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My CustoMac Mini in a G4 Mac Cube

Joined
Jan 13, 2011
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39
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CustoMac Mini
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Hey Guys,

Over the last year I have fallen in love with the design of the G4 cube. I spent the last couple months reading articles of people putting Mini ITX mobos in cubes, so i started making measurements and picking parts. I wasn't able to come up with a configuration that I really liked, as I wanted to maintain the handle in the cube, but with a GPU that is difficult. Once tonymac published that HD3000 graphics would work with the i3 sandy bridge series, I got excited and started making plans. I was going to build this computer for my family as a HTPC using the Mac Wireless Keyboard and Trackpad with the MagicWand Connector and the Apple IR Remote.

I picked up a non working Cube on Craigslist, for $75, from a church that had two working and a non working Cube that they were selling.

Here are a couple pictures from when I first bought the Cube and started taking it apart. I love how the handle was built into the passive cpu cooler. Pretty awesome and ahead of its time.
IMG_0370.jpg

I bought the cube in September, but with my classes and work, I was not able to do much more than striping the components that I knew I wouldn't need. As an act of procrastination, I started really planning and buying the parts I'd need for the build during finals at the beginning of December.

Most of the build is off of TonyMac's Mini Mac build http://tonymacx86.blogspot.com/2011/11/building-sandy-bridge-customac-buyers.html with some additions and using the 2125 at 3.2ghz.

Here is the BOM for my build. I bought most of the parts on Ebay/Amazon/Newegg, so as you will see, the prices I paid are lower than retail.

Mac Cube
Case Mac Cube $75.00
Motherboard Gigabyte H67-USB3 $110.00
Ram Kingston DDR3 8gb $40.00
Harddrive Seagate 500gb $75.00
CPU Intel Core i3-2125 $120.00
Bluetooth Adapter Jaba $10.00
Power Supply PicoPSU-160-XT  $94.00
IR Receiver Mira USB IR Receiver $30.00
Keyboard Apple Bluetooth wireless $35.00
Remote Apple Remote $20.00
Mouse Apple Magic Trackpad $40.00
BluRay Drive Hitachi Blu-ray-ROM DVD-RW SATA Slot Drive CA10N X043H  $45.00

=Total $689.00

I started getting all these parts shipped back home to Washington, where my family and tools live and where I would be building this Cube hack.

I could wright for days on all the thoughts and trials that I had while putting this together, but I'll just post the pictures that I took and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

My main goals for this build was to retain as much of the original functionality as possible (especially the locking handle), and to make as small of visual modifications as I could.

Here is the first boot picture. I wanted to make sure all hardware was working before I started installing in the case.
IMG_1187.jpg

Here is the MagicWand holding the wireless keyboard and trackpad.
IMG_1202.jpg

This is where I decided to place the motherboard. It fit the best and required the least amount of modification to the cube. I was not very excited to have the fan up against the case wall, but in order to keep the handle lock and DVD drive in their fitting places, it was the best place I could find.
IMG_1224.jpg

Here is a couple pictures of where i dremeled out the bottom of the case and inserted the mobo cover. I found the explanations to get the touch power button working, but my christmas break wasn't long enough and my soldering equipment had been left in San Diego. So instead I just bought replacement Case buttons and leds from newegg.
IMG_1244.jpg
IMG_1245.jpg

This is where I mounted the Pico powersupply female receptor. Looking back at it though, I wish I would have located it somewhere else, as the aluminum is much more flimsy then putting it elsewhere into steel.
IMG_1248.jpg
IMG_1247.jpg
IMG_1249.jpg

One of the first majore issues that I ran into was that the Pico ATX plug didn't fit inside the case and extruded outside of the allotted space between the corner support. I quickly expidited a ATX extension that fixted that problem as shown here.
IMG_1250.jpg
 

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Joined
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Messages
39
Motherboard
CustoMac Mini
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i7-860
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 570
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LC, Power Mac, SE
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iOS
IMG_1251.jpg
Top View - Here you can see where I mounted my mini HD(had planned on getting a 2-3tb drive, but since the prices went crazy I just installed it on a 500 2.5 drive that I had laying around). Also, you can see where I mounted the Blu-Ray Slot to line up with the toaster slot on the case.

IMG_1242.jpg
IMG_1253.jpg

Here shows how i modified the hole on the Mobo so i could screw it into the screw hole.
IMG_1241.jpg
IMG_1254.jpg

I couldn't find a good place for the SATA cables to Bluray drive and hard drive where they didn't rub when placed into case, so i had to cut out the bottom unused screw hole and fit them as shown.
IMG_1266.jpg

Here are some pictures from all angles completed.
IMG_1255.jpg
IMG_1257.jpg
IMG_1258.jpg
IMG_1259.jpg
 

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Joined
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Re: My Mini Mac in a G4 Mac Cube

Awesome :clap: :clap:
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
39
Motherboard
CustoMac Mini
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i7-860
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 570
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LC, Power Mac, SE
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iOS
Re: My Mini Mac in a G4 Mac Cube

IMG_1265.jpg
IMG_1261.jpg
IMG_1262.jpg
IMG_1263.jpg
IMG_1317.jpg

The CustoMac is currently running Lion 10.7.2 with no problems with the HD3000 and HDMI audio.

I want to thank TonyMac, MacMan, mods, and the TonyMac forum community for all the work that they have done that allows me gain the information needed to put together projects like this. Also, I want to say thanks to my dad for the awesome tools he gifted for christmas and my friend Chris that helped me put it all together.

Feel free to ask any questions or give recommendations of how I could improve this machine. Hope you enjoy the pictures and are inspired to make one for yourself or someone your love. I'm graduating in May and looking for jobs, so if you like my work and know of anything interesting, please let me know! :D ;)
 

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Joined
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Welcome to the Forum and well done.

It's not easy getting it all in there is it? :D

Good luck with the graduation. :thumbup:
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
39
Motherboard
CustoMac Mini
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i7-860
Graphics
Nvidia GTX 570
Mac
Classic Mac
LC, Power Mac, SE
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iOS
Just a little update.

I have been waiting for the prices for the 2tb drives to go down and last week I found a Seagate on Newegg for $109. Still more than I really want to pay, but better than how they have been. I replaced the 500gb drive I had previously installed and carbon copied the data to the new 2tb drive, while installing the new Multibeast and Chameleon.

I did not like how the D-link DWA-125 and Bluetooth dongles protruded from the bottom, so I bought two USB extensions from the motherboard and wrapped them around where the CD Drive is on the other side. This way they are out of the way yet maintain functionality.

There isn't much room for the Pico Power Supply In here, so even the ATX extension, there were alot of contact points with the motherboard. The only solution I could think of was to wrap the underside with a static free bag that would shield contact. It becomes a little buried under the SATA cables, but you can see it partially in images below.
 

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neilhart

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sgrinalds please provide some photos of the Cube in action. And how warm does it get when running in the housing?

I enjoyed your photos.

neil
 
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I am inspired by your results and am going to find a G4 Cube of my own to transform. Thank you for sharing your success with the rest of us. :thumbup:
 
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That thing is packed, but please show it in the case...if you can handle it:)
 
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