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[HowTo] Build a Hackintosh HTPC


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#1
munky

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Building an OSx86-based HTPC

The challenges:

- Remote control operation
- Digital Terrestrial TV viewing and recording
- Front Row (or similar) viewing of iPhoto, iTunes content and movie files both locally and across the wireless network
- [Optional] iPod Integration
- [Optional] Webcam support for iChat AV

I already had the parts for a basic HTPC which never really worked (windows based). These included:

- CoolerMaster Cavalier 4 (CAV-T04-UWA) Silver HTPC case

- an athlon XP mobo and cpu

- two crappy old tv cards


So my first step was to rip out those non-SSE2 capable parts and ebay them!

Next I sourced an osx86 compatible mobo and cpu from ebay - an EliteGroup 915G-M mobo with GMA900, compatible LAN and audio, and a Celeron D 2.8Ghz. Not exactly a Mac Pro, but capable enough for my needs. ;)

I also sourced:

- a USB freeview card (WinTV Nova-T) rather cheaply, which is supported by Elgato's EyeTV2 software;
- an external VGA to TV scan converter + flicker fixer, capable of up to 1024x768 resolution;
- and finally an Apple iPod Universal dock - to provide iPod integration, as well as an IR port for the Apple Remote*

I'm currently awaiting delivery of the mobo and cpu, so stay tuned for updates :wallbash:


* which i'll get with my MacBook (if it ever cocking arrives... grrrr).

#2
FriedCPU

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nice, i will deffinatly be keeping an eye on this thread :)

#3
Onetrack

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How is the compatibility of your ECS board? I've used the Intel 915D-GVEL which is now discontinued and its fully supported except for audio in.

Unfortunately this board is near impossible to source from around here, the last supplier had 10 in stock and they're all gone now.

Are there any proper intel chipset, supported motherboards which are matx? Thats what you need for a proper HTPC.

I'm trying to do this, and am working on getting Front Row to function, at the moment it just loads and sits there.

#4
Black Knight

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A possible Remote Control option is the Remote Wonder from ATI. If you use the software from ATI's website for Mac OS X, it gives the full capability of the remote.

#5
munky

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I thought i'd read somewhere that the iPod Universal Dock + Apple Remote would allow remote control of a mac, but now i'm not sure if thats true or if perhaps I dreamt it.

Anyone care to enlighten me? Does anyone else remember reading about that and if so, can they point me in the direction of the info?

Update: Andrew Escobar says its not possible. Damn. I'll be ebaying an iPod Universal Dock if anyone wants one... *sigh*.

#6
munky

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Update: the mobo and cpu still havent arrived. :(

I've also pretty much blown my tech budget of late (camera, macbook, parts for this project) so i cant really afford to buy any more remote stuff. if i can source a cheap IR dongle which lets me use the Apple Remote, I might pick one up, but otherwise the 'remote' for this htpc is going to be a wireless usb keyboard and mouse.

thanks to everyone who suggested remotes tho :)

#7
omgwtf

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i would like to know which tv card/usb and webcam for ichat av works, plan to build one osx86 HTPC too.

#8
munky

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update: i will be assembling and installing the htpc during my lunch breaks this week. today i finished the hardware assembly and tested the mobo + cpu bundle, and the external vga to tv converter i bought off ebay.

parts list:

ECS 915GM motherboard (GMA900, osx86 compatible sound and lan) with Celeron D 3Ghz - bought off ebay for 85

HTPC style case - already had it

External VGA to Video converter - about 25 (ebay)

WinTV Nova USB - about 30 (ebay)

#9
munky

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Update: Argh! Software installation hell! I couldnt boot the DVD - I got the dreaded EBIOS Read error - controller or device error.

Might be because i'm trying to install to a PATA disk on a SATA motherboard. Hmm...

Going to slap WinXP on there and install via VMWare. Wish me luck :D

#10
munky

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Goddamn VMWare didnt think the Jas 10.4.6 DVD was a bootable disk... wtf??

Going to create an ISO of it on my macbook and transfer that over and boot via alchohol120 or whatever. *sigh*

also, discovered that the freeview usb thing i bought ISNT compatbile with eyetv after all. {censored}socks! my choices are ebay it and buy one which is compatible (best price: 37 from amazon) or stick with it and use iTele instead. no full-screen interface tho... :(

#11
munky

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update: apparently the freecom usb dvb stick will work, and i can source that for 30. not bad at all.

PS: does anyone still care? ;)

#12
SaberSHO

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I do :censored2:

seriously, keep up the updates, id be very interested to see the final finished product!

good luck munky

#13
munky

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heh ok thanks dude. glad someone is listening :thumbsdown_anim:

i'll try again at lunchtime (12.30ish GMT) to get the install done.

#14
OSX86tester

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wow poor munky I feel your pain m8. I bought an isight camera thinkin it would work on the fly with me laptop guess not obstacle one was getting a 4 to 6 pin firewire cable and the ballslapper here is The firewire port on the laptop is not POWERED. So now I gotta buy a pcmcia card. I already bough the stupid ilink cable. I wonder whats the next obstacle it doesnt work with neither systems... heh we shall see. iSIght works like a dream on a g4 or any mac.

#15
munky

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PROGESS AT LAST!

I'm glad I installed XP after all, as this mobo doesnt seem to want to boot the Myzar 10.4.4/5 disc natively. Installing now via VMWare. Display is outputting to the TV, so the PC to TV converter thing is definitely working :) Woot!

Next steps are:

* Make sure I can boot native
* Make sure the GMA900 is working (QE, CI, OpenGL etc)
* Make sure sound, LAN etc is supported and working
* Install a WLAN card and get it up and running
* Install iLife 06 for iPhoto etc
* Get Front Row working
* Obtain an EyeTV compatible DVB card
* Experience something like Nirvana :D

#16
munky

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Update: I found a freecom usb dvb stick on ebay for 25 delivered. cheaper than the first one i bought (and am now selling on ebay :() :D

this is gonna be sweet!

#17
munky

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Ok... weirdness. The install I did yesterday appears to be b0rked. So I booted the Myzar dvd four times today on the target machine - once I got nothing but a blue screen with no pointer, then i got proper installer, installed, but then i got 'there were errors during install' and rebooted to a b0 error, next the dvd booted to a multi-language 'you must restart your computer' (ie kernel panic), then finally it booted to a 'problems during install' screen.

wtf? the 300W psu in the machine might not be meaty enough for this mobo... i wonder if thats causing this instability?

#18
munky

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Also: I have an old Pinnacle Systems PCTV Pro card, which came with an serial-port IR receiver, and an IR remote. Both the receiver and remote are supported by LIRC (Linux Infrared Remote Control), as is the Apple Remote, and it can be built on Darwin / Mac OS X.

Interesting! :(

#19
aberracus

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i m diyng to see news about your progress Munky, you are the light bearer in the HTPC on Hackintoshes dark new frontier

#20
munky

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i m diyng to see news about your progress Munky, you are the light bearer in the HTPC on Hackintoshes dark new frontier


LOL.. well, I wouldnt quite go that far, but hey... ;)

There will sadly be no updates to this until next Monday, as i'm on holiday until then, but i'm told that my tv card arrived, so all should be k-sweet.





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