Snow Leopard on the MSI X58 Pro-E

It’s do-able. That said, it wasn’t fun.

I’ll try to walk through the steps it took. Much of this is done by memory, but I just finished, so it’s fairly fresh in my mind (although I’m rather sleep deprived at the moment so bear with me).

It’s worth noting that I used an ATI 4850 video card. If you go with an nVidia card, it may be a lot easier (try it on your own before paining yourself with this process).

Screen shot 2009-11-04 at 1.11.00 PM

Network, video, sound (at least 2-channel anyway), microphone are working. Sleep isn’t (so disable it in the Energy Saver section in System Preferences)

The stuff you might need:
-Retail Snow Leopard disk (hopefully you’ve bought it already)
-An existing install, or Rebel EFI (Web Archive) otherwise (it’s a free download).
-USB hard drive or USB memory stick
-the MyHack installer
Netkas’s PC EFI v10.5
Voodoo HDA (Web Archive)
Kext Helper

Huge thanks to each of the sites/owners mentioned above. It’s their contributions that made this all possible (and resulted in what seems to be a perfectly flawless system so far).

This isn’t a step-by-step walkthrough. I’ll assume you’ve tried many things, beat your head against the wall, and hopefully made a little headway on your own (in which case hopefully something here will fill in the blanks where you got stuck).

Before you get started:
If your hard drive is 1GB or larger, you might want to consider creating a small partition. I had a boot0 error (on the 4th line) over and over once I got to the point where I was trying to boot from the hard drive because I had a 1.5TB partition.

AHCI must be selected in the bios (NOT RAID). IDE may work as well, but I didn’t try it – AHCI is probably your best bet.

Most of the other stuff in the BIOS didn’t seem to have any effect. Enhanced Halt and EIST didn’t make any difference whether they were enabled or disabled (it’s often recommended to disable them). Really, the AHCI thing was the only hiccup that ever hit me.

If you’re using an ATI video card, you’ll probably need to be booting in safe mode until the very end.

Getting started:
If you don’t have an existing installation on the hard drive, and only have the retail Snow Leopard disc, the ONLY bootloader that worked for me in the beginning was the Rebel EFI one (which you download and then burn to a disc). I also had to run it in Safe Mode (when the bootloader starts, press the “down” arrow key and then the spacebar to check the box for safe mode).

Other bootloaders *should* work, but I tried a few without success. It’s worth noting that for the graphical ones, you can press the “tab” key to get the command line options, and then just type -x for safe mode (I didn’t realize tab was the hotkey at first).

In any case, you’re basically starting the bootloader, then inserting the Leopard disc to install.

If you’re at the point where you’ve got an install on the hard drive, but it’s not the final one you want (or is regular Leopard or something):
You may or may not have to use the Rebel EFI CD to actually boot the hard drive. If so, when the CD boots, choose the hard drive, and start in SAFE MODE.

Assuming it then starts from the hard drive, next we’re creating a USB boot disk. Either an external USB hard drive, or a USB memory stick (it must be large enough though! An 8GB one is fine) is what you’ll need. It’s basically our Leopard install disk + our desired bootloader (the MyHack installer mentioned above).

You’re using Disk Utility for all of this.

First, create a disk image. The default settings are fine (I think it’s compressed by default).

Next, Partition the USB drive. Make sure you go into Options and select GUID. It’ll partition/format it.

Next, click Restore, and you’re basically restoring the image you created to the newly formatted USB drive (unselect the “erase” box). ***if it gives you an error message of sorts, you may have to select the disk image, and then click “Images/ScanImagesForRestore” from the top menu bar, and THEN do the restore.

Once the restore is done, you can exit Disk Utility. Next, you’re going to run the MyHack installer (which you hopefully downloaded already), keep all the default options, and make sure you choose the USB drive as the destination during the install.

Once that’s finished, you should now have a bootable USB drive that also contains the Leopard installer. Time to restart the computer, and boot from the USB drive.

Booting/Installing from the USB drive:
You may have to start it in Safe Mode (you can try without the first time – if the graphics just freeze for about 10 minutes, you’ll have to try safe mode). To do it, when the loader starts, hit a key to get to the drive list, and then press “TAB” to get to the command line. Select the USB drive from there with the arrow keys, and type “-x” (no quotes) to boot in safe mode.

The install is pretty basic – partition as GUID. You may want to choose “Customize” and turn off printer drivers, languages, fonts, etc. Some things can cause the installer to think it’s failed at the end (not positive whether it matters though).

Once installed, you need to get the bootloader on the hard drive itself.
The hard drive won’t boot on it’s own yet, and it still needs help from the USB drive. Use it to get booted onto the hard drive.

Next, you’ll find that the MyHack installer is located on the USB drive (if for some reason it isn’t, you’ll have to redownload it).

Run it to install, and make sure you’ve got the hard drive selected.

This time, you may want to Customize the installation. In my case, I turned on the graphics enabler, and turned off the FrameBufferDisabler.

The system’s about ready to boot on it’s own, except I also needed to add the stuff for the ATI 4850 video card. I downloaded the Netkas PC EFI 10.5 (it’s just a file called “boot”), and put it in the root directory of the hard drive (I deleted the old one and copied the new one in place). Next, I had to edit the ATI4800Controller.kext file and find the section that looks like this:

<string>0x94401002 0x944a1002</string>

and change it to this

<string>0x94421002 0x94401002 0x944a1002</string>

To edit the file, I had to copy it to the desktop first (from System/Library/Extensions), then right-click, choose “Show Package Contents”, browse into “Contents” and edit the “Info.plist” file. Once that was done, I sent the original kext to the trash, and copied the edited kext from the desktop back to the System/Library/Extensions location.

To be sure that the cache was fine, I then followed the steps at . Alternately, you could probably just use KextHelper to put the new kext in – I didn’t, but just realize it would have been a lot easier.

I restarted the computer, unplugged the USB drive, and Snow Leopard loaded up, video working and all!  Well almost all…


Last thing to take care of was the sound. Just grab the VoodooHDA kext (link from the beginning), and use Kext Helper to install it. Restart again, and you should have sound.

Note that to get the microphone working, you’ll have to go into System Preferences, and then in the “Output” section, you’ll have to turn up the recording level. You’ll then have to play with the microphone level settings (possibly in both output and input). It will take a while, but just do some trial and error until it’s working the way you want.


I apologize that it isn’t more detailed, but the way I went about it would probably fill a novel if I went step-by-step (and it’s very possible there’s a faster way out there). If anyone’s stuck at a certain part, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to get back to you within a day or two.

Update: If you decide to install the 10.6.1 update, it adds new 4850 drivers. If you’re using that card, you’ll have to boot into safe-mode after the restart and re-edit the Info.plist in the ATI4800Controller.kext file.