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Anybody bother collecting G4/G5 Xserves?


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#21 Cory5412

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 08:52 AM

I could have sworn the G5 xserves had built in video, but I was apparently thinking of the INtel versions, which had ATi X1300, followed by nVidia GT120.

 

I'm like 99% that Apple let you configure a GPU in the xserves G4 and G5. Not a particularly powerful one, but something that would give you "good enough" desktop functionality on pro apps (in particular, for things like log/capture in final cut, capturing audio in Logic, or controlling renders in 3d apps) so that you could pretty much use the thing as a rackmount workstation.

 

The Xserve G5 was probably the best incarnation of the G5 ever made; its cooling system was if anything overbuilt and it let the CPUs fly in a way the desktop versions never did. 

 

I'd be interested in seeing numbers showing that an xserve at a particular speed was actually any faster than a Power Mac. The Power Macintoshes generally shipped at higher frequencies (dual 2.7GHz, dual/quad 2.5GHz) and I haven't heard reports of those systems throttling due to heat concerns, which would be interesting to see/hear because Apple made having those cooling channels/chambers a pretty big priority with the Power Macintosh G5, so unless it is actually better for the air to scream by in a small space than for it to scream by in a large space, I would think that the PMac would "win" or that they'd be equals.

 

Back in the day, I always wanted Apple to build something basically akin to the PowerEdge T610/620/630. Dual socket G5s or Xeons, several disk bays, several expansion slots, into a system that can be ordered as or potentially converted into either a particularly large tower, or a 5u server. I always thought that the potential for a server with its own real built in raid using an enclosure like this was going to be better for the Mac community, and that a a workstation for people who needed even more expansion than the regular G5/Mac Pro it could prove popular. 



#22 FacnyFreddy

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 05:19 AM

We had 2 of them and 4 Xraid arrays at work years ago. Dual 1.25ghz an 2gb each and the storage had 4 drives in each "half".

Ran Panther server and then Leopard finally before they were decommissioned and replaced with a pair of Dell servers running Centos and a small SSD San array.

They show up on fleabay from time to time. I'd rather run a QS g4 with dual 1ghz instead.

I think the iscsi stack for tiger and leopard is still free if you want a different storage option.

#23 bunnspecial

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 05:36 AM

I have an Xserve G5 stuffed back in a closet, although I don't run it all that often.

 

Mine is a dual 2ghz, and it definitely seems to finish jobs faster than my dual core 2.0, although my dual 2.7 and of course my quad beat both of them.

 

It's a LOUD beast, though, and also throws out a lot of heat. The closet it's in has no ductwork running to it and is on an outside wall(it's a big walk-in that's in the upstairs hallway). In the winter, I'd guess it hovers in the lower 60º range if not the upper 50ºs with the house in the mid to high 60s. If I turn on the Xserve and have it actually doing something, I've actually opened the closet door to help heat the rest of the upstairs.

 

One other thing-when I first got it, I initially couldn't get it to even read my Leopard server DVD. I ended up doing a TDM install, and listened to the fans blast for about two hours. In Open Firmware-which is where TDM operates-there are no fan controls so they just run at full speed all the time. I had it out installing while I was watching TV, and had to crank the TV up pretty high to be able hear over it. It turns out that-as was typical of Xserves-it simply had a CD-RW drive and not a Superdrive. The drive is the same as that used in aluminum PowerBooks, so I just robbed a drive from the Powerbook box. Mine came with a retail-boxed copy of Tiger Server on CD-ROM in the box with the server.

 

I have an Xserve RAID that I want to get going, although I don't have the hard drives for it and haven't bought a set yet. One of these days, I'll probably call MicroCenter and ask if they can hold back 14 more-or-less matching refurbished 250gb drives for me, although that's still a painful amount of money. I say that I'll call them since I don't think I've ever seen anywhere near that many similar refurb drives on the shelves, and doubt I could walk in at all and buy 14 ATA drives of the same capacity. 

 

I have the PCI-X fiber channel card for the RAID. I'd use it with my G5 were it not for the fact that I have indeed been warned about how loud they really are.



#24 Brett B.

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 04:09 AM

I would love to have one but the electricity requirements and heat/cooling needs make it kind of a pipe dream... all my networking stuff is in my furnace room, which is cool enough in the summer but gets pretty warm in the winter.

 

A more ideal scenario for a server setup for me is going to be a short rack that will hold my switch, patch panel, KVM, a few small things, one of my beige G3's and my PC file server (dual 1GHz P3 box with 4GB RAM - Win2k absolutely SCREAMS on that thing!)


68k: LC475, LC630, Plus (upgraded 512k,) Plus, 2x SE, SE/30
PPC: 2x Beige G3 Server, QS G4, Rev. A iMac, G5, G4 iMac 1GHz


#25 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 04:13 PM

I have an Xserve G5 stuffed back in a closet, although I don't run it all that often.

 

It's a LOUD beast, though, and also throws out a lot of heat. The closet it's in has no ductwork running to it and is on an outside wall(it's a big walk-in that's in the upstairs hallway). In the winter, I'd guess it hovers in the lower 60º range if not the upper 50ºs with the house in the mid to high 60s. If I turn on the Xserve and have it actually doing something, I've actually opened the closet door to help heat the rest of the upstairs.

 

LOL! I haven't checked (fiduciary discretion re the 68k collection's needs) but if the early G4 ran a version of X that supported Faux9 and had center mounts for my TelCo rack I'd be all over one. I miss using the QS'02 under the desk to keep my own feets warm in the winter. I still run slide shows on it to keep it awake and running as a white noise generator/space heater unit overnight in the bedroom. Working on setting the MDD'03 Native9 special edition as an eventual replacement for more efficient production of noise and heat.

 

An X-Serve in that role would be beyond cool! :lol:


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#26 bunnspecial

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 01:12 AM

LOL! I haven't checked (fiduciary discretion re the 68k collection's needs) but if the early G4 ran a version of X that supported Faux9 and had center mounts for my TelCo rack I'd be all over one. I miss using the QS'02 under the desk to keep my own feets warm in the winter. I still run slide shows on it to keep it awake and running as a white noise generator/space heater unit overnight in the bedroom. Working on setting the MDD'03 Native9 special edition as an eventual replacement for more efficient production of noise and heat.

 

An X-Serve in that role would be beyond cool! :lol:

 

The X-serves are designed for 19" Telco racks, although they are quite long. I think the G5 is about 3 feet. Mine came with the unused mounting kit with hardware for both 2 post and 4 post racks.

 

The unfortunate thing is that all I can really fit at home are shorty 2 post racks. I'd like to build up a couple of units with an Xserve and an Xserve RAID on 2-post racks, but Apple says not to put the RAID in a two post. Given that my two post racks have a fairly low COG, I could probably get away with mounting a RAID at the very bottom so that they would rest on the base.



#27 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:02 AM

Dang, I didn't really wanna know that! I thought I was safe when you said they were a yard deep, but just checked and everymac has them pegged at 28" deep, which is marginally doable in the full height bedroom AV Rack.

 

Big question: will any of them run Tiger/Faux9?


jt [8]
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#28 bunnspecial

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:20 AM

Remember that Tiger was the last shipping OS of the PPC era.

 

My boxed Xserve G5 had a separate retail boxed set of Tiger install CDs in the box. Interestingly enough, it came with CDs because Xserves shipped with a CD-RW drive-I upgraded mine to a SuperDrive robbed from a PowerBook. I did my last install via TDM on a PowerBook, though, since it saved me having to put in a video card and hook up a monitor/keyboard/mouse. BTW, Apple-in their infinite wisdom-only saw it fit to put USB ports on the back, so you can imagine that working with a KB and mouse plugged directly into one is a bit awkward.

 

All of that aside, I think that the G5 shipped with Panther server originally, and the G4 may have gone back to Jaguar server-just don't quote me on that. Tiger is no issue on either system. My G5 runs Leopard quite well, and all G4 Xserves exceed the minimum required specs for Leopard.



#29 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 05:39 AM

ooooooh! NOW me wanty, but it's a silly thing to actually do. :-/

 

I'm trying to curb spending money on eBay before unloading some old goodies to pay for the new goodies.Sometimes this quandary makes me feel like Sisyphus rolling a stone back and forth OVER my bank account. ::)


jt [8]
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#30 Cory5412

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 08:18 PM

The first models of XServe shipped with OS X Server 10.2.whatever, so you could run retail Panther or Panther Server on them.

 

EveryMac will list every model of XServe and what the min and max OS for them are. In general, the minimum OS will only be achieved by using the original restore media.

 

Just for completion of the thought, the last generation of G5 XServe shipped with 10.3 Server and can run up to 10.5.

 

So, you should be able to run any PowerPC XServe with 10.4/Tiger and any attendant software. This should include Classic Mode.



#31 bunnspecial

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 08:51 PM

The first models of XServe shipped with OS X Server 10.2.whatever, so you could run retail Panther or Panther Server on them.

 

EveryMac will list every model of XServe and what the min and max OS for them are. In general, the minimum OS will only be achieved by using the original restore media.

 

Just for completion of the thought, the last generation of G5 XServe shipped with 10.3 Server and can run up to 10.5.

 

So, you should be able to run any PowerPC XServe with 10.4/Tiger and any attendant software. This should include Classic Mode.

 I will photograph it, but my Xserve G5 shipped with Tiger. The box lists it as such, and it includes the Tiger media in the box(as I mentioned above a full-size retail box version of PPC Tiger).



#32 FacnyFreddy

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 04:59 AM

FYI, HP had a "rack to tower" kit they made for their Itanium (YUCK!) servers into workstations.

 

It would make a server into a ZX6000 "tower" case but was loud as sin.

 

I saw a similar home-brew setup for a Sun v445 that someone cooked up and it was .... silly. But if you wanted a T series "workstation" or tower, it was what you had to do.

(they did it with 3/8" plywood and 2x4s for the mod, no, I don't have pics but the googling of the ZX6000 will give you an idea of what looked like)



#33 Cory5412

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 08:26 PM

HP did something similar back in the HPPA/PARISC days. I have an HP DL380G4 I have sitting vertically as such as well.

 

There was also an HP tower kit for one of the bigger systems and it literally consisted only of some metal tubing that held the machine in a more stable position.

 

 

 I will photograph it, but my Xserve G5 shipped with Tiger. The box lists it as such, and it includes the Tiger media in the box(as I mentioned above a full-size retail box version of PPC Tiger).

 

Apple used to use the term "drop-in upgrade" for machines that originally shipped with one version of Mac OS X, to which they dropped in an upgrade disc to advance the system to the next major version without having to update the retail package of a machine.

 

That last generation of Xserve lasted long enough that I'm totally unsurprised about this. Did it include the in-box copy of 10.3 server as well, or did it not include that at all? (Also for fairness, did you buy it brand new or used?)



#34 bunnspecial

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 09:01 PM

I only got the 10.4(.0) disks. They are CDs, once again in line with the fact that it shipped with a CD-RW and not a DVD drive.

 

I did buy it open box and with some run time on it, but whoever owned it had apparently returned it to the box when it was retired. A lot of the accessories-like the mounting kit-remain unopened. The OS is retail boxed(in a "book" box), but was packaged inside a gray/white "accessory box" characteristic of the era. The outer box fits the retail box exactly, and there is a cut out in the styrofoam for it to fit.



#35 Cory5412

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Posted 05 January 2017 - 11:50 PM

It would be really neat to see the photos of the way that box came, if you photographed it or have time to pull it out at some point.

 

I wonder if it came with the original 10.3 set or if something did change. That all does sound like a very big change to the retail packaging. Normally with drop-ins, Apple would include all of the original OS media and just include an upgrade or a new installation disk.






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