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Liquid Cooled MacPro PC

by joshuacurtis0520

52
31 Comments

Details

Date Published

Feb. 15, 2018

Date Built

Feb. 9, 2018

CPU Clock Rate

5 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

28.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

55.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

1.607 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.008 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

40.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C

Description

I've always loved the all aluminum industrial look of Apple PowerPC G5, and the pre-2013 Mac Pro. It's simply a solidly built, beautiful computer. The problem with the G5 is the hardware is completely outdated, and a later model Mac Pro with decent specs is still pretty expensive for near 6 year old hardware.

My solution was buy a A1186 Model Mac Pro, gut it, and put all new hardware in it. My goal was to make it clean, and look like factory, but add some modern flare like RGB fans and watercooling. I chose the A1186 model because of the fan configuration and price.

Cooling: I used a Corsiar H100i v2 AIO. The factory Mac Pro used two 120mm fans mounted to a plastic assembly. In order to fit the radiator I had to cut some of the plastic assembly, but with some work the radiator fits great. The only downside is I wasn't able to use the HDD bay directly above the radiator, leaving 3 of the 4 usable. I have a single 120mm fan for exhaust, and in addition there is a 120mm fan behind the power supply. The RGB fans i used are Corsair LL120RGB. Pictures don't do justice how bright and colorful these fans are.

Case: 2008 Apple Mac Pro; A1186. I purchased this on ebay for $30.

Motherboard/Mounting: Micro ATX boards are perfect size for the Mac Pro. I did build my own I/O Shield brackets out of a sheet of aluminum. It's not perfect by any means, but it does the job. I used some 1/2 inch standoffs from Mc.Master Carr and JB welded them to the bottom of the case. I used some pliers to remove the old standoffs as they are not in the correct location. Tip- Screw in all the standoffs to the motherboard. Apply a drop of 5 minute epoxy on the standoffs and set the motherboard in the case. Once the epoxy dries remove the screws and motherboard and then surround the base of the Standoffs with JB Weld.

Power Supply; I used a Corsair 650W power supply. I mounted the PSU in the foward bay (where the DVD drives use to go) because I didn't want to have to lengthen the 24 pin power connector.

Storage: I used a SAS to SATA Converter and then tied in power. All the Hard Drive bays work perfect. I have a Samsung 240GB SSD, two 3TB HDD's, and a Samsung 960 EVO M.2 drive.

Front I/O: I was able to get the front I/O working with the exception of firewire. Considering I haven't used a firewire device for 10 years I decided to not get that working. The power button and light work as it normally would.

I overclocked the 8600K to 5ghz. I could have pushed it to 5.3ghz, but for my basic workload and occasional gaming 5ghz is plenty, and keeps my computer silent.

Overall I'm happy with how it turned out. Eventually i'm going to paint the sides of the case matte black, but for now i'm happy with it. If you have any questions please comment and i'll do my best to answer.

Part Reviews

CPU

This processor is a beast! It easily overclocks to 5.0 GHz, and with some tuning i wouldn't be surprised to see 5.2-5.3 GHz. It runs cool, and for the money I couldn't be more happy with it. I don't regret getting the 8600K over the 8700K. For a gaming/everyday use machine this processor is great!

CPU Cooler

Overall I'm happy with this cooler. It keeps my overclocked 8600K at 55-60 degrees C. The quality seems great, which is what i'd expect from Corsair. The pump makes quite a bit of noise on performance mode, but on quiet mode you can hardly hear it. I didn't notice much of a difference in cooling performance between the two so I've kept it on quiet mode. The Corsair Link Software is good, not great, but good. Overall i'm really happy with this cooler, especially considering the price!

Motherboard

I am pretty happy with this Motherboard. The UEFI works flawless, and is very intuitive. Overclocking is simple. I like the LED lighting on the back of the motherboard. They aren't RGB but look great anyway. On-board WiFi/Bluetooth courtesy of Intel has been incredibly reliable. The only real problem I have with this motherboard is all the software MSI wants you to install. I only ended up installing the drivers and opting out for all the other software.

Memory

Super fast, competitively priced, and looks great!

Video Card

This GPU is fantastic. Fortunately I purchased this before the GPU prices went from high to ridiculous. I was able to get a modest overclock out of this card, and pretty much handles every game I throw at it on ultra settings at 1080p.

Case Fan

These fans are amazing. They are very quiet and pictures truly don't do it justice how bright and colorful they are. I couldn't be happier with these.... Well, unless they were cheaper, that would have been nice.

Comments Sorted by:

Lonerdo 4 points 12 months ago

Feature??? +1

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 2 points 12 months ago

Haha that would be awesome!

_Unphazed_ 2 Builds 3 points 12 months ago

Great build and modding!

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 2 points 12 months ago

Thank you! I appreciate it

Vairfoley 27 Builds 2 points 12 months ago

Always impressed when people take on the challenge of modding a G5 case. Very nicely done!

Enjoy!

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Thank you! I appreciate it

omnikron702 2 Builds 2 points 12 months ago

Great looking build I have a G5 mac pro same case in great shape always wanted to mod it

Sawdog 2 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

Awesome looking build!

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Thank you so much!

oscarbussell 2 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

I am extremely impressed by this! Insanely well executed and the fact that you got the front io working is just the cherry on top. I also love the rgb fans and how good they look in the case

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Thank you! I really appreciate it! I wish I could take credit for getting the front i/o working. Thanks to some helpful forums on tonymacx86.com I was able to find out what the pinouts were on the front I/O circuit board and make a harness to interface to the motherboard headers.

Linka 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Awww yeah, I plan to do this with a G5 case as a summer project

How hard was it to mod it?

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 2 points 12 months ago

It's not too hard if you know your way around a dremel and have some fiberglass reinforced cut off wheels. It's well worth it though!

Gooberdad 10 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

I love the look of a modified Mac pro. Great job.

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Thank you so much, I appreciate the feedback!

coolcommando 2 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

The upside down gpu... it bothers me. Awesome build tho!

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Yeah it bothers me too, I wish there was a way to flip it!

Otterman366 12 Builds 1 point 12 months ago

Inverse hackintosh?

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Haha yeah pretty much!

DarthJig011 1 point 10 months ago

very nice and clean build!

Killerbunny6666 1 point 8 months ago

Awesome build bud! +1

HeartWaker 1 point 7 months ago

Great build! I am working on my own conversion. Can you tell me the exact size of the standoffs you used? Thanks!

wilder782 2 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

This is my favorite on this site

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 6 months ago

Thank you so much! I appreciate that

rogdog56 1 point 4 months ago

Wow, I love it when people mod old computers like this

Jessiahsmallwood 5 Builds 1 point 3 months ago

How are thise monitors?

MichealJoeden 1 point 2 months ago

now you just need to make it a hackintosh!

DaMysteryMan 1 Build 0 points 12 months ago

Wow! Are you running Hackintosh? I can see this being a featured!

joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 2 points 12 months ago

As of right now i'm running Windows 10, but in addition to Windows i'll be installing OSX soon!

[comment deleted by staff]
joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 2 points 12 months ago

Thank you! Corsair LL120 fans are so awesome.

[comment deleted by staff]
joshuacurtis0520 submitter 1 Build 1 point 12 months ago

Yup! It bothers me haha!