5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 18, 2009 4:32 PM by eww
Snakedoc1306 Level 1 (5 points)
Hello, I just purchased a 1.5ghz 12-inch Powerbook G4 off ebay for $299. It came maxed on both the processor and RAM. The hard drive is 80gb, and I was wondering what would be a better hard drive upgrade? I was thinking either Western Digital 320gb (5400rpm) or Transcend/Super Talent 64gb SSD. They're both in the same price range, but I have some questions.

My first question is will the SSD be more efficient and provide a speed boost over a regular hard drive? And will it provide longer battery life? These are the main points people are making about SSD's but usually that is the SSD's with SATA connection. I haven't been able to find much on the SSD's with IDE/ATA/PATA connections.

Has anyone upgraded their powerbook g4 to SSD? Did you see any significant upgrade in boot up speed, applications speed and longer battery life?

Please any help would be great!

I'm only using the powerbook G4 for school...so mainly applications such as MS office, iLife/iWork 09, Safari, Mail, etc.


12" Powerbook G4-1.5ghz/1.25gb/80gb, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • eww Level 9 (52,980 points)
    If you aren't happy with an 80GB hard drive and are looking at a 320GB replacement, why would you even think about a 64GB SSD? It seems clear that you don't have any idea what you want. Under the circumstances, the best thing to do would be to save your money until you decide whether you actually need anything different from the drive that's already in the computer.
  • Snakedoc1306 Level 1 (5 points)
    I have a clue of what I want....I just want to know if the SSD will be a good upgrade?

    If the SSD isn't a good upgrade, such as it doesn't provide a boost in operating speed, opening applications, boot-up time, battery life, etc. than I will upgrade the hard drive space.

    I don't need a lot of hard drive, but if I can have extra space than that's a plus, because I've read that when hard drives get full, they run a little sluggish. Also with a 320gb hard drive, I can put my itunes library on my laptop, but it is not necessary for me.

    My main question is about Solid State Drives in a powerbook g4...Are they a good upgrade? Will the SSD improve boot up time, battery life and allow my powerbook G4 to be more efficient than a normal hard drive? That is what I'm getting at here.

    Please any help would be great, and don't respond to my question by being rude and telling me "I don't know what I want", because I do, but I like to do some research before I spend my money.
  • eww Level 9 (52,980 points)
    All SSDs are not equal — not by a long shot. Some SSDs (but probably not any of the ones that are comparable in price to a 320GB hard drive) are substantially faster than any hard drive. Most are somewhat faster. All are more shock-resistant, but their longevity in real life is still unknown; they are too new. They are outrageously expensive on a per-gigabyte basis now, being new, and the really fast ones cost much more than you paid for your computer. Those SSDs are all Serial ATA models that your Powerbook can't use anyway. There are few PATA SSDs in production now. For user reviews of them, try the Drive Compatibility Database at http://www.xlr8yourmac.com and the websites of such vendors as newegg.com, buy.com, zipzoomfly.com, macsales.com, etc.

    Don't count on longer battery life with a SSD. Boot time will be shorter, but there's no reason to reboot a Powerbook except when a software update requires it, so that's really a non-factor. Application launches will be faster. By far the best reason to buy a SSD is for the extra shock resistance, if your computer will be transported a lot under rough conditions or operated while you're riding in a car, bus, train or plane. You'll have to decide how much that's worth to you — figuring in also the cost of a second external hard drive on which to back up your first external hard drive, and the inconvenience of sometimes having to carry an external drive with you just to have access to all your files.
  • Snakedoc1306 Level 1 (5 points)
    "Boot time will be shorter, but there's no reason to reboot a Powerbook except when a software update requires it, so that's really a non-factor."

    Why do you say this? Is it better to keep your powerbook G4 on all the time? I usually keep it on and turn it off every night, and I turn it off after my class is over and then at the start of my next class, I turn it back on. That is why I was wondering about boot time. Is it better to keep my powerbook g4 on all the time, such as overnight and in between classes? Or do you mean just to keep it in sleep mode?

    THanks for the information on the SSD's.
  • eww Level 9 (52,980 points)
    Just let it sleep when you aren't using it. That lets you get back to work immediately when you want to.

    I've had Powerbooks and Macbook Pros for 15 years. Under Mac OS 9 and earlier, it was necessary to restart more often to free up RAM, but I still slept my Powerbooks most of the time instead of shutting them down. OS X manages memory far better than OS 9 ever did, and it's really not advantageous in any way to shut down a Powerbook running OS X unless a software update tells you to, or you're not going to use it for weeks.