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Old Nov 5, 2009, 10:48 AM   #1
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PowerMac G3 b&w HDD & USB 2.0 upgrade

After I successfully added a DVD RAM drive and WiFi to my PowerMac G3, I want to build in a HDD with more space than 12GB and USB 2.0 ports (because the ports on the board itself don't have enough power to power a keyboard and a WiFi stick connected to the keyboard).
-> HDD. I have a Rev. 1 G3, so my one has one of the "broken" IDE controllers. I guess I have to get a PCI IDE controller card for upgrading my hard drive and to use a second one, is this right?
BTW - I have a question regarding the PCI slots. The G3 has long ones, they look like this:

Can I put normal PCI cards in that slot? Or do I need special long ones?
Back to my question: Can I use every normal PC PCI IDE controller? Or do I need one which specially supports Macs? If I need a special one, can you recommend me one?
And if I connect the hard drives via that PCI IDE controller - is the limit to 128GB drives still present then? Or can I even put a 500GB drive into the Mac?
-> USB 2.0: Same questions as above Do I need a long one? Or can I use a short normal PC PCI USB card? Or do I have to get one specially for Macs? If yes, can you recommend me one?

Thanks in advance


Last edited by iThinkFan; Nov 5, 2009 at 11:54 AM.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 02:47 PM   #2
Carolus Rex
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Some info for you

I have similar thoughts as you, wanting to add some stuff to my old B&W.

Did you know that you can easily overclock your PM G3? Id did it on mine and it is a piece of cace. moved from 350->400 Mhz. Do a google search and you will find very pedagogic instructions for this. The beauty of the B&W is that you only need to flip a jumper, no soldering, removing stuff etc. Very easy. I did this also on my G4, but that involved some knife & conductive silver paint with much mor risk added to it. Although I succeded there as well. Perhaps luck? :-)

To your questions. I just replied something similar about drive limits to a QS owner. You can add support to bigger drives by either adding the proper ATA controller card (but I cannot say wich one, as I don't know straight ahead) or by adding a software upgrade that enables bigger drives. This is an extension (kext) that will be added to a folder in your system map. Do a google search and you will find it (at least I did a few years ago when I added a 250GB drive to my G4 DA that also have the big drive limit and it works fine)
I don't know the name or place on top of my mind, so do search. It is out there. Search for something like "enable large disk mac g4 (or g3) plugin"

Regarding controller card, it might be possible to use a PC card, but I think not. I have tried and failed myself. The same applies to USB 2 cards. There are Mac-specific / compatible cards, and there might be firmware that you can flash to a PC card as well, but don't count on it working if you buy a PC card. As I said, I have tried myself with a few cards (both for ATA and USB) and did a lot of research on the net, but so far I have not succeded. They work fine in my crappy 'ol PC thou'

AH! I forgot to mention! Yes, you should be able to put "normal" PCI cards there as far as I know.

Good luck!!

Last edited by Carolus Rex; Nov 26, 2009 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 03:06 PM   #3
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I put in a 80 gig in my g3 with no problem. belkin makes a regular usb pci card that works well. There are no drivers for it though, you have to download usb 2.0 software from apples websight, and once installed the usb ports work great. There are 4 external and 1 internal port.

Mac OS X runs slow but works even with the fastest processor upgrade.

I might have an extra usb card I can sell you for cheap if your interested!

--Eric Wilson
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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The slots are 64-bit PCI 33MHz slots, so compatible with 32-bit short PCI cards.
You need an ATA 133 Mac-specific PCI card to give you hardware accesss to more than 128GB hard drives. ATA 66 or ATA 100 Mac ones don't see more than 128GB.

USB 2 requires OS X - Apple never fitted it to any Mac that can boot OS 9, but OS X includes OHCI drivers so most USB 2 cards will work in an OS X Mac.
The FireWire implementation is non-standard as well, but a PCI FW card will solve that...
I installed OS X 10.2 and 10.3 on a 450GHz Dual G4 Mac and although it worked fine using it on anything demanding was like treacle, so I happily gave the computer away.

Last edited by PaulD-UK; Nov 26, 2009 at 03:24 PM.
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Old Nov 26, 2009, 10:17 PM   #5
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