Super Silent Mac Mini Replacement - Node 2.0

Discussion in 'Completed Mods' started by at0mac, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Jul 23, 2013 at 1:30 AM #1
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    I have had three different Mac Mini computers the past 8 years, lastly a 2011 Mac Mini with the dual core i7 and AMD graphics.
    Lately it has started to annoy me, mostly because of the summer heat where the fan goes bananas if I try to game.

    Something has to be done, and as I don´t trust the new Mac Mini is much of an improvement, the Mac Pro is too expensive and I already have an awesome screen so an iMac is not an option - I have to build a Hackintosh!


    Took me about 1 week of research and then about 1 month of assembly (see more in the thread I link to) to get everything to work - except one minor detail, it can´t wake up from sleep (it freezes until I physically push the reset button).
    Anyway, when I leave m computer it is either because I am not doing anything so it´s off - or I am doing something that takes an endless amount of time and just turns the screen off. Who needs sleep then anyways (btw it´s 2:00am here now).


    Node 2.0


    Parts list:


    • MSI Z77-MA-G45 motherboard (easy to hack and love the colour scheme)
    • Intel i3 3225 3.3GHz IvyBridge CPU (low TDP with plenty of power)
    • Cooled by a NoiseBlocker modified Noctua (with two M12-S1 8dB fans)
    • Corsair DDR 1600 CL9 16GB low profile RAM (3225 native supports DDR 1600)
    • ASUS GTX660 TOP 2GB graphics card (nVidia is easiest to get working in OSX)
    • LyCOM PE-107 FireWire 800/400 PCIe card (should be OSX compatible)
    • IOGear GBU521 bluetooth adapter (should work natively in OSX)
    • Silverstone SST-SOB02 Blu-Ray burner (slot in type and perfect match for the case)
    • Two Intel 520 series 240GB SSDs in RAID0 (FAST! and reliable)
    • Two NoiseBlocker M8-S1 (8dB fans to blow in a little fresh air)
    • One NoiseBlocker M12-S1 (8db fan in the top of the case above CPU cooler)
    • Seasonic X400 fanless PSU (plenty powerful and build to last)
    • Lastly, the NoFAN CS-70 case (it´s very unusual and easily could be something Apple had thought up + perfect for true noiseless build without killing your hardware)


    One more thing... Why Node 2.0? Because most of the parts come from a friends server that is now retired, it was called the Node.


    Notes:

    It runs OS X 10.8.4 perfectly, have delayed the startup process with 5 seconds to give me time to punch in any boot parameters if needed, but after the countdown has passed it can boot in about 14 seconds due to it´s SSD RAID0 setup!

    Took me half of the building time just to get the installation right, but now it runs smooth as butter!
    I can play any of my games in highest possible resolution and detail, like Call of Duty 4, Grid, Batman Arkham City and so on... Very demanding Mac games! Looks stunning...

    Best part though, the machine is extremely silent!
    I am placed about 1.5 meters away and can´t hear when it´s on unless I turn my screen off and the fridge in the kitchen next door is not running... The buzz from my IPS screens backlight (Dell 2209WA) make more noise than the computer!

    If you take the time and go trough the work log I linked to earlier you will find and immense amount of software hacks to make this the perfect setup, everything from the dock to the menubar, Geektool, log in procedures and About This Mac have been tweaked!
    Even the placement of some of the default system folders is rerouted to external drives to not tear up the SSDs.

    Enough talk, go check out the work log if curious.



    Pictures:
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    All pictures can be found on my Flickr in full resolution
     
    gseifert56, steff89 and Minkey like this.
  2. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Jul 23, 2013 at 2:28 AM #2
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    Cant really post this in user builds as I have that sleep issue on the machine, but have now posted here and in Retail Cases, hope to inspire a few. :)
     
  3. minihack

    minihack

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    Jul 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM #3
    minihack

    minihack

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    Nice, but looks like you have around 4 fans in your NoFan case (2 on the cpu cooler, 1 in the roof and I guess a PSU fan). I thought those cases had the gigantic passive cooler in them - or am I reading something wrong??
     
  4. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Jul 23, 2013 at 12:39 PM #4
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    I have one in the "roof", two on the CPU, two on the graphics card, two in the bottom = 7 in total.
    Passive PSU, so no fans there. All fans run extremely low RPMs, 8dB SPL. Just to give a little airflow so I don´t kill my hardware. Inaudible.

    The NoFan systems are just like most others, you can use almost whatever cpu cooler you would like, as I researched I would get pretty close to the graphics card with their big **s passive heatsink, so did not want to take the chance in case it actually would not fit.


    So as the title say, super silent - but not passive ;)
     
  5. pietrr

    pietrr

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    Jul 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM #5
    pietrr

    pietrr

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    where did you get those 'hackintosh apple stickers'?
    i like them :)

    and what geekbench, cinebench score do you get?
     
  6. doctorevil30564

    doctorevil30564

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    Jul 25, 2013 at 5:39 AM #6
    doctorevil30564

    doctorevil30564

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    I've seen various ones for sale on ebay, not sure if that exact one is available there though.
     
  7. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Jul 25, 2013 at 8:40 PM #7
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    Yes, you got it right - it´s from eBay.
    Was kind of hard to find though, also because it looks like the seller dont always sell them and is more like switching between different designs of the same "theme"
     
  8. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Jul 25, 2013 at 9:00 PM #8
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    Totally forgot to benchmark.
    But now since you asked I did a little testing and here are the results (do remember though that the SSDs are 55% full and a lot of tools like antivirus, geektool and other essentials running, so its the complete working results):


    GeekBench:

    2013-07-25 07.30.24 pm.jpg

    As GeekBench only test RAM and CPU it is not a big surprise my result is kind of low.
    My RAM is only DDR1600 and my CPU a low-end i3.

    2013-07-25 07.41.24 pm.png

    My 8K GeekBench score for my hackintosh is right in the sweet spot where most Mac Pro 3.1´s fit in - but most of them might actually be very close to identical hackintosh systems so not a big surprise...


    NovaBench:

    2013-07-25 07.48.45 pm.jpg

    2013-07-25 07.43.54 pm.png

    Pretty OK score, specially when you do a little digging and find out its similar to what a genuine Mac Pro 4.1 scored!

    2013-07-25 08.05.43 pm.jpg

    Both the Pro 3.1 and 4.1 had very powerfull CPUs compared to what I use, but my rig scores better in benchmarks. Neat.


    CineBench:

    2013-07-25 07.50.35 pm.jpg

    2013-07-25 07.53.08 pm.jpg


    XBench:

    2013-07-25 07.40.51 pm.jpg

    Very suprising to see that my XBench score is lower than my old Mac Mini (scored 415)...
    A big potion of it seems to be due to the fact my RAM are now "only" DDR1600 where my Mac Mini was upgraded with DDR1866 (even that multiple sources say that the Mac Mini of that time could not benefit from the higher speed it looks like it worked here).


    Disk Speed Test:

    2013-07-25 07.28.55 pm.jpg

    My two Intel 240GB 520 Series SSDs really shine in RAID0!
    Even so that it might only be software raid they do put on a good show... :D
    I have never used this much space on them before (55% full out of 480GB - two 240GB in RAID0), so maybe that is why the speed seems a little off compared to what I usually got in scores on my Mac Mini (or the fact that the SATA controller is totally different) idk...?!



    Any other benchmarks I can run on mac??
     
  9. at0mac

    at0mac

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    Aug 22, 2013 at 6:19 PM #9
    at0mac

    at0mac

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    Update:


    The machine is now dual booting in Windows 8.1 Preview too!
    Had a small 64GB Plextor M3 SSD I just threw in for the very same purpose.


    [​IMG]


    Benched it a bit in Windows too:


    [​IMG]


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    By the way, you can see a comparison GeekBench 3 score here for OS X.


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    Not sure why, but could not get GreenScreen app or Fraps to take screenshots of Unigine benches... So they are taken with my iPhone.
    On another note, the programs refused to run in 1920x1080, might be because that is not my native resolution...


    [​IMG]


    Also benched the M3 SSD because sooner or later it will be updated as 64GB is kind of small... So wanted to know in numbers how well it performs currently:


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    Why did it make it run Windows when I despise the layout of the OS so much?


    To run my good ol' Windows only games like Command & Conquer Tiberian Sun!!! :D


    [​IMG]




    //Thanks for looking.


    Next up is a new keyboard and mouse as my current Logitech EasySwitch dont want to connect in Windows and im therefor now using my good old Apple Wired Alu Keyboard which dont have any backlighting :(
     
  10. pietrr

    pietrr

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    Aug 25, 2013 at 11:21 AM #10
    pietrr

    pietrr

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    looks awesome :)
     

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