Lets start with Success: THE EPI-QM77
This is the EPIC board, it is slightly larger than the ECX board, but fits easily within the dome. As always this is a purchased retail copy of Mountain Lion using the brilliant tonymac's Unibeast/Multibeast install method (Thank you again tonymac). Changing the SATA from IDE to AHCI was the only change I had to make in the bios, otherwise it installed natively. Interestingly, I had trouble getting the USB to function from a USB 3.0 port, but when I plugged it into the apple keyboard's USB via the USB 3.0 it worked fine.
|An Ivy Bridge "MacBook Pro" in an iMac G4 shell|
I will have to see what might be needed from a cooling perspective, but I may need to upgrade to a larger heatsink, but can not be sure until the computer is fully assembled.
This is likely the build I will keep as this board has everything I need, Core i7 Quad Ivy Bridge with HD4000 graphics, Enough USB 3.0 slots and 2 SATA 6.0 ports. Even a quality 7.1 Realtek Audio Chip is included.
The "Looks Promising" Board: THE INTEL DC3217BY
On tonymac's forums I have seen successful hackintosh builds using the sister model which has ethernet and two monitor support. This is the "higher end" model because of the inclusion of a thunderbolt port. With the help of mikeboss' tip to set the graphics to 128mb, this board was able to post. I did not go further as a mSATA is required and I did not have one large enough until now. I have installed this Crucial 128GB mSATA, as well as a broadcom half height wifi card. As this board is nearly identical, I suspect I will have similar success. The question will be the thunderbolt, which I am hopeful will work natively.
|With RAM, Wifi, and mSATA installed|
NOT AT ALL: The Gene HM-76
I had high hopes for this ECX board, but I am currently having issues with the DVI display. I am unsure if this is a failure of the board or its ability to communicate with my DVI/TMDS mod. There are a few things I still want to try.
WAITING IN THE WINGS: THE KEEX-6100
As Lion ran so well on it, I doubt Mountain Lion will be a problem, but I will test this as well as the core i7 processor.
A New QM-77 Ivy Bridge Board:
Quanmax will be releasing the Ivy Bridge KEEX-7100 and 7101 which contain embedded Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors respectively. ALthough I have a fondness for Quanmax and its KEEX boards have served me well, this board is not yet available and this is somewhat late in the game. As I frequently change processors and tinker, I try to avoid embedded systems if possible (no other option with Intel NUC, but price is actually reasonable for a processor included system), but it remains a viable alternative.
The Old Mac Mini:
I have been looking at ebay and the white polycarbonate Core 2 Duo systems are falling in price. While the new boards are too big, the older style will work, but price to performance has been a limitation. Although underpowered, there is a huge advantage in a native OS X machine and the final iterations (2.5+ Ghz) are still capable machines. I will have to see if I can obtain one at a reasonable price.
Thanks for reading, will keep updating as I go.