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2010 HacMini - Intel DH61AG i3-3225 - Mac Mini Casemod

Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
6
Motherboard
2010 HacMini
CPU
i3-3225T
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi there - this is my first post, so hopefully I've put it in the right place.

I've been using Hacintoshes for a year now, and I thought it was time to post something :). This is my 2nd Hacintosh, the first being a full ATX gaming rig - but I thought it was time for something a little less PC and more Apple.

Starting with the board - I got the Intel DH61AG motherboard with an i3-3225 CPU (55w TDP), 4GB Ram, 128GB mSATA SSD, half mini PCIe Wifi and an external Dell laptop power supply. It's all been working well with Mavericks (apart from sound for some reason) without a case, but a few Googles confirmed that thin mini ITX boards fit into the newer Apple MacMini chasis.

Luckily, I was able to find one on eBay last week - it's a 2010 model, with a CD drive slot. Would've prefered one without, but I just wanted to give this a go, and give my little Hac a home. There's not much information about fitting a mini ITX board into these cases - I've seen a few posts on different sites, including this one, but a lot of the pics are missing - so I thought I'd document it as I went along, in case anyone else wanted to try it, or had questions. I have some questions of my own, which I'll put at the end - but this is what I've got so far...

As I've already shorted out one of these boards, I took no chances with this one. I started out coating the inside of the chasis with electrical insulation tape - 3 layers in total.



My initial attempts at inserting the board showed the heatsink didn't quite fit with the right side mount - so this was removed (requires sanding, it's really sharp).



Inserting the board - fits well...









One of the heatsink mounts also needed to be removed (this is a Silverstone 23mm heatsink), so it fit snugly. With my genius, I removed the wrong one - hence 2 missing in the pic



The heatsink mount under the board was a little too thick, so I removed the screws in the corners so I still had something to screw the heatsink into



Heatsink screwed in place



Sticks out a little bit, which I was expecting



All working :thumbup:







Ok, so to sum up... this is a great case for this board. Fits well, the ports at the back look like they should be there and overall it does feel more like an Apple product than any Hacintosh I've used. But I'm not totally satisfied with that heatsink and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions.

Mainly due to the fact the mount it screws into doesn't fit in the case, means that it doesn't really screw in properly. I'd also prefer something that doesn't protrude out the bottom of the case, but this was the lowest profile heatsink I could find (23mm). Aparently this CPU can run ok in a fanless chasis, so I'm thinking maybe a laptop cooler would work better - more like the real MacMini. Again, I've seen a few posts on this site linking to suggestions, but the links don't go to current listings. :|

Anyone have any tips? :D


EDIT: been testing with the fan unplugged, and the temp only increases 20degrees, to 58 - from an avg of 38 with the fan running. Looks like using a heat sink with a laptop ducted fan might work.

Additionally, it looks like fan control might have issues on the motherboard, as the fan speed and CPU temp in the BIOS is a bit sporadic. It also defo sounds like the fan is on 100% when it's running, which I realise is common thing with Hacintoshes - but just wondering if anyone else has had similar with this board? I've had a search around - sounds like a BIOS update is the most likely cause - but mines defo upto date.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
58
Motherboard
Intel DH61AG
CPU
i7 3770S
Graphics
GTX 750
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
2010 HacMini - Intel DH61AG i3-3225

realy nice mod.. I too have tried this concept with the same MB, but I wanted discrete GPU and SATA disk (even when I have SSD). Look here:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/completed-mods/117299-mac-mini-duo.html

As for the sound, use multibeast without DSDT realtek ALC892, and try to boot with UseKernelCache=No
As for the fan, I have no issues with that. PWM fan works fine. In my mod, the loudest part is SATA disk :)
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
6
Motherboard
2010 HacMini
CPU
i3-3225T
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
2010 HacMini - Intel DH61AG i3-3225

realy nice mod.. I too have tried this concept with the same MB, but I wanted discrete GPU and SATA disk (even when I have SSD). Look here:
http://www.tonymacx86.com/completed-mods/117299-mac-mini-duo.html

As for the sound, use multibeast without DSDT realtek ALC892, and try to boot with UseKernelCache=No
As for the fan, I have no issues with that. PWM fan works fine. In my mod, the loudest part is SATA disk :)
Wow - thanks for that! I thought I'd seen all the MacMini mods on this site, but I must've missed yours. 2 cases - that's an awesome idea :D

I've defo installed the ALC892 drivers, but not tried the UseKernalCache flag, so i'll defo give that a go tonite.

As for the fan, it's much better now for some reason. The mobo still looks to be getting sporadic readings for the fan, but in OSX it just idles now, even when I'm doing a video encode. Temp goes to 58degs max and it's fairly quiet which is a massive improvement.

Moving forward, I've got some ducted fans from a G5 iMac I bought (I'm currently using the aluminium iMac stand with my monitor, which you can just see on some of my pics) and the ducted copper heat sink, so I'm gonna get the dremel out and see if I can improve the cooling situation.

The G5 heat sink is far too long, so I plan on cutting it down but this means I'll be able to make a custom fit heat sink - rather than using north bridge heat sinks, which look a little small. Plus, as everything is ducted, I'll be able to push the air out the back of the case. At the minute, the fan sucks air in from the bottom, and then just blows it randomly around the inside - so I have to have it upside down, or stood up on one edge. If I can utilise the DVD slot as an inlet, I should be able to direct the air to flow right through the case - front to back.

I've also done further tests with the fan unplugged - a video encode took the temp into the low 70s, which I didn't think was too bad really. It's great with it totally silent, but I do want some cooling in there to give my hardware a longer lifespan. But it means any fans I have can be turned right down... if I ever get control of them :crazy:
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
58
Motherboard
Intel DH61AG
CPU
i7 3770S
Graphics
GTX 750
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
2010 HacMini - Intel DH61AG i3-3225

Yes, the cooling was little bit pain...As you can see from the attachments, When Im playing a game (trine2) my CPU temp is about 60C. Then right after stopping the game, the temp drops to about 50C. And when I start the comp it is about 42C. The cooling is a bit problem, but on the other hand it is super silent. I can't hear the fan, only when its cooling the 60C hot CPU :) When you would like to do the tunneling, there will be lots of fans, but let me know how you solved it and what are your temps :)

Thanks mate!


highUsage.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2013
Messages
1
Motherboard
Mac/PC
CPU
i5
Graphics
6850
Mac
Classic Mac
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Is that a cinema display stand hooked to your Samsung monitor? Is there an adapter I'm not aware of that lets you convert the stand to normal VESA?
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
17
Motherboard
10.8.2
CPU
i3-3220
Graphics
XFX ATI 5750 1GB
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi There

great build. I'm curious though, would you be interested in trying to use a different motherboard rather than the INTEL? We all know the intel boards have issues while running OSX properly (Audio)

Gigabyte makes a Mini ITX Board 6.7" x 6.7" with similar layout, but better Realtek ALC chipset

Board: GA-H81TN
 

tonymacx86

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GA-Z270X-UD5
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Hi There

great build. I'm curious though, would you be interested in trying to use a different motherboard rather than the INTEL? We all know the intel boards have issues while running OSX properly (Audio)

Gigabyte makes a Mini ITX Board 6.7" x 6.7" with similar layout, but better Realtek ALC chipset

Board: GA-H81TN
The thin-mini itx boards from Gigabyte are great- I have tested the ivy bridge version- check out this post for details:

http://www.tonymacx86.com/general-hardware-discussion/94360-thin-mini-itx-tester-150w-external-psu-i3-3225-ga-b75tn.html

Eelhead also used a thin mini for the playstation mod here:

http://www.tonymacx86.com/others/96516-playstation-one-case-mod-work-log-progress.html
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
17
Motherboard
10.8.2
CPU
i3-3220
Graphics
XFX ATI 5750 1GB
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
I'm interested in seeing that gigabyte board used in this same style build, inside the mac mini chasis (modified).

Also found another silverstone cooler that may have a slimmer profile, Otherwse might have to use a 1U copper heatsink with laptop style fan & shroud?

Fan: Silverstone AR04
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
6
Motherboard
2010 HacMini
CPU
i3-3225T
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Thanks for the replies guys...

yeah I have actually been looking at other boards, especially the NUCs. I didn't realise gigabyte made similar boards, I do normally prefer gigabyte over intel, so I might put some thought into it. Only reason I went for intel this time was availability, couldn't get a gigabyte thin mini-itx when I bought it.

Still not getting anywhere with the audio - kernel cache = no, doesn't boot, so maybe another board would make it easier.

As for cooling, a copper fin heatsink with a laptop fan seems more and more like a good idea. The sink I've got is too loud, and the protrusion out of the bottom is more of an issue than I thought. Luckily I have these things to hand, just need a bit of spare time to work on it.

on the whole it's working for me as it is, but it needs refining to finish it off.

the monitor is a samsung 22" taken off its stand and bolted to a G5 iMac stand. I got an iMac off eBay for £8, so taking the iMac off the stand leaves a mount plate - which I bolted to the back of the monitor. I have plans to replace the font bezel with a Perspex sheet, with a black enamel bezel painted on it, so it looks like a Thunderbolt Display.
 
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
17
Motherboard
10.8.2
CPU
i3-3220
Graphics
XFX ATI 5750 1GB
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Does that INTEL motherboard let you control fan ramping within the BIOS? Should be able to set fan speed percentage? Or 'normal', silent, full fan speed.


I think this is completely duable (hackable!!) Possibly someone take a give with gigabytes mini ITX thin boards, to assure having proper audio / network. Install a copper 1U heatsink with fan shroud, and then modify an I/o shield

I'm thinking back about the posts on here regarding the Mac Pro 2010-2012 cases, where someone built a direct Pin mapout to the default Mac Pro I/O Shield.. this could be possible with this motherboard, have a pinout to the regular Mac Mini IO. *dreams*

EDIT: I have a gut feeling Apple is going to scrap the current mac mini design? Leaving us to be open to new ideas in custo mac mini
 
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