? PC Tower converted to Multiple Drives "server" with no brains/cpu ?

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Joined: Oct 17 2006
Posts: 84

Hello:

I upgraded a G3 333mhz trayloader to 192 megs of memory. I also added OS X.1.3 ... on the original 6 Gig hard drive ... as an experiment with good results. (However it only recognized 1/2 of the 256 meg "Memory Upgrades by Add-on Computer" part # 12741 stick obtained locally.)
There is no firewire port on this trayloader model.

Recalling that the first partition needs to be less than 8 Gigs for the operating system, I had the notion of adding disc storage by utilizing an old PC Tower carcus with powersupply, some handy smaller drives (less than 128 Gig each), a non-powered hub inside the tower case linking to the USB 1.1 jack on the Imac.

Granted data transfer may be relatively slow from the multiple "slave" drives hoooked up in the old PC Tower.
(Think old PC power supply powering multiple relatively small harddrives; inexpensive IDE to USB adapters for each drive, and a non-powered usb hub.) I have a few old drives that could be recycled as external storage drives for non-critical things like music tracks, files useful to be able to load onto flash drives as needed to assist other users for a fee, etc.

Has anyone already tried this notion? Does the theory work in practice ok?
Any recommendations in addition to fans to keep the drives cool?

Note: After upgrading the internal Imac hard drive to a much larger drive with 2 or more partitions at some point, I will recycle that re-worked tower to ease the space crunch on a notebook computer. I do not need all my files when I go on a job ... just selected files. Plus there is music, etc. that fills up space. It would be nice to have all those still controlled by a singel control panel on the computer I am wotking on, still (Smile

David Johansson

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David Johansson
DHJ'S LLC
1 person computer services co. in Pryor, OK.
[http://360.yahoo.com/dhjsllc]
G4 AGP 450 Sawtooth
1 Gig Ram 80G HD + Tiger
"Darkside:" Dell Inspiron 9300; 512 RAM, 60 G HD Win XP
Also Trayloader G3-333, EMac-700mhz

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Joined: Dec 16 2005
Posts: 244
I think it would work, but se

I think it would work, but several drives on one USB 1.1 bus would be deadfully slow. I have a IDE -> USB case, and when I had a HDD in it to salvage data off my G4 (also USB 1.1) copying 10gb took around an hour if I remember right.

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iMac G5 17" - 160GB HD - 1GB RAM

gobabushka's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2004
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if your set on using this mac

if your set on using this machine, get an old pc board, load linux on a cf card, and put it on the ide bus. then put the other drives on a cheap ide pci card. or you could upgrade the mobo in the imac and use firewire. or what i would suggest would to get a cheap power mac or powerbook, and add firewire to it because its gonna be harder to add firewire to an imac then to a power mac or a powerbook. i only suggest this because its gonna be sooooooooooo slow with usb 1.1. especially for a server! and the imac is hard to add firewire to. im not sure if you can swap in the mobo from a newer imac with firewire, but that also might be an option. please correst me if i'm wrong though.

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Joined: Oct 17 2006
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Additional Notes on data usage

I should add a few other notes:

I was considering doing something like the tower of drives thing for my 2005 model year Inspiron 9300 notebook by Dell. But the fact that the Mac right now has limited drive space made me think about trying it with the Mac first.

The data on these proposed drives will be things like OS upgrades for various Apple OS, How to items, Technical Service Bulletin Type information, freeware that I may pass on to clients charging only my time to install them, etc. Typically I would need less than 1 Gig of data for any given job on a flash drive. Mine would be the only computer using the multidrive tower, too.

The Imac is my only Mac computer (other than when I use my wife's Emac in her home office at the other end of the house) thatI have access to. I have a personal leaning toward the Mac computers, though.

Also, when reasonably possible I like to re-use equipment that may still have a lot of life in it. However I suspect in several months I will end up purchasing a newer Apple as another poster recommended.

David Johansson

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David Johansson
DHJ'S LLC
1 person computer services co. in Pryor, OK.
[http://360.yahoo.com/dhjsllc]
G4 AGP 450 Sawtooth
1 Gig Ram 80G HD + Tiger
"Darkside:" Dell Inspiron 9300; 512 RAM, 60 G HD Win XP
Also Trayloader G3-333, EMac-700mhz

Jon's picture
Jon
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
I think you missed one step i

I think you missed one step in the Linux idea: put an ethernet card in the Linux machine. Then network the server and the iMac and share the drive space over SMB or NFS or something. That will be MUCH faster than USB 1.1 and you an also have all those shared files on any other machine on the network.

For just a basic file server you won't need a computer with any real speed. A good Pentium or any P2 and up should handle a 100Base-T card and simple file sharing just fine.

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Joined: Oct 17 2006
Posts: 84
Tower Case+ Hubs Idea versus Server

Jon seems to have confirmed what I was thought:

Re-using the old PC Tower case with a hub and multiple drives would work poorly. However having a basic computer work as a server would be effective.

Thank you to those who shared their thoughts on the topic.

However I was gifted an old (AMD K63d ?) machine that had the hard drive removed before it was given to me. That machine's case may be able to house additional hard drives, and has it has an A-Open network card already.
That machine may become my "new" server quite soon.

Thank you.

David Johansson

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David Johansson
DHJ'S LLC
1 person computer services co. in Pryor, OK.
[http://360.yahoo.com/dhjsllc]
G4 AGP 450 Sawtooth
1 Gig Ram 80G HD + Tiger
"Darkside:" Dell Inspiron 9300; 512 RAM, 60 G HD Win XP
Also Trayloader G3-333, EMac-700mhz

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Joined: Apr 16 2004
Posts: 142
FreeNAS

www.freenas.org

I Use freeNAS on a PIII to share an 80gb HD for backups.

It's easy to set up

gobabushka's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2004
Posts: 494
oops

yeah, i just read over my old post. yes, if u put an ethernet card on it, just use the drives as shares. much faster

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"I reject your reality and substute my own!!!" -Adam Savage, MythBusters