Another G5, Another SSD nightmare

So I got this iMac G5 with a defective display super cheap. Turns out that all these displays fail, so if you find one with a good display it’s either been RMA’d or its going to fail. and quickly.

cheap iMac G5

On the back of the unit there is a video out port, so you can hook up an external monitor, and now you have a chunky G5.. minmaxie.

Sadly the OS was a bit messed up, and had a bunch of user files, and I just wanted to do a fresh install. And the hard disk was LOUD and slow. Naturally I thought I’d install a SSD. I had forgotten what amazing luck I had with the Grandpa G5 back in the day, and did I just get lucky with that?

First I got this super cheap 2-Power SSD.


Of course it didn’t work, nothing shows up at all.

I had this fancy Kingston SSD, surely it’ll work?

Kingston SSDNOW 300 SV300S7A

NOPE, nothing from that either.

So I went ahead and ordered the cheapest Samsung I could find.

Samsung M27PC120HAFU

And yeah, whatever it is the Apple SATA controller does, that annoys all the other brands, the Samsung pulled through.

Sucess with the Samsung PM830 SSD

I did get an iMac G5 10.3 restore CD set, but sadly it didn’t want to work with this iMac. However I did get a deal on a boxed copy of OS X Tiger.

Change the way your Mac works for you

And yeah I was able to do a clean install, and patch it up. I’m still impressed that Apple keeps stuff up like the update servers & all the combined patches. I guess one thing worth mentioning is that the WiFi wouldn’t join the home LAN at all, but the 10.4.11 patch fixed that right up.

I should try some much newer Samsung SSD’s to see if it’s just this one generation, or are they just that much better? Also what about NVMe/SSD bridge?

6 thoughts on “Another G5, Another SSD nightmare

  1. Sorry to tell you, but the G5’s (both iMac and PowerMac) are the least reliable vintage Macs out there. The iMac G5 is known to have capacitor issues.

    I had a PowerMac G5 dual 1.8 GHz that went out on me due to a bad motherboard. I suspect that’s due to the lead-free solder used. I’ve decided it wasn’t worth fixing and went with a G4 dual MDD instead.

    Besides some upgrades, all you can do is pray that yours will last as long as possible.

    • My PowerMac G5 dual 2.0 was in daily use from 2005 to 2018, when I migrated to PC (and after another couple of year to POWER9), because the good old G5 was simply too slow to be my daily driver. Even in 2005 it was bought as refurbished. And it still works with no problems whatsoever. Yes, iMac G5 had capacitors problems, yes some PowerMac G5 had board failures, but they were far from being “least reliable” Macs out there. For example I haven’t met a MDD G4 yet, which didn’t have a PSU failure during it’s lifespan 🙂

  2. According to:

    The lowest spec. oldest G5 iMac came with 10.3.5, so any version less than that, like 10.3-10.3.4 is expected to fail. 10.4 is the sweet spot IMHO. Classic for all your MacOS 9 needs, plus Xcode for compilation. There are also open source packages courtesy of MacPorts and even a 10.4 Homebrew branch.

    See also:

    I recommend Adelie, because PowerPC is a supported platform today, both 64 and 32 bit!

    Anything Debian based has to be old versions as they no longer do PowerPC sadly.

    OpenBSD would work, if you can dig a less polished approach than Linux, and also run faster, even fully updated.

    There was even a HaikuOS for PowerPC once, but it has been bit rotting for years, and is likely unusable without a dev. system to recompile everything. Probably cross compilation on a HaikuOS x86 would be easiest.

  3. I recently got a Power Mac G5 (PowerMac7,2) for which a compatible SATA SSD was also hard to find.

    Various modern SATA III 6 Gbps drives simply won’t work on the SATA I 1.5 Gbps interface of the Power Mac G5 and iMac G5 because these modern SSDs can’t negotiate the protocol down to the earlier interface protocols.

    I found out that “Intel 320 Series” SSDs with their SATA II 3 Gbps interface do work nicely with the Power Mac G5. I got three of these SSDs with capacities of 80 GB to 160 GB to easily switch between Mac OS X, Debian and OpenBSD.

    It can be assumed that the “Intel 320 Series” SSDs would also work with the iMac G5. They are plentiful on eBay.

    BTW, OpenBSD 7.4 (32-bit) and Debian trixie/sid with kernel 6.5 do work well on the G5.
    Action Retro has a YouTube video titled “Installing MODERN DEBIAN on a Power Mac G5!” explaining how to install the current Debian ppc64 port on G5 machines:

    Also, a shameless plug, here are pictures of how I got the Power Mac G5 to be quiet by installing Noctua and Arctic fans instead of the original loud ones:

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