I thought this would be a fun first project. I have always enjoyed making something into something it was never intended to be. What could be more fun that doing it with computers. On one hand it’s the warped offspring from 2 different worlds. But on the other it could be seen as the common ground uniting them. I don’t believe that personally, I think the hate mail will start with the mac enthusiasts on this one. But that’s kind of the fun part here…
All the materials for this project are easily available, some basic skill is required to use the power tools and make and take measurements. Costs are moderate on this project because I built this out to be a relatively good performing system (casual lan party capable even). I am sure this same rig can be made for substantially less if you are good at scrounging up parts.
This being my first public project I want to really stress safety and discourage those that don’t have practical tool skills from trying this project.
Any who. on to the part list for this build.
The old, busted, and lonely Mac G3:
We chose the classic green G3 case for a few reasons. First and fore most, it has to be one of the most recognizable Mac’s ever made. Secondly there are thousands of this model in surplus storages, and on eBay. They are relatively cheep and parts are very available for these models so getting extra parts to get creative with is no problem.
We got ours from the University of Utah Surplus and only paid 25.00 for it. It was a complete and working system, but we gutted it before the project started. We see these in varying condition on eBay for 15.00 – 90.00
A new micro ATX form factor motherboard:
We used the asus P4P800-VM in this build, we chose this because it’s a really quite descent motherboard and supports a fairly high performance rig, and is definitely good enough for gaming. Now we had this board just laying around, but it sells for under 100.00. Other micro atx motherboards will work just fine so long as they match the standard case mounting hole pattern.
One New 120mm case fan:
One major challenge once we got this all together was cooling. The old Mac CPU runs much cooler than the new P4 we dropped in. This becomes a problem especially if you are running the newer Intel Prescott CPU. So we upgraded the 120mm case fan to a newer high performance main vent fan by Thermaltake.
We also found that a pci slot cooler fan was very helpful under the higher end video cards and even just to enhance the amount of air actualy moving in the case.
New power supply:
We went with a new power supply to support the Prescott’s power grubbing needs, as well as our new ATI video card. The Ultra X-Connect 500-Watt supply we chose also helps support the higher airflow we need with the air circulation in the case, and also acoustically is fairly quiet. The case is actually really well sound insulated, and we were able to get away with a little more noise on this as it’s a cosmetic mod. Finally we chose one of the new modular cable based power supplies just for that reason. Modular… Mmmmmm modular…
All the other main system goodies:
Hard drive, video card, ram etc… if you make this. Its your choice. We used just some simple off the shelf goodies. Western Digital SATA 80 gig drive. DVD-RW and a ATI Based video card. Inserting the components into a computer is really the most basic part of this build out, we will be concentrating on the modifications the case requires to make a system work and not the how to buld a computer 101 aspect. The flavor(s) is up to you.
Optional Parts for this project would be for further case appearance customization. Lighting, logos, and color can all be modified if you need. Some additional parts we required were:
2 peices of plexi or acrylic 4″ X 4″ X 1/4″
2-6 led arrays powered off the internal power supply
The external of the case will not need to be modified very heavily. You can save some time by stripping the case down to basics before you start into this project. in later sections we will be focusing on case lighting, something I don’t think the original designers of this case ever had in mind, but it really adds alot.
Items that need to be modified front on the rear of the case.
1. The back panel will need to be modified to fit the standard motherboard IO shield. 2. Fortunately the power supply will easily swap out with a newer model. Three of the four screws for mounting the power supply fit perfectly, good enough for invent geek and government work. 3. Due to the placement of the onboard audio I also found I had to cut some of the plastic of the case away. This is dependant on the motherboard you choose
Just a shot of the case from another angle. In the four corners of this case later we will be adding some LED’s for lighting and effects. We chose a single color, but I have seen some real sweet USB based LED controllers out there that could make it more geek worthy….
The interior of the case will require some more modification. Nothing a 3rd level geek couldn’t pull off.
The motherboard mounting plate and plastic panel that tensions the latch to the case. Also note the Motherboard mounting posts; they are about twice the height of a normal PC case’s mounting posts. The plastic plate will need to be modified to allow the new posts to be mounted.