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
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.
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.
This website was built on my Power Mac G5, using the following software:
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.
Drop me an email here - nathan @ g5center.net.
Published on January 22, 2017
Another year, another year of service out of my G5.
2017 for me promises to be a weird year - of resistance, change, renewal, and growth. I plan to get back to school with some graduate studies. I plan to write and read more. I plant to program a tad more. I plan to try some new things.
On the G5 front, I really appreciate all the emails that come my way, and I hope my meandering responses are helpful. I'll be combing through those emails and offering up a new Troubleshooting page to the site, with tips and suggestions when your G5 goes horribly wrong. Let's face it - these old Macs won't last forever.
Second, I am hoping to dive back into some programming in XCode and work on a thing or two. New software for our PPC G5s is essentially non-existent or rare. We have TenFourFox, maybe Leopard-Webkit, SimpleMarkPPC (shameless plug), and some themes (like LeopardRebirth). Can we encourage new versions of software or new software products for our aging hardware? I think it's a worthy goal. Stay tuned.
I'd love your feedback as usual. What are you looking forward to for your PPC machines in the new year?
Published on December 19, 2016
Like many of you, when I get a new computer, I typically toss the documentation back into the box, no matter how compelling it looks. I've met people who read it front to back, and sometimes, there is helpful information therein. But I'm reckless and prefer to dive right in, figuring things out on my own.
On cold nights though, it can be fun to dive back in to the technical information available to you with a cursory search in Apple's support section of their website. To get started, go here:
I decided to dig back in case I had missed something before per the oddities that happen between our G5s and certain Solid State Drives (SSD). Was there a particular feature to the Serial-ATA implementation that could be a clue? Was there something special about either drive bay?
Here are the three documents I picked through:
I'm not saying this stuff is riveting reading, but it might be worth tracking down these documents for your particular G5 for a quick browse. For example, I found at least a couple of things that I did not know.
On Additional PCI Cards
When you install additional cards, install the highest bandwidth card in slot 3. Follow these guidelines: Install a second PCI Express card in slot 3, a third in slot 4, and a fourth in slot 2. This takes advantage of the bus bandwidth of each slot.
If you have a 30-inch Cinema Display or two 20/23-inch displays
You can connect a 20-, 23-, or 30-inch Apple Cinema Display to DVI port 1 and a 20- or 23-inch Apple Cinema Display to DVI port 2.
On Additional Video Cards
Important: Combined maximum power consumption for all four PCI Express slots must not exceed 200 watts (W). The total combined maximum video random access memory (VRAM) for all graphics cards is 1 GB (for example, you can install one 512 MB VRAM card and two 256 MB VRAM cards for a total of 1 GB of VRAM).
Unfortunately, I did not find anything helpful around the Serial-ATA implementation, other than a reminder to use the original SATA cables that came with your G5. That's not so helpful though. Have fun doing your own search for the important questions you need answered!
Published on December 15, 2016
A loyal reader asked me a good question - where do you go to find a discussion forum for other PowerPC users?
The actual question included a subtle suggestion that I open up some kind of forum or give a way for more ongoing discussion here on the site. I love that idea, but my history with web forums, especially on small sites like mine, is that they get stale and stagnant. No need to create competition among our limited community, and I really don't like the security issues that come with hosting forums. Spam is a major issue.
First, you are always welcome to hijack any post thread I have with a specific question or something to share, even if it is off-topic. Go for it. I appreciate that a number of people email me, and I do apologize if I don't get back right away or miss your email. Feel free to send again. I won't take offense. I have a full-time (plus) calling, and my schedule tends to be unpredictable.
Second, here are some suggestions if you want to discuss your machines, trade war stories, offer links, or whatever. Keep in mind that any forum is populated by people with different backgrounds, some with inaccurate information, and others with sizable egos. Just like life. Have some perspective. AND DON'T FORGET TO SEARCH TO SEE IF SOMEONE ALREADY ASKED YOUR QUESTION. (Haha.)
As you go looking for discussion sites or resources, feel free to share them with me. I am going to work on switching around my links and may add a few more that you find useful.
Published on November 21, 2016
In more news along the solid state drive front, I got a fascinating conundrum from a loyal reader about issues with what we first wondered to be a failing motherboard or overheating.
After installing a new SSD and using it as the main drive, he reported beachballs and crashes after waking from sleep, forcing a shutdown. Sometimes, the G5 worked like a charm. Sometimes, everything ground to a halt. It didn't seem to have any rhyme or reason, kind of a random thing, which makes it difficult to track down.
I typed out my standard line of troubleshooting, starting with what changed. Did you install RAM recently? Put in a new hard drive? Install a new video card? Fiddle with something that you shouldn't have? Then, go down the checklist of cleaning out the case, testing temperatures, double checking cables, switching RAM in and out, and so on until you figure it out. And if all of that fails, then flailing your arms in frustration because it might or might not be your motherboard.
But good news - the reader reinstalled the system on to a main hybrid drive, and things seem to be back to normal. It might be a faulty SATA cable, but it could be the G5's implementation of the SATA standard which causes weird things with solid state drives. I've had an experience or two with such weird behavior. I would love to get hold of an engineer who helped make these G5s and could tell us more about the quirks and challenges of their hardware and where limitations lie. Maybe someday?
The moral of the story is to be cautious and careful with those SSDs. Your best bet is to go the OWC route, since they care about vintage computing. Or use the small list of suggested compatible drives on this website under "Hardware".
Published on November 13, 2016
Introducing SimpleMarkPPC Version 1.2
After some delay, I am tickled to release the newest version of SimpleMarkPPC. While the basic functionality remains the same, the app is greatly improved and a bit more configurable. Your preferences with font size, font type, and autosave features are now saved and restored. Autosave is indeed optional - if you like it, turn it on and adjust a little slider to control how quickly it kicks in. Or save manually, which might work better if you are conserving battery or prefer to get a preview of your work at your own pace.
I cleaned up a few other little bugs, though I'm sure something is going to crop up. I'd appreciate your feedback in the comments below.