Friday, February 4, 2011

Mini-Itx problems, Hackintosh and iMac mini Mod

I have been having a very difficult time with the itx mobo.  It does fit in the base and does work, but with the ports in place, there is even less room.  I even removed the tray door mechanism entirely to try to get more room.  I was then able to secure the power button and put the wifi antennae through the audio ports, but there are really two problems.  One - the tight fit is less than desirable.  I've had to re-open it several times.  Once a wire was audibly hitting the cpu fan, another time, it was shorting out.  Luckily there was no damage, but two solder points on the mobo must have been touching the metallic faraday cage.  I am concerned about the long term stability of putting an itx mobo in the base, but for those wishing to do it it does fit, its not impossible.

The second problem is that I really would love for this to be a true Mac, I do not love hackintoshes.  I know there is a excellent community out there and I do not mean to offend, this is simply a personal opinion.  Because I consider myself better at hardware than software, I have been frustrated at having hardware options limited by compatibility issues.  Take my itx mod for example - I do not believe there is a onboard i3 graphics hackintosh option at present.  So, my options were - go core 2 duo or atom with onboard ion or equivalent, get a PCI card for this mod (this would take up a lot of room, add to power requirements etc.) or go on without a hackintosh option.

The other option of course is to incorporate a mac mini.  So, I have acquired a 1.8ghz core 2 duo mac mini.  While not the speediest, it runs snow leopard just fine.

I have painted an alternate Apple Cinema Display case white and glued on the silver apple from the original iMac G4.  I actually don't mind the silver and am not sure which one looks better to be honest.

Now the big question is how to use the mac mini, permanently opening and damaging the mac mini is not something I'm keen on doing.  Now the entire man mini does fit in at a similar angle as the mini itx.  But this raises some problems with the ports, power buttons, and does render the drive useless.

While not as "sexy" keeping the mini external would work.  So here is the question, open it up and fit the components in vs. putting it in whole vs. keeping it external.

Although it really hurt to take apart what I've already put together in the base of the iMac, I am very worried about stability, out of all my mods, this is the one I would truly like to keep on my desk for years to come.  I have really wanted a true all in one, but am not sure its worth it, given the very small footprint of the mac mini.


  1. I'd go with leaving the mini external - keep a perfect monitor, and also it will mean you can use a nice new 2010 mini if you want to upgrade (which is obviously just too wide to fit in the base). Also, the mac mini is nice because you can turn it round to get to the ports, whereas the iMac is sometimes a bit inaccessible (assuming you could wire up the ports)

  2. Bib by, I completely agree with you. The Mac minis footprint is so small and that way upgrading is no problem either

  3. would be nice to have the imac g4 macmini as an external monitor, I hope to see this project, very good your website