Trying to put USB 3.0 on a G5 PowerMac.

joe.pelayo

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2009
39
0
Mexico City
Hello everybody.

Recently I resurrected an old PowerMac (Dual G5@2.0GHz) by installing 4GB of RAM (it wasn't really dead, just somewhat slow), and after adding another HDD I realized the USB 2.0 ports in it would be a limitation for data transfers, so I devised the idea of adding USB 3.0 ports.

When I opened the case to upgrade the RAM I noticed the existence of several PCI slots on the motherboard, they are available for expansion, aren't they?

Assuming they are and that I manage to get a PCI expansion card with USB 3.0 ports, would it work on the machine? I mean, would "Leopard" detect them? So far the cards I've seen say they only support Windows (but that could be marketing).

Thanks,
Joe.
 

CaptainChunk

macrumors 68020
Apr 16, 2008
2,142
6
Phoenix, AZ
All USB 3.0 expansion cards are PCIe (PCI Express). Two problems:

1. Only the Late 2005 PMG5s have PCIe slots. The older machines are PCI/PCI-X and thus have no appropriate slots.

2. "Super Speed" USB drivers don't exist for versions of Mac OS prior to Leopard (10.5) and that's the newest version of OS X that will actually run on a PPC Mac.

So I think you might be out of luck there. But you still do have FW800 and the option to add an eSATA card if you need a faster external interface. Sonnet makes PCI-X and PCIe eSATA cards that work in G5s.
 

joe.pelayo

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 12, 2009
39
0
Mexico City
All USB 3.0 expansion cards are PCIe (PCI Express). Two problems:

1. Only the Late 2005 PMG5s have PCIe slots. The older machines are PCI/PCI-X and thus have no appropriate slots.

2. "Super Speed" USB drivers don't exist for versions of Mac OS prior to Leopard (10.5) and that's the newest version of OS X that will actually run on a PPC Mac.

So I think you might be out of luck there. But you still do have FW800 and the option to add an eSATA card if you need a faster external interface. Sonnet makes PCI-X and PCIe eSATA cards that work in G5s.
Hi,

After some googling I found out about the PCI/PCI-X issue which set me back at looking for more USB 2.0 ports (having three in such a machine is miserable). I found several PCI expansion cards with USB ports, but now before I go out a purchase one (Sabrent, Encore, etc), I have a couple of questions:

Considering the fact that most cards mention in their requirements they are for Windows, what are the odds that they will work on a Mac?

I am given to understand there are some compatibility issues one has to keep in mind if installing PCI on a PCI-X slot (which might be the case here). Is it possible that the machine gets ruined if I get a "wrong card" (voltage-wise)?

Thanks,
Joe.
 

hwojtek

macrumors 65816
Jan 26, 2008
1,134
239
Poznan, Poland
Just buy any USB2 card that uses the NEC chipset. They work out of the box in OS X. One of the popular OEM cards with this chipset features 4 external plus 1 internal USB2 connectors, quite easy to spot, got it running in my G4 on Tiger and then it continues to work in a G5 and Leopard.