mrdale's roundhouse iMac G4 + Intel NUC

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Feb 12, 2011
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mrdale's roundhouse iMac G4 + Intel NUC


that's the goal anyway...​

Intel NUC Kit (Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz HD Graphics 4000 DC3217BY)

Mushkin mSATA 120GB (Internal Solid State Drive)

G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB Ram (SO-DIMM DDR3 1600)

Dell 1702 Wifi/Bluetooth card

12v-24v Upconverter

HDMI DVI Adapter

USB Sound Adapter

MOLEX DVI connector

Antec 19V 90W DC Adapter

Wide Input PicoPSU

Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks - Apple Store (U.S.)
Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks - Apple Store (U.S.)

Already Owned

Apple iMac G4 20"
Apple iMac G4 20"

I/O Magic slim USB DVD writer (IDVD8P)

7 port powered USB hub
Garishly Ugly 7 port powered hub


This build will be my first real case mod and relies heavily on the work of others. Installing Mavericks on an Intel NUC is the easy part, disassembling, reconfiguring and marrying the tiny NUC board to the original apple hardware is going to be extremely difficult.

This post is in draft status for now. I'll post the actual mod information in a thread in The Workshop> Case Mod > iMac Mods forum section.

Mavericks Install
That's the easy part. I followed this guide »

The hard, hard part. Impossible without studying the work of these guys:

Connection Summary
There are a ton of custom connections to be made on the inside of the rice bowl to make apple hardware talk to the intel NUC. Because it took a long time for me to understand these, I'm going to document these.

  1. AC Power Plug to...
  2. AC filter on iMac G4 Mobo to...
  3. Antek Power Brick (mounted according to Erster's plan) outputs to two 19V connections
    • PicoPSU (mounted according to Erster's plan)
      • Start/Com to NUC Mobo Header +5V (via transistor, resistor)
      • +12v/Com to fan
      • +12v/Com to 24v upconverter (mounted under optical drive)
        • Monitor Inverter
      • Anything else that requires +12V on the mobo
      • +5v/Com to power my optical drive
      • +5v/Com to power my USB hub
    • NUC Motherboard (mounted in 3.5" bay)
      • soldered connections from NUC to iMac power switch
      • USB to 7 port USB hub (mounted under optical drive)
        • 4 x USB to rear panel
        • 1 x USB to sound
        • 1 x USB to DVD
        • 1 x USB spare
      • 2 x mobo USB spare
      • HDMI to Monitor via DVI [not for the weak of heart] (mounted according to Erster's plan)
      • drive activity LEDs from header?
      • lightning port to gigabit ethernet

Making it fit
It's tight, really tight.

Mobo: Luckily the Intel Mobo is really small (3.5"x3.5" x 1.5ish), so it can fit nicely in the 3.5" drive bay, which is where I'll be putting it. Other mods I've mentioned put it elsewhere, like in the base, which has some advantages.

Antec Power brick: Because I'm putting the mobo up there, I can't put the antek PSU right above the DVD drive as Ersterhernd does. see his arrangement here »

I will instead mount the PSU brick to the bottom of the slim DVD drive (dimensions shown by the brown paper on the right in the image below).

Upconverter: Luckily my upconverter to drive the backlight on the monitor is tiny enough so that I can mount it under my slim DVD drive (left rear metal jobby in the photo below).

PicoPSU:This is nice and tiny as well, it'll power my usb hub, DVD drive, 24v upconverter and be connected to the mobo's power switch. (I'll use Ersterhernd's positioning, to the rear of the drive cage).

Powered USB hub: There's a lot of stuff that uses USB in this build. I opted to gut an old, butt-ugly 7 port USB hub (with all kinds of colored blinking lights to run most everything. Because it's a tight fit, I'm probably only going to use four of the 7 ports (blue board on the left in the image below).

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Staff member
Sep 21, 2010
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  1. MacBook Pro
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Please start a thread in the iMac Mods forum section for the actual iMac G4 mod'ing. However, please continue to embellish your build description here describing your intended use, component selection and a short installation description for this User Builds build description. You'll have many Forum members want to know how to get OS X installed on the NUC.

May 27, 2012
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  2. MacBook Pro
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EDIT: comments moved to correct forum

FYI: Your link (to this post) on Esterhernd's thread is to EDIT the post, rather than view it, can you fix it.

PS: Thanks for the mention
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