Creative/Silly Things to do with colossal dinosaur G5 Macs
December 5, 2018 6:50 PM   Subscribe

I have a couple of stunningly heavy multiprocessor G5 Macs. They work perfectly, but they also have the processing power of a couple of Raspberry Pis and are tremendously effective room heaters. OS-wise, they're dead-ended at 10. 5. But they're beautiful bits of architectural hardware. Suggestions on what to do/make with them appreciated.

(PPC Linux support seems to have evaporated for these machines.)
posted by scruss to Technology (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Our office made a coffee table by putting a tempered glass tabletop on a couple of them.
posted by jedicus at 6:55 PM on December 5, 2018 [5 favorites]


Sadly, if they aren't used as a static display (i.e., furniture), they are just going to eat up electricity for little use.

I also love beautiful machines but...if you want to keep seeing them, can you gut the chassis and replace the innards with something modern (like a networked media server) that you want to have around anyway? I have a couple of oooold Sun "lunchbox" systems that I plan to do this with (using Raspberry Pis, in fact!).
posted by wenestvedt at 7:12 PM on December 5, 2018 [4 favorites]


Glue a Raspberry Pi into the hollowed-out case. See a comparison of CPU speeds.

Really, as everyone else said, a PowerMac G5 is a very expensive and inefficent space heater. A $35 Raspberry Pi isn't quite as fast, but it's close.
posted by blob at 8:01 PM on December 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


People have made benches, tables, or a set of drawers out of them: https://laughingsquid.com/beautifully-simple-furniture-made-from-apple-power-mac-g5-cases-wood-and-glass
posted by littlesq at 8:03 PM on December 5, 2018 [9 favorites]


PPC Linux support seems to have evaporated for these machines.

I've been told you can still run Debian on them. Try here if interested.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:32 PM on December 5, 2018


The awesome thing about these is that they're old! So accentuate that—turn your ancient PowerMac into an even more ancient Amiga with MorphOS!
posted by vasi at 11:32 PM on December 5, 2018


I have a beloved Mac Pro tower, so I feel you.

Why not gut it and put one of the very fast new Mac Minis inside?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:25 AM on December 6, 2018 [4 favorites]


You could use them as literal space heaters - take out everything from the inside apart form the fans - then drop in an oil filled radiator.

Or maybe an aquarium
posted by rongorongo at 5:17 AM on December 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


Really, as everyone else said, a PowerMac G5 is a very expensive and inefficent space heater.

Depends. If you're heating electrically already there's nothing wrong with powering up a number of them as required. I know someone who needs to keep a bunker (yes) at a workable temperature; heating is electrical, and instead of the existing system he runs a bunch of cryptocoin miners. A thermostat controls how many are active. I've also lived in a building where the central heating was knackered so we would have had to use space heaters, using computers instead to keep a couple of the rooms warm.
posted by Stoneshop at 7:11 AM on December 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


I mean, they're beautiful but they're impractical, inefficient, and an evolutionary dead end, and they seem especially large compared to more modern hardware. The whole thing is basically a giant heat sink, though, so if you want to do some engineering you could adapt the enclosure to something more modern.
posted by fedward at 7:19 AM on December 6, 2018 [1 favorite]


honestly, I still use my G5 a few times of year when I have to use parts of Adobe CS1, so I'm the wrong person to ask about obsolescence....

but the coffee table idea did sound nice.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 2:20 PM on December 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


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