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IMac G3 Mod

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  • iMac
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Last response: in Components
September 9, 2012 7:55:05 PM

I'm undertaking a unique quest - to mod an iMac G3 into a LAN party computer. When you think about it, this isn't such a crazy idea - an all-in-one with lots of space, that even comes with its own handle! My goal is to make it appear as original as possible on the outside, while making the innards much, much different. Here's an album of the dismantlement (I'm not sure if I can embed images on here, but if I can, please let me know)

I began with a (mostly) working iMac that I bought at a yard sale a few years ago. As cool as it was, it really couldn't do much other than browse the web. Its CRT was heavy and put strain on your eyes. I know there are people out there that will be upset that I destroyed this piece of history, but trust me, it'll all be worth it ;) 

I gutted out the internals, putting back together the metal casing and plastic shell. I ordered a 15" LCD to put in - those things are surprisingly rare nowadays! I'll be taking recommendations on what internals I should put in, and how I should arrange them. The way the case is set up, I was thinking of mounting a mini-ITX mobo upside down from the top of the case, and cutting out some of the bottom part of the metal casing (the part where the fan is now). This would allow me to have easy access to the innards (because the case is designed to be opened when the computer is upside down) for installing, upgrading, and troubleshooting.

As for the exact components, I was figuring that not much power would be necessary to for the 1024x768 display :p  I could possibly get away with an Atom or AMD APU mobo/cpu combo, but I could end up regretting that later. Right now I'm split between a low-end Sandy Bridge build (i3 or Pentium), or a midrange AMD FX series CPU. I would probably start out with the integrated graphics to see how they do, and likely upgrade them later. I also plan on giving the build HDMI-out, so a little extra power wouldn't hurt.

Let me know what you guys think!

More about : imac mod

a b ) Power supply
September 9, 2012 8:32:45 PM

I'd go with an AMD APU on an mITX board.

Nice idea for a mod. Keep the updates coming! :) 
September 9, 2012 9:14:48 PM

Meaning an integrated CPU like the E-series, or a separate one like the A-series? AMD likes to keep things confusing :p 

Edit: Looking at the performance of these CPUs, I think I'll be sticking with a low-end Sandy Bridge chip.
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a b ) Power supply
September 9, 2012 9:36:49 PM

Don't bother with E and C series as they are weak. The A series is what you want. Go for an A8 model quad.
a b ) Power supply
September 9, 2012 10:04:53 PM

I would think a dual core pentium or i3 paired with a GTX550 or Radeon 7750 should be more than capable enough for a 15" screen. I'm sure you can still get single slot graphics cards, not high-end but should still be powerful enough for your purposes.
a b ) Power supply
September 9, 2012 10:11:10 PM

nforce4max said:
Go for an A8 model quad.


AMD A8-3870K or wait for the new A8-5600K/A10-5800K.
September 9, 2012 10:48:10 PM

Looking at price/performance, it looks like the Pentium G630 can't be beat. Microcenter has it for only $50.

Also, it looks like there aren't too many AMD boards in the mini-ITX form factor; Newegg only has one in stock that doesn't have a built-in CPU.

For mobo, I'll probably pick this one up: It lacks quite a few features, but it should be good enough for my purposes. I'll throw in maybe 4GB RAM for $20 or so. Other components I'm thinking about:

Small PSU -
Power Splitter (so monitor and mobo can be run from the same power cord) -

I have an old PC tower from which I'll be taking things like power switch/leds, hard drive, and front panel connectors.
September 12, 2012 10:03:36 PM

The monitor came in today, but it was the wrong model, so it might be a week or so until I can get started...
September 23, 2012 9:24:33 PM

I'm going to try to mount the monitor soon. It seems like it'll fit pretty snugly, I'll just have to whittle away at the plastic a bit. Any suggestions on how to keep it in there? I've heard of people using things like adhesive foam, but I don't have any, and I'm not sure how well that would work. I do have plenty of duct tape, however I don't want my whole project to rest on a couple strips of duct tape :p 
October 2, 2012 3:51:06 AM

Aaaaand the monitor is installed. I connected it to my laptop to make sure everything works fine. Here's the pics:

Now on to the hard part - actually getting the computer in there!
October 13, 2012 5:51:34 AM

The parts have been purchased and installed! Here's the final pics:

If you're curious, I used:
Foxconn H61S motherboard
Intel Pentium G645
MSI AMD Radeon 6570
500GB Laptop hard drive
Slim DVD-RW optical drive
15" Dell Monitor
Logitech z120 Speakers

Let me know if you have any questions! I may post benchmarks and such later on, along with future improvements.
October 13, 2012 8:17:54 PM



Windows Experience Index:
Gaming graphics-6.6
Hard disk-5.9
July 15, 2013 11:45:55 AM

Hey I'm thinking about doing this mod for a LAN computer, could you specify how you got the monitor to fit in along with how much the whole thing costed. Maybe a PCpartpicker page or something.