The Ol' PC-in-a-Mac-Trick (Not IntelMac Related)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by RichP, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. RichP macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #1
    Note: I completed this project over the summer, and never got around to posting about it; of course, I lost all my progress images, so all I have is completed pics. Moderators, I hope I posted this in the right forum!

    ****

    As with many Mac users, as much as we hate to admit it, there is a need for Windoze in our computing lives, whether it be for school, business, games. I needed a decent PC to run Solidworks and Alias, but I simply could not bring myself to becoming a "dude getting a Dell." Before my mac conversion several years ago, I always built my own PCs; so with a little bit of internet research, I concluded I would also put a PC in a mac case, so at least I didnt have to look at a windows machine in my apartment.

    The hardware I chose, based on $ and requirements:

    AMD 64 3200+ (running 3%OC at 2.06ghz)
    ASUS A8V-E DELUXE
    ATI FireGL V500
    2gb Crucial ram
    Pioneer DVDR
    Maxtor 160Gb SATA

    The G5 case, is beautiful, well crafted, and made exclusively for a Mac motherboard. There were several persons who did this in a variety of ways; including the infamous one:

    http://www.overclockers.com/tips1133/index02.asp

    I wanted to keep it as "Mac" as possible inside, and create a relatively sturdy machine.

    Ill highlight some of the steps I took.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the whole machine. I purchased the G5 case off ebay (a stout $180; make sure it comes with a powerbutton and drive door!) and gutted out the standard mac wiring and bits I knew were not going to be useful. If you really want to see the genius of Apples industrial design; disassemble a G5. Every piece of hardware is well thought out, never off-the-shelf-pc, and perfectly executed...

    Anyway, once it was gutted, I removed the standoffs that hold on the mb. They do not line up with anything ATX. I then ordered the specific screws from mcmaster-carr that worked with the standoffs, and screwed them onto the bottom of the PC motherboard. Using zap-a-gap CA glue, and my video card as a reference, I glued the motherboard into the G5 case via the standoffs (and it is actually a very good bond)

    However, one area interfered, and required machining on a Bridgeport:

    [​IMG]

    Usually, that piece of aluminum would not clear the motherboard, so I removed it and made an opening. I wanted to retain that piece overall so I could mount the DVDR to it.

    [​IMG]

    Here is the harddrive bay reloated; I was able to reuse the black SATA G5 cables here.

    [​IMG]

    A huge thermaltake heatsink with fans remounted in the original locations emulates standard G5 cooling to a degree. (Case stays very cool) The new powersupply is mounted to the bottom of the case, and I made a duct out of lucite (sprayed gray) to direct the powersupply exhaust out the back of the G5.

    The powerbutton and light work as in a regular PC; it took some time with a multimeter and some careful soldering to work with the mac switch.

    [​IMG]

    The back of the machine. I used the USB/Firewire extenders that came with the motherboard. Obviously, the standard ATX stuff does not line up at all with the Apple ports, but I dont have any need for them anway in this kind of setup.

    [​IMG]

    I extended the powersupply power input and used some long screws to attach it. The powercord off my G5 actually fits perfectly in here, but I retained the standard black cord rather than make another financial donation to Mr. Jobs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just some final images. With the 2 apple ACD 20" displays, and the 2 "G5s" it definitely gives the work area a feel of understated computing power, without looking like LAN-party. When I do use the PC, I use a USB keyboard and mouse off the back of the ACD USB. When the PC isnt being used, a Griffin KVM allows apple dual-display bliss.


    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Daedalus256 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #2
    wow, personally I think that is absolutely badass. You didn't have to alter the G5's case at all for an x86 mobo? Interesting. I also am digging those crazy skyscraper heatsinks. Nice work! You're going to have a badass system for rendering now, what with that fireGL and all. :)
     
  3. RichP thread starter macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #3
    I had to make 2 modifications: "moving" the standoffs to line up with the ATX standard motherboard, and milling that aluminum case divider (which seperates the drives from the rest of the case in a G5) If I had the earlier pics, this would be much easier to explain :(

    Thanks for the compliment, it runs fantastic. Windows can run as good as OSX, provided:

    -the machine only runs a few programs, and only one at a time.
    -NEVER is connected to the internet in any way, shape, or form.

    :D
     
  4. ericssonboi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #4
    Very nicely done...

    Although many would say.. "Why Windows" ...
    Like you mentioned, there will always be a need to run it in some way...

    And your setup looks great.
    Especially since you already have a G5, and two 20" ACD, the setup is great.

    Two thumbs up + 5 stars for you.. ;)
     
  5. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
  6. beige matchbox macrumors 6502a

    beige matchbox

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    Oxfordshire, UK
    #6
    Part of me is saying "noooo... UNCLEAN UNCLEAN"

    But the other part of me is saying "oo, cool, a pc in a mac case without hacking it up"

    :D yay
     
  7. BakedBeans macrumors 68040

    BakedBeans

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    #7
    I fully understand that people have to use windows (although im currently not one of them) and this is awesome. Totally awesome

    you did it really well, your set-up is really cool

    this is a mac user - making the best of having to use windows... not a windows user ****ing up a g5 lol
     
  8. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #8
    Too bad you have to run Windows, but you sure did a good job with that mod! Your computer area looks really nice.
     
  9. branana macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #9
    Beautiful setup. Let me get this so what you glued to the motherboard tray was the standoffs?
     
  10. vniow macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    I accidentally my whole location.
    #10
    The Mac G5 case is usually pretty quiet, does this modification affect the noise level of the box significantly?
     
  11. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #11
    I've been looking to do the same thing but I can never seem to find a case anywhere. :(
     
  12. RichP thread starter macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #12
    About the standoffs:
    In the G5, they are basically pressed into the side of the case. You can simply grab them with some vicegrips or pliers and pull them out. The bottom of them is actually machined flat, so it makes a good surface to adhere to the side of the case. I saw this done in another G5/PC setup (the link I have to it is dead now) and thought it was a bit hokey, but it worked extremely well. Ive driven the machine back and forth to CT from NYC, and subjected it to a little stress testing, and the motherboard is solid in there.

    About the case:
    They are hard to find, I got lucky. I would never disgrace a G5 for its case, but I found one at a decent price. welovemacs.com sells the case for somewhere around $300. Be sure it includes the door and powerbutton, the prices for each are completely outrageous. When I did this project, I about concluded that if you tried to assemble the G5 1.8 dual I have from parts, it would cost about 5-7K.

    About noise:
    I tried to keep it reasonable, avoiding little heatsink fans in favor for a lot of larger, slower fans. The machine is definitely louder than the G5, probably as loud as a G5 running at max cooling (not as loud as when you take the G5 apart while its running and the red light comes on and all fans go to superspeed) The case is very heavy, and thus there is no resonation from it, but its also a very open design, so there isnt much sound baffling.

    SiliconAddict:
    It kills me the MBP we both have on order is faster than both these machines combined!
     
  13. iEdd macrumors 68000

    iEdd

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    "We don't have a problem with those who love the look and feel of our hardware but are trapped in a windows world". :p Looks really good I think. Sense of quality there, that is, until you press the button on the kvm switch :eek: :D
     
  14. codepoet80 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 4, 2005
    #14
    Oooh man, I hate you... I'd kill to have that set-up, but I have to settle for one G4 Windtunnel, and my Dell Craptop from work
     
  15. kwajaln macrumors 6502

    kwajaln

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Location:
    CHICAGO!
    #15
    Very, very, very impressive work. Excellent photos as well. Congrats on a fine job!!!
     
  16. mduser63 macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #16
    You could use Synergy to share your Mac's keyboard and mouse with the PC. That way you wouldn't need an extra keyboard and mouse for your Windows machine. I use it sometimes with my PowerBook and the PC that sits behind it, and it works really well.
     
  17. RichP thread starter macrumors 68000

    RichP

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2003
    Location:
    Motor City
    #17
    Woh! I need to check that out. The reason I dont use the KVM for the KM elements is because I like to have access to both machines at the same time; that synergy thing looks like it would work very well for my needs.

    Thanks again for the compliments!
     
  18. fishingshrimp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    #18
    synergy

    recently I stumbled upon this thread and tried synergy, the tool mduser63 mentioned. wow! this took only five minutes to have it up and running. and it works. this is really cool - moving the mouse to the left: windows. back to the right: mac. center: powerbook. wow.

    now the only thing i don't know is wether to keep the macally keyboard or the logitech dinovo. damn. tough one. ;)

    regards from germany,
    fs
     
  19. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #19
    I'm usually sceptical of PC-in-a-Mac case mods, but you pulled this one off very well. Like vnoiw, I'm curious how quiet it is compared to the G5...the dual core G5 I use at work is super quiet.

    Of course, in the near future these sorts of mods might be totally unecessary. ;)
     
  20. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816

    Felldownthewell

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    Portland
    #20
    Best PC I ever done saw. :)

    Now all you need is an FX-60 and dual 7800 GTX 512s and 2 30in ACDs and you have the perfect gaming PC/everything else ever Mac.
     
  21. kretzy macrumors 604

    kretzy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    Location:
    Canberra, Australia
    #21
    That really is the coolest looking PC I've EVER seen. You're set-up is extremely stylish and clever. Nice work! ;)
     
  22. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #22
    I've already posted in this thread, but... awesome setup.
     
  23. chasingapple macrumors regular

    chasingapple

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    #23
    Very nice! I love the mod you did there, very stylish and clean! Good pictures too, and thankyou for sharing it with us!
     
  24. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #24
    where did u get the extra G5 case from?
    I hope u didn't spend money on a perfectly good G5 just so u can get the case...
     
  25. munkees macrumors 65816

    munkees

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    #25
    Nice setup, exept that I see WINDOZE make the second 20" look nasty. It really be a sweet setup if both were mac.

    "I personally refuse to use any MS product". At work I have to deal with it, but refuse to bring it home, and there always better solutions to do the same job.
     

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