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Old Apr 28, 2013, 11:54 AM   #1
rjcalifornia
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Replacing HDD with a Compact Flash Card

So, crazy idea. Is it possible to replace an ibook HDD with a Compact Flash Card?

If so, how?
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjcalifornia View Post
So, crazy idea. Is it possible to replace an ibook HDD with a Compact Flash Card?

If so, how?
You can, but it will be bootable only in open firmware. Or not bootable at all.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
You can, but it will be bootable only in open firmware. Or not bootable at all.
What?
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:16 PM   #4
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What?
Assuming it has an SD card slot like powerbooks.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:16 PM   #5
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This might be of interest as a starting point:
http://lowendmac.com/mail/07/0612.html
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjcalifornia View Post
Compact Flash Card?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
Assuming it has an SD card slot like powerbooks.
Compact Flash card ≠ SD card, nor does the iBook have a slot.

He means use the CF card with an adapter to IDE as the internal hard drive. This is possible, but I am worried that it would accumulate too many writes too fast and fail.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:19 PM   #7
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Yes you can use a CompactFlash drive in place of an iBook's internal hard drive with use of an adapter. They work rather well considering their limitations. I have one in my G3 iMac and it works very well with the card maxing out the iMac's ATA/33 bus speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
You can, but it will be bootable only in open firmware. Or not bootable at all.
CompactFlash cards work like standard IDE/PATA drives when used with an adapter with the internal PATA bus for booting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
Assuming it has an SD card slot like powerbooks.
What? Powerbooks don't have an SD card slot. They have a PCMCIA slot. You can boot OS 9 and Mac OS X from a Powerbook G4's PCMCIA slot although it will be a bit slower than using the internal PATA bus.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:23 PM   #8
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Yes. You use an adapter made to convert the CF connection to IDE and as long as you change the jumper settings correctly, if needed, then it works fine.

The adapters are on eBay, I found some by quickly searching "cf to ide 2.5". I'm not sure if some work better than others but here's a few:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-5-inch-2-C...item19dbad2c0c

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual-CF-Comp...item4845a71e30

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-CF-Compa...item2ec7bed4f6
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 05:25 PM   #9
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works fine. nice and quiet and cool, and not as likely to die if dropped compared to a regular platter drive. smaller capacity was the only down side i ran into, but i didn't want much more than the OS anyway.

i'd start at Wiki and scroll down to the bit about 'using in place of a hard drive'.

as an iBook replacement, you'll need a 44pin IDE to CF adapter. lots around, ebay is full of them. some of the generic/board ones are flaky to use and hard to mount, you might try something like THIS as it mounts in place, and then you pop the cf card in, and you're good to go. i'd also mention that you might want to tape/glue the card in after you get done to secure it, as having it come loose and then needing to take the laptop all the way apart again would be a royal pain!

i had problems with cheap/generic cf cards, so i'd also recommend cards that are listed as dma or udma compatible or at least list the pio modes that are supported. better chance of getting one that will 'act like a drive'.

post up results/pics if you give it a go. best of luck.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 07:20 PM   #10
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They even come pre-built in a 2.5" form factor like this one (which happen to be less expensive than 60MB/s UDMA CF cards).
Thumb resize.

Or you use an adapter and supply your own CF card.
Thumb resize.

Last edited by Giuly; Apr 28, 2013 at 07:25 PM.
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 08:35 PM   #11
rjcalifornia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabidz7 View Post
Assuming it has an SD card slot like powerbooks.
Please, Mods just ban this guy already. He is not being helpful at all.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giuly View Post
They even come pre-built in a 2.5" form factor like this one (which happen to be less expensive than 60MB/s UDMA CF cards).
Thumb resize.

Or you use an adapter and supply your own CF card.
Thumb resize.
Beautiful! Thanks for the links!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4JNA View Post
works fine. nice and quiet and cool, and not as likely to die if dropped compared to a regular platter drive. smaller capacity was the only down side i ran into, but i didn't want much more than the OS anyway.

i'd start at Wiki and scroll down to the bit about 'using in place of a hard drive'.

as an iBook replacement, you'll need a 44pin IDE to CF adapter. lots around, ebay is full of them. some of the generic/board ones are flaky to use and hard to mount, you might try something like THIS as it mounts in place, and then you pop the cf card in, and you're good to go. i'd also mention that you might want to tape/glue the card in after you get done to secure it, as having it come loose and then needing to take the laptop all the way apart again would be a royal pain!

i had problems with cheap/generic cf cards, so i'd also recommend cards that are listed as dma or udma compatible or at least list the pio modes that are supported. better chance of getting one that will 'act like a drive'.

post up results/pics if you give it a go. best of luck.
If have to get a CF card first. DMA or UDMA? Well, I will be looking for CF and then post 'em here to get advices.

So, if I install it, will I need to format it? Or the installer will take care of that?

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Intell View Post
Yes you can use a CompactFlash drive in place of an iBook's internal hard drive with use of an adapter. They work rather well considering their limitations. I have one in my G3 iMac and it works very well with the card maxing out the iMac's ATA/33 bus speed.



CompactFlash cards work like standard IDE/PATA drives when used with an adapter with the internal PATA bus for booting.



What? Powerbooks don't have an SD card slot. They have a PCMCIA slot. You can boot OS 9 and Mac OS X from a Powerbook G4's PCMCIA slot although it will be a bit slower than using the internal PATA bus.
Just ignore rabidz...

Well, I heard good reviews of CF on laptops (Linux Laptops) so that's why I wanted to get some advice first, before spending money in a 64 GB Compact Flash Card.

Also, I read those last longer, since are made for cameras (constant read/write)

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterKeeks View Post
Compact Flash card ≠ SD card, nor does the iBook have a slot.

He means use the CF card with an adapter to IDE as the internal hard drive. This is possible, but I am worried that it would accumulate too many writes too fast and fail.
So, CF or an SSD?
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Old Apr 28, 2013, 09:20 PM   #12
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You use Disk Utility on the OS X Installer to properly format the new CF drive.
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Old Apr 29, 2013, 05:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by rjcalifornia View Post
I have to get a CF card first. DMA or UDMA? Well, I will be looking for CF and then post 'em here to get advices.
The iBooks and PowerBooks without an exception have UltraATA controllers, so UDMA-5 is to prefer if you want to saturate the bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjcalifornia View Post
So, CF or an SSD?
If you go for 32GB, CF cards cost roughly the same but are faster (as the SSD gets faster with more storage). This 32GB Kingston card offers 90MB/s read/write, is UDMA-6 compatible and reasonably priced.
For 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, the SSDs are max out the bus and are the better, less expensive choice.

Last edited by Giuly; Apr 29, 2013 at 05:46 AM.
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Old Apr 30, 2013, 06:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterKeeks View Post
Compact Flash card ≠ SD card, nor does the iBook have a slot.

He means use the CF card with an adapter to IDE as the internal hard drive. This is possible, but I am worried that it would accumulate too many writes too fast and fail.
I read that, too, here http://lowendmac.com/macdan/md10/pow...-ibook-ssd.htm (other link than Jessica Lares posted).
(the link also mentions dual-adapters like here http://www.ebay.de/itm/Dual-Compact-...item2c6e800539)

Given what Mr. Keks said, it sounds like a no go for me or is it not that bad?

Maybe this is something: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disk_on_module
16GB for 30EUR like here (unfortunately for 3,5" IDE Drive conectors, but there should be 44Pin) as an example http://www.ebay.de/itm/16GB-Disk-on-...item41586e89c1

I just searched for "IDE flash" to get more results.

Though it is about SSDs, I'd like to add information I once found about the filling of SSDs and speed loss (though I was told that is not anymore a problem with more modern drives, which would mean, that the problem has vanished somewhere between 2011 and 2013):
Quote:
The loss of speed over time, by SSDs is linked to the way SSDs are deleted, which is different from HDDs. Entries for deleted files are stored by the OS only in the index of the filesystem both for HDDs and SSDs. The actual file keeps intact (but the "link" to it is "hidden").

In the case of a HDD this is no problem, since the space will be overwritten, whenn needed.

With an SSD the "storage cell" would have to be reset, before it can be used again.

That takes time, which is why a SSD gets slower when saving files (writing files), when the cells once all are almost full. This state lasts from this moment on, which is why it has from this time on always longer times for writing than, when it was fresh.

To prevent this, the entry of the file has to not only be deleted from the filesystem, but also from the contentsystem og the SSD itself (which is in its controllerchip).

This can be done

a) from the OS, during deletion, which is called TRIM. But Mac OS doesn't support TRIM (you need Mac OS X 10.6.6 at least, but only if you bought a MacBook Pro, which allready came with an SSD). The "Normal" 10.6 has no TRIM and will not run on PowerPCs anyway.

b) to delete the entry out of the SSD controller, the SSD has to have the feature Background Garbage Collection which exectues the TRIM function hardware wise. But these SSDs are even more expensive, but they would run without maintenance.

from: http://www.maclife.de/forum/viewtopic.php?p=871490

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Old Apr 30, 2013, 06:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Cox Orange View Post
I read that, too, here http://lowendmac.com/macdan/md10/pow...-ibook-ssd.htm (other link than Jessica Lares posted).

Given this, it sounds like a no go for me or is it not that hard?

Though it is about SSDs, I'd like to add information I once found about the filling of SSDs and speed loss (though I was told that is not anymore a problem with more modern drives, which would mean, that the problem has vanished somewhere between 2011 and 2013):
CompactFlash cards have a different kind of flash memory in them that most modern SSDs. SSDs were designed with computer use in mind. CF cards were designed with cameras in mind. A CF card will wear out much like a VHS tape will. Its little memory cells are not build or designed to the tolerances like those in SSDs. A SSD will wear out as well, but it was designed with that in mind so it was engineered to have an extended life span.
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Old May 1, 2013, 05:58 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Intell View Post
CompactFlash cards have a different kind of flash memory in them that most modern SSDs. SSDs were designed with computer use in mind. CF cards were designed with cameras in mind. A CF card will wear out much like a VHS tape will. Its little memory cells are not build or designed to the tolerances like those in SSDs. A SSD will wear out as well, but it was designed with that in mind so it was engineered to have an extended life span.
Technically this may be true; I've not researched it myself, but it makes no practical difference. I've had a CF card as my HDD in my Pismo for a few years now, and another CF hard as HDD in my Power Tower Pro. If you think about it, though, the problems that photographers have (data loss, longevity, etc) are the same problems that computer users have, because it's all data. I might hesitate to use a CF card if I were performing tons and tons of writes 24/7 to a HDD, but that's an extreme case.
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Old May 6, 2013, 05:30 PM   #17
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i been thinking about trying one of these in my ibook

http://www.ebay.com/itm/220818594580...84.m1423.l2649
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Old May 11, 2013, 08:29 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Intell View Post
CompactFlash cards have a different kind of flash memory in them that most modern SSDs. SSDs were designed with computer use in mind. CF cards were designed with cameras in mind. A CF card will wear out much like a VHS tape will. Its little memory cells are not build or designed to the tolerances like those in SSDs. A SSD will wear out as well, but it was designed with that in mind so it was engineered to have an extended life span.
There's a whole category of Compact Flash that you're overlooking - "Industrial" Compact Flash.

For example, take a look at the WD SiliconDrive II. The 16GB CF card has a rated service life of 108.8 Years when writing data at a rate of 402.9 GB per day. Other manufacturers make similar products, with similar ratings.

If you just go out to the store and buy the cheapest CF card possible, sure, you can expect it to die pretty quickly when used as a system drive. But they're not designed for this. Industrial CF cards are.

(WD datasheet for reference: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/ssd/da...879-771374.pdf)
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Old May 12, 2013, 06:19 AM   #19
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There's a whole category of Compact Flash that you're overlooking - "Industrial" Compact Flash.

For example, take a look at the WD SiliconDrive II. The 16GB CF card has a rated service life of 108.8 Years when writing data at a rate of 402.9 GB per day. Other manufacturers make similar products, with similar ratings.

If you just go out to the store and buy the cheapest CF card possible, sure, you can expect it to die pretty quickly when used as a system drive. But they're not designed for this. Industrial CF cards are.

(WD datasheet for reference: http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/ssd/da...879-771374.pdf)
I overlooked them because of their high price. You can get a pretty nice PATA SSD for what you'd pay for one of those.
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Old Sep 23, 2014, 05:12 AM   #20
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iBooks do not have SATA so that spam link is a waste of time.
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Old Sep 29, 2014, 03:52 PM   #21
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I just installed OS X 10.6 on a CF card with a SATA adapter. The HDD from the Macbook A1181 was toast (not booting at all and making a horrible screeching sound) so I thought it could be a interesting project to just reaplace it with a CF card.

First I formatted the card for Mac OS Extended (Journaled); then I put the card and adaptor in the Mac and the install went fine, I used a OS X DVD and installed to the card. However, now I get the flashing folder. I tried resetting NVRAM but that did not help. I tried selecting the boot drive, but nothing is visible (just the mouse cursor).

Did I miss a step?

This is the CF I am using:amazon.com/gp/product/B0056IHYF0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
This is the SATA adapter: amazon.com/gp/product/B0036DDXUW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old Sep 29, 2014, 04:37 PM   #22
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First I formatted the card for Mac OS Extended (Journaled);
Strictly speaking; wrong forum as this is all about PPC stuff. I assume that you partitioned for GUID before erasing? Presumably the installation would not have proceeded on a MB partition.

Try extracting the HD and see if it mounts as an external USB drive on another Mac. That way, you know it is not a hardware failure either by the CF card or the SATA adapter.
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Old Sep 30, 2014, 10:55 AM   #23
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Strictly speaking; wrong forum as this is all about PPC stuff. I assume that you partitioned for GUID before erasing? Presumably the installation would not have proceeded on a MB partition.

Try extracting the HD and see if it mounts as an external USB drive on another Mac. That way, you know it is not a hardware failure either by the CF card or the SATA adapter.
Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I know this is technically not the correct forum for this, but since there was a thread here that was similar I thought I may as well try.

I moved the drive to my Mac Mini C2D and it works fine, in fact, if I choose it from the startup volumes it starts as if it is a new Mac with the welcome screen and all. However, once it is back in the Macbook it boots to the flashing folder. If I hold Option down to select the boot device it is not present.

Any thoughs? I can move this conversation to a new thread in the Intel area if need be. Thanks!
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Old Sep 30, 2014, 11:29 AM   #24
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Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I know this is technically not the correct forum for this, but since there was a thread here that was similar I thought I may as well try.

I moved the drive to my Mac Mini C2D and it works fine, in fact, if I choose it from the startup volumes it starts as if it is a new Mac with the welcome screen and all. However, once it is back in the Macbook it boots to the flashing folder. If I hold Option down to select the boot device it is not present.

Any thoughs? I can move this conversation to a new thread in the Intel area if need be. Thanks!
Since you have tried zapping the PRAM that only leaves incompatibilities as an immediate suspect. Some adapters are finicky, working with some hardware but not with others. Same with the CF cards. We have seen in other threads that the Kingspec PATA SSD rev 1 works in Powerbooks but not rev 6, although both look identical and are sold as such.

Try booting your Macbook with your normal hard drive externally - in a USB or FW caddy and see if either the CF or the adapter is recognised internally on the SATA bus by SysProfiler. If you can see the adapter, try another brand of CF card. If neither, try another adapter.

Check Amazon comments for people who have any adapter/CF card you are considering with Macbooks if you can. That might save a wasted purchase or two. The Mac users tend to pipe up.

By the way, did you try your old Macbook HD in your Mac Mini? If that boots up without issue, then you have more serious problems. Either with your SATA bus or possibly RAM that is on its last legs.
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Old Sep 30, 2014, 12:15 PM   #25
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Since you have tried zapping the PRAM that only leaves incompatibilities as an immediate suspect. Some adapters are finicky, working with some hardware but not with others. Same with the CF cards. We have seen in other threads that the Kingspec PATA SSD rev 1 works in Powerbooks but not rev 6, although both look identical and are sold as such.
Thanks for the tips, I will see what I can find.
Quote:
Try booting your Macbook with your normal hard drive externally - in a USB or FW caddy and see if either the CF or the adapter is recognised internally on the SATA bus by SysProfiler. If you can see the adapter, try another brand of CF card. If neither, try another adapter.
I can try taking a HDD out of another Mac and trying, but the original is toast. Also, it would seem that it is being recognized as I can install the OS via a DVD when the SATA/CF is installed in the bay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by weckart View Post
By the way, did you try your old Macbook HD in your Mac Mini? If that boots up without issue, then you have more serious problems. Either with your SATA bus or possibly RAM that is on its last legs.
Yeah, I did, but the old HDD is practically dead. It makes a terrible screeching sound and is not recognized by the Mini at all.

Update: So, if I try the CF/SATA attached to the Macbook via USB externally it will boot. But it still does not boot if it is installed in the SATA slot internally.
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