Putting G5 inside a Tower PC

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by benstevensuk, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Hi guys,

    Sorry if this has been said before but I couldn't find anything.

    There is plenty about putting PC parts inside a Mac case, but I want to do the opposite.

    I want to put G5 internals inside a specialist PC tower case.
    The reason is that I have got a tower designed for 8 x 3.5 HDD and I want to run a household and business capable server in the one box.

    I love my MBA and over the last few years have become a devoted advocate of Apple. So, I'd like my PC server to run OSX properly, hence the G% internals.

    Has anyone done this on here before? Any handy hints and tips about power switches, usb 2 & 3 connections, SATA and IDE adapters would all be really handy.

    This should be a bit of a beast when its finished and will be connected to a 27" 720p TV monitor as I can't afford Apple's lovely monitors at the moment.

    Thanks for any help offered
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Since Apple used custom logic boards for their G5 PowerMacs, you might have quite a lot of work ahead of you for this to work.
    Why not built a Hackintosh for around 500 € to use as a server with your Tower PC case? That way you can get USB 3.0 and eSATA for much less hassle, since the PowerPC Mac will be limited to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, which lacks USB 3.0 support to begin with.

    PS: Just so you know, the 27" Apple Thunderbolt/Cinema Display has a much higher resolution than the 27" TV you mentioned, four times higher to be exact,

  3. cjmillsnun, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013

    macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    Agreed on the idea of making a Hack Pro. Have a look at the various hackintosh websites to select your hardware and you can make a screamer in terms of speed. It will also support Mountain Lion (and Lion) which gives you USB 3 support.

    I'm a fan of Insanely Mac as I found their information very useful when I started out with my first hackintosh 4 years ago.

    The other thought is to but a Mac Pro 2,1 and use hackintosh methods to get Mountain Lion on it. http://www.jabbawok.net/?p=47

    You have 2 extra SATA ports on the logic board and you could probably fit 2 extra hard drives in the spare optical drive bay. (you definitely could if you used 2.5" drives) which would take you up to 6 drives. This should be more than enough for a business/home server configuration, and the Mac Pro internals would blow the G5 away in terms of speed if you decided to use it as a desktop
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013

    Although I agree it might be easier, it wont be cheaper.

    Ive got a tower for £40 and a spares / repair G5 (damaged case) for £45 including postage.

    I'm not fussed about usb 3 if its going to be a pain
    And I know the resolution will be worse than the £800 Apple monitor, but I've just replaced my TV so thought I'd use the old one for this project.

    I don't do video or music editing, it's just an office work horse, but if it can run as a household server for music and photos over an ethernet network then I didn't see the point in buying a NAS when I can have a desktop do both.

    I can always upgrade the HDD, monitors, PCI cards, etc as time goes by.

    What do you think?
  5. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    This isn't going to work. Custom logic board aside, the cooling systems for a G5 were complex, and the G5 doesn't take too kindly to it's cooling systems being changed, even if the changes can still suitably cool it. Way too much software/firmware designed around the cooling attributes of that specific case.
  6. macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2010
    This project sounds more costly in time to get up and running than building a hackintosh - in short a bag o hurt. my 2p
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    yep. this.

    seems like a huge hassle and I think you'd invest too much time and even some additional money for cooling and stuff.

    dont forget, for your needs you can build a hack pro/hackintosh that doesnt have to be very powerful, if you only need it to serve files and stuff.

    even Core 2 Duo chips are suitable and more powerful than your G5. you could comfortably build a hackintosh if I can recommend: get one of those Pentium branded CPUs as they come really cheap (you dont need Core i3/i5 CPUs for the stuff you need), they have high clock rate anyway. get some standard motherboard and you'll have bunch of ports available, even USB3 if needed. You can build a computer like this for really cheap.

    CPU Ivy Bridge Pentium G2020 goes for around 67USD
    Motherboard can be bought for around 50-70 USD (Biostar H61S3) which already has integrated GPU with HDMI that will play nicely with your TV.
    Any RAM, I'd recommend at least 8 gigs since its server (50 USD)
    You already have case and hard drives, so just make sure your power supply can feed the components (I think anything more than 300W should be ok).

    This is for around 150-200 bucks, its not hackintosh sanctioned setup but with some tweaking you should be able to run OS X on it. If you want complete setup that'll be easy to set up, search google for "PovoMac" as these setups are fairly cheap around 200-300 USD for computer itself.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    fair enough, but why?

    Okay, I am listening to everything you guys are saying, but why is it going to be hard?

    Im putting standard G5 hardware in a different box.
    HD drives are standard, I will have more fans not less (I know that doesn't guarantee success), the box its going into is bigger not smaller. The software will be Apple for Apple hardware.

    Where is the problem coming from? That was my original question. What will be a problem and why? Surely it can't be that difficult

    Keep 'em comin'


    Thanks for that. Some useful ideas there.

    I think parts are cheaper in the US compared to here in the UK.

    I'd be looking at about £300 or more to set up a decent hackintosh system with multi drive bays. So far this has cost me £85 and I shouldn't need to buy much more. Unless I need adapters. Which is what I was asking.

    Yes it may take some time, but isn't that half the fun?
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    I like you're trying this! The PM/MacPro cases are still some of the best cases around, period!

    I partly agree with gomac; there will be a lot of work but it can be done. Your decision will probably come down to how much of your own time you are willing to invest in the project, not money. I was originally planning my cad-cam-gaming rig to use the case from my old dual LC PM but I got under a time crunch and just couldn't do it in my time frame.

    Check out some pc builds that used PM cases. I saw one that used cables to attach the external ports to the MB and it looked professional. Take time fabricating anything custom; you will be thankful in the end.

    I imagine an air cooled PM build would be easier than a LC PM but either way will be very picky concerning temperature and air flow. Have to replicate the plastic form fitting shrouds?
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Hey Im all for reusing old computers but I dont see much benefits here. Maybe the easiest would be to get G5 case and somehow hack it to run more drives from some external box (eSATA card maybe? dont know if PowerPC Macs support them at their full speeds).

    The major problem I see here is cooling equipment. I am no expert on G5 PowerMacs and I bet someone else will fill me in. But If I am not mistaken, G5 use pretty sophisticated liquid cooling system (at least quad models do) so you would have to use probably the same one and they are known for leaking.

    Also there's that plastic door right? I think if it is not present the G5 refuses to boot or something, so you'd have to tweak that as well.

    G5s have temperature sensors and I think thats the biggest challenge. But it has to be possible somehow I bet.

    Also, make your homework on capacity limitations. I believe there might be some limit on how much storage G5 can access so if you want to run a lot of hard drives, you could encounter some problems... maybe.

    Wouldnt it be easier to get your case fixed and run all the drives off USB/Firewire?

  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013

    That's more like it, lol

    This broken Mac hasn't arrived yet, but I'm 100% sure it's not a liquid cooled one.

    If the plastic door has a sensor on it then I will need to check that out, might take some fettling to convince the machine that it still exists.

    I have looked into running USB drive adapters and SATA leads everywhere, but I've currently got one external drive hooked up to my Macbook air and just that one is a pain in the neck, constantly unplugging and plugging and waiting for it to over heat, etc.

    Plus, have you seen the prices of multi-drive bay NAS enclosures? For a quad bay enclosure its about £150, with no drives! Eight individual drives would either mean loads of leads and no cooling, or £600 in enclosures!

    I've been trying to figure out a way of doing this for a while. I was going to do some form of standard mackintosh, but then saw this cheap G5 and thought I'd give it a go with Mac internals.

    It sounds as though I might have to share my adventure on here and let you know how it goes.

    Cheers for the help
  12. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Because the G5s are very strictly tuned for the cooling of that box. I don't mean by design, I mean the firmware on the thing is locked to that cooling. Any change, and the board firmware will likely freak out.
  13. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    What do you mean with that? What does over heat and what does it mean to you, getting hot?
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    lol, I did wonder if anyone would notice that.

    I have an external 1gb drive on USB which spends most of its time connected. It contains my iTunes music. It gets hot and after a while, when being asked to do something a little more strenuous, like moving files around & backing up, it shuts down for a few hours.

    And as for cooling, I didn't know that it could be THAT fine tuned. This may cause me problems then. I know the G5 flows the air through very efficiently but I was hoping that if I kept it cool or cooler it would run without tweaking anything else. hmmm this might need thinking about. Any, ideas on where I find out more about ideal temps and what-not?

  15. macrumors 65816

    May 28, 2008
    Why not just put a Mac mini inside the case?If you check primate labs benchmarks of macs,you'll see that there have been MANY minis released that are faster,quieter,and MUCH less power hungry than a G5.You should be able to get one pretty cheap.
    I own a G5 Quad and it's unbelievably loud when all 7 fans spin up,and it will heat a good sized room.Seriously.Also cleaning dust out is very difficult due to the way it is constructed and the connectors used that have to be removed to gain access the dirty areas.
    Also an Intel mini will run a much more recent OS depending on which one you choose,that still gets updates.
  16. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Thanks for those ideas.
    I did think about doing exactly that, but the mini's are still a lot more expensive. I know it's not overly expensive, but when I saw a dual core G5 with 6gb RAM for £30 I thought I'd give it a try. It may not work

    Just thought I'd ask if anyone's done it
  17. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It so fine tuned that even changing the CPUs causes it to go bezerk. There isn't much room changing the case or the cooling characteristics.

    I don't think this will work at all. You're much better off looking at other options, or keeping it in the existing case.

    Beyond the cooling, I'm not even sure it would even be physically possible to mount those innerds in a PC case.
  18. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    It is a bloody BIG tower, designed to house everything PLUS eight HDD. Its considerably bigger than the G5 case
  19. macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It's not a matter of the size. It's a matter of mounting all the internal components in a way that actually works.

    The bigger size may actually be worse for the cooling. The G5's cooling system was designed around air volume but air flow. If you can't flow enough air out of that case (and take a look at all the holes in the G5 for an idea of how much air flow you need), you're never going to be able to cool the thing. And that's still not even dealing with the freakout the fan controller would have.

    Seriously, these things ran much hotter than even the dual core P4. Your standard PC case really isn't up to the job.
  20. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Yep, I get that

    I guess the only way to find out is to give it a go

    Any idea what sort of signs of a 'freaking out' cooling system I should look for once I turn the thing on?

    That's if I can find a decent way of mounting it though.

    This will be fun lol
  21. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Thought I'd stick a link to the cabinet I am going to try and fit it in, if it doesn't work then I might have to think again. I might even take the HDD racks out and bolt them on the G5 case, that might work lol

  22. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland

    if you really need a challenge to make your life worth living: go ahead.

    If not (and I'd like to see the entire list of things you want the case to offer which the G5 case does not), I'm pretty sure it's easier to mod the insides of the G5 case or build a hack, than what you're suggesting...

    P.S. regarding your last message:
    SATA-cards are also available...

  23. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Funnily enough I dont need anything to make my life more challenging than it already is. I just felt like it might be a fun way to do something.

    The link is great. That might be a useful option if, when the machine arrives I can't see a way of doing this.

    But, and this is a big BUT, some of you have told me how tetchy the G5 gets with air flow, surely sticking 3 drives in front of the fans would increase warm air and reduce overall air efficiency. Just a minor point.

    Thanks though, this is all great
  24. goMac, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013

    macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    At least when the CPUs are replaced the fans spin up to full speed constantly and the thing sounds like a jet engine.

    It's not great for air flow, but it's not blocking all the venting, and it has holes to allow air to flow through.

    Again, you're thinking heat, but it's flow. As long as the same amount of air is flowing through, even if the temp is higher, it's ok.

    The G5 is picky enough you can't even take the side of it off while it's running and not have it spin up the fans much higher.
  25. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2013
    Thanks, so if it sounds right, it probably is right?
    I might put a temp gauge in if I get that far.
    The enclosure I've got is vented on four sides, so more than G5 enclosure, but that may or may not help

    Anything else?
    Guessing system monitor should tell me something too

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