My B+W G3 RAID solution! (and some questions)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RedTomato, Feb 28, 2006.

  1. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..

    I have a need for more storage - my main computer is a Powerbook G4 1.5ghz and the 80GB HD is always almost full, especially as I work with lots of DV files (I am filming workshops that take place in BSL, British Sign Language)

    Looked into external NAT (network-attached) storage - 2 bay, 4 bay etc, but it seems too expensive for what you get, and also offers limited expansion (same for the Terastation).

    Decide I want a RAID5 array for maximum space along with some data redunancy. Speed doesn't bother me - reasonably fast without being bleeding edge is fine.

    Want a very large storage array that is cheap, has firewire, network connectivity, looks good in my office, can be upgraded to gigabye ethernet, and will last the next 10 years.

    What to do?

    Have an old PC gathering dust upstairs - I looked into putting a RAID card into that and connecting it to my house network, but REALLY don't want to go back to using windows - been on windows for 10 years but finally went Windows free last year :)

    Also looked at putting Linux of some sort on it, but again, don't want to spend the time or energy learning how to use linux, firewall it + set up a network accessible RAID array on it.

    My solution?

    I brought a B+W Powermac G3 (350mhz, 1GB RAM) from a friend for £50 and a Highpoint RocketRAID 2220 card on eBay for £150.

    Crazy to spend 3x the price of the computer on the card? I don't think so.

    The RocketRaid is compactible with the G3 (I checked with LowEnd Mac) and is SATA-II and PCI-X, so should last me for the next 10 years. Has 8 ports and dynamic RAID resizing so I can start of with 2 HDs and scale up to 8 as I need them.

    The G3 looks beautiful, much better than an eyesore PC (to me, design is important) and has the lovely Mac OS X Panther on it.

    I plan to run it headless, via Apple Remote Desktop from my laptop.

    Boot drive will be the orginal G3 30GB drive.

    I am just about to go buy 2 more 300 GB Maxtor drives from

    I already have a Maxtor 300GB PATA drive which I plan to put into the RAID 5 array via a PATA-SATA adaptor. (I'm not too sure about this step)

    I know the B+W G3 doesnt have very many drive bays - I'm not too bothered about this. Chucking out the zip drive and internal speakers will free up a lot of space, and I can drill some metal strips to make mounts for as many drives as the RAID card will take.

    In the future, I can attach a printer to it, put a gigabit card in, a TV out card if I want to show some DV stuff on the TV, tetrabytes and tetrabytes of storage, run a network server on it etc.

    What do you think of my solution?

    (I would especially welcome comments about mixing PATA and SATA drives in the same array)

    Also, I'm not clear on another point: When prices of drives come down, and I start buying 600GB drives in the future, would I be able to run this kind of Raid 5 system:

    600GB + 600GB + (2x300GB in RAID 0)

    I know that's 'nested RAID' but I can't find any reference to the above example - I don't want to be wasting my investment in the 300GB disks, especially if i have 4 or 5 of them.

    Many thanks,

  2. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003

    I use the machine in my sig. Its a 1Ghz p3, with 2 P-ATA cards. Uses a 20g drive for the boot disk, and 4 250g drives for the raid 5 array. I run debian linux for the OS, and use a software raid. I also host a crap load of other service on the machine, such as apache and ldap. I use ldap for remote mounting home directories. I have the raid file systems exported via nfs, and smb. I was using netatalk for a while (afp) but found the linux version really sucked for streaming files. So nfs was the winner. But things may be very diffrent since you are using OS X.
  3. weldon macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2004
    Denver, CO
    I don't know the specifics on the Highpoint cards, but it's more likely that you expand the array into 4x300GB (900GB useable) and then still have two 300GB partitions left over on the 600GB drives to work with.
  4. williamw macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2005
    Victoria, BC, Canada
  5. Dreadnought macrumors 68020


    Jul 22, 2002
    Almere, The Netherlands
    I just read that you are planning to put a tv card into the G3. I still have my old B&W 400mhz and have a tv card in it. It's a macpaloma from villagetronic. Somehow I never could get it to work properly. The only thing what I could get was a black and white picture with a lot of distortion. Also, due to the components of the G3 B&W I couldn't get sound with the video. This post is just to let you know that it could be a lot of trouble to get a tv card to work in a B&W.

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