Mac Mini inside a Powermac G4: Wiring

Following my previous Powermac-mini post, I would like to should you how I wired and coupled the mini to the powermac.

Inside the powermac-mini: wiringThe challenge here was to have the ATX power-supply put inside the powermac to start at the same time the mini is started (and to stop when the mini stops) and also to get the front LED and buttons of the powermac to work with the mini. Grincheux’s dedicated blog powermacmini.wordpress.com gives all the info you need to do all that so I won’t go too much into details about it.

Bellow are pictures showing how I modified the original powermac quicksilver’s front buttons board in order to be able to wire it to the mini. The idea is to wire the power-button in parallel with the reset switch so that it’s easy to wire the reset wires to the on/off momentary connector on the mini’s main-board.
Then on the other side I wired the two unused wires on the 10 pin IDC connector straight to the LED.

Conclusion

I am thrilled with this mod. The powermac quicksilver case looks stunning under my desk, I’ve got plenty of room for hard drives, the mini runs cooler and I can’t hear it any more (if you’ve got a mini sitting on your desk you know what I’m talking about)!

Best of all is arguably the increased expandability the PCI-express 1X expansion slot gives.

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Mac Mini inside a Powermac G4: Body work

After having swapped my mac mini’s internal SATA hard-drive for an external 3.5″ one I got really pleased with the performance boost but also progressively more and more annoyed with the noise produced by the bigger hard-drive, sitting right next to me on the desk.

A few month later I happen to browse Grincheux’s powermacmini blog and got instantly seduced by the concept: Replacing the guts of Powermac G4 with a mac mini! Why not any other PC case for this mod? Well, it’s mostly a question of aesthetics: I really like look of powermac computers.

powermac_g4_quicksilver powermac_g4_quicksilver_open

I chose to experiment on a Powermac G4 quicksilver and it didn’t took me long to get one from eBay. You will find bellow a few pictures of the body work and installation of the mac mini inside the case. For more detailed information please jump to powermacmini.wordpress.com.

Hole cutting

The first thing that had to be done was digging out a hole at the back of the G4’s case in order to be able to connect things to the mini when it is positioned inside.

Internal support

Then, I started converting an old aluminium plaque into a support that would maintain the mini in place inside the G4 case. The left picture bellow shows one of my first satisfying attempts. The one the right shows the final version of the plate (with the paint totally removed so that the plate can act as a passive heatsink for the mini by dissipating the heat that builds up on the mini’s rubber pad). I also cut a section out the aluminium plate to make room for a PCI express 1x female socket…

Powermac optical drive issue

I didn’t foresee something quite frustrating: with the mini mounted like illustrated on the pictures above, it’s impossible to close back the Powermac’s case since the end of the optical drive conflicts with the mini. In the end I was forced to cut a small portion of the mini out. This is the only irreversible modification I performed on the mini, but although irreversible, it doesn’t interfere with the mini’s operation at all, and in fact you can even put the mini’s case back on it and you can’t see a thing (unless you look at the mini upside down).