- May 27, 2012
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G4 Cube Inspired Self Build: Core i3-3225 - Intel DQ77KB - HD4000
Intel DQ77KB Slim ITX LGA 1155 Q77 Motherboard
Intel Core i3-3225 Ivy Bridge 3.30GHz 55W Processor
2 x 4GB Kingston DDR3-1333 204pin SODIMM
Dynatron K129 Passive 1U LGA1155 Copper CPU Cooler
60GB OCZ Nocti mSATA II SSD Drive
750GB Western Digital 2.5" Scorpio Blue SATA 3.0Gb/s
Right Hand Side Fan from 17" Unibody MacBook Pro
DVD SuperDrive SATA Slot Loading 9.5mm
2 x Akasa ProSlim Super Slim SATA Cables
Broadcom BCM94322HM8L WIFI half size mini PCIe
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion @ Mac App Store
Tyco WIFI Internal Antennas - Purchased of eBay
G4 Cube Proximity Power Sensor - Purchased Second Hand
DELL PA-19 130 Watt 19.5VDC Power Supply
Dell UltraSharp U2311H - 23" FullHD IPS Widescreen Display
Apple Wireless Keyboard
Apple Magic Trackpad
IOGEAR Bluetooth 4.0 USB Micro Adapter
Creative Labs Travel Sound External Speakers - Very old and need replacing
8GB USB Memory Stick - for Installation of BIOS and UniBeast
Misc SATA HDD - for Installation of Fusion Drive
2 x Double Decker USB sockets - Provides 4 USB Ports
SMD Blue Strip Lighting - Power Switch Case Lighting
When I joined the TonyMac community, i Had a iMac 24 inch circa 2008, which was under performing and needed to be replaced so I purchased a non-working Powermac G5 and converted it, link in signature.
While I was converting the G5 I looked on with envy, people doing PowerMac G4 Cube builds so decided this would be my next build.
I started looking for machine to convert, but G4 Cubes are hard to find and expensive in Australia. So I set about the design of my own Cube that would be built from scratch.
By the time I actually managed to purchase the Cube (took 6 months) I had a very good design of my own. I had spent quite a lot of time on the design and acquiring some of the parts that I would need. So by the time I got the Cube I had already committed to this build.
The goal is for a minimalist desktop computer inspired mainly by the G4 Cube. The computer should be a small and thin as practical, and preferably silent. Performance was a secondary concern. I think I have done my best to meet these goals.
This design carries the basic elements of the G4 Cube including the top loading DVD, IO ports at the bottom, and a supporting acrylic case that provides the legs that the main chassis will sit on. CPU cooling uses the vertical arrangement similar to the G4 Cube, will the addition of a small fan at the bottom of the heat-sink.
My design includes the reuse an actual G4 Cube power (proximity) switch to turn the computer on. But rather than hiding it, my design was to make it a central feature. Thus it would become a signature of the machine, and to the trained eye who knows the origin of the part, link it to the G4 Cube that the computer was inspired by.
The case is effectively made of two large sides, which the main components are secured. These two sides are held in-place by long standoffs, that the sides (including the acrylic) are bolted to. If we remove the right hand bolts. We can remove the acrylic and main outer panel that is really only decorative.
We then expose in inner panel. Removing this panel (and flipping it to the left) we see into the computer.
Looking in more detail at the bottom of the top panel we see the main components mounted to it.
The fan used is a PWM from a 17" MacBook Pro and is powered by 5V. I documented the connection in the following post. http://www.tonymacx86.com/hardware-parts/94545-macbook-pro-unibody-fan-conversion.html I constructed a small shroud that fits of the end of the fan to ensure that air is correctly guided through the Heatsink.
A small board was constructed with 4x USB2 sockets exposed at the bottom of the case. The board extends the main USB headers at the top of the motherboard. USB power comes from the main SATA power cable, and is also used to power the CPU fan.
The HDD is also fixed to this plate. Next to it is an 12V LED lighting strip that illuminates the G4 Cube switch, it is powered from a Fan header.
If we now look back inside the case we see the motherboard.
Disconnecting the cables between the two halves of the computer means we can remove the side (and top) surround.
This is was fabricated from four separate pieces and glued together with supporting corner brackets. The surround is held in place (not screwed) by pressure from the main sides of the case
The top and bottom panels of the surround are cut from steel that had the holes predrilled. The holes are needed, and provide the Only case ventilation. The DVD slot was cut using a Dremel after first bogging the necessary holes. On the bottom panel I used less finesses and simply removed (cut) the necessary IO ports.
The front and rear panel include a light tinted grey acrylic panel that provides the necessary G4 Cube switch visibility and also allow WIFI signals to pass through. Painting was done using black semi-gloss spray can.
Now back to the main computer. If we remove the motherboard, we can see the DVD drive that sit underneath it.
The DVD is not held in by screws. The motherboard provides pressure from the top, with support from guide rails that can more easily be seen once the DVD drive is removed.
You can also see some of the guides that hold the case surround in place, and the standoffs (custom made) that are held by bolts that come from underneath, holding the other acrylic panel in place.
Here you can see the mounting of the G4 Cube switch, with the plastic backing that one of the WIFI antennas is glued to.
If you would like to see further pictures of the the case, or comment on the case construction, I have created a thread in the hardware customisation section
The reminder of this thread will be concerned with the software side of the build.
The motherboard and CPU combination is quite common in G4 Cube builds, so several builds have been well documented. I will cover the steps I went through with links where I have them to the resources that I used.
The first step is to update the the Bios of a patched version of 0051
- Download an unmodified 0038 and 0051 BIOS from the Intel Web Site <link>
- Download and run the PM Patch Utility to patch the 0051 BIOS
- Format the USB stick as DOS FAT32, and copy the BIOS files to the usb stick
- Startup computer and Press F7 to allow BIOS flashing
- Flashed to BIOS 0038 to allow patched BIOS to be flashed
- Restarted and Press F7 to allow BIOS flashing
- Flashed to BIOS 0051 (Patched Version).
Boot press F2 and Enter Bios Configuration Load Defaults, then make the following changes
- Configuration -> OnBoard -> HPET enabled
- Configuration -> SATA -> Mode AHCI
- Security -> Execute Disable Bit Enable
- Virtualisation Enabled;
- Trusted Execution Enabled
- VT-d Disabled
- Boot -> USB Boot Enabled
- Boot USB First Disabled
Another important thing I did was to limit the Fan speeds to keep the fans quiet. In BIOS Configuration -> CPU I changed
- Control Temperature 50°C instead 85
- All-On Temperature 65°C (70 for the i7) instead 93
- Over Temperature 75°C (80 for the i7)
- Max Duty Cycle 55%
- Min Duty Cycle 15%
On a separate Apple Macintosh machine I
- Re-format USB stick using Apple Journaled Filesystem (MBR)
- Purchase and download Mountain Lion of the Apple App Store <link>
- Downloaded and use UniBeast ML 1.7.0 to create the USB Installer
After Unibeast had completed I created a "Tools" folder on the USB Stick, and download the following software to this folder. Note: I have included references to this software in the next post.
- MultiBeast 5.2.1
- DSDT.AML for 0051 BIOS (Mactester)
- Chimera 2.1.1
- ssdtPRGen SSDT.AML generator
- Chameleon Wizard 4.2.2
- HW Sensors 5.1.67
- AntiPop 1.0.2
Since I wanted a system based on fusion drive I installed the OS onto a spare SATA HDD, which is just used to install and configure the OS, this was done without the main HDD/SSD installed
- Insert the USB stick into a USB 2.0 port (via header cable, NOT on rear IO Panel).
- Boot press F9 to ensure boot is from USB
- Run disk utility from utilities menu, and format the HDD
- Install the OS 10.8.4 onto HDD using Apple installer
- Reboot press F9 to ensure boot is from USB
- Choose to boot into the Mac OS HDD, typing the boot option "-x"
- Go through normal OSX configuration and setup, and login.
- Copy all the additional tools (the Tools folder) off the USB stick onto the desktop.
Move the DSDT.AML from the Tools folder onto the desktop, and Run MultiBeast with the following options
- User DSDT or DSDT free Installation
- Drivers - Audio - Realtek ALC8xx - With DSDT - ALC892
- Drivers - Disk - Trim Enabler - 10.8.3 Trim Patch
- Drivers - Network - hnaks Apple1000eEthernet
- Drivers - Misc - USB 3.0 Universal
I was not prompted - so removed USB Stick and rebooted, and let system boot natively up.
Next was the installation of the various tools and customisations. First I installed the Chimera 2.1.1 boot loader by simply running the installer and rebooting when complete.
Then ran Chameleon Wizard to to create an smbios.plist based in Mac Mini 6,2 system Definition. While doing this I did some other settings here is the picture of the config. Then Reboot
Run the ssdtPRGen SSDT.AML generator to generate a ssdt_pr.aml This doesn't work the first time it is run so run it twice, and enter admin password, and select Y when asked to copy it to the /Extra Folder. Then rename the file to SSDT.aml and Reboot
Install HW Sensors 5.1.68 (including Fake SMC). At time of writing this version is newer than one included in MultiBeast. This is installed by running the PKG installer, then rebooting when prompted.
One utility I kind of like is Install Anti POP 1.0.2. I have had success with preventing external Popping sound on external speakers
Lastly there wed some apple updates to install. Namely iTunes 11.0.4 and Airport Utility 6.3, so I let these install.
Lastly I followed the fusion drive tutorial to install the OS from my installation HDD to my main HDD and SSD. After this step the installation HDD, has been replaced with the main drives so can be removed.
Geekbench Score 32 bit
Temperatures and Speeds Under Load (CPU Test)
Temperatures and Speeds Idle
Temperatures and Speeds Under Load (CPU Test)
Temperatures and Speeds Idle
About This Mac
I have not done an about this Mac, If anyone would like to help out would be appreciated ...
Working So Far
Shutdown/Restart - Yes
Networking - Ethernet - Yes Both Ports - Issue With ports showing up as connected, without cable plugged in.
Sound - Yes Via Analog Stereo Rear Green Port.
USB 3.0 - Yes
Bluetooth - Yes
WIFI - Yes
SpeedStep - Frequency stepping between 3267MHz and 1584MHz
Graphics HD4000 - Yes, with Acceleration e.g Dashboard ripple effect
Airplay mirroring - Not Tested
Mac App Store - Yes
iCloud - Yes
Sleep from Menu - NO Fails to wake up, get black screen
iMessage - Fails to Login