View Full Version : Connecting multiple G4 Xserves together (making a 6xCPU machine)

29th October 2012, 05:11 PM
I have 3x G4 dual 1.33ghz machines that I'm in the process of installing 10.4.11 server onto. What I want to do is connect all 3 together so they act as a 6x1.33ghz machine. Does anyone know how a layman can do this? Do they communicate via Ethernet or FW? Is 10.4.11 server enough to do this or do I need to install some other software?

Do apps need to be specifically written for multiple CPUs of the PPC era?

I really only want to try handbrake and see what all 3 machines working together can do.

29th October 2012, 06:10 PM
Interested to see how you go, I remember XGrid in previous OS's (i.e pre 10.7?) but never actually used it or had any in-depth knowledge of what it did.

29th October 2012, 06:31 PM
Using Xgrid and HandBrake on OS X | Tip's Notebook (http://www.bytedynamix.com/index.php/archives/41)

XGrid helps computers process data in parallel, so if you have say, 5x movies you want to encode and 5x computers, it will encode each video on each computer. Whereas if you have 5x movies and 1x computer, it will just process each movie after the other. 5x computers and 1x movie just means one of those computers will work on the movie until it's done - it won't process 1x file over the 5x computers.

Plus it will be super slow anyways, a modern iMac will encode 5x videos in a row faster than 5x dual G4 machines will encode 5x video files each.

29th October 2012, 06:51 PM
It's only for shits and giggles. I have an 8 core Mac Pro nehalem for encoding video. Seems like it isn't worth the hassle and handbrake will still be slow. I thought 1x movie would spread over 6 CPU.

30th October 2012, 09:13 PM
It really is not worth the hassle, I can do pretty much 3 or 4 DVD encodes on my 2.3ghz i5 MacBook Pro in the time it takes my G5 Xserve to do 1 with Handbrake. For the extra added mojo I guess you could do it, but it serves no real value in saving time, just brownie points to say you've done it.

The extra issue is Handbrake has been completely depricated for PPC and has not been updated since 0.94 so the encoding settings are all out of whack with what you would require for a modern device such as an Apple TV3. You really are best off using iFlicks if you go down that path as it still runs and is current on PPC.

I guess if you were completely dedicated to the cause you could run the latest version of Handbrake under Linux with your server farm, but unless you have a Quad G5 you're really pushing the brown sloppy stuff up hill. I went down this path and was going to set up a striped array in my G5 Xserve, but then I realised to get anywhere I would also need a license to iFlicks to get a modern H.264 ripper that would work with PPC and that my G5 wasn't fast enough to bother with doing it anyway.

It's not like the old PPC days where you'd make do with old Macs because of prohibitive costs, hardware is cheap and plentiful these days and your better off buying something like a MacMini if you wanted a dedicated media box. Leave the Xserves to serving content, buy a SATA card, modify the ADMs for SATA and load them up with 3TB drives and add a small SSD for boot purposes. Save the ripping for a modern machine.

I have a 128gb SSD in my G5 Xserve along with a 1.5tb drive, I'm about to add a 3tb drive to go with that... For serving content these machines are still excellent at what they do and no you do not need the latest version of iTunes for home sharing with the Apple TV3. People call me crazy, but I just get a bit warm and fuzzy about real PPC Macs, not this Intel stuff.