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[Build Log] Power Hac i4

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Heyho, it's Yaru again, so due to my lack of a PC I decided to delay Project: Frost Lake in favour of having a PC again with less powerful components that still deliver enough power to enjoy many games.

To be precise: I actually don't have a PC, until recently I played very few games on a MacBook Pro. Thanks to a faulty GPU, at first it wasn't able anymore to run Windows (boot camp) stable, now it's incapable of delivering a playable experience at all.
So I'm glad my sister has a cheap Medion tower which was a bit better. But now her GPU and HDD come up with problems, so I made a deal with her.

"I upgrade your PC from time to time, when I have sufficient money, so we can both use your computer again with a better experience. The new parts stay mine, and by the time I will have replaced all parts, the computer is mine and you get back yours, reassembled."

She has no problem with that in any way, and why should she, so, yea, second project has started!

First things first, the current specs:
- Intel Core i3-2100 @ 2x 3.1GHz
- Medion mATX Board, MS-7728
- 2x 2GB Samsung DDR3 RAM @ 1333MHz
- AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB GDDR5 by msi
- ~350W PSU (not sure, didn't check it yet)
- 1.5TB WD Caviar Green HDD (WD15EARS)

Her PC, given it's working without any serious issues, has one main Problem: Speed. This ship is slow as poop. Slow HDD and an entirely outdated GPU. First thing to upgrade for better gaming experience? GPU of course! Do I want a mint GPU with those old components? Not really, but I absolutely don't trust that power supply. Enough wattage? Don't think so. 80+? Nah. Then the HDD. Why hasn't she already upgraded to an SSD?

Hence I ordered the Corsair RM650i which should provide more and stable (and safer!) power while running way more efficiently. And then of course the Samsung 850 EVO in 250GB which should give the OS a nice boost.

Next will be a Gigabyte GTX960 Windforce with 4GB GDDR5 RAM.

Once I have around 450€ available again after that upgrade I will upgrade CPU, MOBO and RAM as I'll be shifting to the new Skylake architecture. That means I need a new socket which forces me to get a new MOBO, which again, being Skylake, forces me to get new RAM in DDR4. Because why would I keep the MOBO and get an old CPU when I don't expect the PC to be upgraded in the next few years.

And as airflow in the Medion case is basically a nightmare, and it's kinda humiliating to house such new components in such an unworthy, dusty case... Why not give it a new case?! Thanks to Quastus, who's working on a Power Mac G4 mod, I got excited and decided to do one as well. And as my sister is using a mATX board anyways, which is roughly the size of the Power Mac's MOBO, it just fits.

Even though we have 4 G4's here, I'm not allowed to modify them, as they are inventory of my dad's work. So in the unlikely event they want them back, we will have to return them.

Which made me buy my own on ebay. Right now it's still being shipped to me. But I definitely have some first ideas. One thing that I know for sure: it will have a front inlet, which is why I chose the sabertooth model. I will remove the entire detachable inner front plate and replace it with a custom mesh and a 140mm airflow fan. And I know that Power Mac will get a new finish, so I'll very likely paint it. Note sure on any colours yet. Always open for any suggestions. I'm also thinking of realising a windowed panel, but not too sure on that idea.

What do you think, and did I get anyone excited? Stay tuned for further progress. smile.gif

P.S. As I said, this project is more urgent than Project: Frost Lake, so that one will be delayed. But it's not cancelled, I'm still working on it in parallel!
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello again, everyone! I need to apologise for not updating this thread in over 3 months! Didn't realise that so much time had passed already since my first/last post in this thread...
But hey, there IS actually some updates for you guys, or at least for anyone interested. And no, I'm not finished. Yet.
Let's talk about hardware first.

So yeah, I have finally updated pretty much every component except for the CPU cooler and the case. In 3 steps I have switched:

- PSU: ~350W —> Corsair RM650i
- HDD/SSD: 1.5TB WD Caviar Green (WD15EARS) merged with 256GB Toshiba SSD (Apple MacBook Pro) —> 250GB Samsung 850 Evo

- GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB GDDR5 (msi) —> Gigabyte Windforce GTX 960 4GB GDDR5

- CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 @ 2x 3.1GHz —> Intel Core i5-6600K @ 4x 3.5GHz
- MOBO: Medion mATX Board, MS-7728 —> Gigabyte B150M-D3H mATX
- RAM: 2x 2GB Samsung DDR3 @ 1333MHz —> 2x 4GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 @ 2133MHz

Basically I took my Windows 8.1 from my Boot Camp partition on the MacBook Pro and tried to just copy it over to my new SSD which showed to be way more complicated than I, as a spoiled Mac User, had imagined. I tried putting the MBP (MacBook Pro) into slave mode, connected to the MP (Mac Pro), hoping to easily copy one drive to another. This was where I first found out that SATA and eSATA are not exactly the same. Hence I connected the new SSD directly into the MP (being held just by the connector - do not attempt this at home kids), etc etc etc - when the easiest solution in the end was a software by Samsung (!!) that did exactly what I wanted. Already mentioned in the little manual of the 850 evo. Just connect both drives to the PC and tell the software to copy SSD A entirely to SSD B. 8 minutes, and finished. Ever since things worked just fine! ... At least on the software side.

When I received my third order the system wouldn't post. So after trying different configurations with my RAM and checking the error code from the motherboard I assumed the CPU was dead on arrival. I sent the i5-6500 back asking for a replacement. They checked it and sent it yet again to me, saying they weren't able to find any issues with the CPU.
By the time I had received the CPU the second time, I already had an idea what could've really been causing the system to not post: I had ordered 2666MHz RAM, while the only officially supported clock speed was said to be at 2133MHz. Fortunately I had sent back the CPU together with the RAM, asking for a refund for the RAM in order to get appropriately clocked memory.

I was just about to mount the CPU when I figured out that
- hey, my replaced i5-6500 is actually an i5-6600K for whatever reason
- I must have somehow bent a few pins on the CPU socket. Shiet.
I bent them back, but I didn't dare to test the motherboard's functionality. So I sent that one back as well, asking for a check. :I
To my surprise they sent me a new motherboard. Now that's a really good service! Luckily now all components are finally ... in use. But not 'installed' in terms of 'put in a case'. I have been too lazy to struggle getting all the opponents into the small case, getting them out once replacements arrive and installing the replacements then. So for now... the case is an open box.
Works fine as well!

Speaking of the case: I got a PowerMac G4 (Sawtooth) on ebay in 'very good condition' for 17€. Unfortunately the guy selling it meant the hardware functionality and not the outer appearance, as the case had several cracks. That guy was very incompetent (did not send the article/did not react in almost 1 month) and then just said "oh sorry I hope you can still use the computer". Would've rated him negatively, but I guess in terms of justice there would be little understanding for my rating, so I was kind of glad there was the option of rating him 'neutrally'.

Nevertheless I continued my project, disassembling the PowerMac by first removing all hardware components and then tearing the entire case down into every single part of plastic beside the steel case. At this point I wondered if a standard ATX power supply would fit in the space where the Apple PSU sat before... and well look at that, even the screw holes matched! Awesome!

However the first thing I had modified on the steel case was drilling out the rivets for the big plate that holds the PSU as well as optical drives. I plan on doing my own version of that part which is supposed to look way cleaner and simpler.

Next I (for the first time ever) used a dremel to cut a relatively huge front grill into the front panel by removing the shiny plastic including the switches and speaker holes. I probably didn't have the right cutting tool for plastic as it took me very long to actually get through the material and it always got too hot causing it to melt many times. But I still made it, so the next thing I cut out was the rear grill, for the PSU. Here I want to come up with a different approach.

Then finally it was time to cut some steel! So just as with the front plastic bezel I now cut off a big chunk of steel from the front. This took me quite a while as well and consumed an entire cutting wheel. Luckily I had two of those. :'D

What I also tried out so far was spray painting the plastic. As I am totally unfamiliar with this as well I sticked to Linus video where he paints a monitor. My first results are not too promising, though I think I know how to address those issues the next time I try it out. smile.gif as for colours I decided to give the side panels and hinges a matte black finish while I coat the front, rear and top panels in a matte white. And I ditched the idea with the window. biggrin.gif

This is how far I have come for now, my new job keeps me pretty busy in terms of available time, and then there's friends and family asking me for favours. So my progress over 3 months is actually pretty poor, sorry! Nevertheless I still continue doing some work on this project, as well as I keep brainstorming and measuring and researching stuff for Project: Frost Lake! wink.gif I hope my next update will not take three months again, I'll try my best to give updates way sooner! smile.gif
post #3 of 4
looking pretty sweet.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I hope my next update will not take three months again, I'll try my best to give updates way sooner! smile.gif

...Aaaaand the next update followed 3x 3 months later. Whoops rolleyes.gif

@marquee Thanks mate, I'm pretty content so far despite the long time I'm taking to continue making progress on this project. biggrin.gif

So, yea, okay, I used the word update, so let me update this thread!

I've changed some of the specs.
  • PSU: ~350W —> Corsair RM650i
    —> Switched to the Corsair SF450
  • HDD/SSD: 1.5TB WD Caviar Green (WD15EARS) merged with 256GB Toshiba SSD (Apple MacBook Pro) —> 250GB Samsung 850 Evo
    —> Switched to the 256GB Samsung 950 Pro
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6670 1GB GDDR5 (msi) —> Gigabyte Windforce GTX 960 4GB GDDR5
    —> Back to the old AMD Radeon HD 6670 for now, read below for further details
  • CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 @ 2x 3.1GHz —> Intel Core i5-6600K @ 4x 3.5GHz
    (no changes)
  • MOBO: Medion mATX Board, MS-7728 —> Gigabyte B150M-D3H mATX
    —> Switched to the Gigabyte Z170M-D3H mATX
  • RAM: 2x 2GB Samsung DDR3 @ 1333MHz —> 2x 4GB Kingston HyperX Fury DDR4 @ 2133MHz
    (no changes, just another set for myself)

I got myself a new PSU, as Corsair's SF series didn't exist yet about one year ago and because I wasn't really aware of the SFX formfactor. So here we go with a more appropriate PSU which isn't too much of an overkill.
Then I wanted to experience the benefits of NVMe storage, and what should I say, yes it is quick, but I don't really see a huge increase in performance in my every day tasks. Still pretty awesome, especially having to use less cables and gaining more space.
As the CPU happened to transform from a 6500 into a 6600K, which wasn't actually planned, I upgraded the MOBO to the Z-series.

But what did I do with the other parts, and why did I switch back to that old GPU again? From the beginning my intention was to build "a pretty good PC" for gaming with nothing too fancy so I have something to game on for now. I would eventually hand this PC over to my sister then, so she doesn't continue playing on a shiddy piece of PC. Sharing a PC is possible, but at some point I wanted my own PC. Also I had so much fun and pride working on my Project: Power Hac i4, so I decided to keep it. But I didn't want an empty case.

Which is why I decided to get my sister a new PC case for her birthday, which happened to be the In Win 303 in black (you should've seen her face. "...huh?? what??" what do you mean, huh what, it's your PC!) and I bought new parts for me, which are aforementioned MOBO and RAM. She keeps the 850 Evo, which is why I have the 950 Pro now, she keeps the GTX 960 while I'm keeping an eye on the GTX 1060 for now (just not yet), and to make use of the 6600K (Z-series motherboard) she got the G4400, which is more than enough along with the GTX 960 to mainly play League of Legends. Also, for aesthetics and acoustics, I ditched my sister's old stock cooler (with a broken leg) and replaced it with Corsair's new entry level AiO cooler, the Hydro H45. Say what you want about how much sense it makes to liquid cool a non-overclockable CPU, again, it was for aesthetics and acoustics. I think it was worth the money and now my sister has a PC to show off.

So okay, here I am with an unfinished PC again, working the way it should, but no housing. But I made some progress! smile.gif

I have been doing some test fitting with components to get an idea of how much space I actually have in that case and which spots might get tricky later on. Also I have a new use for my sister's old MOBO and CPU now! biggrin.gif

But not only that, I have continued getting rid of some steel, such as the original I/O-shield of the Powermac, or all standoffs for the motherboard and other various mounting holes.

Furthermore I tried marking the spots for mounting the motherboard later on according to the mATX standard. While I probably miscalculated some lengths, I am still very unsure about the exact positions in terms of angles. Still gonna make some measurements to be 100% sure where the mounting holes should be on the panel.

But in the meantime I have cut out a CPU cutout! Hehe! tongue.gif I also marked the cutout positions for the dual 140mm fans, though I'm still uncertain about those, might shift them by a few millimeters.

And then there is this great piece of tech add on that I found, the Asus USB 3.1 UPD Panel! Of course I'm gonna include that in Project: Power Hac i4! biggrin.gif Main purpose should be clear: reversible, futureproof and highspeed I/O with 100w power delivery. Awesome!

Currently I still have a bit more than a week off of work and I hope I can use some of that time to continue work on this mod. smile.gif Not making any promises on updates anymore tho, except for there will be at least one more update some day! tongue.gif
Edited by Yaru Sasaki - 8/11/16 at 6:28am
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