11 Replies Latest reply: Jun 28, 2013 3:18 PM by Ramón G Castañeda
Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

I'm staring at my open MDD G4 with its four empty HD slots, two in the front bay and two in the rear bay.


If I'm going to install a single HD, exactly where should I install it?  My goal is to sell it or donate the G4 as a working PPC.


At one point I had four IDE/PATA HDs installed and the machine worked like a dream, then I took them out, but I still have one of the drives available.  Once I replace the dead Li battery, I hope the G4 still runs. 


Thanks in advance.

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.5), 2.66GHzQuad 2006,16GB RAM,1GB VRAM
  • Jeff Level 6 (11,477 points)

    I'll assume that you didn't have those 4 drives connected to an Ultra ATA-133 PCI controller card.  If I were installing a single hard drive in a G4 MDD, I'd mount it in the rear carrier.  That enables a direct connection to the faster onboard ATA-100 bus.  Drives in the front bay are typically connected to the slower onboard ATA-66 bus.

  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

    Thanks, that's a great start.


    Does it make any difference as to which of the two carriers in that rear cage?


    Also, any difference whether the jumper is set to master, slave or select if I only have the one drive left in the machine?


    Again, I just want to get it running so I can sell the G4, give it away or donate it.



    Jeff wrote:


    I'll assume that you didn't have those 4 drives connected to an Ultra ATA-133 PCI controller card…


    I ordered the machine direct from Apple and it came with the four HDs already installed.  I always assumed they were ordinary IDE/PATA drives, and I never added any "Ultra ATA-133 PCI controller card".


    Last time I had opened that machine, I  took out the two HDs in the front cage and put them in external housings to attach to a G5 Quad, I think one by FW and the other one by USB2, but maybe both enclosures were FW, not sure at this point.  Curiously, the G4 never booted up after that and I just blamed it on a dead Li battery, but wasn't sure whether the two remaining drives were connected properly or if jumpers had to be repositioned.

  • jayv. Level 4 (1,285 points)

    I don't know your reasons for selling it but make sure you really no longer have a need for it
    It can do service as a file or print server, a simple machine for the kids, backup in case another mac fails, etc. Just throwing that out there as i have seen a lot of old Macs being thrown out for wrong reasons.


    This might also be useful: http://appleserialnumberinfo.com/Desktop/TnR/Tips/PPC/PPC.php

  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

    Thanks for the tips and the link.


    One reason to keep the G4 is that it can still boot into straight, native Mac OS 9.2 as well as OS X. 


    But now I find myself with a Mac Pro desktop, a G5 Quad, the MDD G4, a beige MiniTower G3 with a G4 ZIF upgrade, an Intel MacBook, a MacBook Air and a Windoze Toshiba laptop.  My wife has an Intel Mac Mini, and the two of us are alone in the house.  All three "kids" are grown ups now.


    The beige Mini Tower is the only one that will let me use use the ADB QuarkXPress Passport dongle between the ADB keyboard and the machine. 


    Thank you nfor mentioning the print server possibility.  I'll see what advantages there are to that.

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,450 points)


    Are you sure about the faster 100 MHz bus speeds on the rear drive carriers?

    I have had a G4 MDD for 10 years and have done many upgrades to this over the years and never, EVER knew this.

    I have only two internal HDs installed. You mean, I could've put my everyday boot hard drive on the faster bus and select that drive as my regular boot drive?

    Does the Master/slave relationship, when connecting these back up, change or stay the same? Would my preferred boot HD on the faster, 100 MHz bus, in the rear carriage, need to be set as the Master drive?

  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

    I think Jeff is right about the rear bay being the faster one.  On the OWC instrucion video they refer to it as "the best one" or "the fast one", not sure.

  • Jeff Level 6 (11,477 points)

    Yes - the faster Ultra ATA-100 bus connection is at the rear of the motherboard and the connections for the two slower buses (Ultra ATA-66 for additional hard drives and ATA-33 for optical drives) are located near the left front corner (ATA-33 on the left and ATA-66 on the right).  From EveryMac.com's description of the 1.25 GHz DP model:  "It has four internal 3.5" drive bays -- two Ultra ATA/66 and two Ultra ATA/100 -- intended for hard drives and two external 5.25" drive bays intended for optical drives."

  • MichelPM Level 6 (11,450 points)

    Thanks, Jeff!

    I might swap my main boot drive from that Mac and move it the rear carriers and hook it up to 100 MHz bus connection. Hopefully this will work out.


  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

    Any comments on the two unanswered questions:


    • Does it make any difference as to which of the two carriers in that rear cage?




    • Also, any difference whether the jumper is set to master, slave or select if I only have the one drive left in the machine?

  • Jeff Level 6 (11,477 points)

    I'd mount a single hard drive in the bottom of the carrier, so it is closer to the chassis wall.  This provides more separation between the processor heatsink and the top of the hard drive - both of which give off heat.  Even with the lower fan blowing across the heatsink and providing air circulation to the rear of the case, I'd still prefer keeping as much space between them.  Since the G4 MDDs support Cable Select, take advantage of the convenience it provides.  It was designed for ease of assembly for system builders, whereby each drive - HDD or optical - could be configured the same and without regard for the actual mounting position in the case.  With a ribbon cable supporting Cable Select, the detection or non-detection of a ground signal at pin 28 enables the drive to self-configure as master or slave respectively.  When you're assembling hundreds of units, this speeds up the process significantly.

  • Ramón G Castañeda Level 4 (1,460 points)

    Thank you, Jeff.  You have now solved my question in its entirety.