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neilhart's Mac Pro Hack

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Long story cut short. I built this Mac Pro Hack from two partially complete 2008 Mac Pro cases plus a few bits.

Specs:
CPU: Intel i7-950
MB: MSI X58M
Mem: 6GB (3 x 2GB)
PSU: Inland ATX ILG-500
HDD: 4 SATA II – a mix on Apple slide brackets.
SSD: 2 40GB Intel X25V (SATA II in RAID 0)
GPU: PNY GeForce GTX 460

However the key point is that I used the Micro ATX from factor and can change motherboards when need be to keep the system fairly current.

This is an ego build that may never really be complete. But for now it is up and running and I feel a need to share.

Inspiration for this build was initially from reading the “aquamac” web pages (Google for this site – it is worth the effort). And most recently the documented work of mooner was very helpful (mooner has his build documented here and should be required reading if you are going to do a Mac Pro Hack).

Some photos follow:
 

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neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
PSU

I took the Mac Pro Power Supply out of donor chassis # 2 and spent some time trying to reconfigure the output cabling to suit an ATX system. Long story short is that I came up short and decided to junk the Mac PSU guts and install known good guts from a working ATX PSU. The photo story follows.

I am going to reuse the Mac Pro upper shelf in tact with its' 120 mm fan (and not use the original fan from the ATX power supply). You will see the two wire (12VDC) fan cable exiting the back of the original sheet metal.

So my converted PSU has the same form factor as the original.

Later as I had the converted power supply installed in the chassis and the Apple fan running on 12 volts I decided it was just too noisy. So pulled the newly converted PSU and switched to a low speed Delta 120 mm fan. The noise from the Delta fan also annoyed me so I switched the power feed to the fan to 5VDC. That cut the noise, now we will see how long the PSU lasts with less air flow.
 

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neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Op. Drive, eject switch, dual drive enclosure

Using the Apple sheet metal, I installed an OEM LG optical DVD drive in the lower position (having pulled the front plate from the tray). I opened up the drive an soldered in the two wires to support an external eject switch and routed the wire out the back of the unit.

I made up a push button switch assembly with a long plunger to provide the convenient eject access. This switch assembly is mounted to the roof of the enclosure using JB Weld.

A dual 2.5 inch hard drive mobile rack was mounted in the upper optical drive position. The three SATA data cables are routed through an existing passage in the upper deck shelf and under the MB.
 

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neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Front panel and wiring (includes the USB/Firewire board).

Okay the credit here goes those that have gone before and documented the task.
The most recent documentation is/was provided by mooner (see page two of his thread here in this section of TonyMacX86). Adding the 5VDC lines to the 8 pin connector per his directions fixed the USB ports. Power button and power LED work with this documentation.

The front audio port is via three wires selectively pinned out to the MB Audio header. Note the front audio has to be selected in the Audio Preference Pane to be functional. Auto detecting switching audio ports would be desirable.

The FireWire 400 and 800 ports are functional. This is achieved by cabling to the PCIE FireWire/USB port adapter card (BYTECC PCIE USB/Firewire card, BT-PEFWBU2 sourced from Newegg). Note for the front FireWire ports to function correctly I had to provide power to the 4 pin connector on the PCIE card.

Also note that there is 3.3VDC to the 8 pin connector.

The plus of using this card, besides the front FireWire ports are the extra rear ports.
 

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Joined
Jul 24, 2011
Messages
260
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H55M-UD2H
CPU
2.93 Ghz i7
Graphics
ATI Radeon 5570
Mac
iMac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Very impressive! There are some messy looking HackPros out there, but yours looks like an Apple product inside. Your attention to detail makes this build shine. :clap:
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Cables – Wiring – Infrastructure

If you have seen my other builds, you will know that I do not like rats nest chassis wiring. I am first to admit, that overdoing the wire dress is just for personal taste and usually lends very little to the functionality of a build. That being said, the PSU wiring follows the path of the Apple design with the power cables sandwiched between the back chassis wall and the interior cover plate through the optical drive section and then downward into the lower chassis section.

The original Apple design of 4 SATA 3.5 inch drive bays (pluggable modules using the Apple hard drive slides) is maintained by using a purchased SAS/SATA adapter and cable assembly. Again not my invention but followed the lead provided by mooner (see his thread for the details). The hack task here was adapting the ATX power cable to the Apple SATA power cable.

Where ever possible, I routed the surface chassis wiring under the motherboard. As a precaution, I have a motherboard sized insulator made of dense paper board to help prevent insulation cold flow and shorting. The MB is on 1/2 inch tall standoffs so there is a decent space under it.

Routing the 7 SATA cables under the MB is a effort along with cables to the front panel and the DC power to the CPU 12V connector and the DC power to the PCIE USB/FireWire adapter.

I have added one modesty flat panel in the lower front area that hides the ATX 24 pin extender cable connection. I am toying with the design of a complex panel to dress up the visible area from the fan to the video card.
 

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PunkNugget

Banned
Joined
May 23, 2011
Messages
359
Motherboard
Gigabyte AORUS Gaming 9 Board
CPU
i9-7980XE (Delidded) CPU
Graphics
2 x AMD Vega Frontier (Water Blocked) GPUs
Mac
Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Amazing work !!! Very clean and tight !!! :clap: :thumbup: :clap: :thumbup: :clap:
 
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
12
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Neilhart, GREAT BUILD!!!! How did you complete your back panel mods?? Do you have any pictures of the process you used to maintain such a clean look. Did you use a motherboard tray at all???
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,736
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
Intel i7-7700T (TDP: 35W)
Graphics
Gigabyte GTX960 2GB, ITX
Mac
MacBook, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
tjjensen said:
neilhart said:
Long story cut short. I built this Mac Pro Hack from two partially complete 2008 Mac Pro cases plus a few bits.
.....
.....

Neilhart, GREAT BUILD!!!! How did you complete your back panel mods?? Do you have any pictures of the process you used to maintain such a clean look. Did you use a motherboard tray at all???
I did not use a tray. The motherboard is on 1/2" standoffs attached with JB Weld. I intend to post details on the fans and the rear panel soon.

neil
 
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