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One Equals Two 03-09-2010 12:54 AM

So new, I don't know where to start.


I love Macs but am rather computer illiterate and slow. I have had a Mac since I was, well, a baby. It all started with an Apple 2e, and 10 Macs later, here I am. It's just what I am used to so I never bothered to learn PC's until I attended college. Now I have both.

Anyway, I am looking for a new hobby. I am an auto mechanic and store manager by trade, and a car tuner and "modifier" by hobby. I love working with machines and love mixing and matching parts. It gets me a 370 hp beast that runs like new, gets 27 mpg, and costs $6,500. However, my current hobby of modding cars is rather pricey. A car can rack up a bill near $10,000 just in parts if I am not careful. So, I want a cheaper but still useful hobby.


Desires: I am interested in buying "junk" Macs and repairing them.

I am also interested in modifying Macs (no PC's, not interested). Not like a hard drive replacement, but I mean an entire overhaul. Like how my Mitsubishi Eclipse turned from a stock car to a 370 hp monster. The engine, computer, turbo, A/C, etc, were all from different cars.

I have no fear of tearing into a computer, I do it all the time with cars, including repairing and restoring ECUs and sensors, something most mechanics don't bother with.

Questions: (A lot of text, I am sorry)

Can I modify an older computer (i.e) Black Macbook to run much faster? I don't mind pulling processors off and soldering in a new one, or the same goes for other parts.

When something like a motherboard fails, what usually goes wrong? Now, on a car, usually one part fails, but the rest of the car is fine, so I end up replacing the bad parts and the car works again. Does the same apply here? I know a circuit board has a lot of stuff on it.

Is there a website with modifying Mac parts around?

Anyway, I am so new to this computer world that I don't even know where to begin. So, I apologize for newbie questions, as I am about as new as they come. I understand how it is, I see newbies all the time on local car forums asking FAQs. I would search, but I don't even know what it is called that I am interested in. :P Computer modding? Thanks!

TattooedMac 03-09-2010 01:05 AM

HAHA welcome One Equals Two
I had a chuckle when i read this and sympathise with you. I had a hobby running a Steel Framed 437hp Sprint Car, and yes it was a expensive hobby as well. Didnt have ambitions to go fix computers though lol

Im not the Tech Savvie guy as some on here are, and yes you will get a answer from one or two of them. I say you could probably do what you are looking to, but its finding the right info for the task your going to tackle.
I will keep an eye on this thread to see the answers and if you go ahead and do it dont be a stranger and post about what you have done to *Soup Up* some of the old machines. Photos go well too ;P
Good luck mate and look forward to seeing some results in the future.

And ohh welcome once again to the community. You will most definitely get the answers you are looking for


TomTomTuning 03-09-2010 01:07 AM

Whats up fellow car tuner! I've been a gear head since i could remember, i to am into the import tuners and so one. I've had about 5-6 civics, 4x240x, S2000, EVO VIII and so on. I current have an S13 coup, Silva front end, Skyline RB25.. etc etc. And i totally see where your coming from on wanting to mod other things (less expensive).

When it comes to mac's, besides a simple ram upgrade or HD replacement. I dont think there much in the "Bolt-on modification" area so to speak. I'm sure alot will have to be custom fabrications and maybe some cool retro fits. But then again I'm not a mac genius (no pun in tended), so i'm not really 100% sure.

I've only been into macs now for about 2 years, i've fully converted. I'm a full time PC tech and have built many custom PC's in my day. With PC's you can really upgrade, replace and build what ever you want. CPU, GPU, mobo's, Ram, HD's, cases, water cooling, lights etc..

I know my post wasnt very helpful, but good luck.

TomTomTuning 03-09-2010 01:08 AM

Check out MacMod - Connecting Smart Mac Users, i didnt read much but there might be some helpful info on there.

One Equals Two 03-09-2010 01:17 AM

Lol, and here I find tuners too. I am a DSM guy though, modding my current Eagle Talon, and have had an Eclipse GST and another Talon before that. I tell ya, when I saw online 5 or 6 different Macbooks for $80 a piece, I was like, "Whoo hoo!" I just spent $2,300 on my Talon recently, and it still isn't complete yet. Not to mention, every week = $70 in gas for commuting, the computer modding looks a lot more appealing to me.

Anyway, thanks for the replies. I checked out Mac modding, and found a few interesting things. I'll keep reading.

TomTomTuning 03-09-2010 01:31 AM

Yea, dude. I guess you can call an EVO a DSM. haha
The motor had some problems, so i rebuilt it but did 2.3L stroker along with a few other things. Totally fun car. I miss it some times

Check out as well.

Jamie-Jamie 03-09-2010 02:17 AM

One Equals Two, I have a TON of old Macs including a blue G3, a damage blueberry iBook, and an iceBook of unknown status, as well as a 700MHz iBook logic board that I have to get rid of... interested?

One Equals Two 03-09-2010 02:23 AM


Originally Posted by Jamie-Jamie (Post 1014422)
One Equals Two, I have a TON of old Macs including a blue G3, a damage blueberry iBook, and an iceBook of unknown status, as well as a 700MHz iBook logic board that I have to get rid of... interested?

Well, not really. I have a pile of iBooks, a powerbook G4 and an old iMac just sitting that I'd like to play with. But thanks though.

Any help on how to repair a logic board would be nice. Thanks!

6string 03-09-2010 02:53 AM
You may wanna contact the guy who did the above :)

chas_m 03-09-2010 06:18 AM


Originally Posted by One Equals Two (Post 1014384)
Can I modify an older computer (i.e) Black Macbook to run much faster?


There are some Mac models (mostly older ones) that can be modded. This is not one of them.


When something like a motherboard fails, what usually goes wrong?
There are so many potential answers to this I don't know where to start. Only on some specific models could I tell you what IME went wrong. Logic boards have (literally) tens of thousands of small parts, any one of which can fail. Yes, it's often something easy like a capacitor, but often its not.

Moreover, Apple's boards are all proprietary designs so getting bits for them is often a real challenge.


Now, on a car, usually one part fails, but the rest of the car is fine, so I end up replacing the bad parts and the car works again. Does the same apply here?
Broadly speaking, yes ... but the equipment allowing you to identify the problem part (if its not obvious) is extremely expensive.

Modding is a great hobby (you'll find plenty of examples via the URLs others have posted) and getting good at repairing Macs could lead to a lucrative new career (the world could always use a new Mac tech!!) so I don't want to discourage you, but there are definitely limitations compared to the PC "wild west" where anything goes and everything's swappable.

DaFlake 03-09-2010 08:15 AM

I have to agree with the above. Anything is possible if you have a solid understanding of electronic engineering and how circuits and components work but it won't be easy.

I do think that you have a bit of confusion on how modding a computer works. In the old days we had jumpers that we could use to "tweak" a computer (speaking PC here but the concepts are the same) which could trick the processor into running faster. This is called "overclocking" and it makes the processor run hotter. The idea was to push it to the edge of stability to get the best performance, much like people do with a stock engine of a car. However, these jumpers were removed and replaced with a software type of system called the BIOS (still PC here). You can still overclock but now the software handles it. There are various things that could be done on a PC front but I think that MAC is locked pretty tightly (I'm sure that I will be corrected on this if I am wrong).

What you are asking is to basically take a faster processor off of one board and putting it on a board that was not designed to run it. The short answer is no, it won't work and you would have a ton of learning to do to even go down this route. To put it into more of a perspective, it would be like trying to drop a 400 big block into a MINI. Anything is possible but serious modification to the overall structure would have to occur.

If you are really interested in all of this you need to start looking at hardware level classes at a college. Terms like endianness and little man computer are concepts that you should know and understand to do what you are asking if this is what you were thinking. As a programming major and a former radio repair tech in the Army (circuit level) I can tell you that it is complicated and not easy. However, if you have gumption, then I say go for it!

Now, if you are wanting to repair an old board that is damaged (other than processor or specialized IC) then you might be able to do this with a little trial and error. I have repaired some older boards that blew capacitors but many boards today use very specialized integrated circuits that you can't buy on the market. This makes it hard to repair many systems. They also tend to take a lot of different things with them when they die which makes it even worse.

I don't want to burst your bubble on this but if you are this ramped up about stuff like this, why not learn some programming? It requires problem solving skills and ingenuity to get things done and you might find that you like it.

One Equals Two 03-09-2010 11:23 AM

This is the kind of stuff I was expecting to hear. Which, doesn't surprise me. Going back to cars, I had a bad Mass Air Flow sensor on my Lexus that would've cost me $430. So, I decided to pull it apart and found a little blown capacitor on it. So, I identified what capacitor it was and soldered the new one in. It worked, and is still working to this day some 13 months later. But that was a very generic sensor, and I am sure computers are much more complex.

I am not afraid of learning, "I like learning a lot!" and this seems like fun. It will be great to know that most people wont even bother with what I am trying to learn. It's like REAL car repair. There is a way to diagnose and repair cars the proper way, 99% of the time. But most mechanics are lazy and like to rely on their "experience" and that's when return trips occur. Since our date of inception last year, our shop hasn't had ONE car come back to us for parts that broke that we worked on. That is our pride and joy, and as a hobby, it'd be a great joy to know this is what I can do. I am interested in this, but I obviously don't know jack right now. Guess I better start somewhere right! Anyway, I'll hit the books and get reading. Meanwhile, I think I'll start bidding on some junk Macbooks to fix up. I don't want to resurrect a 500mhz iBook when I can barely use it to run anything.

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