hardware info hardcoded on it with serial number, model, etc. Then they add a simple checking routine into the OS X installer; no chip on the MB, no installation occurs.



    I agree with other posters here though... this is nothing more than carpet baggers trying to leech off of Apple's success.
  • Reply 17 of 217
    Pystar will lose because:



    1) They can't support OS X as is directly from the CD.

    2) They modified OS X, violating Apple's copyright and the DMCA in the process. They needed to do.

    3) They installed OS X on their systems, distributing that infringing work.

    4) They violated Apple's EULA on installing the OS on other systems.



    Now, along comes EFI-X. They offer hardware that is in theory 100% compatible with unmodified OS X, allowing users to take an OS X DVD and install it directly onto their system. They don't install or distribute OS X, so they're not violating any copyright. They don't have the hack the OS in order to receive updates.



    Only the EULA becomes a consideration now. Then again, it's the user who must accept the EULA, so EFI-X can only be found guilty as an "accessory" to EULA infringement. This may not stand up in court.



    An interesting side effect of all this is that we may be seeing more companies selling EFI systems, and other OS's like Linux supporting EFI.
  • Reply 18 of 217
    I (and many others) have been clamoring for a lower-cost Mac tower for... oh... only 15 years now.



    C'mon, Steve. Don't blow your chance at market share (for the hundredth time)
  • Reply 19 of 217
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bowser View Post


    Doesn't mean they won't start doing with their next hardware revision... I'll bet they do in fact. It wouldn't be that hard to do; all they need is a chip that has hardware info hardcoded on it with serial number, model, etc. Then they add a simple checking routine into the OS X installer; no chip on the MB, no installation occurs..



    Thing about Unix is that once you have a mount point you can do just about anything you want so it is not just the installer but the whole OS needs to be hardware aware. That is why you need the host id and activation.
  • Reply 20 of 217
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    People who don't want to play by the rules always ruin the fun for those of us that do. Now are we going back to proprietary firmware, product serial numbers, activation and so forth?



    errr don't we already have 'proprietary' firmware, product serial numbers and an activation sequence ?

    if that's all you're worried about... \
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