CubeGTi Liquid

by Marcelo Mejía Cobo

www.macdevstudio.com/home

2008/09/22


Overview

After many times opening and disassembling the Cube to get to know the inner workings, I started thinking that some of the adopted solutions could be further refined. They had several noticeable "stop development points" of life. So I decided to experiment with different new approaches, and over the years I have been collecting Cubes, screening the best solutions to problems and putting them together. I now have a very interesting and simple solution for some of the major problems. Basically, it is a more efficient interior design, one that will take advantage of the residual interstitial spaces inside the Cube. I have even applied for a Patent Pending status for the new arrangement and the custom parts.

One of the biggest, if not THE biggest challenge was how to remove the heat generated from the Video Card. It is ironic that the almost out of scale (big) main heat sink was not helping the matter.

The first approach was to install a combined cooling design that transferred the heat through cooper heat pipes to the main heat-sink a modified cooper “Schooner” right on top of the heat sink . This worked, but it was not a practical solution. I used this computer for years. MAMC CUBE (last picture) was the very first Cube to have a 256MB 9800 PRO (full size) in an original enclosure and fan-less GPU with a cooper “Schooner” and heat pipes. At that time I thought that “that was it“ for the Cube expansion. But the next step was not so common at that time: water cooling. And of course, if the “Fan-less 9800 PRO Original Enclosure” was impossible, the “Water Cooled 9800 PRO Original Enclosure” was just a dream.

I started unconsciously to look for radiators with the appropriate size with vertical not horizontal alignment of the fins. Not a chance, ALL the existing computer water systems were still big and had a sideways fan radiator, which made it very difficult.

One day, I remembered that the water cooling system was not for the computer, it was for the video card!
I rediscovered "The Tide Water". It was not only perfect, it was the perfect size, the perfect material, the perfect tubing, the perfect alignment, the perfect shape, perfect universal clip and on top of that it was designed specifically for a video card...

After that I started the CubeGTi project that involved organizing the previeous ideas and putting them together in a unified Kit to have a simple solution for the design problems. The result: a different Compact Computer Arrangement with the capability to hold the Water Cooling system to cool the ATI Radeon 9800 PRO in a G4 Cube with the original enclosure.


Specs

PowerMac G4 Cube
Liquid Cooled Original enclosure
GD PPC G4 7457 1.5GHz - 512MB L2 - 2MB L3
1.5 GB RAM
ATI RADEON 9800 PRO 256MB VRAM
137 GB HD
SuperDrive DL with custom made brackets
Airport-Card
Rearranged Internals CubeGTi with new drive mounting frame and extension kit
Parts

1 PowerMac G4 Cube
1 Processor Card for Cube with 80 mm fan
1 Tide Water CL-W0052
1 Custom made coolant reservoir
1 SuperDrive
1 Custom made aluminum mounting brackets
1 ATA adapter or Imac ATA interface if using original OD
1 Power cable for the adapter
1 ATI Radeon 9800 PRO
1 Custom made aluminum back plate for the 9800 PRO
1 Extension power cable for the video card
1 PICO Power Supply
1 Custom made plastic enclosure x PICO power supply
1 Custom made aluminum holder for the PICO power input
1 12V ACDC power adapter
1 Custom made rearrangement aluminum mounting frame
1 VRM Extension Cable 6 in.
1 Hard Drive 7200 RPM 8.5 ms
1.5 GB RAM
1 Apple original AirportCard
1 Bluetooth dongle


Process
Part 1 - Disassembly
CubeGTi_02.jpg Part 1 - Step 1 - Remove the core from the plastic/metal enclosure.
CubeGTi_03-1.jpg Part 1 - Step 2 - Remove the top aluminum assembly face.
CubeGTi_04-1.jpg Part 1 - Step 3 - Remove the top posts.
Part 1 - Step 4 - Remove the RAM memory.
Part 1 - Step 5 - Remove the VRM.
Part 1 - Step 6 - Remove the Video Card w/ Video Riser Board.
Part 1 - Step 7 - Remove the modem 56k v.90 Board.

CubeGTi_05-1.jpg Part 1 - Step 8 - Rotate to the other side of the main heat-sink.
CubeGTi_06.jpg Part 1 - Step 9 - Remove the other two posts.
Part 1 - Step 10 - Remove the AirportCard holder.
Part 1 - Step 11 - Remove the aluminum DVD cover.
Part 1 - Step 13 - Unplug the power cable from HD and DVD.
Part 1 - Step 13 - Unplug the data cable from HD and DVD.
Part 1 - Step 12 - Remove the DVD or CD drive.
Part 1 - Step 14 - Remove the Airport-Card antenna.
Part 1 - Step 15 - Remove the aluminum HD/DVD mounting frame.

CubeGTi_07.jpg Part 1 - Step 16 - Remove the HD from the aluminum mounting frame.

Part 1 - Step 17 - Remove the sliding plastic bracket from the HD.

CubeGTi_08.jpg Part 1 - Step 18 - Remove the Main-Board, disconnecting it from the CPU.
CubeGTi_09.jpg Part 1 - Step 19 - Disassemble the Tide Water:

Empty the reservoir tank.
Do not disconnect the tubing, ALL THE TUBES ARE THE PERFECT SIZE!
The only parts needed to be disconnected are the two UNIONS with fittings. The two fittings pass through the case and are attached to a metal part.
Remove the metal part and disconnect the two tubes that go to the external GPU block.
Disconnect the fan and pump from the power cables and remove all the parts from the case.


Part 2 - Assembly

CubeGTi_10.jpg Part 2 - Step 1 - While disconnected, position the copper Heat-Sink and the pump.
Part 2 - Step 2 - Route the two tubes that go to the external GPU block through the space between the fan and the battery holder.
Part 2 - Step 3 - Connect the fittings again at the other side.
Part 2 - Step 4 - Install the main Cube fan.
CubeGTi_11.jpg Part 2 - Step 5 - Replace the tank. (Provisional shampoo tank pictured)
Part 2 - Step 6 - Fill the system with coolant to check for leaks.
Note: For final custom made tank see Part 2 - Step 36.
CubeGTi_12.jpg Part 2 - Step 7 - Put the tubes in the final orientation. (Pictured)
Part 2 - Step 8 - Make a plastic enclosure for the PICO power supply and put the pico next to the antenna holder.
Part 2 - Step 9 - Route the PICO input power cable through the space between the fan and the battery holder.
Part 2 - Step 10 - Secure the pump to the bottom of the cube with a screw and bolt. Connect the pump power cable to the PICO output.
Part 2 - Step 11 - Make sure that the fan connector (blue-white) gets to the corner (as pictured) to be able to connect the fan to the VRM.
Part 2 - Step 12 - Use some electrical tape to secure the cables.
CubeGTi_13-2.jpg Part 2 - Step 13 - Connect the two tubes that go to the external GPU block to the fittings and secure with electrical tape.
Part 2 - Step 14 - Route the VRM extension (bottom left) through the space next to the fan at the AirportCard side.
Part 2 - Step 15 - If you have one, Install the new CPU.
Part 2 - Step 16 - Install the PICO input power connector to the custom made aluminum holder.
Note: The custom made aluminum holder is a replacement of the modem board. It uses the same screws and puts the PICO input power connector as an external input instead of the modem port.

See pictures Part 2 - Steps 17 & 25.

CubeGTi_14.jpg Part 2 - Step 17 - Disconnect the ATA cable from the Main-Board and connect it again but with the black connector not the blue one.
Note: The inverted position is perfect for the new Compact Computer Arrangement. Also, it solves the problem with the MASTER/SLAVE configuration if you have replaced the original optical drive with a laptop SUPERDRIVE (usually fixed to master). Now you can use the HD in TDM normally.
Part 2 - Step 18 - Install the Main-Board back.
Part 2 - Step 19 - Install the custom made aluminum holder (lower left) for the PICO input power connector instead of the modem board.
CubeGTi_15-1.jpg Part 2 - Step 20 - Replace the back plate of the ATI 9800 PRO with the custom made one.
Note: The custom made aluminum back plate is necessary to secure the video card to the Cube core. It is designed to fit in any 9800/9700 PRO cards.

CubeGTi_16-2.jpg Part 2 - Step 21 - Using thermal compound install the GPU cooling block to the video card.
Part 2 - Step 22 - Connect the card to the video riser board and install it to the Main-Board.
Part 2 - Step 23 - Install the new 1.5GB of RAM.
Part 2 - Step 24 - Install the two corner posts.
CubeGTi_17-1.jpg Part 2 - Step 25 - Secure the video card back plate to the core with two hexagonal screws.
Note: Note the PICO input power connector has replaced the modem port. The pico uses a 12V ACDC power adapter. (Lower left)
CubeGTi_18.jpg Part 2 - Step 26 - Back to the back. Install the custom made aluminum mounting frame and secure the the copper Heat-Sink.
Part 2 - Step 27 - Route ATA cable.
Part 2 - Step 28 - Change the position of connector (the middle one) from the original VRM power output cable. (Upper left)

Note: The new custom made aluminum mounting frame is the most important part of the new Compact Computer Arrangement project. It radically changes the distribution of the computer to solve the limited space problem, the obstructed air circulation, and the poor cooling of the GPU. It also provides a new place to relocate the VRM. (The relocation procedure normally is done to install a wider video card)


CubeGTi_19-3.jpg Part 2 - Step 29 - Install the HD and the SuperDrive to the mounting frame.
Part 2 - Step 30 - Connect the power and data cables of the HD and the SuperDrive.

CubeGTi_20-1.jpg Part 2 - Step 31 - Install the custom made aluminum plate to the VRM (upper left) and the VRM to the main mounting frame.
CubeGTi_21-1.jpg Part 2 - Step 32 - Connect extension power cable that will power video card.
Part 2 - Step 33 - Install the AirportCard holder door to the core and install antennas.
Part 2 - Step 34 - Install the AirportCard.
Part 2 - Step 35 - Secure the door in the closed position. (Lower left)
CubeGTi_22-1.jpg Part 2 - Step 36 - Install the new translucent custom made coolant reservoir (lower left) instead of the provisional contemporary shampoo tank (upper left).
Part 2 - Step 37 - Finally install the top aluminum assembly (the one that holds the start button) and put the core back to the metal/plastic Cube case.


Final Images
CubeGTi_23-3.jpg CubeGTi_24-2.jpg
Final View Final View
CubeGTi_25-2.jpg CubeGTi_26.jpg
Top View Under Lights


Bonus Mod Additional Images
CubeGTi_27-1.jpg Some Tools
CubeGTi_28-1.jpg Since it is difficult to find the Black Sapphire 9800 PRO...
CubeGTi_29.jpg Custom made aluminum extension kit for the Apple Cube. GTi.
CubeGTi_30-1.jpg ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 256MB VRAM installed
CubeGTi_31-1.jpg Belt connection at the Back
CubeGTi_34.jpg Original Prototype

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