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nagal

Building a MacPro

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In a weird twist of fate, my search for an Intel MacPro case has led me down the path of actually building a MacPo. I was originally just going to mod an Intel MacPro case like I did the G5 case. After I found a case and saw it had all the little bits and pieces that tend to nickel and dime a project to death, I got to thinking.

 

A little searching and I found everything I need to build a MacPro. For all purposes it is a MacPro but I do have to throw my own little touches on it, like water cooling :rolleyes: From what people have related to me, the MacPros are not noisy but any way to cut down on noise make me a lot happier :P

 

EDIT Due to the size constraints in the case, water cooling is on hold but it will happen. I just need to really research it.

 

I have been in a frenzy of ordering yesterday and today and awaiting parts so as they come, I will be posting pics and once everything is here, I will do a build log. I am expecting the case, logic board, cpus and the other water cooling block (reusing my existing one but still need two of them) shortly after Christmas. I might go ahead and order the PSU, memory and memory riser cards today as well just debating if I want to stretch my bank account that thin right now.

 

Here is the break down of what I have spent. I have not ordered the memory just yet but that will be the price.

 

CPUs (two) 515.00

Case 325.00

Logic Board 782.02

Memory Risers (two) 211.00

Power Supply 301.00

Memory 330.00

CPU Coolers 134.70

Logic board screws 4.00

Leopard 124.99

Mac 7300GT 160.00

 

Total 2887.71

 

I am estimating another $200-$250 for the water cooling when that part comes.

 

Finally having a real Mac Priceless (yes that is SUPER cheesy but I could not resist)

 

The CPUs are Xeon 2.4 GHz Quad Core 1066 FSB Engineering Samples. They *should* OC to 3.0 GHz with the BSEL mod which will give me 8 cores of 3.0 GHz goodness running 1333 FSB :( Memory will be 8GB of FB-DIMM. Prices are so low right now it would be silly not to get 8 GBs.

 

The memory riser cards were 90 each and the PSU was 267 but since it was bought from a company in California I had to pay tax.

 

I will be re-using my hard drives. I have an IDE dvd-rom which I will use and I am going to see if my boss minds if I swap out my IDE dvd-rw at work with my SATA one. He is cool and will probably say yes so that will save me $30-40 on buying a new one. I am going to try re-using my Asus 7300GT Video Card but not sure if NVinject will work. It will be not biggie to buy an real Mac 7300GT if I need to.

 

EDIT:

Updated 01-01-2008 Update price list to current totals

Updated 12-23-2007 to add in the price of Leopard. doh!

Updated 12-26-2007 removed water cooling from price list, added in air cooled heatsinks, Apple Remote, Screws and cheesy line

Updated 2-1-2008 Changed price on logic board as the first one was not 100% working and new one cost a LOT more. Also remover Apple Remote from list as it never showed up and my ATI All in Wonder remote works ;)

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Minor update. I went ahead and order 1/2 the Ram (4GB) and should have everything next week so I can get busy. Case arrives tomorrow so I will get some pics of it up and start planning where the radiator and pump for the water cooling will go.

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Will look forward to seeing your project. Sounds very interesting. If you are watercooling, it would be interesting to overclock. Someone mentioned that there is an article on overclocking a 3 gig mac pro to 3.15. I will see if I can find it.

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Actually I will be over clocking. The CPU's I have found are 2.4 GHZ 1066 FSB (9 x 266) Quad Cores. Using the BSEL mod, you trick the chipset into thinking they are 1333 FSB bringing them to 3.0 GHz (9 x 333). As far as I know, that is the extent of overclocking unless there are some cool EFI hacks I have not heard about.

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A whole lot of stuff arrived today! So enjoy some pics as I am getting ready to start building. Pics are not the best as I was in a hurry.

 

Leopard and my dual 120 rad painted to look nice

 

7152sep.jpg

 

Logic Board. This thing is HUGE compared to a standard ATX board. At least it seems that way to me.

 

6ybpxk3.jpg

 

4 GB of memory. I listed 8 GB and I will be getting the other 4 GB in a couple weeks.

 

82t1l3b.jpg

 

The case came as well today but there are plenty of pics of MacPro cases around so decided to skip that. I bought the case from another member here and I am very very happy with it. The case is not 100% as the lever for locking the side panel is broken. It is not major thing as there is still a way to lock and unlock the side panel and its not like I am going to be opening it enough where I need the lever. I knew this before buying it. It is fixable. I tried getting the broken pieces out of the case but it was starting to get to the point I might damage something trying to remove the upper shelf so I decide to just let it be as it was not critical.

 

The CPUs arrived today as well but required a signature so they are patiently waiting for me to pick them up tomorrow at the Post Office. The extra water cooling stuff is scheduled to arrive Friday and hopefully the PSU and memory risers will ship tomorrow.

 

Mounting the rad and pump is going to be a bit tricky it seems. I might need to find a more compact pump.

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whered you get the case from?

 

wpd7 but he is a who more than a where. Since you said where, ApplePalace.com lists cases for sale under there MacPro parts.

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A few notes from test fitting parts tonight.It is no surprise that the logic board does not use M3 screws like PC to mount to the stand offs has to b3 M3.5, so I have a bunch of those on order.A 2 x 120 rad will fit inside the case IF I sacrifice the first HD slot. Its hard to tell if that will be a problem or not. It appears two single 120 rads stacked on top of each other will fit. Its the extra height for the where the barbs fit on the dual rad that is the issue. My current pump (Lialang D5) is not going to fit so a Swiftech MCP355 is going to be needed.After some thought. I am going to stick with air cooling for the time being. There is a lot I need to research for the water cooling aspect and do not want to rush it. So I ordered a pair of Thermalright HR-01X to hold me over. It is very possible that the system will be quiet enough and water cooling might not be needed. Of course if it is not needed that is almost more reason to do it! :D

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Some more pics before calling it a night

 

Couple hard drives in sled waiting to be plugged in. This to me is one of the coolest features of the MacPro case.

 

6si4qp2.jpg

 

Logic board installed in the case. Well only 2 screws holding it in right now but I have a 100 more on their way. Smallest quantity I could get for M3.5 x 8mm but for $4.00 I am not complaining.

 

85q1dls.jpg

 

I am not expect anything else to show up until Friday and Saturday so no work until then.

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Lookin good Nagal,

 

Do you have a source for the PS, Apple Palace I guess. I have the identical radiator to yours in my Hack Pro. It is a tight fit but it went in and is wedged between the Airport/Bluetooth mounting and the underside of HDD 1. You end up losing HDD 1, but as I connected a E-Sata back plate, I can have 3 internal + 2 External anyway. You can do this on a real mac pro too, as there are two extra Sata ports on the logic board.

 

What graphics card are you going to use, if you can get a 7800 GTX 512, there is a rom on my site to flash it to Quadro FX 4500. Even better, I think Apple will come out with a Quadro FX 5600 in Jan and it may be possible to flash a 8800 GTX to that. I will be following your project with interest, don't forget lots of photos!!@?

:D

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Are you able to use a normal ATX PSU with the mac pro?

 

Also: Are these(circled in red) RAM slots?

 

ramslotsjw8.png

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Aqua-Mac,Yes going with ApplePalace to get the PSU and Memory Riser Cards. They were the cheapest place I found and local so only one day shipping. Which is good because they are slow to ship.For video, I have a 2 prong attack :D I have no massive video requirements so I found a Mac 7300GT on eBay and bought that. Just to see, I am going to try my ASUS 7300GT and see if it will work with NVinject on a non-hackintosh. If it works, cool. If not, to eBay it goes.I eventually would like to get a better card but the project is expensive enough as is. I did check out the ROMs on your site. Oh so tempting :D

Are you able to use a normal ATX PSU with the mac pro?
No. I do not even think you could mod a standard ATX PSU to work as there are 4 plugs behind the optical drive bay where the PSU plugs in and all power is routed through there. You can get the MacPro PSU for around 275 which is not a bad price when you consider it is a 980W PSU. I wonder if the lights are going to dim when I first turn this on :D

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Dax,

 

I guess there is no physical reason why you could not use a PC supply with a mac pro, but figuring the wiring would be a challenge. Also the power is split between two banks of main connectors and a few smaller connectors, so the real answer is no. Also there are various sockets up in the psu compartment where a mac pro supply plugs straight in keeping things tidy and simple.

 

Nagal, you must type faster than me!!!!

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Hm..it'd be nice if the mac pro parts could fit in a normal ATX case..$400 for a case is a bit much. :D

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That logic board is a monster, probably a good 4.5 inches longer than an ATX, so I don't think it would fit in any other case + all the IO rear panel issues there would be. I got my case off ebay, but they don't come up very often.

 

Hack Pro

 

I am looking for a Mac Pro logic board that is not working as I want to cut off the rear sockets (USB/Firewire/lan/sound) and wire them into my case. If anyone knows where I can find one it would be much appreciated.

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Dax,

 

what you circled are the slots where the memory riser cards go. Each card has 4 FB-DIMM slots which can take up to a 2GB FD-DIMM for a total of 16 GB of Memory. I ordered my memory riser cards ($90 each) from the same place I got my PSU. As soon as they come in, I will post pics.

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So will you keep it or sell it ?

 

This is a keeper! The whole idea of building it is because I can not afford to buy a MacPro right out and want to go legit with OS X.

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I am not using 100% Apple parts. CPUs are not a spec Apple uses as they are Intel Engineering Samples. Memory is not bought direct from Apple but is Apple Certified. Optical drives are not "SuperDrives" just standard off the shelf dvd-rw and dvd-rom drives. Hard drives are not sizes Apple offered expect for one of them (250GB and two 320GB). The logic board is Apple, case is Apple, PSU is Apple, retail version of Leopard so thats Apple :)

 

So it could be argued it is not an "Apple" computer but it is not much different than someone who bought a MacPro and did their own upgrades. To me, it is an Apple.

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So can you install OS X in it and not be in trouble?

 

That is the idea :) If it install without any hacks straight from the DVD (which it should) then in my opinion that is perfectly legit. Now, I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on the internet but I do not see how it could be against the EULA in anyway.

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