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Old December 31, 2009, 03:49 PM
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Idle hands, a pile of spare parts and an old Mac looking for a brain transplant.

Hi everyone, I'm new to the forums and thought I would share my latest project as my first post. I have been very impressed with the quality of the projects posted here, hopefully this measures up in some way. I have had an old PowerMac G4 lying around my office/man-cave for a couple of years just being used for website and Flash testing. It will be ten years old this winter and itís about time to retire it forever as the ancient and completely obsolete guts it has now make it next to useless when compared to the quad core Hackintosh tower that replaced it (another project that Iíll try to post sometime soon). I do like the case and want to put some real power into it, possibly using it as a LAN box or folding unit or something along those lines. Looking in my parts bin I found more than enough (somewhat) modern components to put this thing together.



Here's what I am starting with:

The Victim


Arrrgh ancient PowerPC, AGP and IDE!


Slow-poke's specs


Rear end


Not a lot of connectivity here



The G4ís old motherboard is approximately the same size a Mini-ATX board with four standard spaced expansion slots, the motherboard posts do not line up with ATX standards so they will have to be removed and replaced. The rear panel will have to be altered to accommodate an ATX IO plate, and the optical drive bay will have to go as in its current location will hit the RAM and likely the tower style CPU cooler too when the side of the case is closed using its new M-ATX internals. So letís tear this thing apart.

All of the plastic panels covering the steel interior are secured by the acrylic handles and feet using flat hex head socket caps, the whole thing came apart fairly easily and I was surprised by a few things I found. Considering that this thing is a decade old it was interesting to find a wireless antenna running from the motherboard section to both sides of the case, Iíll keep this to see if it can be put to use later in the project.

Apple hid a bunch of the system controller chips under the motherboard including a made in Canada system controller using the case itself as a heatsink, and an Intel AGP controller. Though kind of nostalgic all of this old junk has to go.




So with the machine stripped of its plastic shell and old PowerPC and IDE components I am left with this:







Now I have seen this type of project one before (here and here), but most G4 to ATX conversions look like real hack jobs. One of the sources of problems with retrofitting this case for ATX boards is that everyone seems to be using the old PSU mounting bracket that runs the whole length of the case, this greatly restricts the height of the CPU cooler (as seen in the image here from someone else's project) and provides a potential cable routing nightmare as ATX power supplies are not made for this type of case layout as the distance between the PSU and the MB changes between the open and closed positions of the case.

So I came up with a seemingly easy solution; remove the old optical drive/PSU bracket and relocate the PSU.

The most logical position considering what else has to fit in there is to put it somewhere in front of the case and having it exhaust out of the bottom as the old PSU exhaust location will be occupied by the CPU tower cooler. Now all I have to worry about is clearance for the video card when the case is closed as the 9800GT with the Accelero S1 cooler needs about 10" to fit.
More to come once I get a little further in, I hope to keep it interesting.

Last edited by Photograph; June 2, 2011 at 08:15 AM. Reason: Project has a real name now.
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Old December 31, 2009, 03:58 PM
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Looks like a fun project ... take your time and do it right
I like those cases better than the new MacPro cases.

I use old cases all the time but never got my hands on a apple case ... yet.
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Old December 31, 2009, 04:04 PM
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nice project , so you will run Windows 7 on it, so it's not an hackintosh, a hackintosh is runing OSX on a PC , god thing because I'm not sure the mod will like we talk about Hackintosh
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Old December 31, 2009, 05:54 PM
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Nice, I love older machines retrofitted nicely with new components.
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Old January 1, 2010, 01:01 PM
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wow! good luck with this project
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Old January 1, 2010, 02:03 PM
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subscribing! may be picking up a g4 from LL sometime soon, really want to see how this turns out

work faster, photograph! hope to see updates soon
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Old January 15, 2010, 07:51 PM
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Well I have the parts picked out, I'll be starting the real work this weekend now that everything has been finalized.

Motherboard & CPU: Asus P5QL-EM and an Intel Pentium Dual Core E6300.



Video Card: BFG GeForce 9800GT 512Mb with AC Accelero 1 Rad.


Memory: 4Gb of OCZ DDR2-1066.


CPU Cooler: OCZ Vendetta 2 that I grabbed during NCIX's Boxing week sale for $12


HD: A WD 320Gb SATA with a stock Intel heatsink thermally glued to it (it was part of my old folding box).


PSU: An OCZ 400W "Fatality" that I picked up for about $25 last summer.


And finally, a wireless card with a pretty good antenna as this machine will be used all over the place.


Now for some actual building...
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Old January 16, 2010, 01:33 PM
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it will be an awsome build for sure.
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Old January 16, 2010, 08:28 PM
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Glues an old intel heatsink to your hdd huh? Hows it work?
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Old January 16, 2010, 08:34 PM
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not a Hackintosh if your running windows on it XD interesting build though...
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