G4 Server Workstation Mod

This is my first instructable where I'm going to show you how to take an old Mac G4 and install a server motherboard in it with two Intel Xeon cpu's installed.

Parts list--
-550 watt 24/8 pin server psu
-server ps2 5300 ecc fully buffered 667 MHz 2 * 2 gbs ram (bought 4 more 2gb sticks of ram for the build)
-Tyan motherboard combo with 2 5405 Xeon processors (upgraded the processors to x5472's because why not)
Various screwdrivers,drill bits,Taps, Dremel with cutting wheels for cutting metal is very helpful

For this build you could install Windows, Linux and even try for a Hackintosh if you wish, but I just installed elementary os Luna for Mac feel but still my favorite operating system, Linux. The whole build cost about 100 dollars plus tools so really this is a pretty cheap build(update stopped count but probably up to 200 or so, but still a cheap build regardless.

note ..There is no sound card integrated on this motherboard and the integrated video card works but is probably not the best so eventually I'm going to add a video card and sound card.

Step 1: Remove All Components

First step in this build would be to gut every.Remove the old motherboard ,hard drives,power supply and cd or dvd drives . Keep ribbon cable if your using an ide drives with the new computers. Take out the main fan I'm going to convert it to a 3 pin and remove power button controller, I use the the power button from the old Mac and maybe try to use the speaker. I'm gonna try to have the new build still have the Mac sound at boot up too if possible just for fun. What I also did was remove all the studs on the bottom plate that held the old motherboard in place, to avoid conflict with new motherboard

Step 2: Drill and Tap Holes for New Motherboard

Next you need to drill and thread new holes for the motherboard because the old ones won't line up. The motherboard stand screws you can buy are 6/32 and your gonna need a metal drill bit and a tap(Refer to drill tap chart for size) Make sure to keep the tap straight if you want the holes to line up properly. Since server motherboards are rather big I couldn't put it completely against the side of the case. So I had to to put the motherboard about an inch away from the side of the case and I had to modify the plate later on in the build. Next time I do this build I think I'm gonna use a smaller motherboard like a micro ATX. But if you do use a smaller motherboard you should be able to cut out a rectangular hole in the side of the case to fit a new IO plate in there

Step 3: Mounting Psu and Hard Drive

The hard drive is easy just use the same exact place in the case. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can use the same hard drive since these macs are Intel based. I wouldn't do this just because these hard drives only hold I think 40 gbs which isn't much no a days. I use for this build a 160 gb IDE drive but this motherboard has connections for sata if you want to use that instead

The power supply can be a little tricky depending on which kind of components your using in this build. A lot of newer power supply's have their main fan on the bottom which isn't good for air flow in this case. I found this server power supply with the fan on the back just like the Mac power supply which works perfectly in my opinion . I took off the plastic panel on the back instead because it looks a lot nicer

Step 4: Wire Up Components,install Ram, Test It

Wire everything up install ram and try it out I've been using jumpers to power on the computer for now untill i mod the old power button to work with the new motherboard

Now I hate cd drives, hate cds, and this is only temporary to install an operating system. I can't seem to find a flash drive right now so I used an old cd drive i had laying around, to install the operating system. I'm probably going to have two hard drive on the ide cable when it is done with no cd drives . This motherboard only has one slot for a ribbon cable so i would suggest using sata, plenty of ports for sata on this motherboard.

Step 5: Painting

Buffalo winters suck, but I decided to paint this case outside anyways

Step 6: Power Switch and Other Tweaks

-For the fan i used a connecter from a smaller fan from another computer, pretty self explanatory

-The power switch i followed this guide


But I'm gonna try to fine a better way to do this

- I'm also going to try to use the connectors on the old video card to convert adc to vga, ill try breading first and ill let you guys know how it going.



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    2 Discussions

    Awesome Mod, all I would say is that maybe you would be better to add a ATX IO shield and really give the outside a more 'finished' look. Same with the power button.

    Wow very nice modification, it came out great! Welcome to instructables, hope we get to see more from you in the future!