Psystar Declares Gutsiness With New Apple Clone


open3-osx4Apparently Psystar isn’t content to sit back and rest on their laurels (which consist primarily of being really good at making loud fan noise). Despite the ongoing legal battle between themselves and Apple (s aapl), they just released yet another addition to their line of Mac clones. The new machine, called the Open(3), is obviously meant to compete directly with Apple’s recently released Mac mini refresh.

And compete it does, when it comes to hardware specifications. The Open(3)’s base configuration includes a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo E7400 processor, 2GB DDR2 800 RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM SATA HD, and a GeForce 8400GS 256MB graphics card. All of which nicely one-ups the Mac mini’s specifications at the same price point of $599. Of course, you don’t get the same small form factor that you do with the mini, but you do get the ability to upgrade to a 1TB HD, add in an extra HD, and choose from a bevy of other options.

It seems like quite the package, considering the price, but if you take a closer look at what isn’t there, it starts to look a little fishy. No FireWire, no Bluetooth, and no networking (Ethernet or wireless) are included at all at the $599 price point, and all are fairly costly add-ons. Plus, integrated Bluetooth isn’t available, and instead you get a USB dongle for your extra 40 bucks.

Psystar seems to be keeping the general price tag low by nickel and diming you on basic extras that should be included to begin with. Even if you still end up getting more muscle for your money in the end, I’m not tempted in the least by this offering. How future-proof is a Psystar machine, after all, even leaving aside the issue of their legal battle with Apple? Who’s to say that Snow Leopard, when it comes out, will be completely and permanently incompatible with Psystar hardware? You get what you pay for, and I think this is especially the case with these clone machines. That said, if anyone actually takes the plunge and decides to buy one of these, I’d love to hear about your experiences.


Ben Perkins

I have the Open (Q) system from Psystar (2.5GHz Quad Core, 4GB RAM) and have been fairly pleased. When I emailed Psystar about a wireless card (as I didn’t want to pay $99 for theirs) here’s what they sent back:

Thank you for choosing Psystar. Cards such as the one listed below are known to work with your computer.
[$52 at time of posting]

I’ve had one or two issues with the computer, for instance once the sound card simply would not be recognized. I sent them an email and within 24 hours they sent me a very, VERY simple patch to run that corrected the problem. They later followed up to make sure everything had worked.

The only problem I have with the Psystar computer I have is the webcam; apparently OS X only checks for webcams at startup, so if I turn my monitor off, the webcam will not be recognized again until I reboot. This is a bit of a pain, I will admit, but it’s not a huge deal.

My $1000 Psystar (I included the price of my HD monitor, keyboard, etc. because you would get that at Apple) would have cost something in the ballpark of $3000 at Apple.

I have purchased a copy of Snow Leopard (family pack) and am willing to test an install on my Psystar after I back it up if anyone is interested in that. It may work since it appears to be the same process as updating 10.5.5 to 10.5.6 which I did on my Psystar with no troubles to speak of.

Matt White

I have a Psystar with leopard and would be interested in how your test install goes.

Mike Kozak

Late to the party on this, but was searching something else.

I was one of the first people to get it (my unboxing was on engadget and gizmodo) and it’s fucking awesome. I got a quad core configuration, with 4 gigs of ram…

It DID have built in ethernet…not wireless/bluetooth
I already had a low-profile firewire card and a bluetooth dongle so I was covered…

In regards to the EFI-X comment. They are no where to be found today, while Psystar is easily available. My friend built a hackintosh right before my purchase, using the EFI-X chip. It fried about 3 months back and he’s unable to get any assistance. Screwed.


Why buy something like this? Get the EFI-X and you can build the practical equivalent of a $3000 Mac Pro for less than $1200.

You can also run Linux/Windows based systems. And it will be covering Snow Leopard as well.

I have two of the devices, and love them. You can install all software updates, and the system is very stable, even when running professional applications, like Avid and Final Cut Pro.

David B

I’ve been looking for a good spot to say this, and noah d’s comment leads me to say it here (although it has nothing to do with this post in particular):

This is a really good blog. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I considered removing TAB from my RSS feed, but over the past several months TAB has overtaken Lifehacker and TUAW as my favorite blog. The quality and quantity of posts are spot-on. Keep up the great work, guys, and thanks for bringing quality content to my Google Reader every day.

noah d

Hm at least it’s reasonably priced, and doesn’t charge $35434958092365932604236043 to add a gig of RAM.

Apple is overpriced period. Only thing is Psystar should make a $399 Mac (which will be better than the Mini anyways).

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