Contribute
Register

G4 Cube ReInvented

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
May 27, 2012
Messages
771
Motherboard
DQ77KB
CPU
i7-3770S
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. MacBook Pro
  3. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Introduction

I have finally completed my first powermac G4 Cube build, so thought would give it a bit of a writeup. If you would like to see the build log, have a look at this thread

http://www.tonymacx86.com/powermac-g4-cube/99442-building-g4-cube-australia.html

This build that uses the Intel DQ77KB (Ivy Bridge) motherboard that has been well tested in these builds. My main goal was to package a fast processor (i7-3770s), with a full complement of other desktop grade components including

  • 3TB 3.5” HDD - mounted in original location
  • 256GB 2.5 SSD (SATA III) - mounted between HDD and optical drive.
  • DVD Optical Drive
Fitting all this in while getting effective cooling was the main challenge of this project, and the cooling design I think is unique to this build, so will cover it in detail. But for most part this is a standard build to many that have followed before

DVD conversion

For the DVD drive I used the top of the existing DVD Drive as normally done, I created a frame that allows the drive to be removed and replaced

After cutting away all the excess at the bottom, I glued stops of metal and L brackets on the sides and bottom, to create a slot that holds the dvd drive from all sides.

Photos from bottom/back with drive removed
IMG_1757.jpg


And drive installed
IMG_1754.jpg


It was reasonably easy to do, just cut the metal strips to size, apply glue, then assemble everything (including the drive) and wait for glue to dry. I used cable ties on the sides of the drive to hold it perfectly in place.

Bottom IO Ports

I took the approach of doing away with a press fit into a standard ATX square hole. I cut down the full height IO panel to make essentially a flat panel which sits between the chassis and the motherboard

Picture showing final fitted result. Not a total disaster
IMG_1798.jpg


And from the rear, not so pretty.
IMG_1797.jpg


CPU Heatsink Mounting

I used the Xigmatek - Praeton LD963 CPU Cooler in this build. It is rated to support 115 watt of power, it is bigger than the Slim Silence used lot in i3 Cube builds.

praeton_ld963-fp2.jpg


The heatsink is mounted as shown with the heat pipes toward the top of the motherboard
IMG_1640.jpg


I used 40mm standoffs for the motherboard you can see that there is a quite a gap to the latching mechanism
IMG_1767.jpg


Another view showing the gap
IMG_1771.jpg


There is just enough clearance with the frame that the latching mechanism engages with.

Picture taken through top grill with Cube assembled
IMG_1773.jpg


The top mounted fan (90mm) fits snugly in between the latching mechanism.
IMG_1826a.jpg


Chassis Fan Mounting

I mounted a case fan underneath the drive bays, to provide air intake from the bottom of the cube. I used a "Noctua NF-A9x14" 92mm PWM fan It is 14mm thick

I made up two brackets to hold the fan
IMG_1791.jpg


Here is the underside of the brackets with the fan attached
IMG_1796.jpg


Then I glued two standoffs to the side of the case
IMG_1792.jpg


I glued some bolts (with heads chopped off) into holes under the handle
IMG_1793.jpg


Here is a picture showing the fan mounted
IMG_1800.jpg


NEW Cooling Approach

My approach is to treat the Cube like a sealed unit and specifically direct airflow through the computer following certain paths. Here is how it works:

I - Lower Chassis Fan

Air drawn in the bottom through case fan (described above).

II - Improve Chassis Fan Efficiency

I built a seal around the fan to isolate the air intake to the bottom of the case. This should ensure most air sucked into the fan comes from outside the case, and can only be expelled from the top.

Here is the cutout made from thin flexible sheet plastic
IMG_1801.jpg


The cowling sits around the fan mounts in the bottom of the case
IMG_1802.jpg


With the fan screwed on top, it looks like this
IMG_1803.jpg


Then adding thick tape, to provide a good seal looks ugly, but does the job
IMG_1823.jpg


III - Horizontal Directed Airflow

A cowling covering the chassis fan directs airflow from the fan horizontally through the latching mechanism.
IMG_1853.jpg


This air emerges at the bottom of the motherboard, providing cooling for the motherboard chipset
IMG_1855.jpg


IV - CPU Heatsink Seal

I created a cowling that solves the issue of the gap and offset between the Heatsink and the fan. The cowling creates a seal between the fan and the Heatsink.

Here is the cowling
IMG_1836.jpg


Attached to heatsink
IMG_1841.jpg


V - CPU Fan Sucks Air

The CPU fan is reversed to suck air through the CPU heatsink, rather than blow air as is normally the case. Air that has been forced into the base of the motherboard is then drawn through the heatsink, through the fan, exhausting towards the hard drive bay.

IMG_1867.jpg


VI - Air Exits Top

Air exiting the CPU fan hits the HDD (installed in normal location) and is forced upward and out of the top vent. I was careful to seal this compartment at the bottom by the cowling from #3 above, and by the main HDD to ensure no heated air can leak back into the case itself.

IMG_1870.jpg


Cooling Results and Conclusions

This build was all about effective cooling of the 65w i7-3770s. Using two 92mm low profile fans. I have achieved temps (under load) in the low 70's, with fans running below 100%. Noise levels are acceptable, and almost silent when CPU is throttled back. My design also accommodates a full complement of Optical, 2.5" SSD, and 3.5" HDD

Here are the temps after running CPU Test Enormous test for 20-30 minutes
Results1.png


Geekbench Results
Results2.png


Yes I think it was a success.

One of the critical successes (my opinion) was reversal of the CPU fan so it sucks air into a sealed cavity between the latching mechanism, forcing it up and out of the case through the top vent. This means there is little re-circulation of heated air in the case.

At maximum RPM I can detect (using strips of tissue paper) air movement up to 1.5 meters above the case.

Infrared Cube Switch

After getting my main components installed in my cube, I quickly found (as others have) mounting the original cube switch is hard as the MB is too close. The Edison solution seemed obvious but I wanted to try something different.

I decided on infrared detection through the top vent of the case. The goal is to be able to turn the cube on by waving to it, i.e. passing your hand over the top vent.

The module (purchased off eBay and modified) sits on top of the HDD and shine up through the grille. The sensor has an IR LED that generates an infrared signal, and an IR Detector which detects reflected light from an object (hand) passing above it. The board has adjustable sensitivity up to 20cm.

The LED is on the left, and the detector in the middle.
IMG_2098.jpg


I sat the sensor below the grille on to of the hard drive. The led and sensor are spaced so the poke up through different parts of the grille.

IMG_2297.jpg


LED Lighting

Then I added some lighting to the top of the case, where the power switch would normally be located. I added four small LED's. One for

  • Standby Power
  • Power Switch Operation (same as original cube)
  • Main Power
  • HDD Activity
The LED Board
IMG_2262.jpg


Screwed into original mounts
IMG_2294.jpg


From above
IMG_2295.jpg


And here is what it looks like when assembled and working
IMG_2328.jpg


Some Final pics

From Top
IMG_2304.jpg


One Side
IMG_2310.jpg


Bottom of Motherboard
IMG_2314.jpg


Other Side near
IMG_2316.jpg


Bottom
IMG_2322.jpg


Fully assemble bed and running
IMG_2331.jpg


Sorry about the messy desk, its not mine
IMG_2333.jpg



PS Special thanks to the work of chaos, ersterhernd, minihack, rossi, mactester, sleppek, for pushing the envelope and making this all possible.

Kiwi
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
1,211
Motherboard
MSI Z77MA-G45
CPU
i7-3770k @ 4.3 GHz
Graphics
Gigabyte R9 280X Windforce 3GB
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Kiwi, I absolutely LOVE the way you reversed the airflow away from the CPU. I've never seen it done that way before until now. BRAVO on the entire build. :thumbup:


Cheers!
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
37
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI
CPU
Intel Core i7-3770T
Graphics
ASUS EAH6670/DIS/1GD5, Radeon HD 6670, 1GB GDDR5
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Great build! I like it very much... especially the airflow is great!

My Cube 2.1 is still running very good :)
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,406
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 9030 All in One
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD 4600
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Classic Mac
  1. iMac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Great build Kiwi - I really like your mods, there is always some invention in there!
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
907
Motherboard
Z68MX-UD2H-B3, DQ77KB, NUC DC53427HYE, NUC D54250WYKH
CPU
i5-2500K, i3-3225, i7-3770S
Graphics
HD 3000, HD 4000, HD 5000
Mac
  1. Mac mini
Classic Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Power Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Great work, Kiwi! :thumbup:

I like your LED & IR sensor solution.

G4 Cube forever. :ugeek:

MacTester

BTW:
Thanks for the mention!
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,734
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
Graphics
GTX960
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Kiwi - I am not sure how I missed this thread until today. Anyway it is a very good read and your re-engineering is outstanding. Thank you for sharing.

Good modding
neil
 
Joined
May 27, 2012
Messages
771
Motherboard
DQ77KB
CPU
i7-3770S
Graphics
HD4000
Mac
  1. MacBook Air
  2. MacBook Pro
  3. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Thanks for all the positive comments.

ersterhernd - sleppek - Dschijn - Yes the airflow turned out to be one of the biggest successes of this project. My design started with the large heat sink (to keep the 65w i7 cpu cool), the heatsink I choose required the fan mounted in the centre between the latching mechanism. This presented an issue of the offset from fan and heatsink, which I solved with the cowling that ensure a proper seal between the two. At that point reversing the CPU fan just seemed to be logical to me.

minihack - My invention yes, but your acrylic work made my other Cube Inspired Self Build come alive.

mactester57 - the IR part of the solution didn't quite work out as planned see this post for details
http://www.tonymacx86.com/powermac-g4-cube/99442-building-g4-cube-australia-4.html#post734124

nealhart - I think you did see (and comment) on my build thread but it was back in July. I like to take my time and plan everything ahead as this is part of the enjoyment, so sometimes can be months with no obvious progress. This means that sometimes work goes under the radar.

I haven't ruled out another Cube build in future. If I did I would follow a similar cooling approach but work on better overall build quality, the IO shield could have been better.

Pitty Intel has discontinued the motherboard form factor, but I picked up a spare DQ77KB motherboard from on online retailer in AU just in case. In fact amazingly they still have them for sale at a clear-out price (half whats on eBay).

Onto the next project.

Kiwi
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2012
Messages
357
Motherboard
GA-Z87X-UD3H
CPU
i7-4770K
Graphics
GTX 960
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
  1. Apple
  2. Centris
  3. LC
  4. Plus
  5. Power Mac
  6. PowerBook
  7. SE
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
GREAT WORK, Kiwi!

chaos
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top