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neilhart's Mac Pro Hack

neilhart

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Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,728
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
Graphics
GTX960
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Motherboard selection

My choice of motherboard for this Mac Pro Hack was influenced by the purchase of an i7-950 CPU which was on sale at the time. I was not really impressed with Gigabyte motherboards having experienced two board failures last year (and enduring the RMA process). So I looked for a Micro ATX form factor alternative and identified the MSI X58M board. This board was available on sale and fit the budget. I was pleased that the OS X integration on this set-up was very straight forward on Snow Leopard and Lion has been no problem.

The idea was to use two small SSD drives in a RAID 0 for the system drive in this setup.

Video Card selection

I had my mind set on getting a AMD Radeon HD 5770 video card. When shopping for one I read that many people were having Hackintosh integration problems with that card and became fixated on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 460. Then TonyMacX86 recommended the PNY GTX 460, so that is what I purchased. Long story short, my sample of the card was unstable in every install but those that had X58 chip sets. In my Gigabyte and MSI X58 MBs, the card is a decent performer without issue (from about OS X 10.6.7 onward).

Motherboard mounting

After several test fits where I would put the MB with the video card into the chassis and try to decide on a mounting plan, I decided no tray and that I needed ½ inch tall standoffs to get the height to be able to use the existing Apple PCI slots. Using this approach, the cutout needed was just the ATX rear panel IO section.

I sliced up some ¼ inch ABS into strips and made up the spacers used between the perf rear panel and the IO panel as a frame. These I paint aluminum silver and attached with small Philips flathead screws using a small countersink to get the screw head fairly flush to the read panel. I’m not very happy with this but for now it is useable.

I shifted the MB mounting up to use the upper 4 four of the 5 existing PCI slots.
By doing this the CPU heat sink (see section on Cooling) was located where I need it.
 

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neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,728
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
Graphics
GTX960
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Fans and Cooling:

The Intel i7-950 rating Max TDP of 130 watts influenced my choice of CPU cooler. Bigger is better (probably not) but I choose the Scythe Mugen ? 2B which is huge. The cooler comes with on Scythe “Slip Stream” high airflow 120 mm fan which I used on the cooler.
I chose two SiLenx 120 mm fans, one for the front and one for the rear. I purchased a late model Mac Pro Processor Cage from an Ebay seller and cut it a part to use the top, front and bottom portions. I installed the front SiLenx fan into this cage and added a 1/16 acrylic window. The rear SiLenx fan is attached directly to the Apple rear fan grill.

This forms a three fan tunnel for cooling the CPU.

I cut down the original dual front fan plastic tower and reconfigured it to house a 92mm Scythe Kama-Flex fan.

These fans are all powered by the MSI motherboard which has BIOS level speed control capability. I am not sure yet how much speed control actually is present running in OS X Lion. But the point of these selections was to keep the noise down.
Total fan count is 6 (way too many and will surely require service at some point).
 

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Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
12
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
neilhart said:
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.

Neilhart, Can you please tell me the pin out that you used on the 8 pin connector combining Mooner's and incorporating the 3.3vdc? Also interested in the front i/o board side of the OEM audio cable that you used, what did you connect it to?
 

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,728
Motherboard
ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming - ITX/ac
CPU
i7-7700T
Graphics
GTX960
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
tjjensen said:
neilhart said:
Front panel and wiring (includes the USB/Firewire board). ...clip....


Neilhart, Can you please tell me the pin out that you used on the 8 pin connector combining Mooner's and incorporating the 3.3vdc? Also interested in the front i/o board side of the OEM audio cable that you used, what did you connect it to?

The 8 pin connector (see photo) is pinned as

1 - 2 - 3 - 4
5 - 6 - 7 - 8

1 = MSG (green) connect to MB front panel pins - try adjacent pins to the power switch + pin
2 = PW+ (purple) connect to MB front panel pins - power switch +
3 = 5 VDC (red)
4 = 12 VDC (yellow)
5 = 5 VDC (red)
6 = 5 VDC (red)
7 = 3.3 VDC (orange) (I did not have an orange marker - shown as black in the photo)
8 = Grd (black)

Some illustrations found on the web use an alternate pin count orientation...


The front panel audio is fairly simple. The original front panel audio cable (see photo) uses a small flat connector. This connector is keyed and will mate only one way.

The Front panel audo connector, looking down at it is pinned out from left to right:

1 - purple (sense) no connect
2 - red (ground) to pin 2 of the ATX Audio connector
3 - black (left channel) to pin 9 of the ATX Audio connector
4 - grey (right channel) to pin 5 of the ATX Audio connector
5 - balck (shield ground) no connect

The ATX Audio connector is pinned out:

10 9 - left channel
8 7
6 5 - right channel
4 3
common - grd - 2 1

As I recall I wired this and tested it and felt lucky that I got right and left channels straight the first try. This is from notes taken in June and I think that they are correct.

neil
 

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Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
12
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Neilhart, Thanks for the info. Really like your build.
 
Joined
Nov 19, 2011
Messages
122
Motherboard
Hackintosh
CPU
i52500k
Graphics
Gigabyte gtx460oc
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Wow...one of the nicest ones out there :clap:
 
Joined
May 8, 2012
Messages
102
Motherboard
X79-UP4
CPU
i7 4930k
Graphics
Radeon R9-290x
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Whoa, that's super clean!! :headbang:
 
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