12 Replies Latest reply: Jun 28, 2006 10:34 AM by LIGHTSHOW
robtas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I'm using a Powerbook G4 12" with 1.33 GHZ and the original hardware, purchased it back in Fall '03. The past couple of days, it has started to act up - about 60% of the time, it wouldn't even turn on properly, failing to even reach the Apple startup screen. If I did succeed in reaching my desktop, applications would take forever to open or simple stall. Anyhow, I ran disk utility off the install disk and found a minor problem in the volume bitmap, which was promptly fixed. The stalling persisted. So I ran Apple Hardware Test and was given the 2STF/8/3: ata-100 ata-6 mass storage error code. I don't know what that means exactly but gauging from some of the other posts, it looks to be predicting the imminent failure of my hard drive. I'm going to try and take it into the Genius Bar tomorrow but am not hoping for much.

At any rate, the crux of my question is this: if it is my hard drive preparing itself for the great beyond, is it worth buying a replacement hard drive for my 3-year old computer? Or should I just buy a new cheap Macbook? I'm on a student budget at the moment, so I'm trying to figure out which makes the most long-term sense. Last thing I want to do is fork out for a new hard drive only to have something else breakdown. I haven't upgraded my current computer much - I added an airport card and just bought a new battery but that's it.

Any thoughts? Apologies for the long-winded post.

Powerbook G4 12"   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  

Powerbook G4 12"   Mac OS X (10.4.6)  
  • johndavi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    You have the same unit I have and purchased about the same time. If I was having your problems I would definitely try the genius bar and or other apple techs before buying a new laptop. I'm hoping for a few more years outa mine before shelling out for the new intel model, figuring they'll have most of the bugs worked out by then etc

    good luck . . .
  • EddieC Level 5 Level 5 (7,345 points)
    Welcome to Apple Discussions, robtas and johndavi.

    From the description it seems most likely that the internal hard drive is failing. Judging by your model of PowerBook, I would not be surprised if the drive is a Toshiba. If so, then you may also hear unusual noises from the drive.

    The normal thing to do is backup/retrieve your data (if necessary or feasible) and then replace the drive. A hard drive replacement is not necessarily that expensive. Potentially you might be able to source a suitable drive online from $60 upwards and have that fitted for, maybe, $50. If you are comfortable working with a computer's innards then online structions are available here.

    As for whether you should just buy a MacBook... personally I think, for now, you should just replace the drive unless you have other urgent needs that a MacBook can serve. The MBs may also have teething problems that need sorting out. Replacing the drive will be far cheaper than buying a MB.

    15" 1.25GHz/12" 1GHz PBs, 2xPPC Mac minis, 12" iBook G4,   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   Cube, 2xTAMs, iPods 2G/4G, iPs, AEBS, AX
  • El Perdido Level 1 Level 1 (140 points)
    Although I was not a math major and having survived my senior year on basically saltines and peanut butter, a new hard drive will cost around $200 installed. A 1.33ghz laptop has plenty of speed for most things. If it is only the hard drive, a 100gb will get you through at least three or four more years. The $800 difference new drive vs Macbook will buy a lot of beer, I mean, ramen,ooops, books.
  • EddieC Level 5 Level 5 (7,345 points)
    What drive did you have installed?

    15" 1.25GHz/12" 1GHz PBs, 2xPPC Mac minis, 12" iBook G4,   Mac OS X (10.4.6)   Cube, 2xTAMs, iPods 2G/4G, iPs, AEBS, AX
  • Aaron Harpole Level 2 Level 2 (385 points)
    From that error message, I am not sure whether the problem at hand is the hard drive or the disk controller failing. Before investing in a 100 gb laptop hard drive, I'd recommend finding a geeky friend with a spare 2.5" laptop hard drive laying around that you can swap out and see if it works. Sadly, swapping the hard drive in your PowerBook is tedious work and takes a couple of hours. But if it's your hard drive that's dead, just replace that. I swear by the PowerBooks. They are very well designed inside and out. Hard drives (especially laptop hard drives) are very prone to failure and it's likely that it's just that.

    Hope this helps!
  • EddieC Level 5 Level 5 (7,345 points)
    There is one option that slipped my mind the first time around, but has now come to me.

    It might be worth trying to Erase the drive, with the "Zero Out Data" option set in the Security Options within Disk Utility. This might help to map out any bad sectors that may be present on the drive.

  • Applewiz Level 3 Level 3 (520 points)
    If it's a Toshiba send it in to them... they have a 3 year warranty on there disk drives. Mine is being replaced as we speak. This is a link to the direct page to input your HD serial number and it will tell you if it's in warranty or not and will give you instructions for sending it in.
  • jscene Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have the same machine and my HD just died. I ran Disk Warrior on it, but DW just freezes while rebuilding the directory. Is there ANY hope of data recovery, and if so, how? Ideas please
  • Alexpb90 Level 3 Level 3 (500 points)
    If only I would've known that Toshiba had a 3 year warranty on the drives, I would've saved myself $120 from buying a new one :\ It's amazing how many Toshiba drives have failed on these 12" PowerBooks

    - Alex
  • bmoney Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
    I am sorry, but you mentioned that your PowerBook was purchased in the Fall of '03 but if you have a 12" 1.33 ghz model, that didn't come out until April of 2004. Sorry for being a smart*, but that is the computer I have, and I remember when it came out.
  • Victor Chavarria Level 1 Level 1 (120 points)
    I bought my PB in beginings of 2004 when it came out (1.33GHz) i use it every day and has never gave me any problem. In fact works better than a new 2000$ Sony® Vaio in everything.
  • LIGHTSHOW Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)
    I also have the same problem.
    I just replaced the HD and Im still having problems. Im not upset though cause I got 3 good years with no problems out of it.
    So basically in my case with the extra problems it is not worth the extra money and I'll end up getting a mid level macbook which will handle my needs and will be much faster than the PB G4, simply because its not worth putting in 4 or 5 hundred in a comp when you can get a new one for about 1200.

    As for you however, if it is only the HD then I would change the HD. Should only be about 100$ and you can even get a 5200 which is already a big improvement from your 4200 that came with the PB.