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G5 // Legacy

g5 mod modding powermac apple

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#1
Ira Aduro

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G5 // LEGACY

Posted Image


// concept image //


Introduction:
Two months ago I had never heard of a G5 case being modded. Now here I am, attempting my own. :) I've read through about every mod on here and other sites so in some ways I feel like I'm just rehashing what's been done ad nauseum. Hopefully I can give back to the community with some new ideas. Also, this is going to be an "open source" project. What I mean is that any custom parts or cuts I make I will be providing schematics for anyone else to use. I don't know CAD but I know Adobe Illustrator and you can save CAD files from it. So, for example. I'll be designing a custom top shelf and PSU holder. Once those designs are finalized and I know they work/fit I'll be posting them here.

At this point I have to thank:
Bonestonne, Mr. D, eep357, and WhattheTech for their invaluable help and advice already.

I'm going to attempt a few things with this mod:
1) Keep original IO ports
2) repurpose DVD bay by using a slot loading DVD above it
3) Keep a very similar layout to the original G5 but take ideas from the Mac Pro
4) Extremely clean inside and cable management
5) Perhaps a glowing false floor e.g. MurderMod
6) Reuse as much of the original parts as possible
7) Near silent operation
8) Relocate power plug from bottom to top
9) glowing trim like Tron. Though the painting part will come last. Perhaps will use glow in the dark paint, or EL strips.
10) Some custom holders for the PSU, a free standing easily removed motherboard tray, and upper shelf covers (similar to Mac Pro)

Some problems:
1) starting Feb 15th I'm going to have very little free time for five weeks as I help the company I work for relocate
2) I really have no experience AT ALL cutting metal, wiring, etc, etc. I wasn't going to make a thread until I was nearly finished but I realized I'm going to have a lot of questions so I should ask people that would know

So, let's dive in.

The rear IO ports.
I only would use the USB ports the rest I'll bring online as I need them and will be using the original receptacles kept in place. For the USB ports I've found these wonderful ports:
Link to ebay product.
The metal tabs on the outward face keep the port from being pushed into the G5 case and if you push up some of the metal tabs used to grab a USB device they will keep the port from being pulled out. I had it in and tested it and it worked perfectly but I forgot to take photos. :( Silly me. I did take a photo of my "solder your own USB 3.0 cable" test:

Posted Image

In the end I'll probably make the back two USB ports 2.0 (just four wires to solder instead of nine). I'm making my own cables so I can bridge the gap between the motherboard IO ports and the G5 IO ports with a cable that is the perfect length. I'll heatshrink and then sleeve these. I'm also going to be covering the motherboard IO ports attractively because I hate how shiny metal they are. :P

The DVD drive.
So I bought a GA31N slot loading DVD drive from a Dell XPS 13. It's the exact same drive called "super drive" by Apple. Instead of having to make my own custom case for it (just to keep it looking good) I bought this cheap but effective thing:

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I'm still deciding final placement. Either at the top above the original DVD opening or sideways next to the front ports.

Keeping the inside similar.
Here's a test fitting (ignore the cardboard they are raising the motherboard up to the right level, still trying to nail down how high motherboard needs to be raised.

Looking down:
Posted Image

Under the hood (shield a little crooked due to this being a rough fit in)
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The bottom part of the case will have a false flooring where I'll have knick knacks like an LED consolidator and stuff.

Thermal design:
My most likely final design for airflow, thanks to many people who helped me with this but especially Bonestonne.

Posted Image
Cable Management design:
A simplified view of what cables and where. Red lines are power cables, green are data. Dashed lines mean cable is running behind object.

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Holder for PSU:
So I figured out I can use the bolts that hold the inner shell of the G5 to the outer shell as part of a holder for the Power Supply. First a photo of the power supply, got a great deal on a x750 Seasonic fully modular.

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And here is a quick drawing of my idea, basically you unscrew the bolts and the metal fits between them and the top of the case with a small "lip on the forward facing side of the holder to keep it from sliding backward. The back facing part of the holder has two metal sections that attach to the PSU, holding it in place. In this drawing I have drawn the holder bending under the PSU but I've just realized I don't need that part so pretend it's not there. I realize this is a hard to understand sketch so I'll do a roughout in sketchup in a bit.
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Blending Mac Pro and G5:
I mentioned wanting to blend Mac Pro and G5. I'm planning on taking the idea of covers for the top shelf from the Mac Pro and creating somethin similar for this G5 mod. So for example this:

Posted Image

I have two 2 x 2.5" hotswap HD bays from Rosewill. Those would go behind the double slitted covers. I've been toying with the idea of removing the case around the two hotswap bays and building a custom backplate that would hold the sata and power connector and allow you to slide out two HDs per cover, like how the Mac Pro operates. An alternative placement for HDs would be cutting out a section of the false floor and storing them in there (they are thin enough to fit into the newly cut hole. I had mentioned in a previous thread about a power column that ran from top of the case to the bottom and hid all the power cables.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading.

Any thoughts or critiques you might have, I'm very interested in receiving them, everything right now is in a state of flexibility.

#2
Ira Aduro

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Ok so my first question for this thread is:
In the following photo I've labeled areas I want to cut out and areas I want to fill in. Cutting out is straight forward. Filling in though . . . I'm not sure how to do it. I was thinking I could take the metal I cut out, cut it down to the shapes needed to fill in, and use bondo to fill in the gaps, then sand to smooth it all down. I'd need to paint the shelf but I can probably find a color that matches the silver of the G5. Eventually I'll be painting everything inside black.

Posted Image

Also, took off the shell around the Rosewill hotswap drives and am left with this:

Posted Image

Now they can be split into separate hotswap bays but when stacked they are only 2 cm thick so I'm going to keep them stacked and make a cover or holder that will blend with the case. I also am going to move them down to attach below the upper shelf instead of above it.

#3
WhatTheTech

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Definitely following this one - I've been wanting to cut a slot-load for a while! Nice work so far, keep it up!

#4
bonestonne

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I would be extremely wary about running cables behind the motherboard. In a conventional ATX case, when you run cables behind the motherboard, they are also behind the motherboard tray, which acts as an insulating layer. That insulating layer is extremely important, as it prevents corruption of data. It seems insignificant, however I see you're looking to run USB cables behind the motherboard, and it's very possible that it could be adversely affected by the motherboard and other electrical and data signals running through. I would heed the same warning with the 12v CPU connector.

The best advice I can give you about cable management is to get your components installed first, and see where and how you can run the cables to them. You'll end up putting it together and taking it apart several times during this process, but I can guarantee it will have a cleaner result than trying to plan all the cable runs ahead of time. Using a modular power supply will be extremely helpful, but you should get very comfortable with creating your own custom cables to reduce the amount of cables you need. Difficult, but well worth the effort.

Also, what's the power cable going to the front panel? That shouldn't need any supplementary power unless i'm missing something.

Also, remember that if you're going to use the G5 CPU cover, you'll need to measure your clearance from the top of the motherboard to the inside of that piece to get an idea of your cooler limitations. If you want to post that number in millimeters, I'll take a look around and see what coolers will work best for that size. There are tons of coolers out there, but you're going to be looking at size restrictions that are similar to what I had to plan ahead for with my build. It sucks at first, but once you get yourself situated and get a good list of parts that will fit, it will be a great build.

For black, you may want to go with a matte finish to match the matte finish of the rest of the case. Also, I see that you're looking to eventually have glowing edges around the front edges of the case. That will be really difficult to implement, however for a completely solid ring of light, a very thin strand of EL Wire may do what you're looking for, however there will still be a tiny gap somewhere that the strand comes out. Additionally, you'll need to channel the aluminum in order to fit the EL wire. It will be a very tough process, but if you can get it all to work out, will likely give a very rewarding result. Alternatively, an acrylic edge could be lit up easily with only a few LEDs, but attaching it to the front of the case, and getting acrylic channels to the LEDs will be very difficult. I'm not sure how you would want to approach either option, but I'm sure that's for much later.

#5
Ira Aduro

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Good point about cable and electric interference. I plan on having a motherboard tray. Though I think clearance for the standoffs are just 14mm. I'm still trying to nail that number down. There's a lot of stuff I'm trying to nail down. I'm going to have to practice some project management skills on this and break the thing apart into smaller chunks.

The top shelf area is mostly finalized in what objects are going there. However I'm going to be designing a new shelf and possibly a slide in / out system for PSU, DVD, and HDs. So that will mean something more intricate than a simple flat shelf.

I've been doing some dry fittings. My next dry fitting is going to be for nailing down how much room behind the motherboard I will have. If I don't have much (enough for a mobo tray) I'll just reroute the cables I had running behind. I'm going to be making a lot of custom cables by the time this is done because I want just the right length for each cable, no excess. Obviously for test fitting and test runs I'll be using standard cables.

Thanks for the offer to check on CPU cooler heights. I'll know how much room I have once I get the mobo height nailed down. I really really want to use the Dark Knight II as it matches the color scheme I'm going for.

Getting lighting is going to be a pain, especially outside the case lighting. EL wire is a definite option but I was also thinking glow in the dark paint. I like the faint glow it gives off compared to the brightness of an LED. As you say that's way down the line and I may not go with a Tron themed case. I have a couple of concepts I've done. This one is just the one I decided to put up. I had an even crazier one that definitely is not getting done:

Posted Image

Anyways, as a parting gift, here are two G5 themed backgrounds I made, cheers.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  g5_1.jpg   78.71KB   16 downloads
  • Attached File  g5_2.jpg   53.73KB   19 downloads


#6
bonestonne

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The Dark Knight II is 159.3mm tall, but consider it 160mm because the manufacturing process varies a little, and one of mine is ever so slightly taller than the other. When I did the very first dry fit, the side panel did rub against a single heatpipe on just one of the coolers. In the overall scheme of things, it was just the nickel coating that got rubbed off, but if you have less than 159mm from the CPU's IHS to the inside of the G5 CPU cover, you'll need to go with something else, 159mm is not enough. Since the G5 mods are nearly all different, there's really no accurate way to judge the gap until you start doing dry fits and you get a chance to measure.

For a Tron type theme, glow in the dark may not be bright enough, but that's more of something to test and judge when you get there. EL wire can come in varying brightness, but you're not going to find a dimmer for it, the brightness you get is what you get. I have 40 feet of EL wire at home, and when you have it on, it really isn't actually quite so bright. I'll see if I can get some normal pictures posted of it. I used it for a music video shoot a few months ago, and will be using it for another one this summer I think. The music video I already shot is tron themed, as a giveaway for why I used it. The upcoming video I'm planning out is not tron themed at all, but I can still implement the EL wire well. It's a pain to work with, but there are a lot of guides out there to getting the best results from it. For what you're looking to do, while it would be extremely hard, I think acrylic light channels might give you the best look, but cutting that aluminum and getting a really good fit with the acrylic will be very hard, to say the least.

I don't really have any USB3 equipment at home just yet, but I think that you may be able to wire the front panel somewhat easily with a little ingenuity (just trim the port down a little, carefully). It would require a second front panel cable, but you could either shrink wrap or sleeve the two together, and it would look pretty good.

#7
WhatTheTech

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Ira - make sure you take plenty of pictures of your USB 3.0 mod - if it's stable and (less importantly) looks half decent, I'll add it to the Ultimate Resource Thread!

#8
Ira Aduro

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So that USB 3.0 header I referenced in the first post is perfect for having a solid non moving USB 3.0 port on the back. However, on the the front the port size is actually smaller so the header would have to be secured from just the inside. I think I am going to just secure it to the original front panel PCB. For now I'm only going to worry about USB and Power running from the front panel. The power connector is a three pin that plugs into the front PCB. My plan is to take three male to female jumper cables and run them back to the motherboard's Power +/- and LED +/-, the catch there is PC cases normally have a different ground for Power and LED. If I understand correctly, and please let me know if I'm wrong, the Power and LED can share a common ground.

I discussed this with eep357 in this thread.

haven't done a G5 mod, but if it's a power button with built in led, you should have one wire going to + on you mobo power pins and one going to + on your HDD LED pins and then they would both share the 3rd wire as their - ground. A multimeter will help you figure it out. Since the LED is a diode, it will only be a complete circuit i one direction. So with multimeter set to read ohms, which ever two wires give a zero reading but also give a 1 reading when positive and negative multimeter probes are swapped should be your led. Then same test for powerbutton but it should be 1 when button not pushed and 0 when pushed. The common wire you needed to get bpth tests to work is your shared ground. It's because of the diode that the ground wire can be shared without what should be 2 separate circuits getting crossed up. So you actually want to make 2 x 2-pin connectors from your 1 x 3-pin connecter


I'm a complete noob when it comes to soldering and USB 3.0 is dicey because it is nine wires and two pairs of them are twisted with a drain each that must share the same solder point. However, I got it to work first go. I've acquired some CAT 5 cables and the wiring in it is PERFECT for making USB cables because it isn't stranded and is within the guidelines for USB 3.0.

#9
bonestonne

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I would not share a ground between the Power LED and Power button, they are two separate circuits for a reason. The Power LED has a specific power circuit for an LED. The Power button is considered a momentary switch for the power on signal over a dedicated +5v power on circuit. Making the Power LED and Power Button share a ground will likely not work well at all when you really get into the inner workings of putting it together. Making two separate 2 pin plugs, one for the LED and one for the Power Button is the best thing to do.

I haven't looked into setting up a USB3.0 port, but as I get some free time, I'll look into the requirements and the setup.

#10
Ira Aduro

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Correct me if I'm wrong but in the G5 I believe they share the same ground? I'm assuming since there are only three wires. How would I go about separating out the grounds? I'm rather ignorant when it comes to such things.

Btw - came across a mod that had a cover plate on the Motherboard, allowing them to add some extra nice customization. That got me thinking and did a quick layout of what some such cover plate might look like on my motherboard. Here's the initial layout. I could make it and the "power column" on the same level and have the wires run incognito from one to the other. Obviously the main atx power cable would need to come up and over and in along with some other cables but an interesting idea nonetheless. Red shapes are where cords would plug in.

Posted Image

#11
bonestonne

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If they share a ground, add a second wire. Alternatively, you could take a pair of two pin connectors, wire the + in it, and then bridge the ground wire between them. Have your ground go to one 2 pin connector, and have it also bridge into the second 2 pin adapter. If you're wiring this all from scratch, you may not be able to fit all the wires in, but it's a trial and error thing.

Personally, I would try and split the ground wires, and make sure they both have their own, and it is not bridged. A little more work, but easier to troubleshoot if it doesn't work, and ends up being a simpler setup.

#12
WhatTheTech

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Without being able to say much, I think you should wait to buy your USB 3.0 parts until tomorrow.....just saying :D

p.s. if you're looking to hook up the power button and LED separately from everything else, this is the diagram:

Attached Files



#13
Mr.D.

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I would be extremely wary about running cables behind the motherboard. In a conventional ATX case, when you run cables behind the motherboard, they are also behind the motherboard tray, which acts as an insulating layer. That insulating layer is extremely important, as it prevents corruption of data. It seems insignificant, however I see you're looking to run USB cables behind the motherboard, and it's very possible that it could be adversely affected by the motherboard and other electrical and data signals running through. I would heed the same warning with the 12v CPU connector.


The original G5 had the power cables for the sata drive(s) and the dvd drive running under the motherboard. Those have +5v and +12v running thru them. I used the exact same plastic channel that the G5 originally had with the exact same cables with no issues. This is really a non-issuse as long as there are no nicks in the cables. And if you have nicks in the cables, well, you should replace them rather than just run them under a motherboard tray,

Correct me if I'm wrong but in the G5 I believe they share the same ground? I'm assuming since there are only three wires. How would I go about separating out the grounds? I'm rather ignorant when it comes to such things.


Its all a shared ground at some point. Those ground traces on the motherboard all combine to route the ground back to the PSU. Yes there may be some diodes or caps along the way, but splitting the ground wire for the LED vs the momentary power switch seems excessive, especially since in the provided solution they are connected at then end (rather than the source). If you are doing it for aesthetics, then by all means - but for functionality I think you'll be just fine with that shared ground. In fact, the cable that BlackCH sells, as near as I can tell, uses a common ground off of the USB header (or the FW Header) for the momentary switch and the LED - so it's sharing the ground across all three. Looking at the PDF that came with my cable, I have no ground wire for the LED or the Power switch (poth are just one wire for the +), the only grounds I can find is the USB ground and the FW ground - which has a jumper cable for the power switch if you have no integrated FW. If you would like a copy of that PDF, PM me and I'll send it to you. I don't want to post it since BlackCH has never posted it here, and I'm guessing there is a reason for that. WhatTheTech has a wiring guide for the front panel cable that should show all of this as well.

With regards to lighting, have you looked into EL panels? They are cut-able and relatively flat. Check out this site for some ideas but there are many many many sites that have this stuff.

Good luck with the mod - always nice to see a G5 live on!

#14
bonestonne

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http://www.silentpcr...pic.php?t=49401

That's the only example I have on hand about cable interference. It is an older thread, however the concept is the same on even brand new gear.

#15
Ira Aduro

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So, it's tomorrow. You got me wondering about this USB 3.0 thing. :)

I may or may not be around for a bit, going on the road for the weekend.

#16
Ira Aduro

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Btw what are you guys thoughts on motherboard covers? Specifically from a heat perspective.

#17
bonestonne

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Motherboard covers do not have any benefit in terms of cooling. Between making sure you have the right clearance with capacitors to making good contact with some IC chips on the motherboard, it's possible you could see warmer temps with the cover than you would without.

#18
Ira Aduro

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Yes, I didn't mean heat perspective in a positive way. :) I know it would cut down on airflow over the motherboard and so have a negative impact on cooling. I've been googling and it seems as long as the major heat points of the motherboard (voltage regulators, ram, north/south bridge, cpu) have air flow you should be good. It's an exciting idea from an aesthetics perspective. I already was planning on covering the top of the capacitors with circular black tape or something to "black" them out. But this would be a better route and would let me as some extra flair to the design.

#19
WhatTheTech

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But they look so purrrdy.....

#20
eep357

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For the ground wires, a couple diodes can prevent any backfeed concerns. In the orig example, 3 wires to hookup a momentary power switch and LED, this issue solves it's self since half the circuit is....A diode! That emits light even! It will block any reverse current flow, to it's + wire leaving your power switch still a fully isolated circuit. Keep in mind this was just a 3pin, not the full 18 pin connector, which is....gone? Also different than typical 3pin LED rocker switch found at every auto part store, since they use the swiched power to also power the LED and get a ground added to the 3rd pin. Here, across the power switch is the only possible place a reverse current could occur if it mattered, and only when it was already running and powering off, not on, which would also make it power it's self off as soon as you turned it on anyway, meaning it wouldn't turn on to begin with, and....paradox!. Anyway you slice it, 30 seconds with a multimeter and an led and...there's only 3 wires. :)

Is this what you meant by shield? They call it armor cause it sounds TUF and stuff. it has it's own airflow though which is probably important. Would be cool to see it painted though!
Attached File  Unknown.jpg   8.15KB   16 downloads

For behind mobo USB2, what about the rear PCI slot add on's that always come with mobos and attach to the mobo header out. I've chopped up a couple to make apple bluetooth adapters and they are usually very well shieled (insulated wires, bundle is wrapped in foil/mylar, then wrapped in steel braided mesh, then final plastic/pvc coating over all that, and finally my sleeving) Oh and if your gonna custom wire everything, those smaller pins that go to mobo (like 24 pin connector) are a PITA to remove from harnesses or to crimp to pins onto wires. Get the right tools, frozencpu has the crimpers (look like cat5 crimpers). The pin removal tools all suck cause they have to be so thin they break and since your changing wire length anyway, just punch them out of the connectors with a punch and tack hammer and crimp on new ones. The bigger 4 pin molex for fans and old HD's and stuff are super easy to extract (different tool) and crimp, but those little ones are a pain. Use heat gun to make wires go where you want and look tidy, and if I had it all to do again, I'd go paracord only for sleeving (next time!). Anyway, your ideas are better than mine anyway, keep up the good fight! :)





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