Using a PowerMac G4 as a server-ish macine?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by munckee, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #1
    I want to get a second computer to run iTunes and web apps alongside my 12" PB. My original intent was to get a Mini and an external drive or two, but I've found a good deal on a G4 tower that may prove to be worth the space hassle compared to the mini.

    What I'd like to know though, is if it would be possible to use the powermac instead of the external drives? If I filled the PM drive slots with what I had planned to be external drives, can I then hook up my PB to the powermac somehow to back up my data, etc? Will the slower speed of the powermac (450mhz) cause issues?
     
  2. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #2
    What are you planning on doing with the server? Just hosting music or files? If so, there's no reason a G4 wouldn't work as a dedicated server. You'll want to consider the noise produced by the G4 tower as well as the slow speed of the RAM. But on a 100mb wired network, you should be fine. Things you might want to consider purchasing: more RAM (definitely) and possibly an add-in ATA or SATA controller for better hard drive performance.
     
  3. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Well, thats the thing, I don't want it to necessarily be a dedicated server. I want to be able to use it for web surfing and for running itunes (not just as a music holding ground, but actually running the itunes program as well) with a set of speakers hooked up to it.

    My plan is to get a dell lcd and to hook up my PB via DVI for my graphics work and the tower via the VGA just to be able to see what's going on.
     
  4. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #4
    Would you be using the computer at the same time as other users were using it as a server remotely? The G4 doesn't have the system bandwidth to handle lots of disk operations and run as a standard workstation at the same time. Even my dual 1.25 was sluggish trying to keep up with everything, and that's a good 4-5 times faster than the G4 you're talking about, with a whole second processor to leverage. If that's your plan, you'll need a faster CPU and a wider bus. In other words, the mini is your best bet.

    And just as an FYI, you can't use picture in picture with VGA and DVI, only one or the other. You can still switch inputs back and forth, but having both desktops side by side unfortunately will not work.
     
  5. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Yes.... I don't really want it to be a true server. I want to run it as a stand-alone computer with the ability to access the hard drives from another computer. I don't know if there's some easier way to do it or if I'm using the wrong terminology to describe it. Basically I'd like to be able to easily access the HD's from both the tower and from my PB.
     
  6. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #6
    You can do that with any Mac built since 1987 or so...

    I'm not sure I understand what the question actually is.

    Are you asking how to do this?
     
  7. ibook30 macrumors 6502a

    ibook30

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    #7
    I began to set up something similiar - a G4 PM that I was going to network in a wireless fashion. In the end it became cost prohibitive and I sent the G4 to a friend who had no mac - Here was what I looked into:

    G4 tower - $200 with shipping
    Airport Card - $70 ish
    OSX - $80 ish (the PM had no OS)
    (maybe) some RAM - $70 ish

    So - in the end I was looking at spending $420 ish , and I figured a mac mini would be a better way to spend the cash.

    I was also turned off the idea by fan noise generated by the PM.
     
  8. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    VA
    #8
    A sawtooth G4 should be more than sufficient for these uses, including a light-duty server. And with a modern 7200 rpm drive, it will still have better disk performance than a G4 mini.
     
  9. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    I guess I am.
     
  10. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #10
    Doesn't need to be wireless, so I can cut the airport out. The PM I'm looking at has the OS on it. Maybe toss some extra ram in it. And I need a KB and mouse.

    I'm not sold on the idea, but I haven't been able to find a really cheap mini yet (which I'd prefer for space reasons, but then I'd have the cost of the mini, the external drive enclosures, etc). I'm hoping to be able to just toss my extra drives into the PM and back up my PB onto the other computer.
     
  11. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #11
    Yup. Doesn't need to be FAST, just needs to work. Literally for iTunes, web surfing, and backing up data from my PB. That's all I want it for.
     
  12. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #12
    Ok, so I can do it, now can someone explain how I can do it?
     
  13. crazyfortech macrumors member

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    Dec 28, 2005
    #13
    a powermac would be much better than a mini and you can actually upgrade it!
     
  14. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    #14
    How do you do it? Get an ethernet hub, connect both computers to your ethernet hub (by getting a hub, it allows you to also connect a cable modem to the hub allowing both computers to access a fast internet signal). Go to the blue apple in the menu bar on each computer. Scroll down to System Preferences. Choose Sharing, then under the Services tab, click Personal File Sharing to turn it on. Do these steps on both computers. Next, click Show All in System Preferences and click on Network. Where it says "Show:" scroll down to Built-in Ethernet, and then select AppleTalk. Make sure the box is checked that says Make AppleTalk Active. After all this, go to any finder window. Click on the globe-like Network icon and you should see your other computer show up as an icon. Now you can transfer files back and forth.
     
  15. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Thanks. Anyone have any idea how "slow" a powermac I could get and do this successfully? Could I go back to a G3?
     
  16. macdong macrumors 6502

    macdong

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    Seattle, WA
    #16
    i have a dual 867 G4 PowerMac with Panther doing what you want.
    it's running perfectly.
     
  17. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #17
    Can this be done via firewire in some way other than target disc mode (so you don't have to restart the computer each time)? Some way to just connect the firewire and push data back and forth?
     
  18. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

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  19. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Do you actually have to get OS X server, or do you just download the tool set? What exactly does it allow you to do?
     
  20. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

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    Jan 23, 2006
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    UK
    #20
    Hi there,

    Don't know if you remember, but i bought a Dual 450 to do just this.

    I was advised to use ethernet to ethernet for the connection, and my PowerBook would recognise the PowerMac automatically through network sharing. (System Preferences)

    Unfortunately i've not been able to play around as i don't have a monitor for my Dual and i'm really busy at University to make the effort of finding one.

    I would advise getting the Gigabit Dual machines as they can address a full 2GB of RAM (this isn't widely known and i was quite surprised to discover) and they have Gigabit connection.

    When i get mine hooked up i'll let you know.

    Rich.

     
  21. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #21
    Thanks Rich, I'll be interested to hear what you find. I'm not really worried about how much ram the computer will be able to handle. I just want it for an itunes station with internet access, and essentially an external HD for my powerbook.

    If I can get it to work via firewire, that might be ideal. Especially if I can work on files that are stored in the tower on my powerbook via firewire (don't know if that's feasible). That's why I was hoping to get some further info on the possibilities.
     
  22. MIDI_EVIL macrumors 65816

    MIDI_EVIL

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2006
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    UK
    #22
    Yeah, that's exactly what i'm hoping to get from it.

    Check this -

    System Preferences > Network > Show > Network Port Configurations > New > Port > Built-in FireWire

    The option to use built-in FireWire as a network port is definately there, but i've not tried it.

    Rich.

     
  23. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    Sep 19, 2005
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    South of the border
    #23
    i'm currently running a B&W G3 350 as a file/web/iTunes/DVD box.
    i maxed the RAM out at 1GB, and put Panther on it (and Apache/MySQL/PHP for the web side).

    I bought an IDE card from OWC so that it could handle drives larger than 120GB, and stuck in 2x200GB drives as a single RAID volume (off the card) running the system off a 120GB drive on the internal IDE.

    If you want to share the extra drive volumes, the easiest way i found was with Sharepoints (and backup software - i use Synchronize X - if you want to do that).

    The music can be accessed indirectly through iTunes sharing.

    and i also bought a Keyspan remote, for iTunes, which works well (i don't think it would handle Front Row even if it was available)

    and replaced the cd drive with a cheap DVD burner

    Networking is done through a router (wired and wireless ethernet), but i believe you can just hook the two Macs together directly with firewire or ethernet (you'll need to set the IP addresses and so on manually, because there won't be a DHCP server to do it automatically).

    It's a little slow running iTunes (but only because the Library is enormous), as a web/file/backup server and DVD player it does just fine.

    A G4 would be even better obviously.

    It's a little noisy, but still a lot cheaper than a Mini (especially when you take the cost of external enclosures into account)
     
  24. munckee thread starter macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #24
    :D Finally, somone who's done exactly what I'm looking to do. Can you tell me more? How slow is iTunes running? I'm assuming its still usable? I have a Dell 2005FPW arriving today or tomorrow that it would be hooked up to. VGA is fine, don't need it to look too good.

    You're exactly right on the pricing. I'm hoping to pick up an older tower for under $200 ($100 would be awesome). I think I can bum a couple of memory sticks off a friend of mine for free. I'd love to get a mini for its size, but I can't find one for less than $350 and then I'd have to add the external enclosures which would run another $30 each (I'd probably need 2). Sounds like I can do the tower setup for much less.

    What card do I need to run larger hard drives?

    Will work with a G3 tower? Got access to a great deal on a G3 tower.
     
  25. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Right side of wrong
    #25
    i had a similar question before, expect that my "server" computer as a pc and not a mac. sorry to interrupt this thread, but was wondering if anyone could help me out.

    also, what do you mean you are going to use the tower as a "itunes station"?
     

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