There are still some small tweaks I may make, but for all intensive purposes this mod is now complete. I completed the ports with one exception, I still haven't figured out how to handle the apple cinema display's power cable. As it plugs directly into its power supply, there is no "female version" of this plug. I think I'm going to experiment with different connectors, but for now the middle section with the power cables is unfinished. I am also likely going to add an HDMI extender for "HDMI" out capabilities. The onboard intel graphics are 1080p capable and I have included a bluray player, thus this computer may make a reasonable HTPC.
The power cables come out the back.There are 4 USB cables to the left. The firewire ports are empty (may put HDMI out here). To the right is an ethernet and Power LED, HDD LED. The original power button is also operational.
The computer currently boots to windows. As I explained in a previous post, the onboard graphics work, but with limitations on hackintoshes. To get snow leopard on here, I would have to purchase a 1.8" SSD (it will not reognize the compact flash) - which I would be fine with as long as it was fully functional. This appears to be a problem that many people in the hackintosh community are working on, so if a solution presents itself, its certainly first on my list to add. As I am showing this right now to demonstrate a hardware hack, I again respectfully askto refrain from comments about how sacreligious it is to see windows on an iMac etc.
The drive is a "killer" in this mod. Any slim or non-powered drive tray is not able to push open the door. The drive probably occupies 60% of the "usable volume" of the entire dome and it has been the first thing to go in most iMac G4 mods. Because of the ECX board I was able to spare the drive and use a bluray to boot. Although optical media is getting somewhat useless, its still one of the signiture features of this computer. And if I do go the HTPC route it will be a valuable addition.
I also need a proprietary adapter for onboard audio. If I use HDMI out for an HTPC I won't need onboard audio and I have a griffin audio adapter which allows me to use the native speakers, so its not a necessity.
As you can see this is certainly NOT a hard core gaming computer. But it is a good machine on par with the current generation of mac minis. It is noticably faster than the (2 generations ago) mac mini that I currently have hooked up to my touchscreen mod.
I highly recomend this mod. Even if you could get the native inverter working with an external power source you would still need to manage a 24V, 12V 5V, and 3.3V lines. The LCD controller for the apple cinema display does it for you. Except for that this is really no different than the DVI hacks for the 15 and 17". This is much easier than the previous mod as you do not have to do any cutting or modifying of the case itself.
The 3 things that do concern me about this mod are
1) Not a touch screen - to keep the weight neutral and the mod as close to original as possible I did not go the touchscreen route. I am currently experimenting with optical sensors. If I could incorporate these into the bezel it would be essentially weightless and would save me from having to put a poor resolution piece of plastic in front of the monitor display.
2) No Snow Leopard - I didn't want to put a troublesome video work around on just to say its Mac OS X. I'm going to keep my eyes open and maybe Lion will be different or maybe the next generation of ECX board will have a different graphics option. And that brings me to #3...
3) The future of ECX boards. I love this form factor. Its not only perfect for this mod but I could see doing a lot with it. The board was developed with the intention of having the power of a mini itx board in a smaller form factor. But, this is the only small form factor board that I've found that uses something superior to an Atom processor. As these boards are not mainstream, there is no guarantee that they will be upgraded to anything like sandy bridge architecture. While I was hoping to see the next generation mini become "smaller", for my purposes they actually became "bigger". Yes they are thinner, but they are now actually harder to fit within the iMac G4 shell. But, for now I'm going to enjoy this mod.
I hope people find this helpful and I would love to see people replicate or improve upon this mod. Starting out I did not think a core 2 duo all in one was possible with the native iMac shell - especially not the 20", but here it is. As always, I welcome all questions and comments.