I have a broken Macintosh Classic II — looking to put a Mini-ITX build into it. Suggestions?

PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
I have two, in fact—two parts Macintosh Classic II desktops that are both useless for their original intent; so, I figured I'd make at least one of them into the host for a modern computer. I am considering a fitting it with a mini-ITX board, a normal PSU, a single-fan 1050Ti I have, an SSD, and a 7" LCD.


Placement shouldn't be a huge deal, but the GPU situation will be a bit tricky. Given that the way in which I am choosing to position the motherboard would result in the non-fan-blower 1050Ti facing right into the side of the case, I was thinking I'd use a GPU riser to freely place the GPU above the board itself. However, I need to devise some sort of way of suspending the GPU above everything. Perhaps I can screw some sort of shelf in, from the back, and have the GPU sit on top of it.

Anyway, I've searched through various builds, online, but most of these modifications involved parts dissimilar to my own. Suggestions are welcome.

P.S. fan placement is another tricky one. I was considering concealing an upward-pointing fan behind the Mac's handle, but it would have to be a small fan. I guess, if it's not enough, I could also have a rear-facing fan.
 

velocityg4

macrumors 601
Dec 19, 2004
4,604
1,187
Georgia
This is a tough one. Which depends a lot on what sort of components your are using. An i9-9900K with a Vega 64 is a whole lot different than an i3-8100 with a Radeon Rx 560.

I can just look at the case and the listed dimensions to think of what I would do. I'd want to avoid compromising appearance as much as possible. I'd say something like a 6-Core CPU and Rx 580/GTX 1060 is doable with air cooling. Liquid would likely require a custom loop. Which would also increase costs and mounting difficulty greatly. Although I could not see going to such extremes for a computer with a 7" LCD.

PSU: Space is limited. I would go with SFX form factor rather than ATX. There are good ones with modular cabling. It's not as if you're going to fit a GTX 2080 Ti in there. Corsair SF Series is a good example.

Motherboard: You'd likely want a low profile heatsink rather than a tower heatsink due to space concerns.

GPU: Since you aren't blowing air directly out of the case. A recirculating fan would make more sense than a blower.

Side panel: I'd replace the power switch with a two way momentary switch. That way it could act as the power button and reset button. The power port would be reused. Just solder it internally and run a power cable to the PSU. Cover the remaining blank ports.

Bottom Ports: It wouldn't be perfect. You could probably reuse the spaces for an HDMI/DisplayPort, USB A, USB C and audio. Moddiy.com has a lot of gear you'd need for making ports.

Case fan: On the bottom I'd mount the case exhaust fan. As there is a lot of resistance. You will need a high static pressure fan. It can suck air in through the existing vents. Unfortunately this could be loud. Which is not avoidable if you need good airflow in a restricted environment. My choice of fan would be the Noctua iPPC-3000. You are not going to match this on static pressure and airflow. This fan is insanely powerful. It moves a lot of air. I'd also add some felt to the case feet or install new case feet to increase clearance a little.

Mounting: You'll have to do a lot of custom work. It will take a lot of creativity. It'll involve wood, glue, screws, plastic and sheet metal.

You'll have to play around with placement. I couldn't say if the GPU could stay in the PCIe slot or if you'll have to use a riser cable and side mount it. You should be able to fit an ITX motherboard, SFX PSU and GPU on the right and left case walls. Although you'll be fabricating a mounting system.

Time: This project is no small task. It requires a lot of time, materials and tools. If you haven't done this before. Take however much time you think it will take and triple or quadruple it. Take how much you think additional fabrication will cost and triple it.

My take is it is not worth doing so much for a 7" screen. I'd say buy a decent laptop motherboard off eBay. Perhaps get an Intel NUC instead. Do some of the port mods. Do the bottom case exhaust or exhaust out the rear. Then install the LCD. Way easier than trying to cram all those desktop parts into that case.
 

Luap

macrumors 65816
Jul 5, 2004
1,207
500
I recently Hackintoshed a LattePanda Alpha (Tiny single board computer) You could probably fit half a dozen or more of them into a Mac Classic! You can even add an external GPU to them, such as your 1050. Although I read nvidea cards are not currently Mojave friendly? Not that you have to run OS X on it at all if you don't want to.
 
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PowerMac G4 MDD

macrumors 68000
Original poster
This is a tough one. Which depends a lot on what sort of components your are using. An i9-9900K with a Vega 64 is a whole lot different than an i3-8100 with a Radeon Rx 560.

I can just look at the case and the listed dimensions to think of what I would do. I'd want to avoid compromising appearance as much as possible. I'd say something like a 6-Core CPU and Rx 580/GTX 1060 is doable with air cooling. Liquid would likely require a custom loop. Which would also increase costs and mounting difficulty greatly. Although I could not see going to such extremes for a computer with a 7" LCD.

PSU: Space is limited. I would go with SFX form factor rather than ATX. There are good ones with modular cabling. It's not as if you're going to fit a GTX 2080 Ti in there. Corsair SF Series is a good example.

Motherboard: You'd likely want a low profile heatsink rather than a tower heatsink due to space concerns.

GPU: Since you aren't blowing air directly out of the case. A recirculating fan would make more sense than a blower.

Side panel: I'd replace the power switch with a two way momentary switch. That way it could act as the power button and reset button. The power port would be reused. Just solder it internally and run a power cable to the PSU. Cover the remaining blank ports.

Bottom Ports: It wouldn't be perfect. You could probably reuse the spaces for an HDMI/DisplayPort, USB A, USB C and audio. Moddiy.com has a lot of gear you'd need for making ports.

Case fan: On the bottom I'd mount the case exhaust fan. As there is a lot of resistance. You will need a high static pressure fan. It can suck air in through the existing vents. Unfortunately this could be loud. Which is not avoidable if you need good airflow in a restricted environment. My choice of fan would be the Noctua iPPC-3000. You are not going to match this on static pressure and airflow. This fan is insanely powerful. It moves a lot of air. I'd also add some felt to the case feet or install new case feet to increase clearance a little.

Mounting: You'll have to do a lot of custom work. It will take a lot of creativity. It'll involve wood, glue, screws, plastic and sheet metal.

You'll have to play around with placement. I couldn't say if the GPU could stay in the PCIe slot or if you'll have to use a riser cable and side mount it. You should be able to fit an ITX motherboard, SFX PSU and GPU on the right and left case walls. Although you'll be fabricating a mounting system.

Time: This project is no small task. It requires a lot of time, materials and tools. If you haven't done this before. Take however much time you think it will take and triple or quadruple it. Take how much you think additional fabrication will cost and triple it.

My take is it is not worth doing so much for a 7" screen. I'd say buy a decent laptop motherboard off eBay. Perhaps get an Intel NUC instead. Do some of the port mods. Do the bottom case exhaust or exhaust out the rear. Then install the LCD. Way easier than trying to cram all those desktop parts into that case.

Sorry that I didn't see your comment earlier! I appreciate the suggestions. Allow me elaborate on the project:

I did, in fact, choose a Mini-ITX board and a 400W SFX power supply. To mount the board—wherever I decide to do it—I purchased a Mini-ITX motherboard tray w/ standoffs & screws; it should greatly facilitate the mounting process of the motherboard. (Although, if I do so on an inside wall of the Mac, I need to devise a strategy for adhering the tray itself to the case.) The power supply may also be difficult to mount. The two way momentary switch you mentioned is great for the case in which I am unable to mount the power supply so that its power socket is flush with the rear of the casing. That being said, my priority is to mount it so that its original power socket and switch are flush with the rear of the case. I'm hoping that my placing the PSU so that it's inside and out of sight is a LAST resort. If the PSU has a switch on it already, and that switch triggers the computer to boot, I'd be fine with using that. Admittedly, I have not dealt much with soldering such components, so I'd rather avoid it if I can. Granted, if I can get help from you, along the way, I'm game to undertake it. I'll see what happens...

For the exhaust fan, I went with an 80mm 'Be Quiet!' case fan. I had wanted 120mm, but I decided that it would be a tight (or maybe even impossible) fit. I'm looking to place this on the rear of the machine. I think that this fan should suffice—hopefully it lives up to its name, too.

The GPU is an existing GTX 1050Ti. I chose this card both because I already own it and because it's small—it has a single fan. I bought a quality 200mm riser, and I plan to mount the card so that it is sitting upright and above the motherboard. Of course, this won't be easy: I have to devise a clever way to mount it. I feel as though I may need to make at least one trip to the hardware store, through all this.

For boot, I'm using an existing 120GB SATA SSD. This, obviously, can be mounted virtually anywhere, so I'm not going to overthink it. I may leave some space for an HDD, in case I run out of SSD disk space.

Lastly, for the screen, I am using an 8-inch Eyoyo 4:3 LCD, and I heat-formed a piece of acrylic to sit behind the Mac's bezel and take its contour (as the LCD obviously cannot do this). Here's the hairy part: the screen is powered by a 12-volt brick. I would rather not have this cord running out the rear of the Mac, nor do I wish for the screen's power to be out of sync with that of the rest of the computer. Therefore, I'm planning to splice the cord and solder the wires to a cable from the PSU. As far as I know, SATA power (or is it molex power?) supplies about 12 volts, so I could employ that just fine. Again, although I have helped in the process of soldering components, I am still not particularly experienced. These steps, to me, are ventures of which I am quite nervous.


I'm still waiting for all the parts to arrive. When they do, I'm going to play around with placement, and I may begin mounting the primary hardware and making cuts with my rotary tool. I'll update the thread with information and potential questions. Thanks again!
 
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