Apple Mac G4 Build

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Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RJDog » 2018-6-13 @ 18:30

Yes, an Apple Mac is not something one usually "builds" in same sense as our superior PC type stuff. Thanks, Apple, and their whole "full end-to-end user experience" and "it just works" philosophy, or whatever (for those that don't know, Apple actually did have an OEM/clone scene going on for a very short while, but Steve Jobs squashed that when he came back).

Anyway, I have been thinking about getting a G3 for a while now as a first foray into the retro Mac scene, and came across a deal where I could get a G4 Sawtooth motherboard including 400Mhz G4 processor, and (Apple branded) ATI Rage 128 Pro AGP video card for a combined US$17, including shipping. I couldn't say no. Coincidentally, just a couple weeks later, I came across this 2005/2006-era ATX PC case at a yard sale which was clearly trying to immitate the Mac G5 aluminum case. I think the (real) G5 case is pretty slick looking, and this case does a half-decent job imitating it for PC build, even if it is mostly plastic. It is, as far as I'm concerned, pretty much the perfect case to put the Mac G4 parts I have into.

Fortunately, and coincidentally, the G4 Sawtooth motherboard (but not later G4 motherboard) power connector is nearly identical to regular 20-pin ATX power supply connector, save for two pins... or, one, if the ATX power supply doesn't have -5V supply to begin with. And as for connecting the front panel buttons and LEDs, I found a page on the Internets (again, coincidentally) about putting a G4 Sawtooth motherboard in an ATX case: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/ATX_ ... X_case.htm As for mounting, it is pretty much as you would expect -- mark some spots on the motherboard tray in the case, drill some holes, mount some standoffs in your new "custom" spots...

So far, I only have parts cleaned and fully tested (you really have no idea how happy I was that both motherboard and video card, which I purchased separately, but combined for measly $17, worked on first go) and have tapped some new mounting holes on the motherboard tray in the case. Over the next couple days I hope I will get the hardware mounted in there and update this thread with additional pictures.

And for those that are wondering what was inside the yard sale case find, it was a cheap ASRock AM2 micro ATX board with Sempron processor and 512MB of DDR2 RAM, and a 160GB SATA (150MBps) Seagate HDD. I really have AM2 boards coming out the wazzoo, and much better ones than this, so the only thing kept out of all of it was the case and the IDE LG DVD drive (sorry).
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby chinny22 » 2018-6-14 @ 11:32

Hackentoshes are nothing new but not sure this is usually what they have in mind ;)
I agree the G5 is a nice case, but it ways a ton, this is much more kinder to your back.

You going with OS9 or 10, or both?
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RJDog » 2018-6-14 @ 23:53

Going with MacOS 9.2 as my intention is to play games roughly 1990-2000. We'll see how that works out. I may or may not install MacOS X as a dual boot.

So I got everything in the case pretty well, the custom motherboard mounting holes worked out better than I was expecting... had to dremel a little cut out for the line out 3.5mm audio connector, but that wasn't too bad.

However, now that I got everything in the case, it no longer wants to boot from the MacOS 9.2 install CD that it was happily booting from when I had the parts connected on my bench. Same cables, same drive, same power supply, same everything... not sure if something got damaged maybe? Some initial troubleshooting seems to indicate it is something with either the IDE/ATA port on the motherboard or the cable, as connecting the CD drive to the other Ultra ATA port on the motherboard (and using different cable) proves successful in booting the CD. Yay. More troubleshooting ahead...
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby greasemonkey90s » 2018-6-15 @ 05:43

man i so wanted to do this cause just not a fan of the original case. cool stuff man
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RJDog » 2018-6-16 @ 01:34

So the IDE/ATA port works when I remove it from the case :angry:
I guess something must be shorting out in the case...? I have no idea what... ugh.
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RJDog » 2018-6-16 @ 02:24

So... the cheap G5-alike ATX case has built-in standoffs for ATX motherboards as part of the stamped metal of the motherboard tray. I thought I was doing good covering them up with electrical tape to prevent shorts... I guess electrical tape wasn't good enough. The pins on the backside of the IDE/ATA connector poked through the electrical tape and shorted against the case. Yay. So, to show that sucker I used foam-backed tape along with a new application of electrical tape to give a good barrier. Works now.
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RJDog » 2018-6-19 @ 01:43

So, slight huccup; I have a VGA-PS/2 KVM that I have my retro PCs hooked up to, so I figured, no problem, I have a couple USB to PS/2 adapters, so I'll use that (one of the reasons I wanted to start with a G3 or G4, USB keyboard/mouse compatibility). However, it appears that the cheap China USB to PS/2 adapters I have aren't simple HID devices and, surprise, MacOS 9 doesn't support it. "MacOS" is listed as compatible, but come to find out they mean MacOS X, of course. So I have one now ordered from Amazon that specifically mentions MacOS 8.6+ compatible.
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby RichB93 » 2018-6-19 @ 20:56

I have a spare G4 AGP board that I converted to ATX power (removed some of the pins from the ATX connector. No idea what to do with it mind you! Has a 32MB Rage Pro card to boot! Cool little machines.
Various bits for sale including multiple QDI Legend Rendition Vérité V2200 4MB AGP cards, varying PCI Matrox cards, and a SB PCI 16. Drop me a PM if interested :)
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Re: Apple Mac G4 Build

Postby D3FEKT » 2018-6-22 @ 15:06

Awesome, have the same board sitting in my shed but a 450mhz version i think.
Didn't really delve into deeper to realise that the psu is basically an atx, thought it was proprietary
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