Convert Old Tower to Server? Advice please?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mscriv, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #1
    Hey All,

    I used Macrumors for years, but just joined because I knew you all could help me out with a question. I've been considering external storage options for a while now and wanted to know about the possibility of turning an old tower, G4 or G5 into a home server for external storage. There are a lot tower's for sale in my area and I thought this might be the way to go since I could put four 750gig or 1tb drives in a tower. What would I need to do to make this happen? Is there a recommended model or specific specs I should look for that would work best? What about hard drive limitations with older machines? I tried to do some internet research and just didn't find a lot. I was hoping for a walk through or something. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. :)

    20" White iMac 2 GHz Core Duo, G4 iBook, Multiple Ipods
     
  2. UltraNEO* macrumors 601

    UltraNEO*

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    近畿日本
    #2
    N.B...

    If you go here, you can create a permanent signature, it'll save you time in future posts.
     
  3. CWallace macrumors 601

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    You will likely want to use a PCI SATA card to connect the drives, as I have not seen a PATA drive over 750GB and some early G4s cannot address HDDs larger then 128GB off the internal controller - I imagine no G3 can. You'll also get better performance since the second channel of the internal controller on some G4s are ATA-66.

    Not sure if a G4 or G5 can boot off a SATA PCI card, so you may need to keep one PATA boot drive in the case and then have the other three to five (depending if you remove the optical drive) connected via SATA.
     
  4. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    #4


    Any PCI PowerMac is capable of addressing drives of over 128 GB with an ATA, SCSI or SATA PCI card. It's the ATA/SATA/SCSI controller that matters, not the machine's firmware.

    I have a 160 GB drive on a Beige G3 right now.

    There's also software to enable it without any hardware.
     
  5. CWallace macrumors 601

    CWallace

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    Via a card plugged into a PCI slot, yes. But not off the built-in controller, which is what I was intending to say. I have edited my original post to enhance clarity.
     
  6. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #6
    Thanks for the help. So, overall, do you think this is a good idea or option? I know there are other external storage solutions out there like drobo, but I thought I could probably do this for a reasonable price. There are G4's in my area selling for $150 to $400. Then I just have to get a PCI card for $50 to $150. Am I missing anything in terms of how this will work? With drive prices dropping all the time I think this is pretty reasonable.
     
  7. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    #7
    My Question to you is how are you going to have computers talking to the Server?

    Ethernet? Wireless?

    I'm just curious.
     
  8. mscriv thread starter macrumors 601

    mscriv

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    #8
    I guess both wired and wireless are options based on the tower I would purchase, but my original thought was to just use ethernet to link with my network. If my thinking is correct then I could use any laptop to access files with the appropriate sharing permissions set on the iMac, which is our main home computer. I already have a G speed wireless network set up with my ISP because the service came with it. However, I do have a G speed AEBS that is currently not being used. My main goal is to have media storage and possibly a dedicated backup drive. Time Machine would work for that as far as I know. I know having a tower also gives me the option for RAID, but I'm not too familiar with it as of yet.
     
  9. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    #9
    Why not use a old pc running FreeNas.. I've had one working great for awhile. It was running on a box that was not good for anything else. It runs all sorts of services so many different computers can run it.. Just google FreeNas and you'll see what I mean.

    I just install freenas on a usb key and boot off that. Then I have all the hard drive space for storage.

    Zack
     

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