Mac's Gambit

Going over the move back to a Apple Macintosh product from Razer Blade Pro Hackintosh has been interesting. Moving from High Sierra on the Hackintosh to Big Sur on the Macintosh was way more involved than migration. The "Mac's gambit", much like "The Queen's Gambit", involves the same process of discovery and overcoming discrete challenges.

The first is the realization Hackintosh can be a solid platform when tuned to your needs. My Razer Blade Pro from 2017 will remain running 10.13.6 and serve as a backup platform. My move to Hackintosh was a solid choice in 2018 when Apple was losing in the laptop game with butterfly keys and display connector quality issues. It took me 4 months of trial and error, learning and playing to move my pawns (i.e., KEXTs) on the EFI game board to achieve a solid boot with most functionality (except battery and display brightness control). After a year of solid use, using my aging 2014 MacBook Pro 15 as a backup to the Razer, the time came to make the one USB C port work on the Blade. Hooking up a single dongle was addicting as the speed of backups using CCC and stability of the connection even in sleep mode. Eventually the battery expanded at about the time RazerCare ended and I decided to repaste the CPU/GPU. Replacement parts on eBay also was very helpful and refreshed my compassion for the venerable OS to remain end-of-life and still useful to the Intel platform.

The second challenge is the whole M1 versus Intel configuration. Basically SOC versus discrete CPU/GPU/security/etc. M1 is the "checkmate" move Apple made in the Mac's gambit in 2020. Despite a pandemic and limitations on JIT (just in time) product cycle development, the cleavage line was placed for Apple to make SOC standard for the whole product line. Intel will either fade or be a niche "Pro" feature. "Hackintosh" in Apple-speak as a platform era eventually moves to "classic" designation along with the Intel based Macintosh line.

The third, and most telling portion of the Mac gambit is the rise of Apple in the common computing space. Yet to be fully realized by market share, SOC based machines, in a pandemic based economy recovery or collapse, will remain a cost effective way to distribute compute. The gambit move began with the phone in 2007, following by the iPad and now the M1 based Macintosh line. Microsoft tried and failed with ARM based machines where Apple will steamroll forward.

Admittedly an addict to Intel based machines, I made the move from Razer to the likely last rendition of the MacBook Pro 16 inch in late 2020 (December actually). Quality control issues aside it is a good enough machine to wean my compute reliance on Intel before making the move to Apple Silica. The screen is not as nice as the Razer 4K display but it gets the job done. Yes, external displays and docks and stuff are available but I am at the age of computing where portability still remains more important. Eventually the pandemic will be over and I want to remain ready to travel.

Lastly, the discrete challenges I mentioned above go past the Mac gambit of SOC. Versions of applications and functional substitutes from 32 bit to 64 bit took some work. VMware thankfully does work for now "legacy" 32 bit programs that work in Mojave. It is weird to use an OS version newer than High Sierra in VM past the time when I was waiting for NVIDIA and Apple to make a compatible video driver to take the Razer up a step. So, now running Big Sur with multiple tweaks to get it closer to High Sierra has been my gambit move "back at Apple" to achieve for now a "draw".

submitted by /u/Michael_Rebar
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