iMac G5 Project - Your Advice Please

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by tigerintank, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. tigerintank macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    I want to try give my old iMac G5 2.0 ALS / 10.5.8 another new lease of life with your help.

    Current plan is to more or less single purpose it into my music player/server, with secondary use of occasional SD concert / older TV show videos and lastly maybe some kind of additional backup for my important files.

    When the G5 was my primary computer I used iTunes for music and mostly VLC for video. There may be other / better options that you could chime in with?

    I was thinking earlier tonight about XBMC / Kodi to combine both music and video into one media application. But as I was looking around on the Kodi Wiki and learning that it didn't seem to support tag editing, I thought of leaning on the much broader PPC experience here at MacRumors.

    Hopefully you can prevent me from taking too many wrong turns and give me some options I wouldn't come up with on my own. Some very early thoughts/questions;
    • Leopard or Linux?
    • if Linux which distro - quick google earlier suggested Mint might be best?
    • Use SSD to speed boot up/wake? Iirc tried one several years ago with poor results
    • I need to test sleep though - iirc I had a problem where it would wake at random - something to do with the combined blueooth/wifi card :(
    • Which media applications?
    • Best remote access/control options - I have iPad 1/iPhone 4s/recent macbook

    Btw I picked up Core Player for video way back, to get the best video performance I could. Iirc whilst it did seem a bit better performing than VLC, I didn't seem to get the positive results that others reported with HD video - though maybe with advice here I can give it another try.

    Anyway before I make this post way too long, I'll leave it there and hope that you can let me have your thoughts over the next few days. :cool:

    I plan to take a proper run at this little project starting this weekend.
  2. MacCubed macrumors 68000


    Apr 26, 2014
    1. Leopard. Linux really does not have too many options available for apps
    2. I stick with my iTunes and VLC combo, as using home sharing with iTunes allows me to share music from my Cube to my Apple TV. VLC is a nice app for watching movies, and on a G5, it should run nicely.
    3. I have an SSD in my PowerBook G4 and it runs great. As SSD technology has improved over the past few years, I would throw one in. Make sure it is a SATA II SSD, as SATA III SSDs don't play too niely with the G5.
    4. The wake issue can be fixed in the System Prefs, I think by going to the network settings and disabling wake for network access, and disabling wake by mouse in the Bluetooth settings.
    5. Media apps- I would download them all just to try them out and see which ones do it for you the "PowerPC Archive" has a ton of great software divided into categories, so you can choose what you want!
    6. Remote control- I assume by this you mean remote access? On other Macs, you can use the built in screen sharing feature. You can enable this on the G5 by going to System Preferences>Sharing> Then enabling screen sharing. On the Mac you would like to pull the screen up from, got to the Finder, and click your G5 in the Network section. There should be a tab for Screen Sharing, click that and enter your password. On the iPhone, there are free Apps, but I recommend iTeleport Connect. Although it is quite expensive, it gets the job done, and allows you to connect to your mac from anywhere.
  3. tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Thanks for the quick reply MacCubed. I'm going offline now, will do a proper reply later.
  4. tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Happy new year all :)

    A better follow up to MacCubeds post.

    1. Ok will stick with Leopard thanks.

    2. I've been thinking about the sharing aspect a bit and wondering about the trade offs between locally stored files on the iMac vs remotely stored - in my case, an old HP microserver in another room. For example is there much additional overhead involved in accessing files remotely? Suspect VLC will be fine, but am wondering more about an iTunes library - might need to give both storage options a try...

    3. Re SSDs - unfortunately I only had access to a couple of 6Gb/s SATA SSDs, so tried them today and found that sometimes they weren't even recognised and when they were, the result wasn't much faster than my Samsung 7200 HDD!

    Ive been recommended elsewhere to try a Intel X25-M. Any thoughts on that or alternates? Here in the UK, there don't appear to be any new 3Gb/s discs available, so I'll likely need to look at ebay.

    I'd like to understand a bit more about the G5 / SATA 3 issue - is there any more info you have?

    4. Re unexpected wake up from sleep - I think the problem was possibly hardware related, it was a while ago now but iirc I was able to see an error message via Console relating to the Bluetooth /WiFi card at the time of waking. I'll sleep the iMac instead of shutting down over next days and watch for recurrence.

    5. PowerPC Archive - thanks for the tip. I'll have a look - is it this one

    6.Yes sorry I wasn't too clear. What I was trying to say was i'm looking for the most straightforward way to control the music / video playing on the iMac without having to physically go over to the machine itself. The best example I can think of is the HTML access to VLC, so that you can use a web browser on an iPad / MBP to skip songs, adjust volume etc. Not sure of the best way to achieve that on iTunes.

    Screen share would work and is something Ive used in the past for other things, but it'd be good to find a workaround for the remote screen waking up when you screen share into the machine. Not necessary since there's no one looking at it, so it'd be good to find a way to prevent that - if anyone knows how?

    Any additional thoughts from all are welcome :cool:
  5. cmstuber macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2015
    If you've got a more modernish server, you could run plex. There is a Plex client for Leopard that runs well on the G5. If you adjust your settings, you can stream just about anything to the G5 and music is a no brainer.
  6. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland

    1. Leopard is going to offer you the entire catalog of software from the PowerPC Archive so that will make your search a bit easier.
    2. Provided the other server is just hosting the files and has a good Gigabit connection then there should be plenty of backend bandwidth to play files.
    3. You can safely use any SATA II SSD in a G5. SATA III SSDs are almost always not recognized, and even some SATA III hard drives have to have a jumper setting adjusted to be recognized properly.
    4. Also look into USB keyboards, mice, and hubs as those have caused me trouble with sleep in the past.
    5. Yes. That is @gavinstubbs09's PowerPC Archive which is quite possibly the best software source for these Macs.
    6. VLC Remote would be a good option however I am not sure if it supports the final version available for PowerPC.
  7. tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Thanks for the follow ups both, an update below.

    I've managed to find an ok priced Intel X25-M SSD, so thats on its way - hopefully arriving by weekend/early next week. In the meantime I managed to make use of one of the 6Gb/s SSDs with a Firewire 400 interface. The Firewire bridge stops the G5/SATA 3 compatibility issues, but removes the speed advantage :(

    Bit more info on my iMac hardware setup...

    Like many I had the bulging capacitor problem way back, but only on the PSU. I bought the replacement kit from Jim Warholic and had some success for a few months but then the problems returned. So I substituted a standard PC PSU and it's been fine ever since.

    I installed a ATA/IDE DVD drive to 2.5" HDD adaptor, but instead of using a 2.5" HDD internally, I ran a SATA cable from it externally and used one of the SATA power cables on the PC PSU. I did the same with the iMac native SATA port and so I have 2 SATA HDDs mounted externally on the iMac stand.

    Just confirmed that the native SATA port supports an 8TB disc but the ATA/IDE not so much! I tested a 2TB successfully on the ATA/IDE but didn't have anything larger to hand. Once the SSD arrives, i'll compare it on both SATA ports to see how much of a bottleneck the SATA to ATA/IDE bridge causes.

    I've not seen any wake from sleep problems, I think likely because I'm using wired ethernet now and have the airport turned off - good result.

    Helpfully when I turn power on to my USB DAC, it wakes up the sleeping iMac :) but its not obvious how to make sure that the apps use it. VLC seems to need me to select it from the menu each time. Ive not tried any other apps yet.

    I found the Plex client on @gavinstubbs09 PPA, along with the other groups of apps. What an excellent resource, very professional and well laid out - bookmarked and will be recommended to others!

    It looks like there's also a PPC version of XBMC out there. From what I can tell not yet having installed either yet, XBMC is more of a self contained app and Plex uses a more distributed architecture.

    Ive had problems with the boot disc on my HP box so haven't made any progress there yet unfortunately.
  8. tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    No real progress on media application testing, as I've been distracted and really just using iMac for music right now.

    Good news is that my Intel X25M has arrived so will install it tomorrow.

    In meantime I had a quick look for the iMac MacOS disks a couple of days back and could only find a single Tiger Disk and no Leopard. Looks like I've pretty much relied on Carbon Copy Cloner for the last 5-10 years and might have misplaced/lost them during house move - but not noticed :(

    I'll have proper look at the weekend, but its possible that my plan to load a completely clean system might be stymied.

    I see that Apple still allow downloads of the 10.5.8 combo updater, in fact its possible I may already have it on an offline HDD somewhere. Is there anyway to 'sanitise' a current 10.5.8 OS install using something like the 10.5.8 combo file?
  9. tigerintank, Feb 9, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016

    tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    Been mainly using the iMac for music, whilst I deal with some other things. Good news is both the X25M and iMac in general are completely stable including no sleep problems.

    For music I've used the Play application a fair bit instead of VLC, as I discovered that it had direct access to Apples Audio Units. I like the 31 band graphic much more than the more limited versions in iTunes / VLC. There's a number of others to play with in there - I'd say well worth a look if tweaking audio is of interest and you haven't used them before.

    Over the weekend I received an IR sensor that i'd ordered. Its one from a MB (or maybe MBP?) and having soldered a USB cable to it, it was recognised and operational without even a reboot!

    As well as Front Row, VLC supports the remote, so thats good news. I'd also forgotten that you can sleep / wake a Mac with an apple remote too.

    Play doesn't support the remote though, so I tried to find a PPC variant of Candelair, but despite downloading over half a dozen of them described as supporting Intel and PPC - the iMac won't allow it to open once its installed - saying;

    'You cannot open Candelair preferences because it doesn't work on a PowerPC-based Mac.'

    So thats not so good... does anyone have access to the old PPC version or can point me to it please?
  10. tigerintank thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
    I found an alternate;


    It looks like a fairly comprehensive application, so maybe a bit over the top for what I'm looking to do.

    I'll see how I get on trying to keep it simple.

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