Swimming in the Low End

2009-Mac-ProI just purchased a used 2009 Mac Pro to use as a replacement for my recently departed dual G5 Mac Pro which I also purchased used. It served me well as a graphic design and digital illustration production machine, and that is what I intend for this new acquisition.

4-HD-baysThe advantage of this machine over the older machine is that it has four hard-drive bays, and it runs the latest Apple OS. I can run the latest and greatest as well as some of the previous iterations of the operating system that happily cooperate with some of the boxed, desktop publishing software that the family and I still rely on. I’m not daffy about paying software subscription fees when I have already purchased software that perfectly suits my purposes.

Problems cropped up when I found that my Epson scanner which ran perfectly on the G5 didn’t feel like cooperating with the newer operating systems. The old scanner ran fine under Apple’s Operating System Leopard on the G5, but was unhappy on the newer Snow Leopard which came bundled with my new/used machine.


I know that scanners which were all the rage a couple decades ago when the world was trying to get all of that analog art into a digital format are now considered old hat, but Tina relies on that scanner quite a bit as do I. Not being made of money, I balked at the idea of replacing something that wasn’t broken. Happily I found that my new Mac Pro could boot from the old hard-drive plucked from the dead G5. I still had access to the programs that ran the scanner, but I had already stuffed the four available hard drive bays with hard-drives. What to do, what to do.


Pulling the optical drive tray from a 2009 MacPro

As it turns out, there are two optical drive bays for DVD reader/writers in the front of the machine one of which was unoccupied. A search uncovered an adapter where I could re-purpose that empty optical bay for use with a hard-drive giving me a total of five hard-drives in the machine. If I wanted, I could get rid of the other optical drive and use the space for another hard-drive for a total of six, but I end up usually needing a DVD writer/reader. It’s rare, but I’ll leave the optical drive in place.

A view of the MacPro's optical drive tray from above. The optical drive has been removed to give a better view of the adapter screwed to the sides of the hard-drive. The adapter extends to the sides of the tray.

A view of the MacPro’s optical drive tray from above. The optical drive has been removed to give a better view of the adapter screwed to the sides of the hard-drive. Four black extenders float the drive in the center of where a DVD, CD or Blu-Ray drive would be. The SATA data and power cable meant for the optical drive power the hard-drive.

Now I have a machine that runs Leopard, Snow Leopard and El Capitan and the Three Bears are happy. I was not crazy about having a huge chunk of aluminum swallowing up my desktop, but the latest and greatest from Apple are either ridiculously expensive or a whole lot less expandable. One way or another the desk would have been swamped with external drives and cables.


Optical drive on top and hard-drive below in the Mac Pro’s optical tray

Once these towers are made obsolete by the march of “progress,” I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Either pray that Apple will license out their OS as they once did: badger Affinity to build a version of their excellent software for Linux, or build another Hackintosh.

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