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ToastChem Build - G3/G4 case mod with core i7

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Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
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i7-2600K
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HD 6870
ToastChem Build - GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 - Core i7-2600K - HD6870

G3 Powermac.jpg

At last I took the final leap and ordered the following parts and built my first Hackintosh. Nothing special about the components - several others have posted the same components, but the use of an old G3/G4 case was a challenge and since everyone mods the case differently I thought I'd share my own innovations. I am heavily in debt to MacBane who showed that large heatsinks and PSU's can live side by side on the cabinet door of a G4, however, I mounted the PSU inside the cabinet on a shelf, so less weight on the door.

Components:

Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
CPU Intel Core i7-2600K
Memory Vengence LP CML8GX3M2A1600C9 4 x 4Gb
CPU Cooler Scythe Mugen 3
PSU Corsair HX650W Pro
Fans Scythe Gentle Typhoon
HDD 3 x Samsung F3 HD103SJ 1TB SATAII 32MB Cache 7200RPM
GPU XFX Radeon HD6870 Double Dispersion

Already Owned:

Case G3 Blue & White shells on a G4 metal chassis (My G3 350MHz machine died so I bought a cheap damaged G4 400MHz on eBay and retained the Blue and White panels, Keyboard and mouse from the G3 - quite an upgrade for £25 )

Monitor LG Flatron Wide 19"
Speakers Original Apple Design Powered Speakers (bought with the G3)

Comments

A PowerPC G4 400MHz is very nearly useless nowadays, but the G3 Blue & White case still has a certain charm and is quite compact, so I wanted to put a serious, powerful system into a small space and still be a quiet, daily use machine. The parts were all about fast processors with big coolers and slow quiet fans - perhaps even allowing for some over clocking. The machine was to replace a G5 Dual 2.5GHz PowerMac which, not being Intel, would not run the most recent versions of software. Also, some gaming and also to run Windows 7 to use specialist software for chemical plant control (not available on MacOSX), so multi boot required.

To do this, I gutted the G4 case, removed the shelf, the drive bays and PSU (cutting the back panel off the PSU so I could mount an 80mm fan on the rear panel grill). Changed the mounting supports for the motherboard, and mounted the GA-Z68MA-D3H-B3 motherboard in place. With the Mugen 3 being so large and HD6870 being the full width of the motherboard I only had a 4 inch wide strip down the left side of the case to fit a Fan (new hole cut in the floor of the case), the PSU (sitting on a small custom shelf 2 inches over the fan) and 2 of the hard disk drives (mounted above the cutback remains of the old DVD/Zip disk drive bay). I will be monitoring their temps as they don't have good air flow up there.

Some things didn't go to plan - No room for the side intake fan, required the new fan and new hole in the base (I had hoped to keep the box intact). I had to wire a new passthrough plug for the monitor since I forgot to buy a PSU with a similar socket and plug on the back panel. Also, the fit was too close for the external sockets back plate to fit, so I am making a blue plastic one using the metal original as a template, which I will then trim the metal plate and fix in place using the plastic over plate, should make for a neat finish.

Some things went very well - I had an old dead PC and took the front panel lights and switches off it and mounted them in the G4's front panel (hot wiring to the original G4 start switch) and even have a working disk drive LED in a green/blue colour, looks good and of course the other end had the correct block connector already wired for the mATX mother board. This saved a bunch of time.

Result:

G4In.jpg

The photo of the insides - It worked out pretty well a straight run of TonyMacx86 guide for the unibeast install of Lion via USB stick drive (Would not have done this without all your hard work), then updated to 10.7.3 with the combo updater and finally did 10.7.4 with another combo updater with adding the ssdt file for over clocked 2600k. Very quiet, processor temps are around 34°C idle and 65°C under stress with just a murmur of fans, while over clocked to 4.2GHz and getting Geekbench results of 13729 and 78fps on the Unigine graphics benchmark. Dual monitor works, ethernet works, mother board temperature sensors required the Kozlek HW sensors patch, but work well. Sleep/wake works flawlessly. Very happy with the machine - only 1 Kernel Panic to date, and no obvious cause, so not too worried. Curiously wake from sleep won't wake my G5's keyboard, but does wake the machine, if the keyboard is plugged direct into a USB2 port, but if the keyboard is in the powered hub, then all works OK (do not get this behaviour with the old G3 original keyboard which works if connected to port or hub - perhaps it uses less power??)

I put Windows 7 on one of the hard drives again using a USB stick, not flawless, but followed a fairly standard procedure:
- Format a USB stick on an Windows 7 machine and make the partition active and copy the install files over
- Format the HDD as an NTFS drive with 2 partitions (320Gb and 650Gb) make 320Gb active (unless I did this the Windows 7 installer would not recognise the drive)
- Disconnect the Mac drives
- Boot from the USB stick and when the W7 installer loads use Shift-F10 to get the command line and use DiskPart to re-format the drive and make the 320Gb partition active.
- Re-fit all the drives and re-order the BIOS order of the drives to make the MacOS load first
- I had a few problems booting using multi-beast as initially the Windows part would not boot without the black screen complaining that the boot had failed, but all worked after a few repeats of these steps.

The To Do List

Must make a backplate. Maybe put the disk activity LED in place of one of the reset switches on the front panel. Possibly put another fan under the GPU (temps got to 68°C during benchmarking and over clocking). Fit a PCIx firewire card and finally squeeze a USB/Firewire/eSATA/card reader into the 5.25 inch drive bay (hidden by the pull down door).

Overall very happy at this point - I had to move to the PowerMac 3.1 system description to avoid the popping sound problem. But all seems good now. Let me know if you want more pics and I can try to add them.
 

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Your pics don't work :(
 
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Messages
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Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
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i7-2600K
Graphics
HD 6870
Sorry about the image, can't seem to get google drive to share them. Will try to fix or sign up for dropbox.

Edit : Attaching a file seems to work so will have added another picture below, showing the modified drive bay, and mounting it upside down. Deffinitely not ideal, I will probably make a bracket to better space the drives (the bracket I used was the original G3 double drive bay, but these new drives seem bigger than it was intended to carry). Will take some more photos in daylight, tomorrow.

photo.JPG
 

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Not to criticize your build but hind sight is 20/20. I would have kept the shelf that the PSU and optical drives rested on. The Sawtooth was capable of holding a "standard" sized ATX PSU. I say standard because at one time PSUs were of a standard size. In doing so you could have found a PSU that vented out the rear mounted it in the original location and not had to mess with mounting it in the way you did in the front of the case and not having an exit point for the heat that was generated. Also the existing shelf is a handy spot to mount another 80mm fan to blow air across the logic board. Also the spot on the side of the case where the original 120mm fan cage was is a good place to add a 120mm fan to exhaust air from the case. Being you do not have the cage present anymore you will have to rig up a way to mount the fan again. If you need to refer to my "Sawtooth" build on how to set up the inside of the case. A Sawtooth case is not the best case to use if you are looking to do a high end build with a processor that needs to be cooled. When the original machine came out Apple knew the G4 in the case would require the massive heat sink because the air movement in the case was lacking. With an i7 processor this equates to the massive heat sinks on yours or a liquid cooling system of some sort. Also to help with heat I'd try to find a way to see if you can mount the drives on the bottom again the way it was originally designed. it will also clean up the cable mess which is in yours and also reduce stress on the SATA connectors.
 
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Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3
CPU
i7-2600K
Graphics
HD 6870
I agree with most of what you say roto31, if I had stayed with the stock cooler or gone liquid cooled I could have a much neater build. Yours is a very neat solution, and perhaps I should have ignored over clocking for my first build - I just wanted everything. It was the desire to max out the processor that led me to a high performance heatsink, and then I found I had a major conflict with PSU and the side inlet fan :rolleyes: However, I do have an i7 running 4.2GHz and it seems stable so far, even if I do have a pile of scrap metal!!

After a lot of planning I decided I would cut too much of the shelf away and so made the decision to take it out - Without the shelf I chose the MacBane route of putting the PSU on the left, blowing up (to the drives) and sucking air in the same direction as the processor cooler to increase air flow. Then put 2 new fans to suck in the base near the front and blow out the hole where the old PSU had been.

I didn't want to suffer the hot processors that my dual G5 2,5GHz had (until I refitted with proper thermal grease) as they used to force a sleep when they got over 102°C. So I guess I got a bit focussed on processor cooling.

Thanks for the comments
 
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Hi ToastChem,

All builds are welcome here and well done on yours.

These cases are always a challenge.......some people cut them within an inch of their lives, others try to keep as stock as possible. As long as you have built something that does the job you want it to and looks the way you want it then you can be happy.

It is true that unless you do some surgery on the case to increase airflow then you just cannot run a high end processor. I have a couple of G4 cases in use now, one of which (sawtooth) looks pretty standard and has a low end video card and an i7 870 at standard speed (and I don't push it hard but it cruises at about 38c) and the other one (MDD) is the opposite and is overclocked, watercooled with a 560Ti and runs cooler than the sawtooth. Horses for courses as they say.

:)
 
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Thanks Minihack,

I guess I am happy with performance, and the minor issues I have had and solved (with massive help from this forum) have greatly improved my confidence in making a Hackintosh, so it has been a worthwhile experiment. However, there is always room for improvement and after re-reading roto31's reply, I am definitely going to explore the suggestion of putting at least one of the HDD's back down on the floor.

I had given up putting another drive there as the main case fan is a few mm's too wide, but it is a double height drive area and i could mount both drives on standoffs to allow air around them and tidy the cables inside. This would also result in only 1 drive on top of the old drive tray, making for a much more solid support. :thumbup: Just need to keep far enough away to allow a firewire card in the PCIx1 slot.

I could buy some longer cables with right angle ends to make cable runs better, the cables were old ones I had left over from upgrading, but I like the red one to signify the W7 drive (made keeping track of which drives were fitted, much easier).

Thanks again for the comments and suggestions.
 
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If you can try to figure out how to add another fan to the side of the case just to move the air better.
 
Joined
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Thanks roto31,

I have just run a bunch of temperature tests just to get a view as to what is missing here. Your right - I am not turning air over fast enough from inside the case. But I can't see an obvious place for another fan, however, I have some other possible ideas below:

At idle, the air blowing out of the exhaust fan (top rear, where the PSU used to vent) is 10°C above the room temperature. When I use high graphics or high processor, this rises to 17-20°C over the room temp. Not very dramatic, but needs improvement.

An list of all the air holes I have in the case is below.

1 Main fan in the base (inlet)
2 Zip drive slot (exit, i.e. can feel blowing air) - No Zip drive installed, so just a hole now), this proves that the inlet fan is a lot more powerful than the exit fan I have.
3 Previous main fan site (I have left the matrix of holes open, air must be exiting the case here, but cannot easily measure how much)
4 Graphics card grill (one of the PCIx slots is used as a fan exhaust for the graphics card)
5 Area around the ports from the motherboard (I have not installed my back plate yet, so air leaks around the ports)

As the processor is fairly high up in the case, and I have a lot of leaks that are low down in the case, I am probably not removing the processor heat very well with just the 80mm fan on the back panel. And since the base fan is the more powerful fan, I think if I seal the case better, it will push more air out of the top of the case, and past the graphics card - Does this make sense??

Probably the biggest culprit is the matrix of holes in the side (the previous main fan site) which must be an exit for a large portion of my inlet air, and is just below the processor heatsink.

Just out of curiosity I turned the fan on the Processor cooler round it was down blowing, it is now up blowing, but made no measurable difference to the temps.

I will try taping up all the holes and see if it changes the temps at all. If this improves matters, then the next step is either improve the exit fan (take the grills away and put a thin grill in place), fit a better fan, or drill a hole in the top and fit another exit fan (not ideal, but may extend the life of the system).

I'll report back after I've stopped up some leaks and got some temps recorded.
 
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Hi Toastchem,
Personally I think the processor cooler might not be the optimum for the layout. I think either a consistent front to back flow in the case, or one where the processor blows air directly down on the processor would work better. The first way would cut down on turbulence in the case from conflicting airflows and the second way would mimic the way Apple did most of the G4 cooling with air effectively being available to be sucked in through the matrix of holes and propelled down on the CPU and the RAM/VRM chips.
In my opinion at the moment you have airflows that are not consistent and probably don't really promote any single air path....
Just my thoughts.
 
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