Build Your Own G4

By tester

Note: This article is for information only. Neither the author nor moonrockreptiles.com offer any warranty, implied, expressed, or otherwise, that the information here is 100% accurate, and, hereby disclaim any liability which may arise from your reading this article and attempting to construct what is shown here. The reader should possess the minimal skills technical skills necessary in dealing with computer parts prior to beginning any "do it yourself" project of this nature. 

Please direct any questions or comments to the moonrockreptiles Forum


Building your own G4 can be both fun and exciting, and in doing so you will join a small but growing group of computer enthusiasts.  Undertaking this project also represents a solution to the high prices associated with both new and used Apple computers. To give you an idea, a machine similar to what I'm about to describe here will normally sell for around $800.  Retail prices vary, but that's around the norm for a low end G4 Graphite model with AGP.

Another reason to consider this project is to have the ability to use more drives than Apple's case design allows. For example, it's impossible to use a Zip drive, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM together in the same machine with any G4 that Apple has ever shipped. The reason for this is due to the location of the CPU. The standard Apple heat sink interferes with putting more than one large drive in all the cases prior to the "Wind Tunnel" series. Even in the new cases you are still stuck with 2 full sized drives at most. By going with a mid-tower PC case your choices become endless. Furthermore, water cooling projects for the overclockers become more of a reality.

This article will concentrate on constructing a G4 around the gigabit logic board. If you decide to go with a different model some specifications may differ from the ones discussed in this article. I recommend going with one of the gigabit boards for the following reasons:

  • Gigabit boards are easy to obtain.

  • The gigabit board has gigabit networking along with AGP (as do all later models).

  • Processors can be upgraded to at least 1GHz.

  • Single or dual CPU modules may be used since the physical CPU and logic board connection is the same.

Tools you might need:

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Wire cutter

  • Dremel and cutting discs

  • 4" nylon wire ties

  • Electrical tape

  • Self-adhering wire tie anchors

  • Die, tap, and drill

You likely won't need the Dremel unless you wish to cut out a custom ATX back plate to cover the ports since the Apple port layout is proprietary. The die, tap, and drill would only be needed if you wish to more permanently mount the logic board to the case.

Click on any of the photos on the following pages to see larger images (around 600x400 pixels, 80-100k average).

Next page: The various G4 models and configurations.


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