Since it's up and running, a few notes on kitting out an old G4 tower as network file storage...
G4/400 Yikes! (over-clocked to 450MHz) with 640MB RAM
D-Link DGE-528T Gigabit PCI ethernet adaptor
SIIG Serial ATA PCI-M
FirmTek UltraTek/133 IDE PCI-card
1TB & 750GB SATA and 500GB IDE hard drives for storage
80GB IDE drive for the OS
OS X INSTALLATION
Nothing special - install 10.4 from CD/DVD and go do something else while it updates to 10.4.11. I seem to recall even the network card being recognized this time round, unlike when I was playing with 10.2 on the G3/300 minitower
I chose an 80GB drive for the OS since I knew that the Yikes is limited to 128GB drives on its internal ATA connections. Even though I'm not using these atm, it could be handy to be able to boot from these if I need pull the IDE card.
The G4 is called graphite and the machine I am testing access from is steel, my macbook pro.
On graphite, open System Preferences, select Sharing, turn Personal File Sharing on.
On steel, open a new Finder window. Under the Shared section in the sidebar, click on graphite. (If it's not showing up, make sure the sidebar is on, and check the 'bonjour computers' option in Finder Preferences, accessible via CMD-, shortcut.) Click 'Connect As...' to authenticate yourself and access all the drives on graphite.
Once I had everything set up, I started pushing some files across the network to see what sort of speeds it could manage. With large transfers, it sustained an acceptable 1GB/minute or so (about 16-18MB/s). Local transfer (drive-to-drive) on the G4 was about 27MB/s.
Swapping over to the 100bT onboard NIC reduced speed to about 10MB/s, but also reduced CPU usage somewhat, which had been maxing out previously. Since the CPU itself seems to be the bottleneck, there's little chance of increasing performance, short of an upgrade from ebay.
I wanted to be able to allow other local network users to access some of the data on graphite. While I'm sure it's possible from the command line, I installed SharePoints
to manage access to various folders. It has a lot of options for creating AFS and SMB (windows) shares. Do make sure to check what you can and can't access from another machine on the network, especially if you are creating public or guest shares. I set up a few media shares accessible from any machine on the network, restricting them to be read-only to avoid accidental deletion.
OTHER STUFF TESTED
Booting from a drive on the SATA card works.
The system will recognize drives over 2TB. I borrowed Cotton's Seagate 3TB 3.5" SATA-600 7200rpm 64MB
and swapped it in and was able to read/write/share as expected. With a second SATA card, that would be 12TB of storage in a 13 year old machine.
The G4 doesn't deep sleep; the power supply stays on when it sleeps, meaning it is still just as loud sleeping as when in use.
I had been trying to position an extra k/b and monitor on my desk, and was considering a KVM when nabnerd
suggested I try Synergy
. I'd run across this a few years back, and was going to give it a go, when I realized that Apple had introduced screen sharing in 10.4. I enabled this on graphite. (This is accessible in System Preferences. Click 'Sharing' and turn on Apple Remote Desktop under the Services tab.) From my mbp, in a new finder window, when I click on graphite, it now gives me an option to Share Screen in addition to the list of shared drives once connected.
Not needing physical access to the machine allowed me to dispense with k/b, monitor, mouse - the only connections remaining are power and network. One caveat re running the Yikes! headless - the gfx card only allows pretty basic resolutions: 800x600 and 1024x768.
When I shut down/restart graphite, the Screen Sharing window stays open on steel. This actually reconnects when graphite comes back up, which I think is a pretty nice feature if you're just restarting the machine.