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Help needed with funky, mATX, "low-budget" Hac/XP box


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Hi, gang:

 

I need to build a low-budget Hac / XP box to back up my main XP/VMWare PC. I have been reading forum posts until my eyes bleed and, because I've never built a Hac box before (have built hundreds of X86 PCs, tho), I'm having a hard time nailing down the parts that are gonna work best. If I wanted an ATX-size box I'd use a GA-P935-DS3x and be done with it...but I need the small form factor :D After using Windoze since 3.1 and various Linux distros, I want to see what the OSX experience is like...but on an affordable platform that can also run XP.

 

So, Please let me know what y'all think about my pet project. Your expert advice is greatly appreciated!

 

0. This box will have 1 HD for XP, and one for OSX (drive cage). Only 1 HD will be plugged in at a time -- XP and OSX will NEVER see each other. I would sacrifice ultimate raw power for an easy, hassle-free OSX build. In other words, I want an OSX box that "just works," and I don't want to endlessly tweak it or kludge up various workarounds, etc. I'm a very experienced X86 tech...but an OSX newbie :rolleyes:

 

1. MB must be mATX. MB doesn't have to support the newest Core 2 duo chips, but must be able to reasonably (or insanely) overclock a cheappie C2D for usable performance.

 

2. MB may have onboard GMA video, but must support PCI-e X16 for add-on video card.

 

3. PC must use (or be able to use via adapters) PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors, and output video through a standard VGA D-sub connector. I have several PCs "KVMed" through a conventional Raritan KVM switch and a Gb LAN. I need this PC to be able to work on that system to really be useful.

 

4. Being able to use onboard sound in XP/OSX would be handy. I need only stereo output and a mic input (mic potentially optional). The idea is not having to switch sound hardware when I swap the XP and OSX drives. I guess I could also use the often-mentioned external USB sound devices for OSX if they can also work in XP?

 

5. MB must support 2 MB of RAM, although 4 would be better for the long run.

 

I have a nice 10.4.10 VMWare image that has working sound and LAN...but the experience is still too slow through virtualization...

 

I was thinking of using a 945G mATX MB that has reasonable OCing ability with 2- or 4-series C2Ds, along with well-supported on-board audio. I can't find ANY P35 MBs in mATX (there may not be any). I see that there are some newer Intel chipsets in mATX, but they don't seem easy to build and support.

 

So, If I haven't confused you by now...and if what I'm looking for doesn't exist...what do you think? Are there MBs that meet all of those requirements?

 

Thanks again,

 

--KK in MN

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