Hardware Rant

Renovating a Sawtooth G4 Case

Initially I intended to hack a PowerMac G5 case I have, but decided I'd rather make my initial mistakes on this old G4 given to me by a friend years ago, along with the original Cinema Display you'll see in pics later. I didn't realize that a Sawtooth mod is more difficult that an Powermac G5 mod!

This build will replace a 2008 Mac Mini running El Capitan. It serves as my whole house audio over AirPlay server, my NO-IP.com client, and most importantly, as my Indigo home automation system. Indigo is a Mac-only automation solution that's amazingly flexible and highly recommended to anyone interested in HA who has an old Mac lying around.

From what this has to do, you can see that there's not much in terms of graphics that's required. Indigo didn't really tax my Mini, so I don't expect processor usage to be all that high. I may even be able to move my security camera software over to this machine, instead of another mini that also runs Plex. In fact, I may be able to move my Plex server to it to.

Since my graphics needs are paltry, I'm staying with onboard graphics to save money and reduce complication. Currently I plan a PCI wifi card and a FireWire card, but I haven't even purchased those yet. Though I do have an old AirPort card from a 2008 MacBook I may buy an adapter for.

I chose an i5 because it seems a good mix of price and performance as well as the lower wattage making the awkward cooling in a Sawtooth less of an issue. I chose the GA-Z170M-D3H because it's recommended as Mac OS X compatible and it fits in the Sawtooth case.

The right parts are critical for a Hackintosh. So here they are:

Gigabyte LGA1151 Intel Z170 Micro ATX DDR4 Motherboards GA-Z170M-D3H

Intel Boxed Core I5-6600 FC-LGA14C 3.30 Ghz 6 M Processor Cache 4 LGA 1151 BX80662I56600

Silicon Power SP SSD Upgrade Kit, 2.5" SP120GBSS3S55S27 (Got this one because it was a Deal of the Day.)

Corsair Vengeance LPX 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4 DRAM 3000MHz (PC4-24000) C15 Memory Kit - Black

EVGA 500 W1, 80+ WHITE 500W, 3 Year Warranty, Power Supply 100-W1-0500-KR" ( It doesn't match up well with the Sawtooth back, and it seems a little noisy to me. It's also not modular. My mistake.)

And I already had a bunch of 5.25 HDDs for a total of 3.5 Tb of storage.

Still to arrive:
ICY DOCK ExpressCage MB322SP-B 2 x 2.5” SATA/SAS HDD/SSD to 5.25” Mobile Rack w/ 3.5” HDD/Device Slot

Vantec USB 3.0 Multi-Memory Internal Card Reader (UGT-CR935)

Needing a Niche Mac

At home, I find I have need for a kind of Mac that Apple doesn't make any more.

I run PLEX as my media management solution. That requires a lot of disk based storage space. And I use Indigo home automation software. (Which, as an aside, is amazing and wonderful.) It's not at all processor intensive and even less graphics intensive. Though it does have some networking requirements, as it provides a web server to run what it refers to as control pages.


Xserved and Screwed

I'm in the process of surplussing an old PowerPC Apple Xserve.

Removing it from the rack proves a challenge! Of course there is the typical forest of cables that you have to deal with when a rack has been there for a while and hardware was allowed to "just grow" into position.

There are at least two front mounting screws I need to remove from the Xserve before it will slide out, and I can't access those screws without removing the Xserve!

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