Posted on 30 July 2004
With it all crammed together it works like a dream.
Last but not least comes the back panel. I built a little board to fit in the space where the Mac had its connectors supported by a bracket taken off the Mac's logic board. A mini-ITX USB/Firewire PCI header was adapted to fit in the Mac's original expansion connector space. I also added an Ethernet port to the expansion slot. All the IO connectors go to the corresponding sockets on the ITX board. Its all a pretty tight fit. To power on the PC I built an "auto power on" circuit so that it boots as soon as the mains is switched on. However for backup the old Mac "programmers switch" is kept to hit the PC reset and power buttons. I really like that detail! A special daughter board mounted over the top of the old Mac analog board contains a relay connected to a disk drive power lead. This switches the internal monitor on when the PC is switched on.
For those of you who want the specs here's the key parameters:
- Motherboard: VIA EPIA MII-12000 with 512MB of RAM
- Disk: 40Gb Hitachi 2.5" drive
- Optical disk: Panasonic UJ-825 slotload DVD+/-R/RW, DVD-RAM, CD
- Display: Monochrome CRT - max resolution 800x600, S-Video and Composite Output
- Expansion ports: 2xUSB 2.0, 1x Firewire (an additional 2xUSB and 1xFirewire could be added)
Thanks to the excellent Basilisk II the Mac-ITX can be turned in to - well, a Mac! The 68k Mac emulation is virtually perfect, and you would never know that it wasn't the real thing. Except in one respect - my emulated Mac now runs about 15 times faster that the original SE/30. Does this make Mac-ITX the most elaborate Mac upgrade of all time?
So, how about the result? I think its pretty cool. It looks so much like the real thing you have to pinch yourself. There are a few things I plan to improve. With three fans its pretty noisy. I want to fit some quieter ones and see if the PSU box can be redesigned so that the system fan cools the PSU as well. I also want to fit an infra-red detector in the case. Still for now I have a nice, retro and unique home server.