Recently, I came across a G4 Quicksilver with a fried logic board. It was far to pretty for me to let get junked, so I decided to make good use of it. I had been wanting to put together a htpc for myself, and here was the perfect opportunity.
I was able to find a micro atx motherboard that had some really great video output options, inlcuding component, hdmi, dvi, vga, and s-video. The only problem is that the chipset can't quite handle a full 1080p stream, so I am going to have to put in a new video card.
By storing all of my media on this box, I have a great system that I can just grab and bring over to friends' homes for movie nights or parties that I don't feel like hosting.
(UPDATE): The Athlon 64 3800+ that I had in it gave up the ghost. I can't complain too much, I got it out of an old trashed box. I swapped it out with a Athlon 64 X2 4800+. It's great to see how much smoother some of the high quality 1080p rips play now. While I was at it I threw in a 1TB hdd as well. (step 2 updated accordingly)
Step 1: Tools and an Initial View
The largest part of this project consisted of prep work on the case. Take note: Mac cases do not want to have PC parts in them...
Reinforced cut-off wheels
Misc other tools
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ newegg link
2 x 1gig ddr2 667
GIGABYTE GA-MA69GM-S2H AM2 Micro ATX Motherboard newegg link
Western Digital 250GB SATA Hard Drive newegg link
Seagate Barracuda 1TB SATA Hard Drive newegg link
Rosewill 400W Power Supply newegg link
ENERMAX UC-12EB 120mm Case Fan newegg link
Step 2: I/O Plate
All of the old logic board risers had to be cut off completely. Then I set in the motherboard and lined up the pci ports on the back as a guide.
Now I needed to drill the holes for the new motherboard risers to go in. First off, however, I had to cut out the solid I/O plate in the back to make room for the motherboard to sit in the correct position.
In this case, the back I/O plate is part of the metal for the whole rear panel. This meant I needed to cut a rectangle out of the plate in order to make room for the motherboard ports and the new I/O plate.
Step 3: Placeing the Motherboard and Adding Risers
Once the I/O plate was cut out, I was able to set the motherboard in place.
I then pulled the end out of a sharpie so that I had a small enough marker to mark down through the screw holes on the motherboard.
Next, I pulled out the motherboard, used a pilot tap to start off, then drilled the holes. I used a drill bit that was as close as i could get to the risers without being too large.
The Dremel was needed again here to cut slots in the plastic where the new risers would go in. This is needed because the release mechanism for the side door on the case depends on the pictured plastic sheet to be able to slide freely.
Finally, I used some epoxy on the back side of the riser screws to make sure they would not come out of the holes.
Step 4: The Power Button and Power Light
For the case power button and power light, I had to junk all of the circuitry on the associated board. I tried testing the output pins with my multimeter, but didn't have any luck. I figured it must convert everything over to digital before sending it to the logic board.
I ended up just haphazardly scratching a break into all the old pathways. It didn't have to be pretty, since the board would be hidden.
I then soldered wire from the connector to the components I would use (power button, reset buttons and power LED).
Now, to actually get the signal to the motherboard I needed to get from the original ribbon cable to something that could actually connect to my motherboard. I desoldered the old connector from the original logic board, then soldered some scavanged wires/connectors to the backside. That way I could just plug in as I normally would.
The best way to get an understanding of this is to check out the pictures.
Step 5: The DVD Drive
Yet another issue came about when I realized that there was no way a normal DVD drive was going to fit in the case. With the micro ATX board, the RAM and power connector would try to take the same space as the end of the drive.
I toyed with the idea of just leaving the drive out, but decided it would be good in case I ever wanted to play a DVD.
After playing around, I found that an old laptop drive that I had laying around fit perfectly. It was short enough not to hit the RAM and the power connector.
All I had to do was cut the corner out of the drive bay and position the drive to line up with the front drive door. I found that styrofoam worked great for getting a solid spacer for the drive.
Step 6: Misc Ending Comments
There were still some other small changes that were made to the set up to get everything right.
-I switched the cpu fan to blow away from the heat sink. When the case is closed, the cpu fan sits up to the psu fan, and I didn't want them pulling against each other.
-I swapped out the lower case fan for one that I know to be a silent fan with good airflow.
Well, there you have it. After running this machine for 3 months I can say that I have noticed no problems and that it is probably one of my favorite builds.
Hope you enjoyed reading it.