Contribute
Register

Some old guy's Mac Cube

neilhart

Moderator
Joined
May 25, 2010
Messages
2,737
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
I really like what you have done here. I have jacked with my G4 Cube hack and have come to several conclusions:

1) Cooling is a bear in this form factor.
2) An optical drive is not needed.
3) The proximity switch is a pain and is not needed.

I have been working with a Zotac H67ITX-C-E with an i7 2600k and laptop hard drives in my latest go around. The proximity switch works (too well) and is the cause of unwanted shut downs. Anyway I have put the thing aside waiting to see your solution and eelhead's. And I am looking for another cube as mine is a total mess now.

The Intel DH61AG motherboard is a good solution to consider with the key attraction being the built-in PSU. I have Lion 10.7.2 running with everything working but sleep and wake from sleep. USB3 and eSATA have not been tested.

Again, your photo documentation is great; keep up the good work.

neil
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
76
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Thanks Neil :
Yeah , these things are pigs to work on . Think I've got cooling taken care of , the Gelid fan moves around 25 cfm in a case that's less than 1 cu. ft.. There's lots of holes on the bottom and the big vent on top so if hot air still rises I've got a shot. I like to have an optical drive around as I've got into the habit of burning copies of anything I consider important , plus laptop drives free up a load of space . The touch switch seems to be the root of all evil as far as I'm concerned . Still , its a neat piece of engineering and is one of the things that set the Cube apart from other , more mundane , machines. So , for now ( until I'm totally fed up) I'm going to try to keep it and get it to work . I've got plenty of time ,a basement full of tools ,and really want to do this right , not make a hammer and duct tape job of it.
Enough whining , here's 2 shots showing the relationship of the touch switch to the mobo.
I cut a piece of mat board to the size of an itx board and placed in in the case in the mobo location to get a visual grip as to what I'm up against. There looks to be about 1mm clearance between the switch and mat board when the sag in the board is removed.




Spent some time looking at different motherboard manufacturer's websites trying to find something that'll work . Pickings are pretty slim , the DH 61 AG being one of them along with DQ67EB on the Intel end , and ASRock H67M and Z68M-ITXHT . There's a couple of others , too but these are the contenders so far . I'm a little concerned about cooling fan interference with the DH61AG , but we'll see . What I'm going to do is download a top down image of each prospective mobo , resize it to 170x170mm in Photoshop and print it out full size . Cut it out and slide it over the mat board and under the switch circuit and get an idea as to what has a shot at working , and take it from there .
 
Joined
May 27, 2010
Messages
2,430
Motherboard
Dell Optiplex 9030 All in One
CPU
i5-4690K
Graphics
HD 4600
Mac
Mac mini
Classic Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Neil,
You can cure those shutdowns/restarts with the sticky tape mod......it's a well known fix that worked for me before.
I always found these switches to be very fixable. I'll look out the link to the fix and post it back here when I find it.
EDIT: Here it is: http://cubeowner.com/kbase_2/index.php?article=92. As I recall, I fixed this with variously a single piece of scotch tape/ a thin piece of paper. Officially I think they recommend changing the "power gasket" but as that is not a part you are likely to find then the cheap tape fix is a better one.

61mg73,
Good to see you sticking in there. Definitely up for re-visiting a Cube of my own now after seeing the three of you guys with your experiences.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
76
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Got a new board that fits , an ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT . Hopefully it'll be OSX86 friendly . Network and sound chips are supported at least , plus the 3000 graphics. This board seemed to have the largest amount of space between the end memory slot and the end of the board . Most everything else I looked at had either less space or some connectors for usb , front panel , or whatever , littering up the space.



Here's a shot of the back ends of both boards , you can see how much room was picked up .


The top memory stick either just touches , or just clears the leads for the power led . I'll deal with that via taping the surface of the stick to prevent shorting . Also the circuit board for the touch switch might be deflecting a bit , but I'm not going to lose sleep over it just yet.
So I'm back in business . I've revised plans for the HDD mounts , going to put them in a drawer which will slide in and out of the void in the heatsink . Also gotta clean up the bottom plate .
 

Gus

Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
287
Motherboard
N/A
CPU
N/A
Graphics
N/A
Mac
iMac, MacBook Air
Classic Mac
iBook, Power Mac
Mobile Phone
Other
Looks good! Waiting to see what your bottom plate and hdd system comes out like. Sounds like its going to rival eelheads...
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
76
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
Gus said:
Looks good! Waiting to see what your bottom plate and hdd system comes out like. Sounds like its going to rival eelheads...
Thanks .... The bottom plate is going to have to wait a bit until I get a reasonably warm day as I've got to take a torch to it , maybe I'll get the HDD drawer done this weekend . Don't know how eelhead got everything to fit like he did . I had thought about a layout like his and my measurements ( I might have been using that rubber ruler again) , plus the lack of airflow scared me off .
 

eelhead

Super Moderator
Joined
Mar 1, 2011
Messages
3,522
Motherboard
GA-Z170X-Designare
CPU
i5 7600k
Graphics
GTX 1070
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
iMac, Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
61mg73 said:
Gus said:
Looks good! Waiting to see what your bottom plate and hdd system comes out like. Sounds like its going to rival eelheads...
Thanks .... The bottom plate is going to have to wait a bit until I get a reasonably warm day as I've got to take a torch to it , maybe I'll get the HDD drawer done this weekend . Don't know how eelhead got everything to fit like he did . I had thought about a layout like his and my measurements ( I might have been using that rubber ruler again) , plus the lack of airflow scared me off .
Well that airflow I hope to test this weekend, of the Thermaltake slim cooler doesn't work we have came up with another cooler that might do the trick. The think is that this board and CPU should run nice and cool as it is so that in its self is a big help. As for fitting it all in, as you can see by the vids its darn tight lol.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
3,593
Motherboard
ASUS P5Q
CPU
Q8200
Graphics
HD 5750
Mobile Phone
Android
61mg73 said:
Got a new board that fits , an ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT . Hopefully it'll be OSX86 friendly . Network and sound chips are supported at least , plus the 3000 graphics. This board seemed to have the largest amount of space between the end memory slot and the end of the board . Most everything else I looked at had either less space or some connectors for usb , front panel , or whatever , littering up the space.



Here's a shot of the back ends of both boards , you can see how much room was picked up .


The top memory stick either just touches , or just clears the leads for the power led . I'll deal with that via taping the surface of the stick to prevent shorting . Also the circuit board for the touch switch might be deflecting a bit , but I'm not going to lose sleep over it just yet.
So I'm back in business . I've revised plans for the HDD mounts , going to put them in a drawer which will slide in and out of the void in the heatsink . Also gotta clean up the bottom plate .
You will return this motherboard. I feel it. :)
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2011
Messages
248
Motherboard
gigabyte H55M-UD2H
CPU
i3 530
Graphics
Inno3d gt430 1gb
Mac
MacBook Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
Other
HI ,is there a way of just leaving the push button there ,removing the back piece of the on switch ? are you using a 12v itx psu adapter ,i have seen 200w ones which clip straight on the atx socket and the external plug is 5,5mm socket powered by external power supply ,then have your on:eek:ff switch in the exterior line like a table lamp cord with the switch inline ,then use for internal power to the mobo a pc switch wired to permanently on located anywhere inside , just a thought and the asus p8 h61-i looks like might be a candidate for the project
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
76
Mac
Classic Mac
Mobile Phone
veng58 said:
HI ,is there a way of just leaving the push button there ,removing the back piece of the on switch ? are you using a 12v itx psu adapter ,i have seen 200w ones which clip straight on the atx socket and the external plug is 5,5mm socket powered by external power supply ,then have your on:eek:ff switch in the exterior line like a table lamp cord with the switch inline ,then use for internal power to the mobo a pc switch wired to permanently on located anywhere inside , just a thought and the asus p8 h61-i looks like might be a candidate for the project
You really can't just leave the push button as there is no push button as such . Its a capacitive proximity switch that senses the presence of your finger through the case top.
What appears to be a white button is actually the diffuser for the power led . It doesn't move . The whole thing is controlled via the power on circuit board . If we can't get the ASRock board to run in a stable fashion in the next few days ( someone infinitely more capable has agreed to play with it for a few days) , then my fallback will be to rotate the power circuit board 180 degrees and figure some way to fasten it to the top plate, and use the original board .

Won't look as neat but should clear the mobo just fine. I had looked at the Asus board and the power connecter and a few capacitors will interfere with the power circuit board .
The power supply I'm using is a 160w. picoPSU . It plugs into the power socket and gets fed from am external power brick. I've used these before and they work well as long as you don't beat up on them as regards exceeding it's power rating. The issue with this build is that the wires coming out of the pico stick out past the mobo and consequently the inner cage , interfering with the installation of the cage into the outer shell . By using a psu cable extender , the power supply can be moved into a non interfering location.

 
Top