How well will a iMac G4 perform as a FileServer?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ViennaXP, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. ViennaXP, Aug 18, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013

    ViennaXP macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #1
    Hello guys,
    (Story of this iMac)
    In 2010 I bought a used iMac G4 to get into the Mac world. I upgraded the operating System from 10.1 to 10.2 and used it for some applications.
    It is an 700 MHz 15 inch iMac with 512 MB RAM. I wanted to upgrade it but I was too lazy to do it. Maybe I do it now.
    So after a bought myself a brand new iMac last year the iMac G4 went downstairs and should be used as a small multimedia station in our kitchen. But it would need 10.4 at least, and 10.4 is still very expensive on ebay (why?).
    So it was used as a digital photo frame for a while and now it collects dust.
    (Start reading here for the question)
    Now an rMBP joined me and maybe there is a new life for this old machine. I installed AE CS6 on my iMac and my rMBP and wanted to create a little render farm, which is (as I found out) pretty easy to set up. It is recommended to use a network drive to store the rendered frames. So my MBP and my iMac render my frames and they are saved on my iMac G4.
    So the setup would be
    iMac Mid 2011
    ------> via WLAN -> iMac G4
    rMPB Early 2013

    How will my iMac G4 perform as a File Server and would this setup work?
    iMac G4 700 MHz 15 inch 512 MB RAM
     
  2. MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    #2
    As far as file server goes, expect it to use 0.1% of the CPU.
    I don't know what airport card it uses but it might slow the overall speed of wifi... it will downgrade to be better compatible with older G-cards. If you can use it with an Rj45 cable (ethernet) then you should be fine.

    Another way is to simply hook up a USB2 hard drive straight into the airport extreme or similar routers.
     
  3. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #3
    The G4 iMac would have terrible wireless performance: it uses an 802.11b card, which is only 11 Megabit.
     
  4. ViennaXP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #4
    I booted my iMac G4 again and it actually has 512 MB RAM.
    However the wireless speed was pretty good (Tested it only one time) or should I connect it to the router via Ethernet?
    I found a panther disk and will install it this evening (maybe I can even find Tiger somewhere)
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #5
    Panther would work for file sharing purposes. For that iMac, don't use WiFi. It'll transfer files around 512 kilobytes per second and be really slow. File sharing, especially on a high throughout network, can use lots of CPU time. I know when transferring a file on my old G3, it uses around 70% of the CPU at 10 megabytes per second. With that iMacs 100mbit Ethernet port, you can expect speeds up to 12 megabytes per second. This will use fair amount of CPU cycles, but if it's only doing file sharing, you won't notice.
     
  6. MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    #6
    yes but the wifi on the imac g4 will bring the ENTIRE network to 11Mbit/s even on computers which can do high speed G or even N network. That's important to have in mind.

    Also I'm surpriced at the CPU usage, on my powerbook and leopard I use 54Mbit/s filesharing enabled (SMB) and while a host is connected the CPU hardly registers that on the powerbook... strange
     
  7. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #7
    With the current low cost of USB external disks, I cannot think of any reason why just putting one of those on the 2011 iMac is not a better option. It will be far faster, much larger, and you won't need to keep an obsolete 3rd computer running.
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #8
    Not all networks will slow to B speeds if there's one B device on it. If the router is a newer one that has MIMO support or multiple antennas, only one of the radio bands would be slowed to B speeds. The others would still be G and N speeds.

    The CPU speed is more pronounced when transferring over Ethernet. On my 2Ghz iMac, kernel task uses around 80% of one core to transfer around 80 megabytes per second. The only time when a file server has lots of idel CPU time is when no ones connected to it. With active file transfers, the usage grows. And with more than once active transfer, it quickly hits the limit of available CPU cycles.
     
  9. ViennaXP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #9
    When you do a multi-computer render it is not recommended to host the project files on the computer which does the actual rendering. It is better to store them on a independent network drive. I don't know if my router has a usb port at the moment , but then I can also connect the usb drive on my router, if the G4 thing doesn't work.

    My router is a 2011 model it has 3 antennas and the setting is n+g+b. So as you said only one antenna will slow down to b.
    The iMac will only be used as a file server so the cpu can be used as much as the system wants to.
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #10
    It won't slow it down. but B WiFi should not be used for file sharing. It is extremely slow.
     
  11. ViennaXP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #11
    yeah i will connect the iMac via ethernet
     
  12. MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    #12
    Aha I had no idea about ethernet and CPU usage since I only use wifi :p
    In my house I only run with airport express, so maybe I should try using extreme instead. I say this because when this powerbook is connected, the wifi is throttled down to 54Mbit/s
     
  13. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #13
    If you have the older non-Apple TV shaped Express, it only has one antenna. That would explain why the whole network slows down.
     
  14. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #14
    from somewhere I believed Wi-Fi would be more taxing on the CPU... So, do I understand you right: using the ethernet port uses more CPU power than using the 54mbit/s Wi-Fi? Is that because of the transfer rate alone (100mbit/s vs 54mbit/s) or does it have to do with other things too (protocols, hardware communication within the Mac,...)?
     
  15. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #15
    I think it's because with WiFi transfers, the WiFi chipset handles most of the overhead. But with Ethernet, the Ethernet chipset only handles very little of the overhead. It could also be that the speed is twice as fast.
     
  16. MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2013
    #16
    Does that mean that the newer airport express has multiple antennas?
     
  17. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #17
    Yes.
     

Share This Page