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Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

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Back in 2010, I saw it. The turkey, being both brutal and elegant. It was love at first sight.

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

It’s worth mentioning, that at that time I’d been messing around with my hackintosh compilations for about two years, and only a couple of years ago told myself that I was done with it. And I already had the original Apple device. Oh gods, I must have gone through all the circles of hell, to get Mac OS X on non native hardware, and even posted guides on specialized sites. But there was one achievement I never conquered. Putting everything together in a G5 case…

At that time I had no way to realize it. Within our country it was problematic to find this miracle, there were no private postal companies yet, and the state ones left much to be desired. To order from Ebay was still a gimmick. And in any case, the parcel of 20 kilos of aluminum was terrifying, so the dream was postponed. Until I got bored and wanted to collect something. And so, looking through the classifieds I remembered what I had never done in this life. There peeped my eye an offer saying good condition and fully working for its time. Oh, and two processors on board (although who needs that today). And then the crafty seller dropped the price and I couldn’t resist. The price was $60… And the sale was in my city… But that’s about it. The important thing is that I have it now.

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

I will tell you right away, the technical part is fully implemented, but there is a huge amount of material. Nuances, ideas and their implementation, pitfalls and how not to run into them. This will be the first part, so to speak, the test part, whether you will be interested in it all, or I should look for another place for my memoirs.

I will give you a little spoiler right away. It was not only the opportunity to buy this case that drew me to this project, the technical parts I took out of my workstation also played a role. I found the perfect motherboard for my G5 case. But it’s not really interesting to reveal everything at once. Without a little intrigue…

Well, here we go.

Part 1:Exterior (case, power supply, CO)
Part 2. Interior (motherboard and its friends, cable management, startup)
Part 3. Software (installing Mac OS X and other pleasures)

Necessary tool

Before you even take on the rework of the G5 case, it is imperative to stock up on good, quality tools. And the work will be done more accurately, and the time will be spent on everything by an order of magnitude less.

This is what you will need :

– screwdrivers :

  • Phillips head (with both short and long stingers)
  • flat (with thin sting)
  • T10 torx
  • torx T15

Keep in mind that if you, like me, have a dual-processor assembly, take the torxes as long as possible. About 25-30 cm. And I don’t think there’s any need to tell you that the tip has to be magnetic.

– pliers

– dremel, aka engraver :

  • a set of diamond discs for it (quality ones, because low-quality ones will crumble, and you will get the same amount of money, but it will take a lot more time)
  • drills for 2mm, 4mm, 5mm, metal

– files (flat and semi-circular)

– safety glasses, gloves, respirator

This is just a must! Dremel discs have a chance of breaking apart. And the worse the disc, the higher the chance. And splinters fly with the speed of shrapnel! Besides, aluminum dust is not that good for health, and you shouldn’t breathe it. Well, and gloves – in the case, the deeper you go into it, the sharper the parts you’ll get.

– soldering iron, with rosin and solder (preferably with a fine tip)

Yes, we will need a soldering skill when assembling the power supply and getting front panel functionality.

– epoxy

  • ruler with a minimum of 20-25 cm markings Level and accurate.
  • caliper , doesn’t matter which one, but accurate
  • pliers
  • side cutters
  • stripper
  • scalpel knife or an ordinary penknife

I also used this tool in my work (it’s not required, but it makes the job easier):

  • wood clamps
  • soldering holder (I had a Zhongdi D10F)

Disassembling PowerMac G5 case

I will not repeat myself and write the instructions on how to disassemble this case. The web is full of material on the subject. I used the instruction from iFixit and DrMacintosh , there are more than enough of them. I will only pay attention to a few details and show the final result.

Let me remind you, my version of the Powermac had two processors on board, which are hidden under huge, here really huge radiators. The thing is, between the heatsinks there are more mounting bolts, which are unscrewed with a torx, and the sting of this screwdriver has to be long. I really couldn’t find such a screwdriver in the nearest stores, so I made such a hellish device (luckily the screws were not too tight, and blue duct tape gave me +10 to strength and +15 to dexterity):

Hell of a device

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

A little tip tip on how to get rid of the motherboard legs. I’ve actually seen people who took the trouble to saw these feet with a dremel, and there were unicums who tried to terminate them with a drill… yeah… Anyway, you grab the pliers and lllllohhhkoy effort break out these feet:

Terminating the legs

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

And we got mushrooms. Believe me, it’s even better as we will use the same legs for our new motherboard.

Unfortunately my motherboard didn’t fit without taking out the top panel with the DVD and the HDD compartment underneath. Boards of mATX or smaller standard fit without taking it out. Although if you are not going to keep the original power supply (or use just the case from the power supply… oops… spoiler… again) then you will be left with this shelf… And that would be really cool as it would then you could keep some entourage and lameness of the G5.

But even if I wanted to keep the kosher power supply, the structural geometry of my board would not allow it. So the board was chosen to make the back of the case as small as possible.

Nude

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

Interior

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

The card here is Radeon 9600. Dima Bachilo would appreciate…

And yes, don’t throw away all the bolts, etc. We could use them. They’re good =)

Podopytnyy

You do realize that at the design stage, experimenting on real hardware is silly at the very least. The chances of catching a short circuit (on the power supply or on the front panel cable, or anywhere at all) is pretty high.

So leave your iron in the closet for now and in the same closet look for an old working mammoth (or in the closet, or in the attic, or in the garage, or maybe from a fellow neighbor).

I had one of these, and more than one. Out of all of them I have chosen my old boy on a 775 socket, ATX standard board. I won’t describe its specs because the important thing here is that it works. And from this case I took all cables I needed for the front panel (USB cable, audio cable, power button, indicator light).

Dressing room #1

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

As you can see, I still have the top panel here, and you can immediately see the results of installing boards of this format. Either you are without the top panel or you are without the power supply case.

Dressing room #2

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

Anyway, the PCI connectors fit pretty well. And then I started to get the idea, not to saw this particular part, to leave it feng shui. Fortunately, I didn’t see a way to cram more than 4 of those slots (video card will take two slots, WiFi card another one, maybe a sound card… even then…):

What’s up with the P.S.A.

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

This is the assembly I tested everything in :

Testing machines

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

For example, routing the power button cable from the front panel of the G5:

Power cable

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

Connecting the front panel

Actually, it’s easy to get the front panel to work. You can even just plug wires into the connectors of the connector and it will work! But not reliably… Here for example I connected a cable for the power button (you can do the same with other cables):

Front panel PWR cable

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

After disassembling the case you should still have the 18 pin connector cable :

Kosher part

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

And that’s where we need to connect to the pins. So this cable should not be thrown away. The whole trick will be a simple connection of wires, no radio elements or complex integrated electronics to invent.

Here is the pinout of this cable. Note that this is the pinout of the output side of the cable (NOT the one that goes into the panel itself). Yeah, I’m just kidding, I don’t care which side it is =)
Valuable pinout

Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

Now a little more detail about which devices and what the pins are for:

  • for the power button :

  • [14] , POWER BUTTON + : plus pin on the power button

  • for power button indicator :

    • [13] , POWER LED + , plus sign for power button indicator
    • For USB:

      • [5] , USB S GROUND : ground for USB Shield
      • [9] , USB GND : ground for USB
      • [10] , USB +5V , 5 volts for USB
      • [11] , USB – : negative Data for USB
      • [12] , USB + : Plus Data for USB
      • for audio jack :

        • [15] , AUDIOCOM (GND) : ground for audio jack
        • [16] , AUDIO SENSE : This pin is supposed to be responsible for the status of the audio jack, whether the cable is plugged in or not. But Apple doesn’t do it the way IBM-PC does it, they had their own idea about it, which results in some inconvenience, as described below.
        • [17] , AUDIO L , left audio channel
        • [18] , AUDIO R , right audio channel
        • For FireWire:

          • [1] , FW GND : ground for FireWire
          • [2] , 25V FW 25 volt for FireWire, the PowerMac-e has two 12 volt units
          • [3] , FW TPA – : minus first data line for FireWire
          • [4] , FW TPA + : Plus first data line for FireWire
          • [7] , FW TPB – : minus second data line for FireWire
          • [8] , FW TPB + : Plus second data line for FireWire
          • As you can see, everything is very simple. Now let’s take a look at a standard motherboard and see where which pin is on it.

            The kick-ass mom

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            On the connector AUDIO The signed pins are marked in green.

            Of course, if you don’t want to bother, you can look for a ready-made adapter. But there are a couple of problems. There are no such adapters in CIS, they are practically not available on Ali, and on Ebay they cost up to 25 euros!

            Here are the diagrams that will connect everything :

            Connecting the power button

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            The simplest. There are only two wires. As we can see from the diagrams, there is no ground pin for the power button on the front panel connector. It’s simple here and there are two options :

            • If you don’t connect USB or FireWire, you can power from the ground pins of these connectors. For USB it is [9] pin, for FireWire it is [1] pin.
            • If one of the connectors is activated, then there is no need to worry about the ground for the power button. The ground wire from the selected connector will become the common ground for the power button.

            In practice, considering that IBM-PC motherboards with a FireWire output are unicorns, the minus of the power button goes to FireWire ground.

            The ground issue for the LED indicator is solved similarly. Either we power from any ground, or if you implement USB or FireWire connectors, we can cut it off. Generally speaking, we take everything from the same FireWire as we did with the power button. It is possible to combine the wires of the indicator and the power button ground.

            USB connection

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            The colors of the wires in the diagram are shown conventionally, more for the convenience of perception.

            Connecting audio input

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            Although its connection is no more complicated than the same USB input, there is one nuance. Apple is showing off, and it works a little differently than we’re used to. What I mean is that when you plug in some device, the sound won’t go to it. You have to manually, in the operating system panel, switch the audio output source. According to the logic of the front panel cable pinout, [16] pin should be responsible for the same operation. But no… Most probably it works properly, but only on Mac’s motherboard.

            My motherboard doesn’t have an input for this connector. If there is one on some, it’s most likely a museum piece…

            But to complete the picture, here’s the pinout diagram (essentially the most bothersome, if you compare it to the others):

            FireWire connection

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            Let’s get it all together

            First, remove about 2/3 of the cable insulation jacket. Do this very carefully so as not to damage the wires (some of them are very thin):

            Undressing the cable

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            One by one, referring to the pinout diagram, cut off the wires, and immediately mark their purpose:

            Swabbed

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            After that we solder everything with cables from a regular ATX case. We will need :

            • power button cable
            • LED cable
            • audio connector cable
            • USB connector cable

            I didn’t have much luck and the cables were gray. It didn’t look good in the overall concept, so I shrunk the parts that would have been visible into the black thermal insulation. It turned out pretty good :

            Cable tuxedo

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            I also shrunk the final cable assembly into the thermal insulation. It turned out to be rigid and kind of secure.

            Power supply

            This will be the interesting part. The power supplies for the G5 are quite good. There are 450 watts, 650 watts, and even 1000 watts. As the saying goes every taste! But in all this beauty there are two fat minuses.

            First, there is a 25V line on these units and it draws 25-30% of the unit’s power. Just a minute, a 450 watt block, which would be good for a medium sized component with a graphics card and up to 150 watts of peak power, slowly turns into an office dustbin block under 350 watts because of this line… And that’s a shame.

            Second, time. Yes, the blocks are built, you could say, for the ages. The hodgepodge in them is of very high quality, and on my unit, which is nearly 17 years old, not a single blown condenser, not the slightest squeak, or anything else to tell about its age. But then again, 17 years old, assembly technology was a little different, and if you compare a modern unit to this one, the newer one will have less voracity at idle. Anyway, sooner or later it will die. Its time will come. But it will take a lot of effort to rebuild it.

            I would call the third disadvantage that it is not an easy task to convert the native unit to ATX format, etc. Still, I don’t consider it a disadvantage. If it were 1000 watt I would try it, but I have a budget 450 watt one:

            Humble

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            That’s why it was decided not to use the stuffing of the block. But I would like to keep the case.

            I’m not a pioneer, the web is full of techniques for such construction. I repeated them and nothing more, maybe added a couple of cherries of my own. I bought a 850 watt modular power supply with good and quiet cooling:

            Ah, the handsome man!

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            And don’t mind my plaid. I’m very sensitive to the possibility of putting an extra scratch on the G5 case. The plaid is for him. It has to be soft for him. Grandma gave it to me as a gift…

            By the way, see the bunch of wires on the motherboard connector. Oh yes, that’s for my motherboard… Oh yes, that’s to power it…

            Disassembling the apple unit, while being horrified by the amount of dust and dirt:

            Fu-fu-fu

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            Of all the things we’ll need here, from that power connector and the cooler. Everything else is in the museum.

            Disassembling the case of the new power supply :

            It was tough

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            And then we put it in. One into the other… I think you get the whole idea.

            Docking!

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            As you can see, in this picture I already sawed off the excess from the new power supply and it fit perfectly. The radiators don’t cling. Also, I pre-wired them with magic blue duct tape (everything was later twisted cross-wired, soldered, and sealed with heat shrink).

            Don’t worry about the power cable that goes into the unit, it won’t stick out of the cooler holes. Especially at that stage I had to figure out how to put the unit in the unit so that it would be cooled by a big cooler and wouldn’t interfere with the overall assembly.

            And this is what the alpha version of the power supply looks like :

            Alfa

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            Here it should be said that with all this you should have the golden proverb of the ancient and very wise people – measure seven times and cut once!

            When laying out, always try the unit on with the motherboard (your actual motherboard). If you want to keep the big cooler, make sure it doesn’t get in the way of the motherboard and (what I’m burned on) the plastic clear decorative panel! Don’t saw holes until you’ve measured everything out! For the cooler, you also don’t want to saw them now. I put it on a couple of pieces of double-sided tape, and only started cutting the great hole when I was completely convinced everything was ok.

            In the end, I decided not to connect the little coolers. It seemed redundant to me. Also, unfortunately, there is no temperature sensor on this unit and the connector is 2 pin. I’m all for silence. The 140mm cooler is more than enough. But still, I put them in, so as a decoration.

            Final Pre-Sample Trial :

            Trying on the BP

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            I would like to point out that I taped the whole inside of the unit with insulation in the form of reinforced scotch tape, with the properties of this insulation… And I was so impressed that in the end I taped the outer top of it as well. For safety =) You never know.

            I also decided to keep the power button, but my own red one. The red button gives me +100 more coolness. Brought it to the top.

            Thus, the final version of the power supply is as follows :

            Final sample

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            Yeah, the cable mink doesn’t look too good. But that’s because I left more tape in there. Didn’t want to get a chop from the cable rubbing…

            CO of kosher parts

            When I first started this beast (by past estimation) and went to a very heavy site, I had a jet turbine at home. I’m not kidding, I thought those 20 kilos of aluminum were about to take off and I was going to get concussion in the form of deafness in both ears. And then it became clear that the standard coolers were not going to stay in this unit. Their time had come.

            But there was one piece, on the back of the case, that, according to my calculations, didn’t interfere with either the power supply or the motherboard. So with this I decided to think of something. Fortunately, the dimensions of the coolers were standard, 92mm.

            The little twirlers

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            For replacement the choice was a pair of Artic F9 PWN. This is of course the budget segment, but they are quite good, and what’s important – quiet. And besides their connectors were 4 pin and my motherboard only had such connectors for external cooling system so why not to use it to its fullest.

            You can also see a little spoiler here, in the form of repositioned legs under the motherboard…

            As you can see, everything worked out just fine :

            Vertushchiks assembled

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            It’s even better now :

            Yeah, I’ve got a little bit of my mother leaking in here…

            Hackintosh on the Powermac G5 or how to build your own workstation

            The rest of the cooling system from the G5 is no use to us… Or I haven’t figured out how to use it yet so it wouldn’t look too kinky.

            Bottom line

            That’s all I’ve had time to describe so far. Let me repeat. The technical part is fully implemented and works great. But the descriptive part seems to take as much time as assembling the whole thing. If this does interest the noble gentlemen, I will try to give birth to the second part as soon as possible. In the meantime, good luck to all!

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