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[Worklog] Project Gravitas - Sponsored G5 Mod

WhatTheTech Hackintosh G5 mod modification sponsored worklog project ATX mATX

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#41
WhatTheTech

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Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news.

Bad news: my new rig won't post. The motherboard, RAM and CPU are all brand new, but for some reason when I press the power button the CPU fan will attempt to spin, and then shut off. It cycles like this. I called MSI (using the Z77MA-G45) and they said that with Sandy/Ivy Bridge set ups it's often the CPU that isn't seated properly. I double checked for bent pins, reseated twice, removed my second stick of RAM and tried again. Same issue. The RAM and CPU are both on the compatibility list, and I removed everything but the power connectors and PWR button to eliminate drive issues, but no dice.

The good news: it's not the PSU I sleeved. I put my LGA775 board in and everything is working beautifully! It has been running for 3 hours while I did some video rendering in Final Cut Pro, and there don't seem to be any heat or power issues. The other good news is that Alohacab's front panel cable is just wonderful. Aside from audio (which isn't working on my board) the USB, Firewire and PWR LED are all working a treat:

Posted Image

(wire management wasn't done since this is temporary)

If anyone has any ideas on what to do to get the board to post, I would love to hear them. Since it's brand new, getting an RMA wouldn't be difficult, but the three weeks I'll have to wait for a replacement would be an annoyance indeed. That's modding for you!

#42
bonestonne

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Do you have any RAM you can test with other than what you ordered? In fact, pull all the RAM out, and try to start the motherboard. You should get a series of beep codes that warn you about no RAM. The system wont POST, but it will tell you whether the motherboard is good or not. Aside from that, unless you have a spare CPU lying around, there wont be much you can do. One important check to make is if the CPU is listed on the compatibility list with a specific BIOS version. If it is, it's entirely possible your motherboard shipped with an earlier BIOS version than what supports the CPU. This is rare, but can happen.

If it's a compatibility issue with a BIOS revision, you may be SOL in the fact that you will need a CPU on the supported list in order to boot up and do the BIOS update. I haven't had to do this in years, but even the last time it happened to me, it was a very costly situation (we're talking Pentium III Xeon days). Alternatively, if there's a local PC shop in your area, it may be worth heading over and asking if they would be able to update the BIOS for you. I know at my shop we would, but where I work definitely isn't most shops. You're more likely to get a good answer if you stop by and put in some face time, so they know you aren't pulling and legs with them.

I would also check the back of the motherboard for anything that doesn't look right (crushed components, shorted contacts). I've never had ESD kill anything, so I'm skeptical, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Also, I wouldn't really worry about RAM compatibility lists, until you start looking at server RAM, it really is mostly the same. FB-DIMM and R-DIMM are totally different from just about everything else, but you definitely aren't using that in this build. When you do all of these tests, just take the motherboard and put it on the box it shipped in. The bare cardboard. No foam, no ESD bag, just stick it on the cardboard. As long as the surface is completely clean, you know you don't have a shorting issue. I would also try with a different PSU if you have one lying around you can use.

On a side note, I'm curious about your HDD positioning. Why not use the stock HDD cage? the fan up there would keep everything more than adequately cooled, and you could sneak the power cable up there easily (DVD drive power goes up anyway, you could just make a custom adapter off of that). Lastly, do you have plans to drill out some holes in your new rear IO panel area above the exhaust fan to give it a more stock appearance?

#43
WhatTheTech

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Hey bonestonne -

Did try the no RAM trick, still nothing. My CPU is listed as compatible from rev 1.0 BIOS up, so it's not that (confirmed by tech support). I checked for anything that looked wrong, from all sides and I even checked all the capacitors on the board itself. No standoffs shorting underneath either - the first thing I did was set it up on the shipping box (old habit) and use a known-working PSU. No bent CPU pins. Tried a different PSU, different power button...nothing lol.

I've killed a motherboard with ESD before (office has mega-static carpet), but I wore my anti-static gloves as soon as I started working on this one, so I'm positive that wasn't it. I'm guessing I just got a bad egg that made it past QC.

As far as the HD's go right now, they're just sitting there while I have my temporary LGA775 set up. They're not screwed down, just resting. I definitely wouldn't permanently have them there - too awkward! How much of a let down would that be after all the other meticulous work? Hah! I'm actually looking in to a couple of HD options right now. The first is the Icy Dock cage linked in my original post, but I'm not sure if that's going to work out or not. The second are two HDD cages from my Lian-Li case. I'm saving the stock HDD cage for some storage drives that I need to purchase, but I had planned on running up power cables once I did. My other option I need to do more research on....but I'll definitely post it once I find out if it's even possible!

No plans to drill out the rear panel. Honestly, I kind of like it the way it is, although I totally understand where you're coming from. It's one of those things where I definitely couldn't do it justice (more than likely I would screw up a couple of the drills), so I'd rather just leave well enough alone :D

Thanks for your comments - definitely appreciate them all!

#44
NightRyder

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This is thinking out of the box, but have you tried booting without a GPU installed? I had the same problem on a Gigabyte z77 board. The motherboards BIOS version did not support the GPU and as such would not post. Only when I removed the GPU and ran off onboard graphics would it post and then allow me to install an OS.

Worth a try if you haven't already.

On a side note, it's looking amazing and the sleeving looks great!

#45
WhatTheTech

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This is thinking out of the box, but have you tried booting without a GPU installed? I had the same problem on a Gigabyte z77 board. The motherboards BIOS version did not support the GPU and as such would not post. Only when I removed the GPU and ran off onboard graphics would it post and then allow me to install an OS.

Worth a try if you haven't already.

On a side note, it's looking amazing and the sleeving looks great!


NightRyder, thanks for chiming in. The first thing I did was boot with just the motherboard graphics - I even threw the graphics card in just so that I could say (to myself) that I had tried all combinations. I wish it were something that simple!

Thanks for your comments about how it's looking - I'm pretty pleased with everything so far, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to do cable management. I bought some of these, just trying to figure out the best placement:

Posted Image Posted Image

I just wish I could find some gray ones!

#46
v3nom

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Can u connect a case speaker to the mainboard?! Maybe you can get an idea of the error by an acoustic error code.

#47
WhatTheTech

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Can u connect a case speaker to the mainboard?! Maybe you can get an idea of the error by an acoustic error code.


I have a debug speaker hooked up, but it doesn't even get that far. When it wouldn't even beep, just power off, I figured it was the board. Oh well, it shipped out as an RMA this morning.

#48
SirKeldon

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Looking great man, the sleeving looks so nice, even w/o cable management =)

Really a shame that the components weren't working, hoping that the RMA goes fast and you'll get your new ones soon.

Keep up the good work! Gravitas FTW!

#49
WhatTheTech

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Thanks SirKeldon, much appreciated!

And thanks to everyone who gave troubleshooting ideas. The motherboard was whizzed away by the mailman today, on it's way to MSI's RMA department. Strangely enough, I got an email from a tech representative, saying that they would do their best to send one back out with a day or two of receiving it - I wonder if they checked the URL on my WhatTheTech email address...I've never had someone contact me promising to RMA something quickly before...

So, my LGA775 set up has been running for about 24 hours, and I have some findings.

1) The first thing that happened was that one of my 60mm fans for the PSU stopped working. Whether it came lose at the connector (my money is on this) or it actually died (doubt it), I'm not 100% sure. Either way, I'm thinking they may not be the best solution anyway, and here's why. When I had them testing on my workbench, they were incredibly quiet. Now that they're in, the one that's running is blowing at a high-pitched frequency. It's not loud like some fans are just loud in the amount of air they push, but sometimes it's the way that a fan pushes that creates the noise, if you know what I mean? I'm no engineer, please excuse my lack of terminology here. It could just be that they are in a less than ideal location, being close to the front metal of the case, what I could be hearing is noise from air being pulled in. The good news is, even one 60mm fan is doing a good job of cooling the PSU. I can feel a good amount of warm air being pushed out of the back, and even during my video editing test (heavy load) I didn't notice any huge increase in temperature.

So I have a couple of options. First step of course will be to analyze what could be creating the noise.

1) If it is simply unavoidable due to the location of the fans, I will cut a hole in the top of the PSU case, and install a 120mm low-noise fan to cool the PSU components.
2) If noise can be reduced by slowing down the PSU fans (without resulting heat issues), I will install a rheobus to reduce fan speed.

I wish I had some G5 enthusiasts that lived near me. This is the kind of thing that is a lot more fun to deal with when you have a buddy over, rather than sitting at my desk staring at the case...lol (if anyone is in north-east ohio...hit me up...I'll buy you a drink and we can mod some G5s I have coming in...)

#50
bonestonne

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I would take those two 60mm fans out, and I would test them again on the bench.

Your first option is what I would do regardless. I would block off the smaller 60mm fan inlets of course, for focused airflow, and I would not install a rheobus to solve this. You should rely on either volt modding or PWM for your fans, it will be a cleaner install than adding a rheobus (or any other) fan controller to the mix, and much more reliable (one less thing to go wrong).

Scythe Slip Stream 800rpm would be perfect for this, lowered down to 7v with a Noctua (or homemade LNA) would be absolutely silent, while still providing adequate airflow for your PSU. I'm about 1000 miles away from you, a whole state over, but if you were closer, I'd totally be game for hopping over for a while when I have downtime.

I have had companies get back to me directly about RMAs, so I wouldn't consider that strange at all. I have also had companies screw up the RMA process, and it has costed me a few hundred, but that's when you just call it a day, and find a purpose for the board (it wasn't bad equipment for me, just unused equipment). You should be okay though, if you've heard back from the company already, you should be fine.

Since you're going modular, I would make a couple modular cables that suite your needs to cover as many devices as possible. When you think about it, powering the ODD and HDDs with one cable really isn't a big deal, and wont cause any higher power draw than separating them all, but it will minimize your cables.

You could make a single large plate to cover all the empty space to the left of the motherboard, which attaches with a single wing-nut in the center and rubber standoffs to keep it level and prevent issues when removing, and that could cover all the cables, including front panel power button, USB/FW etc, as well as covering PSU cables that go all the way up to the top of the case. You could cut channels into it for the ATX power cable to come out, and once you work out the extra cable, it could give you a very unique and minimalistic look. You could use an angled piece of metal to hide the cables exiting the PSU going under this plate as well (or angle the bottom edge of the plate to do this all as one piece).

Just some food for thought...

#51
WhatTheTech

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Some really good food for thought, and much appreciated!

I would take those two 60mm fans out, and I would test them again on the bench.


Absolutely, that's the first thing I will be doing. As I said, I have a feeling that the male molex connector I used just wasn't pushed in all the way.

Your first option is what I would do regardless. I would block off the smaller 60mm fan inlets of course, for focused airflow, and I would not install a rheobus to solve this. You should rely on either volt modding or PWM for your fans, it will be a cleaner install than adding a rheobus (or any other) fan controller to the mix, and much more reliable (one less thing to go wrong).

Scythe Slip Stream 800rpm would be perfect for this, lowered down to 7v with a Noctua (or homemade LNA) would be absolutely silent, while still providing adequate airflow for your PSU.


Furball Zen from the XoxideForums said he would cut a hole in the top for me to add a larger, quieter fan. I'm seriously considering doing this, as there are many more low-noise choices in the 80mm/120mm range of things. I actually own two of the SlipStreams that I use(d) in my Lian-Li case, so that would make things easier for sure.

I'm about 1000 miles away from you, a whole state over, but if you were closer, I'd totally be game for hopping over for a while when I have downtime.


That's ok, I own a private jet...errr...yeah.... :)

Since you're going modular, I would make a couple modular cables that suite your needs to cover as many devices as possible. When you think about it, powering the ODD and HDDs with one cable really isn't a big deal, and wont cause any higher power draw than separating them all, but it will minimize your cables. You could make a single large plate to cover all the empty space to the left of the motherboard, which attaches with a single wing-nut in the center and rubber standoffs to keep it level and prevent issues when removing, and that could cover all the cables, including front panel power button, USB/FW etc, as well as covering PSU cables that go all the way up to the top of the case. You could cut channels into it for the ATX power cable to come out, and once you work out the extra cable, it could give you a very unique and minimalistic look. You could use an angled piece of metal to hide the cables exiting the PSU going under this plate as well (or angle the bottom edge of the plate to do this all as one piece).


I already made two, one for the hard-drives and one for the optical drive. I kept them separate merely for the convenience of it. I do like your ideas about hiding things away, and I might just use the dual G5-processor cover that came with my case. It's pretty huge, and would do a good job of hiding most things. The hard-drives might be going in the top left (under the optical drive) but there is a lot of space underneath still. The front panel cable will be run up towards the optical drive, and then the individual headers will come down from above. On the MSI board, everything is along the top (well bottom in a normal case) whereas on my Intel board it's all spread out which is why it's so messy right now. Eventually I want the two power cables and front panel cable running in a parallel line upwards. The first power cable would stop behind the HDD cage, the second would run behind that up to the ODD, and then the front panel cable would run behind the are where the stock cage is, with the small headers just poking their heads down enough to be plugged in. If all goes well, it should look pretty neat, but your ideas on hiding them (possibly with the processor cover) definitely will help!

As I mentioned in my little update above, I'm looking in to a totally different way of storing the drives. I don't want to spill all just yet since I haven't seen anyone do it yet and selfishly want to be the first, but I should know by tomorrow or the next day :D

Here are two options (obviously the cover would be attached underneath, it's just resting like that for now). Both locations do a good job of hiding wires, but with it on the bottom I retain easy access to my drives when they're attached up top.

Posted Image Posted Image

#52
bonestonne

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You may have to trim that cover to where that center line goes on the CPU cover, I think that would fit next to the motherboard, you could add a couple standoffs for a thumbscrews to hold it down, and that would work out really well.

Once thing I would do right off the bat is to rotate that rear exhaust fan to put it's cable closer to the motherboard, so you aren't stretching it across all that space.

After thinking about it, I think I know what you're doing with the hard drives. I would try to attach the G5 CPU cover directly to the case on the inside right over the wires, so it has a more open look to it when you take the side cover off. I'd probably go to attach it with a polished thumbscrew to match the overall color scheme as well, and maybe cut off the curved edging, so it will fit for naturally. I guess I'll keep my mouth shut so I don't spoil your surprise haha!

#53
WhatTheTech

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Once thing I would do right off the bat is to rotate that rear exhaust fan to put it's cable closer to the motherboard, so you aren't stretching it across all that space.

After thinking about it, I think I know what you're doing with the hard drives. I would try to attach the G5 CPU cover directly to the case on the inside right over the wires, so it has a more open look to it when you take the side cover off. I'd probably go to attach it with a polished thumbscrew to match the overall color scheme as well, and maybe cut off the curved edging, so it will fit for naturally. I guess I'll keep my mouth shut so I don't spoil your surprise haha!


I'll definitely be rotating the fan once I have my other hardware up and running. I'm contemplating whether to sleeve it or not - as is it's pretty thin and can easily be run around the frame.

Thanks for all your input - definitely some good ideas being thrown around!

#54
nickjf20

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You sir must be a magician - another great update ... makes me want to sleeve everything!

As for the CPU cover, personally I don't like it placed anywhere but in it's stock position with the PCI divider covering it.

I know it's not really very practical, but could you mount some HDDs inside the PSU enclosure? That would be very neat for a boot drive and then you could just use the original top caddy for hot swapping.

#55
WhatTheTech

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You sir must be a magician - another great update ... makes me want to sleeve everything!

As for the CPU cover, personally I don't like it placed anywhere but in it's stock position with the PCI divider covering it.

I know it's not really very practical, but could you mount some HDDs inside the PSU enclosure? That would be very neat for a boot drive and then you could just use the original top caddy for hot swapping.


Thanks for your comments! Definitely not a sleeving magician since I'm only starting out - I think single sleeving with no heatshrink has it's own special magic ;)

I'm also undecided about the CPU cover....hmmmm....

The PSU enclosure is pretty cramped right now since I have my custom cables plugged in to full length power cables that are bundled in there. It's a neat idea and would totally work with the way Apple laid out their PSU - I always thought there was TOO much space in there, and if the Mac Pro is our measure of judgement, so did Apple!

#56
WhatTheTech

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Update:

Well, I was right. The second PSU fan had unplugged itself from the 3pin-molex adapter, and is working nicely again. Following the suggestion of someone on the Xoxideforums that the high-pitched noise I was hearing might be vibration-related, I decided to add some rubber washers to all eight fan screws. While this didn't reduce the decibel level, it did remove the annoying pitch of the noise which is really great news! I didn't mind the noise level as much as I was annoyed by the high pitch of it, rather than the usual sound of air flowing.

I'm still undecided on whether I should switch to a 120mm top fan, but for now I am much happier!





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