Reusing a Power Mac g4 shell: feasible?

Discussion in 'Linux Hardware' started by Marlon, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Marlon

    Marlon New Member

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    Hello everyone, I recently picked up an old Power Mac g4 and would like to use it to build a Linux machine. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm assuming there's no point upgrading the processor to bring such an old desktop up to speed, and that the project will involve replacing the motherboard and most of the other components.

    I'd like to be able to salvage the shell, because it's nice-looking, sturdy, and easy to open, with a hinged side door, and maybe use the power supply, which gives 360w. Thus, I've taken out the processor and mother board, as shown. Here is my question: are there any reasonable motherboards that will fit the mount points in this shell, and maybe connect to the original power supply's 24-pin plug (see below)? Ideally, I'd like to put in an i5 processor. I am wondering especially if any motherboards available are likely to be compatible with the array of connections on the back (see photo 3).


    If it doesn't work, I'll reassemble the old beast and pass it on to someone else, but I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks! DSC01496.JPG DSC01497.JPG DSC01498.JPG
    DSC01496.JPG
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  2. alug_Doc

    alug_Doc Member

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    Oh, it's been done before.

    It will take some work. The power supply may be too light to handle an i5 CPU. Check the motherboard manufacturer's specs for power requirements. Most recommend at least 500 watts.

    Sounds like a fun project. I've rebuilt several computers using recycled parts, but never out of a Mac. Let us know how it turns out.
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  3. Marlon

    Marlon New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. So, you think the connections shouldn't be too problematic? Are most cases standard, in terms of mounting? I think I could remove that back panel with the array of connections, if necessary...
  4. arochester

    arochester Active Member

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    ...I had Linux running on a G3...
  5. alug_Doc

    alug_Doc Member

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    You'll have to do some cutting and some drilling, but it can be done.
  6. Marlon

    Marlon New Member

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    Interesting. It came without a hard drive, but I may try reassembling and testing it to see if it runs, or at least powers up. I've got an old copy of Leopard I could use to try booting. Thanks.
  7. Marlon

    Marlon New Member

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    An update on the G4: I put it back together and got it to power up, and just once, it produced the Apple boot tone, and the monitor showed the flashing file indicating lack of hard drive. Since then, it turns on and goes into a noisy fan cycle, but with no chime or signal to the monitor. At least the power supply and switch work, and by removing the front cover, I got to the DVD drive open button, which also works.

    I was hoping for further signs of life, for example, if it had looked for a place to install the Leopard OS DVD I loaded. Perhaps it will end up being just a case, after all...
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013

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