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This dictionary defines some terms that are used in the OSX on x86 world.


  • PowerPC (or PPC):
    • The processor design used in all of Apple's current Macs. This CPU was developed in a collaborative effort between Apple, IBM, and Motorola and has been the main desktop rival to traditional x86 CPUs since the mid-1990s.
  • x86:
    • The processor type used in almost all PCs today. AMD, Intel, Cyrix, Transmeta, and most other CPUs are all compatible with this standard.
  • SSE:
    • The first version of the SSE instructions. It is used in the Pentium III (and Pentium III-based Celeron) and the AMD Athlon XP. SSE has been largely replaced by SSE2 and 3. Mac OS X will not run on SSE-only systems.
  • SSE2:
    • A much improved version of Intel's SSE instruction set. SSE2 is supported by the Pentium 4 (and Pentium 4-based Celeron) and AMD Athlon 64/AMD Opteron.
  • SSE3:
    • An extension to SSE2. SSE3 is supported in the revision E Athlon 64 (released in April 2005), Prescott Pentium 4 and Celeron D (introduced in early 2004). Wikipedia has a more exhaustive list.
  • White Box/Gray Box:
    • Normal x86 PC.
  • Hackintosh:
    • A normal x86 PC (white box/gray box) running OSx86. (Compliments of HoZy & Black)
  • Mactel:
    • A Macintosh computer containing an Intel processor.

Software and Operating Systems

  • OSx86:
    • The operating system, Mac OS X, for an x86 machine.
  • VMWare:
    • An application for Windows and Linux that allows people to create virtual computers, each running their own OS and software.
  • dd method:
    • A technique which involves using the Windows/Linux program dd to write a VMWare disk image to a hard drive.
  • Dev DVD:
    • The original MacOS X86 DVD released to Apple developers.
  • Rosetta:
    • Apple's official emulation layer. It allows PPC Mac applications to run on OSx86. Rosetta only runs on SSE3 or patched SSE2 computers.
  • Native:
  • Programs that do not require Rosetta to run on OSx86 PCs. See here for examples.
  • Quartz Extreme:
    • Starting with Mac OS X v10.2, Quartz Compositor was extended by Quartz Extreme, which uses OpenGL to render screen displays faster by presenting them as textures within a 3D OpenGL context. This permits faster compositing of screen images using 3D hardware acceleration. To use Quartz Extreme, the Macintosh must have an AGP graphics card with support for arbitrary texture dimensions and a minimum of 16 MB of VRAM. In practice, this means either any nVidia, an ATI Radeon, or better.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz_Extreme

See Also

  • The Knowledge Base is a great source of information about many of these terms.
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