Help me build a server with 200 dollars

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ricgnzlzcr, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    Well it seems I'm getting a new powermac G4 for extremely cheap. It will be a Powermac Gigabit Ethernet with a dual 450 processor, probably a 30 gig hard drive, and a 128 Rage video card.

    Here's what I want to do:
    I want to hook this mac to my 21 inch widescreen gateway lcd and use it to surf the web and put in hard drives to put my movies and music on. I want to stream all the stuff I have on this powermac to my powerbook. I think this is what a server does but I'm not sure. Does anyone know what I should do to get this started with about 200 dollars of upgrades.....suggestions?

  2. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Depends what you mean by stream; but for $200, I'd say invest in a couple extra drives and some cooling, then just network the machines via airport or something. That's kind of a server, yeah.

    By the way, with some really, really good cooling and a much more powerful power supply, you can fit a total of 8 hard drives inside that box.
  3. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    By stream I mean that if I want to watch a video on my powerbook, I want to be able to somehow access that file so that I don't have to attach an external harddrive to my powermac and then attach it to the powerbook in order to get what I want.

    Also, I hear that I can't put in more than a 120 gig harddrive. It really would be ideal to have 2 of those if that's my option. Is that possible without more cooling and if not, how much does it cost to add some good cooling to the mix.

    My last question would be, do I need to upgrade the video card? All I want to do is have this powermac drive my gateway 21 inch widescreen lcd.

  4. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    It should be easy enough to share your videos like that if you add them to your iTunes library.
  5. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I know, but that would mean converting them all to a file that itunes recognizes and the interface isn't as good for videos as VLC is. I'd rather find an alternate solution but thanks for the input.
  6. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Then you can always try to just play the files from a mounted network drive, but you'll just have to experiment with formats to see what works well for streaming with the available bandwidth you have.
  7. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I don't understand. I will have this setup done at a college campus. The internet connection is provided by the school and that will power the powermac. I will probably get an airport express to get the powerbook to provide me wireless for my lazy moments on the couch. How can I mount to a network drive?
  8. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    You enable apple file sharing on the PowerMac and then you connect to it from the PowerBook and mount the drives from the PowerMac as network drives on the PowerBook. It's not that hard. You'll figure it out once you have the wireless network going and enable apple file sharing.
  9. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000


    Oct 26, 2003
    Cardiff, Wales
    So, you want to have the PowerMac G4 connected to your campus network/internet and to:

    i. Hold a larger iTunes music library
    ii. Share internet to your PowerBook
    iii. Store movies and other media types so that your PowerBook doesn't have to?

    If this is correct then you'll need:

    1. Some way of connecting the two machines, probably wireless. 802.11b will be too slow for your needs, but unfortunately that PM you've bought fits an old Airport (802.11b) card. Belkin do a USB2 802.11g dongle but your Mac has USB1 (therefore, all USB WiFi dongles are not going to work at full speed). Look for PCI like this one (expensive though). Your PowerBook will also need an Airport Extreme card (assuming it's a relatively new PowerBook).

    2. iTunes libraries are easily shared. You can keep a cut down version on your PowerBook so while you are on the move you can still listen to your music but then also have a much larger library on the PowerMac. To share just turn sharing on in the PM's Preferences and it'll appear as a playlist on your PowerBook (if not, make sure you have 'look for shared music' clicked in preferences).

    3.Sharing internet is easy. Once the wireless device is installed, go to the PowerMac's System Preferences -> Sharing -> Internet and start sharing your ethernet connection with your wireless connection. Then get the PowerBook to connect to the newly created ad hoc wireless connection the PowerMac has just created.

    4. So far, everything above would just require a 802.11b wireless connection, which is easy to install as all you'd need is two airport cards. However, I wouldn't recommend opening movies across wireless at all as in my experience things stutter. If you must, make sure the files you're opening are not the highest quality in the world. E.g. No HD content. To do this, for accessibility, put all your movies into one folder (may i recommend the 'Movies' folder in your home folder :p ) then make sure File sharing is on in the System Preferences -> Sharing tab. On your PowerBook click 'Network' on a Finder sidebar or 'Go' Menu -> Network at the top of your screen. The PowerMac should appear, click this, log on and it'll ask which drive you want to mount. If the movies are in your movies folder then mount your home folder (most likely your name) and you'll be able to access your movies from there.

    Personally I would use Ethernet but that defeats the point of having a laptop.
  10. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    SpaceMagic and Gekko513, that was really very helpful. I think I'll give the powermac a ram update and a bigger harddrive. Plus, I'll add wireless in some way.

    Do you guys know if the Radeon 128 card can drive my 21 inch screen or if I need to buy another one? If so, which is the next cheapest solution?

    Thanks so much
  11. poppe macrumors 68020


    Apr 29, 2006
    Woodland Hills
    Man i'm so jealous... I wish I could do your setup for my dorm...
  12. michaeldmartin macrumors regular


    Jun 29, 2006
    Testicles. That is all.
    A standard 128 would work; OSX server costs more than 200$; so i guess you'll have to stick with standard ;)
  13. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    Poppe, I'm very excited. I've never been able to afford what I'm doing now but an amazing deal on this powermac is allowing me to get it setup. Hopefully at the end of this I'll be able to use the powermac as the computer to type my papers, the one I use to watch movies on my monitor, and the one to hold all my files. Then I can use the powerbook to websurf and use Adium while I'm downstairs in the living room watching tv. I have recently gotten a townhouse at my college so no more dorms for me. The goal is to be able to hook up the powerbook to any tv and watch a movie that I may have on my powermac. Luckily we have ethernet cables everywhere so this may be possible.

    Oh, and I'll definitely stick with the non-server OS. I'm not trying to send information to any other computer except my powerbook. Let's hope for the best and thanks for the responses. If you have any ideas on the hard drive's I can use and how many to put in without having to add better cooling I'd appreciate it!
  14. 9Charms macrumors regular


    May 19, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Simpler Options

    Simplest, cheapest option, about $200:

    1. Get a cheapy wired router, hook it up to your dorm room's internet connection.

    2. Go to the dollar store and pickup 4 cat 5 cables (ethernet cables).

    3. Run the ethernet cables to the points in your room where you'll most likely need to access the internet/movies/powermac.

    3. Add 1 SATA PCI card to your PM, along with one 250GB HD. This will cost about the same as if you bought 2x120GB HDs.

    4. Share (as per above)

    More expensive, but cleaner option, about $250:

    1. This requires that your powerbook have airport extreme

    2. Get a wirless G router, set up password protection.

    3. Add a SATA PCI card to your PM, along with one 250GB HD.

    4. Share

    Super simple, cheap option:

    1. Get an Elgato EyeHome
  15. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    250-300GB hard drives are pretty easy to find, and have gotten really cheap as well. You can probably get a 250GB for under $80 at You can also get rebate deals at BestBuy, CircuitCity and Staples. Any new ones you get will be of high quality and will have a decent warranty. You probably won't need 8 x 250GB = 2TB of space for your movies...

    or maybe you do :)
  16. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    I got Mac OS X 10.4 Server for $100 of ebay, it was a great purchase, it was the unlimited edition too.
  17. JBot macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2006
    Have you tried this before?
    The dorm room connections dont allow networking, by what my experience was. I made the partitions accesable via network, tried to access it wirelses, but there was some lock on it? Im no master at this, but i had the set up working at home with windows desktop sharing files on my powerbook. than tried setting it up at my friends place and it wouldnt happen.
  18. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I have a sawtooth which is basically the same machine.

    I know where I can put in 5 hard drives:

    2 in each bracket and one in the old zip drive bay.

    Where can you add the other three?
  19. ricgnzlzcr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I very much like your second more expensive solution. My powerbook does have airport extreme. A good wireless G router shouldn't be too expensive to buy if I look at and the 250GB hard drive sounds perfect for the moment. I really can't wait. I do have to buy some more ram, but that shouldn't cost me more than 50 dollars. Thanks

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