A simple (stupid?) question

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Joined: Nov 14 2006
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Can I buy parts of Macs on ebay, put all together and build a Mac? Or is there some trick?

I'm asking because it's cheaper to bring small parts of that a great volume, and less risky. In Brazil, a Mac costs MUCH MUCH more than U.S.A.

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macg4's picture
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probably not. unless u are ta

probably not. unless u are talking hd's ram, video cards

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protocol6v's picture
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I did that once, with a Gigab

I did that once, with a Gigabit G4. It wasn't really that much cheaper than buying a whole Mac. Just make sure you get the right parts.

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coius's picture
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G3 AIO -> G3 MiniTower

I did a project where I ripped the board out of the G3 All-in-One and put it into a Minitower and made a full-fleged G3 Minitower machine. That included buying a Bezel Setup, the sleds and the tower. I also got a B&W G3 300Mhz CPU and threw it in it. Added some ram too!

It is possible to do it. It's just like having apple make a different configuration at the factory. All it is, is just parts.
The only thing i would have to say to watch for is the Power Supply. Apple has a habit of using custom parts and setups for the PSU Systems.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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just need a motherboard, really

Yeah, if you search the web you'll find quite a few pages with photos and details of Macs that were constructed using large enough PC cases which you could probably find in Brazil. You'd just need to buy the Mac motherboard w/RAM and video card--although there are many PC video cards that you could find in Brazil that can be flashed over to Mac ROM's (go to strangedogs.com for instructions). The powersupply may be a problem, although I've seen many custom Mac setups using PC powersupplies too. This would work with G3 and G4 towers. IMacs and G5's you'd need the case--the G5's because of all the fans and cooling system--although if you're clever enough you might even be able to rig that in a PC case. Most optical drives-CD,DVD, zip, etc.--are now Mac useable--although many are not Mac bootable, but many generics now are--so you could probably find all the parts needed except for the motherboard and RAM, and actually, even the RAM you could take from a PC in most cases. Sorry, I've not bookmarked any of the webpages with the setups I'm describing, but I'm sure there's lots of people here who have, or have done it themselves who could clue you in.

coius's picture
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Beware the cooling.

If you use a custom case. You will need to make sure you have the exact same cooling environment as the original case.
When apple designs a board, they design a case specifically tailored to the system setup. They put the processor and ram in a certain area, and pretty much build the case around it. If they use a 2nd or 3rd generation system in the same case setup, the try to follow the same layout as the original case. They do this to reduce the cost of designing a new case for every revision of the systems (G4's notably).

I would say, if you don't know how to do adequate cooling in a pc, you might want to do a system transfer to a like case in a mac of it's area. Macs that use compatible boards (like some of the x400/x500 series, notably the 6400 and 6500, use the same boards, and can be switched out.
iMac Slot-Loading is another thing you can cross. Although I am not altogether sure about those.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Even some iMac motherboards are useable

I've seen iMac DV motherboards put into pizza-box size cases and used as a desktop because that motherboard also had a VGA port. There was a company who used to manufacture and retail these cases. There was a demand for the cases since iMac DV's so consistently have had PAV board problems which renders the iMac useless except the motherboard is still good.

Yeah, the cooling will have to be coordinated using fans in different locations, but it's not like Apple was always so successful with cooling it's cases--those 6400/6500's being a case in point!--form (a stylish design) was all too often more important than adequate function of the cooling setup with Apple. From what I've read, that's why the iMac DV's PAV's so often failed eventually. Last week, my daughter's 2nd grade teacher said her iMac was running slow and freezing sometimes, so I put Gauge Pro into her control panels for her, and according to Gauge Pro, her non-upgraded iMac is cooking along at 186 degrees F in rest!

Of course, all this custom-built Mac idea would require a lot of time and knowhow and means.

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Re: Even some iMac motherboards are useable

Thank you guys for so quickly and good answers. I'll make a project and let you know. One thing I can tell you, will not be some PC "Frankenstein", will be worse!

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

I've seen iMac DV motherboards put into pizza-box size case and used as a desktop because that motherboard also had a VGA port. There was a company who used to manufacture and retail these cases. There was a demand for the cases since iMac DV's so consistently have had PAV board problems which renders the iMac useless except the motherboard is still good.

Yeah, the cooling will have to be coordinated using fans in different locations, but it's not like Apple was always so successful with cooling it's cases--those 6400/6500's being a case in point!--form (a stylish design) was all too often more important than adequate function of the cooling setup with Apple. That's why the iMac DV's PAV's so often failed eventually, from what I've read. Last week, my daughter's 2nd grade teacher said her iMac was running slow and freezing sometimes, so I put Gauge Pro into her control panels for her, and according to Gauge Pro, her non-upgraded iMac is cooking along at 186 degrees F in rest!

Of course, all this custom-built Mac idea would require a lot of time and knowhow and means.

Eudimorphodon's picture
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Re: A simple (stupid?) question

gustavopinent wrote:

I'm asking because it's cheaper to bring small parts of that a great volume, and less risky. In Brazil, a Mac costs MUCH MUCH more than U.S.A.

This is a wild guess, but...are you interested in doing this in order to dodge a high import tariff on foreign computers?

If that's the case, well... I'd suggest talking to a lawyer if your plan is to *sell* parted-up Macintoshes. If it's just for yourself I imagine the authorities will let it slide, but if you start doing it for profit the tax authorities will probably want their full cut, and if Brazil is anything like the USA it's a *bad* idea to not give them what they think they deserve.

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I built a Gigabit G4 a couple

I built a Gigabit G4 a couple of years ago. There may even be a thread here about it.

Looks like archive.org has some of it archived from my old website.

http://web.archive.org/web/20050316203136/redrouteone.net/g4/INSIDE.JPG
http://web.archive.org/web/20050316200204/redrouteone.net/g4/BACK.JPG
http://web.archive.org/web/20050316204744/redrouteone.net/g4/TOP.JPG

I picked up all of the internals on eBay for a steal just$100 I then used a old Antec that I bought second had for $10.

I redrilled the holes for the motherboard stand off and machined a heatsink for the chip on the back of the Logicboard. It took me most of a Saturday afternoon to put it together.

I even did the thermal calculations to figure the amount of airflow over the CPU to keep it cool. 3CFM IIRC. I really had fun putting it together. However I would not do it again unless I got just as good of a deal on the parts.

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