10 January 2010

Proof Of Concept : Leopard on the HP Mini 311

As un-wallet-friendly and unacceptable it is, the fact of the matter remains that the Broadcom WiFi cards that the current HP Mini 311 ships with as stock configuration do NOT work in Snow Leopard. To be precise and to put it in black and white once and for all to potential question of "Does WiFi work under Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on the HP Mini 311-xxxxxx?"; Snow Leopard can only go as far as sensing the presence of those specific cards but remains, upto this day, UNABLE to "switch them On" for exploitation. So even if the it's a Broadcom "4312" and technically falls under the BCM_43xx family of wireless modules, a family that's supposedly supported via the plugin present in the IO80211Family.kext; a simple info.plist editing for that plugin suffices NOT.

But there have been reports that the stock WiFi works under Leopard. And so I have to see first hand to know and that's why I did an experiment over the weekend.

As far as I'm concerned, and after dabbling with Leopard on the HP Mini 311 for alternatives these are my choices at the end of the day, err, the weekend:

(1) Snow Leopard on the HP Mini 311 = reflash your unit's bios withe de-whitelisted one courtesy of icelord and get a Snow Leopard compatible WiFi module.
(2) Stock WiFi card/module on the HP Mini 311 = OS X Leopard 10.5 via Netbook BootMaker.

AirPort 1 is actually my HP Mini 1000's WiFi card

And for the first time (I didn't bother checking it out in Win 7), I got to say "hi" to my Mini 311's stock WiFi card's MAC address.

However, this post does NOT claim that option (2) is already a viable alternative to option (1) as two important features, among minute other details, are still to be figured out - Quartz Extreme/Graphics acceleration and audio. Without QE, it's just painful to work in Mac OS X, in my opinion.

So if you want a working machine for a third of what the MacBook Air costs, the HP Mini 311 even with the inevitable costs for replacing the WiFi module still fits that bill nicely with Snow Leopard installed. (And if you don't mind the measly 2 hour battery life, of course). Plus you get an active community at insanelymac to go to for resource (for questions or support, go to this thread, to avoid getting scolded ;)).

In my case, there's little stigma for me to be enthusiastic in slaving away trying to get Quartz Extreme and audio enabled under Leopard since I've already got my WiFi card replacement from my dead Mini 1000 - I've got a working setup in my hands already.

But it's something I'm still toying the idea of. Going for option (2) will have to be put to the back burner, is all I'm saying.
And if anyone's interested, here's what you do to get a semi-functional Leopard on your HP Mini 311 with working stock WiFi card as the only reward:

What you need: Download NetbookBootMaker and MacOSX10.5.6 Combo Update (if your retail DVD installer isn't already 10.5.6 - we're using 10.5.6 just to be sure NetbookBootMaker works), Leopard Retail DVD, a working Mac/hackintosh, a spare USB drive 8gb plus.
What to do:
(1) Plug in your spare drive (on your functional Mac/hackintosh) and launch Disk Utility to format it as MBR or GUID.
(2) With the Leopard Retail DVD mounted (this'll be faster if you have an .dmg image of the DVD installer on the Mac/hackintosh you're gonna do this procedure on), navigate Cmd+Shift+G to /Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/System/Installation/Packages.
(2) Look for the file "OSInstall.mpkg" and launch it, pointing the installation to the spare USB drive you've just formatted in Step (1).

^Obviously my Apacer usb flashdrive which is only 4gb can't work; you'd need at least 6.5 gb for Leopard. Anyway, let's just pretend it's all fine.
(3) Once the installation is completed - it's a loooooong process by the way, yours may vary depending on your machine and drive - launch the 10.5.6ComboUpdate package and point the installation to the spare external drive you installed Leopard on.
(4) Again, after the running the update - another long process in my experience - launch NetbookBootMaker, choosing your spare drive as destination.
(5) Now get your HP Mini 311, plug in the drive you just did all this stuff to, press F9 to choose your drive. Chameleon will load; press any key to interrupt loading and type this:

"GraphicsMode"="1366x768x32" -v

Then press Enter.

If all goes well (that is, within the limits of expectations from this exercise), you'll have a a working Leopard on the HP Mini 311 with WiFi without replacing the stock card BUT WITHOUT:
(a) Quartz Extreme
(b) Audio

If you want to experiment further, see the old post at the insanelymac thread for the HP Mini 311 Darwin Project for experimenting with *NVEnabler.kext to get Quartz Extreme working.
Remember the shoe? UpdateExtra found in /Extra of your drive (where you installed Leopard and applied NetbookBootMaker on) is again your dear friend.
*I had tried this once but it didn't work the first time and I'm still lazy to try again. Sorry.


HP Laptop Parts said...

I have never seen or used a Mac Mini before, but for a device with no optical drive and limited hard drive space, I would rather spend my money on a Mac Mini than the MacBook Air. The mini is a clever rendition of the standard Mac Book, and can perform with incredible efficiency.

LeMaurien19 said...

My exact sentiments :D
That's no MacBook Air/MacBook for me for mobile computing - because all I do when I'm on the go on a laptop is mostly cloud computing. And I could get Mac OS X Snow Leo on a cheap netbook (an "HP MacBook Mini") for all that email/blogging stuff and some more for not as much.
For desktop and home computing, the Mac Mini specially the newer model, more than delivers :D

Amit Meena said...

can you help me with enabling the BCM 4312 on HP DV6 2164TX

if you can, please buzz me on amitkool21@gmail.com

thanx a lot