Powermac NAS Server

Posted by: nulloop

Powermac NAS Server - 12/29/09 12:02 AM

Not sure why my original post was deleted, but here goes (again)...

In 1997 I bought a Powermac 8600 and it was a trusty workhorse. It was upgraded to 128MB RAM, Voodoo 2 PCI graphics card, ZIP drive, CD-R drive and 2 additional IDE drives via an IDE PCI card. But after 5 years it was being surpassed in usefulness by my lowly iMac G4. When it was time to clear out old hardware, something told me to hang on to this tower. Iím glad I did because it came in handy when I wanted to build a NAS server. I researched around for the right hardware and my project was underway...

The main challenge was to get my Powermac 8600 case ready for mATX internals. The first thing was to fit a regular ATX PSU in. The stock 8600 PSU is a huge brick so I had to fashion a custom shield plate and cut away some of the case frame (red arrows) that was obstructing the new layout.

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The 8600 has a rear IO panel that is slightly wider and much longer than a regular motherboard IO panel so I had to patch the gaps up. Also, the gap between the IO panel and the first PCI slot is wider than normal so I had to file the case down.

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The 8600 motherboard mounts bear no resemblance to mATX mounts. I used an old mATX board, a couple of PCI cards for alignment with the case slots and marked out the holes for drilling. The rear IO panel sits at a different height to mATX cases so I had to use screws, nuts and washers to get the motherboard to sit at the right height for proper alignment. Despite its size, the 8600 doesnít have much headroom for motherboards because of the way the PSU chamber folds down. Luckily the Silverstone heatsink has a low profile

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Another annoying caveat is the 8600ís drive bays. There are 4 bays on the front of the case but each bay is actually slightly wider and taller than a standard 5.25 bay. So my SATA cage doesnít fasten to the case normally. Again, I made some custom brackets to fasten the cage to the case. Same thing with the Compact flash reader. I made some brackets to fasten it to the case. Using some spare bezels, I made one to custom fit the SATA cage.

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The 8600 power switch was actually on the board itself, so I had to create a bracket to fix the power button to the case.

I loaded NASLite on to the CF card and placed it in the card reader and it is working beautifully. The Powermac 8600 has a base drive sled that can take 2 more hard drives. I made some brackets which will allow the sled to take 4 drives. Along with a PCI-E RAID card, the plan is to turn this server into a lot more than it is now.