Silent running Mac (PXEBoot/Compact Flash?)

tyr2

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 6, 2006
801
83
Leeds, UK
I've got a rev A PowerPC Mac Mini that will soon be retired to the living room. I was giving some though to how I could reduce the noise it makes (not that it's very noisy but silent would be good) and had a couple of ideas. Just wondering if anyone had tried these or has any other suggestions?

1 - PXEBoot the Mac and mount disks over NFS.
Is this possible, does the NIC in the mini support pxeboot? If it does I guess it would be possible to run Linux, however does OSX support running in this fasion?

2 - Replace the hard drive with an internal compact flash drive, using a ATA/CF converter. Has anyone tried this?
 

dpaanlka

macrumors 601
Nov 16, 2004
4,868
6
Illinois
tyr2 said:
2 - Replace the hard drive with an internal compact flash drive, using a ATA/CF converter. Has anyone tried this?
CF disks (used with Cameras etc) are slow and unreliable - they're not meant to be used as a traditional hard disk.

There are solid state "flash drives" that are suited for this purpose, but they are prohibitively expensive in any size category that would be useful with OS X.

http://www.simpletech.com/oem/solidstatedrive.php

I do own a machine with such a disk, a SimpleTech 800mb model that cost me about $50 about a year ago. It is in a PowerBook 1400c running Mac OS 7.6.1. It is literally silent... think like using a huge PDA with a keyboard. In the sound department, it might as well be off.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
3.5" drive > 2.5" converter plus a 2.5" drive might work wonders. Even the largest capacity two and a half incher runs significantly cooler and quieter. Generally speaking though with any PC you're going to have to work on the fans and PSU more than the HDD.
 

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
6,163
346
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Sesshi said:
3.5" drive > 2.5" converter plus a 2.5" drive might work wonders.
The poster has a mini--it's already using a 2.5" disk.

You could look to replace the internal drive with a quieter one (I can say that even the 7200RPM drive in my MPB is functionally silent unless I put my ear on the case in a quiet room, so there are VERY quiet options available). This would be a lot cheaper and easier than flash or network alternatives. The fan, however, you're stuck with, since it still needs to cool the chip.

On the topic of booting over a network, any even remotely modern Mac supports booting from a network volume... but as far as I know you need to have an OSX Server box sharing the NetBoot volume to do it. There may be an open source alternative, but I'm not aware of one.
 

Sesshi

macrumors G3
Jun 3, 2006
8,113
1
One Nation Under Gordon
Makosuke said:
The poster has a mini--it's already using a 2.5" disk.

You could look to replace the internal drive with a quieter one (I can say that even the 7200RPM drive in my MPB is functionally silent unless I put my ear on the case in a quiet room, so there are VERY quiet options available). This would be a lot cheaper and easier than flash or network alternatives. The fan, however, you're stuck with, since it still needs to cool the chip.

On the topic of booting over a network, any even remotely modern Mac supports booting from a network volume... but as far as I know you need to have an OSX Server box sharing the NetBoot volume to do it. There may be an open source alternative, but I'm not aware of one.

*slaps head*

I'm a moron. Thought it was a G4 tower for some reason. Do excuse my moronicity (sic). Well, the Mini is one of the quietest PC's you can get... it ain't going to get much better. The HDD only adds the operational whine in normal use, and even that is reasonably attenuated by the case. You'll probably have to work on passive cooling solutions which will probably be more trouble than its worth.
 

kalisphoenix

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2005
1,231
1
tyr2 said:
1 - PXEBoot the Mac and mount disks over NFS.
Is this possible, does the NIC in the mini support pxeboot? If it does I guess it would be possible to run Linux, however does OSX support running in this fasion?
All modern Macs support netbooting. The problem is that, for the inexperienced OS X-user, the easiest solution will require you to have OS X Server, which costs $499.

There should be an easy solution in the form of shareware or freeware, but unfortunately I haven't seen such a thing. I myself was wanting to turn my old (and problematic) G3 iBook (many many moons ago, when I still had the damn thing) into a netbooting client, but as I had no cash to drop on OS X Server, the idea was untenable.