here it is my G4 Macintosh build Blog (long)

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by 840quadra, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I wanted to type up this thread in case someone wanted to do what I have just successfully done. Build your own G4. I know others have done this, and bogged about it. But I still wanted to share my experiences.


    The Parts.

    I started off trying to dig up information on what parts I should use to make my G4. Since I already have a B&W G3 (upgraded to a G4 450) for daily use, I was in no hurry to get anything quick, and actually used it to search the Internet for parts for the G4 project.

    I have an old Pentium computer that I am parting out to sell (gotta love ebay), so a few parts were stripped to use for my project. That included 256 MB of PC 133 memory, an HP CD/RW drive, and 2 hard drives. One 80GIG IDE, and a 10G IDE. Lastly I grabbed my old PCI video card that I replaced in my B&W.

    Being able to use those, gave me a good head start to building the project. I still however, needed a Case, Macintosh compatible power supply, Motherboard, Processor, and lastly any needed hardware and cables.

    The Case


    Since I own (and will be keeping) a G3 B&W, I wanted a case that didn't look the same, with Grey colors as opposed to teal / blue. This limited my choices to the Quicksilver, or MDD setups.

    Since the MDD was the latest and greatest of the Powermac G4's the price would have been, and still is higher then the Quicksilver, besides having less (and again more expensive) choices for compatible motherboards. I also didn't much care for all of the shine of the drive doors Since compatibility, and good price were starting to become my main points in case searching, I decided to go worth the Quicksilver case.

    Finding the Quicksilver case was as easy as searching on ebay. I found a seller that had apple discontinued cases on auction. I ended up picking up one for $100. The price may be high, but I wanted one with absolutely no scuffs or scratches, so in all honesty I got a good deal for what I was after. The case didn't include a power supply, which was both good and bad for my end goal. Since I didn't have a motherboard picked out, I wasn't stuck with a power supply that only supported one motherboard. The case included all needed screws, mounting brackets, speaker, cables, power button, and drive doors. I now had a good start on my project.



    Since I had the case, I now needed to find a motherboard that would suit what I wanted. After lots of research, I found that each G4 motherboard has its advantages and disadvantages. I knew I wanted AGP, and I knew I didn't want to go ZIF socketed processors, because of the limitations. I found out later that some of the motherboards that were compatible with my case had 133mhz bus speeds, while others only had 100. The two that have 133mhz were the Quicksilver and Digital Audio.

    I again started searches online, locally, and Ebay, for a motherboard that I could use. I was able to find out on the Apple website, that the port configurations on the back were going to play into how much modification I would need to do with the case to make it work.

    Fortunately I was already leaning towards the 133mhz motherboards, and both of them have the exact same rear port configurations (bonus!). So the search began for a Digital Audio Motherboard, and or a Quicksilver.


    My search turned up that the Quicksilver motherboards were going for ~$280+ dollars, (used) and Digital Audio was going anywhere from $150 - $250. Price being a large part of my purchase decision, I started searching for inexpensive Quicksilver, and or Digital Audio Motherboards.

    I ended up finding a never used Digital audio motherboard for $250 on a Macintosh related classified forum. The nice thing about this motherboard, is the fact that it is 100% compatible with the Quicksilver case. All of the ports are in the exact same locations, it has the same mounting points, and uses the same cables for the front panel, speaker, and IDE drives. Besides that, with a small modification it can run quicksilver processors. I received the Mobo and Case the same week, and started the assembly. Mounting the CD/RW, Motherboard, and the 10gb hard disk (the 80 will go in later).

    Power Supply.


    I am really glad that I bought the power supply after the motherboard. Since some of the G4's have a limited number of power supples that will work with them, I needed to make sure what Mobo I wanted, before being locked in with a power supply.


    The Digital Audio Motherboard requires a 22 pin 338w Power supply. There are actually 2 that fit this category, one being the power supply of the Digital Audio, and the other being the Gigabit Ethernet computer. Oddly they both have unique part numbers, and some places charge $30 more for the digital Audio model, over the gigabit. I ended up finding a new (with warranty) Gigabit power supply Model # API9841-291, on ebay for $100. Over 80 dollars cheaper then I could find on any Internet store i could find. Now cooking with gas, I was now looking for the last part needed, the Processor.



    Being that the G4 was the first widely available Macintosh to support dual Processors, I decided to go with that as my primary option. With that I had many to choose from, but only a select few that would easily integrate with my system. I wanted to initially go apple OEM to get the system up and running, and also wanted something that would work with my Motherboard. I know I could have gone with a Quicksilver processor, but it will require running a power wire to the processor's 4th pin. Knowing this, I looked for Processors that came with the Digital Audio, and or the Quicksilver (2001 and 2002).

    I ended up finding a deal that I couldn't pass up. I found a Dual 533 Processor that cost only $100 (including shipping). This included the heat sink, Fan shroud, and Fan.

    The Conclusion.


    With all of the parts now acquired, I now had everything i needed to make this Quicksilver run. All of the parts I acquired cost me a decent $550, and with the residual value of the other parts I took from my PC, I can say this system cost me $600 out the door. I know I could have bought a complete Quicksilver for near that on Ebay, but that would have required me to spend all of the money up front. And I would know little about the G4 hardware I was using.

    I guess the only thing I really need to do is buy a new AGP video card. I am using my old PCI stock G3 Video card at the moment, but it really isn't bothering me. Since I don't intend on playing any games, I think I am going to wait on this for a bit.

    I can happily say that I saved ~$20, and I learned allot about the Macintosh G4 line. I am really happy with my G4, and i am having second thoughts about selling it. I originally intended to use this system as my primary Macintosh (replace my Upgraded G3), but since then I have ordered a Dual 2.0 G5 from the Apple Store. I know I will keep it around until the G5 arrives, but who knows, maybe I will get into Distributed processing, and link my 2 G4's together.


    I hope this article will be helpful for those thinking about building a G4. I absolutely think it is worth the time and energy. Besides, you get all of these fun packages to open. It is like your Birthday is happening over and over for a few months. And there is nothing like hearing the Macintosh Startup chime on a computer you assembled, for the first time!!
  2. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
  3. wrldwzrd89 macrumors G5


    Jun 6, 2003
    Solon, OH
    I'm glad you enjoyed the experience of building a Mac. You encountered the biggest hassle in Mac building: hard-to-find parts. Also, the cost equation often works out, as you realized, that building your own Mac can end up MORE expensive than simply buying a used Mac.

    I think that the fact that you're satisified is the most important thing.

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