The Bad Apple Case Mod - 2004

The Bad Apple

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The next computer mod project, build a PC in a very recognizable Apple G3 case. This project does not attempt to build the wildest over clocked game rig, or cram a pile of used parts into the case - this project is to make a very 'sano' sleeper PC.


No obvious signs of a Windows PC - floppy disks, exposed beige CD ROMs, missing I/O shields or run of the mill OEM beige keyboard.

No hot rod mods like blowholes, case windows, front USB or fire wire ports.

Incorporate every aspect of G3 operation to the PC contents. Panel buttons, CD ROM and other parts work so easy that an Apple user could use it with no instructions.

Cost of Project:
Cost of parts


Straight from eBay - Apple G3 Blue& White tower case. Included all case covers, power switch, speaker, front drive cage, bottom drive platform, case fan & extra Zip drive bay cover. Cost: $44 plus $15 for shipping.


First - it needs some slightly more advanced modifications than just stuffing a PC motherboard in the case and holding it all together with Velcro & duct tape.

Cable Ties hold the board on
Cable Tie Construction

Ha ha - some sloppy, stuffing the board into the case pictures.
Slap together case mode

Wires hanging out.

Strip of tape to grip to open CD bay.
CDROM Door handle


Strip the plastic off and set it aside. No modification is needed, and you don't want to damage it. Remove the hex screws on the handles and covers. The side panels snap into the center hole too.
Bare case
You need to pinch the plastic 'hub' inside and push it out.

Plastic hublatch

Cannot think of anything 'G 3' has to do with a PC, so peel off these letters.

No G3 Here

A Dremel or other cutting tool of choice cuts off all the Apple standoffs. Don't ruin the 4 threaded bushings that hold the plastic matting that covers the inside of the door. It is needed for latching the cover.
Cut off the Apple standoffs

I test-fitted a motherboard, using some plastic standoffs. I put expansion cards in the slots to line it up right.
Motherboard test fit

Then using a sharpie pen through other empty mounting holes, I marked 3 mounting points.
TEst Fit 2

Taking an old motherboard mounting tray as a template, I used nuts & bolts to attach it to the outside of the G3 case.
Motherboard tray as a template

Drill a few more mounting holes, using the tray as a guide.
Guide for holes

Take off the tray, and replace the bolts, this time with the ends inside the case. I ran two nuts down the bolts this is what the motherboard will rest on.Motherboard mounting bolts

The motherboard will be secured with another nut.
Motherboard Secure

Clean up the case after all that grinding and drilling. A bit of chrome polish took to it nice.
Clean up case


The case fan is a 120mm fan. I swapped the stock fan with a speed-adjustable one.
Case Fan

Instead of just blowing ambient air over the expansion cards, I built up a shroud to make the fan pull air from the back vents. Just cardboard.
Fan Shroud

The fan speed adjustment control fits into a cable clip.
Speed Control


Power supply is an Antec 350 watt OEM pulled from another case. It fits the G3's
cutout and mounting holes like it was made for it. A little detour to change the fan.
Power supply fitting

Perfect Fit
Power supply fit

Stock Fan to remove.
Power supply fan

As long as we are this far - why not tear down the whole thing and paint it?
Power supply case

Since the G3 case has a fan grille, I cut the grille off of the power supply case. Less surface for air to rush past.
Trim fan opening

Antec blue LED fan replaces the stock fan. A little blue paint from the Mint.
New Fan

Some blue paint from the Mint project.
Painted power supply

Neatness nut says to cut off the 4 conductor adaptor and solder a 2 pin plug to the fan. This was then plugged into a Zalman fan speed controller.
Fan connector

The window cutout exposes the circuitry. There is a clear plastic sheet in the case insulating the circuit board. Not really the intention of the mod, the CPU fan is smack up near the power supply in the case layout.
Power supply window

Breaking up the surface for anti-noise, and give the CPU fan a little breathing room.
power supply installed


DVD ROM fits into a drive cage that slides into the case.
Sound simple? Oh no, not in this mod.
Optical Drive carrier

View behind the pretty face
Bare case front

Check out the size of a standard old drive in the G3 cage. This is what causes one to clip off memory sockets, reroute capacitors and carve CDROM drives. Something this big will crunch against most any motherboard.
Measure the DVD

Enter the choice find: A LiteOn DVD ROM that is much shorter.
short reach DVD

Quite a bit shorter
DVD Drives

I installed the DVD into the G3 drive pocket, marked off and trimmed the excess. Just aluminum, I used a nibbler tool for this. Look, no screws in the side. There's a second set of case screws are under the drive.
DVD in carrier

DVD ROM and drive bay Installed back in the case
Optical Carrier in case

The IDE for the DVD comes off the board, turns and goes up the back of the case. This needed a 36" ribbon cable.
DVD Ribbing

Up, over and in. This stretched the limit of an IDE cable. 36".
DVD Ribbon


To open the built in 'stealth' drive cover, there is a button in the middle of the cover. It is supposed to push a plastic paddle that in turn depresses the button on the stock drive. For my use, I had to build up the eject button or the paddle. I chose to use some hot melt glue to make the paddle contact the eject button.
Stealth door

Pull my finger. No no, push the button.
Push the buttin

It works!!
Drive opens

I removed the front cover from the drive tray. It snaps on and off.
DVD DRive front

The little Apple logo on the front cover begs to be lit. A hole in the back of the logo, with the HDD LED anchored with more hot glue lights up the fruit.
Apple logo

If a little glue is good . . .
A lot of glue is better

This needs help, I know - good effect but really should be diffused so the the entire logo lights with a uniform brightness.
It lights

The front panel buttons are plastic extensions to the actual switches in a box on inside the case. The original switches can be rewired [ see ]to work the Power-LED-Reset. I never did figure how to duplicate the throbbing LED effect.

I instead chose to fabricate my own with micro switches, perfboard, an LED and some CAT5 cable. ummm I love the smell of solder rosin burning in the evening!

The power button was not the same depth as the reset/programmer buttons, I filed down the extension on the inside of the case so the power switch was not in a constant ON state.
Power switch

Old motherboard front panel connectors spliced onto the CAT5 hook up to the motherboard. Some split sleeve wrap bundles them all up.
Panel cables

Routed behind the fan panel and under the hard drive tray.
Panel wire routing


Hard drive sits on a tray that will hold 3 drives. For neatness, I put the drive in the backmost bay.

That power plug is too close to the limits of avoiding getting crushed by the door closing. I cut down one side of the power plug.

Instant right angle Molex.
Right angle molex

Test fit, close the door while peeking in.
Clearance of HDD

The IDE cable will route under the motherboard, turn toward the case front . . .
HDD Ribbon calbe

. . . and come up by the motherboard IDE socket.
HDD CAble on mboard

The fit under the board was too tight, the slave plug and the plastic mat would high center the motherboard at a critical point - the expansion cards. So the slave plug pops right off starting with the top clip.
Removign slave connector

Peel off the bottom plug. Sort of like carpet stripping. Peel slowly.
Slave connector gone


Set the motherboard on the mounting screws. A couple of the screws would interfere with the sliding plastic mat, on one I elongated the hole, and at another point I used the plastic standoffs to keep the board level.
Motherboard screws

Mother board screw

Motherboard scres

I needed an extension cable for the ATX power plug, unless I wanted to always unplug the power whenever the case was opened.
Power cable extension

Board is an ASUS A7N266-VM. Fans of this site and others noticing inconsistent photos may remember that I started with an ECS K7SEM.
Motherboard changed

Fill the expansion slots. Left to right: ASUS USB (it's ribbon cable sneaks under the board over to it's header. Leadtek XP2000 TV card, Creative Modem Blaster, Linksys WIFI card.
PCI Cards

That completes it.


The Keyboard is one touch that really made this project look genuine. Same blue color (even looks green in a camera flash), same basic shape of an Apple keyboard.
Fake Keyboard

Carry the masquerade further by having a Y adaptor cable that combines the mouse & keyboard plugs behind the PC into one lead. That lead is plugged into one side of the keyboard.
Fake bus cable

The mouse is then plugged into the other side of the keyboard.
Mouse plugs in here


Downloads for the GUI

My first bogus desktop. Stardock WindowBlinds gives the wannabe Mac OS look.

One step further was to use a launcher application called Y's Dock.
Y's Dock















The Bad Apple has found a new home - here are the last mods done in my possession. Really just a request from the new owner

The back panel of the the Asus board with the I/O panel centered, but that wont allow the AGP slot to be used. I thought about using a low profile video card such as a Radeon 9200. It has two outputs, one on the card that would be buried in the case, and another fed by a ribbon cable that I would mount on the I/O shield or on an expansion slot.
Shift it

Moving the board about an inch over to allow the use of the AGP slot. The joystick port will need a shave, and the mic socket is hidden. This is the same process I first used to make the mounting holes in the case. Fill the PCI slots, mark the holes with a sharpie, take out the motherboard and drill two of the holes.
shift it 2

Then place the scrap motherboard tray on the outside of the case and use it for a template for several more holes.
REdo the holes


iPC - PC in a G4 Case Very clean mod. Great use of luminescent tape for lighting, and the best illustrations I have seen for a mod article.

G3 PC - AOpen MX3L motherboard. Very detailed page - pay attention to the sliding mat under the motherboard and trimming the RAM sockets.

The “Rotten Apple” Great paint job. Uses Giga-byte 7VKML motherboard

And in reverse

Blue and White G3 conversion to a PC ATX Case Helps explain the G3's power switch pin outs.


Hi Bad Apple fans! - Stuff from the mail:

From Alex B

I am happy that I found your web page! I am from Germany and I am also planning a project like your bad apple project, perhaps you can give me some answers to my questions. I would be really happy if you would.

Is there enough space between the main board and the cdrom case? or does or does the main board touch the cage. I have a smaller cdrom lying here also so I think I can cut the cage about 2 cm

The ASUS A7M266-VM works fine in my application - the only nag with that board is that the AGP slot does not look readily usable - we'll see. The short DVD drive is the biggest key to using that motherboard. I recall that I considered cutting off one of the RAM clips on the unused socket, but finding the DVD was the key. Can also vouch for the ECS K7SEM, The ASUS board also requires that the power plug wires be tucked toward the case front - see the pictures - or they hit the drive cage.

hope you can tell me if the main board is working out good with the case or do you know any other better board which works.

I have since traded for a slightly better board, an ASUS A7N266-VM. This is another micro-ATX board with nVidia graphics & chipset, uses DDR RAM and has a kicking audio setup . It replaced the K7SEM with a few caveats - I needed to carefully fold the power plug's wires, and the AGP socket is unusable, for it does not line up with the expansion card slots. The onboard graphics are ok for now, but I will need to come up with some solution if I want to upgrade it to a better game machine.

will you sell it?

In a moment. Did in fact trade it for a PIII Laptop.

Footnote 2009. Still one of the most popular pages on I miss doing all out mods like this. Page reformatted with little or no changes.