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Braddman's Solar Winds Home Theater Build - Core i3-3225 - GA-Z77N-WIFI - 8GB RAM

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Braddman's Solar Winds HTPC Build: Core i3-3225 - GA-Z77N-WIFI - 8GB RAM


Components


Apple OS X Mountain Lion @ Mac Apps Store
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/os-x-mountain-lion/id537386512?mt=12

Kingston HyperX 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C10D3B1/8G (On the gigabyte tested memory list)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820104301

Gigabyte LGA 1155 DDR3 1600 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Motherboard GA-Z77N-WIFI
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009JDTWH6/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

APEVIA CF4SL-4C 80mm Multi-Color LED Case Fan x 2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811998108/

Intel Core i3-3225 Dual-Core Processor 3.3 GHz 3 MB Cache LGA 1155 - BX80637i33225
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0093H8H8I/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

NO DVD DRIVE INSTALLED - DON'T NEED IT.

Already Owned

HTPC Case with Display and 400 Watt Power Supply (Discontinued, similar below)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/KRAFT-MJAV-...3165?pt=US_Computer_Cases&hash=item3a7875b51d

Sharp Aquos Television (Discontinued)

Onkyo HTC-RC270 Reciever

http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-RC270-7-2-Channel-Network-Receiver/dp/B003K51IPI/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1361491937&sr=1-1&keywords=HTC-RC270

OCZ Onyx Series OCZSSD2-1ONX32G 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227510

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive (Perpendicular Recording) -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148136

Wireless RF Keyboard with Trackball (Discontinued, similar below)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-4G-Wirele...53?pt=PCA_Mice_Trackballs&hash=item5aed4c8269


Comments

I decided to build this system because I had a free HTPC Case sitting in my closet because the first one I bought (and currently use) was defective, and the ebay seller sent me a new one for free. Let's be straight about one thing, it's a cheap case, or more specifically, the built in "display" that shows fan speed, cpu temp, etc is junk. I went ahead and disabled it immediately on this build because right out of the box it was beeping for no reason. Yeah it looks cool, but you can't read it unless you're 2 inches away from it, so I don't care about it.

I didn't include my speaker list in the components, but I'm using JBL 4408 Studio Monitors, Advent Center Channel, Polk Audio In Ceiling 8" for Rear, and a 12" Cerwin Vega Subwoofer, most discontinued, so not worth mentioning.

The keyboard is an old RF wireless with built in trackball. It was working good for a while, now I'm having problems with it only typing every other letter, you have to press the letters twice sometimes, so I will be buying a new one.

We are using the OCZ Onyx 32gb SSD for OSX Mountain Lion Boot, and the Seagate Rotational for Windows 7 dual booting. The USERS folder was moved to the Rotational drive since the SSD is so small. Small SSDs are fast though, I love this one. I don't recommend the 32gb one though. You CANNOT relocate the Applications folder to another drive, I tried, it just doesn't work. Get a good sized SSD, at least 120gb.


Notes from install:

This is my third build, so I have this down. Trust me when I give you these instructions.

1) PAY FOR and Download OSX from App Store and create the Unibeast installation stick.
2) Get another USB stick for Multibeast and the CUSTOM DSDT for the Z77 Wifi, downloadable in the forums here. If you don't need HDMI Audio, you can install without the DSDT using the guide HERE..
3) Build system, check the BIOS settings HERE
4) Boot to Unibeast and MAKE SURE when you see the boot screen you hit any key for options. ALWAYS USE -X AND -V to boot to the installer. I've built three now, YOU WILL NOT GET TO THE INSTALLER IF YOU DON'T -X AND -V.
5)Go into disk utility and erase the boot drive and format it OSX Extended journaled, and install OSX.
6) If all goes well you will boot into the OS after the install and a reboot. THE UNIBEAST INSTALL STICK MUST REMAIN IN FOR THE FIRST REBOOT, BEFORE YOU INSTALL MULTIBEAST!
7) When you get to OSX, go ahead and set it up as normal, then put the USB stick in with MULTIBEAST. If you need HDMI Audio, Copy the DSDT for the Z77 WIFI to the desktop and rename it DSDT.aml (just like that, first part needs to be caps.) If you don't need HDMI Audio select WITHOUT DSDT under the realtek driver in Multibeast.
8) When the network drivers finish, close them and multibeast, and reboot, remove the USB Stick, and if all goes well, you will be in OSX with 1080p display and HDMI Audio if you opted for that.
9) If you're using a SSD, download the Trim Enabler App install it, activate it, and reboot again.
10) Run software update and let it update whatever is there.
11) If you're dual booting to Windows 7, disconnect the OSX Drive, install Win 7 and update it completely before you reconnect it to the second SATA port. If the system tries to boot to Win7 again, then swap the SATA ports. It should boot to the Chimera bootloader screen.

When you boot the next time, you should be able to choose between 3 boots, your OSX, system reserved, and Windows 7. As confusing as it sounds SYSTEM RESERVED is the boot partition for Windows 7. The one labeled WINDOWS 7 will not boot. You can hide the Windows 7 partition, then rename the SYSTEM RESERVED partition to Windows 7 using the plist entries below:

<key>Hide Partition</key>
<string>Windows 7</string>
<key>Rename Partition</key>
<string>"System Reserved" Windows /string>


12) Install the BOOT CAMP drivers for Windows 7, and you'll be able to read and write to the HFS OSX Drive with no problems from Windows 7.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK

1) WIFI doesn't work in OSX, but Bluetooth does. There is an optional, working WIFI alternative card you can install that works out of the box.
[Guide] Airport - Half Mini PCIe (Atheros)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007GMPZ0A/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tonymacx86com-20
2) System doesn't sleep automatically IN SOME CASES, I've built three now, one will sleep with the built in sleep. If yours will not, just download PLEASESLEEP and use it.
3) System will not wake up from Bluetooth correctly. I don't use it, so it has no affect on me.
4) System won't wake video up from HDMI, it works fine on my other system with DVI.

Build notes and pictures:

A good look at the original HTPC Build, ECS Motherboard, Core2Quad Q6600, 4GB DDR2-800 Ram, ATI HD3400 Video with HDMI. This is being replaced. This one also had issues with the built in display turning off and on at will, which is why I got the second case for free. Existing drives are being re-used for Solar Winds. At one time, this build (minus this video card) had OSX installed on it and running! (very old build of 10.5.6, using a different case, was my main PC setup dual booting to Win7. I tried my best to get this setup working with Mountain Lion but it just wasn't happening.)

IMG_9859.jpg

Parts freshly unpacked and ready to be assembled
IMG_9853.jpg

A good look at the motherboard out of the box.
IMG_9854.jpg

Multi Color bad ass LED fan installed in rear with guard
IMG_9855.jpg

We have a problem here, the default case fan location will not work, have to slide the fan over, but luckily, the screws will still go through the existing vent holes.
IMG_9856.jpg

Fan installed in modified location
IMG_9857.jpg

LED Case Display temp sensors, I installed them, but ended up disconnecting the stupid display which was beeping right out of the box.
IMG_9858.jpg

Hard drive cage installed, SSD and rotational drive.
IMG_9860.jpg

Wires cleaned up a bit with wire ties.
IMG_9861.jpg

OSX and Windows 7 Dual Boot complete. Testing Dolby Digital surround sound, success. In this picture, Cerwin Vega 12" Subwoofer, JBL Studio Monitors, Onkyo HT-RC270, XBOX 360, Advent Center Channel, Sharp Aquos, and HTPC on lower right. Various other cool LED stuff.
IMG_9862.jpg

A little Man Cave LED Showoff action! Galaxy Note 2 sitting on the table, controls Onkyo Receiver, whole house is wired for sound.
IMG_9863.jpg

Geekbench Scores

Screen Shot 2013-02-23 at 12.44.00 PM.png


EDIT 1) 2/22/13 - Ordered replacement wireless keyboard HERE:

IOGEAR GKM561R Black 2.4GHz Wireless HTPC Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823176018
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 29, 2013
Messages
6
Motherboard
Mac
CPU
i7 3770k
Graphics
HD 4000
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Nice build as I just built one with the almost identical specs. I went ahead and downloaded that trim enabler app after reading your post. I have an OCZ Vertex 90gb SSD and wasn't sure if I needed that. Seems like it can't hurt. Thanks a bunch.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
113
Motherboard
MAC
CPU
i7-3770K @ 3.6 Ghz
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. Mac mini
Classic Mac
  1. Apple
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Nice build as I just built one with the almost identical specs. I went ahead and downloaded that trim enabler app after reading your post. I have an OCZ Vertex 90gb SSD and wasn't sure if I needed that. Seems like it can't hurt. Thanks a bunch.

Yeah you definitely want trim enabler, it is supposed to increase performance. Can't say if it actually does, but I use it on all my rigs.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
113
Motherboard
MAC
CPU
i7-3770K @ 3.6 Ghz
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. Mac mini
Classic Mac
  1. Apple
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
I just ordered a new wireless trackball and mouse from Newegg, edited the original post indicating it.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Messages
113
Motherboard
MAC
CPU
i7-3770K @ 3.6 Ghz
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. Mac mini
Classic Mac
  1. Apple
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Updated with Geekbench scores
 
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