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neilhart's G5 Short Stack - PowerMac G5 Mod

neilhart

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The Short Stack

Note: This project has been completed and you can see the final hack in post # 65 found on page 7 of this thread. [edit added 07/06/2013 by neil]

Project Explanation:

The project that Rossi has going in the G4 Cube forum started me thinking about doing one also. The project is a sectioned G5 Power Mac reducing the size to a smaller form factor but retain the Apple G5 Power Mac personality.

Well let's scope out what is worth while doing. I am very happy with the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH motherboard that I used in "The Black" Prodigy project (and I am using now as my main home machine). However I would like to find an equivalent MB in a MicroATX form factor; so that is one that needs to be addressed sometime before completion of the project. I will plan this project around the MicroATX form factor.

And the Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H-TH looks interesting but does not appear to be available in the US.

Also I need to understand the SUNIX "DisplayPort to 2-port DisplayPort Graphics Splitter Adapter-DPD2000" and learn if we have support in OS X.


And maybe this project can be timed where I can use the Haswell i7-4770K CPU that I have read about and one of the yet to be announced motherboards.

Anyway, I asked my son, the Graphic Artist in the family, to produce a Photoshop representation of the sectioned case.
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I may adjust the front to back size a little to regain a little of the original proportions.

Currently thinking about MicroATX with lots of memory, fast CPU, mid-range GPU, SSDs and 2.5" HDDs all running on a small PSU (maybe 350 watts) with air cooling.

Under 5 seconds boot time (goal)…

Maintain the width of the Power Mac chassis.

Modular build on a 12" x 12" aluminum plate (the System Module = aka "the guts").

The System Module to slide into the chassis from the rear… the guts to come free of the chassis with a minimum of effort.

Be able to run the System Module on the bench outside of the chassis with a minimum of support pieces.

Ivy Bridge or newer electronics for lower power, lower heat and lower cooling requirements.

Must be able to run Prime95 torture test indefinitely without issue (with the final MB and CPU).

No requirement for an optical drive.

Front panel to be G5 mesh with the G5 power switch/LED and modified for USB2 and USB3 ports, no Firewire and no audio out/audio requirement.

Retain the right side panel easy removal for service… may give on this one if the System Module is easily removed and does not require right side access for removal.

Schedule:

When can I start on this project? When will I finish?

Well I still have two hacks and a MBA to update to ML 10.8.3. My current inventory of OS X machines is 10 hacks and 2 Apple laptops.

I will plan to start serious work on this project around the first of April. And should be done by late Summer or early Fall.

Of note, I think that this is the most aggressive modding hack that I have ever contemplated.

Comments and questions are welcome,
neil
 

eelhead

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This will be nice to see how you handle the metal work and then painting after you get it sized just right.
I look forward to seeing how this all comes together :)
 
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Good luck with this one!
 

neilhart

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Subbing right up! Sounds cool! One question: how the heck are you gonna incorporate the PSU into the removable system module?
Well... I don't have all of the details worked out yet, but in my head I can visualize a coverless desktop with a bottom plate, a rear panel and one side panel. On the side panel is a "slim" PSU (think 1U form factor) and a stack of 2.5" drives. Also in this vision, I see the cabling mostly running under the motherboard . Rotate the assembly 90 degrees and the side becomes the bottom and back panel resembles today's G5 Power Mac hacks.

Anyway in a nut shell that is the concept.

neil
 

neilhart

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First Update:

I am through with the OS X 10.8.3 update of my machines for the most part. I have one system that was giving me problems and have some new SATA cable on order. Meantime I started into the diss-assembly of the Power Mac.
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The basic diss-assembly went without issue.


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And I seperated the inner core from the outter shell fairly easily.
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Then I put the inner core onto the right side panel. This is a view seldom seen and the fit is amazing.
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Per the process, I taped up the edges and drilled out the rivets from both sides of the inner core.
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And after removing 12 nuts along the front and back, I freed the right side inner frame.
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And another 24 nuts removed to separate the top and bottom inner core sections.
That was the easy part requiring patience and a little skill with hand tools.

Next measure, plan, measure, plan, design, order some material... (get ready to cut once!).

At this point, I am planning to use a Gigabyte H55M-UD2H motherboard that I have sitting that just happens to have an i7-860 CPU on it. I will use this MB to help with the prototyping of the System Module.


More to follow,
neil

03-24-2013 Edit - Sanity check on space.
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Hi Neil,

Interested to see the way you go on this.

I am wondering whether you will do a full slice and dice on this or start the outer case from scratch?

It strikes me that perhaps as you are effectively scaling down the design, maybe a scaling down from a 3mm (or so) anodised case to a 2mm thick shell might be in order which may then enable the main part to be cut from one piece and folded/anodised and a new door piece fabricated. In the long run might that present fewer challenges than a cut and shut?
 
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Hi Neil

Great project, lots to think about and quite a challenge. IMHO I would go with the slice and dice approach (if I had the skills, which I don't) the critical factor would be where the seams would be made in each panel to be as less obvious, e.g. I could imaging on the front panel cutting near the DVD drive hole, so as to retain a cosmetic slit across the case which wouldn't be that obvious.

I think it could also be possible to retain main removable side panel using the same locking mechanism, so long as the sectioning cuts preserve the necessary components that make up the door.

Anyway look forward to see which way you go.
 

neilhart

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mini hack and kiwisincebirth -

Well slice and dice is the direction that I will attempt. Starting with fresh sheet stock is beyond my capability of cutting and folding. It would be different if I had a open budget and could use some of the great vendors that I have used in the past on product development tasks for past employers.

On the outer shell,I hope to be able to do the cuts needed on my table saw and come out the other side with clean straight cuts that will butt-up to each other nicely. Yet to be seen and again the order of the cuts and the set-up will make all of the difference.

It is amusing as I get into this project of the little things that are not obvious. The pressed threaded inserts in the outer shell have to be managed either by insuring that the cuts clear them or removing the ones that fall on a cut line. And all of the tall standoffs are going to be removed early on.

Well I have another task to finish before getting into this one. The SATA cables that I had ordered for the SB1 chassis have arrived so I can reassemble that hack and finish the OS X update. This will free up some work space.

More later,
neil
 
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