Replacing my iBook G4 PPC's HDD - still worth it in 2012?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by 123hermione, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    I've been using a 12" iBook G4 PPC since I bought it secondhand three years ago, and I really loved working on it (I updated it into Leopard and mainly used it for design work with CS3 and downloading videos, understandably slow but it never lets me down... also, the thing is cute) until the HD died earlier this year (it just died on me randomly). I bought a 2008 MBP to replace it and I'm currently using it as my main laptop.

    Finally, I found a store which can repair my iBook and replace the HD. I want to have it repaired so we can use it as an emergency laptop. Unfortunately it would cost me about $150. I can follow the iFixit instructions but I am not as confident about my tinkering skills as I was before. Also, I think the store's available HD replacement is too expensive.

    So I'd like to ask if
    1) Is it wise to budget/save up for this repair?
    2) My local store offers a PATA drive (Samsung 120GB IDE/PATA 5400rpm, 8MB Mobile Hard Disk Drive) at a much affordable price, would it be compatible?

    Thank you in advance! :apple:
  2. macrumors G4


    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    PATA is the interface for iBooks and PowerBooks up to the introduction of the MacBooks and MBPs.

    Western Digital makes three sizes of PATA drives (they call them Scorpio Blue). One is 160GB, the next is 250GB and the largest is 320GB. They are a bit slower (5900 I believe) but however WD does it these drives are pretty fast. I have the 320GB drive in my PowerBook and my wife has the 250GB drive in hers.

    The prices are reasonable (I paid $120 for my 320GB drive three years ago) and you can find them at Best Buy. I got mine at Frys Electronics, but I don't think Frys is national. Any decent local computer megastore should have them. If not, WD can tell you where a retailer is on their website.
  3. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
  4. macrumors 603


    Too expensive for a backup machine.

    Good advice, but I want to add my opinion.

    It's a backup machine, I think he really does not need a big disk, a low capacity disc would work, buy for instance a 40-80 GB disk for a lot less than 120-320 GB.
    Even a second hand would be OK, remember, just a backup computer.
  5. 123hermione, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012

    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    I agree with the suggestion about looking for something lower than 160GB, because I was OK with running it on 40-60GB (forgot how big the drive was, but I remember running it with 10GB or less free space). If I had to buy a 320 GB drive, it would be for my MBP. But I think the 40-120GB drives aren't widely available now, so I think I have to search more.

    Still hesitant about changing it myself because the last time I tried I ruined a couple of appliances I was meant to fix. :confused: I hope the store agrees to fix it even if I got a new HD from another source. But then: any newbie who knows how to convince me to actually operate on the iBook?

    Anyway, thanks for the suggestions!
  6. macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    I find the iBooks a bit of a pain to open up. Very easy to crack the top or bottom, and Apple has several very small connectors that are easy to accidentally damage. (I've learned that first hand) As I've gotten older and my eyesight has gotten worse I've leaned towards not working on Apple laptops myself anymore.

    As for this as a backup. If you can get someone to swap out hard drives, you can pick up a 40gb on eBay for $30 or so, last I checked. That's plenty of space for a backup machine that is likely to rarely be used.

    Another option is to sell the machine as-is and get what you can. Depending on the condition, you could probably get something around $60 for it, perhaps a little more.

    Have you tried booting it from an external firewire drive just to make sure it's the hard drive that died?
  7. 123hermione, Sep 24, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012

    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2012
    I'll try ebay, but I'm from Asia so it would take a little while and might be as expensive when shipped.

    Hmm I've decided to hang on to it for another 3 years if it can be repaired. :cool: Agreed on how brittle the outer shells are - mine has some cracks formed by a bit of crumbling. But it's still cute.

    Tried booting from the install disk and an install flash drive and it boots. I get to as far as the install screens and disk utility, but it can't detect any HD (it detects the DVD drive and the flash disk).
  8. macrumors 603


    Booting from an external HD could be an option too as mentioned by cocacolakid, but speed is not that good.

    Do you have any friends with knowledge about computers or are handy?
    I opened up a few Mac Laptops myself, but I am an Electrical engineer so not too afraid.
    It is really not that hard, just time and patience and common sence, and a good screwdriver set of course;)
    Do you happen to live in Bandung Indonesia, if so I will gladly help you out, but hey, Asia is big.
  9. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    I recently put a 32GB SSD into a G5 iMac. Cost me $40 on eBay, brand new, SATA II speeds. Reads at 130MB/sec and writes at 45MB/sec.
  10. macrumors 68030


    Aug 5, 2004
    a profane existence
    Better than a plastic bag would be an egg container that comes with fridges. Label/colour code each spot with notes and such.

    Nice idea with the plastic knife. I'll remember that when I'm installing my HD. Now I just have to find the right tools for removing the screws on my PB. I just wish my PBG4 wasn't a difficult level for HD replacements.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    All the iBooks use PATA hard drives, if I'm not mistaken. Real PATA SSD's are significantly more expensive than the SATA SSD's. Otherwise, that is a fantastic idea, especially since the prices of SSD's have dropped like a rock in the last year. Most of the 16gb and 32gb PATA SSD's on eBay are actually Compact Flash cards in an SSD-style case, you have to beware of what you're really looking at there. The CF cards do not perform well over time like a true SSD does, according to multiple reports I've read in the last few years. But maybe that wouldn't be a big deal if this is just a backup computer that isn't used very often.
  12. macrumors 6502


    Dec 23, 2008
    It's worth it. I have the Scorpio Blue 250 GB one in my 12" PB. The drive is quiet and has been reliable thus far. I got it for around $150 five years ago.

    For the disassembly and reassembly, I put the screws in different parts of an egg carton and labeled them.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2010
    I removed a hard drive from an iBook for a friend last year. I do have to admit that it was a bad life experience. Essentially, the entire iBook is wrapped around the hard drive; you have to disassemble a surprising amount of the machine to get at the drive. In this case, I found that her iBook had been worked on previously by someone who bodged it back together, and that made it harder still. Ifixit's guides are excellent. It is true that they make things look harder than they actually are. However, I've done PowerBooks (Ti, 12", and 15"), and they're much easier than the iBook. Patience and lots of calming-down time are key!
  14. macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Yes upgrade the hdd, I have a 250gb new in box with some warrant left if you are interested, also when you take apart an iBook , use a couple of egg cartons to put the screws into. Saves your life with those tiny screws.

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