Old G4 for back ups/home server?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Gage, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. Gage macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    I was curious to see if an old Power Mac G4 is still a good option to use as a home server or for back up. After reading many threads on here, I see they were in the past.
    I've found A G4 locally for $45, which comes with a monitor & keyboard.
    I'm not sure what model this G4 is, but here are some specs:

    400 MHz 1m cache / 64 MB sdram
    20gb HD / DVD, CD rom, built in 56k modem, eithernet ports

    My wife and I would like to use it for mainly documents & photos with maybe a few short videos from our phones.
    If the G4s are still a good option, but not this particular one, I'll continue to look for a better model.

    Any help would be appreciated
  2. Neodym macrumors 68000


    Jul 5, 2002
    In my humble opinion it's not worthwhile:

    First of all i'm not aware of any open source (or even commercial) homeserver solutions for PPC, so you would probably have to use a fully-blown OSX installation as software basis. The latest OSX to support PPC was 10.5 Leopard. It requires a minimum of 512MB Ram installed. 10.4 Tiger requires only 256MB, but in either case i would go for 1 or 2 GB. (10.3 requires only 128MB, but i'm not sure what limitations that old OS could impose).

    20GB harddrive (with perhaps 10GB usable space for your data) could be pretty small - but i'd not recommend to buy any harddrive currently due to the ludicrous prices vendors are asking after the flood catastrophe in Thailand.

    Apart from those necessary (cost-increasing) upgrade(s) the G4 is notoriously loud and power-hungry - and whether an antique G4-400 would give enough performance under Leopard, is questionable (maybe 10.4 Tiger could be an alternative - older OSX versions may have too many limitations these days).

    If i were you i'd either check out the FreeNAS route on a cheap (old) x86 PC, look for a Mac with better specs (either new or 2nd hand) or consider a dedicated NAS system.
  3. Gage thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    Thanks for your feedback, Neodym. Guess I'll pass on that then.
  4. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    It really depends on your network setup. Time Capsules are pretty slick, and an Airport Extreme with a connected external HD works too. If you look around, an Airport Extreme with an external drive could come pretty close in price, assuming you'd have to buy a new drive for the G4.
  5. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Yes, I'd do this instead. Smaller, quieter, less power, more reliable.

    Just plug a hard drive into your router. It's on all the time anyway.

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