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[HowTo] Build an OSX86 box for the price of a stock mini ($500)


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#1
g0atbutt

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First, let me say that this guide is aimed for novices to either computers in general, or newbs to building their own hack-in-tosh. I saw that there was a guide for a sub $200 hack-in-tosh, but it was outdated, and didn’t focus on balancing parts and costs. It left you with a super cheap, clunky computer that you wouldn’t want to even play around with.

The aim for this guide is to build a computer that will be as compatible (and fast) as possible with OSX86, and give you the best bang for your buck.

(P.S. You are on your own on how to find the actual software. It isn’t too tough to find, just make sure that you are getting the latest release)

1. Processor

First let’s start with the processor. You have a few options to go with
For this guide, I’m going to recommend an Intel Celeron D 331. It is cheap, and has all the features we want such as:

SSE, SSE2, SSE3, and Execute Disable


Cost:$77
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819112206

2. Mobo
The motherboard also plays a huge role in how compatible your computer will be with OSX. Intel motherboards tend to have the best track record.

Cost:$103
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813121267





3. Memory
OS X LOVES Ram. The more you can give it, the better. I would go with a minimum of 1GB (2x 512MB), or maybe even 1.5 (3x 512MB) if you can afford it.

Cost:$35 (for 1x512MB)
or
Cost:$70(for 2x512MB)
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145026



4. Video Card
This is the only downside with an x86 box. You are stuck with 3 choices: 1. Use the integrated video on your mobo (You will have Acceleration, and no artifacts, but if you wanted to play games on this, you will have terrible Frames per Second).

Option number 2 is to go with a newer ATI card (*NOTE: not all cards are compatible! If you decide not to use the one that I picked, check out the wiki). You will still have Acceleration, but you will experience odd artifacts when scrolling, and graphical glitches after you quit out of an OpenGL application. On the plus side, you will get great FPS.

Your 3rd option is to just go with an unsupported card. Everything will still be displayed, however, you want have any acceleration (so you would miss out on some effects like the “Ripple” in dashboard), and you would have terrible FPS in games as well.

If you decide to stay with onboard video (Option 1),
Cost=$0

If you decide to go with an ATI Card (Option 2)
Cost=$49
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814102415






5. Case & Power Supply
This is totally up to you, but I just picked this case randomly. However, just make sure that you get a power supply that is at least 350 watts (preferably 400).

Cost:$30
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811154048

6. Hard Drive

We are a bit under budget here, so I thought we could spurge a little on the HD. How does 320GB sound?

Cost:$140
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822144408

7. DVD Burner
Cost $30
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827151095

Closing thoughts
I would just like to say that this machine would kick the Mac mini’s little butt in benchmarks, and in real world performance. The only thing that the mini has on this computer is it’s form factor (it’s size). It’s tiny. So at the end of the day, you need to ask yourself is the size worth the higher price, and heck of a lot less performance? For me, the answer was a resounding “no”.


My final Config:
Celeron 2.66GHz Proc
An Intel BOXD915GAGLK Mobo
1 GB Ram
320GB HD
ATI X300
DVD Burner


Not to shabby, if you appreciate my guide, drop me an email at g0atbuttpmh@gmail.com

#2
melchior

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good work, i think this is a good break down for newbies. obviously haven't gone into detail about the different option, but many might just find this confusing. nicely done.

#3
aqualeviathan

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I'd rather spend $70 after rebate for a 250gb drive at Circuit City or 160gb with no rebate at Newegg than spend that $140 on a hard drive. With that $70 or so in savings and $20 more, you could get a much faster processor.

#4
U.C.

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seriously good guide. Hmm i cant wait for the core duo to be released and then get a perfect 10.4.4 box

#5
TranSport

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Everything seems well done in that beginner set but I would stay away from the Samsung DVD Drives w/ a MAC OS.

I have been patching my optical drives for years w/ patchburn on real MAC 's. Patchburn which is sort of like the x86 kext for the dvd drives on real MAC's. Basically the author of patchburn warns people to stay away from Samsung drives becuase there driver requirements are buggy for OSX.

Just my 2 cents. For an extra $10 you could get a Pioneer that is recognized as a Apple Superdrive. The best seems to be the DV-110 or DV-109.

Rock on good set up....

PS If you are in OSX86 and the put a blank DVD in and it is only recognized by Toast and not OSX for burning.

Try patchburn, it will fix that problem. Google patchburn for link....

#6
poseidon84

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Wouldn't it be best to write what parts you buy instead of only linking to websites. Because very soon it might be out of date if you just link to other sites...

Just my :)

#7
New001

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Your 3rd option is to just go with an unsupported card. Everything will still be displayed, however, you want have any acceleration (so you would miss out on some effects like the “Ripple” in dashboard), and you would have terrible FPS in games as well.


Most games won't even run because without any acceleration in OS X x86, you've got no OpenGL and no driver support.

#8
marliwahoo

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This is the way to go. This is a great machine. Want to shave the price more. Get the celeron ($77)

Motherboard Intel945GNTLKR - ebay $117
Processor Pentium D 820 pricewatch 195
SATA HD 200gig pricewatch 75
Pioneer 110 DVD pricewatch 40
4200 ddr2 (1gig) pricewatch 64
Case pricewatch 30
Total $521 with the celeron $403

#9
snip3r

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Is there any boards that conforms 100% to intel specs and at the same thing provide overclock options? :)

#10
MacX

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well u could add more stable hardware for same price, but this si for the newbs, good job :D


the mac mini also has wireless comp for same price :")

#11
urcindalo

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Hi! This is my first post here. I'm a long time mac user willing to take the plunge and build his first PC. Since I live in Spain, where the cheapest Mac Mini sells for around 650€ (after having chosen a superdrive instead of a combo), my price tag is around 600-700€.

I've thought of this set-up:

* Motherboard: Asus P5LD2-V (€144)
* CPU: Pentium D Dual-Core 820 2.8 GHz (€274)
* HD: Maxtor DiamondMax® 10 (SATA, 250 GB, €96)
* RAM: 1GB DDR2 667 MHz Kingston (no ECC) (138€)
* Drive: My existing GSA-4163B, working like a charm on my old Dual G4/450
* Case: not yet determined. However, I've seen they're cheap. Or, as we say in spanish, "it's the parrot's chocolate" :)

As you can see, the cost will be around €700, roughly €50 more than the cheapest mac mini. But I think I get more for my money this way. The only think I won't have is FireWire.

Do you guys think it is OK, or can I squeeze my money a little bit more some other way?
And, more importantly, will it work?

Thanks in advance.

#12
urig-herb

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As you can see, the cost will be around €700, roughly €50 more than the cheapest mac mini. But I think I get more for my money this way. The only think I won't have is FireWire.


My advice: get the Mac mini. Nobody knows how long the "hackintosh" fun will survive. Maybe the next point release won't work anymore. I say either go for "ultra cheap" like my system or give the money apple. Don't forget to count official support and the provided software in your calculation.

#13
thrunner

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* Motherboard: Asus P5LD2-V (€144)
* CPU: Pentium D Dual-Core 820 2.8 GHz (€274)

Are these VAT included? Seems to be much higher compared to US. If you don't mind the 533Mhz FSB, try the Pentium D 805 dual core (US $145).
It is true that if you are primarily a Mac user, then just get a Mac.

#14
urcindalo

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My advice: get the Mac mini. Nobody knows how long the "hackintosh" fun will survive. Maybe the next point release won't work anymore.


Believe, it is here to stay. For sure. Let me explain it to you.

As I've said, I've been a Mac user for ten years now. My first MacOS was 7.5, and from my experience I can assure to you Apple will release a retail Mac OS X 10.5 version for Mactels, which anyone will be able to buy in the stores. Why am I so sure, if that's not the case today? Well, there's no need for Apple to do that now, because 10.4.x is the current release, and you get a free copy of the OS when you purchase your computer.

But, what will happen maybe next year, when 10.5 will be the current OS X version? Every user of today's Mactels will have to buy a copy of it to upgrade the computer's OS, or else will stick with an old version. You don't get free upgrades from 10.(x) to 10.(x+1). It hasn't happened in the past and won't happen in the future.

Thus, Apple will release a retail 10.5 version, which will be one and the same (as in the past) to upgrade every Mac built to that date (be it an iMac, MacMini, MacBook or whatever), and that version, obviously, will have to provide support for today's Mactels hardware. I can't imagine a current "true" MacMini user not being able to upgrade his OS to, let's say, 10.6. So, as long as your current "hackinstosh" is a clone of today's Mactels you will get support in the future, even though Apple tries to avoid it.

But not only that. You can count on the OpenSource community. Sooner or later, more and more drivers will appear to make even non-Apple-hardware components to work on hackintoshes. However, if you follow this path you will have to rely on third parties to provide the support you need, whilst if you have a Mactel clone it will be Apple itself who will provide you with it.

As for the prices I mention, yes, they include VAT. In fact, they're final prices including tax and shipping.

Regarding the purchase of a true Mactel, I don't want Apple to fool me again. In the past I had no option, since MacOS or OS X would only run an Apple hardware, but today it is not so. If I lived in the US maybe I would consider the option, but leaving in Spain I don't like the feeling of actually being "robbed". For instance, if something costs $500 in the US's Apple Store, in Spain you would pay $696. The maths are: $500 are currently equal to €500, accoring to Apple Spain. But that's not true, since €1=$1.20. Besides, you have to pay an extra 16% VAT. Finally: 500x1,20x1,16=696. A 39% more!!!

Although Apple has noting to do with VAT, they at least could translate correctly the prices from dollars to euros. Especially when in the past, when a dollar was higher than a euro (or than the local currency), prices in the local stores would reflect the differences. In 2000, a $500 Apple hardware would not appear as €500, as is the case today, but they would rise the price in euros according to the exchange rates.
As you can see, this charging policy really, really sucks. That's why I want to stay away from Apple, if possible.

#15
New001

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Believe, it is here to stay. For sure. Let me explain it to you.

As I've said, I've been a Mac user for ten years now. My first MacOS was 7.5, and from my experience I can assure to you Apple will release a retail Mac OS X 10.5 version for Mactels, which anyone will be able to buy in the stores. Why am I so sure, if that's not the case today? Well, there's no need for Apple to do that now, because 10.4.x is the current release, and you get a free copy of the OS when you purchase your computer.

But, what will happen maybe next year, when 10.5 will be the current OS X version? Every user of today's Mactels will have to buy a copy of it to upgrade the computer's OS, or else will stick with an old version. You don't get free upgrades from 10.(x) to 10.(x+1). It hasn't happened in the past and won't happen in the future.

Thus, Apple will release a retail 10.5 version, which will be one and the same (as in the past) to upgrade every Mac built to that date (be it an iMac, MacMini, MacBook or whatever), and that version, obviously, will have to provide support for today's Mactels hardware. I can't imagine a current "true" MacMini user not being able to upgrade his OS to, let's say, 10.6. So, as long as your current "hackinstosh" is a clone of today's Mactels you will get support in the future, even though Apple tries to avoid it.

But not only that. You can count on the OpenSource community. Sooner or later, more and more drivers will appear to make even non-Apple-hardware components to work on hackintoshes. However, if you follow this path you will have to rely on third parties to provide the support you need, whilst if you have a Mactel clone it will be Apple itself who will provide you with it.

As for the prices I mention, yes, they include VAT. In fact, they're final prices including tax and shipping.

Regarding the purchase of a true Mactel, I don't want Apple to fool me again. In the past I had no option, since MacOS or OS X would only run an Apple hardware, but today it is not so. If I lived in the US maybe I would consider the option, but leaving in Spain I don't like the feeling of actually being "robbed". For instance, if something costs $500 in the US's Apple Store, in Spain you would pay $696. The maths are: $500 are currently equal to €500, accoring to Apple Spain. But that's not true, since €1=$1.20. Besides, you have to pay an extra 16% VAT. Finally: 500x1,20x1,16=696. A 39% more!!!

Although Apple has noting to do with VAT, they at least could translate correctly the prices from dollars to euros. Especially when in the past, when a dollar was higher than a euro (or than the local currency), prices in the local stores would reflect the differences. In 2000, a $500 Apple hardware would not appear as €500, as is the case today, but they would rise the price in euros according to the exchange rates.
As you can see, this charging policy really, really sucks. That's why I want to stay away from Apple, if possible.



10.5 will probably have restrictions, those restrictions will have to work with the hardware in the current Intel-based macs. So I'm pretty much forseeing 10.5 to be hacked to work on no-apple hardware, but hacking it might not be as easy as hacking 10.4 today.

#16
wraphd

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Very useful guidance in this thread, thanks so much. I have looked and looked and have not found a straight-forward answer to these 2 questions: 1) if using the on-board graphics from an Intel mobo does OSX86 itself look and perform the way it does on a mac? Is it slower, are there compromises in number of colors, are there nuances like window fades or fonts or ripples that don't work the way they should? 2) What about Garage Band, iTunes, and other iLife applications? Does the graphical user experience suffer when using on-board graphics? Can you tell that you are not using an imac? Thanks in advance for the benefit of your experiences.

#17
XP-RTM

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is there any difference between the Intel 915GAGLK and the Intel 915GAGL?
the gagl is cheaper but i dont see why :S

#18
grinsystem

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No, normal 2d applications will really not suffer too much. Its just Opengl, such as games, where you would have dropping performance. However, if your not going to be playing anything more than..chess, then it would be great to get.

#19
bofors

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2. Mobo
The motherboard also plays a huge role in how compatible your computer will be with OSX. Intel motherboards tend to have the best track record.

Cost:$103
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813121267
An Intel BOXD915GAGLK Mobo


NewEgg also has the D915GAGLK Mobo refurbished for $66:

http://www.newegg.co...82E16813121284R

#20
peacekeeper

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How are new egg refurbs? I have never purchased from them...

Thank you,
_Matt





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