Ask Max: Installing an Airport Extreme Card in a PowerMac G5
I just purchased a refurb G5 PowerMac and have been told that you can't add an Airport Extreme card without an Authorized Apple Installer doing the work, but your site says that the Bluetooth/Airport card is simply added to a PCI slot. What is the real story? Isn't that a huge step backwards for Mac parts to not be user installable? Especially on their pro workhorse.
All the dual-core based PowerMac G5's use a new combo wireless card instead of the two cards used before. The card is similar to the combo Bluetooth/Airport card found in iBooks. The difference is that the card is attached to an adapter card before it is inserted into the G5. Additionally the two antenna cables have changed to the smaller standard used inside most Apple computers with built-in wireless.
Most people with basic mechanical skills could install this wireless kit into their G5 tower. The reason Apple does not consider it "User Installable" is that it's a multiple part assembly in a tight space. We sell it because we feel people should have the option of installing it themselves. The only drawback to installing it yourself is that you will lose your Apple warranty on the wireless kit.
The slot that the assembled wireless kit fits into is the same mini PCI slot that Airport Extreme (APX) cards fit into. As a test, I installed an APX card into a dual-core G5 and it worked fine. Unfortunately the built-in cables will not work so you have to use an external antenna and cable.
So if you are confident with your hands, pick up one of those wireless kits.