SSD in a 15" PowerBook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by yly3, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2011

    I'm currently typing this on a 2005 powerbook, I think it's the last one before Intel. It has a backlit keyboard and I love it for what I use it. Perfect companion for syncing music on my 4S, watching some movies, browsing etc. I'm more than happy with it, the only thing I would like it would be 720p movies, but you can't have it all eh..

    According to powerbookmedic, it's the A1106 model.
    Mine has 1.5GHz and 1.5GB of SDRAM and ATI 9700 with 64mb.

    After long debate, I've decided to get the Retina MacBook 2013 when it will come out next summer so it will be quite a wait. So I've been thinking to throw in a SSD to make it a more enjoyable wait.

    I found SATA-II SSDs from Kingston 128gb at a very good price of 90$.
    From reading this forum's F.A.Q and searching around, I see the powerbooks require a IDE/ATA ssd, not the regular SATA ones you find these days.
    Unfortunately, those seem too expensive since nobody buys them anymore and I wouldn't want to invest in this machine more than 100-120$..

    For those who tested, is it worth to put a SSD in this ? I know I won't be getting 300-500MB speeds, but if it's too small of a difference from the stock HDD (say .. 20-30mbps) I doubt I should do it. I just want a significant difference, not an earth-shatering one.

  2. macrumors G4


    Aug 31, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ USA
    I've heard of some people who have managed to squeeze in both a SATA SSD and a SATA/IDE adapter. I don't know if that makes it more or less cheap.

    You might consider just a new IDE hard drive. Western Digital makes a 320GB, 250GB and I think a 100GB hard drive. All of these drives are 5200rpm, but the way WD has designed them (including an 8mb cache) they are considerably faster than the stock drives the PowerBooks came with. You won't get SSD speeds, but you will notice a difference.

    And the price is right around the range you quoted.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2010
    I would have my doubts about there being enough space for an adapter. However, you can find a performance comparison here. OWC sells IDE SSDs, but they are expensive.
  4. macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2005
    I put an SSD in my Xserve G5, Leopard recognises it just fine. The biggest issue is not having garbage disposal support (trim). So you are stuck with presuming the drive knows what to do with deleted files.

    In your case if you don't want to spend on an SSD you can't reuse then I'd look at just getting an IDE laptop drive of 320gb in size and 7200rpm. A modern drive alone should just about double your drive transfer speeds.

    The stock hard drives in these machines are slow and the one in yours would be getting quite old. A new 7200rpm IDE drive will be a much better option than the stock drive.
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2011
    Thanks for the replies. Yes, I found about those OWC legacy ssds but hey are way too expensive. I think I will throw a 160 7200 drive in it. Even lower is just fine. My current drive seems to be of around 75gb and I still have around 18 left.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2011
    Endwell, NY
    The 160gb 7200rpm drive is statistically slower than the Western Digital 250gb and 320gb 5400rpm drives, if I remember correctly.

    You may be disappointed at the marginal speed increase. It's not worth the work of tearing it apart and re-loading everything if you're only going to use it for 6 months or so.
  7. macrumors 65816

    Jun 10, 2005
    The thing with going with a larger capacity drive is that the platter is more densely packed with data meaning its actually quicker to access your data, coupled with a decent 7200rpm drive you will see faster transfer rates. A lower capacity drive won't achieve the same results.
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2011
    Interesting. Didn't know that, so thanks !
    If course I wouldn't mind the bigger space, I just want the best deal quality/price. It seems these IDE/ATA hard-drives are almost as expensive as the SSDs here in Europe.

    I don't know what to choose.
    On a theorethical example if an 250-320gb HDD would be the same price as a compatible 128GB SSD and even if the SSD is only let's say 10-15% faster, I would go for the SSD.

    Will try finding online more deals, but these OWC SSDs are hard to find or expensive. If the SSD is a too much of a workaround I might just forget it.

    EDIT : And btw, is there a software for scanning the health of my current HDD ?
    I'm curious if I can stick in this one 2GB of ram. How can I tell if the stock is 512 or 1gb ?

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