upgrade internal drive in iMac G5?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Crikey, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #1
    Hi, all,

    I ran across what seemed like a good deal on what until last month was the top-end iMac G5 (20", 1.8GHz, 256MB, 160GB, SuperDrive) and ordered one. I do a lot of audio recording; this thing will be much quieter than my old G4 tower, and maybe luggable enough to take with me to rehearsals or gigs. I'm stoked. I ordered 2GB RAM to max it out.

    Here at last is my question. Because this is my first all-in-one Mac, and I'm considering lugging it around for on-site recording, I'm tempted to pull the factory-installed SATA hard disk and replace it with a 250GB, 300GB, or 400GB drive. This would give me more headroom before I have to start hauling FireWire drives along -- between my playing gear, and all the mics and my FireWire audio interface and other stuff for recording, the less I have to haul and setup and tear down each time the happier I'll be.

    Does anyone have any comments on the idea of swapping the hard disk in a G5 iMac? Has anyone done this? Pros? Cons? The updated iMac has a 250GB drive, so I assume I could go at least that big in mine. Is there a thermal reason I wouldn't want to put a 400GB drive in an iMac? Is there stuff that is going to ship on that 160GB drive that I won't have if I install from the DVD on a clean hard disk?

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.


    Crikey
     
  2. Eniregnat macrumors 68000

    Eniregnat

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    In your head.
    #2
    I am an audio engineer. This thread shows a bit of info I have on sound applications. here

    I don't know if the iMac is as robust a machine as you think it is. I'd hate to lug around something like that. Why not a Pb or iBook and a firewire Hd (it's just one more box)? Besides best audio recording practices are, generally, having your system scratch disk to be different than your target recording disk. The same holds true for editing? --- Let me back up, I wish I could afford a G5iMac and I rent time one one to do editing, but why not another computer for recording, that's all. I understand the idea of limited investment cash.

    I am just wondering why you need to lug your iMac around for recording?

    I want to know what you work with. Most of my editing is on PCs with SonicFoundry (not big on ProTools) software. I do limited on my Mac, I am always looking for pointers and other peoples experiences. I will hopefully transition to just working on a Mac for my side projects with in the next year and a half, dependent on how much money I can save for apps.

    Dude, if your doing preformances with an iMac you will definetly stand out.

    Good luck.
     
  3. RJP31484 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #3
    the new imacs are surprisingly more portable than most people think. There is even a case out there to carry it in. I believe it is called the iLugger.(sorry no link, but Im at work, and far too lazy.. a google search would assuredly find it) At the same time I bought my 17", a friend of mine bought a 20", and he does exactly what you want to do, carry it to recording sessions with his band. He currently lugs it around in the box, as it has a convinient handle, but it is a very large box. He is planning on getting an iLugger soon.

    But I would also like to know the answer to the original question : can you put any regular 3.5" hard drive into an iMac G5?
     
  4. RJP31484 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #4

    In response to that, let me direct you to this thread.
     
  5. Crikey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #5
    Here's what I've found

    I learned lots while researching this question.

    First of all, the drive upgrade idea probably isn't a good one unless I can find a larger-capacity drive that actually runs cooler than the stock drive. Apparently some G5 iMacs have had drive reliability problems associated with overheating. One guy put a 400GB drive in his iMac and measured a surface temperature of 192F (way too hot). I think I found that info here (search for "192F").

    Secondly, Rev. A G5 iMacs have pretty poor disk performance. One of the reasons I opted for an iMac (over a portable) was the G5 CPU, which would help when pulling in eight simultaneous audio tracks. The other was disk performance: with a 3.5" desktop hard disk, the iMac should have disk I/O far superior to the iBook that tempted me with its portability. I found at www.xbench.com that some of the disk performance scores of the G5 iMac are just about the same as the G4 iBook, and some are a bit better. My old dual-800MHz G4 tower has some scores equal to the G5 iMac and some that are twice as fast. The current, Rev. B G5 iMacs are much improved, with disk performance along the lines one would expect. I just don't want to spend that much.

    If I were buying this for Web surfing and spreadsheets, I wouldn't care much about some suboptimal benchmarks, but the disk I/O problem is a shopstopper in a machine I was buying for laying audio down onto disk. I probably will exercise my option to not purchase the iMac. I don't know if I'll get an iBook instead, or a refund.

    Thanks to those who contributed advice!


    Crikey
     
  6. Crikey thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #6
    special thanks to Eniregnat

    Special thanks to Eniregnat for this:

    It should have occurred to me that using two disks would be better.

    I was interested in the iMac because I assumed the performance was a lot better than that of an iBook, which was also tempting. CPU-wise, yes, but disk-wise, not necessarily. I also record at home, so replacing my big loud G4 tower with an elegant and hopefully quieter iMac appealed in that context too. I'm already hauling an instrument, an amp, and half my band's PA system to rehearsals, so the portability difference between an iMac and an iBook doesn't seem that huge. They'd both fit in the same spot in the back seat, and it's only 30 feet from there to our rehearsal space. At gigs, I'm usually trying to talk a sound guy into hooking up to the sound board, and I think my audio interface can be kind of intimidating to them. It's a very black and somewhat menacing-looking rackmount unit. I was hoping the 20" iMac would be eye candy enough to entice them to be interested.

    I have a MOTU 828mkII audio interface with lots of ins-and-outs, plugged into my FireWire port. For software, at home I frequently use GarageBand for its Software Instruments. For real multi-tracking with the band I use MOTU AudioDesk, which shipped with the 828mkII. I'm too cheap to upgrade to Digital Performer; so far I'm not even really pushing what I've got.

    The tower is a pain, though. I do want a quieter and more portable Mac for recording, even if I keep editing on the tower I have.

    Thanks again for your advice and well-wishes!


    Crikey
     

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