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My Third Case Mod....Thawing an Ice Cube

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First of all, an explanation of the title.

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2001/07/03Apple-Puts-Power-Mac-G4-Cube-on-Ice.html

When the cube first came out, I ran down to my boss's office and ordered one on the spot! After it arrived he paraded every visitor to our offices to my desk and had me display the G4 core. We teased the PC Guys in our office about how big and noisy their computers were. Good Times!

Anyway, with all the excitement around here with regards to modding cubes, something dormant in me has been stirred. I love the cube. I think it was the most elegant computer design ever. And I want to bring one back up to todays speed. I want one on my desk and I want people to point at it and say "Hey, what is that!?"

I'm starting my project log a little late. I have already purchased three cubes; a 500Mhz one that I will keep stock and add to my museum, and two 450Mhz ones that I will mod.

I have purchased some hardware also.

Motherboard: Intel DH61AG thin ITX
Processor: Intel i3 2120 3.3Ghz Sandy Bridge with Intel HD2000 graphics [EDIT: Now using an i3 2125 with HD3000 graphics]
Memory: Kingston 2x4GB DDR3-1333 SODIMM 204 pin
CPU Cooler: GELID Slim Silence Iplus Heatpipe CPU Cooler Heatsink
Power Supply: DELL PA-19 230Watt 19.5VDC
SSD: Seagate Momentus 320GB 5400RPM 2.5" SATA
HDD: Kingston 128GB SSDNOW 200 2.5" SATA

I have read most of the G4 Cube mods posted on here and a few about the DH61AG in particular and they are very helpful in planning this mod. They are very inspiring as well. Props and thanks to EVERYONE here!

Goals:
- To stay as close to the original look of the G4 Cube as possible. Modifying the bottom panel is a given.
- To create a stable/fast hackintosh experience that will run the latest OS (currently Mountain Lion 10.8.2)
- A cool running system. This system will not be running 24/7 and I am ok with a little bit of fan noise, if needed to keep things cool.
- No Optical Drive. Instead, I would like 4 USB ports and perhaps an SD card slot. These are much more useful nowadays.
- Wifi and Bluetooth. I would like to use an Apple BT keyboard and trackpad, and wireless networking.
- I would like to support the original apple speakers.

Today I bench-tested the hardware and everything works. I had to solder a new end onto the power supply as the one that came with it did not match the connector on the back panel. I grabbed a left over modular PSU cable and dremel-ed off 6 of the 8 pins, leaving 2 that I soldered onto the end of the power supply brick. Im temporarily connecting it to the on-board connector.

I want to update the BIOS on the board. According to posts on this forum, neil, minihack, spence4 have flashed to version 39. I checked Intel's website and version 42 is available. Should I go all the way to the latest, or should I use 39. Will a new DSDT etc. be needed for 42, or will it work?

Please post any advice, thoughts, warnings, comments, spells, etc. All welcome. Wish me luck!

chaos
 
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Looking forward to the build. I just bought my components last week as well for mine. I am going to try to keep it fan-less we shall see how that works out. I am finishing up the design for my heatspreader/adaptor to the existing cube heat sink. The hard part is finding a CNC shop that will machine just one for me without spending their normal minimums.
 
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I think you will have heard this before, but HD 2000 graphics have not got any officially known solution for getting full res./ acceleration (QE/CI).
Good luck with the builds both of you. Looking forward to reading about them.
 
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Looking forward to the build. I just bought my components last week as well for mine. I am going to try to keep it fan-less we shall see how that works out. I am finishing up the design for my heatspreader/adaptor to the existing cube heat sink. The hard part is finding a CNC shop that will machine just one for me without spending their normal minimums.
@Einsteiniac, hope you get the access you need to CNC. I am convinced that totally passive is possible with a low power processor. I have managed to get close to fanless just using aluminium/copper cubes contacting the original heatsink, so a properly engineered heatspreader with better contact properties really ought to do the job. My advice would be - keep it clean and as close to the Apple design as you can so that the "chimney effect" that they talked about with the original design really works out for you. If anything gets in the way of the rising air then the risk is that instead of a chimney you will get an oven.
 
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+1 to Minihack's 1st post: If you're planning to use integrated graphics in OSX, you'll need a processor with HD3000 graphics - the i3-2125 or the 2105 would work well here. This is because HD2000 in your 2120 isn't (and won't ever be) fully supported in OSX.
 

neilhart

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The DSDT that is found in the thread post #37 is for Lion and was for BIOS .31 from the Intel web site.

I also might add that you don't need a DSDT.aml file to run ML 10.8.2 (at least I do not use one).

And as the others have noted, you need a CPU with HD3000 support (the i3 2105 or 2125).

Good luck with your hack and take lots of photos so that we can enjoy your project to.

neil
 
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So today I assembled my parts and booted from my uniBeast 10.7.2 Installer with the monitor hooked to the DVI port and formatted my hard drives and installed Lion onto the SSD. Then I flashed the BIOS on the board from .23 to .39. Now when I boot using the uniBeast USB installer, I get a "restricted" symbol on the screen and the grey sparks just keep going round and round. So I tried my Mountain Lion uniBeast installer 10.8.0 and the same thing occurred.

So I figured that by upgrading past version 0.28 that the board no longer supports Sandy Bridge CPU's. Nothing I read explicitly states this, but I cant figure out why it stopped booting. I read that its a bad idea (read impossible) to downgrade the BIOS because it "reprograms" the board, so I cant go backwards. So I made a quick trip to the toy store and picked up an i3-3225 Ivy Bridge which supports HD4000 graphics. The toy store didn't have any 2125's. And the TDP is only 55W on this CPU.

I installed it and tried booting from the USB ML Unibeast and I still get the restricted symbol and the circle of sparks.

Here is a photo of my poor-mans bench test rig, compliments of my wife's organizational fetish. (Yes, I got in trouble for drilling holes in it!)




Does anyone have an idea what might be wrong?

chaos
 
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The board definitely still supports Sandy Bridge - it was built for it, after all. The reason you were getting the restricted symbol was because the 2120 has HD2000 graphics that are unsupported. If you had tried booting with -x, you might have been able to get to the installer.

Then, you switched to another unfortunate combo for OS X - the Ivy Bridge (i3-3225) CPU on a Sandy Bridge (H61) board. The problem here is that though your board supports Ivy Bridge CPUs, Apple has never (and will never) ship a product with this chipset-CPU combination, and as such there are issues. You probably would be able to get this setup working, except for (once again) the integrated graphics. Here we have HD4000 graphics, which is supported under OS X. However, it doesn't work well on a non-Ivy Bridge chipset. I think that one could get it working with edits to a few of the integrated graphics-related kexts, but this would be an endeavor and I'm making no guarantees. You could check out this thread for ideas. (Once again, you can probably boot with -x).

Basically, if I were you I would do whatever I can to get my hands on that i3-2125 for ease of install.

Good luck!
 

neilhart

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Looking at the Intel Compatible Processor(s) for Board "DH61AG" web page

http://processormatch.intel.com/CompDB/SearchResult.aspx?BoardName=dh61ag

note that the Ivy Bridge CPUs require Min. BIOS level of 0039 and ALSO note the note that Board Revision "G23736-400 or later"

Also note that you can click on the BIOS version for i3-2120 and view the problem set of matching the BIOS to the Board Version.


The question now is what board revision do you have?

This is not good and not fun... but should be resolvable.
neil
 
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I did check that table before I bought the CPU, but I did neglect to review the board version.

My board version is AAG23736-500. And I am currently running Bios Version AGH6110H.86A.0039.2012.0410.1054 or version 39 for short.

So it should work.

I just grabbed my Windows 7 HD from my UD5H and it booted fine on the DH61. Im going to try making a fresh 10.8.2 Unibeast installer next.
 
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