MacPro case mod

Discussion in 'Completed Mods' started by AlphaFox, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Jan 30, 2017 at 1:35 AM #1
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Hi all!
    I have previously modded a G4 Cube (which turned out to be too small for my needs) as well as a G4 QuickSilver tower and had fun doing it but always wanted a MacPro tower. something about them, I love the way they look and how the are made. I found some on craigslist, it was actually 1xMacPro1,1 and 2xG5 Towers all for $60! they arent in perfect condition, but I couldn't complain about the price. there were some missing parts - only one side panel, which is from the G5 tower but it actually fits the MacPro tower even though the latches don't lock in as they are located in a different position on the side panel. the DVD tray was not there, someone ripped off the power supply cover in some attempt to take the power supply out, idk. there was only one hard drive tray, I had to order some on eBay. Im using one of the G5 towers as a foot rest lol. the last one is in rather rough shape so its in the basement.

    Parts list:
    Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 7.26.32 PM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 7.26.48 PM.png
    the wifi card on here natively works with macOS, supports continuity, handoff, Apple Watch unlock, etc. its awesome, no messing with ktext files it just works!!

    I had on hand the drives already which are 2x500GB EVO 850 drives and 2x WD Green 2TB mirrored in macOS.
    I also had a 980Ti from another build already

    Before I started, I messed with the stock Mac Pro.. it actually turned on! the drive it came with was bad and making a clunking noise, so I couldn't boot off it. I tried to use my SSD which has Sierra on it, I made it into clover but it wouldn't boot into macOS, big surprise. after that I gutted the case down to just the aluminum and power washed it to get the grime off.

    *Item of note* - if you do any cutting in the case the shavings WILL find their way into the dvd drive door sliding mechanism. I had to take this all apart and clean it a few times as it would just jam. before you install any parts hose it down to get the metal shavings out - I had to take everything out of the case after I realized it was full of small shavings and needed to be cleaned. oh, and don't spray silicone on the dvd drive sliding mechanism, it will just make a huge mess and need to be rinsed out lol.

    The first order of business was to Dremel out the old motherboard plate to make room for the new one.
    IMG_3830.JPG
    After this I pondered how to get the plate to be flush - I decided to build a bracket out of some wood. cut and notched the wood to fit the screws and ridges inside, and then used a nail gun to attach the pieces together:
    IMG_3832.JPG
    IMG_3833.JPG
    Then checked the fit to make sure it was flush:
    IMG_3834.JPG
    IMG_3836.JPG
    Then I used this silver colored molding, the same stuff on the front of my desk in the pictures. I made this desk from a counter top at Ikea, they gave me some extra strips of the stuff in case I needed to cover a cut side, I had some extra:
    IMG_3838.JPG
    IMG_3839.JPG
    Then test fit with a junk board I had, stuck in the old GT7300 card that the MacPro came with:
    IMG_3840.JPG
    the silver strip really makes it look stock!
    then glued down the stock motherboard standoffs using the liquid metal epoxy:
    IMG_3851.JPG
    I had to cut a hole under the drive caddy bays to route the power cables as they were not long enough to reach going through the stock hole in the front of the case. I lined the hold with electrical tape to hide the sharp edges:
    IMG_3853.JPG
    Installed the power supply and motherboard:
    IMG_3856.JPG
    Tested booting without the GPU, notice the fans installed. one in the back behind the CPU on the case (well thats the only one you can see lol) one on the top of the stock gray plastic housing on the left and one in the front of the power supply, behind the dvd drive caddy.
    IMG_3857.JPG
    Here you can see how the back panel looks. You can also notice how I cut a hole for the power supply. I thought about using the case from the old power supply but decided to just do this, it was a lot easier.
    IMG_3858.JPG
    I installed the SSDs into drive caddys so they would match up with a regular hard drive port to utilize the stock drive bays:
    IMG_3868.JPG
    I don't have a picture of it, but I removed the stock SATA/SAS cables for the back plane and bought some crucial NAS backplane replacement parts and it fit almost perfectly. that way I didnt need a SAS adapter or anything, it just screwed into the back where the old ones were and gave me a separate SATA / power cable.
    Finished product:
    IMG_3871.JPG
    sorry its dark. I am using it with a Cinema Display DP version, that way the sound / mic / webcam all work as its a separate USB cable.

    Front panel: I modded the front panel to work using some guides I found here but the LED wouldn't work. I ended up just soldering on some wires directly to the LED behind the button to make it work. the front USB ports arent hooked up or the fire wire ones. I was thinking about making a wire to hook up the USB ports until I ran into the USB port limitation of macOS and ended up having to disable some ports to make the bluetooth work. plus they are USB2 so meh.

    LMK of any questions you might have
    Thanks to Stork on the OS side of things, used his guide to get this motherboard working. I re-used my Sierra install from my old build, it booted right up! had to make some changes to work but it wasn't too bad.
     
  2. willib.it

    willib.it

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    Feb 12, 2017 at 8:16 PM #2
    willib.it

    willib.it

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    Looks awesome man! Congrats on the build.

    I am still slowly collecting the parts for my Build and drooling over other people's posts in the mean time.

    I have 8 of the corsair hotswap connectors on order (stocking up for a possible second build later)

    Would you mind describing or snapping a photo of the end of the power cable that comes off the corsair connectors? Is it a full size molex connector or something smaller?

    I need to figure out how I'll be writing those in.

    Thanks!
     
  3. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Feb 12, 2017 at 11:19 PM #3
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Thanks! Its just a standard male power connector, it will plug into the regular sata power connectors.
    You do need to drill out the holes in the backplate connector on the crucial adapters, they are a little too small to match up with the stock screw holes. just make them a few drill bit sizes bigger than they currently are.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  4. willib.it

    willib.it

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    Feb 13, 2017 at 8:03 PM #4
    willib.it

    willib.it

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    Thanks!

    Not sure how I didn't think of that haha.

    That'll be interesting to cable manage
     
  5. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Feb 13, 2017 at 9:55 PM #5
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    you can hide all the wires in the space behind the CD drive, thats where they go in the stock configuration as well.
     
  6. grg3

    grg3

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    Feb 27, 2017 at 1:30 PM #6
    grg3

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    Very nice!
     
    AlphaFox likes this.
  7. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Mar 11, 2017 at 8:14 PM #7
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Created a PSU cover out of the backplate cover I had from behind where the PSU was to keep the wires hidden. a few cuts with the Dremel and it almost looks like its supposed to be there ha.

    IMG_3979.JPG

    Took the memory dimm holder and cut it to direct the air flow from the top case fan to the GPU area, while I was at it I used a weld stick to glue a G5 CPU cover onto it to make it look cool! looks almost stock inside now ha! IMG_3980.JPG
    IMG_3981.JPG

    All the pieces lined up perfectly, its like it was designed to be put like this! very pleased on how it came out.
    The dimm holder tray just pops out, its not held down with any screws or anything. its snug so it won't go anywhere but you can just take it out if needed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  8. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Mar 17, 2017 at 11:37 PM #8
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    So I ordered a AMD RX 480 8GB card, I just don't have faith in Nvidia in continuing to support macOS moving forward. I sold my 980Ti and ordered 2x RX 480s so I need to make room for them in my case.(I have one currently) since this is a mini atx motherboard there are only 4 slots; the last slot which is a 4x PCIe slot is where my wifi card is. when you install a video card into the second 16x PCIe slot, since the cards are 2x wide, it will cover the 4x slot. I ordered a PCIe extender cable on amazon so I could move the wifi card to the 5th unused slot on the backplate. IMG_3991.JPG
    I had to Dremel out some of the motherboard backplate to make room. then I modified the wifi cards PCI plate to make it fit.
    IMG_3995.JPG
    This is a shot from the inside, you can see the PCIe extender cable going to the wifi card.
    IMG_3996.JPG
    This is where the card plugs in, its only a 1x PCIe card / extender.
    IMG_3997.JPG
    I had to notch out a spot in the RX 480's plastic shroud to allow it to fit in the second PCIe 16x slot as where the extender cables PCB plugs into the PCIe slot sticks up too much.
    This is a pic of how it currently looks, if you notice I took the plastic surround that came with the case and tweaked it to fit around the case fan I installed on the right bottom there. covers the fan and make it look more stock, I likeie!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  9. jsahlen

    jsahlen

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    Mar 18, 2017 at 7:04 PM #9
    jsahlen

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    Nice mod! I have a question for you about the Corsair backplane adaptors. The connectors look pretty "tall" compared to the stock Apple ones, or these single Corsair ones – have you noticed that in any way when inserting drives, or do they work fine?
     
  10. AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Mar 18, 2017 at 8:04 PM #10
    AlphaFox

    AlphaFox

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    Thanks!
    I got the single ones from the link you posted, drives have no issues going in our out, have not had any connection problems.
     

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