What to do with G5 Xserve?

grapels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 20, 2013
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Just wondering if this is worth using for anything...

I recently picked up a G5 Xserve, 16gb ram, dual 2.3ghz processor and 3 250gb SATA drives.

Any functional thing I can use this for? Will this work as a time machine device or NAS or video server or are processor specs too bad. Also can I put in some faster drives? I.E. a SSD and terabyte drives in the other slots?

Is it a power hog in idle?

If I can't put it to good use I'll probably sell it.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
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Inside
It is a massive power hog at idle. Around 200-300 watts I think. Fairly loud as well. Yes you can put bigger drives in it and use it as a NAS or Time Machine drive. Although because of their high power drive, they aren't well suited for that.
 

grapels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 20, 2013
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I actually have 3 of them, the others have 8gb ram instead and smaller drives. If that makes a difference. Another idea would be to use the setup for video rendering, but maybe too slow and too much electricity these days.
 

Cox Orange

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2010
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I had one for a very short time, just too look how it is.
It is so loud, you would not want to have it as a NAS even in the next room. It is really no exaggeration to say, it sounds lime jet plain taking off (I know some people have said that about the G4 MDD, but that is nothing compared to that). Sell it to a collector.

3 Must be even louder. Why not test it single and as a cluster an report us back, how long it took. If you do not want to buy a "Wattmeter" (I think one that is sold in the US is called "Kill-a-watt"), you could estimate it (Apple reports 190W idle, 165W cluster idle and 280W / 250W max CPU + all HDD) at least. I have a "Wattmeter" and I found Apple's specs as mostly fitting. Though I could imagine, they lower it a bit here, when they want to sell it as a server. You could buy the Wattmeter used and sell it afterwards again.
 
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chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
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grapels

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 20, 2013
10
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Yikes. Yeah they came in from a client who got rid of a lot of equipment on a pallet. I might keep one around just as a spare machine test server for older macs, or maybe a test ubuntu server. I do web development/media just haven't really come across these particular models. I was hoping to maybe use it as a nas as I need one, but I might just buy another mac mini, then use my 2010 model to run as the nas and put an attached array on it.
 

goMac

macrumors 604
Apr 15, 2004
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Yikes. Yeah they came in from a client who got rid of a lot of equipment on a pallet. I might keep one around just as a spare machine test server for older macs, or maybe a test ubuntu server. I do web development/media just haven't really come across these particular models. I was hoping to maybe use it as a nas as I need one, but I might just buy another mac mini, then use my 2010 model to run as the nas and put an attached array on it.
Honestly, a Mac Mini with an SSD is going to perform a lot faster than the Xserve G5.

They're power sucks, and they are super loud. You can put them in a noise dampening case, but I honestly wouldn't want to work in the same room as one. At an old job we used to have a rack of them, in a case, and you could still hear them from the next room over through the door.
 

128keaton

macrumors 68020
Jan 13, 2013
2,027
402
If you wanted, I could see if one of my contacts would like to buy one. No promises, but if you want some cash for at least one, I can certainly check.
 

AmestrisXServe

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2014
263
1
I don't need another system, but I could use the RAM from it I have two G5 units that could use the memory, although I need to check both, to see if they can accept the 2GB DIMMs. If not, I might be interested in the mainboard, to have a spare, that can use 16GB, although I am pretty sure that at least one of mine can; which means that I could fully populate that, and shift its RAM to the others.

I run three G5 servers, a G4 server, and Intel based XServe systems, in racks. The 'noise' that people complain about doesn't at all bother me, and in fact, my RAID array is louder than any XServe system. I expect that if you don't rack-mount it, it's louder than if you do, for I barely hear all of the above, plus RAID arrays, and other servers, one room away, and with any audio or video playing, I don't hear them at all.

I think it's Apple brainwashing in effect here. Jobs had been trying to make Macs silent-running since 1984, and has crippled more than one system to achieve this goal. (It's the reason that the original macintosh had no hard disc.)

I also gladly give up 'soft-sounding' keyboards, for proper, mechanical keycaps, with excellent tactile response. Honestly, why do I care what noises come from a system? A 15K RPM video drive sounds like a whirlybird, but it does the job that I require. The only noises that would bother me, are head crashes, for obvious reasons.

I suggest using XServes as servers, not desktop systems. The main problem with noise, that I can contemplate, is from vibration, running them on a desk. That my racks are cabinets, may also dampen it.

As a 'desktop', the only notable features of an XServe, versus a g5 tower, as the hot-swap drive bays, the larger RAM capacity, the rather common dual-Gigabit ethernet, and a proper serial port. They use a PCI-X video cards, so if you aren't using the system entirely remotely, you will eat up one slot with a video card, leaving only one PCI-X slot for expansion, which will usually be either a RAID card, or an additional NIC.

If you do decide to use it as a server, you could run Debian, but you might do better with FreeBSD. What OS you use, greatly differs, based on what you want to do. The G5 XServe has PCI-X, not PCIe, so you can't use newer RAID products on it, but you can use some of the Highpoint Rocket series.

Send me a PM is you want to part out anything. Freight on these is murder, so the entire system really isn't something I would want to handle.
 

Cox Orange

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2010
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Comments in Blue:
...
I run three G5 servers, a G4 server, and Intel based XServe systems, in racks. The 'noise' that people complain about doesn't at all bother me, and in fact, my RAID array is louder than any XServe system. I expect that if you don't rack-mount it, it's louder than if you do, for I barely hear all of the above, plus RAID arrays, and other servers, one room away, and with any audio or video playing, I don't hear them at all.
Well, maybe he should test himself, where his personal noise barrier is. Everyone's perception is different, as we see in this thread too.
Though, you may be right, that rack mounting them changes the noise reflection.

... (It's the reason that the original macintosh had no hard disc.)
+1 Didn't know that.

...Honestly, why do I care what noises come from a system?
because you have to sit in the room (desktops) or next to its room (servers)
15K RPM video drive sounds like a whirlybird, but it does the job that I require. ...
I often heard, that 15k rpm drives are good for video, but I see that in PowerPCs Velociraptors (10k) and SSDs (not thoroughly tested though!) do not make a difference really, when encoding video. Are you using it on an Intel-Mac?
I suggest using XServes as servers, not desktop systems. The main problem with noise, that I can contemplate, is from vibration, running them on a desk. That my racks are cabinets, may also dampen it.
From others posts and my experience, it seems to be different. Maybe e had different Xserve models. With mine, on the desktop I did not have vibration, I just had a jetplain, that I could hear downstairs in the kitchen. Or maybe me (and the others) had some that were dusty, had bad thermal paste on the CPUs or defective fans.
Again, having it in a rack, might do the difference, as you say, though I can't imagine that much difference.
@ OP: just start it without doing anything with it. Wait 30min. and see if you can stand it. If not, go in the other room and see, if that might be a solution for you.
If you want a PowerPC server. A PowerMac G4 would still be a costly server energy wise, but a fraction of the Xserve (arround 50-70W).
If you decision goes between a PowerMac G5 and an Xserve G5 not as a server, but for rendering (and the noise is no problem), you might compare buying costs. If Apples specs a true, it should be equal in CPU extensive tasks.
I would be interested, were the PM G5 tops out in a really extensive everyday task, energy wise. If the Xserve is really 290W top and the PM G5 450W top (I would rather think something around the same). I would guess, that the Xserve is not as fast. I mean, even with the same clock speed, shouldn't the Xserve be slower. Because, how should you save electricity, when you use the same CPU-chip?

As a 'desktop', the only notable features of an XServe, versus a g5 tower, as the hot-swap drive bays, the larger RAM capacity, the rather common dual-Gigabit ethernet, and a proper serial port. They use a PCI-X video cards, so if you aren't using the system entirely remotely, you will eat up one slot with a video card, leaving only one PCI-X slot for expansion, which will usually be either a RAID card, or an additional NIC.
He can have 16GB RAM, Dual GE plus 4x PCIe slots with a late 2005 PowerMac G5, though, with less noise.
You don't even really need to test power draw as the specs are published by Apple:
XServe G5 BTU/power specs: http://support.apple.com/kb/ta27171
Late 2004 Power Mac G5: http://support.apple.com/kb/ta27205
Early 2005 Power Mac G5: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA23542
Late 2005 Power Mac G5: http://support.apple.com/kb/ta24037
I know, but I like to test by myself, because I do not believe manufacturer's specs. Though I found that the Apple published specs are quiet accurate. But, if it says 160W idle to 450W CPU max. I find it is worth testing, because, you may find, that it is not the 450W max. with a certain application you use, but something like 200W. ;) (I had 188W with the 2,3GHz G5 DC, when exporting an iMovie file.)