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  1. #1


    Member Since
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    Should I get a PowerMac G5 tower or Mac Mini for Leopard server?
    Hey everyone,

    I own a small business with 4 employees. We really want to look to get a server. I am very technical but not too experienced with servers and Windows Server 2003 is driving me crazy its so confusing.

    I'm looking at Leopard server but I need a desktop for it. I've found 1.8Ghz 160GB 2GB PowerMac G5 towers on craigslist for $550 in that area but I don't know if I want to spend that much on old hardware.

    Is it more worth my while to buy the cheapest Mac Mini instead or would you suggest I get the PowerMac? The server is for light usage, I need VPN, it will be for sharing files, and iChat server, with other things like Wiki server being used lightly. Again for the next 1-2 years there will be no more than 5 users with max around 2-3 connected at any one time. Thanks!

  2. #2

    louishen's Avatar
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    The G5 is much more expandable, plenty fast enough, and has lots of internal room for hard disk expansion
    Member of the Month September 2008 & August 2012 | Found advice useful? use the rep system

  3. #3

    Granny Prime's Avatar
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    Adding to what louishen said about the G5 there, the G5 systems you're looking at most probably run on a Dual Processor Configuration which is REALLY good for a server. A Mac Mini is a dual processor machine as well but you don't have the room for expansion, particularly for the hard drives.

    So go for the G5, upgrade the RAM as much as you can, I believe the G5's can store up to 8GB of RAM. For hard drive expansion buy two hard drives, lets say 500GB each for arguments sake and have them configured in something like a RAID set up, this will give you 1TB of storage. Under a RAID set up you'll notice a significant performance increase compared to just one hard drive. Install OS X Leopard Server on there and you've got one incredibly decent server!

    The things I mentioned there might be overkill for what you need but I'm just throwing examples into my post to show you what you could do with a G5. But with this desktop system with this much room for expansion you've plenty of things to play around with so it is completely up to you. So definitely go for the G5!

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Avenger2SER's Avatar
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    I vote G5, however since this is a server do a RAID 1 mirrored array. This way if one drive fails you'll be able to recover data. Ideal for a server.
    Macbook Air 11" 4gb, 128gb SSD (2012)
    Mac Mini i5 16gb, 128gb SSD, 1tb internal, 2x 1tb external (2012)
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  5. #5


    Member Since
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    Thanks! A few of the G5s in that rage all seem to be single processor, does that matter? I'm still trying to figure this out, I just hate buying a G5 that's 4 years old, even at $500 it's frustrating since I just bought a brand new Lenovo ThinkCentre AMD X2 2.5ghz 160GB with 2gb ram for $188 so it's frustrating. I agree with the G5 though on expandability, so I'll most likely go that route I'll just keep shopping around.

  6. #6

    Avenger2SER's Avatar
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    Check again, I now I saw some some dual 1.8 and 2.0 systems on ebay for $500. At least last week. $600 usually gets you a dual core G5 (2.0) which can go up to 16gb of ddr2 ram. Really good buy.
    Macbook Air 11" 4gb, 128gb SSD (2012)
    Mac Mini i5 16gb, 128gb SSD, 1tb internal, 2x 1tb external (2012)
    MacBook Pro,4gb,128gb SSD (early 2008)
    iMac G3 600, iPad Mini Retina 64gb, iPhone 5, and more.

  7. #7

    Granny Prime's Avatar
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    You could still run on a 1.8 Single Processor but a Dual Processor would be much more useful. Less stress on the system that way especially if you'll have multiple users. Try shopping around for atleast a 2GHz model, you'll be future proofing yourself that little extra if it can hold 16GB of RAM that Avenger2SER said!

  8. #8

    Avenger2SER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granny Prime View Post
    You could still run on a 1.8 Single Processor but a Dual Processor would be much more useful. Less stress on the system that way especially if you'll have multiple users. Try shopping around for atleast a 2GHz model, you'll be future proofing yourself that little extra if it can hold 16GB of RAM that Avenger2SER said!
    Just to clarify, only the 2005 Dual core models can take 16gb or ddr2, the older ones will go up to 8gb of DDR. Just want to make sure you know what your buying.
    Macbook Air 11" 4gb, 128gb SSD (2012)
    Mac Mini i5 16gb, 128gb SSD, 1tb internal, 2x 1tb external (2012)
    MacBook Pro,4gb,128gb SSD (early 2008)
    iMac G3 600, iPad Mini Retina 64gb, iPhone 5, and more.

  9. #9


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    The later dual core systems also had dual ethernet sockets which may come in handy in a server environment, aside from that I'd do your best to get the later revision.

    HDD wise, with 1TB and even 1.5TB drives becoming so cheap hooking two up using RAID1 in the G5 it is a great option. Unsure what you'd do for the external backup though - does time machine work with Mac OS X Server? You really want an off-site copy of the server just in case.

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2004
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    Thanks everyone. The problem with eBay is the shipping to Canada is brutal like $150 in a lot of cases which makes it not worth it. I'm looking at a few options, right now the best deal I've found on craigslist is:

    $500 cad for 1.8Ghz single processor, 160gb and 2gb ram...

    I'm not super cheap I know it's a decent price, it's just annoying how a PC is so much cheaper. My biggest concern is just that it might not do what I want, since ironically all the other systems are PCs so this would be the only Mac on the entire network. Just afraid to get it then find out it can't do certain things I need. I might just partition my MacBook and install server trial there just to play around with it and get a feel.

  11. #11

    Granny Prime's Avatar
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    Hmm well if you're worried about compatibility then you need to go research this type of situation more, see if you can actually run PC's on a Mac server the way you want!

    Can't you just sell the PC's and buy a few iMacs to run your business instead on the G5 server? =P

  12. #12

    Aptmunich's Avatar
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    I wouldn't completely count out the Mac mini to be honest.

    Performance-wise it'll be comparable to the G5, except for the slower internal harddrive, which can be mitigated by purchasing an external RAID drive and putting a 7200rpm drive in the mini.

    Slap 2 gigs of RAM in there and you'll be set for a while.

    Benefits of the mini? Intel Mac = better longevity. Whilst I don't see Apple dropping pro support from OS X until version 10.7 at the earliest, you'll see lots of pro apps go intel only before then (Adobe has already started).

    (Side note: Lots of RAM is really only useful if you're running lots of RAM intensive applications: your stuff sounds pretty run of the mill / harddrive intensive. Plus if you do ever need more RAM a year or two down the road, PowerPC compatible RAM will probably cost you more than a new mini).

    One of our branch offices with 3 people uses a mac mini to run a jabber server and acts as a local cache for some content it pulls of our main server via VPN. Pretty rock solid.

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Aug 28, 2004
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    Hmm thanks for the help. Right now where I'm at is the base Mac Mini or a PowerMac tower. Not having too much luck with towers, right now I found a Dual 2Ghz 160gb 1gb for $750cad that's the lowest, others with the same specs were $850. Nice thing was it has 2 ethernet ports on it. So I'm not really sure, would the base mac mini be as fast or faster than the dual 2ghz g5? We're talking literally $20 difference here except I get a new system under warranty..

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