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[Question] Sizing of front panel and back panel USB and other ports on G5 Powermac

usb firewire g5

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#1
Ira Aduro

Ira Aduro

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I just bought a male to female USB 3 cord and I find the back USB ports are a perfect fit (maybe a bit loose but I can fix that), whereas the front USB port is too small. Is the front port a custom sized USB receptor or is there an adapter I can buy to go from standard to this slimmer profile? Thanks in advance for your advice.

#2
Mr.D.

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You are saying that you cant plug in your cord to the existing front panel USB port?

If this is the case, there is something wrong with that cord you bought. USB cables are supposed to be Universal and plug into anything. I have thus far not had any problems plugging in anything into the existing USB port on the front of my G5 case.

Are you saying that you have replaced the existing front panel USB/FireWire plugs and have purchased a replacement, but are having trouble getting it to fit on the back side?

if this is the case, I can understand. The plastic/rubber/metal cases around the USB plugs vary by manufacture (and usually by cost as well). I have had some USB cords that have huge plastic surrounds, and others that have barely any. I would suggest trying USB header cables with standard USB Type A plugs on the end for use as a replacement internally. These generally have very little or no plastic/rubber/metal housing to get in the way. Of course you could always reuse the existing USB/FireWire/Power/LED assembly and either rewire it to connect to your case, or purchase a cable already pre-made from one of two guys who make them who are members of this site.

Hopefully I answered your question. If not, please elaborate in your next post.

Thanks - and good luck!

#3
Ira Aduro

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I would buy one of those rewired kits, but I need usb 3 on the front and I believe those kits are only usb 2. I transfer a lot of files via usb stick so speed of transfer is a real need.

I am trying to replace the existing front panel USB plug with this replacement but it won't fit. Thing is I can't find any that looks slimmer. :(

#4
Ira Aduro

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Upon further review. The USB header on the front IO panel doesn't stick into the opening. It sits flush behind it and is held in place by two screws (which also hold the rest of the board in place. So, no USB will fit into the hole, it has to be held in place behind it. Interesting discovery.

I wonder, would it be possible to take off the USB header on the circuit board and solder in a USB 3 hearder?

#5
Mr.D.

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Ok, so its the second one in my list. Got it.

Next question: are you coming off the motherboard USB 3.0 header or are you running from the back I/O panel - back thru the case - then to the front USB/FireWire location?

If you are coming from the motherboard, do you have an adapter yet? I found hundreds of USB 3.0 motherboard to Type A adapters with a google search of 'usb 3.0 header adapter' Many of them appear to have thinner rubber/plastic surrounds than the one you found on newegg. Many of the adapters have long enough cables built into them to reach the front of the case. If you find one that doesn't, you can always use the extension cable. See below.

If you are coming from the back and then thru the case to the front (i.e. using a standard USB extension cable) I also found hundreds of options using the Google search of 'usb 3.0 extension thin cable' Many of those also appear to be thinner in the plastic/rubber surrounds too.

I like Newegg - but they lack when it comes to cables. I don't think I bought a single cable from them for my rig. I found better and cheaper options by hunting for them. Most of these companies (the ones in the US at least) have a phone number you can call. If all else fails, call some of them up and ask them to give you the dimensions. If they don't have the dimensions handy, ask them to look them up or to go and actually measure one and call/email you back. Make them earn that 99 cents!!

Hope that helps some - feel free to ask away - I've bought just about every cable for my machine... twice.

EDIT with response to your followup:

Dont remove anything from the motherboard. You dont have the tools to do it right, and you'll probably end up turning it into a $100+ square Frisbee.

The hole isn't big enough to hold the plug - correct. It is designed to be held from behind on that whole USB/FireWire/Power Button/LED assembly. I assumed you were concerned about space so that you could reuse the FireWire port and/or the power switch as well. My bad for assuming.

Most people have either glued the USB plug to the inside of the metal, or made their own bracket - all depending upon how far you want to take your mod and how clean you want it to look. I'm willing to place a bet that you can find good examples of both either here or osx86.net.

I would be very interested in which direction you take and what your final outcome looks like. Keep us updated!

#6
Ira Aduro

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I can do either, most likely I'll come off the motherboard header for the front panels (going to remove DVD drive and place USB panel + other connectors in its place) and the back panels I'll connect via the back IO ports. I'm not doing the typical Mountain Mod mobo tray, rather I'm putting the motherboard offset from the case's IO ports and running extensions.

I wish the connector cables sold on these forums had USB 3 built in.

#7
Mr.D.

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The problem with reusing the G5 stuff in the front is that you could get SuperSpeed USB 3.0 certified cables and solder it into the connector, but once it goes past there, there's no guarantee the speed will remain thru the original G5 circuits. I would even bet against it maintaining the speed and your device and computer would revert back to 2.0. So its not a cable thing in this case. The only real way (that I know of) to get USB 3.0 to the front is the method you are describing.

#8
Ira Aduro

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Thanks for taking the time to talk this over. I have thought and thought and thought some more about how I want to do this G5 mod and now I'm ready to take action but I'm tying up loose ends. I want this to be as profession as possible and I'll be covering up what can't be made beautiful. I'm going to watch some videos on youtube about soldering this onto usb 3 wires and thereby making my own usb 3 cable which I'll then wrap in sleeving. Failing my ability to do that I'll just carefully remove the usb header on the original apple front IO and attach a USB 3 female at the right angle.

#9
Mr.D.

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not a bad idea you got there... all the parts are USB 3.0 so you should be fine there. I think that'll look pretty good. Any ideas how your gonna attach it to the case yet?

and no problem! glad I could help

#10
Ira Aduro

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For the front i'll just reuse the original IO panel but with the original headers removed and the new headers fixed onto it and using it for support. For the back I've discovered if you take the original fan and flip it around so the "lip" is facing towards the rear IO ports it can *probably* be used as a rear brace for the new cables. I haven't actually done it yet but looks like it will work.

I've got a very large ATX motherboard (UD5H) so fitting it in is a challenge, been thinking about buying a MATX but I'd hate to give up the UD5H.

#11
Mr.D.

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thats a nice board. If you are willing to remove the top shelf that the CD and HDDs rest on, and use that space above - OR - relocate the PSU to the top and use that space below, then that board should work fine. You may also be able to use that board rotated 90 degrees w/o removing any of the internals and using the extension cables as you previously suggested. At this point its all about personal preference and style choice. I had to use a µATX board because I wanted to reuse the 4 PCI slots and I wanted to cut a little as possible.

#12
Ira Aduro

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So, had a breakthrough. I found a USB 3.0 connector (just the female end) that holds itself into the back port. Which means no need for a board or holder. I also think I now know how to get the other ports to have a similar attachment scheme. I'll be making an official thread for my G5 mod soon and will go into details there.

#13
Mr.D.

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Quite interested in that. I have been debating on trying something again for my G5 so please keep me updated. I have bought 3 different cables and none of them work size-wise.






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