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Question: Hard drive upgrade in Powerbook G3 Lombard

I am in the process of upgrading my Powerbook G3 Lombard (bronze keyboard, 400MHZ). I have found a number of Seagate Momentus Hard drives on Ebay and they are highly rated but I don't know what size to get--40, 60, 80, 100, 120GB. I want to upgrade from OS 9.2 to OS X Tiger and use this laptop for my children who occasionally get online and play computer games and use their DVD educational disks.


powerbook g3 lombard bronze keyboard, Mac OS 9.2.x, 400 MHZ, 8G Hard drive, 512 MB ram

Posted on Jun 27, 2006 6:00 AM


Jun 27, 2006 7:06 AM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri

You can squeeze 10.3 Panther onto a 6 GB drive, 10.4 Tiger takes a little more. In my opinion, a 10 GB drive would be big enough for most purposes on a portable.

So the answer to your question is, "How big does your wallet want to go?"

Jun 27, 2006 7:06 AM

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Jun 27, 2006 7:22 AM in response to Grant Bennet-Alder In response to Grant Bennet-Alder

I'm way out of my league when it comes to technology, so bear with me.

My big issue is this: on some of the children's web sites, the pages won't load. They typically use a current version of Macromedia Flash. If I upgrade to OS X Tiger and a 40GB HD, will that be sufficient to load some of the sites? And what affect does the "rotational speed" (5400 vs 7200) have on the loading of these web sites?

Thank you.


Jun 27, 2006 7:22 AM

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Jun 27, 2006 8:25 AM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri

Jayne (and Grant),

If I may step in here with a few comments...

- Some Lombards can have a problem with any version of OSX if you have memory in the top memory slot. (You have two memory slots...one on the bottom side of the microprocessor card and one on the top.) So before going any further, download 'PPC Checker' here:


Then see if it gives this report:

PowerPC 750L (LoneStar, Rev2.2) Copper G3 PVR = 0x00088202

If you have this CPU, you can only run a maximum of 256MB of RAM in the bottom memory slot.

- Tiger is not natively supported on the Lombard...only 10.3.9 and earlier. However, you can install Tiger with the use of XPostFacto fairly easily since you also have a DVD drive.

- The size and speed of the HD have little affect on the loading of web pages. this is governed by the speed of your network connection and the speed of your CPU.

If you do not have the troublesome CPU, and you are not storing a lot of stuff on your Lombard's HD, you could give either Panther or Tiger a test run with your current hardware. It would help to know how much free space you currently have on your HD (Get Info on the HD icon).

Jun 27, 2006 8:25 AM

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Jun 27, 2006 2:48 PM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri


Having the handicapped CPU does not affect replacing the HD nor running Tiger. You would remove the top 256MB memory module (quite easy) and install the new HD.

Question: Will you be making the hardware changes or will a professional or friend? If you wish to do them, I can provide links for such procedures.

The 256MB total RAM (after removing the top 256MB) is sufficient to run Tiger since this is the minimum requirement.

To install Tiger, you need either 9.x or some version of 10.x already installed; this is required to run XPostFacto.

These are the steps I would follow:

1. Remove the top 256MB memory module and install the new HD.
2. Boot to your 9.x CD and use Drive Setup to initialize the HD with HFS Extended Format.
3. Install 9.x and XPostFacto; if you plan on running Classic or booting into 9.x occasionally, update to 9.2.2.
4. Boot to your Tiger DVD and install. If you wish to slim down Tiger, do not install the Printer Drivers, Additional Fonts, and Language Translations.


Here is a selection of IDE 2.5" HDs for the powerbook:

As long as you want to replace the HD, then get a minimum of 40GB; if usage is as you described earlier, 10GB would be plenty. The 7200rpm will give you the best performance but 5400rpm is more than adequate.

Jun 27, 2006 2:48 PM

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Jun 27, 2006 4:57 PM in response to jpl In response to jpl


You are a wealth of information, thank you. I will be doing the installation, not a professional. I carefully added the extra 256MB ram myself by following the step by step instructions on www.macworld.com/2003/01/features/upgrade/index.php. I should be able to remove the top ram and install the new HD.

One last thought. Maybe I also need to upgrade the 400MHZ processor? I mentioned that the primary use of the laptop will be for the children to use so that video heavy web sites and DVDs load quickly and run smoothly. My Lombard is now 400MHz.


Jun 27, 2006 4:57 PM

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Jun 27, 2006 7:54 PM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri


Since you are talented and confident, then diving into the powerbook will be easy; here is an additional guide:

Daystar seems to be the card of choice and it is a 433MHz G4. The 33MHz is not worth the money but the G4 is of benefit if you are running applications that take advantage of the G4's AltiVec and these are mostly video processing apps. This G4 CPU will not improve the loading speed of DVDs nor increase the display rendering speed of downloaded webpages

The Lombard is also VRAM (video RAM) constrained at 8MB with no way to increase it.

I really don't believe the upgrade itself will be of much benefit for your purposes. In the past one companny offered a 900MHz G3 but I believe it had heat and/or other issues. I can see the benefit of an upgrade card under this scenario: You are wed to the Lombard and want to run Tiger and also have 512MB of RAM available (the upgraded CPU will solve the memory issue). If you wish, head over to this site...


...and select just the Lombard powerbook while leaving the manufacturer blank. There are approximately 60 reviews of various cards.

If I may humbly make this observation...you are working with hardware that has speed traps...8MB of VRAM, 66MHz system bus, 400MHz CPU...and all that you would like to upgrade will have little benefit in overall performance. One could argue that the performance you have in 9.x will be faster than a move to 10.x. You also have to be careful about putting money into older hardware, especially an approximately 7 year powerbook.

I would urge you to try this first: Remove the top 256MB memory module, then install Tiger on your 8GB HD. I have installed Tiger using as little as 2-3GB of HD space. If your current HD is highly fragmented (and it probably is if you have never used a utility like Norton Speed Disk or have never erased/installed the OS), I would erase it, install 9.x + XPostFacto, then Tiger. This will give you a real-world feel as to how Tiger will perform when loading web pages, DVDs, etc, without any additional expenses.

Jun 27, 2006 7:54 PM

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Jun 28, 2006 2:33 AM in response to jpl In response to jpl


I did as you said, removed the 256MB, cleaned HD, loaded xpostfacto and installed Tiger. But the laptop would not reboot in OS X. In fact, the first time I installed Tiger, the computer rebooted into OS 9. The second attempt at installing Tiger brought me to a black screen when rebooting with a circle with line through it and nothing else. I've been able to reboot again to OS 9 and look to you for advice.


Jun 28, 2006 2:33 AM

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Jun 28, 2006 8:09 AM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri


How frustrating...hope I can help.

Please make sure all peripherals and any PC cards are removed.

XPostFacto does have a troubleshooting section with a link on the main page: "For more information, see the XPostFacto documentation".

Go down to the section "Diagnosing the problem" and see if you can boot into Verbose Mode.

As a quick test, open XPostFacto and go to Options; on my Wallstreet, I left everything unchecked including the L2/L3 cache but I did leave auto-boot checked in Open Firmware. Now try booting.

Jun 28, 2006 8:09 AM

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Jun 28, 2006 12:29 PM in response to jayne Alfieri In response to jayne Alfieri


You had mentioned removing the "airport card" when having this difficulty. I don't know if it would make any difference, but if you had the WiFi PC card present when installing Tiger, you may want to try one more install without it.

Before giving up, I would also check the HD: Boot to your 9.x CD and open the Drive Setup in the Utilities folder on the CD. There is a Test Disk under the menu bar. I would run this and see if anything turns up. If it fails, select 'zero all data' in the Initialization Options, then run Test Disk after the zeroing. You can then proceed with another install if you are so inclined.

Jun 28, 2006 12:29 PM

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Question: Hard drive upgrade in Powerbook G3 Lombard

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