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Old Apr 24, 2012, 09:23 AM   #1
kaykills
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Power Mac G4 - File Server - A couple questions

I'm looking to purchase a Powermac G4 to use as a file server. I know there are a million posts on here about this and I have found almost all the info I nee, but I have a couple questions that I can't seem to find the answer to. I'm not a super techincal person, but I love a good project and I've needed a proper file server for a while now.

I've found a Sawtooth online which I am looking to buy.


1. I know I need to pick up a SATA internal PCI card to run SATA hard drives, however do I need to buy anything extra to get the HDD's to work? A friend of mine said that the power cables from the SATA hard drives might not connect to the power supply. Is this correct? Do I need to buy conversion cables??

2. The 10/100 Ethernet in the Sawtooth. Is this sufficient to stream video from the G$ to my other computers around the house? Or would I need to upgrade to gigabit ethernet?

3. Someone mentioned (Zen.State I believe) that I can actually max out my storage on a Sawtooth to 6 hard drives? How can i go about doing this? Do I just buy 2 compatible SATA PCI cards with 4 internal slots and then add my hard drives? Or is it harder to fit all of them inside the actual box?

I know I really need to just grab it get it to work on my own, but for my own peace of mind beforehand, I'd love these questions answered.

Very much appreciated.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 10:39 AM   #2
gramirez2012
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1. As far as I know, no G4 ever came with SATA drives. That means that they have the old IDE/Molex power connector. You'll need to buy adapter cables to allow you to power the SATA drives from the G4's power supply.

2. Definitely upgrade to Gigabit.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 11:17 AM   #3
rossmosis
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How much money is the Sawtooth you are looking at? Unless you have your heart set on that kind, I'd get a little better one. A dual Quicksilver 2002 or MDD would be perfect, even a Gigabit Ethernet would be a step above that.

There's ample room in all G4s for a lot of hard drives, I wish the G5 case had emulated that.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:06 PM   #4
kaykills
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Originally Posted by rossmosis View Post
How much money is the Sawtooth you are looking at? Unless you have your heart set on that kind, I'd get a little better one. A dual Quicksilver 2002 or MDD would be perfect, even a Gigabit Ethernet would be a step above that.

There's ample room in all G4s for a lot of hard drives, I wish the G5 case had emulated that.
He's selling the Sawtooth for $50. It's a 350mhz, 2GB RAM.... I've been looking at a quicksilver which I can get for about $80 and the best deal out of the bunch I think is a MDD which has dual 1.2ghz processors, 2GB RAM. That guy is going to sell it for $100. As file servers go, I've read that a Quicksilver or Sawtooth is preferable over the MDD's.......

I had one other question about a SATA to IDE power supply adapter.... I've found these online but I'm not sure what pin set the G4 power supply has? Can anyone confirm which cable adapter I need to buy??

1. http://www.compusa.com/applications/...2751&CatId=474
2. http://www.compusa.com/applications/...70342&csid=_21

Cheers....
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 01:21 PM   #5
zen.state
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaykills View Post
He's selling the Sawtooth for $50. It's a 350mhz, 2GB RAM.... I've been looking at a quicksilver which I can get for about $80 and the best deal out of the bunch I think is a MDD which has dual 1.2ghz processors, 2GB RAM. That guy is going to sell it for $100. As file servers go, I've read that a Quicksilver or Sawtooth is preferable over the MDD's.......

I had one other question about a SATA to IDE power supply adapter.... I've found these online but I'm not sure what pin set the G4 power supply has? Can anyone confirm which cable adapter I need to buy??

1. http://www.compusa.com/applications/...2751&CatId=474
2. http://www.compusa.com/applications/...70342&csid=_21

Cheers....
Those adapters are exactly what you need but the FirmTek and Sonnet (made by FirmTek) SATA cards come with 1 power adapter and 1 data cable so buy 1 less pair than you need.

You could fit 8 hard drives in a Sawtooth if you had 2 extra stacked brackets. Six across the bottom and 2 in the optical/zip drive bay. You would need 5.25" to 3.5" mounting brackets for the optical bay.

The SATA cards you need are either the FirmTek 1S2 (2 ports) or the 1V4 (4 ports). For 8 drives you would obviously need 2x of the 1V4 cards. Both these cards work in all G4 towers and all PCI-X G5's.

I personally prefer to not put more than 2 drives inside my G4 towers and have the rest external as this cuts down on both heat inside the case and drain on the power supply. In a system thats a pure file server though putting more than 2 inside won't hurt at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is many of the early Sawtooth (like the 350 MHz) don't support dual CPU. If possibly being able to use dual CPU in the future is important to you get the seller to check the manufacture date. If it's March 2000 or later it will support dual CPU.

Edit: I missed your question about adding GB ethernet. I made this thread a while back about a cheap plug and play PCI solution for 10.5.2 and higher. I bought one for each of my Sawtooth and they work perfectly. I get 27-34 MB/sec over my network vs. about 4-11 MB/sec on the built in 10/100. They can be found on ebay or in local wintel computer shops for $10-15 each.

Last edited by zen.state; Apr 24, 2012 at 01:39 PM.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 02:19 PM   #6
zen.state
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossmosis View Post
How much money is the Sawtooth you are looking at? Unless you have your heart set on that kind, I'd get a little better one. A dual Quicksilver 2002 or MDD would be perfect, even a Gigabit Ethernet would be a step above that.

There's ample room in all G4s for a lot of hard drives, I wish the G5 case had emulated that.
The Gigabit Ethernet models PSU tends to die long before the Sawtooth do (when it does happen) and the Quicksilver or Digital Audio models can only hold 1.5GB RAM vs. 2GB in the Sawtooth/Gigabit/MDD. The extra 512MB is more of an all round benefit than the slightly faster bus.

Before my Sawtooth combo I use now I had 2x MDD and sold those in favor of the Sawtooths. Many have found that odd but the Sawtooth are the most rugged longest living Mac ever made in my experiences and also in the ongoing research I have done over the years. Thanks to the 7448 upgrade my main Sawtooth is a bit faster than my dual 1.42 MDD was.
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 02:26 PM   #7
kaykills
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Thank you for the extremely detailed replies by all. It's very much appreciated. I think I may get the Sawtooth and do the Gigabit PCI upgrade. I'll make sure to try and find out when it's manufactured but I don't think I'd upgrade to dual Cpu. I may try and find a 500mhz one.

Even though I may fail at this you guys have really given me some highly useful information.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 07:06 PM   #8
Cox Orange
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If you now buy a Dual capable PowerMac you can put a Dual 500MHz in it anytime later, which will be the cheapest Dual Upgrade you will get (The Dual 500MHz, as well as Dual 450MHz, I am talking about was available "from stock" and is no third party Upgrade, which is, why it is so cheap. Often Single 350-500MHz and Dual 450/500MHz PowerMacs will costs even the same. Well, at least here, were I live).
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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I ended up getting a dual 500mhz Mystic / 2GB memory. Seemed like a bit better value over the Sawtooth I was looking at. I've also ordered a FirmTek PCI SATA 1v4 card which hopefully will show up in a few days.

Thanks for all the help and recommendations.

I do have a couple more questions if you guys want to talk.

Keeping in mind, I'm using this system as a file server:

1. Should I stick with OS X 10.4? Or should I install Leopard? I think Leopard would only install with a 867mhz cpu or higher on a G4 so I was thinking just leaving Tiger as the OS. Would this have any impact if I am streaming files from the server to my macbook? I wouldn't think so, but would appreciate any thoughts.

2. I'm gonna stick 4 SATA hard drives in the tower. I need to buy a few converter cables for the IDE power supply. I've found a couple different kinds of cables but I'm not sure if I need the first option

http://www.compusa.com/applications/...2751&CatId=474

or this kind

http://www.compusa.com/applications/...70342&csid=_21

I know I could probably just wait to pick up the G4 on Thursday and look at the power supply cables, but I'm curious as I may order them today.

3. Hard Drives - I'm looking at a bunch of different 2TB hard drives. Will it matter too much if I'm buying a 5400rpm v 7200rpm? Will this only matter in the amount of time it will take to access the file? Or if for example I'm watching a video on my macbook off the server. Will there be any impact based on a 5400 v 7200?

4. Also to confirm on the FirmTek 1v4 PCI card, if I'm buying a SATA III hard drive, I'd need to make sure it has jumpers which can downgrade to SATA II.

Feel free to point out that I'm asking too many questions. Hopefully when I'm done, I'll be able to start helping other people out on this forum.

Anyway appreciate any feedback.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 08:45 AM   #10
Cox Orange
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As far as I can see it, these cables are identical so I would take the cheaper one that comes with lifetime warranty (although I do not think these kind of cables are likely to get broke, if you do not plug them off/on to often and just leave them connected, but why not take this warranty).

Just as an additonal tinkering-fun-idea: you could later also add one 1,8" or 2,5" HDD (not SSD) for small files (like your mp3 library), to save you power, heat and space. If you get another SATA-Card later (or ATA-133) you could use a Y-power-cable (one 4Pin molex becomes two SATApower connections) and put the small HDD in the ZIP-Drive Bay, if you than like to tinker, you can add a small fan (about 30mm) in the ZIP-Bay to cool the drive, if the bay gets warmed up by the 2TB drives under it. (I use a small slow HDD for storing some old OS9 games).
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 10:19 AM   #11
kaykills
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Originally Posted by Cox Orange View Post
As far as I can see it, these cables are identical so I would take the cheaper one that comes with lifetime warranty (although I do not think these kind of cables are likely to get broke, if you do not plug them off/on to often and just leave them connected, but why not take this warranty).

Just as an additonal tinkering-fun-idea: you could later also add one 1,8" or 2,5" HDD (not SSD) for small files (like your mp3 library), to save you power, heat and space. If you get another SATA-Card later (or ATA-133) you could use a Y-power-cable (one 4Pin molex becomes two SATApower connections) and put the small HDD in the ZIP-Drive Bay, if you than like to tinker, you can add a small fan (about 30mm) in the ZIP-Bay to cool the drive, if the bay gets warmed up by the 2TB drives under it. (I use a small slow HDD for storing some old OS9 games).
I like to tinker so maybe I'll try something out like that, although my music library is gigantic so I'm not sure what I would do there.

I would like to know what you think I should put the actual OS on? I know this is just a file server, but for performance would it make sense to buy a SSD for the OS or just put it on a regular IDE 120GB HD or something? I really want to set up RAID 1 on the SATA drives, and then I was thinking about a smaller HD for the OS. Not sure what the best route is to go.

I'm still also torn whether I should put 10.4 or 10.5 on. 10.5 by default is not compatible but for screen sharing, and overall performance i'm wondering if I should still put Leopard on anyways? Really not sure.

Last edited by kaykills; Apr 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM.
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Old Apr 26, 2012, 04:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
=Cox Orange;14778172]As far as I can see it, these cables are identical so I would take the cheaper one that comes with lifetime warranty (although I do not think these kind of cables are likely to get broke, if you do not plug them off/on to often and just leave them connected, but why not take this warranty).
No, they're not the same. One has a female Molex connector and the other has a male Molex connector. The OP will need the second one (the male) to connect to an existing hard drive power cable. This one:

http://www.compusa.com/applications/...xP151z_3TgS8WQ

Last edited by archtopshop; Apr 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: Try to fix quote
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 10:56 AM   #13
Cox Orange
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Originally Posted by archtopshop View Post
No, they're not the same. One has a female Molex connector and the ....
Your're right. I overlooked that by looking quickly at it. Sorry, OP.
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 11:17 AM   #14
kaykills
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Originally Posted by archtopshop View Post
No, they're not the same. One has a female Molex connector and the other has a male Molex connector. The OP will need the second one (the male) to connect to an existing hard drive power cable. This one:

http://www.compusa.com/applications/...xP151z_3TgS8WQ
Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cox Orange View Post
Your're right. I overlooked that by looking quickly at it. Sorry, OP.
No worries at all. I picked up the computer last night. Will spend the weekend working on it (hopefully that PCI card shows up today).

Seems like there is barely any space for hard drives. This should be fun.
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Old Apr 29, 2012, 12:13 AM   #15
kaykills
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Trying to install Leopard

Have another question around Leopard. I installed Tiger a couple days ago and have been messing around with it. I wanted to install Leopard to see the difference in performance. Based on the LEM article, I tried faking out the installer using the open firmware route. I did everything correctly but I couldn't install. Then I tried the LeopardAssist method and I got the same "Leopard is unable to install on this computer" error. I'm using the Leopard installation DVD I got with my MacBook Pro. This is where I think my problem is and I just would like someone to confirm that the OS shipped with all MBP's is tailored to Intel based Mac's??

I read somewhere that the installation DVD could be used on a PPC or Intel Mac. Is this true? Do I need a different disk? Wondering if I need a retail DVD or something?

If someone can let me know that would be great.

Cheers....
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