iMac on ATX Kit

By on November 16, 2004

Judging by the number of websites detailing the strange ways of case modding PC’s, there must be a huge number of geeky individuals that enjoy rolling their own hardware. And yes, there are those (me included) that like to tinker with case mods for Macs, despite Apple’s relatively small market share (cough, cough.) Building a custom Mac isn’t an easy thing though; it pretty much requires you to scavenge parts or buy parts that someone else has scavenged, and modify PC-centric parts to make things work.

Now, Marathon Computer — a company that specializes in making modification kits for rack mounting Macintosh computers — has introduced the iMac On ATX kit. The $59 kit is designed to allow you to use a standard ATX power supply to power a disembodied slot-load iMac logic board; there are a lot of these machines still in use, and because they do get used (and used and used and…) many are failing due to monitor problems, analog board problems, or power supply problems. Often the cost of a repair is more than it would cost to buy a replacement machine of the same vintage, which is one of the biggest problems with all-in-one machines like the iMac.

Whether you decide to stick the iMac’s guts inside an off-the-shelf PC case, a toaster, or a miniature version of a G5 is totally up to you. The main thing is to keep these jewels away from the recyclers and keep them in use.

While it is possible to do a decent case mod without the kit, Marathon has done the hard part by engineering and building the Power Management Circuit Board and wiring harness, which interfaces the PS and the logic board and does the difficult-to-master trick of allowing your made-over iMac to shut down the way that Apple intended. Unfortunately, the kit is only available for the slot-loading iMacs; the earlier Bondi Blue tray loaders aren’t supported. Too bad, because I’ve got two of them sitting in my basement waiting for a new body.