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Alexander Ji

PowerMac Reloaded | A Gift for My Girlfriend | Over 100 Pics in Page 1 | Alert

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Also seen here on my personal website:
http://www.design4paragon.com/power-mac-reloaded.html

 

 

First glance of Apple computer was around 1999 when i was still in high school, and it was the iMac G3 with color transparent shell. It just looks amazing, still does today, but I never got a chance to touch or use it. Then I went to college to study industrial design, and one of our professors like Apple's design a lot, and talked about Apple highly all the time. He had a Powerbook G4 Titanium. In my junior year, our new campus was established, and we were given a digital media design lab with all Apple desktops. I was the monitor of my class, and I bargained with my professor to have class on digital media design in the new lab; he agreed. For a whole semester and summer, we were using Powermac G4 Quicksilver models. Back then, we also had all Cinema Display with Powermac G4. For use who all used CRT monitors, this is light, thin, vivid. Yes it cannot adjust angle and stuff as today's standards, but CRT users don't adjust angles much, period.
We also received a Sony DV Cam to shoot. It was not the one-hand-operating one; it is the ones media used 11 years ago on people's shoulders. I believe people still put them on shoulders. TA told me it cost the same as a VW Polo.
I like to take things apart, but not that DV Cam. Powermac G4 on the other hand, did not escape. In 2000 to 2004, computer case design was a lot different from today's criteria. There was no cable management grommets, routing behind motherboard tray, not even motherboard try. Most PSU still run with 80mm fan on the back as exhaust, and rarely some models use 120mm bottom mounted fan as intake. You don't see thumb screws on side panel often either. I had a magnetic screw driver on my table all the time in college. This Powermac G4 is different, just pull the handle and everything is right in front of you. IDE cable can be used like ribbon, folded 90 degree turns everywhere.

Simplicity itself is not simple.

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It is still very hard to see any case design has better style and more detailed touches, even in today's market.
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look at that IDE cable on the right hand side.
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Yes thick bezels. Would you use this for 3 screen surround?
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Power and digital signal run in the same cable, as we all know here. That is why I didn't buy this monitor for this Hackintosh build.
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One day I was talking with my girlfriend about Apple's design when Jobs just returned to Apple, and we both liked most of them. I then started planning to build a Hackintosh for my girlfriend. Hardware selection is based on tonymacx86 and osx86project wiki.
Let's see some boxes first.
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Xeon E1230 V2. Clocked a bit low, but I am not planning to overclock this build any ways.
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My girlfriend likes to call it brand snow, can't fight that.
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Very good looking blue, match oncoming motherboard. Most importantly, it was on sale @newegg.com for $84, 10-10-10-27 timing. She used Illustrator and Photoshop most of the time, so 16 GB is a good choice.
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First choice for Hackintosh is Gigabyte Motherboard. Other brands CAN DO, but take more effort.
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Before I purchased any of these, I was planning for quite a while. B75 has most features of Intel 7 series chipset, but only 1 SATA III port. It would be 1 SSD + 1 HDD, and this is the first time I every used 2.5 in HDD in a desktop. This bracket seems a good choice, but I ended up not using it.
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She may not want long Ethernet cable running around the room, the TP-link PCI-E slot one that can work flawlessly on Hackintosh, is still around $45, which is a bit pricy comparing with other parts. This USB one is stated as perfect signal strength on OSx86project wiki, and ... jump to the next pic
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She has a Magic Trackpad working with her 2007 iMac. B75m-D3p does not have built-in Bluetooth. This adapter is recommended on tonymacx86 buying guide and with the USB wift adapter were on sale. A few hours after I placed the other with motherboard, CPU, graphic card, memory and HDD, newegg emailed to notify me that this adapter got back in stock. USB wifi was $23, BT was $13, applied coupons, newegg took $17 off. I hit place order.
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Motherboard naked.
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White socket is ok, but why is USB 3 header is so much darker than the rest? Or, can't Gigabyte make all light blue sockets as dark as the USB 3 header?
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Heat spreaders on the memory modules match nicely to the chipset heatsink on motherboard. Parts from different companies match color, but from same company don't.
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Snow brand PSU is very critical in my build, and it was inspired by this post:
http://www.overclock.net/t/660371/motm-winner-macbane-apple-powermac-g4-mod
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Stock fan is not really noisy, but I just don't like this push-down type configuration. I was thinking about Intel BXXTS100H, see link below. It has good performance, and most importantly, the impressed logo on the top fin. It is too much money for that performance.
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/intel-intel-desktop-thermal-solution-bxxts100h-bxxts100h/10152266.aspx
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WD Black 500GB. 750GB has better performance, but the 500GB external drive I gave her 2 years ago is still less than half full. This 500GB is well enough for a occasionally used Windows and a resource/backup drive.
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I was considering an entry level professional graphic card, such as Quadro 2000. I just sold one in January before I had this build in mind, plus she does 2D work a lot, and these gaming card can handle that workload without breaking sweat. Besides, I may play League of Legends when I visit her; GTX 650 Ti is good enough.
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2 reasons that I bought this MSI card. 1, $20 MIR. 2, color. I wish it could be a bit shorter, or 6 pin connector faced away from PCI-E connector. You will see why.
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Now, color match across 3 different companies. 4, if you count Intel cooler sticker.
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Now the main character
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Just astonishing.
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Internal all removed by ebay seller. 2 stock fans were included, but not used after all. A pill bottle of screws. One crack on the side panel. I guess someone tightened that screw too hard. Not may scratches after carefully cleaned.
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I had planned everything for so long in my mind, and today, I finally get to test it. The frost effect plastic controls door looking mechanism, and I will try anything not to damage it.
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Nothing to test how to place CPU/motherboard/graphic card. PSU and HDD need to stay on this door. SSD is still on the way. In this layout, HDD bracket has to take space from plastic panel; I don't want to cut that plastic.
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Or fix HDD bracket to stock card bracket which you can see between PSU and HDD bracket. This way, HDD bracket doesn't need to have contact with the door panel.
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Hardware test run to make sure there is no DOA.
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If I do something, I dedicate to the details. Apple Keyboard is a must have. The on in pic above is from several years ago, I bought used but in new condition for $15. My girlfriend spilled drink on it once, so some keys don't recover back right away.
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This box is so thin, even thinner than my Azio all mechanical keybaord. And yes, it has to be thin.
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Disassemble is always easy.
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If you have the right tool.
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Just astonishing pieces.
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It's almost impossible to fit the whole platform into this case, and here is the murderer.
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And the accessory. Or maybe it should be the other way around.
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Anyway, I/O area cut off. I/O shield is not that big, why do you cut the whole area? You may ask. And you will see why.
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I'm so glad that audio ports are not blocked. In some cases, people cut of the post between I/O area and 1st PCI bracket to gain clearance of audio ports. I thought about this already. If they are blocked, I would use a front panel connector fixed on a empty PCI slot cover. Since there is no issue at all, let's proceed.
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Some people say that this hole can use stock standoff post. It can. But not in the dead center. It's about 1mm off the center in my case, but you can definitely use it.
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New package arrived.
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The main cooling power is here. Most hardware is in black/blue color scheme. Motherboard PCB is blue, which is nice. Graphic card is brown, a bit annoying. Other places I'm planning black and white. White fan, low dBA, focused air flow all checked, not many choices left.
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I have to admit these fans look so nice from the pulling side, not so much on the pushing side.
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CPU cooler and other cooling fans. Based on my measurement and calculation, on my motherboard, Cooler Master 212 EVO is the biggest cooler, any taller will cause the case unable to close, while the door rather. 812 TC is 1mm shorter which should work. For this Xeon then, 212 EVO is sufficient. When I was shopping around, 812 TC has MIR, and only $10 more than 212 EVO after MIR.
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80x15mm fan to replace PSU fan. When I was test running all hardware, PSU was louder than 7200rpm 2.5 HDD. I am not sure if this rig can peak 300W, 250W maybe, which is right around 50% load sweet spot and should not stress my PSU much. This fan has slight lower CFM, but noticeably lower dBA.
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80x25mm fan, again, not a lot of white choices. This should be a good choice, and will be place on the rear of the case, where stock PSU fan exhaust. It should just fit.
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Specs of 212 EVO.
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AMD/Intel universal retention plate. Not a fan of the fan blade design or material or finish(You get it right? not a fan of the fan. lol.). performance or dBA is all fine. No plan to change it soon. May be a 120mm Spectre Pro, but that can wait I update the whole platform with i-7 after Haswell, or even 2 generations after.
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EVO and non-EVO 212 are only different here. Heatpipes from EVO have full direct contact with CPU heatspreader, while there is significant gaps and grooves on original 212.
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Is is considered as dense or loose?
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Back to the crime scene, motherboard is still sitting there instead of bolted down.
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Retention plate interferes with one standoff, so I ground it down to almost flush. Some people just remove all the stock standoffs and patch the panel. My opinion is they are secured really well, may even be stronger than bare metal sheet. You remove it, you get a hole to fill. I just grind them shorter, so if one day I need to put a standoff there or close to the spot, all I need to do is to grind it flush and tap thread. Patching a whole is always hard than making one.
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A lot clearance between CPU heatsink and memory modules. To make motherboard positioned correctly, I had to use a second graphic card, which is a Quadro 4000 if you wonder, to assist.
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Tapping tools was borrowed; I do not own any. Here I need to mention, to newcomers not to experienced modders, that most cases use 6mm standoffs with M3-0.5 or 6/32 thread. Here Apple uses 10mm M3-0.5. Well, I couldn't find any 9.5mm ones which is closer to the stock ones. It is very hard to find anywhere. I found some on eBay seller [christanery], M3 thread 10mm standoff, 30pc/order, link. Shipped from my home country, China. I bought 30, and used 7. Motherboard has 8 screw holes, one uses a the standoff I mentioned earlier with minor modification, 7 I drilled and threaded. I still have 23 left, and I have no idea what type of standoffs are used in G5 or Mac pro cases, which I am planning to mod in the future. Another thing about the standoffs I bought is the thread part is longer than 6mm ones. I even fastened a nut on the one close to the center of the motherboard because I stripped it a little when I was threading. If you desperately need several 10mm standoffs and you do not want to buy a whole 30pc order, I can send some to you and I will pay for the shipping cost(should be just an envelope and a stamp). Again, I just want to help, and I do not sell standoffs.
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When I borrow the tap tool, I forgot to take the wrench. Buying one and keeping it is not worthy it. Buying one and return it afterwards(which is perfectly normal) still bothers me. So I just used a regular wrench, press down firmly and turn slowly and evenly. It worked out very well, but I will definitely buy a whole tool kit if I decide to mod cases a lot.
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Some places, e.g. close to PCI bracket, are not easy to turn that already-quite-small wrench, I just drill a hole and tread from the other side.
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My calculation was right, 212 fits just so close.
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Another angle to see the threshold. 5mm taller probably won't close, 3mm may get away. Wider may cause trouble as well.
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It can't be any closer to the other side of the case, so I would say 160mm is the tallest one for CPU cooler in this [case].
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Quicksilver was designed to take 3 sets of 3.25in HDD mounts at the bottom of the case, between the interior steps on front and end, it's roughly 285 to 290mm, just fit 2 140mm fans. I do not have a hole saw attachment for 140mm fan holes, so I used a jigsaw. While keep spraying WD-40, the bi-metal saw blade ran and wore just ok. One fan can take 3 screws, the 4th can't really be drilled without a drill press. Internal space is about 180mm wide, but you can't really fit 180mm fan in it because you need to remove 10mm standoff and motherboard and component thickness. Between 180mm and 140mm, there isn't anything to consider. 2x120mm fans will produce more noise while provide similar CFM.
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The pulling side of this fan is just good looking. BTW, this is test fitting, lines drawn with a sharpie isn't round. Holes are more round after filing, which I was too busy and tired to take pictures.
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Brand snow, new version, 140mm dust filter with magnetic soft frame. It is very fine mesh, and should stop most dust. Since they are intake fans, holes were cut round. I would have cut more of octagon shape if they were exhaust.
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I tried to keep the plastic piece, but I have to compromise a bit.
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Left part of the plastic piece cut off to fit PSU. To make the resistance equal on both side when open the door, I cut the fin-looking spring-kind-of mechanism from the right hand side as well, where the screw driver extension sits.
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This is how I secure the PSU. Note that the angle aluminum piece is not full length of PSU on the side. You may think it is not really secured, please keep reading.
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I hope you can see the holes on the vertical part of the angle aluminum. PSU is will be secured with screws through the angle aluminum to the stock mounting holes. It should hold it, but not when the door is closed which all weight of PUS is twisting away from the stock mounting holes. Please keep reading.
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Cut open 2 grooves on either side of PSU where the aluminum pieces are significantly shorter than PSU, feed a velcro through, around the back and come out stick to itself. This way, when the door is closed, the Velcro strap is pulling all the weight against the door panel, and other aluminum pieces are hold the PSU from sliding any direction. I know this is an ugly solution, and I wish I had a metal bender to make a bracket. Maybe in the future. HDD is not underneath Velcro, but I ditched this plan already to no obstruct HDD cooling gaps.
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How strong is this? I can lift the whole door buy just grabbing PSU. I believe if I want to , I can lift the whole machine just by grabbing PSU, but I did not do it. I mentioned that I wish this GTX650Ti could be a bit shorter, as you can see how close it is to the PSU fan grill. PSU cannot go outwards any more; it just scratches the plastic back housing of stock speaker. Talking about the stock speaker, I can use it only if I want to fit a small amplifier in the case, which can be does by USB powered amplifier module. I decided to keep the speaker installed just to avoid an empty hole at the front is it's not installed. Or, if the 6 pin connector is facing away from motherboard, it would be a lot easier. Maybe I can move the PSU a bit closer to the motherboard. Any way, 6pin cables connects tight, but no problem at all; I tested the gap beforehand.
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A look at the through and through hole(s) for Velcro. And this is the final solution for mounting HDD and SSD. Drive screws were replaced with silver ones later.
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Where did I get this metal that looks just like the bare metal of the case? Remember I cut of 2x140 fan holes? Apple used very thick sheet to make this case, and very high quality. I broke 3 drill bits while working the whole case, not jut on this piece; I'm not that bad. What's if for?
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Wala. Ordered a white power socket. Shipped from Hong Kong. I planned everything at the beginning and order a lot in advance. It took about 3 weeks to get here, which was great considering I paid only $2.80 for it with free shipping. link from Amazon.
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Some fans come with vibration reduction solutions, my 80x25mm fan didn't. That does not mean I have to buy that separately. Just find some supplies laying around and make use of it. This whole box cost a few dollars from Harbor Freight BTW.
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My cheap but efficient solution for reducing vibration. Black fan screws were replaced with silver ones later.
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Most case modding parts are done. Testing if I broke any component.
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That's how tight it is to fit that 6 pin.
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Special wires that my parents brought to me from China at the end of 2012. It is Teflon coated, silver plated copper wire. Very good looking wires. I custom crimped all the pins and fit all connectors. Don't worry, I did not lose focus; it was on wires. Next pic is on SATA power connectors.
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Did I mention drive screws were replaced with silver ones already?
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SSD arrived. Probably one of the best performance SSD for consumer market. It came with a free copy of Far Cry 3, which I played once for about 2-3 hours and haven't got a chance or interest to play it ever since.dsc142111813x1200.jpg

Well, this SSD went into my personal according-to-some-people-the-most-confusing rig, which can be found here:

http://themodzoo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/304-cooler-master-possessed-by-silverstone-cosmos-ii-and-tj-11-hybrid-mod/

or here:
http://www.overclock.net/t/1345254/cooler-master-possessed-by-silverstone-cosmos-ii-and-tj-11-hybrid-mod-04-07-13-updated
And I took a Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB SSD from my rig and installed in this Hackintosh build.
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This should answer your question of why I cut the whole I/O area off. I measured the I/O shield came with the motherboard with a caliper, 2D drawing in Solidworks because I don't know how to use AutoCAD, and laser cut a extruded acrylic or plexiglass from Lowe's. This material is so weak and so easy to break. I broke several times when I was cutting and fitting it to the case. Superglue came in as a handy solution at the end. I don't know why acetone won't melt this. If you use the same board, or another board with the same I/O shield(which is unlikely), I can share the drawing file with you. You can either find a place to laser cut, or print and cut by hands.
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Whole edge cut, filed and sanded. Painted white from the back side, so white from the back through the transparent piece. This should fit Apple style nicely, just like 1st gen iPod. That was molded twice, transparent over solid white, I believe.
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This is a lot thicker than stock I/O shield came with the motherboard, and you would have to reposition motherboard and a lot of other things if you want to fit it between motherboard and the case metal part. It is however very suitable to fit between plastic shell and bare metal case.
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The outer plastic shell uses hook and loop kind-of fastening method. Inserting this piece will cause the hooks cannot reach the loops/grooves/ditches(I really don't know the correct and accurate word for it, but you should be able to understand me). To solve this problem, I use a cutting disk to widen those loops, the dark rectangular shape things. This methods does bump the back plastic shell outwards roughly 1 to 1.5mm. If I don't tell you, you may only think that is a manufacturing tolerance. To be honest, Apple's case does not show any type of tolerance in term of gaps. Close your eyes and move your hands all around the case, gaps feel the same, and you never encounter any sharp or un-perfectly-finished edges.
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Opened up the PSU, peel off the fan sticker. It was designed as 3pin fan with RPM reading, but in this PSU, on the other hand, is controlled by the PSU itself based on workload instead of temperature. That means, even if you put this PSU in a freezer, and you are drawing 450W, the fan will spin 100% regardless what temperature it is running under. This fan is a beast in terms of noise, it feels like a hovercraft(people usually use jet engine or helicopter to describe fan noise, I want to use something else).
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The 80x15mm fan I bought, same procedure, peel off partially, take a picture so you won't forget how to connect it back. If you have extra fan head pins laying around, you can definitely do a new plug instead of soldering. My way just works better for me.
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Wires soldered.
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Fan replaced. You may have noticed that this fan is pushing air out of PUS as exhaust fan instead of intake fan on stock setup, and you are correct. Here is my thinking process:
Modular connectors facing upwards, power cord connector facing downwards, fan as intake, hot air exists from bottom of PSU right against bottom intake fan.
Modular connectors facing downwards, power cord connector facing upwards, fan as intake, hot air exists from top, fits air flow plan, but a power cord front top side of PSU needs to run all the way down to the bottom of the case and the to the back. Besides 24 pin, cpu 4pin is oriented at upper part of the case. Wiring could be a problem.
Modular connectors facing upwards, power cord connector facing downwards, fan as exhaust, creating vacuum inside PSU, air is forced to be sucked from bottom, where conveniently there is a 140mm fan with focused airflow blowing right at it.
Overall, this case has 2x140mm intake, which are filtered. 1x80mm fan exhaust. Very positive pressure configuration, dust shouldn't be a problem at all.
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Front panel cables were cut off from a old Rosewill case, and soldered to the Apple stock flat cable. Rosewill cables are not all black so I had to sleeve it. But one end is flat 10-wire ribbon cable, the other end is 3x2pin connectors. It is ugly after all.
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Apple connector
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Rosewill connector
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At the end, there is nothing wrong with Rosewill. This case was bought almost 5 years ago, and just sitting there. A lot of other brands are still using not all black cables nowadays anyways. I am not here picking on Rosewill, it could've been from any brand.

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Front panel switch mod is simple. I follow this:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/powermac-g4/50729-g4-quicksilver-switch.html
What works: power and reset button, one LED can be power or HDD indicator. The chime sound when turning a Mac on can be done by planting a recorder powered by USB. I did not feel like doing it. The breathing light can be done, but I can't remember where I found it last time, besides I don't have a lot of knowledge of electrical stuff.
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Remember to remove that micro controller which is missing in my pictures.
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The stock front panel connector is punch-through same idea as SATA, and the wire gauge is the as other brand front panel cables.
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My rig which is in a Cooler Master Cosmos II case, and the fan control board was updated. Cooler Master was replacing these boards for Cosmos II owners. I requested one, but it was DOA. They sent me another one right after I contacted them. That means, I have a bunch of black flat cables to use. Cosmos II fan control board needs a Molex, so it has no power LED. Measure the length and cut the cable and there is no extra power LED connector for the OCD part of my to worry about.
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Find out what's what and punch them through, trim excess, close the cap.
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Connected
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New parts are still coming.
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It's listed as silver, but actually zinc color comparing to my silver plated wires.
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Not too far away from my silver plated wires. Still looking very good.
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Each cable has one right angle connector, which is on motherboard side, and the cable can run under the graphic card. I didn't make any calculation this time but these short cables happened to be long enough(I did measure to make sure they are long enough, but I did not anticipate this specific length). The Velcro loop you see, through it is a Molex going to the other side to power fans.
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Upper left corner of 140mm fans, there is a white Molex. It is a Molex to 3x3pin fan splitter. I rewired it to provide constant 7v all 3 fans(2x140mm+1x80mm). PSU power cord runs from bottom of the PSU to the bottom of the case(with some intentionally twisted loops so it will stay away from other parts when the door is closed) along the edge all the way to the back where stock PSU would sit and connected to a power cord socket.
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PCI expansion add 2x USB 3.0 ports, 4x USB 2.0 ports(replacing old 2x USB 2.0 ports). Will she use all these USB ports? Not likely, but some ports are quite close to each other. Sometimes, you have enough ports to use, but not enough space around them. With 6 extra USB ports, space is the whole back.
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Unplug only keyboard and mouse, side door can be opened.
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These USB internal header cables are such a failure to this build. They are too long and there is no way to hide them.
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Hardware phase is pretty much done. Hackintosh should start by now.
Disable VT-D in BIOS. Set chipset SATA to ACHI. I started with 10.8.2, as many people already know. GTX650Ti and GTX660 are not supported in this version. I added driver with a method I found from tonymacx86 forum to support it after many hours wasted trying.
Another strange part or funny part is I could get it to install with GTX650Ti, but after installation, system restarts and screen never turned on after bootloader. I tried Quadro 4000, same thing. Used -x, got some error code and searched in google. Some pelple suggest switch to a different output port from graphic card. I plugged a displyport cable to Quadro 4000, everything worked great. I realized I was using DVI-I all the time. Mac OS may just only out put digital signal. Not many days later, 10.8.3 came out. It was almost a brainless installation process for my build.
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  Front shot
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Angled view
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Side. It is reflection of TV screen, not scratch.
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I did not unplug anything to make photo look clean and neat. From top to bottom, left to right, and u for USB:
keyboard(white u), mouse(black, u), Bluetooth adapter extension cable(black, u), Wacom tablet(silver, u), Ethernet cable(gray, almost white), speaker plug(green connector, black cable), Apple Cinema Display DVI-I(white), monitor built-in hub(white, u)
and case main power cord(white) in the next pic
photo331600x1200960x128.jpg

My girlfriend said this cable management tube looks like off a washing machine because it's white. I said I would get her a black one instead. She then said that would be off a vacuum machine. I got no other words.
photo321600x1200960x128.jpg

Wacom tablet I bought in college in 2002, with the money I made from part time design jobs. It cost quite a lot of money back then, about the same amount as my whole month expense.
Speakers are from Lenovo for about $10 on sale. Very similar to Apple speaker design, but in red, USB powered, analog signal. USB plugged to monitor USB hub. I tried plugging it to back of the case, but picked up a lot of interference.
Mouse pad is my old Steelseries, same as the one I use now, biggest thick cloth pad. I washed it one day and couldn't find it any more. I thought someone must have thrown it away as trash, so I ordered another one from Amazon. The day that they new one arrived, I found the old one. My girlfriend said she would keep the old one.
photo431600x12001280x96.jpg

Boot Camp widescreen version boot loader theme. http://forum.voodooprojects.org/index.php/topic,2882.0.html
Sample shows only Windows 7, but mine shows system reserved which is the drive to boot into Windows 7. Choose Windows 7 there is no booting.
photo521600x1200.jpg

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Some screenshots  
screenshot20130408at103.png

All information displayed corrected by manually editing some system profiles.
screenshot20130408at103.png


screenshot20130408at103.png

Anyone knows how to change the display name of graphic card in this window?
screenshot20130408at104.png


screenshot20130408at104.png


screenshot20130408at104.png
 

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Great Build.  I love how clean you kept it and those wires are amazing.  This makes me want to do something with my old G4 case.

 

Thanks. Finally someone left some good words. Looking forward to seeing your G4 case mod.

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I have seen a ton of Mac cases get modded for PC components (wrote for macmod.com back in the day) and have done a couple myself.  This build/guide is really well done.  I like how you dealt with the difficulties of the case layout and consider this to be one of the better G4 quicksilver ATX mods out there.  Well done.

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I have seen a ton of Mac cases get modded for PC components (wrote for macmod.com back in the day) and have done a couple myself.  This build/guide is really well done.  I like how you dealt with the difficulties of the case layout and consider this to be one of the better G4 quicksilver ATX mods out there.  Well done.

 

I appreciate your good words. I did not invent all the mods. Most of them are learned on various forums.

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