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 [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 [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 [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 [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


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


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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [2 favorites]


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