Power Mac G5 upgrades
The last of the PPC Macs still has the horsepower to muscle through complex computer tasks
When Apple introduced the Power Mac G5, it was the most powerful personal computer in existence. In the years since, even faster computers have appeared and Apple has abandoned the Power PC in favor of Intel processors.
While it's glory days may be over, the PowerMac G5 is still a very capable machine. If you don't require the performance of a full-tilt Mac Pro, a G5 tower is still a viable option for many tasks. This lens will look at some of the ways you can maximize the G5's productivity.
Every G5 tower needs a ram upgrade
To get the most out of a G5 system; add more ram
Old hot rodders had a saying: "The only substitute for cubic inches is more cubic inches."
That may be true for hot rods, but in the computer world...the only substitute for ram is more ram.
Make no mistake, the most important thing you can do to improve your G5 is add more ram. There is simply nothing else you can do to increase a G5's performance.
Don't assume just any ram will work, however. Different versions of the G5 utilize different ram chips, and even chips that meet the published specifications have been known to cause problems. To avoid frustration, only ram designed to meet Apple's guidelines should be used. That doesn't mean you have to buy ram from Apple -- the OEM ram chips are far more expensive than third-party ram. Just make sure you buy from a vendor who guarantees that their ram chips will work correctly in a G5.
You could pay a shop to install ram, but the task of adding ram to a G5 is quite simple. Generally, it only takes a few minutes, even if you take your time.
(All photos Â© Copyright 2008, Tom Bonner. All rights reserved.)
The Power Mac G5 shipped with a meager 512mb ram, barely enough to run OS X, let alone get some work done.
Time to fix that with a ram upgrade.
Open the G5 case by pulling the lever on the back of the machine. Always disconnect power and other cables before opening the case
Once you remove the aluminum side panel, you will need to remove the molded plastic cover.
NOTE: this cover is required for cooling, so don't misplace it.
The ram sockets are located behind the processor fan assembly.
The beauty of the G5 case is that no tools are required to access most of the components. To remove the fan assembly, simply grasp the handle and slide it out.
With the fans removed, you have full access to the ram sockets. Some G5 models have 8 sockets, while others have 4. This is the basic G5 512kb ram configuration, with two 256kb chips installed.
The largest ram chips the G5 Powermacs can use is 1GB. Chips MUST be installed in pairs; one in the upper bank and one in lower.
A new 1GB ram chip is inserted into a free upper bank ram slot. Openings in the chip must match solid areas in the ram slot to prevent the chip from being inserted incorrectly.
With the second chip of the upper bank removed, you can see the the new 1GB chip in place.
A closeup of one end of the ram slot shows the pivoting locking tab securing the chip in place. You don't have to push the tab in place, the tab will snap closed when the chip is pressed into its slot.
Another view of the locking mechanism shows a chip locked in place with the pivoting tab and an empty slot with the tab swung open.
Both upper slots are populated with ram chips. Remember whatever memory is inserted in the upper bank must be exactly duplicated in the lower bank.
The lower ram bank is shown with both chips in place.
All four ram sockets are populated. All that is left is to slide the fan assembly in place, replace the plastic cover and reinstall the side panel.
No more virtual-memory bottle neck. With 2.5 GB of ram, the Power Mac G5 can work the way it was intended to. Of course there is no reason to stop here; another couple of chips will boost the total to 4GB.
Power Mac G5 Support links
- Apple - Support - Advanced Search
Official Apple support files related to the Power Mac G5
- Diplodocs - User manual APPLE POWER MAC G5 (2005) & User guide ...
Download the user manual POWER MAC G5 (2005), user guide APPLE
- PowerMac G5 Coolant Leaks/Repairs
PowerMac G5 tower owner reports on coolant leaks, repairs in and out of warranty, alternate repair sources/DIY repairs.