Needing a Niche Mac

At home, I find I have need for a kind of Mac that Apple doesn't make any more.

I run PLEX as my media management solution. That requires a lot of disk based storage space. And I use Indigo home automation software. (Which, as an aside, is amazing and wonderful.) It's not at all processor intensive and even less graphics intensive. Though it does have some networking requirements, as it provides a web server to run what it refers to as control pages.

I have a quite serviceable if old Apple Cinema Display that shows no sign of failing. A testament to Apple's build quality that this ten+ year old monitor is still going strong. But the 2008 Mac Mini running it is definitely getting pokey.

A new iMac is overkill and lacks the storage space I need. A new Mac Mini would require a lot of high capacity drives hanging off of the back of it, and also Apple hasn't updated the Mini line in so long that the hardware isn't compelling for the price. And the same goes doubly for the Mac Pro, which is woefully in need of a hardware refresh.

But I need something, so it appears I have to build it. Hackintosh time!

The good news for my budget is I have a bunch of full sized SATA hard drives. And I've got a case given to me along with the aforementioned Cinema Display by an old friend. It's a 1999 era PowerMac G4, which has plenty of room for drives inside, though it can't really take a full sized ATX motherboard.

Power first:

As I start building this, I realize I've made a couple of errors by picking this particular power supply, but they're all issues involving how it fits into this particular PowerMac case. I like the quality of the power supply aside from that.

Choice of motherboard is critical for a hackintosh, and as I said, I can't fit an ATX board in the case, so I'm going Micro-ATX. Gigabyte boards are easy to configure for OS X compatibility:

In typical Murphy fashion, while the motherboard is almost the first thing needed to start the build, it's going to be one of the last things to arrive. But the CPU arrived days ago.

This Intel i5 is the same processor Apple uses in most of its computers and offers a good balance of performance and price. It comes with a basic cooling fan that I'll try before deciding if I want to upgrade to something bigger and quieter. Of course I have nothing to plug that i5 in to yet!

This is my first time building a hackintosh, and the first time modding an existing case. I've had fun planning it, and I'm going to continue documenting this process for first timers like me who want to give this a try.

Next installment: which parts and such?



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