Guide: Adding a filter to your Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by calderone, May 30, 2010.

  1. macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #1
    I did this a few years ago and never got around to documenting it. Cleaning came up in another thread here and someone asked about the setup. Figured it would make sense to post it here as well.

    Details of the filter:
    Here is the filter I bought.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Back then, it was all black. It has been since eco-fied. I basically took the whole thing apart and used the middle layer. Which looks like this (after cutting to fit)

    [​IMG]

    If I knew what this stuff was called, I would simply buy it by itself instead of trashing a filter. But since this is a "lifetime" filter. It can be cleaned and holds up pretty well. This one is about 2 years old.

    When I get my new Pro (hopefully next month), I may play around with sowing all three layers together for extra dust stopping.

    Performance:
    Here it is with a year's worth of dust (I missed a cleaning during a move).

    [​IMG]

    I didn't notice an increase in temps as dust builds up, it runs pretty cool all the time.

    Installed:
    Here it is installed after today's cleaning.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]'

    Procedure:
    1. Buy a filter, or material.
    2. Remove the front fan assembly
    3. Cut the material to shape, accounting for any places that it needs to be shaped around (i.e. front I/O board).
    a. The front IO board is easily removed and has some front holes underneath it. It should be easy to pull the board out and form the material around it to also keep dust from those openings beneath it.
    4. There is a lip that the filter can be inserted into, so account for that when shaping it as it will fit more snug.
    5. Once the filter is the right shape, insert it into the front. Be sure to push it into the various corners as it may get caught on the various cables running through the area.
    6. It may bubble a bit. The fan assembly will keep it in place, so as long as it isn't a large bubble don't worry about it.
    7. Reinstall the fan shroud.
    8. Have a beer (of beverage of your choice!)
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #2
    Beer-asside, this post is splendiferous!

    I don't fully understand the layout of the Mac Pros, I stopped paying attention after trying to keep up with the PowerMac G5's, but is that the only area where intake air is focused, or are there more fans for the drive bays and slots?

    Have you noticed any difference in dust collection inside?

    Considering the whole front-end of this thing is a perforated grill, do you think you could add a filter throughout the front? (If there are multiple fan sections.)

    This is something Apple should do from the start, though too many noobs will cry about cleaning the filter, not appreciating how much simpler it is than cleaning, oh I dunno, the entire interior.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #3
    You don't like beer!?

    To answer your questions. Keep in mind, this is a 2008 Pro. The internals of the 2009's differ quite a bit.

    1. Absent from the picture is the front fan assembly. There are two fans in the assembly. The other fan is in the run by the memory risers. This is where the majority of dust would enter the machine.

    2. It has been awhile since I have seen the dust collection inside without the filter, so honestly I don't know.I know that when I open my machine every few months there is very little dust inside.

    I haven't cleaned the computer in a year, but there was very little dust on the inside. The largest collection was on the memory risers, I am thinking about adding a filter to the rear fan. You won't be seeing anything like this:
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=7277290&postcount=7


    3. While the whole front end is perforated, on the 2008 it would be tough to form a single piece to cover the entire front. You could probably get a piece or two in the top section of the case that holds the optical drives.

    I didn't approach that at the time because I didn't feel enough dust entered through that area. The front fans would be the main source of dust in the machine as it pulls in air. Plus, this single piece in the front is rather easy to place and holds quite well, whereas you may have to resort to actually bonding the filter in the top sections (tape, etc).
     
  4. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #4
    No.

    I see, maybe somebody here has pictures of what a neglected Mac Pro looks like on the inside?

    Why place one on the rear? All it would do is keep dust from getting out... I highly doubt ANY dust can get in that way, as there is positive pressure on the rear grills.

    Some day, I'll have a Mac Pro...and try everything to make it beachball XD
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #5
    Well I said "or beverage of your choice!"

    See my edit for pictures of a neglected Mac Pro.

    Dust is coming into the area. Even though the rear fan is exhaust, due to the fact that the fans are virtually never run at full capacity dust can still enter.
     
  6. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #6
    [​IMG]

    What?! What?! Hwaaaat?! This is mind-bending! How the hell does "dust" take on the form of decroded motor oil and tobacco deposits?! I have a feeling this person is a smoker in a neglected house. The only times I've seen such buildup is from such people.

    My computers do often have buildup, but the dust is as white, light, and fine as...as dust!

    Not to mention, it was Apple's dumb step to make the veins run horizontal, creating sooo many resting surfaces for dust.

    I suppose so, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you consider there must be zero to negative pressure for dust to go inside of your mac, as there are no points of entry at the top. I guess the dust must be coming through another intake and losing momentum near the rear.

    Then again, we could argue about dust all day.

    You keep it off the floor also, right? :D
     
  7. macrumors 68030

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #7
    Awesome. Thanks. I'm going to try and get this done asap!
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #8
    I keep mine off the carpet. It isn't up high, but it is sitting on a wood stand I made that keeps it off the from being directly on the floor.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #9
    I really don't understand the value from this. We live in a very dusty agricultural area and our Mac Pro sits on top of a couple of books - elevated maybe 2" above the dusty carpet and virtually no dust after 3 years of use.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
    So there is no value for you, so that means it had no value?

    And I find it hard to believe you have "virtually no dust" after three years.

    Have you taken out the fan assembly? Checked the heatsinks? Just because there isn't much dust in the visible areas doesn't mean there is none in the areas you can't readily see.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Location:
    Tualatin, Oregon
    #11
    Pay no attention to the peanut gallery.

    I appreciate that you took the time to write this up and post it. I like reading simple, practical advice.
     
  12. macrumors 68030

    MrCheeto

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2008
    #12
    I prefer practical, simple advice. >8\
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    Thanks! Hope it brings you much easier cleaning and a longer lasting Mac Pro!
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    #14
    Wow, I'd expect to find mynocks chewing on the power cables in there, too.

    Nice thread, though. I've always wondered why there wasn't more filtering on the MP case. Apple takes things so far and then stumbles on something that shouldn't be an issue: like the thermal paste on most of their notebooks.

    I think the MP case is incredible, myself, and a filter only improves it.
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #15
    So, I bought the Lifetime EcoFilter and followed your instructions, calderone. The main problem I found was that the green filter was so thick that it interfered with the fan. It still spun, but not as easily as it would have otherwise (I did a comparison between the front w/ filter and the back w/o).

    Right now I have a 3M Filtrete 600 filter in the case.

    I had to cut through the filter's wire mesh backing and tie it to the mac pro's front grill. It's working pretty well so far, but having never placed a filter in a computer before, I'm worried that it might alter the airflow too much or at least put too much strain on the fans. The fast whirring fan sound that I used to hear when the computer started up is absent now. :(

    I know that many here think that if the mac pro needed a filter, it would have one, but if I can reduce the amount of dust that gets into it, then I would like to. As I see it, dust can't do any harm, if it isn't in the box in the first place, and calderone's pictures show how much dust a filter can block.

    Now, I'm toying with placing something on the outside. I know it won't look that great, but:

    A. It won't interfere directly with the fan

    and

    B. I won't need to open the case to change the filter

    I've probably changed things out about 4 or 5 times now and it really is a pain taking everything out of the case to get the fans out. The most frustrating part is unhooking the fan and speaker connections from the motherboard. Those things are so tiny that I have to use tweezers and I'm constantly worried that I'm going to damage something. Basically, I'm done trying to fit a filter into a case that wasn't designed for one.
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    Graeme43

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Location:
    Great Britain (Glasgow)
    #16
    I just cleaned mine today! it was shocking lol I usually do it every 6 months but I cant seem to get access to the rear fan which has crap in it since 2007 :(

    N seeing that picture above id like to point out my dust was gray not brown lol

    [​IMG]
     
  17. macrumors 6502

    walterwhite

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2011
    Location:
    South Central PA
    #17
    From tearing apart many Mac Pros... the part you dont see that is tough to clean out is the power supply. Its at the top and can be pulled but you have to get it unscrewed from the bottom... (screwdriver right next to the Logic Board)
    But that gets PACKED with dirt.... (thinking I have to do it myself and should photograph the process...)
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Graeme43

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Location:
    Great Britain (Glasgow)
    #18
    The parts I wish I could clean as easy as the rest is the rear output fan and the psu
     
  19. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #19
    I'd be cautious about this as those filters can significantly restrict airflow (and possibly be noisy). But it's better than getting a bunch of tobacco in your machine. :)
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 68040

    calderone

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    I haven't had any issue with airflow restriction and no noise issues. This isn't uncommon in the industry.
     
  21. kdv, Feb 6, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012

    kdv
    macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    #21
    adding filter

    Putting an air filter in front of the Mac Pro front fans.

    [​IMG]

    Take a piece of light cardboard, cut and fold it until it fits the fan cage.
    Take a piece of light mesh. Cut the mesh with tin snips using the cardboard as a guide.

    [​IMG]

    Bend the mesh in 90 degree angles. Stick the mesh between a ruler and the table edge to get a clean bend.

    [​IMG]

    Check the mesh fits inside the fan cage. Check the mesh does not rub against the fan wires. Check the fan cage with meshing fits in the Mac Pro.

    [​IMG]

    Cut a piece of 3M Filtrete filter cloth and fix the cloth to the mesh, e.g. with needle and thread.

    [​IMG]

    Put mesh and filter in the fan cage. Check the filter is on the outside so the filter can't get sucked into the fans. Install in Mac Pro.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    #22
    ^could you also post some explanations (captions for each picture)?

    I tried putting a filter in front of my fans on my 2010 MP and had problems with higher temps...is keeping a little more dust out of the case worth the reduction in airflow?
     
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Graeme43

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Location:
    Great Britain (Glasgow)
    #23
    Try using SMC fan control to bump the fans a little :) might help and it doesn't seem to make too much more noise
     

Share This Page