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Need advice for upgrading PowerMac Cube HDD

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by matthemercyless, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Hey guys,

    My aging Cube is in desperate need of a hard drive upgrade. The problem is that the eject mechanism for the CD drive doesn't work properly (so I cant simply install the HDD then install the OS then copy the files across) and I have a house full of laptops so I have no way of simply copying the data from the cube directly to a new HDD as I don't have anything with a 3.5' enclosure. I do however have a couple of external HDDs (one USB one FireWire) that I can use.

    So what are my options for copying the data from the old HDD to a new one?

    I was thinking I could make a bootable copy of the current Cube HDD (although I don't know how to do that!) onto an external HDD then install the new HDD, then target mode into that from another Mac and copy the Bootable file onto it?

    I know it sounds complicated, but seen as though the CD drive doesnt work it makes it a little more hassle.

    I would really appreciate some tips, as I need to get it sorted this week, as my parents use it as their main interwebs/email computer.

    Thanks in advance everyone. Hope you have a good wknd.:D
  2. Moderator


    Put this to Mac Pro section
  3. macrumors 65816


    Although I have never done this, you should be able to:
    - install the new drive in the Cube
    - put the system in target mode
    - connect it to a laptop with a working CD drive
    - boot the laptop with the install disk
    - choose the cube drive to install the OS to
  4. macrumors G4

    Chupa Chupa

    Yes. Do what he said. Just one word of caution when putting a new drive in a Cube.. expect it to be MUCH noisier than the stock drive. Try to find a 5400 RPM drive.
  5. macrumors 68020


    I really don't think the OP is going to find a 3.5" IDE/PATA drive like they need for a Cube in 5400 rpm. And as far as that goes, my 120 Gb IDE drive I installed in my Cube is certainly no louder than the stock 20Gb mine came with!;)
  6. macrumors 68020


    I agree that the method mcavjame mentioned should work fine for a clean install of OSX, BUT that won't address getting anything off the Cube's existing drive if there is stuff on there that you want to keep which I sense you do after you described the Cube's usage.

    Since you have a houseful of laptops, if any of them are Macs a simpler way of doing this I think would be to:

    • Hook the Cube up via Target Disk Mode to an Apple laptop with enough free space on the hard drive to accomodate the amount used on your Cube's drive
    • Download and use Carbon Copy Cloner (free) on the laptop to clone your Cube's drive to the laptop, being sure to use the menu option in CCC to clone to a FOLDER on the destination drive (the laptop).
    • Shut down everything and swap out the drive on the Cube
    • Start up the Cube and the laptop again in Target Disk Mode
    • Run Disk Utility on the laptop to set up the new drive in the Cube-- and make sure to use an APM partition table map so it will be bootable when you are done
    • Run CCC again to clone the folder's contents onto the fresh Cube disk
    • Enjoy the fresh new larger drive in the Cube

    I'm sure you are aware of this too, but just in case I will throw it in- your Cube needs an IDE/PATA type of hard drive, not the commonly available SATA drives and there is a firmware limitation of how large a drive you can put in the Cube as it will not see drives larger than 128Gb without additional utility software that would need to be purchased. If you can find a 120Gb IDE drive it would be ideal, but with that drive type being more and more scarce, 80Gb are much easier to find.
  7. macrumors regular

    Be aware that to install in target disk mode, you need an Apple iBook or PowerBook (or any other PPC Mac with firewire that can boot your version of OSX for that matter). An Intel Mac will not work.
  8. macrumors 68020


    Yes, that is a very good point if doing it as a new installation of OSX! If doing it via cloning, that is not a consideration.
  9. macrumors member

    Awesome. Thanks everyone. I was unsure of whether or not target mode would work with a brand new hard drive.

    I didn't know that you needed a PPC mac for target mode though! Whats that all about? Can you not mix and match PPC/Intel target mode?

    Thanks again for all the advice, I really appreciate it.

    I've managed to find a place that does refurbished hard drives for the Cube. Its WAY cheaper than buying brand new, and also means that I can put the cash that I save towards some more RAM for it also!

    I will definitely be using CCC to do the switch. Thanks for the tip.
  10. macrumors member


    Hey everyone. The upgrade was surprisingly simple. It turns out the CD Drive was working, but the disc ejector is a bit weak, so I was able to copy the data from the hard drive, slip in the new one and then boot from disc and reinstall the operating system. I managed to remove the disc with a pair of tweezers. Classic. I used CCC to just put all the personal data back on, and it works fine.

    I also opted to buy another 2 512mb sticks of RAM too. It turns out there was a 256mb stick in there, along with the original RAM that shipped with the computer. A 32MB RAM module!!! Ahh nostalgia.

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