using an old mac as a file server

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by meeks, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. meeks macrumors regular

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    #1
    ever since i bought my powermac a year ago ive loved every bit of it. Now what i want to do is buy an old mac off ebay to use soley as a file server to share music and video to loved ones and friends. it wont be doing any streaming at all, just storing files. i figure i will setup a ftp server on it so its easy for everyone to access. my question is what kind of machine would i need to do this? i'm looking to spend as little as possible on he machine so i can save the rest for HD's. i would like to run tiger on it if thats possible but that all depends on what i get. would a powermac g3 be enough for what i want to do or would i need something faster?

    thanks
     
  2. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

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    #2
    How much are you wanting to spend?

    a mac mini? cheap and versatile and it can boot without a monitor attached.

    Will probably need a an external HD, the Lacie mini 250gb is nice and sits under the mini.....
     
  3. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #3
    I'd go for a Blue & White G3 tower. This reseller has several under $200. They can run OS X pretty well, and can hold 3 or 4 hard drives internally.

    B&W towers can be had for as little as $100 if you look around (ebay).
     
  4. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
  5. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    will i be able to run tiger on a g3 without doing any hacks?
     
  6. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    Yes. With one caveat. Tiger install discs are DVDs, and many B&W towers don't have a DVD-ROM (although some do, it was a BTO option). So you may need to buy a DVD-RW drive for it (about $60+shipping from Other World Computing).

    It won't run fast, but it should be perfectly acceptable for what you are doing, as long as it has 256MB RAM or more.

    A B&W tower + DVD-RW drive + extra RAM can still be had for around $300 or less if you shop a bit.
     
  7. dops7107 macrumors 6502a

    dops7107

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    #7
    I'd be interested if someone can pick up on this - anyone know?
     
  8. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #8
    Any computer can boot without a monitor.

    I have a vintage 1989 Mac IIci that I used as a network storage device. I would boot it up and leave it on for awhile. Whenever I wanted to shut it down I'd just press the power button on the keyboard, wait for the alert noise and hit return. Off.

    New Macs aren't any different.
     
  9. Ecodisk macrumors member

    Ecodisk

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    #9
    If you are willing to take your time looking around on ebay you will be able to find a really good deal on a blue and white. I got my blue and white for $35 including shiping. The shipping acually cost me more then what I paid for the computer.
     
  10. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    what are the specs on the one you got?

    i was looking at this one also
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5849758181#ebayphotohosting
     
  11. Ecodisk macrumors member

    Ecodisk

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    #11
  12. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #12
    That will almost certainly go for more than $300, but at the same time it will run OS X great out of the box, and there are a million useful upgrades available for it.

    My G4 started out life as a stock dual 533, and is now in the form you see inmy sig. Runs Panther very fast, and I'm switching to Tiger soon.
     
  13. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    would a system like that be able to run tiger?
     
  14. Ecodisk macrumors member

    Ecodisk

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    #14
    If you don't use a bunch of widgets I would think. I don't know really I'm new to macs.
     
  15. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #15
    you'll need more RAM, for sure. And the hard drive would be a bit cramped, but usable nonetheless.
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #16
    I question if the DVD-ROM will work properly. You need at LEAST 10 GB for the OS partition and 512 MB of RAM.
     
  17. Ecodisk macrumors member

    Ecodisk

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    #17
    I used the old compaq dvd-rom to install osx 10.3 and it worked fine. I also only had 128MB of RAM when I first installed it
     
  18. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #18
    Tiger system requirements, copied from Apple's website:

    * Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor
    * Built-in FireWire
    * DVD drive for installation
    * 256MB of RAM
    * 3GB of available hard disk space (4GB if you install the developer tools)

    So no, that B&W would require upgrades. Many PC DVD drives work in Macs as DVD-ROMs, and can burn discs if you install the free PatchBurn software. I brought home a Plextor 2x DVD-RW from work and it worked as a DVD-ROM in my G4, and PatchBurn made it fully functional.

    I would recommend at least a 20GB boot drive for a basic Tiger machine.
     
  19. Dreadnought macrumors 68020

    Dreadnought

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    #19
    Look out that you have enough ram in the old mac. Else the OS will take soo much virtual ram of the harddisk that you can't install anything on it. It just says your harddisk is full. I have the same with my B&W with 12 GB harddisk, os 10.4 takes about 4 GB of virtual ram.
     
  20. doucy2 macrumors 65816

    doucy2

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    #20
    i reccomend a powermac g4 400 or 500mhz processor
    then get a raid card and add up to 4 interenal hds
    also before you invest in making the server you may want to mess around with it a bit, its not as simple as it looks (at least is wasnt for me) lol
    now im lerning about windows and linux server (first class tonight)
    if know something about servers go for the g4 and osx tiger server on it
    good luck
     
  21. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    well i was just going to run rumpus on it and set it in a closet. do i really need os x server?

    by the way i won that auction, and i think i got a good deal!
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5849758181#ebayphotohosting
     
  22. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #22
    Assuming everything is there and works as advertised, that's a great start and a good deal. Pretty much all you need to do is buy the hard drives and maybe some more RAM, depending on how it runs.

    Personally I would suggest getting a 4-channel SATA card from OWC and then adding SATA drives as needed. They'll run a lot faster than the internal ATA/66 and will fit in any future Mac tower.

    By the way, your new G4 tower is often referred to as a "Gigabit Ethernet" model, in case anyone ever asks which version of the G4 tower you have.
     
  23. meeks thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    ok thanks for all the help, i have a 7200rpm 250gb drive i will use in it for now and get a couple more in the future. what kind of ram does it take, i have some pc3200 laying here but i bet thats too new
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #24
    It uses PC100 (PC133 will work too, but will run at 100Mhz). About $80-$100 for a 512MB stick. 4 slots give you a 2GB max. Some sites quote 1.5GB max but I think that is an error (my G4, a "Digital Audio" has only 3 slots and maxes out at 1.5GB, which is I think the source of the error).
     
  25. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    Jul 26, 2005
    #25
    My advice:

    Get a revision 2 Blue & White -- Revision 2 because the Rev 1 IDE controllers were **** and will not allow properly-functioning slave drives.

    Install Tiger -- you know how. Drop more RAM in it, but only enough to install OS X.

    Disable Aqua after you install Tiger. That'll free your resources greatly. If you don't know how, then ask and ye shall receive. Don't worry -- your services will still start.

    Any time you need to do maintenance on the machine, just re-enable Aqua, reboot, and you do anything in it that you'd do normally.

    Remove the DVD-ROM. Add a hard drive in its place.
    Put a hard drive in the slot below where the optical drive goes.
    Put a hard drive on top of the primary master hard drive (they have a bracket that will hold two hard drives).

    You can have a TB of storage there. If you want more, add one of the SATA RAID cards, but unless you really want to get into that mess, I just recommend some cron scripts to back up your music/movies/et cetera.

    That way, you only pay for the hard drives and a little bit of RAM, and you get the maximum performance out of the machine with Aqua disabled but you still have the user-friendly interface if you need to do some reconfigurin'.

    Edit: And don't forget that you have a Firewire slot or two (haven't looked at my B&W's back in a while). That's good for another couple drives.

    Edit2: Damn. Everything happens while I'm typing :-(
     

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