Replacing iMac G4 hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Chasealicious, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. Chasealicious macrumors member

    Chasealicious

    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Fayetteville, AR
    #1
    So here's the deal - mom & dad's iMac G4 (17" 800MHz Superdrive) has been performing miserably for a while.

    Running disk utility and TechTool pro both tell me that the hard drive needs to be repaired - and neither of them are able to do it. I figure it's probably best to just go ahead and replace the drive altogether, to extend the life of the machine and be able to load them up with a fresh copy of Tiger to breathe new life into it.

    Two questions - I see that the machine uses an UltraATA 5,400 rpm drive - but I can't find any documentation to tell me if that's an ATA 100 or ATA 133. What is the technical distinction between the two? Which do I need?

    Second, regarding installation...I'm assuming this machine is tricky enough that I'm better of paying a professional to do it. I've done the standard RAM installation, and switched out drives in an iMac G5, but this booger isn't quite as user accessible. Any stories for or against trying it myself?
     
  2. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #2
    Have you considered reformatting the old drive first? I would try that and reinstall OS X first.

    The iMac has an ATA/100 bus. Any parallel ATA drive on the shelf at Best Buy or any other outlet will work fine. (As a side note, most parallel ATA drives sold today are ATA/100, with the exception of Maxtor drives, which are typically ATA/133. None of this really matters, however. ATA/133 drives are backwards-compatible with ATA/100, so both of these types can be used in your iMac)

    You assumed right. The G4's are tricky little boogers to get into and put together again. If you're feeling adventurous, check out http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/iMac_g4/imacg4_takeapart.html for a tutorial.
     
  3. Will Cheyney macrumors 6502a

    Will Cheyney

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
  4. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Location:
    My house!
    #4
    If I were you, I'd take it to an Apple Store (Apple, or 3rd Party Apple store) and have them do it. The reason is, its just a pain in the arse to work on. You'll need torx screw drivers, thermal paste, and possibly new heat pads if its left open long enough. If you don't repaste where the dome and the bottom plate come together, and possibly the change out the heat pads, then the iMac will never cooling like its supposed to and could possibly overheat. Remember, there's no heatsink on the G4 processor in an iMac G4, just heat pipes. So its a cooling system that shouldn't be altered in anyway or else it will overheat. Heat pads are ONLY available from Apple Care Service Centers and they will NOT give them to you as they can only get them directly from Apple. If it was an iMac G3 or G5, I'd say go for it as they're easy to get inside and work on, but iMac G4's were a pain in the butt to work on. Not worth wrecking a perfectly good iMac for a HD swap IMO.

    But like others said, if you're feeling brave and adventurous, go for it. Good Luck!
     
  5. Chasealicious thread starter macrumors member

    Chasealicious

    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Fayetteville, AR
    #5
    In theory, I could reformat the drive and go from there, but I just don't think that's what I want to do in this situation.

    The drive can only sustain data transfer for about 1 minute. I've been backing up to an external HD and the transfer always fails after a short period of time - meaning I'm having to break folders up into small chunks to move them over.

    When trying to just plain upgrade to Tiger, the installer always fails at the beginning while it's verifying the hard drive. This makes me question if the drive will be able to handle a reformat.

    Just in case we've got some real techies out there, Disk Utility claims that the hard drive has an "Invalid sibling link," and TechTool Pro shows the drive failing the Surface Scan and Volume Structure tests. When allowing it to try to repair the drive, it worked for over 8 hours, then finally stopped in the middle of the process claiming it had failed.

    Unless anyone knows of any brilliant software fix here, I'm thinking I'm best off grabbing a new drive from newegg and taking it to CompUsa to have them pop it in. That way, the parental units should be free from HD trouble for at least 2-3 years...and I won't have to spend thanksgiving breaks playing Dr. Mac...teehee.

    One more quick note - if I jump up to a 7,200 RPM drive as opposed to the 5,400 that the machine shipped with, am I going to create any heat issues? Anyone done it?
     
  6. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #6
    Yeah, the hard drive needs to be replaced for sure. No software can fix these types of problems.

    Nope, nothing to worry about.
     
  7. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #7
    Just for clarification, the heat pads are located under the logicboard and only need to be replaced if the logic board is removed from the base, which isn't necessary to replace the hard drive. However, the old thermal paste does need to be removed from the thermal pipes and fresh paste reapplied before reassembly. You can purchase thermal paste from CompUSA, Radio Shack, MicroCenter, etc.
     
  8. mklos macrumors 68000

    mklos

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2002
    Location:
    My house!
    #8
    Very true, although, still not worth taking apart and risk breaking something IMHO. Not only do you need to take the bottom part of the dome off, but also the rotating storage assembly apart as well. The HD sits on top of the optical drive, which is just below the fan.

    If you do try to take it apart... Be VERY careful of the video cable that plugs into the logicboard. With some iMac G4 models, the video cable isn't very long and doesn't provide enough cable to tip the base downward all the way without pulling the video cable out of the socket. You break that video cable and you're in a world of hurt.....
     

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