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Old Nov 29, 2009, 04:33 PM   #1
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Re-purpose PowerMac G5 - HD Video / Media Server +??

apologies if this is a novice ill-informed post. i tried find more info via a search, but didn't find anything.

i have a Power Mac Dual G5 2.0Ghz PCI-X w/ 3GBs Ram running Leopard. i am looking at getting a new Mac Pro or iMac Quad Cor 27" after the new year. i am also considering getting an Apple TV in the near future as well. My wife has an Intel MacBook running Leopard (upgrade to SL when I uprgade to a new machine) and we run a Airport Extreme Wireless network.

my question is this: can my G5 Tower be a good machine pull triple duty as a media server (Itunes, Photos, etc..), Time Machine BU destination and HD Video playback to my rear projection HD TV?

i notice that it has trouble playing back HD Video. so it seems like a Video Card upgrade would be needed, as well as, Drive Expansion (like the Sonnet G5 Drive) to facilitate additional storage.

i hate to dump my G5, if i could re-purpose. on the other hand, i don't want to invest much into end of lifed product.

any advice or other thoughts to consider appreciated.

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Old Nov 29, 2009, 11:46 PM   #2
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You can do it, but G5s do have a bit of trouble playing back higher-bitrate H.264 (especially in HD resolutions) seamlessly. A new video card wouldn't help much either, because video decoding relies mostly on CPU, not GPU.

Besides, the PCI-X G5s use AGP video cards that are hard to find and have inflated prices. The fastest card AGP card EVER made for the G5 was the GeForce 7800GT. These still get around $250-300 used, which is obviously pretty steep for three-generation old GPU tech.

Also consider that if you end up using the G5 for this purpose, it will have to stay on Leopard (10.5). Snow Leopard (10.6) is only supported on Intel Macs.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 01:25 AM   #3
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Also consider power consumption--there is not a huge video playback difference between a G4 MDD and a G5 2.0gHz, but the G5 can use 3-4X the power. Both can use the same grade of graphics cards, so if it's a dedicated media server (i.e., that's ALL it will be doing) I'd sell the G5 and try to find a G4 tower or even an intel mini, you won't be wasting energy and you will get a pretty similar result.
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Old Dec 1, 2009, 10:10 PM   #4
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thanks for comments, suggestions and considerations. i think i will mull this over. i've got some time to figure this out.
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Old Dec 2, 2009, 06:04 AM   #5
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for the record the new minis should have no problems with 1080p content

My old 1.66 Core Duo mini could almost do 1080p and was rock solid with 720p

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