Mac Pro Mod ideas

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sylar Powers, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Sylar Powers macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    I have decided to buy a Mac Pro. However, there are a couple of tasteful mods I wish to make, and I need some advice:

    I want to upgrade the GPU HSF to a Zalman. No problem, I know how to do this. I want to BTO the 8800GT, and stock GPU HSFs suck. Might have to buy a slimmer Zalman, depending on room. But a Zalman here should ensure silence from the one part Apple does not make.

    I want to upgrade the case fans to Zalman LED Case Fans if possible. This I don't know about. A super custom fan may not be easily replaceable. Does anyone know which of the Mac Pro fans are custom or standard (or close enough to mount a standard Zalman case fan)? Could someone describe all the fans and locations in the Mac Pro for me. I admit, this may not be necessary, and I might skip this upgrade. I am using this Mac as a video server in addition to my creative needs, so I am going for silence. Not willing to water cool-too much trouble, too much money, and there is not enough room.

    I want to upgrade/redo the thermal paste on the Mac Pro CPU (yep-I am only getting the single quad) and GPU. This I mostly know how to do, and frankly, I don't trust Apple's thermal jobs from what I have read.

    And I want to install duel SATA DVD Burners, perhaps with Lightscribing abilities. But I have to research how much Lightscribe Media runs. I think I can do this just fine, but does anyone know of any disadvantages like the eject button not working, as I know Apple DVD Drives have special firmware. If there are allot of problems, I will keep the Apple Superdrive, and just install one SATA drive underneath for better performance. Might do Blu-Ray, but I am not sure about that format just yet. HD over the internet may supplant it.

    And I want some tasteful LED Lights to display a custom look. Not willing to cut any holes, but perhaps I can do something from within, or something soft mounted outside. I would never cut a window out ether, as I am not a window guy, and my next mod precludes one...

    As an accomplished artist, I am going to paint two murals on the two side panels, maybe keeping the Apple logos intact. Never painted on aluminum before, and need advice on how to prep the surface, what paint to use, and how to seal it in. I was going for a faded in mural look, so that the rest of the case will still be plain aluminum. Getting the mural shininess to fade nicely into the aluminum is something I am worried about. I want it to have a quality tactile feel when finished.

    Well those are my ideas. I know what some may think. Why defile your Apple statue, void it's warranty, and hurt it's resell value? Aside from the fact that the last item is arguable, I think different and value uniqueness. That's why. If done tastefully, who does not want a cool custom Mac Pro? However, I have no plans to ever sell this machine, so resale value is a moot point.

    Oh and just for my curiosity, what PSU does the Mac Pro use? Can it be custom replaced if it dies, or does it have to be the official one?

    If anyone has any more ideas, comments, photoshopped visuals, post away!
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Welcome to MacRumors and my compliments to you on embarking on something of this magnitude. Okay, let's see here...

    "...don't trust Apple's thermal jobs..." This isn't the G5 era. I've not heard of any Mac Pro overheating, but if you know you can do it and think it will help, I say do it! Post temperatures under stress and idle for both when you're done; I want to see how much better you can make it!

    "...HD over the internet..." Blu-ray will live out its life. The next physical format after Blu-ray will be supplanted, but there isn't the infrastructure for fast enough Internet speeds for HD downloads out there just yet.

    "...what PSU..." No idea, but it's 1100 watts, so that narrows it down.

    Good luck in this venture and for the love of all things Mac, post pictures when you're done!!!
  3. Sylar Powers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    Oh, and the mural will be most likely be Battlestar Galactica themed (Sci-Fi Channel Remake). I have a cool idea, but I am going to keep that close to the vest for now.

    Keep in mind this mural mod is a ways off for both the purchase and artistically, as I am somewhat out of practice. But art is like a bicycle-if you have talent, you never loose your eye irrecoverably.

    Also, thanks to the first responder for the warm welcome!
  4. ribbonthecat macrumors regular

    May 23, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    A Mac Pro is a tool. You use it to do computing stuff. Stuffing in needless lights, or painting the sides, seems exceedingly foolish to me. Who cares if your Mac Pro is unique? Nobody here will. If you really need to paint something, try canvas.

    If you have a real use for a computer with the power of a Mac Pro, and feel the need to be unique, by all means go for it and risk voiding the warranty, but if you're buying a the thing just for the aesthetics, wouldn't it be better to save your money and buy a cheaper used G5 instead? They look basically identical from the outside. Or you could get an infinitely more mod-able PC case, and turn it into something that looks like a Cylon. Or you could get something from Alienware.
  5. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    Modeling primer to prime the aluminum. Don't use regular primer, as it expands to fill gaps, which in this case is bad. Modeling primer contracts to preserve the surface. After you paint it, clear it using semi-gloss.
  6. Sylar Powers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
  7. Sylar Powers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    I disagree. Cars are just for driving, a way more expensive tool, and people still paint them up. Art isn't just expressed on canvas. Art can be everywhere. Perhaps this forum will not care, but anything can be art. But to answer your question, I am not buying the Mac Pro just to paint it. It will be my main computer, my entertainment server, and my professional workhorse. I don't make money with any computers creatively, but someday I might. Going to try to master Maya soon. And again, I will not sell it, perhaps just give it away to a family member if I should upgrade, or keep it as a sculpture and second computer. I agree, that the Mac Pro is overpowered. But my needs already out-pace an iMac, so I will eat the extra cost.

    I was going to build a Vista PC out of a Lian Li V2010B PC Case, and paint that, but I could not live without OSX Leopard.
  8. earthsick macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2007
    central nj
    amen man
    as a fellow artist i say paint whatever your eye sees as a viable canvas
    a wall, a computer, a banana, whatever...just post pics when done

    good luck
  9. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    My main comment besides have fun... Would be to NOT touch the fans... You simply will NOT find better / quieter fans than the VERY CUSTOM fans Apple has engineered... As a matter of fact they more closely resemble turbines than regular PC fans...

    Other than that... Good Luck! Keep us posted on the progress... And pay no attention to the bits of elitism strewn about from time to time ;-)
  10. Sylar Powers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    Great! I only have to upgrade the GPU fan then. Thanks everyone for the comments!
  11. Sylar Powers thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 16, 2008
    To be honest, after thinking about it, I most likely will not do anything drastic or non reversible to my my Mac Pro. As cool as it would be to have custom gear, I think the Mac Pro is pretty good looking all by itself, and there are other ways to channel my creativity and expression.

    But I will still get that GPU HSF upgraded to a Zalman, perhaps double check the thermal material application, and I do believe that Sata DVD Burners may improve my burns. And internal LED lights can be put up and taken down as if they where never there.
  12. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    The SATA interface will not yield better performance.

    Again, there is not point in going SATA.

    When burning a DVD at 18x the speed tops out at about 25MBs which still falls within the ATA/33 specification.
  13. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    it would be cool to design a slimline case (flat-top desk design) for the Mac Pro, take an old mac pro and just figure out how to get the board, cards, and drives in there. May take some work. One of the things about the Mac Pro I find unappealing is it's monstrous size (it's like a refrigerator)...the old G4 towers were nowhere nearly this big, nor were the 840AV/8100/8500 towers which were top in their class at the time. Those were actually compact and didn't take up six cubic feet. LOL
  14. ThirteenXIII macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2008
    im currently waiting my friend who does industrial engineering/drafting to complete a SIDE PANEL MOD I came up with, which im sure plenty of people have too. but i thought and he did as well thought it would be a great idea.

    A buddy of mine had a spare MacPro sidepanel and i really liked how apples notebooks had that illuminated apple logo on the display housing so we carved out the apple logo precisley put a small fiberglass casing and hes going to install the LED light so i can connect it to the computer (via the second optical molex connector) so whenever it starts up/shuts down/sleeps the light will illuminate, not too much birghter than the notebook casing.

    but i thought would be a terrific mod =]

    hopefully it works out.
  15. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Using SATA optical drives can help when burning two discs at the same time.
  16. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    of all the mods I think I would ever want this is the one that would be the most fitting and tasteful for a mac pro.
  17. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I agree too, if people put paintings of tatoo on their ass, anywhere is doable :D
  18. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    You could still do custom art for the outer case, just do it non-destructively - in Photoshop terms, use a layer :)

    Get some sort of translucent / transparent material that you could cut down to the right size, paint on that, and then attach those sheets to either side of the case....

    Just an idea....

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