Mac Pro ATX Conversion

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
Hello all fellow modders and enthusiasts. I got a Mac Pro case for free that was "damaged" (power button came loose, easy fix) and have decided to make it into an ATX pc case, since I think it's a cool looking case. I plan to transfer the parts I currently have into the Mac Pro case when done with the mod. Since I have a P6T Deluxe V2 and am running SLI, I will be converting the case to ATX, with all 7 slots available for use. It looks like almost all other Mac Pro mods I've seen have been conversions to MATX or are ATX, but don't allow multiple video cards. Hopefully the mod will be unique and turn out well.

To start off modding, I stripped the case down to just the enclosure. This required removing the cabling, covers/panels, and the "divider shelf" between the top and bottom of the case. Once I got to this point, I decided to order an aluminum ATX motherboard tray to use, basically replacing the Mac Pro's rear panel. I decided to go with this tray, from mountain mods in the 2x80mm configuration.

Once the tray arrived, I marked the rear panel of the case with my sharpie and went to work cutting it out with the dremel. Several reinforced cutoff wheels later, we have this result. (sorry about the quality of the pics, I only had my cell phone with me...)




So far, so good. :) I then decided to mount the tray to the inside of the Mac case at the four corners of the tray. I drilled holes as needed in the tray and made up "standoffs" that I JB welded to the case.



I attached the standoffs to the tray, roughed up the standoff and the inside of the case, and then put a "dab" of jb weld on the standoff and then set it in place overnight. I also drilled holes into the backplate and pro case to secure the back plate in place.

There is just enough room, so I found, to still put a power supply above the motherboard plate (in the standard mac pro position), even with a full atx board. I decided to JB weld two "elevator bolts" to the inside top back of the case, which will support a crossbar that will hold the power supply "clamped" against the top of the case.







While that hardened, I got a piece of 1" aluminum and made a crossbar to hold the power supply. During this time I also decided to install the new power supply jack into the back of the Mac Pro. I marked out the position I wanted...




...and then cut it out with my dremel. I then soldered a right angle power cable to the jack and installed it into the case.





Once the JB was fully hardened... I put the power supply in place and tested the crossbar.




I had to modify the motherboard tray to allow the latch on the Mac Pro case to function. I cut out a notch around the latch.


...and this is what it looks like installed.




Next, I will cut the out a large portion of the divider plate between the top and bottom of case and re-install it. The mod could be done without a divider plate at all, but it's nice to have in, as it allows easier mounting of the hard drive and optical drive. I plan to cut enough away to allow my graphics cards to fit in the space created.

I will post more pics and work later as the job progresses. :)
 
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eddieck

Gawd
Joined
Dec 13, 2009
Messages
1,010
You're preparing to get flamed because of that Mac Pro case. I, on the other hand, say awesome work because that case is the shit.
 

VA Supremacy

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 18, 2009
Messages
475
Since its free this is interesting though I like the mac pro design normally.

good luck I hope to see it finished:)
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
Ok, more progress on the mod...

I got the "divider shelf" between the top and bottom of the case cut out. I was originally going to use the dremel, but quickly found that that would have taken a lot of cutoff wheels and time. It was harder to cut than the rest of the case, since it's steel (I believe) instead of aluminum. It also is 2 layers thick and has some sort of material (possibly sound deadening or anti-vibration?) sandwiched between the layers. I did manage to cut it out by clamping it to my vice at the workbench and using a handheld jig-saw with a medium toothed metal cutting blade.




And installed...








Ok, I got an actual camera and took some pics too...











Next up will be doing cabling and mounting items (fans, power supply, etc). The front panel board on the Mac Pro case is not like on a PC so I will have to make up a "harness" to adapt it to standard power button, power led, and usb connections. Luckily, I found a pinout guide on the aquamac forums to help me figure it out. Also, I want to make up sata to dual 3pin fan power connector cables to power the fans.

I purchased a new power supply to put in the system, a CM 600W modular silent pro m. The modular design will make for a lot cleaner install in the case, hopefully very little visible wiring.

That's all for now folks. I'm pleased with the results so far...considering I'm no "pro" at this. :)
 
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Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
More progress on the mod...

Finished up the cabling on the unit.


SATA to dual 3pin fan adapter and USB to SATA(front panel) cables.


Me...assembling while my wife is having fun with the camera.


Front panel board installed.


Sata (front panel) connection to USB cable installed.


Side view.​



So then, after the wiring was all done, I came to a realization. There is not enough room to actually install my second video card.


View showing video card closest to CPU installed, and the clearance (lack thereof) for the second card.




I decided to take the divider shelf back out and basically cut it in half, which resulted in this.





After that issue was resolved, I transferred my parts into the case and made the connections. This is pretty much the finished product.



And running...


So..I set my board to an "everyday overclock" of 3.33GHz and loaded up some L4D2 to give it a test drive. Everything seems good. System runs pretty quiet, since the fans are all low/mid speed models. Temps and voltages all seem inline as well. I like how it turned out in the end. :D
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
The drive is mounted on the apple tray and does lock in place when the case is latched shut. It's just connected in with a regular sata and sata power cable at the moment. If I felt motivated to do so, I could modify the apple hot swap connector to connect to a standard sata port, instead of apple's connector, and then have a hot swap bay. It's just a pita to solder sata cables, hence I have not done it. Maybe sometime...
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
Yo,
Great job!

few questions:

1) You reckon you can have the power supply sitting/mounted in the lower front corner?

2) Without the mobo tray, can you screw in an ATX case directly and just cut out a piece of the rear case to expose the mother board rear panel?

thanks
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
1) I'm sure you can put the power supply in the lower front corner. To do so you'd have to figure out something different regarding cooling, since that is where the intake fans are.

2) I suppose you could do that, but because the mac pro card slots are further inside the case than the i/o ports, you'd end up with about a 1/2" gap between the cutout in the case and the ports of the pc mobo.

You might be able to see what I mean by looking at this guys mod, especially third pic down. http://aquamac.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hack1&thread=460&page=8#2920
 

nalc

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
Messages
1,077
1) I'm sure you can put the power supply in the lower front corner. To do so you'd have to figure out something different regarding cooling, since that is where the intake fans are.

2) I suppose you could do that, but because the mac pro card slots are further inside the case than the i/o ports, you'd end up with about a 1/2" gap between the cutout in the case and the ports of the pc mobo.

You might be able to see what I mean by looking at this guys mod, especially third pic down. http://aquamac.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=hack1&thread=460&page=8#2920

There's some issues with the PSU in the lower front. Not 100% sure on Mac Pro, but unless it's 2" deeper than the G5 case, I'd imagine it has the same problem. The PSU won't really fit in the lower front. It has to overlap the mobo by an inch or two, which would mean it covers the RAM slots (or at least my average-sized 650w seasonic rebadge did).
The workaroud is that there's enough space down there if you raise the mobo about 3", so the last PCI slot is almost against the top of the case (where OP's PSU is now). The downside to this is that long video cards in the last few slots could have clearance issues with the rear of the optical drives.
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
In my Mac Pro case there is ~8" between the front mesh and my motherboard. My power supply is about 6.5" deep, and the right angle power plug adds about an inch of depth. I think that it should be workable in a mac pro based on my measurements. I had originally thought of putting the power supply in that location, but decided against it, in favor of using the stock fan cooler mounts for the intake fans.
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
I used this tray from mountain mods in the 2x80mm version. I like the tray and I was pleased with the company and would recommend them.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
Joined
Mar 26, 2008
Messages
13,186
Easily the cleanest and simplest of these mods I have seen thus far. Bravo!
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
Thanks for the reply!

I have this case now, and I'm having a hard time removing the divider shelf thing. Any tips?
 

Arcygenical

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
25,059
It's funny. The PC community has blown their collective load over the Obsidian cases by Corsair.

Even the 800D doesn't match up to the tooling/machining quality of the original G5 case.

Beautiful, solid design.
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
That is true. And at 100-150 on ebay it's a great deal. Decent pc cases cost a lot of money! This mac pro case is also the most solidly built case I've seen. Thick panels and all
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
mahdiy85, the first thing I did to take the shelf out was remove everything removable from the chassis (brackets, cabling, etc). The first part I removed was the metal divider bracket that is between the optical drive and power supply. It had some nuts to remove, but also some rivets IIRC. So between wrench, dremel, and chisel, I finally got that out after much labor. I'm not sure if the upper divider is necessary to remove to get the shelf out, but I wanted it removed regardless. Next, I removed the door latching mechanism from the shelf. That involved removing the "e-clip" from the pin in the latch, the pin itself, and the four "spring clips" that hold the door latches onto the latching rod. I then removed the four door latch pieces from the rod (they just slide out when the clips are removed) and unscrewed the four torx screws on the bottom of the shelf that hold the rod in place. At this point I believe the rod was free and with some maneuvering, I got it out. With the rod out of the picture, I started removing the shelf itself. There were about 10 (+/-) torx screws that hold the underside of the shelf that needed removed. After those were out, I removed two philips screws along the front and another two along the back of the tray. At this point...I think the tray was free (it's hard to remember exactly). I got it out by pushing upward on the underside and rotating the tray somewhat within the chassis. I then was able to dislodge it and take it out fully. Hopefully that is helpful. If there's a specific step that's getting you stuck, let me know and I might be able to jog my memory further. :)
 
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mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
Yo, those spring clips holding the latches on the latching rod...

How did you take them out? Flat head to pry them out? Easy or tough to put them back in?

Thanks!!!
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
I put a razor blade under the clip on one side of it, and used a very small small flat screwdriver on the other side to get the clip out. It seemed to work best for me to have the case laying flat instead of upright. Both sides of the spring clip need to be "lifted" to release it. Once both sides are lifted, the clip can be pulled off the latch. I have taken a picture that shows where you need to be prying the clip.





I didn't have as much trouble getting them back in as taking them out, but ymmv.
 

xjmtx

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
360
as i read about your razor blade method, i immediately thought you were going to say you used it as an anti-theft method not about removing spring clips. whoops.
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
SilverSierra, you are the man!

Thanks a lot for that picture. I can get it out now :D
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
Thanks for all the help man,
I finished it off recently. Here's what it looks like







not elegant without the mobo backplate, but it works well. just cutting + jb weld

i need now the front panel connector board and a disk drive carriage (stupid case did not come with)
 

Silversierra

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 20, 2005
Messages
263
Glad you finally got that piece out and were able to do your mod. Thanks for posting the pics, looks pretty nice. :)
 

mahdiy85

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
118
thansk for the motivation, mate.. (googling "atx mac pro", this thread is the first link). now i need to install osx so at least the os matches the exterior looks :rolleyes:
 

crowley666

n00b
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Messages
45
Much envy..

I've had a similar project to that for a few months now, but so far I have not been able to find a way to mount my motherboard trays to my liking. I tried a mini atx lian-li case, that was shipped a bit too banged up to my liking (frozencpu? pc perf?), and a mountain mods mobo tray but the back plate on that one was way too big. Trying to put the resources together to find some place online that will cut me a backplate from a cad drawing..

Props dude, yours looks pretty nice. </envy>
 
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matteos

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
1,253
will follow your build. my case should be here next week

Cool, you should start a thread on your build too. I was just researching how to rewire the DVD drive for an eject button.
http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=11452

Which is a problem for these cases, this seems to be a good answer.

Also if you need to get a motherboard tray and back panel many people go with the Mountain mods one which looks really nice but is $50
http://www.mountainmods.com/mountain-mods-modular-removable-motherboard-tray-p-56.html

Though there is a Coolermaster one which is only $12 (not as good)

http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?products_id=462
 
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antok86

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
8,219
Cool, you should start a thread on your build too. I was just researching how to rewire the DVD drive for an eject button.
http://www.tonymacx86.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=11452

Which is a problem for these cases, this seems to be a good answer.

Also if you need to get a motherboard tray and back panel many people go with the Mountain mods one which looks really nice but is $50
http://www.mountainmods.com/mountain-mods-modular-removable-motherboard-tray-p-56.html

Though there is a Coolermaster one which is only $12 (not as good)

http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?products_id=462

i have another case im going to try and cut out the back and the motherboard area from
 
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