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California
Jan 24, 2007, 11:49 AM
I am unhappy with beachballing on my upgraded G4 mac mini silent upgrade PPC 1.5ghz, 1gb ram, 100gb/7200 internal hard drive.

The ram limitation was something I did not expect when buying it.

So, if I buy a firewire ministack or mini enclosure with a 250gb or 500gb hard drive with a 16mb cache, will that improve any performance?

I did not know that a firewire Hard drive connection was as fast as an internal hd connection. (Is that true?)

If it is true, then I suppose getting a huge hard drive with 16mb cache and 10,000 rpms would probably speed the little mini up... right?

Anyone got any suggestions? The poor mini is only four months old, she's the top of the line PPC, but she's a bit slow because of the ram handicap.

P.S. DOes it matter if the external drive enclosure is SATA or ATA for the PPC mini?



panoz7
Jan 24, 2007, 11:55 AM
If you feel the ram is handicapping your performance why don't you buy more ram? I know mini's are a pain to open up but I've heard that it's not to bad provided you use the right tools.

As for the harddrive, I wouldn't expect much of a speed increase. You already have a 7200 RPM drive in there... I doubt an external firewire drive would be noticeably faster then the internal.

California
Jan 24, 2007, 12:06 PM
If you feel the ram is handicapping your performance why don't you buy more ram? I know mini's are a pain to open up but I've heard that it's not to bad provided you use the right tools.

As for the harddrive, I wouldn't expect much of a speed increase. You already have a 7200 RPM drive in there... I doubt an external firewire drive would be noticeably faster then the internal.

I did upgrade the ram. There is only one ram slot on the PPC mini. THerefore, limited to 1gb.

A larger -- say 500gb -- hard drive actually spins faster than a 100gb hard drive even if they are the same rpm speed. So a 500gb 7200 rpm hd is faster than a 100gb 7200 hard drive. Also, a larger hard drive cache 16mb rather than 8mb also speeds things up.

I want to know if there is a 500gb, 10,000rpm hard drive with a 16mb cache that I can slave to the mini with firewire and use it as a start up disc. If so, there should be some speed increase.

But I need to know if that is true about firewire being just as fast as internal drive connection; and need to know if I am limited to ATA drives or if I can hook up a SATA drive.

Anyone know?

crazzyeddie
Jan 24, 2007, 12:17 PM
What are you doing when you see the beachball? More specifics are needed to know whether its RAM or disk based. Also, it could simply be a software conflict. I find the best way to speed up any computer is to install a fresh copy of OS X. Its also a great way to diagnose a software issue.

As far as externals, get a Firewire 400 external drive. It will be faster than your internal drive. I recommend OWC (OWC external Firewire drives (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/)). You won't see any speed increase from Firewire 800 because your computer doesn't have a Firewire 800 port.

panoz7
Jan 24, 2007, 12:25 PM
I did upgrade the ram. There is only one ram slot on the PPC mini. THerefore, limited to 1gb.

But I need to know if that is true about firewire being just as fast as internal drive connection; and need to know if I am limited to ATA drives or if I can hook up a SATA drive.


That sucks about the ram. Will they take 2gig sticks? I knew they only had one slot but I assumed that there was also 512 built in... sort of like the old iBooks.

Anyway, I think the firewire 400 interface will be the limiting factor. I have a LaCie tri-interface external. It's a 7200rpm drive with an 8mb cache. It's noticeably faster with FW800 then with FW400. This suggests to me that if the FW400 interface is limiting a 7200rpm drive it will also limit a 10000rpm drive. Maybe my logic's flawed, but that's the way I see it.

As for speed, my powerbook has a 5400 RPM drive. The external seems to be about the same speed (completely subjective of course) as the internal drive when operating under FW400... it's a little faster then the internal with FW800.

I use the external w/ FW800 as an external scratch disk for photoshop. If you're a heavy photoshop user having a second drive can really speed things up when working with big files. If not I'm not sure how much good it'll do you.

simontarr
Jan 24, 2007, 12:42 PM
A 500GB 10K RPM drive will probably cost more than your mini, monitor, keyboard and mouse together.

Last time I checked I think it's around 1/per GB at 10K RPM. Ouch.

ChrisA
Jan 24, 2007, 12:48 PM
I am unhappy with beachballing on my upgraded G4 mac mini silent upgrade PPC 1.5ghz, 1gb ram, 100gb/7200 internal hard drive.

The first step is to upgrade the internals. Get the fastest internal drive and max out the RAM. But it looks like you've done that already.

It's debatable wetter a fast FW400 drive is faster than an interal IDE drive. It depends on the how you use the machine. What would be best is to use BOTH drives and gain some parallelism. Keep the OS and the applications on the internal drive and move your data to an external FW400 drive or if you want even more speed buy an external FW400 RAID that does stripping. Video files and the like are best kept on their own raid-0 device But the internal IDE interface is faster than FW400 so shorter files are best kept on the internal IDE drive

Eventually the best upgrade is to buy a new Intel Mac. I have a G4 Mini too. Looking to buy an Intel Mac this summer and let the g4 become a file/web/ftp server

guzktgui
Jan 24, 2007, 12:57 PM
FireWire data transfer rates are up to 400 Mbps (Megabits per second) ATA 100 goes up to 100 MBps (Megabytes per second) so an ATA drive should be faster than a FireWire one.

Megabit=1 million bits

MegaByte=1 million bytes

1byte=8 bits

do the math...

ChrisA
Jan 24, 2007, 12:59 PM
A 500GB 10K RPM drive will probably cost more than your mini, monitor, keyboard and mouse together.

But if you buy two "standard" SATA drives and put them into a RAID-0 box it will be both faster and cheaper than a single 10K RPM drive.

As an experiment, I built a RAID system inside a Linux powered PC The RAID was built with internal SATA drives. I then connected the Linux PC to the my G4 Mini using FW400. The Linux PC was able to fully "flood" the FW400 cable such that the FW400 interface itself was the limiting factor. But in terms of raw IO speed the Mini's internal disk as still faster. If the Mini had either FW800 or Gigabit Ethernet it would be different.

But we still don't know the bottle neck in this system. If he is trans-coding video files, a faster disk will not help

tilman
Jan 24, 2007, 01:12 PM
If you are looking at a lot of spinning beachballs, faster hardware by itself might not be the solution. There could be a software issue as well. A MacMini G4 isn't exactly the fastest computer available, but it isn't that bad.

An external hard disk will help a MacMini a bit for two reasons. First, most external Firewire drives use a 3.5" drive. 3.5" drives in general are a bit faster than the 2.5" drives, even at the same rotational speed. Just think about it: the tracks on a 3.5" drive are almost 50% longer than those on a 2.5" drive. That directly translates into 50% higher speed at which the media moves past the read and write heads. Second, you are adding a second drive to your system. Converting a movie file goes a lot faster if you read from one drive and write the output to another drive.

tilman
Jan 24, 2007, 01:22 PM
FireWire data transfer rates are up to 400 Mbps (Megabits per second) ATA 100 goes up to 100 MBps (Megabytes per second) so an ATA drive should be faster than a FireWire one.

Megabit=1 million bits

MegaByte=1 million bytes

1byte=8 bits

do the math...

Yes, it could be faster - if the drive itself could actually sustain such data rates. In typical desktop use, with random access to many small files, general access times are much more important. And those are impacted much more by physical characteristics of the drive itself: rotational speed, platter size, head count, seek times, etc.

CanadaRAM
Jan 24, 2007, 01:40 PM
Boyoboy. CA. --

#1 - there are no 500 G 10K RPM IDE or SATA drives

#2 - Firewire 400 pushes about half of the throughput of an UltraATA100 or 133 connection in real world testing - think about it a minute... you have the same UltraATA100 interface inside the drive case, plus the added overhead of the Firewire chip in the Mac and the Firewire bridge chip in the case.
www.barefeats.com if you want test results.

#3 - A 500 Gb 7200 RPM hard drive does not spin faster than a 100 GB 7200 RPM hard drive. What a 3.5" drive does do, by virtue of its larger diameter than a 2.5" hard drive, is pass more data under the heads on its outside tracks per revolution, than a 2.5" drive can. This is because the track length (thus, the number of bits) is longer at a 3.5" diameter (pi * D = 11 inches ) than a 2.5" diameter (7.85"). When you get to the inside tracks of a 3.5" drive, the diameter is smaller and the data throughput is less, so there is not as much difference.

Of course 3.5" drives don't have 3.5" platters, they are somewhat smaller than the chassis, as with 2.5" drives. But this is also why a 500 Gb 7200 RPM drive with perpendicular recording can usually match a 73 Gb 10K RPM Raptor drive--- in order to spin at 10K RPM, the Raptor's platter diameter is smaller than a typical 3.5" drive, so it gives away some track length. Then, perpendicular recording in the new drives allows the platter to pack the data more densely, so more bits pass under the heads for every track-inch.