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Mooner's HackPro (Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3 in Mac Pro case)

Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
83
Motherboard
HackPro
CPU
Core 2 Quad
Graphics
nVidia
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi Everyone-

Special thanks to AquaMac and other HackPro builders. Your beautiful Mac Pro mods have inspired me to give it a try. :idea:

Here is my build:

Mac Pro (2009) case
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600K
Mobo: Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3
GPU: Gigabyte GV-R687OC-1GD HD 6870
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue DDR3 8GB (will add more later)
PSU: OCZ ZX-1000
SSD: OCZ RevoDrive PCI-e 50GB
HDD: Hitachi 2TB 7200 RPM x2
DVD: Sony Optiarc CD/DVD SATA AD-7260S-0B
BDR: LG Black Super Multi BD SATA WH12LS30
CPU Heatsink: Scythe Ninja 3

Here are the design objectives:
- Appearance should be as close to stock as reasonably possible
- Accomodate future components without significant effort (e.g. easy Mobo swaps)
- Preserve Apple SATA "hot-swap" harness if possible
- Custom cables for PSU and front panel so it looks like it was intended to be that way
- FAST Hack Pro at a fraction of a real Mac Pro price


Started by fitting the motherboard to the left plate of the Mac Pro. Unlike several posts I saw, I decided not to try and "over disassemble" the Mac Pro case. So I simply snapped out the original motherboard standoffs - but only those standoffs that would block installation of my mATX mobo (in case you are wondering, all you have to do is grab the original standoff with some pliers and wiggle it back and forth a few times - it snaps out easily).

Since I purchased a "stripped" case, it did not come with screws that fit the original standoffs -- the odd sized M3.5x7.5 screws are a little hard to find. So, I simply used the much loved JBWeld epoxy to attach PC-standard motherboard standoffs. I affixed the standoffs to the motherboard using normal screws and dabbed the JBWeld to the bottom of the screws. Then carefully placed the mobo in the Mac Pro case. Then I lifted out the motherboard -- seeing where the standoffs left marks of epoxy, I placed a dime-sized dollop of epoxy on each of those spots. Then I reinstalled the motherboard and used a PCI-e card to ensure proper alignment. Left it overnight to cure and harden. I am VERY SATISFIED with the results!



I removed the motherboard to begin case mods (metal shavings + mobo = bad idea). Here are the new standoffs epoxied to the base plate.



Originally, I intended to make the power supply mods 100% internal to the Mac Pro case -- preserving the external power connector. However, I found that Apple's power connector takes up a lot of space in the back of the case and the OCZ 1KW PSU is already a little too big for the available space.



So, I opted to cut out the rear panel to accommodate an ATX-format PSU like any other PC case. Turns out that is actually rather simple.


Also wanted to preserve the ATX mobo connector cover -- but started to realize that there was no easy way to do that. All the other contributors fail to mention why -- the ATX motherboard standard places the rear connectors flush with the rear edge of the board. The Mac Pro motherboard places the connectors much further back -- making it impractical to try and place the mobo connectors flush with the back panel. If you look at the photo above with the mobo fitted, you can see that there is at least an inch between the ATX mobo connector location and the Mac Pro's back panel.

Marked it up with a Sharpie:



So had to cut out the area around the mobo connectors -- again, Dremel made quick work of that. Here are the finished holes:


For those of you who are wondering, I used a Dremel fiber cutoff wheel (it looks like a little circle of carbon fiber, but I think it is a fiberglass disk impregnated with silicon carbide). I "used up" 2 cutting wheels by the time I was finished. After cutting, I used a shop vac to suck out the big pieces and used an air compressor to blow out all the remaining stubborn aluminum dust. BE CAREFUL -- the aluminum was VERY HOT after cutting. I found out the hard way... I now have Mac Pro hole pattern branded into my fingers. Let it cool before you touch it.



Since I had to make room for the OCZ power supply, I removed the large fan that was attached to the case behind the optical drive bay. This fan is attached to the vertical brace by 4 rubber pins -- you can remove the fan easily if you use needle-nose pliers to compress the rubber pins before trying to pull the fan out. Do one corner at a time. Try not to break the rubber pins...

I wanted to salvage this fan and attach it to the silver plastic grate at the bottom rear of the case. Since there are no fan mounts there, carefully remove the 4 small screws on the back panel and push out the grate. Then match up with the fan and drill 4 holes in the corners in the mounting hole locations. Then put the rubber pins in those holes and mount the fan to the inside face of the grate -- reinstall the grate and you have a perfect fan mount.




Ok -- so that takes care of most of the physical case mods -- the rest of the work is assembly or "wiring harness" work. I'll cover that in a few days.


EDITED: 2012-07-04 - MobileMe is down forever... Had to re-point my images...
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
21
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
i was so ready to click on 'next-page', hahahahhaha nice mods so far, congrats!
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
83
Motherboard
HackPro
CPU
Core 2 Quad
Graphics
nVidia
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Bill of Materials

Mac Pro case $ 89.99 eBay
Mac Pro Optical Carrier $ 20.00 eBay
Mac Pro Hard Drive Carriers $ 55.00 eBay

OCZ Power Supply $199.00 Amazon

Gigabyte Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Mobo $100.00 MicroCenter
Intel Core i7 2600K CPU $315.00 MicroCenter
Corsair 8GB RAM DDR3 1600 $ 85.00 MicroCenter

Gigabyte GV-R687OC-1GD HD6870 GPU $179.99 NewEgg After $20 MIR
SATA cable (front panel) - BLACK $ 4.49 NewEgg
LG Black Super Multi BD SATA WH12LS30 $ 84.99 NewEgg
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD SATA AD-7260S-0B $ 19.99 NewEgg

SAS to SATA adapter $ 59.75 MaxUpgrades.com

CPU Heatsink - Scythe Ninja 3 $ 48.99 NewEgg
Optical Drive SATA cables - BLUE Included w/ Mobo

OCZ RevoDrive PCI-e 50GB $149.00 eBay
Hitachi 2TB Hard Drive (2x) $200.00 Existing Inventory


Supplies
JBWeld $ 6.99 eBay
Molex Connectors $ 56.53 Mouser

Tools
Molex Remover $ 15.95 Amazon

Total $1,751.26
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2010
Messages
167
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
CPU
Intel i5 2500K
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 650Ti Boost
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
iOS
Your mod is going well. I have the same motherboard and case and have basically finished my G5 build. Like the idea of using the PC standoffs. Did you leave the threaded section on? I've reused the G5 standoffs on both my G5 mods. I based my build on Mahdi0's lazy G5 mod in the customization forum. However, I decided to turn the PS fan down, so I cut a section out in the shelf for the fan. Looks good, but I lost the last two hard drive bays.

Look forward to additional pics and posts on your mod.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
83
Motherboard
HackPro
CPU
Core 2 Quad
Graphics
nVidia
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Hi gdtrfb24-

Thanks for the encouragement!

Yes -- I left the threads on the PC standoffs. I also like the fact that the PC standoffs are a tad shorter than the original MacPro standoffs. Because the MacPro standoffs were originally sitting in little craters, I was concerned that they would be sitting too high when epoxied to the surface without the craters. With the shorter PC standoffs, I think they are back down to the correct height.

Also, having the threads still on the standoffs, I figured it would be easy to remove the PC standoffs if I changed mobos in the future and needed to remove one. I wasn't sure how easy it would be to break the JBWeld off the aluminum, but I suspect it would be easy to twist out a standoff.

I also found this nifty SAS to SATA adapter cable:
http://www.maxupgrades.com/istore/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=330&ParentCat=332

They don't have a good picture on their website, so I had to purchase it based on the description sight-unseen... Here is a photo of their little gizmo next to my Mac Pro SATA/MiniSAS harness.



It is basically 2 pieces -- a MiniSAS-Female to MiniSAS-Female "barrel" connector plus a MiniSAS to 4xSATA hydra cable. I haven't tried it yet, but looks like it should work. Here it is loose fit in my Hack Pro...



At $60, it is a little expensive, but allows me to keep the "hot-swap" style connectors on the hard drive trays. I'll also have a foot or so of excess SATA cable, but I'll probably just sleeve it in black mesh...


EDITED: 2012-07-04 - MobileMe is down forever... Had to re-point my images...
EDITED: 2012-07-04 - Updated link to MaxUpgrades page
 
Joined
Jun 21, 2010
Messages
167
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
CPU
Intel i5 2500K
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 650Ti Boost
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Mobile Phone
iOS
Nice find. My case came bare, so I had no cables, fans, or accessories. The aqua-mac forum has a lot of info concerning mods and helped with the front panel power button and usb wiring.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
83
Motherboard
HackPro
CPU
Core 2 Quad
Graphics
nVidia
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Used an Apple Bluetooth adapter pulled from MacBook Pro... Excellent instructions here:

http://www.tonymacx86.com/customization/13405-apple-branded-bluetooth-module-usb-hub-solved-sleep.html?highlight=Apple+branded+bluetooth

Note that the MacBook Bluetooth modules are 3.3v powered -- so you need to find a 3.3v line or use a 5v to 3.3v converter. I will plug this doodad into an USB port that is powered even when the system is asleep, so I wanted to use the voltage converter... This will allow wake from Bluetooth keyboard.

If you don't need Bluetooth wake, it's just easier to take 3.3v off of a SATA power connector...

Here's a photo of my build:


Works without lifting a finger... No kexts or anything else required. Just plug into the motherboard USB header and it is recognized on boot.



EDITED: 2012-07-04 - MobileMe is down forever... Had to re-point my images...
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2011
Messages
83
Motherboard
HackPro
CPU
Core 2 Quad
Graphics
nVidia
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Ok -- Mac Pro case fan was not running when connected to the motherboard header... Searched Aquamac and found out that the Apple fan is a 12v fan and wired slightly differently.

I will be wiring my HackPro fan (moved to rear circular grill) to a SATA power connector using information here:

http://aquamac.proboards.com/index.cgi? ... hread=1056
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,738
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
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GTX960
Mac
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Mooner I am interested to learn if the SAS to SATA adapter cable works? If it does the job, it is worth the money as compared a manual cable conversion job.

neil
 
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