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Virtual Machine for G5 PowerMac Host

Posted on 2009-07-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-24
I bought VMware Fusion not realising that it is only compatible with Intel Macs.

What, if any, alternatives are available? I wish to run XP as a guest in a G5 2.5GHz Quad PowerMac host with 8GB RAM.

I don't wish to dual-boot - if I can't use XP in a VM I'll settle for a networked Linux host with XP as a guest in VMware Workstation..

I understand that Microsoft Virtual PC was available but it seems to have been discontinued. The only links I can find are for updates to the program.
Question by:Alan Henderson

Assisted Solution

AGoodKeenMan earned 500 total points
ID: 24866227
I think your on the right track with the linux host as there is not much offering now for powerpc x86 emulation, Virtual PC was about as good as it got. You could always setup a cheap Windows box and use a KVM switch to go back and forth.
I had a quick look at your blog and I sympathize with your position. FWIW the original Macpro sells on TradeMe for reasonable prices now and would be a better spend the another machine.
PS. Go the ABs
LVL 24

Author Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 24866372
Thanks for that Good Keen Man.

How does a West Coast farmer find the time to run an IT business? I'm retired on a 600m2 pocket handkercheif and I don't have enough hours in my day!

I've been keeping track of a couple of Mac Pros on Trade Me over the last week or so. So far, the sellers have been wishful thinkers.

Yeah, AB's rule - maybe.

LVL 53

Accepted Solution

strung earned 1000 total points
ID: 24868296
Virtual PC was dog slow. I agree with the suggestion of getting a cheap PC, but rather than using a KVM switch, install XP Pro, run and run the PC headless from the Mac using the Windows RDC Client for Macintosh:  http://www.microsoft.com/mac/products/remote-desktop/default.mspx. That works very well, allows you to in effect run the PC inside a window on the Mac, share drives and copy and paste.
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Assisted Solution

hobowankenobi earned 500 total points
ID: 24884589
Keep in mind how fast the new intel Macs are.

A base model Mini for $600 plus some RAM would runs circles around all the fastest G5s......and when 10.6 pops, they perform even faster.  Or the base model 20" iMac; faster still.

You can save $100 by using Virtual Box 3.0 from Sun for free.  Running it since its release, and it feels faster than Fusion.

Sell the G5 for $400 or so, and pick up a Mini and Virtual Box.  Ready for today and tomorrow.  Done.
LVL 24

Author Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 24884783
Plenty to work on here. Thanks for the input. It'll take me a while to chase up the alternatives.

@ strung

Good idea, I'm working on it.

@ hobowankenobi

Thanks for that. I'm working on that too.
Here in New Zealand we have to pay through the nose for Macs. I'd get a lot more than $400 for the G5. It's the last of the Power Macs has 12GB RAM and 2 x 500GB HDDs so should fetch close to $1500.

I have my eye on this:

If Fusion is anywhere near as good as VMware Workstation for Windows it's a step up from VirtualBox for Windows. You can run it full screen, and run guest apps in separate windows in the host. It's very good. I'll check out VirtualBox though.

Unfortunately, as far as Minis (and iMacs) are concerned, for the configuration I need it's not feasible. It would cost me about US$5000 for what I want.

The social secretary might object.


May the force be with you.

Expert Comment

ID: 24884807

Oops, blew right by your RAM spec.  Keep in mind the latest iMacs can do 8GB of RAM.  Hey, don't get me wrong, that MacPro is sweet.

VB is not nearly as feature rich as Fusion, but performance is at least as good IMHO, and it is very light weight.  Does what it does well, and has been rock solid so far, which is impressive as it is only at 3.02.
LVL 24

Author Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 24884862
I'm running Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc, plus VMs, and I usually have a lot of big apps running at once, so I'd prefer at least 8GB.

An 8GB iMac here in NZ costs nearly as much as an equivalent Mac Pro but without the flexibility. I've been an engineer for 50 years and a Microsoft slave for 20. As a result of those twin afflictions I have uncontrollable urges to pull machines to pieces every week or two, so I'd best steer clear of iMacs.

If i get a MacPro I'll certanily give VirtualBox a try. Their Windows version's certainly very good. Better than MS VPC or VMware Server and, as you note with Mac version, a lot slicker. I found that none of the free VM clients (Windows versions at least) handle USB attachments very well - apart from input devices and drives.

I suspect that Sun have big plans for VirtualBox.


Expert Comment

ID: 24884966
Can't go wrong with the MacPro, though I must admit Strungs idea with RDC is tempting too.

The Mac Pro is a budget breaker here in the US for some folks, but worth what they cost.  Just put a boot SSD in one a few weeks back, and four 1TB drives in a RAID 5 config.  Wicked fast.

LVL 24

Author Closing Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 31604082
Remote Desktop is excellent for what I need until I can afford a Mac Pro.
LVL 24

Author Comment

by:Alan Henderson
ID: 24886938
For the benefit of future viewers of this thread. I couldn't get Remote Desktop Connection to see my Vista laptop using its name. Using its IP address worked a treat.

Here's how to find your IP address:
1.   On the Windows machine: Start » All Programs » Accessories » Command Prompt.
2.  At the command prompt, type ipconfig, press ENTER.
3.  It's listed under Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection.

When you open Remote Desktop Connection on the Mac, enter the IP address instead of the computer name. On Vista, the IP address is listed as IPv4 Address.

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