G5 casemod time :)

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by t3h, May 28, 2011.

  1. t3h

    t3h Member

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    Long story short, I got my hands on a G5 that had rather obviously died from a watercooling system leak - brown "stuff" all over the bottom of the PSU and case.

    I figured it'd make a nicer case than my NZXT Tempest, so I decided to mount my PC into it, using only what I had lying around at a lanparty :)

    If you haven't seen any similar project before: there's two schools of thought on how to do it:

    A: Dremel the back out of the case and put a Lian Li motherboard tray in there, effectively turning the case into a PC case.
    Pros: Mounting is easy
    Cons: Ruins the look of the case.

    B: Change the standoffs to mount an ATX board:
    Pros: Requires no dremel'ing, doesn't ruin the case outside
    Cons: A lot harder to make it all work...

    I decided to go for option B, because I couldn't bring myself to cut up a G5 case. Basically you have two options - make it look good on the inside, or make it look good on the outside.

    I won't cover stripping the G5 case out, as that's covered quite a bit elsewhere. A MicroATX board will let you keep the top shelf in place. An ATX board won't. Oh, and you only have 4 slots...

    Basically, what you want to do is grab a sturdy set of pliers and bend the standoffs around until they snap out of the case. This isn't hard - they're quite long, so you have a lot of leverage. You should end up with 6 shorter ones, and 9 longer ones. Use the long ones.

    Find a motherboard you don't care about that is the same size as the one you're installing. Make sure it doesn't have any extra holes - there should be 9 mounting holes for ATX. Attach all the standoffs and cover the bottoms of them with two-part epoxy.

    Now for the fun bit - grab some PCI cards you don't care about (in my case, 3 LAN cards I had lying around :p) and put them in the slots. Then very carefully but quickly put the board in place, using the slots to line it up. You'll note in this case the bottom slot is empty - my P5Q Pro has a slot there but this board doesn't.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Put something heavy on it to hold it in place - especially if the board you're using is a bit bent.
    Tip: once you have the standoffs in place, back the screws off a few turns so the board doesn't pull them up.

    [​IMG]

    Give it half an hour or so, then very carefully remove the board, without moving the standoffs. Apply more epoxy over the top of the standoffs to secure them.

    [​IMG]

    Leave that for a few hours to dry fully.

    [​IMG]

    Then take a deep breath and install your actual board, followed by your PCI cards.
    Other tip: if you want PCI thumbscrews, reuse the CPU mount screws :p

    You'll note at this point that the back panel of the board is inaccessible. The G5 case has the PCI slots moved inwards slightly, so with the board in this position there's a little bit of space to get to the back panel on the inside. On the back panel though, the only things I really need are: USB, Sound Out and Ethernet.

    For the USB: there's sufficient headers on the board for a ton more USB ports.
    Sound: There's enough space for an extension to be plugged in...
    Ethernet: There's two PCI-E 1x sockets between the two 8x ports - the GTX470 covers the first one up, but the second is accessible. One Intel CT Gigabit PCI-E card from PCCaseGear later, and I have an accessible LAN port. Plus, a short patch cable could always be made to go into the onboard LAN - but Intel makes nice ethernet chipsets :)

    Now for the smoke test:
    [​IMG]

    Well, it powers on alright...

    As for mounting the PSU: not really sure how to do that properly without metal bracketry... so

    [​IMG]

    That is not going anywhere! (foam-backed mounting tape)

    Now with the PSU in, I removed the 8-pin CPU power extension that I needed in my last case... followed by a "why won't it boot" moment. Turns out that I forgot to plug it back in. Try not to do that.

    With the PSU in place, time for some drives. The original Apple drive holder looks good - but only one issue - it can't go where it was, otherwise it'd be through the PCI slots. So it goes in, on top of the PSU. Then add an IEC extension lead so the PSU has power at the back of the case...

    Other advantage of mounting stuff with foam tape: noise reduction :)

    [​IMG]

    Here comes the fun bit - the front panel wiring. This took a lot of fiddling to get right. The wiring diagram I found is here. FW Ground goes to the power button ground. Power LED + goes to the + power LED. Power Button + goes to the power button conector.

    Tip: For dodgy pin connector hacks:
    1 pin dual-female jumper
    Breadboard jumper wires

    [​IMG]

    No, it's not neat - I'll clean it up later. Same goes for the rest of the case, really.

    USB cable goes into the same connector - test it on something you don't like first...

    [​IMG]

    I temporarily wired a fan into the front with a bit of solid-core cat5 to hold it in place... I'll do that properly later too.

    ... and there we have it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still todo:
    • Make front panel wiring neater
    • Hook up front panel audio jack
    • Fit some rear USB ports - at the moment the only USB port is the front panel one
    • Fit the CoolerMaster 4 HDD bay holder
    • Secure the IEC extension lead
    • Many more small things...
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2011
  2. silverbullet

    silverbullet Member

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    What are your plans for the IO plate? it's looking decent so far :thumbup:

    I'm quite stunned by the amount of macbooks at the lan, they go alright heatwise playing games all that time?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    t3h

    t3h Member

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    I'll get some small jumpers in for the ports I can get at, and I'll probably try to neatly close off the others I have no intention of using.

    Bar accidentally running one in a backpack, I've never had one overheat, no matter what I've done - the aluminium case is basically a huge heatsink.
     
  4. Chif

    Chif Member

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    looks pretty decent, although those fish-eye pics hurt my eyes :p
     
  5. callum14

    callum14 Member

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    so far so good n.n yeah the fish eye lense was abit... ehhhh... can deal with it though :p
     
  6. OP
    OP
    t3h

    t3h Member

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    Some love it, some hate it :)

    Anyways, an update: grabbed two Noctua fans today, a 120mm and a 140mm. The 120mm's going above the graphics cards so I can disconnect the GT220's extremely loud fan, and the 140mm's going in the front.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    t3h

    t3h Member

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    [​IMG]

    Noctua fans are in: 140mm at the front, 120mm at the back above the graphics cards (I'm hardly going to use those PCI slots anyway :p)

    Also the GT220 (top red card)'s fan is now disconnected since it has another fan blowing on it. It runs 5 degrees warmer than it did - but the noctua fan is comparatively silent, and the card isn't doing any 3D work anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2011
  8. Pipster

    Pipster Member

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    Good job, but the over use of fish eye makes my retinas bleed :p
     
  9. Umbrella Corp.

    Umbrella Corp. Member

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    What happened to the pics? I have 3 G5 Cases lying around I would like to do something like this. I guess I can try both a and b solution.... :cool:
     
  10. IMtech

    IMtech (Banned or Deleted)

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    Seconded. Great modding, let down by overenthusiastic use of special effects... :Paranoid: :lol:

    Can you please post a couple of pics sans fish-eye? :leet:
     
  11. LucaBraso

    LucaBraso New Member

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    Good work on the build so far, i have always loved the case designs that Apple put out....but their pcs cost a fortune so ive never owned one!

    If Apple were to start selling cases im sure they would get a heck of a lot of business, their cases are gorgeous!!!
     
  12. ikonz0r

    ikonz0r Member

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    brain.... hurts... use of fish eye... aneurysm.. arrghh! :tired:
     

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