My G4 MacMini transformation to iTunes Server

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dwnldr, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. dwnldr, Jan 29, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017

    dwnldr macrumors newbie

    dwnldr

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #1
    Hi everybody !

    - first of all, excuse me for my English. Is not my main-native language...

    - i know, the upper mentioned machine is really really old/rare? piece of HW, but (i think so...) i made a beautiful thing to it :) And it was not so easy, as it seems to be (or is on SATA Intel Mac's) !! Lot of usefull and useless readings wordwide, lot of testing, days of time...

    - I don't know how about you, but i'm "in love" with my Apple machines, phones, accesories etc... and i don't want to sell this beautiful old piece of perfection for petty money. Instead of selling cheap and buying expensive i decided to use this small, elegant and noiseless machine as iTunes/AppleTV/File/HomeNAS Server. There are a lot of guides on the web, how to easy do this ! You can find also some (useless!) tricks, how to use bigger or second HDD in this machine (big storage is necessary for this kind of use).


    - THIS THREAD ISN'T A GUIDE, JUST MY EXPERIENCES and WORK !

    (...but, if you like to do the same with your machine, READ : before you start to breathe new life to this old machine, you need to decide if you really like to do this ! Why ? First, because you need to open your machine and change some internal components. Second, because this "change" also needs some money spending !)

    I own today lot of Apple products... I mention this, because it was and is (!!!) a really, really hard=expensive work to build my own Apple "infrastructure" at home&work also. It costs me 10years of work to make "things different"... That was also the reason, why i didn't let laying the old Mini in the closet, or sell it for 1/100 of price.

    So i had the Mini, some unused/unnecessary SSD-HDDs, boxes... and 3x Apple TVs around the House. Apple TV is a great device for streaming, but also for creating your own home Multimedia Center. For this (as you know...) is necessary to launch an iTunes Server with HomeSharing, and import/create your own audio and video archive/library. This library is reachable easily from AppleTV (also iPhone,iPad,Mac) on your TV screen, without the need for further intervention. You just sit on your couch, turn on your TV and AppleTV, and your multimedia is there !

    - The things to do : as i mentioned, i had some unused/unnecessary SSD-HDDs, boxes. As first i need to disassembly the whole computer. When i do that, i made "deep" cleaning and repasting with HQ CPU paste all components equipped with active or passive cooling (just some pictures from disassembly).

    [​IMG]

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    The machine is noiseless and energy efficient from basic, that's also the reason, why to use it as "server". I decide to make it bit better (the are new technologies, why dont use them...?).
    The biggest "noise" in this machines are the CPU Fan and the HDD. Repasting done, but what to do with old 40GB ATA Factory Hard Drive ? Replacing with bigger ATA drive is already expensive (because of old technology), the biggest size of ATA drives is around 250GB, and the noise should be still there. My decision was to use SSD. Yeah, but the new-cheap SSDs are all SATA drives. Some 3rd party manufacturer makes ATA SSD drives, but they are unreachable for me in middle Europe, and also expesive. I found some crappy (sorry if i offend somebody) guides to use 2.5 SATA SSD in this old MacMini. The guides are about drilling the housing, putting out some cables, etc.. BWOAH !!!
    I had an M2 SATA 32GB SSD. This size is not very usefull today, but for OS X 10.5.8 Leopard is this size still big space ! I found an adapter like this :

    [​IMG]

    It's an M2 to IDE 2.5" adapter made by German DeLock, also equipped with "oldschool" HDD jumper (very important, also by exchanging SuperDrive to second HDD!) for choosing Primary-Secondary-Cable select connection type. The correct jumper setting is shorten PINs on SECONDARY sign. The M2 SSD fit's perfectly, also like the whole adapter to MacMini.

    [​IMG]

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    The next step was to use second HDD instead of Combo Superdrive. For this step are also lot of guides and videos of youtube ! Some of them are specially for this kind of machine (G4 with ATA/IDE and Intel with SATA are abbolutely different things!), but none of them are showing that it works !! It's all about "mechaniccaly" part of job, but the isn't any video, that is showing G4 with two hard drives running ! Lot of forums are full with threads about DVD/HDD switching on this device, all with same result : it's not possilble/supported...
    Of course it is, but as a sad, is not so easy ! So, SSD in, next step begins also with adapter :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    It's an SATA to IDE/PATA/ATAPI/smallIDE (lot of names used...) adapter-caddy. You can easily add your HDD to this caddy, and replace the original SuperDrive. The biggest working HDD in this machine has capacity of 750GB (750GB was HDD only for testing, im using now 500GB) ! 1TB HDD was not initialized correctly in Disk Utility !

    I don't know for sure if is this "limitation" made by the SATA to IDE adapter (technology,controller etc...) or if is the ULTRA ATA OnBoard limitation in Mini ( i think so...). It would be nice to know ! If you can, add your knowledges-informations please !

    After finishing the mechanical part and testing, i was able to start the machine. Booting is also hard part, because G4 cannot Boot from USB ! It can boot from DVD (drive not present in this case), from FW (i tested without success) and from HDD. Because i know this information, i had created external a partition on SSD which i build in, with Leopard installer. So i boot the machine, hold the Option key and i was able to choose installer partition to boot, and saw both HDD-s. Success ! Photos are missing, this step was so easy and fast, that i didn't made any photos... Maybe next time when i need to disassembly the machine again.

    Because 750GB was not enogh for me i connected an external FW400 Lacie 2.5" HDD enclosure to the machine. I changed the HDD in enclosure to the upper mentioned 1TB HDD. I was suprised, because in this enclosure or connection type was the 1TB HDD recognized without problems !
    It should be also nice to know, how big HDD can FW400 handle in this machine (i didn't have now larger 2.5" HDD to test)
    It would be nice to know ! If you can, add your knowledges-informations please !

    So, now i have integrated 32GB SSD for system, tweaks-scripts, and OS X Installer, 500GB internal HDD and 1TB external FW HDD. Because "Media" isn't for me so sensitive i had an idea to RAID the two big HDD into one. Most of website doesn't recommend this step, specially with one internal and external. BUT, connection via FW is fantastic stable thing (i miss this technology today...) and i didn't have any kind of problems after RAID this two drives. They are running 24/7, with lot's of data !

    The last step was the software. I installed OS X 10.5.8 with all updates, manually updated iTunes to latest possible 10.6.3 with Home Sharing on, i turned on File and Screen Sharing in OS X. Now im able to manage MacMini without connected screen from my iMac or MacBook and also transfer files between this devices in both directions. Because of Home Sharing all my content is immediately visible in all my devices (Apple TV, computers, phones!!) with same AppleID ! I found also some usefull scripts for Leopard and iTunes. They can more automatize some things for you. In my case, there are some custom added internet radios, which are starting to play in defined time of day etc... It is really big big fun and freedom !

    [​IMG]

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    At last, some screenshot from managing upgraded MacMini from my iMac via Screen Share, also some pictures about machine :) I like to make also some pictures from iTunes sharing from AppleTV and iPhone, but i didn't want to "share" my library across the world (i blurred the album names in iTunes on the screenshot)...

    If you have some usefull informations on my questions, please share it !

    Greetings

    Ronnie




     
  2. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    #2
    Why not make it a "How to"? Seriously, PowerPC is still quite useful as an iTunes server or a small-scale web server.
     
  3. Eriamjh1138@DAN macrumors 6502

    Eriamjh1138@DAN

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    BFE, MI
    #3
    I've used a similar CD-slot-to-HDD adapter in my 2011 MBP, when I made a fusion drive with an SSD and kept the 500GB spinner to increase capacity. It worked fine. They are pretty cheap. Pretty slow, too. Probably because it was a PATA to SATA adapter and PATA is pretty slow.
     
  4. Slix macrumors 6502a

    Slix

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2010
    #4
    Very nice! Mac Minis are definitely really good for media servers, as they're quiet and small! Worth noting, iTunes 10.6.3 on Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard allows you to use the setting "Home Sharing Updates Play Counts" so your iPhones, iPads, and other Macs that are connected to it via Home Sharing can keep your play counts intact. :)
     
  5. dwnldr thread starter macrumors newbie

    dwnldr

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #5
    MysticCow - "How-To" is a good idea, but i didn't know how big is the ,,PowerPC audience". I'm really glad, if i see how much users are on PowerPCs. In our "region" are this machines dead. If somebody needs further informations, don't hesitate to contact me

    Eriamjh - im wondering how can be used in 2011 MBP IDE/PATA SuperDrive. My 2009 MacMini have already 2x SATA connectors-controllers. In G4 Mini works the adapter very well. The speed is limited only by ULTRA CONTROLLER onBoard, but the speed is absolutely acceptable also if you copy larger archives.

    Slix - Thank you very much ! As you sad, G4 Mini is absolutely the greatest device for iTunes Server. The speed isn't important, because the machine is idling all the time. The "HomeSharing update count" is of course "ON" ;) Also the function to continue Movie from stopped position is working on any device. I begin to watch some TV Show on iPhone and i end it on TV, directly from stopped second (but i see, you know the beauty of HomeSharing also very well :) ) I'm only "afraid" how long would be Leopard or iTunes 10.6.3 enough to communicate with new macOS, iOS based devices... Maybe is this the last year, because of new AFPS FileSystem. I read some informations about FileSharing between AFPS and HFS+ which should not be compatible with eachother in the future. This fact can maybe ruin the HomeSharing (i don't know if HomeSharing depends on some other protocol, which doesn't care about FileSystem...).

    It would be really great to know the answers for the upper mentioned questions. If have somebody some informations, please react :

    - how big storage in GB can G4 Mini ULTRA ATA controller handle ? I don't know if is my 750GB HDD limitation caused by smallIDE -> SATA adapter, or by controller on board..

    - also how big storage in GB can G4 Mini handle via external FW400 ?

    as i write, my biggest HDD for using was 1TB of size. In smallIDE -> SATA wasn't recognized correctly, but in FW400 enclosure works
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #6
    You can put any sized hard drive on the internal bus. Just note that it must be less than 2TB if you want to be able to boot from it, but it can still see drives larger than that. The same limitations exist for external USB and FireWire drives.
     
  7. dwnldr thread starter macrumors newbie

    dwnldr

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #7
    Intell - thank you very much for your reply ! but...
    As i mentioned, the 1GB HDD wasn't accepted internal by this machine. Was recognized as 750GB HDD. We are talking about 10+ year old PowerPC (maybe it doesn't matter, i don't know...)

    About external FW : in external enclosure the 1TB drive works really well. I just want to be sure, that i didn't buy a larger-expensive 2.5" drive for nothing.

    On Intel Mac's is the HDD size "unlimited"..., but in this oldie is it harder
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #8
    I've seen 2TB drives work with an adapter in G4 Mini's. Your drive or adapter may not be fully compatible with the Mini.
     
  9. dwnldr thread starter macrumors newbie

    dwnldr

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Location:
    Slovakia
    #9
    Intell - can you give me some detailed informations ? Maybe you know somebody, who has already integrated biggest (as 450GB) HDD into G4. It would be very very big help from you. Last weekend i made a test, with an Intel based MacMini 2.1. Specially the 2.1rev has a SATA controller for HDD, but uses still IDE ATA for DVD. So i swapped the adapter from G4 Mini to 2.1, also the HDD in adapter to 1TB drive, and it worked without problems. So in this case should be my adapter OK for bigger drives, but the G4 still refuses bigger HDD as 750GB.

    Thank you !

    Ronnie
     

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