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WIP Mac Pro 3.1 Mod, low budget and stock look

Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
27
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z170mx-Gaming 5
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
I already had a Hackintosh when I decided to put my pc in one of these amazing cases, this is my first mod (not already finished) and I didn't think that it would take me so many time. The most time I spent on this was thinking about how to do it, reading posts here and figuring out how I would put all my components in it. Also I'm a student with not many money so I didn't want to spent much on things to adapt the case.

My actual PC has an ATX Mobo and ATX psu, I first wanted to put all this in the case but I changed my mind when I saw how difficult it would be and all the concessions I would have to make (cuttings, the case would not be stock) so I decided to buy a second hand micro ATX Mobo with a new CPU and ram. It was the occasion to upgrade my config and get a mobo on which doing a Hackintosh was easier (mine was a msg Z87 G45 gaming).
But I still will get my PSU and put it in the Apple cage.

The futur setup will be :
  • i7 6700k
  • Gigabyte Z170mx Gaming 5
  • 16 Go DDR4 3200MHz
  • Noctua NH-U9S
  • R9 290 tri-x (will maybe change that, it's not optimized for dual screen on Mac)
  • Samsung 860 Evo 500Go SSD for macOs
  • Kingston HyperX 120Go for Windows
  • A few HDDs


Shopping list

I'm listing here just the required things to adapt the case, everything else are pc components that can be chosen depending on your preferences
Everything is not finished yet, I will add the rest later.

Standoff adaptation

After emptying this old beast I first removed the standoff with a flat pliers and attached them on an old mATX mobo that I had. I put epoxy on each standoff and softly put the mobo in place in the case. I also used an old gpu to make sure that the board would be exactly at the right place.

IMG_3549.JPG


Cuttings

This was the most delicate step. At the rear of the case I decided to only cut the rectangle where the ports was.
I used a Dremel with 540 discs.

IMG_3599.JPG

This is just after I did it, I did my best and still have to clean it (grey marks on the side is just paste from the adhesive tape I used to protect it) and file it properly. I plan them to 3D-print a piece of plastic adapted for the ports of my mobo.


I did some cuttings on the ram risers cage so that it can be fitted in the case and hold the rear fan.
But it's not finished, the right side on the pic fell right on the ram slots of my mobo so I need to cut this part also.
IMG_3595.JPG


I also had to cut the Apple PSU cage so I can gut mine in it. I don't have pics but you can find ones on NuclearLemons's thread as I have the same PSU and did the same thing


Front Panel

I just soldered the button pins to home-made cables that will be connected to the mobo
Left : LED+
Middle : Ground (connected to Power- on mobo)
Right : Power+
IMG_3597.JPG

I won't use the original Apple front panel PCB, I want USB 3, so I will either make my own pcb or buy already made cables on Aliexpress and 3d-print something to attach them.


PSU

This was probably the most painful part.
Mine is an Evga Supernova G3 850W. Great PSU, but not simple to adapt for the Mac Pro.

IMG_4119.JPG


First I teared it down and hopefully I knew what I was doing. If the capacitors are charged you can be injured so be careful if you plan to do the same.

I had to unplug the Evga fan (which was very noisy) and cut the power cables. I wanted to use the Delta EMI filter from the Apple PSU so I didn't had to do any cut behind the case. (and now I also use the Apple power cable ! :D)

I used the same standoff as for the motherboard, but if you can use smaller ones.
I was very lucky that the PSU board fitted perfectly in the cage with the EMI filter, I suggest you to look how your PSU board is before planning to put it in the cage.

IMG_4122.JPG

Leaving a cable for a fan.

Now the worst part was to put back the cage in the case. The space where the cables are plugged is very tight and I had to hook them where they left with the Apple PSU.
I put the fan where the old one were (120mm).

All of this took some time to study my PSU, find a compatible fan and being very careful during handling. If you don't want it to be simple I suggest you to take a sfx psu.
Nether the less the result is here, a full modular 850W PSU in the Apple PSU cage with the original connector and with the best airflow possible.


Fans

I simply used 120mm fans that fit on the original Apple parts
IMG_3600.JPG

I have another one (pmw) for PSU but I still don't know if I will keep it.


Storage

There are three solutions to keep using the Apple HDD spots :
  • Buy the SAS to Sata adapter (60$ without shipping)
  • Corsair 540 Hot Swap connectors (30$ for 4 with shipping)
  • Using nothing, just connect HDD to mobo
The simpler for me was the second, cheap and I live in France so I was sure to received it (the SAS adapter is shipped from US I believe)
They fit almost perfectly using the Apple screws.
IMG_3598.JPG

I also bought an adapter for the Apple 5,25 Bay to put 3 HDD/SSD in it.


What's left to do

  • Make the 3D parts for the front panel and the backplate
  • Enjoy

IMG_3594.JPG
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
1
Hello, This is awesome, I just got my Hands on a Mac Pro 1.1 and have been thinking about modifying it to get an ATX in.
Please keep us updated on how this goes.
Cheers,
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
27
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z170mx-Gaming 5
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hello, This is awesome, I just got my Hands on a Mac Pro 1.1 and have been thinking about modifying it to get an ATX in.
Please keep us updated on how this goes.
Cheers,
Thanks !
Adapting the case to an ATX mb required more cuttings and more work that I didn't have the courage to do.
I encourage you to take a micro ATX mb if you can it will be much more easier !
I first wanted to just find a Z87 mb to replace mine an keep my cpu and ram, but it was difficult to find and not worth it so instead I bought a new mb + cpu + ram at a really good price

The work of today was finishing the cuttings on the ram riser cage
IMG_3605.JPG
It's now fully adapted to my mb. The upper part don't touch the ram sticks, the part below touched one of the ports.

I also do some cleaning and filing on the back
IMG_3604.JPG

I'm now working on a 3d model to cover this hole
 

Feartech

Moderator
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
17,842
Motherboard
Asus N752VX-OpenCore
CPU
i7-6700HQ / HM170
Graphics
HD 530 1920 x 1080
Mac
iMac
Mobile Phone
iOS
I love these threads :)
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
179
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 M GAMING
CPU
i9-9900K
Graphics
Vega 56+UHD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
Front Panel

I just soldered the button pins to home-made cables that will be connected to the mobo
Left : LED+
Middle : Ground (connected to Power- on mobo)
Right : Power+
View attachment 410512

I won't use the original Apple front panel PCB, I want USB 3, so I will either make my own pcb or buy already made cables on Aliexpress and 3d-print something to attach them.
Sorry to ask, but you will connect the button to MOBO, do not need the 12v, 3.3v and ground for this?
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
179
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 M GAMING
CPU
i9-9900K
Graphics
Vega 56+UHD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
Storage

There are three solutions to keep using the Apple HDD spots :
  • Buy the SAS to Sata adapter (60$ without shipping)
  • Corsair 540 Hot Swap connectors (30$ for 4 with shipping)
  • Using nothing, just connect HDD to mobo
I bought the SAS to Sata adapter.
I am from Brazil and a friend of mine was working in the USA, so I enjoyed and bought it over the internet and had it delivered to his hotel.
If it were to buy and have it delivered here, it would be very expensive.
But it was worth it.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
27
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z170mx-Gaming 5
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Sorry to ask, but you will connect the button to MOBO, do not need the 12v, 3.3v and ground for this?
No need, you just plug the power+ and led+ to your mobo, the the ground (middle) to power- on your mobo
For the led I first plugged it on the Led+ of my mobo but it was then always on even when the system wasn't on so I plugged it on the HDD-LED+ and now it turns on when the system turns on
 
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
179
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 M GAMING
CPU
i9-9900K
Graphics
Vega 56+UHD 630
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
Android, iOS
No need, you just plug the power+ and led+ to your mobo, the the ground (middle) to power- on your mobo
For the led I first plugged it on the Led+ of my mobo but it was then always on even when the system wasn't on so I plugged it on the HDD-LED+ and now it turns on when the system turns on
Great, tks.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
27
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z170mx-Gaming 5
CPU
i7-6700K
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
MacBook Pro, Mac Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
I finally had time to continue this project !

Today I worked on the psu, it was probably the most painful task

My original PSU is an Evga Supernova 850 G3, I teared it down and put the board in the original apple cage using the same standoff than for the motherboard.
IMG_4119.JPGIMG_4122.JPG

I replaced the Evga fan (130mm) by a 120mm inwin fan which I connected to the psu board that will be placed at the same place than the original Apple fan.
I was really lucky that the board fits perfectly in the cage with the Apple power connector.

The painful part was to put the cage back in the cage. There is really not much space to fit the cables.
It almost took me 2 hours to build the pc again, but the result is here, a full modular 850W PSU in the original Apple PSU cage, and with the best airflow possible.

I will post pics later when the project will be 100% finished.
I still have to 3d print the backplate and a support for the front usb panel.
 
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