Adding drives to G4


macrumors 65816
Original poster
May 15, 2006
I've got a old G4 powermac 533 in the stuido and want to know if I can add more hard drives to it. Are they easy to add and what is the best value/size to go for? Thanks


macrumors 6502
Feb 7, 2007
nowhere fast
G4 powermacs have space for up to 4 drives, however the built in IDE only supports drives up to ~127gb. Most folks use a PCI SATA card to overcome this obstacle and use large modern SATA drives. OWC is a good source of mac compatible SATA PCI cards, and any SATA HDD will work (OWC doesn't have the best prices for HDDs usually, places like are better).


macrumors G5
to add to the above post, on stock 533's, running 4 drives requires two being used in place of the zip and optical drive
Not from a physical point of view, but from a data coneection point of view. Running hard drives on the (IIRC) 33 MHz ATA bus that the opticals are on is slower.

More often it requires a PCI interface board (IDE or SATA) to provide the data connections. There are physical spaces for 4 drives total on the floor of the case. You may need 4 pin molex power cable splitters.


macrumors 6502
Mar 11, 2005
MI or NJ
PATA cards also work. They can be a good value if you can get them from someone that's upgrading, or if you already have PATA drives available.

Also, many of the affordable SATA cards only have two ports for two drives, whereas the PATA cards tend to have 2 ports for FOUR drives.

But at the end of the day, if you're going to buy 4 new big drives and a controller card, go with the SATA. It'll be faster and you can scavenge the drives if the machine dies.

As far as installation goes ... it's VERY easy. Apple's support website has videos and documentation for each specific model to walk you through it.

The "official" number of drives that you can get into the machine is 4. They sit in the bottom of the case (you may need to buy a dual drive bracket for the rearmost bay). BUT with a little ingenuity you can get another drive above the optical bay, one in the zip bay, and another 1-2 on the floor depending on your PCI card setup (plus one in the optical bay if you pitch the DVD). So thats a total of ... *whips out fingers* ... 5-6 additional, so 9 drives total.

I read some mod page post about a guy that did something like that, but google is failing me. I believe that the major issue was powersupply not being able to handle all that draw. That kind of thing also meant custom fabricated mounting brackets.