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MDD Unreal Mod

'Unreal' Mirror Drive Door Tower Cooling Mod
By: Chris M.
Posted: June 4th, 2004
Updated June 7th, 2004 for comments/photos on Adj. PSU Fans)

Hey Mike, first of all thanx a lot for your site. Since I started fiddling around on my first beige G3, I regularly checked your site for helping tips. I successfully overclocked every G3 I owned, I converted my overclocked G4 sawtooth into an ATX-case, helped the quicksilver to shut up and now tried something new for once:
I recently bought a used G4 1 GHz Dual MDD, and, as everyone knows, these beasts are loud. by chance I got an original silent kit for a few francs (there's still no euro in switzerland :-) and was quite satisfied with noiselevel after the swap.

But I noticed the upper half of the case heating up quite a bit. Even the PCI-bezels felt really hot. There is no exhaust for the hot air except through the power supply, which starts to run quite hot after half an hour. A pci slot cooler helps evacuating the hot air, but adds some more noise and is not that efficient due to the small diameter. I run 3 harddrives, normally 4 pci-cards and an additional DVD drive (due to region code things), so maybe all these devices help to heat the mac up.

So I simply decided to pump some fresh air into the powersupply and the pci-compartment by removing the little loudspeaker, drilling up the hole and placing an ordinary case fan (coolermaster with heatsensor) there. it runs silently, the air leaving the back of the powersupply doesnt feel as hot as before, I now also removed the pci-slot-cooler (i want to use all of my 4 pci-cards).

Angle View
Finished Front View

i didn't put the plastic covers from the backside of the machine on again. (ok, to tell the truth, I had made some experiments to colorize the surface - and I messed it up :-) Maybe the airflow out of the case might be a little better now.
The result is great. The cpu-temperature dropped from 58.3 celsius (that's where my fan kicked in every few minutes) to 54.4 degrees. The temperature near the powersupply dropped even more. Touching the pci-bezels does not feel hot anymore...

The 12cm case fan runs constantly at lowest speed and the newly installed 8cm fan is barely audible. Loudest things now are the powersupply-fans (remember, this is the apple silent kit). All in all the G4 is quiet enough for me, I just hear a whisper under my desk and do not have to worry about heat anymore.

The whole modification took me about 4 hours.
The most dangerous thing while doing this mod are the iron shavings. One tiny little particle of iron can kill your logicboard (if it shorts across two traces). So take the time to dismantle the whole machine and clean everything thoroughly after widening the original speaker hole, then the rest will be a piece of cake :-)
And it tastes good.

(he later sent an update with comments/photos on replacement PSU Fans)

Short Update:
After running the G4 during 36 hours nonstop, the temp rose to max. 55.6 degrees while I was shooting my way through unreal worlds :-)
since the power supply remained fairly cool during all this time, I chose to go a little further by digging out the old (loud) samsung-PSU, exchanging its noisy delta-fans with some titans I had laying around and reduce their speed with a little fan-regulator.

After swapping the apple-silenced-PSU with my titan-version, I noticed the G4 is now a little quieter. (I dont believe it would be good idea to reduce the fan speed without having enough fresh air available near the PSU)

Little effort, little gain. but ok; I can sell the apple silent kit to someone who is really in need.
Loudest thing now is the case fan (papst 4212, I think), but its quite powerful in moving much air at low speed, so I will keep it. its noise-level is followed tightly by the 3 harddrives anyway.
i think, making the G4 quieter would start to become an expensive thing.
P.S. Notice the little dial looking out the top of the PSU cover?

More Photos

The Twins
After and Before

Rear View
Rear View

stripped case
Stripped Case

Fan/Speaker Hole mod
Speaker Hole Mod

Review view of Fan
Rear View of Fan

Front Cover Mod
Front Cover Mod

Fan Mate
Replacement PSU Fans/Fan Mate

PSU Fans
PSU w/Adjustable Speed Fans Installed

For other System Performance/Case/Mod related articles - See the Systems page.

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