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[Worklog] Project Gravitas - Sponsored G5 Mod


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- Modular PSU in G5 housing

- Multi-bay 2.5" Drive Storage

- Reusing Apple Case Fans

- The Laser Hive Custom Motherboard Tray & Back Plate

- Cable Sleeving & Wire Management




This is my third Powermac G5 modification, and is the one that I have been most excited about! After my first G5 mod, I wrote the Ultimate G5 Resource Page (link) and was overwhelmed by the amount of views it has received. Many of the pageviews were returning visitors, which told me that people were coming back to it as a reference, and not just happening upon it via Google. After over a year of not touching a G5 (having sold both of my previous mods) I decided that it was about time that I got back in the game, hopefully to bring some fresh content and tutorials to those venturing into the G5 modding world!




A sponsored mod is one where manufacturers or individuals contribute parts/components/supplies to a case mod project. It benefits them by bringing attention to their products in a (some might argue) saturated market, and obviously it helps take some of the financial burden off of me. I am still finalizing the list of sponsors for this project, and will update this section once that is done. I would like to thank all the people who believed enough in my modding abilities to help support me in this mod, without you, this literally wouldn't have happened!




Icy Dock (www.icydock.com)

Components Provided: ToughArmor MB996SP-6SB 2.5" Drive Bay (link)

I think I am most excited about this part of my G5 case mod. Drive storage is always a bit of a tricky one, and I'm positive that this drive bay will be the perfect solution. It normally goes in a 5.25" slot, and can store up to 6 hot-swappable 2.5" drives! Now that 1TB 2.5" drives are only running at around $70, an all-2.5" solution was a no brainer!



Vantec USA (www.vantecusa.com)

Components Provided: 2 x 120mm Stealth Case Fans (link)

When modding the G5, the loudness of your chosen fans is pretty darn important - you can almost consider the entire case to be open-air with that mesh! I chose the Stealth fans because they push a lot of air at a very unimposing 20dBa!



Arctic Cooling (www.arctic.ac)

Components Provided: Freezer i30 Enthusiast-grade CPU cooler (link)

With four direct touch copper heat pipes and a monster heatsink, this is a beast of a CPU cooler that has been scoring high marks across the web in reviews. Did I mention it runs about 70% quieter than the stock Intel cooler?



The Laser Hive (www.thelaserhive.com)

Components Provided: mATX motherboard tray and back plate (link)

If there's one thing I love about the hackintosh community, it's the general spirit of ingenuity! David from The Laser Hive is a perfect example of this, and has several very creative and professionally executed solutions for the G5, and his flexibility and willingness to work on an individual basis means that I can highly recommend his products!



Alohacab (forum thread)

Components Provided: G5 front panel ATX Cable (link)

Very much along the same lines as The Laser Hive products, Alohacab is one of the few people in the hackintosh community selling quality accessories that make the lives of G5 modders that much easier! If you don't feel comfortable with a soldering iron and pinout diagram (or maybe you just want to save some time), Alohacab offers a professional-looking cable at an affordable price.



To be decided. I do know that I will be including:

- 2 x 240GB Chronos Deluxe Mushkin SSD (link)

- 2 x 1TB Samsung Spinpoint 1TB 2.5" HDD (link)

- AlohaCab's Front Panel Cable (thread link)

- The Laser Hive motherboard tray and back plate (link)

- Apple Bluetooth Module (guide)

- Apple Wi-Fi Card (guide)

- Apple Chime on Startup (guide).




- Tear down case (done!)

- Clean case as best as possible (done)

- Decide what original parts I want to keep

- Decide what solution I want to use for the motherboard (done)

- Decide what to use for HDD storage

- Gut Powermac PSU, ready for modular ATX power supply

- Wire Apple fans for 5V (quieter)

- Cut back panel opening





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Update 30/12

Cleaning the G5:


Well I wanted to talk about cleaning the G5 case. As many of you know, the aluminum used for the G5 cases is very prone to scratches, scrapes and dents. It is very rare to find a G5 in perfect condition, and by rare I mean expensive. The case for this project came with the usual scuffs and scrapes (luckily no dents and the front is immaculate!) I was very surprised, however, at how easily a lot of them came off using regular household products. The following method works reasonably well on most scrapes and marks. It will not work for deeper scratches, HOWEVER, it will work to lighten them some as shown below.



The area I am concentrating on has several relatively deep scratches:




I highly suggest using these two products for cleaning. Both of these items should be available at most grocery stores (in the US at least), and won't scratch the anodized aluminum unless you're being stupid about how hard you're cleaning! Make sure you use the regular Magic Erasers, and not the highly abrasive industrial kind - I tried using them for some pots and pans around the house, and let's just say my wife wasn't too pleased!




Use Goo Gone on a clean cloth first to remove surface stains. If you're not totally happy with the results, move on to the Magic Eraser - simply put a little bit of water on one end and work your way up in terms of applied pressure.



As you can see, the scratch isn't gone, however it is MUCH lighter than it was before!




Don't forget to remove the residue from the cleaner (I didn't for this picture) and enjoy having a cleaner case! Working all over my G5, I took off a lot of general grime as well as several large spots that I thought were scrapes but ended up being dirty residue from old stickers/labels.


Update 30/12



Well while I'm waiting for parts to come in, I figured I might as well start with what I've got. The first thing I did was take stock of everything I had torn out of the case. One thing that I had almost missed (found it by accident while pulling on wires) was a little ambient temperature sensor on the inside of where the side panel attaches. It was glued on using double sided tape, and was very easy to remove.




In the past, one of the most annoying parts about using the Apple Bluetooth board is mounting it in a place that (a) is secure, and (B) won't cause too much interference. This little plastic mount looked perfect for the job, as the A1118 bluetooth pulled from a macbook is the exact same size as the temp sensor, apart from in thickness.




With the smooth back (cleaned) being perfect for double-sided tape, I was sold. Out came the trusty dremel to make cuts to the plastic lips that hold the board in place. Please excuse my worn-down old diamond blade - I was cutting tile last weekend!




A couple of quick cuts later and it fit just perfectly:




This just goes to show, you never know what you might use out of the G5 stock parts, so when tearing down, SAVE EVERYTHING! If the ambient sensor hadn't have been present during the gutting, I probably would have missed this entirely, so if you're tearing everything down and you happen to come across this little mount, it's definitely worth putting in you "keep" pile!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update 07/01

PSU and Front Panel:


So, after an awesome new year (all the best for 2013 to all) I decided it was time to get back to modding. I finished sleeving the bluetooth cables using Bitspower Silver sleeving (VERY tight weave, no color leak at all). Here's a quick shot during the process:




The UPS man knocked on my door today, and I was excited to see that both Arctic Cooling's CPU cooler and Alohacab's front panel cable had come! The cable is just as well made as I had heard - the sleeving is really done rather well, and by leaving the cables partially un-sleeved there is plenty of wiggle room for placement! I am making a couple of my own for some friends who are modding G5s too, but I really wanted to see Alohacab's workmanship!




Just because I think it's a killer CPU cooler, I took some shots to show off the Freezer i30. This thing is enormous (see image 4) and from what I hear it performs like a beast! I'm looking forward to putting in on my i5 and seeing what it can do!











So as far as modding goes, I also got a start on disassembling my G5's PSU this week. Here it is in all its glory:




After removing eight flat screws, the top came off with a little bit of a lift and a slide.




I should mention at this point that poking around inside a power supply is a risky business. There are some capacitors that can do some VERY nasty damage if you don't know what you're doing. For those of us that have been modding for a while, this is common knowledge - (anyone remember modding a CRT back in the day?? Those things could knock you out and that would be the least of your worries!) - but it bares repeating.


I took the following precautions: (1) let the psu sit unplugged for several days. (2) after a couple of days, pressed the power button a few times to attempt to dissipate any stored power, (3) touched the capacitors with a thick-handled screwdriver to short them, and (4) tried not to touch them at all while disassembling! Well, I got everything unscrewed. I had to cut the black and white cables going to the power plug, as I plan to use that later! Here it is, ready for new guts:




Since I haven't decided on which power supply to use, it's going to sit empty for a little while. I'm trying to figure out whether to go modular with a cut out for the modular ports, or just go with a regular power supply and tuck away any unused cables. There's a LOT of space down there, so I'm not too worried. The 60mm fans look pretty standard, so I hope to reuse them if at all possible!


Those are all the updates for now. I'm waiting excitedly for The Laser Hive products to get here so I can get to cutting!! I'm also looking forward to my storage solution to get here - there are some modifications I know I'll have to do, so I'll have more updates soon!

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You know, the more I looked at the CPU cooler this evening, the more I thought it would be nice to match it to Apple's stock grey that they use for everything...


So, I ran out to the store and picked up paint number 1: a sandable primer. It's kind of a pain to work with when spraying, but being wet sandable almost guarantees the nicest primer undercoat possible! If you're in the U.S., or have a Rust-oleum retailer in your country, it's definitely worth checking out! I haven't decided on the final coat, but I know that Krylon has a mildly glossy gray that might look perfect!




So, step was to remove the bracket from the i30 cooler. It was an easy task - four screws and a couple of clips and off came the heatsink and fan:




The first thing I did was sand down the stock paint job, which I then found out was not paint but simply the plastic. You know that burning smell when you light plastic on fire? Yeah...you get that when you sand it too. YUCK.


I brought it in to the garage, and gave it the first coat. Half way through spraying it started to clump, something I hear happens a lot with the thicker sandable primers. Oh well, just a little bit more work! Here it is after the first coat and the first dry sand:




I'm bringing it back out to the garage for another spray now, I'll leave it over night, and then give wet sanding a go!


Stay tuned, and thanks for watching!

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Looks very well done thus far!


I also had the same PSU debate. Since my goal was as little cutting as possible, I did not add the modular plug to the outside of the PSU, but rather left it inside the housing. I had enough room, and it actually helps with cable management as the cables are rather long that came with my PSU - so I was able to tuck part of them away inside the PSU housing. If you are going to be using a lot of the cables, or want the flexibility that having access to the modular plug gives you, then go for the cut. Otherwise I'd suggest keeping it all in the PSU for a cleaner look.


Keep the pictures coming and good luck!

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Looks very well done thus far!


I also had the same PSU debate. Since my goal was as little cutting as possible, I did not add the modular plug to the outside of the PSU, but rather left it inside the housing. I had enough room, and it actually helps with cable management as the cables are rather long that came with my PSU - so I was able to tuck part of them away inside the PSU housing. If you are going to be using a lot of the cables, or want the flexibility that having access to the modular plug gives you, then go for the cut. Otherwise I'd suggest keeping it all in the PSU for a cleaner look.


Keep the pictures coming and good luck!


Thanks Mr D! I'm thinking I will follow your example on the PSU. Aside from the height restrictions there really is a ton of space in the PSU enclosure - I may even use some cable extenders to cut down on sleeving time!



Update 09/01

Finished the CPU Cooler:

Well, it took more work than I thought it would, but the CPU cooler is finally finished and looking sweet! After two coats of primer I ran to the store and picked up some rust-oleum glossy gray paint and some scratch remover/rubbing compound.




Next up was wet-sanding the last coat of primer and applying the first layer of enamel. I did NOT realize how long enamel took to dry, but 12+ hours later it was dry enough to handle. I had plenty of orange-peel and some spots that I obviously didn't sand very well, but it had started to take shape:




I think this was the only point where I doubted my choice of gray. For some reason I totally second-guessed myself at the last minute and thought I had made a stupid choice in painting the plastic guard, but it was definitely too late now. I wet-sanded with some 1000-grit sandpaper, let it dry, and proceeded to my last layer. This process was repeated one more time, before allowing the guard to completely dry. I then used some of the rubbing compound on a buffer to get the thing nice and shiny. It's not my best spray work, but I think that working in a 20 degree garage might have something to do with that! Overall, I'm very pleased with the results - it really does fit nicely in with everything and I'm looking forward to more customization! Final pics (although I have to admit it looks a lot better in person!):






EDIT: got a good shot of the finish since it was looking a little dull in the above pictures - my softbox is getting rid of all the harsh reflections!



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No real updates, I'm waiting for my PSU, Hard-Drive Rack and The Laser Hive products to get here so I can get to choppin', but for now my Vantec 60mm fans arrived, behold it in all its glory!!!!!





Jokes aside, I am really grateful to Vantec for sending me these fans - from what I hear they are about the quietest 60mm fans you could hope for, and I will be doing a full review on www.whatthetech.info after doing some tests.


I hope to have my PSU in a couple of days and the other items are expected at any minute, so stay tuned and thanks for watching!

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Ok, I totally just lied. I do have an update. Right after I finished uploading the picture of the fan, I looked across at my sleeving and thought: "But it's all going to be hidden inside the PSU casing...don't bother!"


Well that's HARDLY a modding attitude now is it? So, out came the sleeving and a sewing needle:




As soon as I had it laid out, I knew it was the right decision. So out comes the trust sewing needle and with that in one hand and my camera in the other (wife is at work), I snapped a picture since nobody on these forums knows how to take out fan pins (LOL). OK but seriously, if you've never done it before, it's the easiest sleeving you could ever start with, just push down with the needle and pull:




That's it! Remember or write down the order (Black - Red - Yellow) so that you don't fry something later. A little shimmy here and a little wiggle there and the sleeving was on. Dont forget to put your heatshrink on before the motherboard header!


See, much better:




Nobody will ever see it tucked away in the PSU housing, but I'll know it's there, and I'll know I tried my best to do this iconic case justice. As a side note, here's an unedited macro shot of the Bitspower sleeving...it is the TIGHTEST weave I have seen outside of MDPC-X's stuff, with no color leak whatsoever even with direct flash!





Ok, now I really do have to wait for stuff to get here in the mail before I can do much more...

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Very very nice


Just wondering what camera setup you've got - your pictures are great




I'm using a Canon 5D which is an older pro model, but any Canon DSLR will work. I'm using a $50 50mm 1.8 lens and a $10 manual-focus only macro lens I picked up at a flea market. The trick is getting good lighting, for which I use a $40 flash, usually bounced off of the ceiling or diffused.


I actually have a short guide to PC photography on my website if it interests you: http://www.whatthetech.info/tutorials/guide-pc-photography-or-shoot-rig/


Thanks for watching!

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Just a small update today - my custom plate and tray arrived in!! If you are looking for a high-quality G5 solution, The Laser Hive truly is the only place to go!! More information on David's work can be found in the "Other Resources" section of the G5 Ultimate Resource Page!


Here are some pics of the custom motherboard plate, along with some nifty engraving that he did. Pardon the dust everywhere!






So, this means that I'll be making my cuts this evening, and will have plenty of pics to go along with that. Tomorrow my PSU arrives, so stay tuned for a walk-through of fitting a standard PSU into Apple's power supply case!

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Well as promised, here's an update. Tonight was the night that I prayed to the dremel/jigsaw gods that the cutting would go well, and I am pleased to be typing this with all ten fingers and a clean looking back plate!


The first thing I did was do a dry run of mounting the sweet-looking backplate, then marking my cuts and screw holes that I wanted to keep:




For anyone interested in using The Laser Hive products (which I highly recommend), here are the parts which you are going to cut. It's a little tricky - you have to keep one row of G5 holes on one side and go right up to the PCI bracket on the other:




I was all ready to cut (with my fingers crossed inside my work gloves.




Since we're cutting perforated aluminum, it's important to line your cuts with masking tape. Not only do you run the risk of scraping the aluminum with the jigsaw guides, but every time you go through an open space/hole the jigsaw tends to skip:




First cut, success:




After messing up several times, I finally got all the cuts that I wanted. I have some grinding/filing to do, however I am very pleased with the overall look - it's the next best thing to doing a stock mod (where you keep original ports:




Tomorrow my PSU comes, and I can't wait to void the warranty!!! Thanks for reading!

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Well, another update today. My PSU came in, and I excitedly got to work. One of the biggest problems I have with a lot of the G5 mods I see is the untidiness that the PSU often seems to create - cables everywhere, not to mention the big (often) black box looking out of place. That's why I knew I was going to rehouse my PSU. I bought a cheap modular Corsair PSU as one of Newegg's shellshocker deals - $24 after rebate more or less, just in case I messed up :D


Here's our victim:



Warranty? Only a suggestion:




The first thing I did was take it apart. I was nervous because if the heatsinks were too high, the whole idea might be down the toilet:






I did a dry run inside the G5 case, and honestly I thought it might not work! We're talking less than half an inch of leeway here:




Still, mod on as I like to say. For $24 bucks I could afford to have it not work, so out came the metal cutters. Honestly? I hate working with the dremel and always have.




After just a few short minutes cutting (aided by the fact that half was cutting through mesh), the psu cover was cut down. I wanted to keep the PSU in its original case because the modular ports were pre-cut and pretty sturdy, whereas I wasn't sure how well mounting them myself would turn out.




As you can sort of see, the rear of the PSU has mesh which lines up nicely with the two 60mm fans. Even running at 5V from a molex connector they push enough air through there to keep me from running into heat issues, although I may drill some vent holes on the top of the G5 PSU case eventually.


I also gave the top cover a quick coat of gray paint - it had a really nice surface underneath so I just did two coats and gave it a quick buff - it looks great!




Once dried, I put it on the check that everything would close up nicely, and I was VERY pleased to see that it did!




No images for the next step, but I cut out a few holes in the G5's PSU case to allow the cables to come out - most of the cables I won't end up using, but obviously the essentials still need to be free. Here's what it looks like all ready to go:




Obviously the motherboard cables are on the right, and then the grey one on the left is what will end up powering the Icy-Dock ToughArmor hard-drive cage. It needs a molex per side, so I have two right-angle molex power connectors ready to be soldered on to the grey cable!


I will end up sleeving the motherboard cables, although depending on my schedule I might just buy some bitfenix extenders and be done with it!


I hope you like what I've done, and want these pictures to serve as a reminder to anyone attempting a G5 mod that even a dremel-phobe like me can manage to rehouse a PSU without exploding everything. I tested the PSU by jumping the green cable with a black one, and everything seems to be working just fine! I can' wait for more parts to get here so I can keep modding!

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Oh, another quick update (not much of one), I got my DVD drive in and installed it. For those of you that are thinking of modding a G5, it's important to note that I have had to remove the tray bezel on all four drives I have used. It's a simple process, simply power the drive on and open up the tray, then unplug it so it's sticking out. Using a screwdriver or knife, pry off the tray bezel ONLY. It should go from this:




to this:




If you don't, the bezel will catch the G5 flip-down mechanism and can damage it!


That is all :D

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I'm using a Canon 5D which is an older pro model, but any Canon DSLR will work. I'm using a $50 50mm 1.8 lens and a $10 manual-focus only macro lens I picked up at a flea market. The trick is getting good lighting, for which I use a $40 flash, usually bounced off of the ceiling or diffused.


I actually have a short guide to PC photography on my website if it interests you: http://www.whatthete...y-or-shoot-rig/


Thanks for watching!

I've got a D5100 with kit lens -- I'm starting to take better pictures inside after carrying around an old desk lamp with me :P Good article

Outdoor photos have never really been a problem for me


One thing about your PSU though -- surely all the air will just go around the sides of the black casing?

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I've got a D5100 with kit lens -- I'm starting to take better pictures inside after carrying around an old desk lamp with me :P Good article

Outdoor photos have never really been a problem for me


One thing about your PSU though -- surely all the air will just go around the sides of the black casing?


If you already have a DSLR, I would highly recommend checking this out: http://www.amazon.com/Cowboystudio-Photography-Portrait-Continuous-Umbrellas/dp/B003WLY24O/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1358793729&sr=8-5&keywords=lighting+kit+continuous


For $60 you can really take your photography to the next level. Of course, flash is preferable in the big scheme of things, but for general rig photography or product photography, it's pretty decent. If you go to the customer product images of this hard-drive enclosure or this stylus, you can see the pictures I took with a similar-cost lighting set-up.


As far as the PSU goes, it's hard to see but the whole side facing the fans is actually mesh, allowing for decent airflow. Since I'm only running a 430W PSU, it should be decent, however I am toying with the following scenarios:


1) Cutting off the side facing the fans to allow for greater airflow.

2) Adding ventilation holes to the top of the G5 PSU enclosure to allow air to escape

2) (if I get a bigger PSU) cutting a large hole and inserting a low-RPM fan for top-ventilation


Thanks for your comments!

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Small update:


Finally got around to making the custom SATA power cable for the hard-drives. I bought a bunch of these SATA power connectors from FrozenCPU - I have used them before and despite not having the punch-down tool, have had success using a small flathead screw-driver.




A couple of pushes later, and I had my custom power cable ready to go!




Once the sleeving comes in on Monday, I'll post a bigger update with the PSU sleeving process - I'm nearing completion, just waiting for some more hardware to come in!

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Love that you are doing custom cables. Store bought ones always string four or so power cords together leaving a lot of excess.


Thanks! I just got done with the DVD drive power cable too, and I'm working on a couple more. I can't wait for the 1/16th sleeving to come in so I can get the PSU done!

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Another mini update. The sleeving came in, so I spent a few hours today getting started! I have the motherboard +12V power done, and the PCIE power...I'm waiting for a totally free day to start the 24pin!




Anyone who has sleeved a PSU before will be quite familiar with staples:




Honestly? 1/16" sleeving is a pain in the butt (but a necessary one for a clean mod):




This literally took me two minutes to get over the sleeving (I couldn't find any larger 3:1 sleeving in a gray that I liked):




And finally one result:




It's not the best I have done, but definitely better than unsleeved. I'm just thankful that our eyes don't have macro capabilities - it looks great from afar!


I can't wait to have this project done. Right-angle power cable came in today that I need to solder in to the G5 PSU case, I'll have pics of that soon. I may have found a temporary solution for the hard-drives (borrow from my Lian-Li case)...that motherboard is taking its time getting here!!!

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Well, after getting some great advice from furball zen over at the Xoxide forums, I decided that heat shrink was ugly, and I never wanted to see it again.


So, I undid everything, and ended up with this:




It's really not that much harder than sleeving with HS...a little trickier but absolutely worth it - I'm much happier with the result, despite the resulting backache from several extra hours hunched over my workbench!

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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..... Love love sleeved cabling. So I wonder how do you get it clean without using heatshrink? I wonder as well if it would look better to heatshrink the entire cable set as one instead of each? Either way, sexy sexy stuff. Excellent photos by the way.

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