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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

Power Mac - G3 tower, PC parts?


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ripo

 
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Okay, so my friend has a G3 tower (weird teal/white) in his closet that he's thinking about trashing. I was wondering if it's possible to build this case into a PC rig (with the possibility of dual-booting OSX, so suggestions on OSX-friendly parts would also be helpful) for use as a media rig/jukebox. HD video is not necessary, as long as it will play a regular length movie without having to buffer anything. Anyone done anything like this? For starters, what kind of motherboard/main board/logic board will I need, or are there pre-made adapters that would enable me to use a PC board?
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Well, the original guts are mostly proprietary, so if you do want to dual boot with Windows you'll basically have to remove everything and put it together again from scratch. That could be hard since the mountings for the non-standard Apple motherboard are going to be in different places than they are on standard ATX motherboards. Same with the power supply - it's custom, not ATX, so you'll have to make sure an ATX can fit properly.

I'm sure you could do it but you'd need something like a Dremel to drill new holes and so on. You could probably fit a microATX motherboard and a standard ATX power supply in there without too much trouble.
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Rather than hack it to fit a PC motherboard (which may be more trouble than it's worth), I would recommend selling it (eBay or Craigslist) and getting an ATX case, perhaps with front USB ports.

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ripo

 
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I'm actually starting with an empty tower. Mobo was fried, and is sitting the guy's other closet. All that's left in the tower is the power supply, cd drive, and floppy drive. Luigi, have you heard of/seen anyone doing this? I'm basically just wondering what PC parts would fit.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ripo View Post
I'm actually starting with an empty tower. Mobo was fried, and is sitting the guy's other closet. All that's left in the tower is the power supply, cd drive, and floppy drive. Luigi, have you heard of/seen anyone doing this? I'm basically just wondering what PC parts would fit.
that's the thing, no PC parts will fit in out of the box ... the Power Mac motherboard was a completely different format from the ATX used today, you have to do some hand adjustments to the case itself or put in a whole side from a different case

well the hard drives might fit in
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I'd suggest taking this question over to AppleFritter. Their forums don't appear to be very active, but you could probably at least do some searches and see if anyone's done something like that.

They also have an archive of some neat case mods people have made, but they stopped updating those in 2004.

I also found this page where someone did just what you're looking to do: A G4 CaseMod

It's hard to say precisely what you'll have to do. But it'll involve modding the motherboard tray (the flat metal plate that the motherboard is attached to), the back panel (where you access the ports), the power supply area, and the front panel (where the buttons are). You also have to take into account the size of the drive cage - it gets in the way of most motherboards. Here's a quick rundown of the mods you'll need to make:

- Pick a motherboard. Preferably something in the microATX form factor so you can be sure it'll fit. mATX motherboards are pretty much just as good as ATX ones, they just have a couple of PCI slots removed.
- Use that motherboard as a template to drill holes in the motherboard tray so you can install risers (the things on the left of this image). Alternatively, cannibalize the motherboard tray from a cheap ATX case and put that in (except you'll have to figure out a way to mount it, which would probably be even harder than drilling holes for the risers).
- Cut open the back panel where the ports come out. To get a backplate that'll work, you can either use the one included with the motherboard (you'll have to size the back panel just right) or you could just make a custom one with a dremel and some patience. Make sure you leave enough of the original backplate in place so you have something to attach the new backplate to, with screws.
- Somehow affix the power supply to the case. I'm not sure the best way to do this. You'll need a standard ATX one, by the way. You won't be able to reuse the one from the Mac.
- Figure out how to get the power button and speaker working. I'm not sure how this can even be done except by cannibalizing the button from another ATX case, cutting out the old button, and putting the new one in its place.

If you decide to go through with this, good luck! Take lots of pictures and give us updates!
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Why not just leave it a Mac box and put Linux on it.
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Why not just leave it a Mac box and put Linux on it.
Read the earlier posts. The motherboard was fried and the only parts he still has are the power supply and drives. No motherboard, no processor. He probably doesn't want to spend any money on a G3 or G4 logic board when you can get a hugely faster ATX motherboard for probably about the same price. He just wants to build a new computer inside an existing case because the blue G3 case is pretty cool. I wouldn't mind having one either but it's too much work for me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Luigi View Post
because the blue G3 case is pretty cool. I wouldn't mind having one either but it's too much work for me.
That way you leave it like it is. A mac box. A mob and cpu is like ten bucks.
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Not that cheap, but there are some on ebay as low as $40. I think his idea is pretty cool though. Build a much more powerful machine inside the G3 case, use it to run Linux or something.
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I just did this with a G4 case

a nightmare is a good description. I've modded cases int he past, and this was the most difficult I've ever done.

it takes a MICROATX not an ATX motherboard, and will take a standard rear facing fan ATX power supply.



also if you want new motherboard that willl work in there I've got a spare G4 400mhz processor, motherboard (gigabit ethernet version), and the video card for it. might make matters easier.

as far as what motherboard you plan on using... it depends ont he build of OS X you plan on running and how hard you want to make things on yourself.
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Apple G3 Motherboard 820-0991-A | LOT OF 4 - eBay (item 130285880625 end time Mar-06-09 11:05:58 PST)
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I am shocked I missed the one point of this thread and sorry to do and say this, but it's the rules here at Mac Forums.

Running OSX on any PC hardware is against Apples EULA and also you have to run a crack (patch) to get OSX to even boot on PC hardware which is against the DCMA copyright act. We do not allow any talk about running OSX on any PC (Hackintosh) hardware. Sorry. I am closing this.

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