|[10:00 AM] Turn An iMac Into A Small Rack Mount Server
Think you've seen everything that can be done with an iMac? Well look at what John May did with a Lime unit. He calls it the iMac Rack-Mount Project. Needing to have many Mac servers for FileMaker Pro databases and other Mac web serving, he looked for a way to rack mount an iMac. He took an iMac and transformed it by removing the monitor and putting it into a rack case. According to Mr. May:
After looking around the internet for rack-mount boxes, I actually found that Marathon Computer had beaten me to the punch (or so I thought), and was going to be shipping a product called the iRack - a rack-mount case all configured to have an iMac's guts dropped right into it. To make a long story short, after getting the run-around from them for a month, with "one more week" quoted to me for a shipping date for weeks on end, it seemed like I needed to find another solution (FYI, as far as I know they still aren't shipping).
So, I decided to do it all from scratch, something which scared me a bit considering one wire connected to the wrong place could mean certain death for the iMac. After a little bit of investigation with the trusty multi-meter, I found that the iMac's power supply conformed very closely to a standard ATX PC supply. This being known, I picked up a standard PC one-unit rack-mount case with power supply, fans, and drive mounts. A custom-wired power adapter, a little modification of the back panel and some 3/4" stand-offs and I managed to successfully mount the motherboard and get the machine booted. The only remaining complications were constructing some longer cables for the monitor plug and CD-ROM, the latter of which required some special-order high-density connectors from good 'ol Digi-Key. Total price: the rack case and about 50 bucks in parts.
Since then I've built two more of these and they've been serving out databases flawlessly for a month now. The satisfaction factor was certainly worth the effort and long nights.
You can find more information on Mr. May's efforts, including images of his work, at his web site.
The Mac Observer Spin: It's a very innovative idea, especially for serving needs. It's amazing what you can do with a Macintosh :-) That said, it would be nice to see some commercial solutions for this situation hit the market.
Marathon was one of the last Mac cloners to be granted a license, only to have licensing end before they had shipped many units. The company having decided to take their ideas and effectively sell them in kit format has shipped PowerMac G3 solutions, including a complete rack solution, and a rack attachment for the Blue & White.
It should be noted that stripping your iMac's guts is likely to void its warranty, so Mr. Gray's solution may not be ideal for everyone.
iMac Rack-Mount Project