Intel inside a G4 case

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Since Apple switched to Intel processors and heat issues related to the G5 are no longer a problem, I have wanted to transplant the inner workings of a Mac Pro (quad core?) into a G4 case. I have searched for any record of such an attempt but have found none. I am posting here in hopes of generating a discussion about how to approach such a project. I had a G5 which had more output than my home's heating system. It was stolen just before Christmas. I have an old G4 case and want to "build my own" custom system.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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coius's picture
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one question and many comments:

why? Why would you want to take apart a Mac Pro only to put in in a less spacious cavity where you would possible build up more heat, and could ruin the components before you even fit it all it? Plus you gotta take into an account the Ram Riser cards.
Also, there would be no profit increase just tracking down the internal parts, especially if you go to apple itself for the parts.
On top of that, there is not enough places to put the hard drives, and the board most likely won't fit.

So again, Why would you even attempt it?

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Because, because, because........

Asking "why" could apply to any of the hardware hacks discussed here. Aside from the "because I can" reply, I am not fond of the cheese grater design of the G5 through Mac Pro. I also long for a smaller footprint than the monstrosity we have had to accept because of heat issues.

I also have no plan to disassemble a Mac Pro for the hack. Instead, I was thinking of getting the "guts" from damaged/parted out machines.

Do you know for a fact that the components will not fit in a G4 case?

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i doubt it will fit in it

there's a reason they kept it in a G5 style case. the board is bigger (much bigger) than the G4 system. even though they said it has more room, the board is still bigger than the G4's board layout. Also with the RAM Riser cards, the case won't close as the drive bay is where they would go, and probably the PSU would be there. And if you do manage to get it in the case, it would have some serious heat problems. It's not too much the question of why, but how? You will have to pull off an amazing feat of engineering to get it down that small.

I still wonder what the real form factor of that board is. It's bigger than ATX, almost AT size. That's pretty big for a system today, unless it is WTX, which is found in workstations, but that will be WAY too big...

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Boards ...

The sheer size of the Mac Pro board, and the accompanying boards won't fit in the g4 enclosure - it's too small and narrow. As for finding damaged Mac Pros - good luck. Anything remotely affordable will be damaged such that the components won't be worth salvaging.

If you really want to be different and want an intel Mac in a G4 tower enclosure - you have two options. One is legal, one is ... ummm ... not really.

options

1 Take a Mac Mini, remove the skin, route extension cables to the port cutouts in the back, move the power supply internal to the case. Cut up an external fw superdrive - mount the drive in the g4 case, run the controller board to the firewire port on the mini, and mount the power supply inside. - The pros - easily upgradeable ... socketable cpu on the mini, when a new mini model comes out with a better video card - there you go - it'll be plug and play. This mod does a minimum of damage to your existing Mac Mini, so it can be resold when you decide to upgrade it. It's also inexpensive - you could probably do this for well under $700 if you can go cheap where it counts.

2 Get an Intel board that is noted as being one to work with OS X x86, roll the dice and pray that drivers work. A small atx board should fit just fine - supply your own power supply and spend some time getting it to work. The downside is that this is not recommended and not legal. I've never done this, so I can't say either way.

Frankly, I think the Mac Mini in a G4 tower case is going to be your best bet.

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The size of the Mac Pro mothe

The size of the Mac Pro motherboard (really a modified Intel SC5400RA server board) is quite large and simply won't fit in any G4 case. Also, airflow will be a problem, as the dual Xeons use passive heatsinks that require horizontal airflow. That, and the RAM riser cards are frickin' huge and are definitely too tall to allow a G4 case to close. I have an SC5400RA sitting on my desk here at work (building it into an 8-core virtual server host) and I just can't think of a way to shoehorn that board into a G4. Sorry.

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Humbled by not checking dimensions

OK I admit I did not check the size of the Mac Pro's "guts" before posting. 1K pardons.

I had originally thought that the Mac Mini approach was what I wanted to do. I had even thought it might be possible to somehow get two Minis in the case and (through the power of magic?) get the two to work together somehow (a poor man's quad core?). The drawback was the integrated graphics on the Mini. I know I would be unhappy with the graphic performance of the Mini so I started thinking about the Mac Pro. Maybe there is a way around the graphics issue I had not considered.

The small ATX idea is intriguing but since the Mac doesn't use CMOS, I am not sure the board would ever function correctly. Still, it is food for thought.

Do you think there might be a possibility of using a board from one of the newer iMacs? Maybe the graphics performance issue could be solved that way.

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An iMac logic board

Provided you can find it inexpensively enough (won't be cheap though), the logic board from a 17" iMac could possibly be shoehorned into the enclosure, however you now have some new problems.

1. Airflow - the flow inside the iMacs is from the bottom up - that won't really be a viable option in a g4 case.
2. Power Supply - the power supplies for the slab form factor iMacs are relatively compact, but have short wires - you're going to have problems with where it gets mounted and how it's connected.
3. Port connectivity - You'll still need to go with the extender cables, but it's going to be an awkward, tangled, horrific mess of wires inside of the computer.

Frankly, and this is just my opinion on the matter - the cost of getting the parts for a 17" intel iMac are not going to be inexpensive. If anything, it will be cheaper to buy a core duo iMac and cut it up. By the time you've done this, you may as well use the iMac as is unless you somehow found one with a cracked LCD. That said, there are NO guarantees that this would even work.

As for the mini's video performance - the GMA950 integrated video chipset isn't bad ... provided that you have a minimum of 1gb of ram in the computer - 2gb preferable. As long as you aren't doing heavy gaming or intending to drive a 30" display, the mac mini should be halfway decent. I'd use that and rig it in such a way that there is no markings or changes to the mini itself so you can easily sell/trade it in when a mini comes out with a better video chipset.

The small ATX option is one that nobody here is going to be able to help you with as it violates the AppleFritter Acceptable Use Policy http://www.applefritter.com/aup . I can wish you all the luck with it, but support for that will be extremely limited.

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he means:

It's illegal to do it in the first place. to install x86 OS X on a generic Intel machine is against apple's policy. It was intended for developers, and it was leaked, which was a breach.
Since applefritter could technically be sued for aiding with an illegal action (doing the x86 OS X on a generic intel) by apple, it would be best not to discuss it here. This is for the protection of the applefritter members and the website/owner

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10K pardons

Thanks for the insight about the potential problems with the iMac board. I think I have seen some threads about hooking up an external monitor to Intel iMacs whose LCD displays have become unusable. Maybe there are some insights there. I think I have also read about a processor upgrade to an iMac someone has done. BTW, I do "some" gaming that would overwhelm the graphics capability of a Mini. Since I am not in a hurry, maybe I will wait until there is a graphics upgrade to the Mini line before I try this.

Ten thousand pardons for saying the ATX idea was food for thought. I really don't think it would work and did not mean to suggest I was considering it. Nor was I soliciting support for it from anyone here (or anywhere for that matter).

One final thought on "why" Intel Inside a G4 case. When the theives broke into my house and stole my G5 (along with $25K of other stuff), they left all the "older" technology in favor of the "newer" stuff. That is why I still have a (non-working) G4 Yikes! case to hack. Maybe that gave me the notion of a "stealth" upgrade.

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My freshly built P4 machine i

My freshly built P4 machine is inside of an ugly beige case. From the outside it would be very hard to know it was anything more than a P1 unless you really know ATX backplanes. (4xUSB ports on back usually indicates USB 2.0, thus P3 or P4)

My el cheapo used P3 machine is in a "nicer" OEM Gateway case. I'd think that would get taken before the P4 machine.

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Re: 10K pardons

GhostImage wrote:

One final thought on "why" Intel Inside a G4 case. When the theives broke into my house and stole my G5 (along with $25K of other stuff), they left all the "older" technology in favor of the "newer" stuff. That is why I still have a (non-working) G4 Yikes! case to hack. Maybe that gave me the notion of a "stealth" upgrade.

I would suggest you take the money you'd be spending on a hack and instead invest it in better security for your home. There are many simple, inexpensive, and effective products that can prevent or deter burglaries or home invasions.

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Believe it or not, the thieve

Believe it or not, the thieves left a 3 Ghz P4 system and 17" LCD display in favor of the four working Macs in the house. Go figure!

While I appreciate everyones' concerns about the cost of the project, I am not planning to do this all at once. It will probably take a year or two for me to get through this. I am more interested in having something unique and being able to complete the project myself that economizing. Even if no one but me sees or knows what is inside the G4 case, this is my way of dealing with a significant loss. It may seem silly but I don't want to replace what was taken or even get "better" stuff. I just want to do something Mac related that no one else has done. Go Figure!

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Re: 10K pardons

GhostImage wrote:

One final thought on "why" Intel Inside a G4 case. When the theives broke into my house and stole my G5 (along with $25K of other stuff), they left all the "older" technology in favor of the "newer" stuff. That is why I still have a (non-working) G4 Yikes! case to hack. Maybe that gave me the notion of a "stealth" upgrade.

If stealth is what you are going for may I suggest a 9500/9600 case. Mac cases don't get any bigger than that.

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Or an AT full tower, preferab

Or an AT full tower, preferably rusted, covered in dirt, with a TURBO button on the front.

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Have you been sneaking to my

Have you been sneaking to my basement lab? Really, there's at least 3 of those down there right now, among the other pile of stuff/junk. Anyone need an EGA monitor, or maybe a Compaq Portable II? Well, maybe a TI 99/4A with that giant expansion box...

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A Mac Mini in a Compaq Portab

A Mac Mini in a Compaq Portable II box with the screen replaced with a lcd sounds awesome...

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Back on the topic of an Intel

Back on the topic of an Intel mac in a G4 case, I believe a macbook C2D could possibly fit where the G4 board was before.

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or, what you could do...

what you should do, get a quad core intel core 2 duo, an indel desktop board, and put it in the case, and run mac os x on it! get a hacked copy!

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Maybe no...

gobabushka wrote:

run mac os x on it! get a hacked copy!

Because that would be illegal.

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It is exactly of the same leg

It is exactly of the same legal status as running any unlicensed (or pirated) copy of any software. How many times have you done that?

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Lock this thread now?

May be as good a time as any to ask:

Can this thread be locked, now?

[CLANK!]

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Lock the thread? Why?

I cannot help but ask why the thread should be locked?

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Re: Have you been sneaking to my

Jon wrote:

... or maybe a Compaq Portable II?

Hah. I have a Portable III, with original soft carry case ...

technerd wrote:

A Mac Mini in a Compaq Portable II box with the screen replaced with a lcd sounds awesome...

... which I've eyed off for just such a hack many a time. The bezel would be perfect for a widescreen LCD.

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Any hack uing a Mac Mini is of great interest to me

Should anyone proceed with or know of information about any sort of hack using a Mac Mini, please let me know. I am about to start my G4 Yikes! hack and would love more info before I start.

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Re: 10K pardons

montag wrote:
GhostImage wrote:

One final thought on "why" Intel Inside a G4 case. When the theives broke into my house and stole my G5 (along with $25K of other stuff), they left all the "older" technology in favor of the "newer" stuff. That is why I still have a (non-working) G4 Yikes! case to hack. Maybe that gave me the notion of a "stealth" upgrade.

If stealth is what you are going for may I suggest a 9500/9600 case. Mac cases don't get any bigger than that.

You won't get the G5 motherboard into a 9500/9600 case. The 9500 case is not open inside like PC case or even a G3/G4 tower case. You would never be able to plug everything you need into the motherboard even if it would fit because of all the bracing and the drive bays, etc. The 9600 is another story. You would have to see how the 9600 case opens to understand, but it isn't a solid piece of metal or plastic. It is hinged about halfway up and folds to open or close.

Watch this little film. Be sure you mouse over it to see it in action. You'll see why the G5 motherboard wouldn't fit this case, either.

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac/media/easytower_movie.html

Now, a real possibility would be to put into a PC server type case. Intel is releasing the motherboard used in the Mac Pro to the general public (without Apples proprietary chips of course), so it stands to reason that with the board out there, there must be a case that it will fit in.

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Hah, Dr. Bunsen, You made me

Hah, Dr. Bunsen, You made me laugh! I have a Portable II. and that is a truly awesome Idea! Imagine bringing it to a LAN party or MUG of sorts, hahahahaha. You have my interest now. Used minis arnt that expensive are they? Smile

//wthww

[sorry for hijaking your thread]

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