PowerMac G5

Welcome to G5 Center!

The Power Mac G5 was one of the last PowerPC machines Apple produced and sold. It remains a capable computer today. This website is dedicated to the venerable machine, providing users with information on available hardware and software choices for their G5.

Enjoy! -- Nathan

Welcome & Where to Start

Did you just pick up a Power Mac G5 via eBay, CraigsList, or locally? Are you interested in souping up that old G5 sitting in your garage? Do you need to squeeze more life out of your office or home G5?

The apps linked under our nifty categories above are sort of curated by me and, in some cases, from other great blogs. These apps do not represent an objective "best of" but should be taken as a starting point to find what works best for you.

If you need a place to begin, check out the Hardware page and then proceed to the System page to get your machine up and running quickly.


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About My Power Mac G5

Power Mac G5 About Screen

My Power Mac G5 has been modified from its stock state with a 120GB OWC Mercury 3G solid state drive, a 1.5 TB Western Digital drive, 10 GB of RAM, and a GeForce 7800GT video card.


About This Website

This website was built on my Power Mac G5, using the following software:

  • Espresso 1.1.2
  • CSS Edit 2.6.1
  • Pixelmator 1.5.1
  • Snapz Pro 2.3.3

The CSS code and layout are from Bootstrap (3.3.7), an elegant and responsive framework for creating awesome websites. Find out more at the Get Bootstrap website.

Bootstrap is released under the MIT license and is copyright 2014 Twitter.

Contact

Drop me an email here - nathan @ g5center.net.


G5 Center Blog Notes, updates, and thoughts about our G5s

The Quadra 610 Lives

Published on May 15, 2018


Good news - the Quadra 610 lives. And boots. There are still some issues to work through, which I will get to eventually, but my blood, sweat, and broken pieces of plastic might be worth it.

Here are a few of my learnings:

  • The case plastic is brittle.
  • I thought I had both a dead cdrom and floppy drive, but after some stubborn attempts, I got the machine to boot off of a Disk Tools floppy. Turns out I needed a working floppy disk that wasn't older than my kids.
  • Apparently, the cdrom drive is dead.
  • After a successful boot, I was happy to see the Quadra has 40MB of RAM.
  • I invested in a SCSI2SD (version 5b) during a sale on eBay. While it was a little tricky to get setup, don't overthink it. Make sure you set the SCSI ID correct, a maximum of 2GB partitions, and don't try to DD an image onto a partition unless you know exactly what you are doing. The Quadra was not booting at all for a while when I plugged in the SCSI interface in, because I had tried to put a Mac OS 7.6.1 cdrom on the first partition in a clumsy, ill-advised manner.
  • Your Power Mac G5 is a friend. After formatting the first partition using a handy Disk Tools floppy, the partition mounts on my G5. I was able to copy over the install files for System 7.6.1 at that point. And then I was able to install from that partition on to another partition. It was a juggling trick but it worked.
  • The think boots pretty quickly off of the SCSI2SD interface. I updated a few pieces via the System7Today guides. Netscape Navigator 3.0.8 runs quickly. Turn off java and javascript.
  • Future updates: Cleaning memory slots, figuring out if I can revive the CDROM drive, and installing A/UX on to another partition.

Progress is good.

-- Nathan

To Rehab or Not: Quadra 610

Published on February 07, 2018


Several months back, I, in a fit of poor decision making, bid a low offer on an old Quadra 610 on eBay. I regretted it, but I didn't think I was going to win the machine. And guess what? I won the auction. The Quadra 610 arrived in decent shape in a big box at my doorstep.

Since then, I have tried to get it working. The good news - it does boot up and shows the question mark folder sign. There is a purplish tint to the screen, which I believe is a sign of an aging motherboard. Unfortunately, nothing else works - floppy drive spits out any disk I put in, and after scrounging up an old CD tray, the drive churns to meaningless purpose. What do I do?

Like any of these old Macs, the case has yellowed and is brittle as all get out. I have to be extra careful when handling it, but that is also true to the old Performa 5215 sitting in my basement. It's really not worth it to fix, but I have it. 68k Macs are fun. I haven't decided my course of action.

The cheapest route is probably to pull the scsi CD-ROM drive from my Performa and see if I can at least get a Mac OS boot install to work. From there, I can try to scrounge up a SCSI hard drive that I can put in (which isn't cheap) or invest in a floppy emulator for $129. I'm not keen on spending much money on such an old computer, so I may keep poking around and see what I can figure out.

The positive thing is that this Quadra 610 is one with a full 68040, which means I could run A/UX on it as a whim. I have no idea how much RAM or cache it has beyond that. So, we'll see.

What do you think I should do? Restore it? Or let it sit?

-- Nathan

2017 in Review

Published on December 29, 2017


Despite some big hopes and dreams to develop SimpleMarkPPC more, 2017 ended up being a quiet year for the site here. I didn't get as many updates as I wanted, but that's not the end of the world. It's not as if PPC software is exploding with new entries. We are essentially a somewhat viable fringe legacy platform. So, here's a quick rundown of some of the intriguing news of the past year:

TenFourFox remains the most vital application for our G5s to stay connected and relevant on the internet. Cameron deserves his wide appreciation for the coding he does. Great guy! In fact, FPR5b1 is available as I write this.

LeopardRebirth is also a fun little package that updates the look and feel of your Leopard machine. It also includes a solid little PPC Store app. It's getting updates and features some apps that I'm not familiar with but seem really useful. In some ways, this makes G5Center a little less relevant, but that's fine. Grab it here.

On the negative end of things, Dropbox has officially stopped working on my G5. Did the server side have enough tweaks to close down our little loophole? Whatever happened, it gave my G5 a final countdown and no longer connects. I haven't had free time to take a stab at fixing it, so we'll see if CZO finds a workaround on the old thread here.

In 2018, I am going to do some more experimentation with a few products that might give us a syncing option with our older and newer Macs. Cross-platform would be the best - something relatively simple and brainless to setup too. I'm also going to post a few articles about vintage Macs here and there.

In truth, I feel that 2017 brought us closer to the "end" for our PPC Macs. Once TenFourFox doesn't become viable, our G5s will still be useful, but they will be useful in the vein of other older vintage Macs. Software will keep on going, and they can serve a purpose - but the temptation to upgrade to even older Intel-based dual Macs will be irresistible. Heck, I picked up a $150 Core2Duo iMac for this purpose, and it's getting more use as my regular writing/home office machine. Change happens.

Here's to a great 2018!

-- Nathan

Recommended Read: "Apple Macintosh G5: Flame On"

Published on December 04, 2017


I highly recommend the following article which walks through an old Power Mac G5 in its capabilities and context in its day - why it was both an intriguing machine, a power hungry one, and a sign of imminent changes at Apple. Excellent, enjoyable read.

http://women-and-dreams.blogspot.com/2017/11/apple-power-macintosh-g5-flame-on.html

-- Nathan

My Mac Mini G4 Saved Me & APFS Is Here

Published on September 29, 2017


Last week, I picked up a super cheap Core 2 Duo iMac that is capable of running High Sierra for under $150. With a couple of extra sticks of RAM and an inexpensive SSD, the Mac will likely ease up my back and forth between work and home, so I don't have to worry about leaving my MacBook Pro behind. But there was one hitch...

The SSD, a Samsung 840 Pro, would not show up in Disk Utility in the High Sierra USB boot drive. And opening up and fiddling with iMacs requires firm but patient hands. The less I was yanking that drive in and out, the better. What to do, right? Why wouldn't it read in this newer machine? What mistake did I make?

Before I panicked though, I decided to the simplest task first. Open up the iMac, pull out the drive, toss it in an old USB hd exclosure I had, and plug it into my Mac Mini G4. And yeah, it showed up in Disk Utility there. Weird, right? I formatted it to HFS+, moved it back to the iMac, and was off and running.

Speaking of formatting, APFS, Apple's new hard drive format, is here, initially only working on SSDs. High Sierra did not install correctly when I formatted the SSD in APFS at first - kept booting back to the USB drive - but when I formatted the SSD as HFS+ first, the installer reformatted the drive and the install worked. Apple has some kinks to work out, especially as the support doc ominously warns "you can't opt out of the transition to APFS".

With this new drive format though, it's time to face the truth - newer Macs using APFS cannot be read by older Macs. Yes, a newer Mac using the standard can access older shares and hard drives, but this represents another one of those milestones that leave those of us with Macs on 10.5 or before a little bit farther behind. If you are running a mixed bunch of Macs, it may be that figuring out how to stay on HFS+ will sidestep this change. Alternately, keep using things like Dropbox to share files between your computers or have a separated shared file server of some kind.

The question is - will it be possible to make an APFS driver/app to access newer Macs? I wonder.

-- Nathan