|Powermac G4 (Sawtooth) Front Firewire/USB Ports Mod
By James Allan
Posted: June 30th, 2004
Hi Mike, I'm a keen follower of your site, and have been for several years. I've previously posted the details of my Sawtooth overclocking efforts in your upgrade database, and recently performed a modification that other readers may be interested in.
Like most people I'm sure, I really don't like climbing down under my desk to unplug something so I can download photos from my camera or update my iPod. My G4 already had an internal Firewire connector on the motherboard (early G4/AGP Sawtooth models had this internal FW port, later models do not.), and I had purchased a USB 2 PCI card which also had an internal port. I started to investigate how to utilize these
wasted ports, but most practical solutions meant giving up my Zip drive and replacing it with a bay mounted hub. (there's a previous article on that mod here - see Related Articles below) I then stumbled upon a company called FrontX (www.frontx.com) which had exactly what I was looking for. Not only was the shipping to Australia free, but they have templates and guides on their site so you can do custom installations if you don't have a spare drive bay on the front of your box.
After about half an hour of carefully
drilling a few holes and a bit of filing I had a USB 2 and a Firewire port on the front of my G4 tower. The photos show the finished product. I mounted them beside the zip drive so I didn't have to cut any of the case plastic and had easy access to the back of the area in which I was working, but I almost put them below the power button in the empty hard drive bay. (That thing on the processor heatsink is a temperature probe, in case you're wondering, as heat is a bit of an issue for my Overclocked G4 at the moment.)
The side plastic was removed for the same reason. Not a bad result, although the heatsink temperature has risen by a couple of degrees, probably because of reduced airflow through the case. Shouldn't be too hard to fix, so now all I need to do is get a bezel made up with slots for the Zip drive and ports. (I asked if he had the original drive bay or ZIP slotted bezel and tried using a dremel tool to cut the ports in it.) I hope others find this useful.
Firewire and USB Cables from Kit
Sawtooth Motherboard Cable Connection
For systems without the internal ports (or a PCI card w/internal port), one option would be to route the cable from an external port
through a spare PCI slot opening, assuming the cables are long enough.
Inside View of Front Cable/Jack Mounting
Front Case Ports Mod
Front Case Ports (Bezel Installed)
Have you done a cool case mod, or other upgrade on your Mac and like to have an article or review posted here? Contact me (thanks)
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