Turning Our Old Power Mac Into a Server

Jenn and I have an old Power Mac G5, which has fallen into disuse since Jenn acquired her newest MacBook Pro. We had the thought of turning it into a server for both our freelance businesses and our home media (music, movies, photos, etc.).

I wanted to see if anyone could offer suggestions on how we might best retrofit this as a server. Adding hard drive space comes to mind, followed by maxing out the memory. Anything else? Would we need to install a server version of the OS?

Note that it is PowerPC-based, not Intel. This means that we are limited on certain software — for example, we can’t run any version of Mac OS X above Leopard (10.5.x).

2 thoughts on “Turning Our Old Power Mac Into a Server”

  1. yeah…this is over a year old… Just found the link…and firefox is trying to crash… again… This information, in general, is timeless.

    If you’re willing to learn some linux, just about any computer can be turned into a server. There’s a linux version for the PPC.

    My oldest systems were rotated out earlier this year… A pair of P1’s… I don’t recommend this old, though (these systems just wouldn’t die). I consolidated a bunch of older systems into my dual P3 550 2meg Xeon with 1g RAM. It’s now my CD burning station and backup server. So long as it doesn’t do any kind of rendering or anything heavily computational, it works very well.

    For Mac people, I recommend dumpster diving or snaking one of your friends old windoze system that’s behaving badly. I’ve unsuckified the ubuntu live CD and added a bunch of diagnostics. If you want to learn linux, that disc would be a good place to start.

    1. Yeah, when I wrote this post originally the PowerMac still had some life in it, at least support-wise. However, Mac OS X has abandoned the architecture, and the ancillary software (browsers, etc.) followed suit. There will be a point when iTunes — or whatever replaces it — does the same, which would make such a server just as useless. We’re more inclined to sell it for scrap or on the cheap, then use the proceeds to get a more energy-efficient Mac Mini Server.

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