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Power Mac G4 Conversion

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I came into ownership of an Power Mac G4 (gigabit ethernet) last year. It was broken and I could not figure out what was wrong with it. So I decided to reenact The Ship of Theseus tongue.gif

Piece by piece, one part at a time. When does it stop being a Mac?
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I started with an all-stock original Power Mac G4 Gigabit Ethernet.

uIFIn.jpg

I broke it down to it's bare components
a1aEL.jpg

I then took the removed panels and started with the blue plastic - lightly sanding/scuffing the surface before priming it black.

STt0b.jpg

At first I tried bordering the Apple logos

pH7V1.jpg

l7STR.jpg

This didn't work, so I had to pop out the logos. A small Philip's Screwdriver did the trick. tongue.gif

85DDX.jpg

Then I added some gloss.

w8AQT.jpg

1WtQT.jpg

All done with the paint.

But in preparation for replacing the motherboard I'd need to modify the PCB that connects the power, reset, and Power Indicator LED.

z0VEb.jpg

As you can probably tell, I have cut the circuit paths and jumped wires directly to the contacts - which I sealed in place with RTVR

The next several steps involved painting the interior. Sadly I have no pictures, but I will do my best to describe the process.

I painted the interior black with a nice primer that I had available. All of the modules were painted with a white primer to separate them. Using an old mother board I stenciled the location for putting stand-offs in places for mounting the motherboard. I used the original SCSI PCI board to ensure that the PCI slots lined up.

Then I placed the new motherboard in place!

jr1H1.jpg

The motherboard fits like a glove, and you can also see in this picture that I have a jumper in the USB port that controls Bluetooth and a secondary audio controller that works via USB (featured in the left hand side of the image) and connects to the front panel module I've constructed.

Time to put it all together!

System Stats:

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-H55M-S2H
CPU: Intel Core i7 870 2.93 GHz
RAM: G.Skill 4GB 1600 MHz DDR3 *(2 sticks)
GPU: EVGA nVidia GeForce GT 240 *(I'm not a gamer)
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 5400rpm 2TB (2 drives)
SSD: G.Skill 120GB SSD
ROM: LG DVD+/-RW with Lightscribe

Add-ons: Firewire Card, Drive Bay Module with Audio, E-SATA, FireWire, USB, and Card Reader.
PSU: 650 Watt

Esrhy.jpg

Beautiful build so far, but CPU runs very hot! I got up to 91º C Just running Prime95 without an overclock! Time to improve cooling? Yes.

xF7mR.jpg

Scythe Big Shuriken features a slim 120mm fan, perfect for a low-profile with high airflow needs. http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/cpu/048/scbsk1000_detail.html

But there was a problem. As you can see in the picture it overlaps one of the RAM modules.

But this does not stop me!

AtAQj.jpg

So I had to cut away a little bit of the corner. This is not a problem. The added benefit is that now the RAM is cooled by the added airflow! smile.gif

I decided on a few more cosmetics and finished assembly

pcXZO.jpg

PkfvF.jpg

0IfQz.jpg

HrdOo.jpg

As you can see I very closely matched the current style of apple products:

apple-ipad1.jpg

I even recreated the anodized aluminum look:

VKEeA.jpg

I wired an LED to the Apple Logo on the front Bezel to act as the HDD LED:

xIl6P.jpg
hR3u0.jpg

And I made sure the DVD+/-RW works fine!

Q4OJr.jpg

So yes it is a Mac. And a very good one in fact. But there is no reason to post to overclock.net unless you have an overclock! Thanks to the Scythe cooler I had room for a modest overclock. I increased the BCLK from 133 to 140 and had very good results:

3aIty.jpg

It will compress an full-length DVD Movie in under 10 minutes, and has benchmarks similar to the 8-Core Mac Pro from mid-2010. Overall a great success.biggrin.gif
Edited by idioma - 1/4/11 at 1:05pm
post #3 of 17
thats awesome. I should see what I can do with some of my older cases as well! biggrin.gif
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 @4ghz 1.5375v ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO EVGA/MSI GTX470 SLI 800/1900 Corsair 2x4GB 9:9:9:24 @800mhz 1.5V 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Antec TP-750W ABS A+ Black Pearl 
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My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 @4ghz 1.5375v ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO EVGA/MSI GTX470 SLI 800/1900 Corsair 2x4GB 9:9:9:24 @800mhz 1.5V 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Antec TP-750W ABS A+ Black Pearl 
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smartasien;11883301 
thats awesome. I should see what I can do with some of my older cases as well! biggrin.gif

These are good computers that deserve a second life (like your zombie picture). When Apple released the Power Mac G4, it was considered "munition" class of computer (1 GFLOP) or "Super Computer". This system I've built is equal in performance to 41 of these. Why not reuse the case? Yes, there are limitations, but I think it is like a classic muscle car. Just clean up the rust, put a hot engine under the hood and some nice paint, and everyone will want to take it for a spin!
post #5 of 17
WOW.

That is...really really nice.
Congrats on that!
Downgraded 2.0
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i3 4130 msi b85-g41 EVGA GTX680 Samsung 30nm god sticks 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Crucial M4 LiteOn iHES108 Windows 10 Pro x64 
KeyboardPowerCase
rosewill rk9000re Corsair HX650W CHIEFTEC Bravo BL-01B 
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Downgraded 2.0
(11 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i3 4130 msi b85-g41 EVGA GTX680 Samsung 30nm god sticks 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB Crucial M4 LiteOn iHES108 Windows 10 Pro x64 
KeyboardPowerCase
rosewill rk9000re Corsair HX650W CHIEFTEC Bravo BL-01B 
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post #6 of 17
DAMN SON!
That really does look sleek. Was it hard to work on the inside? it looks cramped it looked like the cables might have been a little bit of pain? they are kind of all over the place cause of the fact you have fold it when you close it.
Damn dude!
Core 2 Haf
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C2Q Q9550 ASUS P5E3 Deluxe Wifi-AP GTX 480 Kingston HyperX DDR3 KHX1600C9D3K2/8G 
RAMHard DriveCoolingOS
PNY 1333 55gb, 320Gb, 500GB, 1TB Hyper 212 EVO Win 7 Ultimate 64bit 
OSOSPowerCase
Lubuntu 13.04 x64 OS X 10.8.5 TX750 Haf 912 
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Core 2 Haf
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
C2Q Q9550 ASUS P5E3 Deluxe Wifi-AP GTX 480 Kingston HyperX DDR3 KHX1600C9D3K2/8G 
RAMHard DriveCoolingOS
PNY 1333 55gb, 320Gb, 500GB, 1TB Hyper 212 EVO Win 7 Ultimate 64bit 
OSOSPowerCase
Lubuntu 13.04 x64 OS X 10.8.5 TX750 Haf 912 
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoublejj;11883571 
DAMN SON!
That really does look sleek. Was it hard to work on the inside? it looks cramped it looked like the cables might have been a little bit of pain? they are kind of all over the place cause of the fact you have fold it when you close it.
Damn dude!

It's not so bad actually. I used the original cases strategy (running cables under the front Hard Drive). If you look at the area that contains the Motherboard you will see that there are very few cables. Most of them are tucked in the front where there is plenty of room and airflow is not of concern. The real cramping is around the Ram modules and the CPU fan height. It measures 58mm high, but I was limited to 65mm when it is closed. Not much room at all for a Heatsink but it cools well thanks to compression. This is why the original G4 didn't even have a CPU cooling fan, only a heatsink was needed.
post #8 of 17
Wow, that's great tongue.gif

It's great how it really looks similar to the current product range as well. Was that your intention or did you just paint it colours you liked and it ended up looking similar to current products?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ellisbodds;11883721 
Wow, that's great tongue.gif

It's great how it really looks similar to the current product range as well. Was that your intention or did you just paint it colours you liked and it ended up looking similar to current products?

Thanks! This style was very intentional. I like the current monochrome style of Apple. During the 1990's their products looked too much like toys.

Example:

Apple_iMAC_G3.jpg

g3qtr150.jpg

Now their products are usually aluminum metal on black and white plastic - which I think is more serious looking.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by idioma;11883835 
Thanks! This style was very intentional. I like the current monochrome style of Apple. During the 1990's their products looked too much like toys.

Example:

Now their products are usually aluminum metal on black and white plastic - which I think is more serious looking.
I totally agree. I think the colourful plastic on those kind of products just looked silly and immature, whereas their styling today is pretty damn awesome.

The coloured aluminium on things like the Nano is pretty nice, though, just not the coloured plastic.
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