PDA

View Full Version : Advice on upgrading hard drive on a G4 Powerbook




Argelius
Feb 25, 2006, 07:33 AM
I am interesting in upgrading the harddrive (size-wise) in a 15" G4 Al Powerbook. (I currently have 80 GB).

My Googling has led me to many sites that sell larger hard drives with instructions and/or installation kits/tools.

Having never investigated these things, a couple of questions:

[1] Anyone recommend a particular online vendor for this?
[2] Are there any specifications I should look for (or avoid) when choosing a HD (like rotational speed, data transfer, etc) to ensure the new drive is fully compatible?
[3] Other than getting more capacity, are there any other advantages of upgrading (such a performance or battery life?)

Thanks!



Over Achiever
Feb 25, 2006, 07:59 AM
1. I personally like the HDs from transintl (http://www.transintl.com), straightforward site and decent selection and prices. As for instructions, if you follow the instructions from iFixit (http://www.ifixit.com), that should be straightforward. I used the instructions for my 17" PB, and it worked out just fine. If you're really worried, then downloading a service manual from here (http://dump.doomtech.net/.hidden/apple_service_manuals/Powerbook/G4/15%20inch/) might make you more confident as it's written by Apple themselves.

2. The main specification you should look for is that it's a laptop drive, i.e. 2.5". The 3.5" are too thick as they are desktop drives, and the 1.8" are too small, as they are the iPod drives. As for rotational speed, any speed is compatible. Most people consider 4200 rpm to be slow, 5400 rpm to be the sweet spot, and 7200 to be fast, but only really necessary if doing video work. I personally bought a 4200 rpm drive because it was cheapest, it works fine for me, but the 5400 rpm drive seems to be the best performance for value. Oh, and the larger the cache, the better the performance.

3. Of course if the HD spins faster, you'll get better performance, but with a slight battery hit I believe. That and you'll have a new HD which'll extend the life of your computer ... my HD died after 2-3 years, so you'll get that much extra time. Of course if you buy an external case for your old HD, you get an extra HD to work with too! Just get a firewire enclosure (about $30) and put the old HD in it, then you have what amounts to a backup HD, extra storage space, etc. Sorta like an extra iPod without the playback capabilities.

-OA

Argelius
Feb 25, 2006, 08:36 AM
Thanks...that was very helpful.

I assume if I do install it myself, my warranty (including the extended one I bought from Apple) will be null-and-void (for all, not just hard-drive, issues)?

Over Achiever
Feb 25, 2006, 08:51 AM
I believe so ... sorta the downside to diy upgrades. However if you keep the old HD, and you have no complications when replacing it (be careful of the metal tabs on the upper casing, they can break off easily), then if you run into a warranty issue, put the old HD back into the computer and they shouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Argelius
Feb 25, 2006, 09:09 AM
Thanks...and good suggestion about replacing the old HD in the event of warranty repair (although having then to reinstall the OS on that drive would be a major pain...)

Argelius
Feb 25, 2006, 10:46 AM
Thanks, all for your thoughts.

I think I'm having second thoughts (especially after realizing that such a maneuver would also void my warranty...)

Thinking I might just do a USB external drive.

Should I still have your attention, any recommendations on an external drive? I'd really prefer a self(USB)-powered 2.5" one...

matticus008
Feb 26, 2006, 06:03 PM
Thanks, all for your thoughts.

I think I'm having second thoughts (especially after realizing that such a maneuver would also void my warranty...)

Thinking I might just do a USB external drive.

Should I still have your attention, any recommendations on an external drive? I'd really prefer a self(USB)-powered 2.5" one...

Any of them should be fine for your purposes, but you'll have to do a little shopping around for an enclosure you like...fortunately almost all of them are bus-powered. Just don't forget to unplug it when you're on battery power!

CanadaRAM
Feb 26, 2006, 06:23 PM
I am interesting in upgrading the harddrive (size-wise) in a 15" G4 Al Powerbook. (I currently have 80 GB).
Why not just ad a nice big fast 3.5" external Firewire drive? That gives you a bootable drive for emergencies (clone your existing drive onto it), a place to make backups, and a place to move your older data to so that you have enough room on the internal 80 for everything you need to travel with?

(not to mention you will still have the 80 Gb drive, so the external is additive to the space you have rather than replacing it.)

Buy a 250 Gb 7200 RPM 3.5" IDE drive with a 3 or 5 year warranty, and a good Firewire case like the MacAlly aluminum series & Robert's your Father's Brother.

California
Feb 26, 2006, 07:11 PM
Ya know, I am completely sick of having to tow the line when it comes to hard drive upgrades and Applecare.

If I have an Apple Certified Technician put an upgraded harddrive into my computer, why the heck does that void my warranty?

I am really not happy about this stipulation to Applecare.

I understand the problem with diy jobs but -- if I take it in to a ACT, what the heck is wrong with that? Why would that void my warranty?

I feel like challenging Apple on this. I don't understand this at all.

Over Achiever
Feb 26, 2006, 07:17 PM
My post was simply referring to a do-it-yourself upgrade, I have no idea how that applies to ACTs.

Squonk
Mar 1, 2006, 07:51 PM
2. The main specification you should look for is that it's a laptop drive, i.e. 2.5". The 3.5" are too thick as they are desktop drives, and the 1.8" are too small, as they are the iPod drives. As for rotational speed, any speed is compatible. Most people consider 4200 rpm to be slow, 5400 rpm to be the sweet spot, and 7200 to be fast, but only really necessary if doing video work. I personally bought a 4200 rpm drive because it was cheapest, it works fine for me, but the 5400 rpm drive seems to be the best performance for value. Oh, and the larger the cache, the better the performance.

3. Of course if the HD spins faster, you'll get better performance, but with a slight battery hit I believe. That and you'll have a new HD which'll extend the life of your computer ...

-OA

I'm looking to upgrade the drive in my 15" PowerBook 1.25GHz. I'm trying to extrude the best performance from my aging PowerBook. My current drive is a 4200rpm and I'm torn between:
100GB 7200rpm (probably a Seagate), or
120GB 5400rpm

I already have a 250GB external usb2/firewire drive for backups and "near-line" storage.

Can anyone comment on "will my machine benefit from the 7200rpm or am I just throwing away my money." I'm a performance junkie - if the 7200rpm will give me 10% better performance, then I'd easily go that route.

The applications that I use the most are iPhoto 6 (3000 pictures and growing quickly), iTunes(5800 songs) and Office2004. Although I'm gearing up to start playing with XCode.

Thanks much!