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What To Do With an Old G5 Tower?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the such-a-beautiful-exterior dept.

Desktops (Apple) 417

lunatic1969 writes "I've got an old G5 PowerPC tower that's sitting in a spare room not seeing much in the way of use. I'd like to stick a Linux distribution on it and maybe breathe some life back into it. I've got a few vague ideas — it might be a handy file server, streaming video for a security system, or simply just to have a spare box around. My question is therefore in two parts: First, are there any particularly creative projects or ideas anyone has for an old G5, and second and most important, which distribution currently offers the best support for this box?"

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PPC Linux (5, Informative)

worx101 (1799560) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009538)

Yellow Dog probably has the best support, but you could always look at the PPC version of Ubuntu.

Re:PPC Linux (2, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009664)

I run a stripped PPC Ubu on a Blue and White G3. Works. As good as the R4000 Indigo on Irix 6.5 that sits next to it. (NOT NeXT to it!)

Or he could use it as a buttplug cabinet. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010172)

As a Mac user, he no doubt has a large collection of buttplugs. With a sheet of plexiglass, a few hinges and a doorknob, it could easily be converted into a display cabinet for his exquisite collection of anal pleasure devices.

yellow dog linux still around? (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009542)

personally i'd send it to China for "recycling" or just junk it or donate it. you'll get better performance buying a new iMac and virtualizing the G5. File servers are so last decade. just get an external hard drive and connect it to a TV all of which come with USB ports these days and play a long list of media files

What To Do With an Old G5 Tower? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009740)

(singing): "Put 'im in the bilge and make 'im drink it, Ear-lye in the morning!"

Re:What To Do With an Old G5 Tower? (1)

reverendbeer (1496637) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009846)

Shove it in the hold with the captains daughter...

Re:yellow dog linux still around? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009824)

Then you have to carry the drive around like some sort of cretin. File servers are more useful this decade than last, when I can store every DVD I have as iso and a format my smartphone can play.

Re:yellow dog linux still around? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010028)

I bought a drive *instead* of a file server. I just got a nice external case with esata and a huge fast drive. It's way faster than networking, and it's very easy to move around.

I'm not wasting power, making heat, or maintaining another system as a file server, nor running network cables or messing with wireless anywhere I might need it. Does that make me a cretin? I don't really think so.

Give it to the needy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009544)

Put it in a dumpster. See how the side of the dumpster says "BFI"? That stands for Black Family Inside. It will be their first computer ever.

Genius (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009562)

I think I speak for all of us here on Slashdot when I say, porn file server running Linux.

Re:Genius (1)

shacky003 (1595307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009632)

I think I speak for all of us here on Slashdot when I say, porn file server running Linux.

(With access for the rest of us, of course...) New "Open Source" Initiative :)

Re:Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009690)

I think I speak for all of us here on Slashdot when I say, porn file server running Linux.

(With access for the rest of us, of course...) New "Open Source" Initiative :)

Beats the Open Sores initiative from the group spank banks.

Re:Genius (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009734)

Bonus points if you make it openly viewable, post a link in the comments to this article, AND it stays up and responsive despite the slashdot effect.

retire it (5, Insightful)

joe_bruin (266648) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009570)

A G5 tower is a monstrous waste of electricity with trivial performance in return compared to a modern machine. Its primary use these days is as a space heater.

Re:retire it (0)

Chaostrophy (925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009592)

Sad but true.

Kiss your wind tunnel good bye.

Re:retire it (3, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009874)

Hey, I am using a Wind Tunnel G4 right now. It works fantastically well and is lightning fast at running satellite simulations. Faster than my Core 2 Duo PC by a fair margin.

Re:retire it (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009886)

Buy a Mac mini Server

Re:retire it (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009770)

I'm glad somebody said it. The money you'd save on electricity in a year would probably pay for a little NAS appliance that barely takes up more space than the drive(s).

Re:retire it (4, Informative)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009780)

Say what?! One of my older machines is a G5 dual proc, 2.7 Ghz. That's still a VERY respectable clock speed, it's 64 bit and the dual procs means it's still pretty fast. The submitter didn't mention what speed his was (I'm guessing slower) but depending on that, a G5 could very well be a useful machine. It's not like it's an Athlon or something that is both slow, 32 bit and single core.

Since the G5 was designed for performance, it's not exactly a great file server chip though. But it's far from being a "space heater" as you say -- mine gets used every work day. As others have pointed out, either put linux on it, or put an older version of OS X on it. I still have 10.4 on mine because it was the last OS Apple produced that was streamlined for the PPC. However, now that Apple has stopped supporting it, I'll have to break down and put 10.5 on it. On other older machines though I have installed both pbbuttons and gtkpbbuttons which support a lot of of the media keys on the keyboard pretty well.

Re:retire it (3, Informative)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009858)

G5's aren't incredibly slow, but nor are they particularly fast. The clock speed bump over the G4 meant the loss of some performance per cycle, and the amount of heat those things put out is obscene. A reasonably clocked C2D or any Nehalem should be vastly faster than a G5.

Re:retire it (0)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009950)

A reasonably clocked C2D or any Nehalem should be vastly faster than a G5.

The actual comparisons that were done when the core duo imacs were released show that isn't the case [arstechnica.com] at least for core duos that were available at the same time as the G5. That is, unless you're saying that a modern processor is faster. Well, of course that's true, it's always been true for any chip, and has nothing to do with the G5 per se.

Re:retire it (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010078)

Even when they were the New Hotness, I got the impression from everything I read that the G5s were huge power-sucking monstrosities. There's a reason there were no G5-based laptops, IIRC.

Re:retire it (2, Informative)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010088)

In those benchmarks the Core 2 was running Rosetta (a PPC emulator) so they're hardly a good measure for comparing G5 to Core 2 performance.

Re:retire it (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010130)

Okay, you had a high-end SMP PowerPC facing off against a laptop x86 part... running PowerPC code. Yeah. That's a fair comparison. Now, let's compare a laptop G4 to a quad Xeon from the same period with a benchmark running x86 code!

Re:retire it (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010144)

The page you link to is graphs of PPC binaries being either run on a PPC machine or an Intel one(under Rosetta). Shockingly enough, PPC binaries ran rather faster on PPC. The previous page, where they benchmarked universal binaries, shows the C2D(a now not-very-exciting 1.8GHz unit) crushing the single core 1.8GHz G5 like a bug, and pulling approximate parity with a dual 2.5GHz PPC powermac, which was a firebreathing wind-tunnel of a machine.

Back when Intel was busy pretending that the P4 could actually cut it as a laptop processor, the G4 based PPC systems were pretty cool. Reasonable punch, battery life that didn't suck. The G5s, though, where the end of the line for a reason. Not especially fast, unless you were leaning really hard on Altivec, and continually hobbled by IBM's inability to hit the clock speeds they wanted at a power envelope that wasn't nutty.

Re:retire it (4, Insightful)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009864)

Another thing I'll point out is that debian includes binaries compiled for the ppc. I've never had any problems putting debian on ppc hardware. I would think Ubuntu would work as well, and as others have mentioned, yellow dog is still around. The days of needing a specialist distro for a ppc are long gone though.

Re:retire it (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010084)

> It's not like it's an Athlon or something that is both slow, 32 bit and single core.

I have an Athlon XP 3200+ you insensitive clod!

(Upgraded to an Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.6 GHz though :-) (Yes, o/c'd from the stock 3.2 Ghz on air)

Re:retire it (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009790)

Agreed 100%. Have it recycled.

Re:retire it (5, Insightful)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009794)

What utter nonsense.

I'm typing this now via my Dual G5 2.3ghz powermac that is perfectly servicable. Running OS X 10.5, as well. For web browsing, hulu, ableton live + reason + native instruments, even gaming (world of warcraft, soon to be intel only, though). Everything I want to do, I can do on this machine. Would a new machine be more efficient and even do tasks faster? Yes and probably not because I'm user constrained when it comes to music production (for the most part). however, I'd still have to part with my hard earned cash I'd rather spend on drugs and alcohol than buy another machine where I wouldn't see any 'dividends' for many years down the road.

Re:retire it (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009806)

Sad, but true.

I'd use it for a practical joke, will it with cement and put it outside with a "free" sign on the side. Sit back and watch the hijinks.

Re:retire it (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009894)

I'd use it for a practical joke, will it with cement and put it outside with a "free" sign on the side. Sit back and watch the hijinks.

Filling it with cement won't keep it from dissappearing.
If you're serious about the lulz, you need to bolt it to an immovable object, then fill it with cement.

Reminds me of the good old days when I superglued coins to the floor.
It's the best entertainment you can get for a quarter.

Re:retire it (0)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009922)

Sad, but true.

I'd use it for a practical joke, will it with cement and put it outside with a "free" sign on the side. Sit back and watch the hijinks.

So that's what happened to your sex life.

Re:retire it (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010006)

So turn it on when needed, but I wouldn't say it's a waste of electricity, considering it's already paid for.

Apple has done a great job of making XGrid platform independent. If you code with Xcode it'll speed up your compile times. If you do any video rendering, it'll speed that up.

Or toss OS X server on it and use it as a home server (if you continue to use OS X) or Debian

G5s are power hogs (5, Insightful)

sith (15384) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009576)

Unless you just like the look of the G5, I think you'd be better off trying to get a little money for it on craigslist, and then buying/building a cheap x86 machine if you need a server. G5 power consumption is pretty crazy for the performance you get - best case, at idle, you're looking at 140w, but in reality it's much higher.

Like the look of the G5 ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009666)

Unless you just like the look of the G5 ...

If its being kept around just for the look then gut it and put a PC motherboard inside? From what I heard it may take a little more than a phillips screwdriver to accomplish this.

Re:Like the look of the G5 ... (5, Funny)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009746)

it may take a little more than a phillips screwdriver to accomplish this.

Yup, you'll need a Torx driver instead.

Re:G5s are power hogs (4, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009718)

That Is The Correct Answer.

You can get a nettop for about $200 that will have as much storage. It will be fast enough and be x86 so give you a wide choice of distros and with the correct choice of GPU will do hardware accelerated 1080p. Finally it will be a fraction of the size and consume 20 watts.

You're doing no-one other than your power company a favor by resurrecting the G5 tower.

ubuntu? or just rsync? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009594)

I've seen ubuntu on numerous triple-boot (os x / linux / windows) macbook pros. that's intel though. I don't know how good the open firmware boot selectors are (as opposed to RebelEFI) nor how good ubuntu drivers are for powerpc. But worth looking into.

I have yet to run into a redhat installation on a mac. (referring to the article tag as such)

I used a PMG5 for quite some time as a backup server (rsync) running OS X 10.4 Works very well for that, had lots of attached storage. FW800 FTW. But that got replaced this spring with a used Mac pro - quad 3.0 can be had on ebay for $1500, was well worth it and a welcome update.

Just keep in mind it's an aging machine. Macs in general tend to continue running well beyond their useful life, in terms of processor speed and ram ceiling. At some point you have to listen to the voice of reason when someone says "it's OLD, time to REPLACE it", when you want to reply "but it still WORKS FINE".

Re:ubuntu? or just rsync? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010024)

I don't have direct experience with PPC, but I've had decent results with Fedora on my Intel iMac. The only problem in the very beginning was lack of support from the Nvidia driver for the native screen resolution of the built-in LCD panel. That got fixed later. Apart from the inconvenience of having to keep up with binary Nvidia drivers, it ran like a champ. Used it to get through Doom 3 and Quake 4. Fedora supports PPC, and AFAIK should run on anything that would run OS X.

Put a distillery inside it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009610)

Then brew yourself up something nice.

rsync with opensuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009620)

you can turn it into a backup server (see rsync as a option).

and opensuse worked well on a old mac i had

but research into some different options

What shall we do with a G5 tower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009634)

Slap him around and call him Suzie, early in the morning.

Simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009640)

Shove it the fuck up your dumbass fucking apple ass you dumbass proprietary buying dumbass mother fucking piece of shit. What don't you get, you fucking asshole? PS, fuck you.

Re:Simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009696)

sounds like someone is a teeny weeny bit jealous!!!! try an apple machine and then tell me that they're not better designed and don't crash less - if you can afford it that is :)

Re:Simple. (-1, Offtopic)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009712)

bump

Re:Simple. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009760)

Sounds like a good use for it would be a LART to use against snobby PC bigots.

Drop it on a certain Anonymous Coward who insists on complaining about the perfectly rational, excellent, and even superior decision made in the past to buy an Apple computer.

Old Games (5, Interesting)

painandgreed (692585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009654)

I'm keeping mine around to run games on, especially old classic games that have stopped working under newer versions of OS X or Intel chips. In addition to that, it might go to my photo studio as a browser and photo editing machine.

I have a good idea! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009656)

Give it to me?

Re:I have a good idea! (-1, Flamebait)

earls (1367951) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009702)

eat shit beggar. fucking piece of shit.

Ooo, ooo, pick me. (0, Flamebait)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009660)

Use it as supposed motivation for a contrived AskSlashdot entry where you spin a tragic tale of brain injury that finds you without ability to use Google or your own creative faculties to come up with a use for hardware that, while eliciting a strong emotional response from some of the community's more lonely members, is likely less valuable than the electricity you will spend running it for a year.

Re:Ooo, ooo, pick me. (1)

shadowolfe (1177789) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009832)

Then, with the supposed brain-trauma-induced-contrived-question, have someone followup with a negatively charged post about how you shouldn't seek advice from others because Google is clearly superior to the opinions of others. Then be shocked and horrified at the realization that there are mean people on the internet, even dear Slashdot, who are about as constructive monkey feces! I offer my following suggestion to the large, grey, heavy stone like thing: Catapult.

I'm in the exact same position... (1)

Roogna (9643) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009670)

And my current plans are to strip the case and stick a updated system in.

Recycle and earn some cash (1)

russg (64596) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009674)

Recycle the metals and earn some cash toward a some sort of replacement.

Which OS has best support for the box? (2)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009688)

Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.x). A group at work still uses a "cluster" of these for Final Cut rendering.
I'm not sure about the Mac Pros, but I know that a lot of hardware support is missing in Linux for the iMacs, including (especially) temperature gauges for fan control.

Re:Which OS has best support for the box? (2, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010048)

Adding to benefits of OS X 10.5: a lot of good open source is available from MacPorts. Heck, MacPorts still doesn't run a lot of things under Snow Leopard (wxWindows, native gimp, ...). So your results with MacPorts under OS X 10.5 running on G5 may well be better than with 10.6 running on Intel hardware!

Audio Workstation/Recording Studio (5, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009694)

If you have the model with the PCI-X, rather than the PCI Express bus, then probably the optimum usage is putting it in a recording studio. There are some great rack-mount multi-channel (like 10 in, 10 out) audio interfaces by the likes of M-Audio which use the PCI bus, and have never been updated for PCI Express compatibility, so they won't work in a Mac Pro.

The G5 has plenty of performance for audio work, and plenty of space for internal hard drives or RAID. This would really be the optimum niche for such a machine. For other purposes (file server etc), it sucks too much power and takes up too much space for its usefulness. But for audio work with dedicated hardware, it's perfect.

Re:Audio Workstation/Recording Studio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009816)

unless it's water cooled, the g5s are way too loud for a recording studio. Unless you want to run tons of cable extenders into another room or iso box.

Re:Audio Workstation/Recording Studio (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009838)

Who runs any fan-cooled computer in the actual recording area? Standard practice is that the recording area is isolated from the mixing/equipment room.

Re:Audio Workstation/Recording Studio (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010160)

Yeah, because it's not important at all for things to be quiet in the mixing room.

Perfect use for a G5. (2, Funny)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009706)

Wipe the drives, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/whatever works.

Then turn it off

Then say 'its the new replacement for timothy and kdawson. They are now new and improved and no longer post stupid shit like a question that should have been asked on some random forum somewhere rather than on a site with a title of 'News for nerds'.

Listen, its not 'help for newbies'. Its not 'your personal place to question people with an actual clue'.

In reality though, just throw it away. You'll spend more in electricity in the next year than if you bought a brand new Atom PC that will whip its ass. G5s are horrible power hogs compared to current chips.

Re:Perfect use for a G5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009880)

Man, you're a bit of an arsehole, eh? Your last three sentences would have sufficed, i think.

Re:Perfect use for a G5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010046)

Wipe the drives, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/whatever works.

Then turn it off

Then say 'its the new replacement for timothy and kdawson. They are now new and improved and no longer post stupid shit like a question that should have been asked on some random forum somewhere rather than on a site with a title of 'News for nerds'.

Listen, its not 'help for newbies'. Its not 'your personal place to question people with an actual clue'.

In reality though, just throw it away. You'll spend more in electricity in the next year than if you bought a brand new Atom PC that will whip its ass. G5s are horrible power hogs compared to current chips.

http://ask.slashdot.org

Convert it into (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009710)

- an aquarium
- a terrarium
- a planter pot
- a lamp
- a gift-box
- a key - safe
- a modern PC by replacing the hardware
- a piece of art devoid of any specific use
- a jarring piece of art to tell people about the vanity of luxury consumer electronics ...any of these is better than to put it to any use as a computer in this day and age.
You could also sell it to someone, and buy proper file-server grade hardware from the money you gain.
Or donate it to a struggling artist.

You could even use it as a base to box-mod your console of choice!

I just recycled one of these :D (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009730)

Looked very closely at the capabilities of it, decided it wasn't worth my time.
Recycling seemed like a good use of it.

Debian (5, Informative)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009736)

Debian's PPC port works well, I used it on an iMac G3.

I have Ubuntu 10.04.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009750)

...running on a lowly 1.25GHz PPC mini, and it is a really nice setup.

Debian or Recycle it (3, Informative)

dondelelcaro (81997) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009756)

You can rather easily run Debian on the thing with support for all of the non-architecture specific packages that you'd find on an equivalent machine running another architecture; I had quite a few of them around at one point.

That said, you really should strongly consider not running the machine unless you have a very specific use for it; there are many lower powered machines which won't waste as much eneergy and will provide equivalent functionality.

Media Center/File Server (2, Informative)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009768)

I have a dual 2.0GHz (the one with PCI-X instead of PCI-e) that I threw two giant HDDs in and turned it into a file server (time machine backup server) as well as a media center for my PS3 and 360. I rip my movies to that HDD and watch them via the uPnP stuff on my game consoles (when the mood strikes me.) It's great for storing music collections, backups and other fun items. :) Be a digital packrat.

I still have Leopard on it, but that's just because it was the last OS I used before I re-purposed it. I could stick ubuntu on it later on, but there's nothing pressing me to do so just yet (I will eventually, I suspect.) It still sits in the cubbyhole of my super-cheap computer desk in my office, and I use the front USB port if I ever need to reboot it or anything (it's got an insane uptime...) heh. I use screen sharing in OSX to connect to it using my Mini or MBP. It serves up itunes to all my Macs (and mp3s/etc to my PS3/360)without any fuss or overly spastic noise. :) Well no more noise than any other tower PC I've had.

Sell It (1)

byronblue (855499) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009774)

Some poor sap will buy it for more than it's worth. The mafia might even purchase it as a concrete shoes replacement. The handles make it easier to lug around.

Two options... (2, Informative)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009788)

If it's a run-of-the-mill air-cooled model, just sell it. I just sold mine for $200 direct to someone (who I found on here, actually), but on eBay they were going for around $250 when I looked. Put the money toward buying/building a smaller, less power-hungry box if you're looking for something to do server duty. The person who pays your electric bill will thank you.

If, on the other hand, it's one of the liquid-cooled models, keep it and definitely use it for something suggested in this discussion, but make sure you keep good backups-- Eventually it will develop a catastrophic coolant leak which will destroy it, and if you take it to an Apple Store they might just give you a free Mac Pro. [google.com]

~Philly

Stuff it with x86 board (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009796)

I'm planning on fitting a standard ATX motherboard in my G5 tower. From the few projects I've seen around, people seem to like to hack the case to make the ATX back panel fit. My approach is to not modify the case itself but to create a custom board for all the ports in the back. I just finished gutting the thing and still doing measurements.

OpenBSD (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009820)

OpenBSD will run fine on it, as will Debian.

sup /g/entoo /b/ro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33009822)

You decided to repost on Slashdot after being told?

Perfectly usable and powerful with OS X (3, Informative)

astro (20275) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009830)

We're using a G5 PowerPC tower to run all functions, including 24/7 streaming, of an internet radio station. Tons of modern software for it (including being able to live-stream after a compression and other audio manipulation chain)... I love Linux and use it on many machines for many purposes, but there's no reason to ditch OS X just because the machine is aging.

Re:Perfectly usable and powerful with OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010042)

Oh really? Try to use it as a video streaming _client_. We do that at work.
We are stuck on PowerPC because of an old PowerPC only application, that all of our data is in (a tailor made replacement is in production by our software department, but it was started waaayy too late and because of priorities set by management, getting rid of the PowerPC only software is not even the highest priority. Dumb). Anyway, most of our staff actually have to use G4s and some G5 towers (some Dual Core). Try video playback from youtube together with Thunderbird, Firefox and NeoOffice and you got a hell of a slow machine, even with the G5. Unbelievable.

A file server? Linux? (5, Informative)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009836)

Seriously? Okay. The OS that probably works best with this machine is --- drum roll -- OS X.

Without hardly thinking about it it'll serve files via AFP and SMB.

Google will tell you how to enable the NFS server on it. (That's right, you don't need OS X Server.)

Streaming video? If there's open source software for Linux to do this, there's a pretty good chance it'll build on OS X too.

Best Buy Trade In Program (4, Informative)

mory (1862992) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009842)

Trade it in! Best Buy has an online trade in program where you can get cash or a Best Buy gift card. I got a $200 for mine. You fill out some stuff online, print a pre-paid UPS label, wait about 3 weeks. Same money you'd get from craigslist, none of the emails for interesting trades. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Electronics+Promotions/Online-Trade-In/pcmcat133600050011.c?id=pcmcat133600050011 [bestbuy.com]

Folding@Home (1)

Inoculate86 (1854356) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009844)

I would install Folding@Home on all the hardware I had if it were me in your situation.

Re:Folding@Home (3, Informative)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009902)

I don't think you realize how much electricity a G5 tower sucks up.

Old PC (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009854)

I got a reconditioned Dell OptiPlex GX240 for £50 (from http://www.cambridgecomputershop.co.uk/ [cambridgec...shop.co.uk] ) and even though Firefox is a pain in the arse, Ubuntu 10.4 runs more than adequately on it.

Sell and go VM (0, Troll)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009872)

You will be shocked at how much you can get for an old Mac. It is like an old Porsche. I am typing this on my old mac Powerbook G4 Running 10.5.8. Unless you are looking at something dedicated in which case a pile of junk PC with Linux will use less power and still leave you with some money I would recommend confining any Linux experiments to some sort of VM.

In years of Linux experiments I have never found a real machine to be easier than a VM for torturing Linux. I save the real machines for real servers.

Fileserver... (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009884)

That's what I use my old Mac for. Running OSX 10.5, Samba as my server. Clients are a PS2 with Free MC Boot and SMS, as well as a Wii with MPlayerCE. Unfortunately, the PS2 is far superior :(. The Wii is my backup for low-def shows, since it has a 2 TB harddrive attached. SABnzbd is a must. I also have NZBMobile on my Android phone. Never been happier with a weekend project.

Make it a modern Mac (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009888)

Gut it and use the case to build a modern PC, on which you can install Mac OS X by using Prasys' EmpireEFI. [prasys.info] Or just install whatever you want. The G5 may be outdated, but the case is still beautiful.

Re:Make it a modern Mac (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009986)

Rip the guts out and out a Mini in there.

Re:Make it a modern Mac (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010070)

Rip the guts out and out a Mini in there.

That'd be missing the point of a hackintosh (a powerful and expandable Mac for a low price) and the point of a Mac mini (a very small and discreet computer).

Unless, of course, you intend to plug a bunch of external drives to the mini. Then it'd make sense.

i'll take it (1)

defective_warthog (776271) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009910)

I'll pay the shipping.

I hate to say it... (5, Insightful)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009946)

I hate to say it, but the nature of CPUs has changed so much since the Core architecture that you might want to eBay that box and buy something like an Atom Nettop.

The G5 and P4 were both pretty much the 'end of the line' of the idea that faster=hotter and more power-hungry.

I keep a G4 dualie around for Mac work, but it's basically a space heater. I advise clients to decommission their P4-based systems ASAP. My dual-core Core 2 idles at under 60W, the G4 uses almost 200W and shows a lot less for it.

Seriously, somewhere out there is a young web designer who wants that G5. eBay it. Take the money and buy a modern machine that -is- supported by the latest distros and won't silently cost you $10/month.

I really like the Atom 330/ION combination, you get low-power, dual-core, accelerated video and 2D, and 64-bits of goodness. Sure, it's slower than a G5, but it's enough to saturate a gigabit pipe, or play 1080p h.264 via HDMI, browse, type, serve files or multimedia, etc. You could probably buy three matching ION-based nettops if you tossed the G5.

Macs are to graphic artists, as are . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009948)

Guns to NRA members. It's an SAT question. Old Macs can never be disposed of. Stash 'em in the attic, in the cellar, in the closet . . . Macies just cannot part themselves from 'em. I live with a graphic artist, and any time I mention that she should get rid of those old Macs, I face an armed insurrection. Two G4 Towers stuffed away somewhere, and a "7600" (whaddever the fuck that is) in the attic.

It really reminds me of some old geezer talking about his firearms:

"Well, it might not look like much to you youngens', but that was my Granddaddy's shootin' iron . . . shoot the ears off a fly with that, he could. "

"Well, back in 1998, I programmed that Mac in Lingo with Macromedia Director, to create great animations for my thesis work . . . "

I think my next winter project will be to gut them, fill them with Christmas lights, and turn them into audaciously outrageously tacky furniture . . .

Anything, as long as they don't leave the premises is probably ok . . .

Re:Macs are to graphic artists, as are . . . (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010092)

"7600" - 120 to 200 MHz PowerPC 604 that can go up to 1 GB of RAM.

I'm one of those Mac users who is also an NRA member. I keep both the Macs and guns.

Trash it, get a SheevaPlug (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#33009978)

As much as it cost you (or someone) Back In The Day, it's relatively worthless now. If you need a home server, buy a hackable router or SheevaPlug and go from there. For power, space, cooling, fan noise, you are just wasting your time.

Probably not worth keeping... (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010004)

Frankly, you might want to just decommission this machine. Those G5 CPUs and the associated fans draw a lot of power and throw a lot of heat. Replacing my G5 with a Mini (as a file server) produced a negligible drop in performance as a file server (OS X Leopard Server) by using FW800 drives with hardware RAID instead of SATA drives with MacOS X Software RAID. But the temperature in my home office dropped by a couple of degrees once I turned that G5 off. (It tossed an amazing amount of heat, even when it wasn't running full blast.)

The one thing that G5 was -really good at- was ripping CDs, because PowerPC G5's floating point performance is generally a lot faster than Intel's... I'd suspect you'd get similar performance for video and other floating-point intensive operations.

dave

G5s are old now? (1)

Beardydog (716221) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010012)

My 9500 is still hard at work, making midis and um... doing... Photoshop 3.5? The 500Mhz G3 processor upgrade really helps with heavy duty tasks like web browsing. Not to mention all of my mission-critical HyperCard stacks!

Do what I do with mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010032)

run folding@home on it I use inCrease to run two simulations since there isn't an smp client for powerpc, and it's always there to pull files off of when you need them.

Malware Proof (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010036)

Wouldn't a G5 be the ultimate in security-by-obscurity? A G5 won't run Intel binaries, and who the hell is going to take the trouble of digging up a PPC compiler? It's the closest you can get, at this level of computing power, to building your own machine with its own binary architecture and microcode/instruction set.

Boat anchor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010038)

Tie a rope around it, throw it overboard when you want to stop drifting.

Fire. (1)

Iburnaga (1089755) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010064)

Thermite, definitely thermite. Destroy it and rejoice in the fire!

I WANT IT!!! (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 4 years ago | (#33010128)

GIMMIEGIMMIEGIMMIE! btw, im a 22 year old college student...and my mac is a dual g4 500. I NEED A NEW MAC!

Hmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33010184)

Why not make it watertight and test whether that Pepsi+Mentos experiment is scalable? ;)

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