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My pink iMac hackintosh


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Putting this together took a few months. First, obtaining and old iMac isn't hard, but getting a hold of one that WASN'T a dark green public school reject from the '90s was hard. Luckily a friend of mine just so happen to have a working pink iMac which he had upgraded and taken good care of. So naturally the first purchase of this project was buying this for $50 and dicking around in OS X for a month and a half. After a while the nostalgia wore off and I began gutting it.

I would just like to say that these things were designed so beautifully, I felt as bad ripping it apart as much as I enjoyed it! I mean these computers were simply amazing. I have been building and repairing PCs for a living a while now and can easily recognize when a machine was either just thrown together in a cluster-{censored} style cash frenzy (I'm looking at you, Dell) or meticulously revised over and over by a team of engineers. Everything about this PC (before I destroyed it) was perfect. The fact that it lasted a decade and still ran the latest OS flawlessly really says something.

Anyway... I gutted the thing, kept the copper wire, the shell, CD ROM drive, button/audio panel, and tossed the now defiled innards into a dumpster.

From here I could clearly see I had a LOT of work ahead of me. Where would I put the power supply? How would I mount the screen? How could I get electric into this thing now that the wonderfully designed rear power port lie in a pool of garbage-water? Sound? Switches? adapting the old CD drive? {censored}... This is the reason it took months.

At this point, I would just like to comment that doing all of this may seem like a challenge, but when you're a flat broke student it's even harder. The only tools I have at my disposal are an Xacto knife, a soldering iron, some glue, and a few standard screw drivers. In total, i drilled over a dozen screw holes. How was this done without a drill? With the knife previously mention, just carefully twirling it on the hard plastic, switching sides over and over and replacing the blade each time. It took a while...

I bought a cheap Viewsonic 15" LCD display on ebay for a total of $48 including shipping, using only the screw ports already on the frame to carefully line up the screen, drill away, and mount it directly on the inside of the then empty shell.

Now, as for the 2 SATA 2.5" HDDs, power supply, various wires and cables, OS x install DVD, speakers, USB card, fans, and LEDs, this was all {censored} I already had laying around so that helped cut costs a ton.

Now that the screen was tested and working relatively well, I had to figure out how to mount the CD rom drive so it would look natural on the face and still work. This was achieved by taking two 5.25" to 3.5" mounting brackets, joining them together, screwing them to the base of the mac, and then ghetto-rigging the drive onto it and lining it up. Not too hard.

Now on to the power button/front audio ports. This unit was lined up, held into position with an old hex tool and covered in glue! (hey it works, ok...) the wires had to be tested individually to see which ones went to which of the audio channels. This wasn't hard, but took a long time. All I did was strip the wire ends, plug in my headphones, attach a male to male cable to my iPod, play some Radiohead, and rub each wire onto the contacts in various combinations over and over again until i heard something then decide what needs to be left/right and such. The LED on the power button is dual color, the power LED connector on mobos only support one. So after thinking a lot about what's important in life, i realized that I could still use this nice little feature by soldering three wires on the monitors LED contacts and running them down to the power button. (the monitor power LED, like all others, is orange when off, then green when on) so now when the PC is on, it's green and when it's off, it turns to red! no thanks to you, intel... Oh, and I wanted to be able to completely separate the top half from the bottom on the computer, so I used a M/F fan adapter to make the wires split in the middle.

OK! now that I'm already running out of room and haven't found a place for the AC adapter for the screen, the main power supply, mobo, speakers, HDDs, or ANYTHING ELSE I needed to get creative. I mounted the AC on the top on the case by ripping off half of the beige plastic to reveal some screw holes and used them along with the vent holes to attach it. At first I wasn't happy with this, but soon realized that this {censored} gets real hot and it's nice to have it away from everything and right next to fresh air.

I didn't even bother trying to fit the power supply in while it was inside of its standard ATX metal case. So I spent hours moving it's components all over the bottom of the case trying to find a good place for everything. This isn't real exiting, so I won't indulge you too much, but I ended up mounting everything real tightly behind the CD drive and mounted the fan on the vent so it would deliver cool air from underneath the case, past the heat sinks, and up past the mobo out the top.

Alright... three months into this and I still don't have a mother board, processor, or RAM. With no money for parts and a desire for progress I decided to spend this waiting period constructing a custom face plate for the side. old iMacs have these great doors on the side with a hole for cables to go through and into the computer and I really wanted to utilize that slick feature so I made a goofy looking easily mounted pannel out of a CD case, various tapes and used some model magic on the hidden side to keep all of the addapters in place (yes model magic). If you can't see it, there are 5 USB ports, an S-Video out, mic in and stereo out.

After a bit of saving I finally had a spare $90 to blow on an intel atom 330 mobo and a 2GB stick of DDR2 from NewEgg and got back to work. Mounted it onto the metal plate with holes in it. Now that I had everything it was basically just a matter of hooking everything up.

The fans that they put on these boards are noisy as all hell, so I replaced it with a better one and slapped a resistor on the power cable to quiet it down some more.

After putting it all together installing OS X was reletivly easy so there's not much to mention here.

Well, it's working great so far. Low power consumption and not too loud. I'm liking OS X a lot!

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Lol dude that computer kicks ass! Congrats on a successful project :(


Too bad you had to gut the old parts lol, those iMacs were awesome back in the day!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks everyone.

I'm currently trying to get OS X working on my Eee PC 1000 but it keeps crashing...

Anyone have a suggestion for a good wifi card or USB dongle that works with OS X? I would like to have wifi on this hackintosh.

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