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Need new iMac G4 hard drive... anyone done this?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by emw, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. emw
    macrumors G4


    Alright, so it finally bit me. I didn't buy AppleCare on my iMac G4, and the hard drive is now having problems. Running Disk Utility gives me an error with the Catalog B-Tree, and DiskWarrior stalls due to a hardware problem (I got impatient and cancelled after 1/2 hour).

    Luckily, I could boot with my PB as a firewire drive, and pull pretty much everything off that wasn't already backed up. But the hard drive still seems problematic, and I don't want to risk more problems, so I figure I'd like to replace the hard drive.

    So, I have a couple of questions. The first, and most obvious, is - can I replace the drive on my iMac G4? I imagine I can, but it may not be overly simplistic. Has anyone done it before? I've replaced the optical on my PB, and I'm pretty technically inclined, so as long as it's realistically possible, I'll do it.

    Second is, which drive should I get? This is where I'm a little unclear. I'm pretty sure it's a 3.5" ATA drive I need, but when looking at Other World Computing I see ATA/6, ATA/7, Ultra ATA, Serial ATA, etc. What does all that mean? Right now I've got an 80GB Hitachi drive, and this seems like a nice opportunity to bump it to something like 250GB or so, since they're really fairly inexpensive.

    I'll probably run DiskWarrior overnight just to let it run and see if it gets past the error, but I'll still want to replace the drive, so any advice would be most appreciated.

  2. macrumors regular

    If you bought in within the last year and the problem wasnt your fault it should still be under manufacture warranty. I think its a year from the date your purchase it you should contact apple and tell them the situation and im sure theill replace the hard drive for you with no charge
  3. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    It isn't clear to me why you think the hard drive is bad. The kind of errors you report aren't uncommon, and can usually be repaired by running fsck in single user mode.
  4. emw
    macrumors G4


    The reason I think it's bad is because I keep getting hardware errors when I run DiskWarrior, and it cannot complete it's repair cycle. I'm not an expert at these things, which is why I was asking for some help.

    I'll try the fsck command and see what happens...

    Either way, I may still want to replace the hard drive with a larger one, and would still like some comments on that.
  5. emw
    macrumors G4


    Update: Can't even get into fsck - booting up in single user mode gives me a "disk0s9: I/O error" and it locks up.

    Can I run fsck on the iMac drive once I've booted up from my PB in target disk mode?
  6. macrumors 603


    Linkety will help greatly. Its down as of right NOW but when it is back up it will tell you how to change your drive and what drives work, too!
  7. emw
    macrumors G4


    Thanks! The link is back up, and has some good articles on replacing the iMac hard drive. Doesn't look fun, but then again, neither was replacing the optical on my PB...

    I'll keep looking into possible drives, but it sounds like Maxtor might be a good choice.
  8. macrumors 603


    The main thing is to plan out your upgrades. Like do the hard disk and optical drive at the same time. And maybe even overclock it, depending on what information you can find. But hard drive and optical at once means you don't need to crack it open again later.

    Oh, and upgrade the RAM inside the iMac too. It is a standard DIMM. DDR or not depends on your version, but if you replace that from the standard 256 MB stick to a 512 MB stick you can get more performance out of your iMac for pretty cheap.
  9. emw
    macrumors G4


    Thanks for the tips. Right now I've got a superdrive, which is probably good enough for me. I upgraded the optical on my PowerBook, so probably won't lay out the cash for one for the iMac.

    I'm also at 768MB of RAM, which for what I do on this thing is fine.

    The big thing for me is just getting the hard drive I need. It's strange, because the iMac won't boot, even into single user mode, but when I use my PowerBook in Target mode and boot from that, I can get to pretty much everything on my iMac.

    I'm thinking that I might just need to reformat the drive. I'll probably get an external drive as a backup device anyway, and back everything up, then reformat the iMac and see what happens.
  10. macrumors 603


    The main thing is that its so cheap and easy to do, might as well. If it isn't a DDR Mac then you are set.... if it is, then its a bit more expensive. It is a way to future-proof your iMac. Plus, having 1 GB or more RAM in it can't really hurt.

    I'd highly suggest doing it because you are, after all, cracking the thing open anyway. Might as well up the RAM a bit too because its a way to multi-task if you will.
  11. macrumors regular

    Have you tried running The Apple Hardware Test CD that came with your machine?

    Remember, if you change out the hard drive yourself, you will need some new thermal paste when reassembling.
  12. emw
    macrumors G4


    I ran the Hardware Test - it gives me an error detected on the HD, so I know it's a problem. But I'm not sure exactly what the issue is, since I could boot using my PB as a target drive and get to everything.

    Question - if I reformat the drive, will it just bypass the bad sectors and allow me to use the disk in a somewhat reduced mode, or am I just hosed and need to replace it? The more I look into it, the more of a pain this seems to be. Perhaps I'll just run it off the LaCie d2 I'm going to purchase.
  13. macrumors 603


    Theory: yes. Actuality: bad sectors usually spread. As in, the drive dies. So, no.

    It usually isn't advised to run off of external HDs... don't remember why... anyone else care to share?
  14. emw
    macrumors G4


    I could imagine the external might be slower, except in this case, it appears to not make much difference, especially for what I do on that machine.

    I'll head to the Apple Store tonight to pick up the LaCie drive, and I'll ask at the Genius bar about cost of having them swap the internal HD.

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