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MAC to PC project

Introduction

It has been some years since I built this Mac to PC conversion but it’s still the most accessed project on our website. One of the great features of this project is that it can easily be updated, as the configuration will work with most micro ATX motherboards. The only real limiting factors are the CPU Fan assembly as there is limited clearance so watch the height of you Fan choice. The other is the location of the motherboard power connector as this can catch the back of the optical drive chassis. But if you do not plan to fit one then this does not matter.

I’d advise you to download the G4 repair manual before starting your project – download G4 as a 9.79 MB pdf click here

I’ve also put together a slideshow of the completed project so that you can get an idea of what is involved.

Part 1 – Choosing the parts

The MAC to PC project or parts bin special (as we refer to it)

We love the way MAC’s look, when it comes to design the MAC has always led the way particularly in case design so when we had an old MAC G4 which was terminally ill laying around it seemed like a good idea to re-cycle the case as a PC.

MAC - PC complete

MAC – PC complete

A quick search on the internet reveals that a similar project has been undertaken by some other enthusiasts with varying degrees of success mainly due to the the choice of motherboard. Getting this right will save you a lot of time modifying the case which you really do not want to do as this is the key reason for taking on a project like this.

Motherboard: ASRock P4i65G
Whatever motherboard you select it will be in the mATX format in our case we like ASRock motherboards so we always have these to hand and a quick search in the parts bin gave us a P4i65G which is an Intel skt 478 which also has the option to overclock, HT etc.

Processor: Intel Celeron 330
The parts bin comes to the rescue again with a Celeron 330 which is the Prescott 2.66GHz version. In our experience a good chip but it’s locked so no opportunity to overclock and it tends to run a bit hotter than the older Northwood versions and it’s not got Hypethreading. So if you have a Northwood use this in preference it’s a better cpu for this application or find an alternative P4 which has HT etc. P4′s can be a bit hard to find now in the 478 skt new so try Ebay or Computer Fairs as a source.

Memory and Hard Drive: PC3200 & Maxtor 80Gb
The parts bin comes to our aid again here with a stick of memory which is a Generic PC3200 512Mb ram and the hard drive Maxtor 80GB IDE in this case although the motherboard does support SATA drives. A SATA drive might be a better choice just for the cable which should be easier to thread through the cases existing openings and fixing points.

Optical Drive: LG Supermulti DVDRW
Yet another acquisition from the parts bin this LG is one of our favourite optical drives the OEM version used here still comes with Cyberlinks PowerDVD software bundled with it. Although this one is Black colour does not really matter as the drive sits behind a flap until the eject button is pressed.

External 3.5″ bay: Your choice here
There is another bay below the optical drive which is 3.5″ in size, on the original MAC we think it had an optional Zip drive (Now consigned to history), this is covered over by a blanking plate on ours so some cutting will be needed to fit anything in this bay. On ours we fitted a combined Card Reader with external USB and Audio ports which came out of our parts bin. We sometimes fit a combined floppy and card reader from Mitsui to some of our Shuttles and IDEQ’s which could be an excellent option if you decide to use SATA drives just in case you need to upload the drivers from Floppy.

Power Supply: Sumvision 450W 20+4pin SATA
WARNING – The MAC power supply cannot be used without modification to the wiring, the pin out is different to a PC ATX connector so we chose to replace it instead especially as it was not very powerful anyway. We chose the Sumvision because it was physically the same so no case modifications were needed.

That’s it for part 1, part 2 will cover the case dissembling and case modifications needed to physically fit the PC components.

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