A European company called Art Studios Entertainment Media may have found a way around Apple's legal team to enable Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware. The EFI-X is a $200 USB device that enables certain generic PCs to boot Mac OS X, as well as Windows Vista 64-bit and other operating systems. Multiple boot configurations are possible, according to the manufacturer. (EFIX USA is the US distributor. Other distributors are listed here.)
The company seems to have taken care to avoid attracting legal action by Apple. A small company called Psystar has been sued by Apple for selling a generic PC with a modified copy of Mac OS X pre-installed. Unlike Psystar, however, Art Studios Entertainment Media does not modify Mac OS X or resell it. It's up to the user to install an unadulterated, shrink-wrapped copy of Leopard on the PC. There are no extra drivers to hack or install-the drivers that come with Mac OS X will work on hardware that EFI-X supports. Art Studios Entertainment Media supplies firmware that is installed in the EFI-X USB device. Once Leopard is installed, you can use Mac OS X's Software Update to get the regular Apple updates.
The EFI-X device does not use or hack Apple technology. The company refers to the EFI-X as a Boot Processing Unit that is an implementation of an open standard, the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI). Apple also implements EFI in Macs, and Mac OS X uses EFI to boot the Mac.
Although the manufacturer of the EFI-X device may be in the clear legally, the user still violates the Mac OS X end-user license agreement, which forbids the user from installing Leopard on non-Apple hardware.
The US distributor, EFIX USA, offers a kit (US $1900) that includes the EFI-X USB device and the parts for a generic tower PC that you assemble yourself. Macintouch has a review of the kit (though Macintouch reports a lower price than the EFIX USA website). Macintouch concludes, "Despite a few teething pains and hardware glitches, we're very impressed. This kit is a compelling option for Mac enthusiasts - faster, cheaper and more expandable than a Mac Pro."
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the EFI-X USB device and the EFIX Kit. Comment below, or if you've used either,