Previous 1 2 Next 18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 29, 2009 11:58 AM by Samsara
kieranjw Level 1 (0 points)
Hey Everyone,

I'm sort of considering upgrading my G5 with one of these:

The idea of loading it up with a bunch of big, extra drives is very appealing. But I'm wondering if anyone has real experience with this system and if the G5 can actually deal with it. What do you think?


G5, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • Nadav Level 3 (565 points)
    Hi there!

    I haven't used it, but it does sound impressive though. Personally, I think two drives internally is enough for me, though I can also hook up external drives to my computer. It kind of looks a little like spaghetti mess if you have multiple drives inside the G5. My only concern is what if the SATA cables prevent the air shield from closing?
  • DaddyPaycheck Level 6 (16,030 points)
    Hi kieranjw-

    Folks have used those devices. Do keep in mind that the power supply and cooling system of the Mac was not designed for that many drives and you could have problems in the future.


  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    Seems sort of unlikely they have been around for years now. Not everyone used 3 extra drives. Drives are built well, and while originally there was a concern with 10K drives (odd since mine ran cooler than stock).

    You can always find drive upgrade database reports.
  • Epochmaker Level 2 (150 points)
    You don't need Sonnet's bracket, all you need is a SATA card.

    Apple kindly spaced the holes in the front panel exactly the same centres as the edge holes in a 3.5" drive. All you need do is very slightly open up two holes, (don't allow any metal filings to get into the power supply compartment) in the front panel, and use slightly longer screws into the edge of a SATA drive with the connections at the top.

    Use a standard plug-socket piggy back from the DVD drive for power. The leads can all go through normal holes in the partitions. Room for three drives, and one above the processor fans.

    Given the low power demands of modern drives I doubt there will be a power issue.

    I brought the Sonnet x2 drive SATA card from my G4 466 about five years ago, and have used it in the G5 ever since.

    Message was edited by: Epochmaker
  • kieranjw Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    Here's something I found on Amazon. What do you make of it?


    By A. Bates "abates" (Seattle, Washington United States) - See all my reviews
    So I had a number of G5 towers sitting around after a transition to Mac Pro's. Decided one of them could be repurposed as a backup machine if only I could squeeze some more disks in there to get the storage. Searching around for ways to add more disks to the G5 tower, I came across the Sonnet G5 Jive, purportedly able to add three additional drives to your G5. I did my research, found all good reviews, checked out Sonnets page for the G5 Jive (, and confirmed it should be a go. I even bought Western Digital drives as recommended on their page - and thinking about how smart I was being, I bought their Green drives which are supposed to pull more power than regular drives. I should note I bought TB disks - they are cheap enough and common enough now that it made sense.

    I installed it all - easy enough - and went to power it on. The G5 hummed for about 2 seconds before powering down. Huh. Checked all my connections and then tried again. Same hum, same powering down. Disconnected the Jive, then tried again - all okay, powered up. So, it was the Jive. Maybe I'd made bad connections, so I disconnected then reconnected everything. Same problem, two seconds of power, then gone.

    Called Sonnet. They always seemed to be a good company in my mind. After some hold time I got on the phone with a fairly gruff sounding guy - no niceties here! After explaining what had happened, and giving him all my info, he put me on hold again to chat with a colleague. And then came back on and confirmed that I was using TB drives. Yes. Well there, apparently, is the problem. When developing the Jive, Sonnet claimed that there were only 500GB & 750GB drives to test with and that they had never tested with 1TB drives. Never?! Nope...decided not to test them when 1TB drives became commonplace either. Turns out, 1TB drives pull too much power. And they acted like it was my fault for even trying to use TB drives!

    So now I am stuck with 5 1TB drives, a Sonnet G5 Jive and a Sonnet Tempo SATA X4i PCI card - well over $1k worth of kit - and can't use it. I told the support guy they need to keep testing their products and updating their product pages as they find information out like this. We'll see how quickly they fix this. It's messed up I tell ya. So...if you are hoping to use this to expand your G5 with some modern hard drives - don't. It just doesn't work :-/ Sonnet has now become 'The Worst Company Ever' in my book.
  • Epochmaker Level 2 (150 points)
    Sounds like a guy whom would go flying without doing pre-flight checks...

    My Sonnet Tempo has worked faultlessly for me since I got it back when SATA was in it's infancy. So long ago I don't remember when. I had a friend buy it for me in the US, and ship it over here, because they weren't readily available in the UK at the time.

    My largest drive is a Hitachi 500-x3 SATA it works OK with that.
  • The hatter Level 9 (60,930 points)
    I've found Sonnet email to always be great. No problem.

    People are going outside the design spec of the G5 of course. And often used just two drives. 10K Raptors were never endorsed.

    Also, you won't see Apple listing 1TB support on any G5 either, so no surpise there.

    There are people with two new 10K WD VelociRaptors.

    How good is your power? Y-split molex can be really iffy for some.

    And yes do your homework. As for the Amazon comment, weren't they talking about moving to a Intel Mac Pro? and I'd take with a grain of salt.

    AMUG has reviews of most any controller or product and of course the ideal is to use external controller and case.
  • Epochmaker Level 2 (150 points)
    +I've found Sonnet email to always be great. No problem+

    They have been very helpful with my current issues, sent me specific new f/w to update my Tempo SATA Card by eMail.

    +People are going outside the design spec of the G5 of course. And often used just two drives.+

    I have been using four since I had my G5, and before that in my G4 466. IMHO Apple build computers which given a little common sense are robust enough to allow moving outside the design envelope.

    The issue I had was locating the drives. Only recently I discovered the trick of screwing them through the font grill on end, very neat.

    +How good is your power? Y-split molex can be really iffy for some.+

    Has been OK, I rarely use the DVD drive so the HD's have a clear run with that supply. I suspect these modern SATA HD's will demand less power than a DVD unit?

    Compared with the issues with SCSI these units are a cinch. I always solder where possible.

    +And yes do your homework. As for the Amazon comment, weren't they talking about moving to a Intel Mac Pro? and I'd take with a grain of salt.+

    Anybody making that investment should do the research. I would have thought the drives would have had alternative uses??? Not a total waste...

    Message was edited by: Epochmaker
  • Samsara Level 4 (1,320 points)
    That guy got off lucky. An 80 dollar investment that he can still use with anything other than terabyte drives? I paid 300 dollars for a Firmtek solution that works on anything but my VRs. And after removing both "normal" drives to a FW800 unit, I absolutely needed my VRs in there. Not now, a 60 dollar case is all I needed, thanks to info from the Hatter who saved my butt, but I have no need of the EN2 or the card from Firmtek at all now. I didn't think to research that one at all, the best Firmtek could say was, "Oops, we never tested those."

    Staying on subject though, I had the Jive in my G5 Quad and it worked like a charm. 3 drives and it raised CPU temps about 3 degrees, well, well within specs. On the other hand, if your G5 is burning up the way my 2.7 was, maybe that little added temp might make a difference.

    Good luck.
  • kieranjw Level 1 (0 points)
    Actually, this does bring up another question in my mind - exactly what size drive can the G5 handle? I was thinking about replacing my internals with 1TB drives, but it sounds like those might not be suitable?
  • Epochmaker Level 2 (150 points)
    Eggs and baskets spring to mind.

    Perhaps I just an old Luddite at heart...
  • kieranjw Level 1 (0 points)
    Eggs and baskets spring to mind.

    Don't be silly. Easter was several weeks ago.

    But seriously, folks. What size drive can the G5 handle?
  • Samsara Level 4 (1,320 points)
    If OWC is selling them for Macs, then they must work:

    If still unsure, give them a call. I see absolutely no reason why a G5 can't handle any size of drive out there. Maybe they require more power, I don't know, but Geez, they've been out for awhile now. I think there would have been many articles reporting on that if that was the case.
  • Samsara Level 4 (1,320 points)
    Eggs and baskets spring to mind.

    I know I'm dense, but what does that even mean?
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