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Old 24th Jul 2014, 19:37   #1
Tunabarrage
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[Project Simplicity] 10/18/2014 Update: It lives! Dremels and files oh my!


Hello! I've been stalking the Bit-Tech forums for a while, and have been slowly starting work on this project, so I figured I would start my log now. I guess a little background is in order, before we begin the actual modding.

I will be a Sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering this coming fall, and love designing and building stuff. My father is a video-journalist, and editing and rendering videos takes (and took) quite a bit of horsepower. The G5 was a pinnacle of professional computing strength in 2005, and was more than fast enough for his needs. Unfortunately, when apple switched to Intel from the PowerPC architecture in 2006(ish), his trusty G5 started its fall towards obscurity, and ended up sitting in our house unused and untouched. Luckily for me, nobody wanted to buy a computer that, while still very fast, couldn't run any new software. So, I asked if I could have it to mess around with. Little did he know...


Anyway! This build has a mix of inspirations. I wanted to build a powerful computer in the G5 case as a homage or tribute of sorts to its original strength and speed, but I also wanted it to be clean and beautiful to look at. In that aspect, I hope to achieve something visually similar to the panels used in Silen Flux, as I really loved how clean that mod is.

I will be going for a dark grey/black and aluminum/silver theme. I feel that dark panels will accent the aluminum of the G5 case, and will be visually appealing without being too gaudy or flashy.

Hardware I have so far:
- Processor: Intel core i7-4770k
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3H mATX
- RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 4x4
- GPU: EVGA GTX970 SSC
- PSU: Corsair RM 650
- SSD: 2x PNY XLR8 240GB
- HDD: WD Black 2TB 7200RPM
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i


Update log:
25/7/2014: Mounting the Motherboard
27/7/2014: Pump Removal
05/8/2014: Cable management and Panels!
10/18/2014 Update: It lives! Dremels and files oh my!

Without further ado, lets get into the actual modding!
(I will warn you, I started this while at my dorm last semester, and my photo skills are sub-par. Almost everything will be taken on an iphone 4s, except for key milestone pictures, which will be taken by my mom, who is also a professional photojournalist.)


I first started out by disassembling the case, which ended up being a challenge in and of itself..



Look at this CPU block! Jeez..



I was an idiot and didn't take any pictures of the entire case stripped, so you get an artsy shot through one of the rear fan cutouts.



At this point, I realized I couldn't do much without a clear direction, but I knew I wanted an mATX board lining up with the original GPU brackets, because it would keep cutting of the case to a minimum, and look clean. I didn't have a motherboard yet, though.. hmm. What to do?

But of course! Mock one up out of cardboard so I could start testing different designs!


A bit of cutting and thinking later, I ended up with this.
(I don't know why I left the plastic on either.. It's like I'm trying to get awful pictures!)


and then I mocked up the PSU with cardboard and made that cutout, and it actually looks pretty nice!



All of this was done at my dorm, so unfortunately this log isn't starting at the same time as the modding, but that's okay. I'll catch up quickly!

I'll be adding the next bit momentarily.
(Also, as this is my first time posting here, please let me know if I've done anything wrong or incorrectly, or if there is anything I could improve upon in terms of forum ettiquite. Thanks!)

All pictures and text are Copyright Jackson Fadely. Written or verbal consent is required before redistribution.

Last edited by Tunabarrage; 18th Oct 2014 at 18:55.
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Old 24th Jul 2014, 23:20   #2
Jeffinslaw
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Ooh I do love G5 mods! Will be following this closely!

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Old 25th Jul 2014, 00:32   #3
Tunabarrage
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Continuing on..

The motherboard and PSU came in!




I had some fun messing around with the motherboard.. I thought this looked quite nice for an iphone picture.



Ah, so.. those standoffs from earlier. These, remember?



So I put them on the motherboard, and used some lipstick on the back to mark where they needed to go. I then taped off the area, used some acetone to remove the lipstick and clean it, and buffed it with sandpaper.





I used the old graphics card to align the motherboard in the case.





I didn't get any pictures of the JB Weld, but its your pretty standard 2-part epoxy. Holds like a charm.

...And, its in! (after a couple hours of drying)



(Please excuse my awful pictures )

So it was at this point that I decided some vague cardboard cutouts weren't going to cut it. I wanted an easier way of prototyping ideas, so I made a model in sketchup.

It started out simple...



and got increasingly laden down with hidden parts as I tried various ideas.
There were many interior front panel designs.


Including one for the H220


And of course, a totally overkill double 360 radiator in top and bottom, with the PSU hanging in the front.

This idea seemed very unique, so much so that I went and made a cutout for the PSU in the middle divider.

I realized after I cut it that It would ruin the aesthetics of the case to have radiator cutouts in the top, and it would be beyond my poor college student means to have a double-360 watercooling setup. So I scratched that idea. Oh well.

So after more messing around with panels, I realized I had some 3/16 foamboard lying around, so I drew up some panels using that thickness.



I think this is the design I will be going with. I'll order some grey or black acryllic and get the panels cut eventually. I'm still rather novice at the whole machining side of this, so I expect to make many mistakes. I'll build it out of the foamboard first.

As for watercooling, If I still want to, I will run only the CPU underwater I think, and just use 2x120mm fans in the front for aesthetics. Some black chrome bitspower fittings and a nickel plated CPU block of some sort would look awesome here. We'll see!
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 10:08   #4
Kerroin
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Is it me or that G5 case just gave you a pump?

Waiting to see what that Apple case will be after modding.
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 18:14   #5
Tunabarrage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffinslaw View Post
Ooh I do love G5 mods! Will be following this closely!

-Jeffinslaw
Thanks! I loved seeing these mods as well, when I was looking for inspiration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerroin View Post
Is it me or that G5 case just gave you a pump?

Waiting to see what that Apple case will be after modding.
Hopefully it will become something worthy haha. And I'll have to look into the pump; It would probably be possible to recycle it! Would be awesome.

Has anyone tried that? Using the watercooling pump from the G5 for modern watercooling arrangements?
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 20:07   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tunabarrage View Post
Has anyone tried that? Using the watercooling pump from the G5 for modern watercooling arrangements?
Do you know of bmaverick? Some of the pumps he sold were pulled from dead G5's. Or they were the same pump used in G5's. Something like that lol.

Here is a link to his site: http://bmaverickddcpumps.wordpress.com/ He doesn't have anymore pumps in stock though.

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Old 25th Jul 2014, 20:25   #7
Tunabarrage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffinslaw View Post
Do you know of bmaverick? Some of the pumps he sold were pulled from dead G5's. Or they were the same pump used in G5's. Something like that lol.

Here is a link to his site: http://bmaverickddcpumps.wordpress.com/ He doesn't have anymore pumps in stock though.

-Jeffinslaw
I just had a look at mine, seems almost the same, but mine is a bit taller. I'll try to grab a picture.

Got a picture.. Also don't know how I can get it out of the CPU block. I'll look around.


But it would totally make sense to reuse it. Following the link on that site you showed me, they even were able to mod it to accept PWM support and use of 3rd party pump tops! Wow!
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Old 27th Jul 2014, 16:41   #8
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7/27/2014 update

So I have a bit of an intermediate update for you guys today, concerning the DDC pump that came with the G5. After a grueling 2 hours fighting with this CPU block, I finally emerged victorious and now have a very nice pump. Hopefully. Maybe.

Anyway! I took lot's of pictures of the process so that you can see just how over-engineered this thing was..

So the pump is screwed onto the thick middle aluminum plate, and can only be unscrewed by removing the processors and the plate that they are attached to. ...Which means you have to disassemble the entire block.

Here you can see the screws holding the plate we need to remove, along with one of the processor blocks.


I also removed the top heat-sink holder thing(?)


So after removing those screws from before, it turns out that there are other screws holding the two together. Guess I will have to remove the processors after all..



There, all the screws holding the processor onto the back are gone. Wait, why wont this darn thing come apart? Uggh.

After unscrewing all 11 screws of the left processor plate, I managed to remove it:


Success!

I finally found the screws holding the two halves together. Tricky little things.


After removing them:

It pulls apart! yes! I did the wrong side first. The pump is on the other side. whoops.

After repeating the process for the second processor, I was finally able to release my prize:


And just for kicks, here are the two processors, and the (31) screws total that were removed to get them out


Then came draining it so I could actually remove the pump. I first used pliers to remove the clamps, and tried to pull the hoses off, but it turns out 9 year old PVC hose doesn't relinquish its grasp so easily. So I cut a slit in each with a razor and pulled them off with pliers.





Success!

Having taken the pump back inside, I took it apart and drained/cleaned it, because apparently apple's coolant was very toxic when exposed to air.



The part with the springs is a volume compensator that was used because there was no reservoir in the G5. I think I'll keep it simply because I'd have to plug a hole in the pump that was designed to fill that otherwise.

Does anyone have any suggestions about re-wiring this thing? I'm not too familiar with pump power, but could I use a 4-pin fan header or a Sata power connector to power this? Or does anyone know the pinout?



After drying the pump and putting it back together, along with the entire processor block from the G5, these were the only casualties:

The two screws used to hold the pump, and 4 brackets that I forgot to put back in that were used to hold the processor block to the case. Not too bad!

And this goes back to sitting around, sans pump.



That's it for the pump, but there will be a large update later today or tomorrow, detailing some cable management and other things, but you'll see that when its posted.
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 20:09   #9
Tunabarrage
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05/08/2014 Update: Cable management and Panels!

Huge update today!
Panels, Cable Management, and Professional pictures! YES!

The G5 is pretty lacking in cable-management solutions. Many people who opt to put the PSU in the top compartment simply cut a larger hole in the divider and ran everything down the left side of the motherboard with specific offshoots for GPU's and the 24-pin etc. This can look very good if done tastefully, but keeping in tune with the name of my project, I will be keeping cable-touchups relatively simplistic. The flat cables of the Corsair RM PSU are already quite attractive in my opinion, so I'll be using those stock. I haven't figured out the GPU power yet, but I might sleeve that because of an ugly little double up for the extra 6-pin connector.

Anyway, I bought some 3m sticky tape sided cable clips from frozencpu, and they worked out perfectly.













That's about all the interesting stuff for cable management.. Now comes the part anyone following this was interested in from the second update

From 3D model to actual computer! (In foamboard for now. It still looks really good though.)



I wont bore you with cutting out every panel since it's only foamboard, and didn't really require any special machining, but I wanted to showcase my transcription from Sketchup to actual panels, since they turned out perfectly.









Testing fit in the case:





Perfect.











I attached the fans with bent paperclips as a temporary measure to see what it would look like, but I actually really like the sleek look. They are almost invisible unless you are looking for them. Obviously, they wont hold up well when I attach a radiator, but I'm thinking some flush 3m screws through the front mesh should be fairly low profile and unnoticeable.



Barely visible.

And now as promised, some very fancy pictures, to give you a taste of what the final product will look like:















As a tribute to my artsy shot from before haha.









That's it for now. I'm waiting to be payed for a job I'm working currently before I can proceed with this project, unless sponsorship happens. I'm not too optimistic for now though, as this is my first build and It pales in comparison to many of the amazing projects in the logs right now. Expect the next update to include RAM, CPU, GPU and or some of the watercooling components, as well as actual acryllic panels and front panel and rear panel replacement.
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Old 11th Aug 2014, 06:34   #10
Thisisburrito
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Looking great so far, are you going to sleeve the cables?
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Old 11th Aug 2014, 07:03   #11
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Very nicely done so far.
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Old 14th Aug 2014, 14:58   #12
Tunabarrage
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Looking great so far, are you going to sleeve the cables?
Thanks! I haven't decided whether or not to sleeve them yet; the stock corsair flat cables are very nice in my opinion. Once I get some of the blocks and contrasting colors on there (Clean full nickel supremacy and a phobya nickel pump top) I'll decide whether or not to sleeve the cables. Some black/grey/silver theme would go very well with the build.

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Very nicely done so far.
thank you! Hopefully I can get another update in before my university starts up again, but we'll have to wait and see.
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Old 18th Oct 2014, 18:48   #13
Tunabarrage
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Holy c**p an update!

Simplicity lives!


So it's been a while! Progress has been made, slowly but steadily, since the last update. School has been keeping me extremely busy, so not only have I not had much time to do some modding, I've also not had any time to post an update to this project log. But that changes today!

I left off last time with most of the panel work done in black foamboard, with the promise of acrylic panels to come. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and funding constraints, the acrylic is still waiting. Oh well. Good news is that most of the final computer hardware is in! (minus watercooling... budget restraints argh).

So far we're looking at:
i7 4770k - Processor
Gigabyte GA-Z87MX-D3h - Motherboard
Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 4x4 - Ram (more on this later..)
EVGA GTX970 SSC - GPU
2x PNY XLR8 240GB SSD
2TB WD Black HDD
Corsair RM 650W - PSU
Corsair H100i CPU cooler

(I'll update the main post as well.)


Anyway, with all of the hardware in, I couldn't wait to get it up and running to make sure everything was working as intended. Shown in the picture is an XFX r9 290, which I ended up returning to newegg for the 970 shown later.







It lives! ...but not with all 4 sticks of RAM installed.



It's only running in single channel.. with 8GB of ram, but...





Well that's annoying. This was the only time I could get it to boot into bios with all 4 sticks. Right now, I'm using it with only 2 of them installed.

Apparently, Gigabyte z87 motherboards have an issue with using 4 sticks of ram. I ended up relaxing the timings as much as possible, using and not using XMP profiles, and every combination of ram possible. All individual sticks have been tested and boot fine by themselves, and all of them pass memtest on their own. Totally lost. So I RMA'd the motherboard, which didn't fix it. Still haven't figured out a solution.

I finally had a break a few weeks ago to do some actual modding, and broke out the dremel to attach the noctua fans to the back of the case.









Having done that, my desire to cut aluminum and actually get work done finally took over, and spent the weekend getting most of the cuts for the case done.

Here is the back panel I/O cutout. I haven't quite figured out what to do with it besides it being functional, but It'll be figured out eventually.









Rough edges.



Filing in progress...







The aftermath.

Much better! Wait.. Something's not right though.



Damnit.

I'll JB Weld it back in place eventually.

I had ordered a Vandal illuminated switch, and a Lian Li USB 3 and HD audio front panel to mod into the case, but had nowhere to put them, so I started on the front panel.



First I knocked the original power button out, after marking a circle to cut out for the new power button.



After the cut, and with some markings for the next cut visible:





Perfect fit for that power button.

Then the USB and Audio cut outs:









Look at the aluminum filings, hanging by (magnetism? static attraction from the friction? Dunno, but its cool)! Also, the mostly-filed front I/O opening. Yay.



It fits! But, not really.



The I/O panel is so close to the button, that I couldn't fit the tightening ring around the threads on the power button. What to do...





I filed the plastic down on the end of the front panel screw mount, until it would just barely accommodate the power button lock ring.



It works.

I started back up on the panels, trying to decide what to do with them to make them look nicer since acrylic panels are a while away yet, and ended up buying some 3M Dinoc Carbon fiber vinyl.

After getting to my dorm (almost 2 months ago now) I realized that my dog had pawed the PSU cover panel during a thunderstorm, and had messed it up.



So I remade the panel, with the correct cutout for the back panel fans.



And fully cut out, applying the vinyl wrap:







Looks really good! The vinyl also helps to strengthen the foam board, which is an extra plus.

I ended up wrapping all the panels:



And a brief dry assembly to see how they look (excuse the poor lighting):





Getting pretty dang close to an 'intermediate done' spot. I'm still working out some cable management, and have to figure out something to do about the GPU cables. Oh, speaking of GPU cables, I had ended up sewing some cable extensions for the XFX 290 I bought before, which, of course, don't fit the 970.











They came out really nicely, but of course I can't use them now. I'll be ordering another 6 pin extension and ill sew that to the current 6 pin, once I figure out what to do about the power cables.
All that time and effort wasted.

That's all for now, please forgive me for the absence of posts. I'll be posting more regularly again, and will definitely be seeing this project through to completion. There will be another update soon!
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