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I've got an old powerbook g4. Battery is totally dead, as is the superdrive. I've looked into selling but it's worth less than it would cost to ship it safely. So I'm considering cracking it open and and taking it's parts and creating some kind of small form factor desktop, probably for the living room. I don't need an optical drive, I really just would like Mac OSX, without purchasing a Mac Mini.

Anyone got any tips?

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closed as not constructive by davidgo, Dave M, Keltari, Brad Patton, Dennis Apr 13 '13 at 4:01

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4 Answers 4

I assume it boots when plugged into the wall? ifixit.com has teardown/repair instructions so you can see what you're getting into before you get too far in. I use an old iBook as an alarm clock/version control server, and it works great. Get Leopard on the machine (or the latest OS it supports) and it'll be a decent box-in-the-corner machine.

I'd recommend leaving it in its laptop form-factor, as Apple's motherboards can be oddly shaped and I doubt it will fit any standard enclosure.

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Should be an interesting project. I'd suggest getting it a new optical drive and maybe turning it into a PVR/media computer. The parts might be the right shape to fit into a mini-ATX case, but I'm not sure if mounting it securely will be a problem.

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If it works when you use a power brick then consider these points:

  1. The laptop enclosure it is currently in works qua airflow. Keep that.
  2. Remove the battery if possible. You wrote is is dead already, and it will not get any better.
  3. Make sure the fan is clean (both for good cooling and less noise).
  4. No drive needed to reinstall the OS (just use an USB pendrive).
  5. As long as you have a network plug anywhere nearby (or decent speed wireless) you do not need to replace the optical drive. It might even be best not to use it to play films since optical drives make more noise than a HDD.

NB: This is sounds like a fun project.

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The mainboard is going to be mostly the same size as the footprint of the case, so taking it apart isn't going to save you much space or reduce the form factor much. You should skip taking it apart and treat the laptop case as your SFF.

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