So what hardware am I going to build my HTPC on? For maximum compatibility with the potential Hackintosh, Gigabyte motherboards are recommended by the OSX86 community. The last 4 motherboards I’ve bought have been Gigabytes and they’ve all worked flawlessly so brand was a no-brainer. Size had to be MiniITX so I could get a case small enough to fit under my TV, in the cupboard.
Lots of Gigabyte motherboards come with onboard VGA, but little did I know how little support there was for the on-board Intel X4500 GPU – this was a huge disappointment as the board I’d decided on, the G41M-ES2H, as it has VGA, DVI and HDMI video outputs.
I ended up settling on the MSI N8400GS D512H graphics card, which was cheap at well under £30, is compatible with OSX (fully QE/CI compatible) and most importantly has no fan, which I’ve found to be one of the main contributors to noise in most PCs I’ve built.
For the case I chose a Silverstone SG02B-F Evolution Micro in black. This is reasonably small and has space for 3 full-height PCI-E cards plus graphics card. Perfect if I want to bang in a satellite/TV card in the future. It’s not aluminium but there are plenty of vents around the case. Silverstone build quality has always been consistently good in all the cases I’ve ever had and at under £50 seemed to be just the job.
Other components I used were 2Gb of memory, an old SATA HDD, old DVD drive and an Akasa low-noise PSU, along with an Intel E7400 Core 2 Duo CPU. This belongs to the ageing S775 family but it was cheap and I have no intention of ever pushing this CPU past doing anything more than light HTPC duties.
I ordered the lot from Scan, who I’ve used religously since 2000, thoroughly recommended and have the best after-sales service for PC components I’ve ever come across. Do yourself a favour and shop here, you won’t be disappointed.