Keep my Power Mac out of the land­fill!

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

Q I have an old G5 Power Mac. As far as I know it still works, but it’s been lan­guish­ing in the loft for a few years. I’m mov­ing house soon so I’m clear­ing out a lot of junk. What’s the best way to re­use or dis­pose of this com­puter? Can I turn it into a me­dia server for iTunes or pho­tos? Does it have any re­sale value? If nei­ther of th­ese are vi­able, how do I get rid of it with­out harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment? My lo­cal coun­cil just seems to put any bulky items straight into land­fill, which I don’t want to hap­pen. Mark Prebendary

A Reusing old com­put­ers as file servers was a pop­u­lar ‘how to…’ mag­a­zine fea­ture about 10 years ago, but it re­ally doesn’t make much sense any­more. Cloud stor­age is cheap and ubiq­ui­tous and the small­est ex­ter­nal drives have ca­pac­i­ties well be­yond the hard disk of an old Power Mac. Repur­pos­ing a G5 in this way ac­tu­ally hurts the en­vi­ron­ment be­cause of the ex­tra elec­tric­ity you use. The Power Mac G5 uses between 120 and 140W when idle, de­pend­ing on the model. If you leave it switched on for 12 hours a day, that’s about 570kWh per year, which costs £86 in elec­tric­ity be­fore you even ac­cess a sin­gle file. Even if you ac­tu­ally needed a stand­alone file server, a new Mac mini would use less than a tenth of the elec­tric­ity to do the same job, faster, more qui­etly and in a smaller space.

There is one part of the G5 that’s still use­ful though – the case. Th­ese are quite sought af­ter and sell for about £50 – £80 on eBay. I have one that I use as a case for one of my Win­dows PCs, be­cause most PC cases are un­speak­ably ugly. A work­ing ma­chine like yours some­times sells for a lit­tle bit more, but it’s un­likely the buyer will want to use it as a whole com­puter, any more than you do. Most buy­ers are just af­ter the case or some parts to fix an ex­ist­ing ma­chine, and there’s no guar­an­tee the rest will be re­cy­cled.

The more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble course is to send it to a re­cy­cling com­pany. There are plenty of com­pa­nies that will col­lect from you but, un­less you’re dis­pos­ing of lots of com­put­ers in one go, they all charge for col­lec­tion. Waste care (waste­, for ex­am­ple, charges £41. So if you sell the case sep­a­rately first, it looks like you might just break even.

Beau­ti­ful on the out­side, not very use­ful on the in­side. The most valu­able part of th­ese Macs is the case. The guts that sit in­side can be re­cy­cled.

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