Help with turning an old Sawtooth G4 into a file server.

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by InuNacho, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    I know theres probably a million threads out there about this, but I still need some help setting up a wireless household fileserver using my old Sawtooth G4.

    The main goal is to stream music, store tons of photos, use the ethernet to get an old OS 9 iMac online/file share with it, ability to access external Firewire and USB drives plugged into it, and the ability to access the server from a firewire port. I'd honestly prefer to do this as cheaply as possible.

    It's a stock 500Mhz
    1.25 GB RAM
    Currently has a 80 GB, 30 GB (system), and soon to have a 80 GB which I plan to shove into the empty ZIP drive slot
    PCI USB 2 card
    PCI Ultra SCSI card

    Couple of questions about setting it up.

    Is it possible to paratition a "large drive" to get around the 128GB limit?

    If I took out the DVD-RAM drive and put a HD in there would there be any performance differnces as compared to putting it into a normal HD spot?

    Is there a way to use the internal 50 pin SCSI port?

    How can I set it up so that PCs can access the server wirelessly?

    Should I get a PCI fan for this since it'll be running close to 24/7?

    Thanks everyone!
  2. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    As far as getting around the 128GB limit, look into THIS. I haven't personally tried it, but was going to on my G4 Cube before I ended up getting just an 80GB drive in there.
  3. Makosuke, Nov 9, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010

    Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I ran exactly that computer for a couple of years in the same role. I'm assuming here that you're running OSX 10.4--you didn't say. Some answers:

    Keep in mind that the 128GB limit ONLY applies to drives on the internal ATA bus, and that big ATA drives are difficult and expensive to find. You'd be far better off doing one of two things: Get a nice big SATA drive in an external case (either Firewire or USB2--I'd use Firewire unless you're going for the cheapest possible), or put a SATA card in the computer. Both of these will get you at least 1TB for under $100, and neither will require any special driver (other than for a PCI card, if it requires a driver). If the computers that'll be accessing data are all connecting wirelessly, then the built-in FW400 or added USB2 will be much faster than the network, so there's no need for a SATA card--you won't get any additional speed out of it.

    No. It might actually be slower--I forget if the optical drive bus on those is ATA33 or ATA66. Either way you're still dealing with the limitations of using the original ATA bus, though--128GB, you need to buy ATA drives (or SATA with an add-on ATA adapter).

    Um... get a compatible SCSI hard drive? No point in it, though, as there will be minimal speed gains and the hardware, unless it's off eBay, will be expensive.

    Turn on file sharing in 10.4 and connect via Windows to the correct IP address; here's Apple's full explanation:

    No. Those are well-fanned, run relatively cool, and the duty cycle shouldn't make any difference. Mine ran 24/7 in a closet for the entire time I had it without issue. You could actively cool an internal hard drive if you wanted, but I'd just buy a "green" drive, since you'll be unable to take advantage of a 7200RPM drive's speed advantage and the green one will use less power and run cooler.

    [Edit: I forgot to mention that for me, personally, the biggest issue was finding a boot drive that wasn't annoyingly noisy. Most old ATA drives (like the one it came with) in the 40-80GB range, while you can probably find one for free or close to it, are VERY noisy compared to a modern SATA drive in the 1TB range. I ended up trading someone for a 30GB notebook ATA drive, using a $10 adapter to plug it into the onboard ATA, using that for the boot drive, and then running an external SATA case with an eSATA card from SeriTek, because I already had it on hand. And in my case I had a gigabit wired network, so the faster transfer speeds actually made a difference versus a FW400 or USB2 drive.]
  4. InuNacho thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    Whoops forgot to mention that I was running 10.4.

    Anyhow thanks for the response guys, I looked at the SATA card and decided against it as I can get tons of ATA drives for free but that partition software looks great.
    Seing that the ZIP and DVD drives are slower I guess I'll use those to store photos and use the other drive on the ATA bus from streaming music.

    If anyone knows how to get an OS 9 iMac online through ethernet from the G4 I'd be good to go.

    Thanks again!
  5. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    You can try this OF hack instead Speed Tools driver. It works in Cubes and one of MR members reported that it worked also in his Sawtooth (these are similar machines).
  6. papabill macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2010
    I'd love to be able to get mine set up and running to run my BBS (forum) and FTP from.
  7. occams razor macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Salem, OR
    when you said BBS first thing I though was old telnet games lol.

    good thing is still up and running.
  8. papabill macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2010
    Yeah, but the one I run now (on a PC) also has message bases, download files, and a Web interface (in addition to the telnet capability that leads to colorful ANSI screens and online RPG games). And being a Christian BBS, we also have Christian files available IF the member wants to view them.

    But I'd LOVE to put all that on my old Mac and ditch the PCs all together.

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