Converting my Shuttle XPC Into My First Hackintosh, Your Feedback Is Welcome!

Discussion in 'Buying Advice' started by Raine2jz, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Aug 21, 2012 #1
    Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Hello there! I've decided to jump into building my own Hackintosh, Over the years I've been pretty handy with PC builds - but when i bought myself a Macbook Air at the beginning of the year, I've been slowly migrating over to the Mac side. I used Macs a lot at work mainly for publishing and design, so I'm familiar with the OS, but not so much the hardware, though I'm pretty certain it's the same as PC since Macs are primarily Intel based these days.

    I had been reading up as much as I could about Hackintosh builds, and I'm ready to go for it. After using the Macbook Air I'm very happy with OSX, and even though I used to be a die-hard Windows guy, the upcoming Windows 8 does not appeal to me at all.

    My current desktop is a Shuttle XPC SG41J1 Plus, and the initial idea was to turn it into a Hackintosh. Unfortunately out of the box it doesn't work with a Hackintosh build due to no ACHP support. I built it years ago and it's running a Core 2 Duo with the old LGA775 socket, and since I wanted to keep the XPC case, I figure it's about time to upgrade to a new Mini-ITX mobo and processor.

    All of the "confirmed" Hackintosh Mini-ITX builds I've read about seem to use a Gigabyte mobo that is no longer available, so after researching on more components, I've come up with the following combo. Keep in mind I've accepted the fact that I'll have to start with a new mobo and processor, but I'm trying to make the most of what's left from my PC to build the Hackintosh:


    Existing Components I Have
    ------------------------------------------------
    Case
    Shuttle SG41J1 XPC, mini-ITX compatible
    http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/Models/SG41J1_PLUS.html
    - This is a must-keep, as I already have it and I don't want to build anything with larger dimensions than this case.

    RAM
    2x (8GB total) Patriot G2 Series PGD34G1600EL (4GB) PC3-12800, DDR3 1600MHz, 9-9-9-24 CAS Latency, XMP Ready
    http://www.patriotmemory.com/product/detail.jsp?prodline=5&catid=34&prodgroupid=196&id=1091&type=1
    - If I can use this, it would save me some money.

    HDD
    Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136490
    - If I can use this, it would save me money.

    Optical Drive
    Samsung SH-203 SATA CD/DVD Burner w/Lightscribe
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151153
    - I still burn discs from time to time, so I'll probably need this in the build.

    Video
    Zotac ZT-84GEK2M-HSL GeForce 8400GS 1GB 64-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
    http://www.zotacusa.com/geforce-8400-gs-zt-84gek2m-hsl.html
    - Not sure if I still need this as the processor I'm planning to get has on-board video, not to mention I might need the single PCI-E slot for something else (?)

    Operating System
    Obviously OS X, I would like to use Mountain Lion, though I have both Lion and Mountain Lion purchased already.



    Components I Think I'll Need to Buy
    ------------------------------------
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3 Intel H61 Express Chipset Mini ITX DDR3 800 Intel - LGA 1155, $80
    http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3963#ov
    - Seems to be compatible with a Hackintosh build, many reviews claim it so, and there is a DSDT file available.

    Processor
    Intel Core I3-2105 Dual-Core Processor 3.1 GHz 3 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80623I32105, $135
    http://www.amazon.com/Intel-I3-2105-Dual-Core-Processor-Cache/dp/B0051YS85O/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=RSXE5ZYB85US&coliid=I6RZ7RBBI4JJT
    - This is the same CPU used in a Hackintosh build article I read at 9to5 Mac: http://9to5mac.com/2011/11/12/how-the-300-mini-hackintosh-turned-into-a-750-beast/

    OR

    Intel Core i5-3570K Quad-Core Processor 3.4 GHz 4 Core LGA 1155 - BX80637I53570K, $230
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007SZ0E1K/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tonymacx86com-20
    - This bumps up the processor to an I5, but also bumps the price up by $100. This is the same CPU used in the current 2012 Customac build shown here: http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/search/label/CustoMac

    Ethernet
    I'm not sure if the Gigabyte GA-H61N-USB3's onboard ethernet will work with OSX, though I've read that the Apple USB-to-Ethernet adaptor is plug and play. The Hackintosh will be locate next to my router anyway, so no need for Wi-Fi at all.

    Bluetooth
    Optional, I've read that there are many Hackintosh-compatible USB bluetooth dongles available should I decide to go with an Apple BT keyboard/mouse.


    A few questions I have (aside from the pre-requisite "will all of these components work?" question) are:

    1. Would the existing WD hard drive's 5400 RPM speed be a problem?
    2. I've read that it is suggested to install OS X with just a 4GB stick first, then add in the second 4GB stick after OS X is up and running on the Hackintosh machine. Is this true?
    3. Is the on-board graphics on the I3-2105 superior to the Zotac PCI-e video card I already have?
    4. Is the performance advantage of the I5-3570K worth the extra $100 for the upgrade? My desktop is usually reserved for Photoshop/Illustrator work, rarely any video editing, but some gaming through the Steam platform. Will the I3 be more than enough?


    So that's my working list of components for my build. I'm looking forward to starting this project, and I would appreciate any thoughts/opinions/insight you can give me. If these components work out, I've got myself a Shuttle XPC converted to a Hackintosh for a little under $250 (not including a new keyboard/mouse)!
     
  2. alans17

    alans17

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    Aug 21, 2012 #2
    alans17

    alans17

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    If you intend to stick with a 6x series motherboard then you're better off sticking with the Sandy Bridge processor. If you're considering the Core i5 3750K (and it would be a good idea if you want to move to Mountain Lion) then I would wait a few weeks to see what Gigabyte 7x series mini-ITX boards get pushed into the pipe...

    You can buy relatively compatible boards right now from other brands if you're not willing to wait, but they won't have the expected compatibility that Gigabyte will have.
     
  3. Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Aug 21, 2012 #3
    Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Thank you for the reply!

    Hmm, the reason why I chose that particular motherboard and processor combo was based on trying to build something as close to a proven setup (i.e. Customac), the fact that Gigabyte boards seem to be the most trouble-free as far as compatibility, and I still had to make sure that it would fit in the XPC case.

    I wouldn't mind waiting for the 7x series boards, but I think that would push my price point upward.

    Judging from your feedback, Mountain Lion isn't working well with 6x series boards?
     
  4. alans17

    alans17

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    Aug 21, 2012 #4
    alans17

    alans17

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    It involves a few extra hoops.
     
  5. Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Aug 25, 2012 #5
    Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    What about building and getting the machine up and running with Lion first, then upgrading to ML afterward? Would it even be worth trying, or is there no difference with this method?
     
  6. MechSoup

    MechSoup

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    Aug 25, 2012 #6
    MechSoup

    MechSoup

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    This simply isn't true. One of the main points of the LGA 1155 socket is that you can upgrade your processor whilst maintaining the same motherboard. You can run Ivy Bridge on Z68 or Sandy Bridge on Z77. No problems.
    If you intend to do this, here is something you will need as I would assume you are using onboard graphics:
    http://www.tonymacx86.com/150-enabl...therboards-hd-4000-6-series-motherboards.html

    You would have significantly better graphics with the HD 4000 over the HD 3000 graphics, however a detected GPU would be the best if you intend to use GPU accelerated programs/game/what have you. If HD 4000 graphics is all you need, then you could pop a wifi card in the GPU's stead.

    Wifi Card:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007GMPZ0A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tonymacx86com-20

    Also, you will want to use the SONY optical drive if you are purchasing one:

    Optical Drive:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118067
     
  7. totenkopf4

    totenkopf4

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    Aug 25, 2012 #7
    totenkopf4

    totenkopf4

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    Raine2jz

    List looks ok - and that link you posted is great - as to the questions
    The HD will be a problem in SL 10.6 to do boot0 error or the GPT partition not being able to understand 4k sectoring or whats know as advanced formatting which is standard on most larger drives not (older Drives were ment to use 512k sectoring by default)
    for OSX 10.7 if you use the newest chimera in the downloads and use the latest Unibeast for OSXLION or ML then it will be updated so not problem w 4k drives
    Check at work to see if they have any unused spare drives any old SATA 3 Drives smaller than 1TB - a 500GB is fine and will give a little more speed.
    Or even better get a SSD and use that as the boot drive

    As to Wifi - Tony has a section on that but as your that close to the router use a direct connection.
     
  8. Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Aug 25, 2012 #8
    Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Thank you - after reading your reply I took a look at the I5-3570k again, which bumps the spec up to a quad-core and HD4000 but it's roughly $100 more than the I3-2105 I listed in my proposed build. Would that $100 be put to better use towards a dedicated video card instead? I don't need Wi-Fi after all, so the PCIe slot will be available just in case I go with a dedicated video card in the future.

    BtW the Samsung optical drive I listed is already part of my current Windows machine =)


    Thanks for the reply. I didn't even consider SL at all, and I prefer not to run SL or Lion. I want to have Mountain Lion so that I can use all of the new features seamlessly with my Macbook Air and iPhone. Also, SSD might be a good possibility for the speed increase (maybe the $100 saved sticking with HD3000 instead of HD4000 could go to an SSD?)
     
  9. Going Bald

    Going Bald Moderator

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    Aug 25, 2012 #9
    Going Bald

    Going Bald Moderator

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    If you are going with the i3-2105 or other sandy bridge CPU then stick with the sandy bridge boards (Z68, P67, H67, H61)

    If you decide on the i5-3570K (ivy bridge cpu), then you should go with an ivy bridge board.

    Not sure if that 8800GS is still supported in ML. Google is probably your friend there.
     
  10. Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Aug 28, 2012 #10
    Raine2jz

    Raine2jz

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    Great - I just saw the post on the main page about the upcoming Core i3-3225 with HD4000 graphics for about the same price as the i3-2105 I was originally looking at... would this be a better idea with the GA-H61N-USB3 and Mountain Lion?

    EDIT: Came across an old HP Slimline 3200n in the closet (of all places) and it also uses a Mini-ITX mobo form factor, gives me ideas...
     

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