Modding old Cheese Grater as housing for 4 hdd and (later) MacMini

I have two old Cheesegrater and am thinking of taken out the inards of one and to use it as a housing for external hdds (and later a MacMini).

My thought is to get a hub (thunderbolt?) and use these cables StarTech USB-C to SATA Adapter - digitec StarTech USB-C to SATA Adapter - digitec to connect the hdds to the hub, and than use one thunderbolt cable to go to the server (at the moment an ol MacBook Pro, later a MacMin which I also want to put in the Cheesegrater).

My question:

  • Would this work?
  • How can I handle the power to the hdds (they are 3.5" hdds)?
  • Should it be OK with passive cooling - I mean, the Cheesegrater has many wholes and is completely aluminium?
  • Any suggestions on which canbles / hubs I should use?
  • And finally - would a setup like this provide SMART from the HDDs? At the moment, I have USB3 housings, and it has no SMART support, and for a file server, SMART would be quite importnat?

Thanks for any comments - and I am planning to write it up when it materialises),


Interesting idea. Have been toying with the idea, before I gave my perfectly running old 2008 Mac Pro away to charity. You might find some inspiration here or before you decide to take it apart here

Think you will need to strip it of all innards to make this work. The motherboard, ram tray and i/o are useless in your scenario.

You can keep the drive trays, but make sure you remove the slow sata connectors, so you replace them with usb-c to sata cables. The power supply can likely be used to power the 4 hard drive bays and fans for cooling.

Plug them usb-c to sata cables directly into a Tb4 hub and into the Mac mini, which will easily fit when the case is fully stripped. I would probably also put something like an OWC Express 4 m.2 SSD in to greatly expand the Mini’s storage.

Will be interesting to see when you pull this off. Please share photos of the final product.

Thanks for the very informative post and suggestions.

Now this link is mean - it mioght throw a spanner in the works as I might be tempted to try this out…

But as I have two Cheesegrater, I might do one each.

So. Two questions though:

  1. The power supply. Does the fan run permanentely, or only when it gets to hot? One reason why I did not use the Cheesegrater as a file server (which would be standing next to me)_ was the noise of the fans? I assume, one could easily fir an additional quiet temperature controlled fan in the housing?

  2. Any experiences, if I get SMART info through these cables? Or does it dempend on the cables? Or is it the hub?

Agree with the first part of this… let’s get faster data speed with better connections. Don’t agree with using the power supply for the drives and fans. Way too much wasted energy usage for their needs. Power supply is always running. Fan would be always running. You would need a Temp Sensor to control the speed. Which normally is connected to the MLB.

Your suggestion of using a hub for the drives and connected to the Mini makes perfect sense. If they are using SSD’s then cooling is less of an issue as well.

Honestly, if you have 2 cheesegraters laying about… check this site klaus geiger converts apple power mac G5s into contemporary furniture