Last night I finished completing Phase I of the Mac Desktop Rebuild Project. Phase I is basically to get things to the same base functionality as before, only working (duh). I actually was not only able to complete that much, I was also able to slap in the dual layer DVD burner (no more juggling files around to burn requests from the iTunes library! Woo!) and adding USB 2.0 (including the front panel... charging and updating my iPod shuffle just got WAY easier). I was thinking I would have to much around with kExt files to get the burner to integrate with the Finder and iLife apps, but to my pleasant surprise it... just worked.
The only thing I wasn't able to move over was the zip drive and the internal speaker. Since the box is plugged into the Bose stereo speakers, and since I don't use the zip drive much these days, I figured those could wait until Phase II -- that's when I add 7.1 sound output, do some mods to the case panels to add the internal speaker and additional fans (in anticipation of the eventual CPU upgrade a la Phase III), and swap out the original video card with a much beefier Radeon 9800 Pro. The latter I was able to pick up for 80 bucks, thanks to enterprising hackers who refused to pay 260 bucks for the Mac version. Literally the only difference between the Mac and PC version is the ROM that makes the card work -- what used to be called the "Mac Tax", where identical peripherals cost more on the Mac than on the PC.
So far it's been running about 4 hours without a problem (I can check on it from work thanks to remote screen sharing). Tonight I take it for a little spin to see how well I designed the cooling.
It occurred to me, as I finished putting it back together, that when Phase III is finished there will only be ONE original component from the original machine left, the motherboard -- I've even replaced the dodgy, probably ESD damaged memory. With only minimal effort I could swap THAT out at some future point, use every single component in the box and load up OS X on Intel. If you think that's the eventual end-game for a box that is essentially acting as a media server, then... well, you're probably spot on. However, even if all I do is upgrade the CPU I'll still get 4 to 5 years out of this thing.
And the case is such a PRETTY color blue.
Sometime in the next day or I can finally tackle that last whine about my Mac Book (props out to Gracelandbound's fiance, who was spot on about his advice... unfortunately, it looks like this one still needs to get in). A complete image will more than amply fit on the RAID, and then it's a wipe in preparation for handing off to the Genius Bar in Emeryville. I can already feel my teeth gritting if I get some fool who wants to convince me it doesn't need to be sent in -- "No, I didn't call AppleCare. I already know what's wrong, and not just because I read it on some web-site somewhere. Yes, I tried the firmware update. No, it wasn't sitting on my lap while I was doing video rendering when it shut down... it was sitting on a computer desk while I dared to surf the 'Net. It be broken. Fix it."
In about 6 months I will hit my 20th year as a Mac head. It's fun when I get to take on someone who was in diapers when I was tearing apart my first Mac (a Plus, to upgrade it to a whopping 4 megs of RAM... which cost us more than 2000.00 US at the time. Woo...).
With a little luck I'll have the 'book back by Labor Day weekend, the last dregs of this thing will be gone, and I can start tackling OTHER issues in my life. Like organizing my electronics projects area so it doesn't look like something exploded in that corner of Chez Watt.