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)!