Mac G5 as home server 2018

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by My Good Man, Apr 26, 2018.

  1. My Good Man macrumors newbie

    My Good Man

    Apr 26, 2018
    Hey all,
    I've found various ancient threads on this topic, but I'm wondering if anyone has a more updated take on this. I have an old Mac G5 lying around , that only sorta works. It will boot up properly like 30% of the time. It's the 2003 model (the processor is not as accessible as later versions). Anyway I have an iMac now and I was thinking of taking the G5 apart and using the salvageable parts to make a bare-bones server.
    Anyone out there done this? Any tips on what to replace and what to keep? What products to buy? (preferably as cheap as possible) I mostly just like the look of the thing but I know G5s consume a lot of power. It's also loud as ****. So I'd like to resolve that if I can. Should I replace the power supply? What about swapping out the archaic IBM architecture with Intel?
    I'm admittedly a big n00b in this area so I would appreciate you explaining things to be like a big dumb baby.
    Any suggestions or helpful links would be greatly appreciated

  2. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    I also have not attempted doing what you asked, but I have looked into it a few times. I too have an old G5 that has logic board issues, I was considering using the case, which looks really nice, and turning it into a Hackintosh for fun.

    I have seen other people use the power supply, but IIRC, many posts just said that it is easier to just replace it. Also, many people replaced the port section on the back of the case with a modified existing one, or a custom one they made themselves.

    I think most articles I have read about it, end up gutting the whole thing, which sounds like something you were trying to avoid?
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    You're probably not looking to spend a lot of money right?

    If so then forget this idea. PowerPC and Intel are two entirely different architectures.

    While it IS possible you'd end up gutting the Mac starting with the logicboard and CPUs - because you can't use the PowerPC logicboard for an Intel chip. If only it were that easy, all of us would have upgraded Intel Macs.

    Next, as you mentioned SERVER you'd want uptime to be reasonable right? A Mac that only boots 30% of the time is not a good candidate for a server. Of course, you're willing to fix what's broken to make that reliability better.

    But here's the thing…if cost is an issue then it's almost certainly better to either buy a low end, early Intel Mac Pro and use that. Or, gut the case and put in a homebuilt PC.

    For what you're going to pay to fix this you are not going to recoup in power savings by leaving it on 24/7 as a server. As an example, I leave my Quad G5 on 24/7 and it's not functioning as a server nor is it using powersaving. I've sussed out that it's a $50 to $100 hit on my electric bill each month.

    But if you really do want to fix this then we need to know more about the actual problems you're having with it.

    Honestly though, there are far better PowerPC Macs to use as servers. A Mac Mini springs to mind.
  4. AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    I second the Mac Mini option. The iMac G5 may take a lot to restore it and the power-hungry G5 processor is far from an economic server choice. If reliability is questionable then you don't want to risk the downtime or possible data loss (It sounds likely to be a failing PSU).

    There's a great thread on gutting and converting the iMac G5 to a simple DVI monitor here:

    You could then rebuild it as a Hackintosh, or as others have mentioned, install a mac mini (or even Raspberry Pi) inside the iMac case to give it a new lease on life. There would be plenty of internal space to mount 3.5" HDDs for a software RAID setup. However, USB 2.0 would likely be your I/O for this, so keep that in mind.

    The possibilities are limitless! Keep us posted on your project.

    Edit: Hah! I misread the OP - it's a Power Mac G5, not an iMac G5 - my mistake :)
  5. chrfr, Apr 26, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018

    chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    The G4 Mini has a big shortcoming in its 100Mb ethernet, but at least it's a fair bit less expensive to run than a G5.

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