Previous 1 2 3 4 Next 50 Replies Latest reply: Feb 3, 2009 8:01 PM by Cornelia Shields
Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
What is the largest available hard drive for a Power Mac G4 with the following specifications?

Hardware Overview:

Machine Name: Power Mac G4
Machine Model: PowerMac3,6
CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (2.1)
Number Of CPUs: 2
CPU Speed: 867 MHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per CPU): 1 MB
Memory: 768 MB
Bus Speed: 133 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.4.6f2
Serial Number: XB2***MUM
Sales Order Number: M8787LL/A

Once I know the size, availability, and price of upgrading this machine, I will look into whether it's worth buying a new hard drive (or drives, since this has a slave drive and it's still inadequate!) or just buying a whole new machine! Thanks!

<Edited by Moderator>

Power Mac G4, Mac OS X (10.4.11), Hard Drive 57.26 GB, Internal Slave Drive 232.86 GB
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (44,580 points)
    We were just talking about something similar [here|]. Your bootROM indicates you can use >128GB drives. I don't know what the upper limit is. I am sure there is one, and it probably depends upon OS, but for OSX it is probably something incredibly huge that you don't have to worry.
  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (29,750 points)
    Hi Cornelia

    Sounds like you have the "Mirrored Drive Doors" version of the G4 (the optical drive doors on the front of the Mac are mirrored, right?) which means you can use any size drive you like - the 128GB limit which previous models had does not apply. You'll need to find an ATA/PATA drive (also called UltraATA/66 or /100). In fact you can fit 4 drives in that chassis - there are two drive buses.

    I'd generally recommend drives from Newegg or OWC ( They often have deals on specific drives. Seagate and WD are good brands.

  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Thanks, my operating system is 10.4.11.

    Besides knowing how large of drives to get, what type to get, and where to get them, I also have to know:

    1. What do I do with my old drives? Are they worth anything? Also, does the information I posted tell what size drives I have or do I have to look elsewhere for that? If so, where?

    2. Do I have to do anything ELSE to the computer, BESIDES replace the drives, to make it operate faster? Such as install a device speeding up the motherboard or anything else?

  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (29,750 points)
    Your old drives are unlikely to be worth anything (there's not much of a resale market on drives, since they get cheaper and larger all the time, and tend to get less reliable over time), but you probably should wipe or destroy them before throwing them away.

    In System Profiler (where you got the original info), go to the "ATA" line - there you'll see the info for each drive.

    Depending on what you're doing with the computer, you could benefit from more RAM. Run the Activity Monitor found in the Utilities folder, and view the System Memory tab. Do your usual work and watch 1) the green/blue slices in the pie chart, and 2) the page in/page out values. If the green+blue area is small, and you get a large number for "page out", you could probably use more RAM.

    Also, you could look into a processor upgrade. OWC has a number of these, but they can be pricey - for example.

  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Yes, Matt, you are right about the optical mirrored drive doors and I'm glad you mentioned them. Awhile ago I posted about this problem with the CD tray, which opens out of the top of these two doors on the front of the Mac. The CD tray opens and closes or sometimes just shakes and shudders like it's having a seizure at odd times. It doesn't respond to being pushed shut at all, and not always to being closed with the eject key. Someone suggested changing the battery, but before I could look into what kind of battery to get or where, the problem got better. It still occurs from time to time, though, and should be considered before I do anything to the Mac.

    As for installing even two, let alone four drives, absolutely NOT. People on this forum have always been civil, but sometimes when I didn't get a quick answer on a certain topic I'd take the chance of being flamed on Usenet, as I did when I bought the slave drive. "Experts" on one of these groups told me what an idiot I was not to just open the thing and plug in the drive. (I have NO CLUE what "thing" to open, or HOW--the only thing I've seen open on the front of that Mac is the CD tray.) They said there were pins in the drive and pins in the drive socket which matched perfectly that a Kindergartener could plug in and I shouldn't waste peoples' time asking silly questions.

    Well, I was taking NO chances. I drove my computer and the drive to the nearest place that worked on Macs (70 miles!) and guess what? The pins of the new drive did NOT match the pins in the drive socket! It required an adaptor, which the guy just HAPPENED to have, and he said it took all his technical skill just to mash that drive with the adaptor into the socket. In other words, a PROFESSIONAL barely got the "thing" closed--what would my chances have been? Unless they were just making this up to charge me another $50+, this is true, and, I expect would be the case with anything I would buy to replace my main hard drive.

    Here is the information on both drives:

    ATA Bus:


    Capacity: 57.27 GB
    Model: IBM-IC35L060AVVA07-0
    Revision: VA3BA52A
    Serial Number: VNC3****AAHA
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk0
    Protocol: ATA
    Unit Number: 0
    Socket Type: Internal
    OS9 Drivers: No
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Verified
    Hard Drive:
    Capacity: 57.27 GB
    Available: 23.78 GB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk0s2
    Mount Point: /

    WDC WD2500JD-00HBC0:

    Capacity: 232.89 GB
    Model: WDC WD2500JD-00HBC0
    Revision: 08.02D08
    Serial Number: WD-WCA****412
    Removable Media: No
    Detachable Drive: No
    BSD Name: disk1
    Protocol: ATA
    Unit Number: 1
    Socket Type: Internal
    OS9 Drivers: Yes
    S.M.A.R.T. status: Not Supported
    West Dig Slave Drive:
    Capacity: 232.88 GB
    Available: 212.04 GB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: HFS+
    BSD Name: disk1s9
    Mount Point: /Volumes/West Dig Slave Drive

    I'd like to have enough space to edit hours and hours of footage--say I got iLife 8 and so transferred everything into iMovie 8, and worked on at least three or four hours at a time before burning anything--without having to burn a DVD and then delete for every 15 minutes' worth of footage just to have ANY room on the computer! Given this info, what are my options for replacing my main drive? Thanks for any advice or assistance.

    <Edited by Moderator>
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (53,550 points)
    This information provided by entering your serial number in:

    Name: Power Macintosh G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors / Wind Tunnel)
    Model: M8787 PowerMac G4 867MHz-DP
    Bus speed: 133MHz
    Memory - number of slots: Please tell us how many memory (RAM) slots this machine has.
    Factory: XB (ElkGrove/Sacramento, California)
    URL: Technical specifications by codetonumber: 06Q - G84207PBNV9

    Model introduced: 2002
    Production year: 2002
    Production week: 34 (August)
    Production number: 228 (within this week)

    since your Mac was made after June 2002, the large-drive info in this article applies:

    HT2544- Macintosh: Using 128 GB or Larger ATA Hard Drives

    Message was edited by: Grant Bennet-Alder
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (53,550 points)
    The pins of the new drive did NOT match the pins in the drive socket! It required an adaptor, which the guy just HAPPENED to have, and he said it took all his technical skill just to mash that drive with the adaptor into the socket.

    The original cable in your Mac has one black and one gray drive connector and a blue connector at the motherboard. It is about six inches long, and should not be much longer. If the drive would not mate with the cable in your Mac, that may indicate that the cable in the Mac has been replaced, possibly with one that is sub-standard. The transfer rate of this drive requires a cable with 80 conductors (mounted to a special 40-pin Header) for reliable operation.

    The drive specifications and information available here:

    Indicate that this drive is furnished with a KEYED connector suitable for a "40 pin header with 80 conductors". That should be plug-compatible with your Mac. No adapter should be needed.

    Message was edited by: Grant Bennet-Alder
  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (29,750 points)
    Cornelia -

    I think the issue there is that the newer, larger drive (the "Slave Drive") is actually the newer Serial ATA (SATA) format. These drives have totally different connectors - two small, thin "blades" rather than sets of pins. There are indeed adaptors to connect the two formats, but they're not usually over-complicated - the one pain can be the old "molex" power connector, but you have to deal with that if you're putting an older ATA drive in anyway. Connecting an older ATA drive is, indeed, quite simple (but I won't press the point, and I certainly wouldn't call you an idiot to be cautious about trying it).

    Regardless, your main system drive is (nominally) 60GB, of which you have 24GB free, and the large "Slave" drive is (nominally) 250GB, of which you have 210GB free. This is a good chunk of space on the secondary drive, so unless you're dealing with high-definition video, it should stand you in good stead for a while. If you're leery about adding more internal drives, you could invest in an external drive - again, Seagate and Western Digital have good models, and you can go to an online retailer such as Newegg and check out reviews. This drive would connect to the back of your Mac via the Firewire 400 connector. Your Mac does not have USB 2, so I would not recommend a USB-only drive.

    So, to reiterate, provided that you save your iLife projects to the second drive, you should be good for now.

    I'm not sure what's going on with that optical drive - it may require re-mounting (ie, taken out and put back into the drive bay, or even just have the mounting screws checked), and if that doesn't work, you can get a new drive relatively cheaply (around $30 for a new Pioneer drive with faster CD/DVD read/write and dual-layer capability).

  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Thanks for all the information which I will carefully consider. I'm not sure how many of my problems with video editing had to do with space and how many with speed. I did have to buy an external DVD burner and struggle with learning the whole Toast program, etc.

    What I was thinking of doing was keeping the slave drive, but replacing the hard drive with something as large or larger if I could justify the expense. Trouble is, I learned it's never just a simple matter of replacing ONE thing--several more things have to be changed or added before it all works. (If then.) So I'm debating whether to do this and came here for information to ponder.
  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Before deciding anything there's one question I have which I posted over in iMovie:
  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Okay, someone in the other thread said to run iMovie 08 I need at least a G5 so I guess my questions now should be:

    --What's the highest version of iLife I could run on an upgraded G4?

    --And what's cheaper, buying a new hard drive, motherboard speed device (sorry don't know name, hope you know what I mean), and iLife, or just buying a G5? Thanks.
  • Crees! Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)
    My machine specs are:
    Machine Name: Power Mac G4
    Machine Model: PowerMac3,5
    CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (2.1)
    Number Of CPUs: 1
    CPU Speed: 867 MHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 256 KB
    L3 Cache (per CPU): 2 MB
    Memory: 384 MB
    Bus Speed: 133 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.3.3f2

    That chipmunk site has this as the build date.

    Production year: 2002
    Production week: 15 (April)
    Production number: 63 (within this week)

    So it's a 4.3.3f2 but built prior to June 2002. This weekend I'll throw a drive in and see how it reads it. Looking to have this machine as a networked TM backup for starters.
  • Cornelia Shields Level 2 Level 2 (235 points)
    Thanks for your reply, though I only understood about half of it.

    I'd like to ask another question: does replacing a computer's hard drives with some containing more memory do anything to the overall internal memory--RAM or ROM or whatever? Is this the real problem in doing photography and video projects? I have to make the decision whether to buy a whole new machine for such projects or try to continue to attempt to upgrade what I have. Previously, I only understood the issue of "not enough space" to accomplish what needed to be done. Now I need to know: will anything make it better, stronger, faster, if so what and for how much?

    Besides DVD, there is this new technology, Blu-Ray. Should a person considering buying a new computer wait till everything goes Blu-Ray, and then snap up the old DVD technology cheap (which is what I did with my analog camera just before everything went digital)? Or is Blu-Ray upon us enough to wait for its prices to begin coming down? Or does the existence of Blu-Ray have nothing to do with making computer-produced DVDs? Thanks for any clarification on what I said was one question but turned into several.
  • stewiesno1 Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    What's going to be more critical for you is which application(s) you are going to be using for video and photography.
    You haven't told us which applications nor which versions you are going to be using nor how big your projects are going to be.
    If you are looking at using Final Cut Pro for instance, have a look at what the minimum and recommended specifications are for that version,OS wise and hardware wise.
    FCP is also picky about which video cards it will work with as well so you may have your hand forced there too about upgrading the old vs buying a new or newer model Mac.
    Video also chews through available HD space so I would look at installing a couple of big HDs internally.
    I would also max the memory for whichever Mac you choose.
    Hard drive size has nothing to do with the memory you install in your computer either.
    Unless you have a lot of money , Blu-ray seems to be a pretty expensive option at the moment.

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