PowerMac G5 as a server? Good idea?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by alexreich, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. alexreich, Jul 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

    macrumors 6502a

    alexreich

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    #1
    I have my Mac Mini (mid-2010) exactly the way I want it. Everything is perfect. But ever since I upgraded to an SSD (60GB), I don't have room for all my media on my machine.

    Currently my iTunes library is on a 1TB OWC Drive (plugged in via USB), and I really hate having to mess with the external storage to play music, or stream videos to my AppleTV. If I want to use anything on the drive I have to reach through my desk to power it on, mount it, use it (for whatever), eject it, then power it off once I'm done with it to save overall life of the drive. I know laziness is a bad feature, but I possess it. I also have the issue of not all the Macs in my house having the same library.

    I would like to have my iTunes library on a dedicated (iTunes Home Sharing) server machine in my home. I would also like to have a dedicated drive on the server for Time Machine backups as well. That way, everyone on my network can access the same library AND backup their machine from any computer or laptop in my home. I also wouldn't have to worry about this external crap all the time, and I would use the the OWC 1TB drive to back up my iTunes library weekly to ensure I wouldn't lose my library if something failed.

    I see G5 PowerMacs on craigslist for $200-250, and I would love to use one for this, but I have a few questions.

    So my questions about the G5 are:

    How many drive slots does it have (and what size are they)?

    What is the maximum size of hard drive the computer can read (running Leopard if that affects anything)?

    It has SATA revision II right?


    My other consideration is to buy a cheap machine with 3 hard drive slots to do the following:

    Drive setup:
    #1 Operating System (don't necessarily need a large amount of GB)
    #2 iTunes Library (1-2TB)
    #3 Time Machine backup volume (1-2TB)


    Is there a cheap PC I could use to do the tasks mentioned above? If so, please link me to it.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    adcx64

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Location:
    Cudi Zone
    #2
    1. The G5 has 2 hard disk bays

    2. I dont think there is a limit on drive size, correct me if i'm wrong.

    3. All G5 models use SATA 1. SATA II drives will work natively and SATA III drives will work with jumper configurations set to SATA II.

    Hope it helps!
     
  3. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #3
    You're better off getting a PowerMac G4 and installing a SATAII PCI card if you want to use it as a server. You'll be able to load the sucker up with 4+ HDDs.
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #4
    PowerMac G4 1.42GHz Dual Processor is the fastest stock tower PPC G4.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #5
    If it's just to serve files then I recommend saving money and getting a G4 tower and PCI SATA card. I know easy ways to fit at least 7 drives in the G4 towers also.

    It's safe to say the G5 is the least stable tower ever from Apple. Any G4 although older will live longer, fit a lot more drives and use less power.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #6
    Fastest is totally irrelevant for file serving. A 400MHz Sawtooth with a SATA card would do just as well in the same role.
     
  7. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #7
    Guess so, I am just stating it... zen... cool down man.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    See, if he was really angry he would suggest a Apple Network Server 700 with a G3 and a SATA Upgrade....

    To the OP: Do not attempt the above. I second the advice to get a G4. I have several XServe G4s serving Files within my studio, and I wouldnt use anything more powerful. Even my G4/450 Tower can push HD Video out as a file (It cant play it, but as it has SATA and a Gigabit Ethernet card, it can access it and stuff it down the network Pipe to my editing stations - And as far as storage goes One Day I will get 12TB in a G4. Cant be that long now *waits for 3TB Drives to get cheap*, but Ive definitely seen a PowerMac G4 with 4TB Internally (4*1TB Drives in a MDD with 2 SATA II Cards - Not mine, but a clients, it worked surprisingly well, although I have no idea how they managed the wiring.).
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #9
    Cool down? Oh my.. What did I possibly say that makes me seem non-cool/chill?

    I simply just clearly stated that CPU is not important at all on a pure file server. It's just a dumb box at that point. Even a G4 400 is more than it needs.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
    #10
    It seems to me that you're a bit agitated with what I have stated. No offense man just trying to lighten you up a bit... :D
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #11
    Not at all. I just wanted the OP to know most of all that CPU speed doesn't matter in this role.

    To the OP:

    Also add a cheap gigabit ethernet solution if you happen to go the G4 route and get a Sawtooth by chance. The rest all have built in gigabit.

    You don't even need a gigabit ethernet router to enjoy gigabit speeds. I have a 10/100 router but both my Macs are directly connected by gigabit. My G4 is connected to the router for net access with the built in 100mbit then I have the above PCI card installed and my MacBook is directly connected via Cat5e and I get up to about 48MB/sec. Normally never lower than 32MB. Cat 6 would be even faster.

    If you did like I have it explained above you are then behind 2 firewalls. The router and then the G4 which shares its internet with my MacBook.

    Also, if it's just a file server remove the video card so you have more power for drives and run it headless. You can then very easily remote into it with ScreenSharing on your main Mac.
     
  12. alexreich, Jul 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexreich

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    #12
    If processor speeds aren't a big deal...

    I have a 500MHz iMac G3 just sitting around the house that runs Tiger, could I get anywhere with that machine as a server?

    BTW: Play nice guys. Haha. We're all trying to help eachother!

    Thanks for all the quick feedback.

    Would anyone be interested in telling the costs of all these PowerMac G4 mods/add-ons?

    EDIT: Just looked at the PCI SATA cards... Is this one good? It looks fantastic in writing?

    Amazon URL:
    http://www.amazon.com/Vantec-6-Port-SATA-Host-Card/dp/tech-data/B002PX9BX2/ref=de_a_smtd
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #13
    Pretty sure it has to be a Mac compatible SATA PCI card, which of course will be more expensive. Macsales.com (aka OWC) carries one for $72.

    Zen.State or one of the other guys can better answer your question. Don't buy one until you get a definitive answer.
     
  14. alexreich, Jul 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011

    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    alexreich

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    #14
    Thanks for the heads up :)

    I'm looking at the site now... :D

    Edit 1: Looks like it only performs at 1.5Gb/s....? How's that gonna perform when streaming media?
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    That will be absolutely fine. Not only can current drives barely saturate that connection (Excluding SSDs), but your network will run at nowhere near that speed.
     
  16. macrumors member

    sirozzy

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Location:
    @home
    #16
    Hi there,

    I'm just configuring for one of my friends a PowerMac G5 running MacOSX Server with 2 x 2TB hard drives. Setting up everything as raid 1 for security reasons. I think if you can afford 2 2TB hard drives you don't need more physical hard drives.
    There is no limit with space in G5. (i mean reasonable limits. There is one like 19EB which is exabite. We have to wait for that big hard drives a couple of years yet i suppose ;)).
     
  17. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #17
    It would only go anywhere near top speed when you transfer files from Mac to Mac. When you're playing video or audio it will use maybe 1/200 of the drive speed. Even full 1080p video is only about 1MB/sec (8000kbps) and modern SATA drives even on a SATA 1 bus get 100MB/sec+ easily.

    Even the 2.5" WD Black I have running on my MacBook's SATA 1 can easily sustain about 126MB/sec.

    As for SATA cards.. I highly recommend any of the FirmTek cards. The Sonnet SATA cards are made by them also. Because it will be on 33mhz PCI you can only expect 70-80MB/sec but thats still 80x more than you need to serve even HD video.
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    bizzle

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #18
    I'd just buy a multi drive enclosure or NAS set up because the amount of power that a G5 uses will end up costing you a lot more in the long run and they're loud and make a ton of heat.
     
  19. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Philippines...
  20. macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #20
    I agree the electricity a G5 would use running all the time would be overkill, but as zen.state posted, a G4 would work just fine and can be had dirt cheap, hence the OP's looking for info on a SATA PCI card.

    I picked up a 400mhz Gigabyte Ethernet G4 for free a few weeks ago, but any G4 Mac that is under 1ghz is absolutely dirt cheap, at least on my local Craigslist. I watch CL regularly and $40-$50 for a 400mhz or up to an 867mhz G4 are regularly in that range (other than the occasional person asking for $300 :) ). Most people don't realize there is still value in those machines. Depending on where the OP lives, eBay often has similar G4's for $40-60 or so shipped.
     
  21. cocacolakid, Jul 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #21
    I've got a question, this thread has me thinking about using my GE G4 as a server. Does the OS version make any difference when we are talking about a Mac server? The GE G4 is running Tiger. My other Macs are on Leopard and Snow Leopard, with the mini going to be eventually upgraded to Lion.

    What if the OP decided to use his G3 iMac, which might be running something before Tiger, would that work for him?

    I'll hang up and listen to your answer :)
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    bizzle

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    #22
    A G4 is not as bad as a G5 in terms of power but still a lot of power, they aren't exactly energy efficient.
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #23
    Not like a mini, no.
     
  24. macrumors 6502a

    raysfan81

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2009
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #24
    Yeah but the mini doesn't have any room for internal storage upgrades like the G4 and G5 does. But if I were to make an always on file server I would definitely choose the G4 because the G5 is incredibly power hungry.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #25
    I'd go for the G4 by far.

    - much cheaper to purchase
    - judging by reading these forums they seem to be less likely to break down
    - cheaper upgrades and parts
    - less electricity usage
     

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