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I'm an iPhone programmer who is no longer in possession of a personal Mac computer on which to use XCode. I have two Windows desktops, and I would like to run OS X in VMWare rather than purchase Apple's expensive hardware. However, neither of my machines supports hardware-assisted virtualization, which is required to virtualize OS X. I went shopping online for a computer today, since I've been planning to purchase a laptop anyway, but sites like Best Buy don't appear to give any indication of whether or not a product supports this. Is there any other site out there or some trick to figuring this out other than buying the machine and running Microsoft's nifty little detection tool?

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migrated from Jun 23 '11 at 15:10

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You need Apple hardware to run Mac OS X and Xcode legally. – Paul R Jun 23 '11 at 14:05
@Paul R that's a bit of a legal grey area, and very much depends on where you are - in Germany, for instance, such a binding of software to hardware is forbidden. – Scott Jun 23 '11 at 22:36
@Scott: true - I was assuming that the poster was in the US since they mentioned Best Buy. Presumably they would still need to buy a legitimate copy of Mac OS X though. – Paul R Jun 23 '11 at 22:42
Yes, yes, I am painfully aware that this is really only difficult because Apple tries so hard to make it so. Every time I consider simply purchasing a macbook, I'm turned away by the fact that the cheapest of those costs more than twice what I plan to pay for my laptop. Alas, I must refrain from expressing my thoughts on that topic here. Thank you for your assistance :) – Andrew Jun 24 '11 at 17:17
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You want to know of the processor in the machine has hardware virtualization, what Intel calls "VT-x" in their literature.

Most of the time, the description of a computer will tell you what model processor it has. That's pretty much all you'll need to know. e.g. Here in Canada, Best Buy is advertising a Samsung laptop for $598. The ad says it has an Intel T6600 CPU.

The first google hit for "Intel T6600" sends me to a page at Scroll down to the "Advanced Technologies" portion of the page. There I find the note "Intel Virtualization Technology -> No".

So, I can scratch that laptop off my list. You'll need to keep looking for a machine that has VT-x.

For AMD, there is an analogous technology, called AMD-V. I have no idea if OSX will run on an AMD processor... but I expect it does not. Anyway, there's a good overview of the whole topic on Wikipedia.

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I think this is really about all you can do. It's possible the BIOS of a particular machine might not support the CPU's virtualization features, but there's no way to discover that without hands-on access to the machine. – TMN Jun 23 '11 at 16:09
Ah, that seems to work for the most part. There are some where they (Best Buy) still skimped on the details a bit; they tell me it has an "Intel Celeron" processor, when there are 12 different versions of Celeron, and only 4 of them have what I need. Anyways, thanks for this. – Andrew Jun 24 '11 at 17:11

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