Rebuilding a Mac SE as a server again

Around this time last year, [Sprite_TM] took a 1980’s-era Macintosh SE and rebuilt it as a home file server. He used a Seagate Dockstar as the new motherboard, but over the past year he’s been annoyed with the fact that the Dockstar doesn’t have real SATA ports. Using USB to SATA converters on a server is a slow way of doing things, so [Sprite_TM] rebuilt his SE using an HP thin client. To do this, he had to break out the onboard SATA and PCIE; not an easy task, but that’s why [Sprite_TM] is around.

The first order of business was installing a pair of SATA ports. The stock thin client had two NAND-flash chips serving as the drive, both connected to a SATA controller. All [Sprite_tm] had to do was desolder the flash chips and wire up the new SATA connections. Easy enough.

Because the HP thin client only had 100Mbps Ethernet, [Sprite_tm] wasn’t looking forward to the order of magnitude difference between his expected rsync speeds and what he would get with a 1Gbps connection. The only problem is the thin client didn’t have a spare PCIE connection for an Ethernet card. That’s really no problem for [Sprite_tm], though: just desolder the GPU and run a few wires.

Just like last year’s work on his SE, [Sprite_tm] ended up with a functional and very cool home server. The old-school System 7 is still there, and of course he can still play Beyond Dark Castle. Awesome work, in our humble opinion.

Comments

  1. 512kdog says:

    Man, that is the most coolest project i have seen on here! I am attached to the Vintage Mac projects here!

  2. Josh says:

    Wow that is an amazing level of knowledge and skill. Just ignore all the people that will try to say you can do it cheaper pre-built. This has so much more geek cred lol

  3. nanobit says:

    I wonder how he managed to get a video out after removing the gpu. Sadly he does not mention anything about it.

  4. Gijs (TD-er) says:

    It’s clear Sprite_TM is hacking at a different level compared to the rest of us.

    Exchanging a GPU to connect a PCIe ethernet card.
    Well I don’t think there are many of us who’ve done that.
    There are weekends I don’t do that ;)

    A humble bow to Jeroen…

  5. Per Jensen says:

    WOW! – That’s some serious soldering, i’m very impressed.

  6. Roel says:

    Hah, massive respect for the GPU to PCIe ethernet hack :)

  7. bhtooefr says:

    Wow. That’s serious hacking.

    And, that makes me want to check my t5325 again, because I tried to install a SATA connector on the unpopulated pad, and couldn’t get it to detect a device on the SATA port.

  8. 9a3eedi says:

    At first, I was disappointed because I thought from the headline that this guy made an old Macintosh do server stuff (using old hardware with new code)

    But then I read the article, and I was freaking impressed. Desoldering a videocard to make way for an ethernet card? That’s just amazing.

  9. cde says:

    Freaking Witchcraft. That’s the only explanation.

  10. Hirudinea says:

    I read the link to the original hack and this hack and what can I say but this guy is a hacking god! He should sell little idols of himself, simply amazing!

  11. Zen Punk says:

    Normally I’d be one of those guys denouncing the destruction of vintage hardware in the name of pointless hackery, but…desoldering a GPU to expose a PCIe bus so you can hook up a card…that blows my frikkin’ mind, man.

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