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New Project: Building from scratch a cheap and 100% compatible

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I've always loved Macs, but my work made me go away from them years ago. As soon as I saw Apple going for Intel processors I've been thinking about setting up a system that can work with Windows and MacOS X. Now I have the opportunity to go for one because I'm going to replace a secondary system, used mainly to browse the internet, listen to music, process photos and sometimes as a mediacenter.


Building it from scratch I'm looking for a cheap solution that can be installed without patching. I've read the wiki of the OSx86 project and I've come across this configuration:

  • Micro-ATX motherboard Abit I-45C. link. The Wiki says that everything works smoothly. It comes with Intel 945GC / ICH7 Chipset, supports the new Core2Duo processors, with 2 DIMM sockets that supports up to 4GB of dual channel DDR2 667 memory, integrates video with the not-so-good Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 card, integrated multichannel sound, onboard Gigabit LAN adapter, 1 x PCI-E X16, 1 x PCI-E X1, 2 x PCI, Floppy Port, 1 x Ultra DMA 100/66/33 IDE, 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector, 2 x USB header (support 4 ports), 1 x FP-Audio, 1 x CD-In ... all for around 40 € is just amazing.
  • Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 2.4 GHz. I think this is the way to go, but it's going to eat up a third of the cost of the system. I'm also thinking about a Pentium DualCore E2180 which lists for around 45 € instead of 99 €. In my main system I have a Core2Duo E6600 pumped to 3 GHz and I love it.
  • Main memory 2 GB of Corsair DDR2-667 RAM in a 2x1 GB kit. This can be obtained for less than 40 €.
  • Hard drive Samsung SpinPoint T166 320GB SATA for another 40 euros.
  • Video card GigaByte RX26P512H ATI HD2600 Pro. Pasively cooled by heatsinks. Another 55 euros goes in this optional chapter that could be omited but I think it will give the power needed for most tasks and should definately give a new performance to the system.
  • DVD-RW Pioneer DVR-115DBK for another 25 €.
  • The case could be an Asus TS-631 micro-ATX enclosure. It includes the power supply unit and it's not so small. It'll let you install 2x5,25" external drives, and won't fool you setting it up like in a barebone. It doesn't has the glamour of a Mac, but could be a choice. Others like the silverstones are much more expensive - this lists for around 40 € - and doesn't include the PSU.

The overall system totals between 250 € with the cheaper processor and without the graphic card and around 350 € with the Core2Duo E4600 and the ATI HD2600 Pro.


What do you think of this setup?

Any other case choices?

Any advice on the installation?

Is it really going to be hassle-free?


Thanks in advance

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I'm thinking about building a system with similar price range ($500) and am very interesting in what is best.


Although I don't need HDD and DVD, I'll need to get a monitor in place ($200).


I'm most concern for the motherboard and the CPU. I've been looking for P35 and ICH9 chipset only (asus and gigabytes). Do you think older chipset will be more compatible or newer ones are? I've seen lots of threads addressing P35 chipset and I think it would be smarter to buy something that popular.

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get an Intel dg31pr board: mATX, ICH7, 1333 FSB, support quadcores in case you want to upgrade: around 50 €. All onboard components are supported, except the GMA3100 onboard graphics. If you have some more money I recommend the ASUS p5K-VM (around 70 €) mATX, ICH9, 1333, 1600 FSB, 8GB ram max (the intel only takes 4GB max), spdif out, firewire; I got one last week and is working great;

For these two boards you will need to add a graphic card. I would go for a NVidia card. You can get a 7600gt or 7900 (even a cheep 7100, 7300) for not so much money this days (they will perform better than the gma950/3100 anyway) or if you want to spend a bit more a 8xxx. I got a 7600gt 256MB for 24€ and a 7100gs 128mb for 6€; on e-bay. Ati cards on hackintosh are a PITA to me; nvidia cards just works with the usual injectors (NVInject, NVKush) or EFI strings.

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