Can I run multiple Sonnet cards on a G4 AGP?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mr1970, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. mr1970 macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2008

    I have a 500Mhz G4 AGP which has been ticking along as a home server for a couple of years now. I upgraded the original IDE drive slightly to a modern 120GB version, put in 2GB RAM and added a Sonnet PCI SATA card in order to run 2 x 1TB SATA drives for media and backup.

    It's been running fine for 2 years but now I need more storage space as we now need to back up 2 laptops and 2 desktops (plus, ideally a Windows PC, but that's another story).

    I think I have a number of options:

    - Drobo
    - eSATA enclosure
    - dump it all and get a NAS
    - upgrade what I have

    and I'm tempted to explore upgrading yet further. Anyone know if there's a reason why I couldn't just add another Sonnet PCI SATA card and stick on 2 more drives?

    One of the many things I love about the AGP is that it can actually take 5 hard drives (unlike my G5 PM which can only take 2), but I guess the two big questions are:

    - will it actually be able to handle 2 identical cards
    - will the power supply be able to handle 5 hard drives?

    It's not running a monitor - I do everything by screen sharing across the network, so there's no power draw there.

    Any views? I'd like to do this as cheaply as possible (hence not keen on Drobo) and I'd really like to not throw the machine out.

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2008
    Over there....
    i can see no reason you can't have 2 sata cards but i would put a bigger psu in it is so simple to mod a pc atx psu to work (just switch a couple of cables)
  3. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    No the power supply won't.

    I have the same machine and the PSU is rated 280w, which is to be honest a bit too little for that machine if you load it with 5 drives.

    You could replace the 1TB with 2TBs and double your capacity.
  4. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    as above. but with a couple thoughts.

    nothing on the Sonnet site about multiple cards, but it does conform to SATA standards which 'should' mean that multiple cards would be supported. i'd email support and ask first before spending the money.

    second thought is the power supply issue as noted above. lots of drives spinning up at once is likely to kill the old/original PSU. you can mod any standard ATX and swap it in by moving two wires, but that depends on you and your splice/solder/black tape skill set.

    third thought was already listed... ditch the 2x1gb and move to 2x2gb green or 'eco' drives. low power, less heat, no additional hardware. as a bonus, you get to keep the 1gb drives you already own for a 'store it in the fire safe' backup. or sell if it's really that close to zero in the budget. best of luck.
  5. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Or go to Radio shack and buy these:


    Much easier and not worried about the heat in my old G4 box melting the tape...
  6. Giuly macrumors 68040


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    Save the money for the PSU and Sonnet card and replace the drives with 2TB ones... The PowerMac was originally build to hold 3 hard drives, I guess you won't have any problem using 4x 2GB Caviar Green ones, though. I guess people had 2x ATA hard drives in the U-shaped carrier and a SCSI card with 2 hard drives on the other two carriers, so I don't see any problem. The PSU is rated 208W max., btw.
    A hard drive consumes like 10W, a regular graphics cards such as a Radeon or a GeForce 4 MX consume like 50W, the PowerPC G4 anything between 25W and 50W.

    A 208W PSU is sufficient for 2x SATA cards and 5 hard drives, a PowerMac G4 is not power hungry. If you are worried, remove the graphics card, it still runs fine if you access it via VNC anyways.

    Installing an ATX PSU, I soldered the cables and wrapped them in shrinkable tube just like suggested there, it's the best solution to join cables together. Those blue "cable thefts" are already nasty in cars, in a Mac they are just wrong. If you really feel like using those things, get grease filled ones from 3M.

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