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View Full Version : Hackintosh media box / mini media centre - anyone built one?




j.earnshaw
Aug 19, 2009, 10:50 AM
Wondering if anyone has successfully built a hackintosh media box for their home media setup.

I am aware that the apple TV is quite constrained in its features, and that barring the cost the mac mini is the best alternative. I was wanting to know specifically if anyone had done it at a cost less than a new mac mini, as currently i would go down that route since refurb / second hand mac mini's are hard to acquire in the UK.

My ideal plan would be to have a mini running Plex connected to a Samsung HDTV, with the mini getting its content from a Time Capsule being used as a NAS. I will have a BT homeHub as my router, and could use either wireless or gigabit ethernet to connect the devices. I also posses a Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, 2 MacBooks and a MacPro, some of which will need the content / wifi from the NAS Although i have other Macs that could be used to stream to the ATV or Mini, i do not want to go down this route simply for ease of use for guests and my fiance.

Any input is appreciated.... Cheers



wysinawyg
Aug 19, 2009, 11:23 AM
Have a lookee here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=690333

j.earnshaw
Aug 20, 2009, 03:11 AM
Nice link, but the components are a bit too costly for my needs, the price of that one would make a refurb / second hand mini look cheap.

I am curious to other peoples setups though, and whether anyone has done a stripped down, low cost solution....

Thanks for responding BTW....

richorlin
Aug 20, 2009, 07:14 AM
Just picked up one these at Mcrocenter as an open-box for $159 (normally $199):

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0301885&product_type=clearance

It looks easier to hackintosh than the MSI Wind desktop that Newegg is pushing for $149 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856167037 because it has everything already in it. I've set up the MSI before as a hackintosh and it runs great. I had memory and a drive lying around. I eventually returned it because I didn't like the build quality and adding a dvd drive would have upped the price. It's bare-bones, so if you don't have a hdd, memory and dvd drive the price jumps up to where the Microcenter PowerSpec or a used mini would be cheaper.

MacFanUK
Aug 20, 2009, 07:40 AM
Nice link, but the components are a bit too costly for my needs, the price of that one would make a refurb / second hand mini look cheap.

I am curious to other peoples setups though, and whether anyone has done a stripped down, low cost solution....

Thanks for responding BTW....

I would look at InsanelyMac.com you will get some great advice about what components will work with OSX. I have just built a hackintosh with a Gigabyte motherboard, although it's not a Micro ATX board so wouldn't fit in a HTPC case.

However, I am thinking along the same lines as you. I have considered the AppleTV approach, but the only 2 things that puts me off is that a) 40GB really isn't enough and b) the technology/spec is 2 years old (minimum) and Apple are charging the same price they charged 2 years ago.

It is possible to build a Hackintosh system for 275 (example: mATX Motherboard 50, Intel E5300 2.6GHz 54, 2GB DDR2 Ram 30, 320GB Hard Drive 32, SATA DVDRW 19, Antec NSK 2480 Case & PSU 90). Obviously, you could go cheaper on the case (I've got a Dell Vostro 100 case which I had to modify slightly to fit a motherboard in, which cost me 10 off ebay). Also, if you wanted more umph, you could get a low profile graphics card.

Hope this helps a little.

j.earnshaw
Aug 20, 2009, 08:11 AM
That microcentre link was decent - especially since an atom computer would probably be rather quiet.

As for the building of a cheap hackintosh via looking at insanely mac i shall definitely put some thought into that. I have previously built windows gaming computers using parts from Scan, and i am assuming that the parts from there will be very competitively priced to do something like this.

Definitely food for thought.... :)

Cave Man
Aug 20, 2009, 08:12 AM
Nice link, but the components are a bit too costly for my needs, the price of that one would make a refurb / second hand mini look cheap.

But that Mini won't have a 2.33 ghz quad-core processor nor 2.25 TB of hard drive space. ;)

Seriously, if you want it for less, just get a dual-core processor (SSE3 minimum) and put in a single, smaller hard drive. You could probably do that for around US$500. I built that one because I need it to do up to three things at once (watch high bit rate 1080p Blu-ray rips, transcode video and serve up the Apple TV).

MacFanUK
Aug 20, 2009, 08:23 AM
That microcentre link was decent - especially since an atom computer would probably be rather quiet.

As for the building of a cheap hackintosh via looking at insanely mac i shall definitely put some thought into that. I have previously built windows gaming computers using parts from Scan, and i am assuming that the parts from there will be very competitively priced to do something like this.

Definitely food for thought.... :)

Yeah, Scan are very decent. That's where I got the stuff for my hackintosh :)

j.earnshaw
Aug 20, 2009, 08:58 AM
But that Mini won't have a 2.33 ghz quad-core processor nor 2.25 TB of hard drive space. ;)

True, although my desired solution would be to have it connected to a central NAS storage so the hard drive wouldn't be the main concern currently. In fact i was toying with the idea of getting a dirt cheap SSD like the ones netbooks use to increase the performance and silence of the machine.

Still, the points you were made were definitely valid, i just have to err towards lower costs in my media solution.

lixuelai
Aug 20, 2009, 09:25 AM
If you want cheap:

http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=1506699

btw netbook ssds are usually not as good as HDDs. The read/write speeds are usually very bad.

j.earnshaw
Aug 21, 2009, 04:23 AM
Just been pricing things up on scan - it is correct that a mini itx system is possible for around 200-250 depending on spec. Also of note though is that none of these mini itx boards seem to currently provide DVI or HDMI slots which is a shame... would probably have to use an adapter if going down this route.

Just out of curiosity does anyone know of any decent refurb apple retailers that are not the apple store or CEX (computer exchange) just in case the mini's can be obtained in the UK for cheap?