Calling all SATA users... worth the upgrade?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by WGoins88, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. WGoins88 macrumors regular

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    Feb 8, 2011
    #1
    This is a question for the people that have upgraded their G4 to SATA.

    Is it worth spending the cash for a SATA card for my MDD?

    I'm thinking about buying a small SATA SSD to put OS X on, and using a 500GB 7200RPM WD HD I already own to hold programs.

    Looking forward to any feedback!
     
  2. SnowWhiteG3 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 25, 2011
    #2
    SATA alone is a significant improvement. Its an extra 50MB/s, less latency and less overhead from the OS. An SSD isn't so much about the raw MB/s but the access time. Any modern HD will have no trouble saturating an SATA-1 channel on large transfers.
    An SSD will completely transform the machine. You're going from 7ms delay to 0.1ms delay. OSX has over 100,000 files in the system folders and an SSD will make the system's access to the files far quicker.
     

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  3. WGoins88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Hmm, that's enough for me! Looks like I'll be ordering a card and a SSD very soon.
     
  4. Nameci macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #4
    Haven't tried SSD on older machine? Try it and you will feel the difference. :D
     
  5. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    Mar 13, 2005
    #5
    IMO the best advantage to adding a SATA card is you can use all the new and very cheap per GB magnetic drives. A while back I bought a brand new 2TB WD for 70.

    I bought a FirmTek 1S2 PCI SATA card in 09 and then another recently for my 2nd Sawtooth. One of my best upgrades as far as money well spent. For SSD or magnetic it's worth it.

    Get the Firmtek 1S2 if you want 2 SATA ports or the 1V4 if you want 4.
     
  6. Nameci macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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  7. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    #7
  8. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #8
    The big reason why I'm hesitant to switch is the price. The cards retail for almost what I paid for the computer.
     
  9. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    #9
    Trust me when I say adding SATA is worth every penny. You can't think of upgrades in that way. You're forgetting that your MDD is 8 years old so of course it only cost as a much as a new/current PCI card.

    For anyone that wants modern drive technology and great prices per GB SATA is a 100% must. If you just need a couple hundred GB though then it's not really worth it. FirmTek is now really the only option for Mac SATA cards on PowerPC or Intel.
     
  10. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #10
    Wouldn't the connection speed be degraded due to the slow PCI bus? I never understood how PCI SATA would work faster other than the fact that they are newer drives. If I were to get a PCI USB 2 card as well, would the bandwidth be shared between the 2 cards, or would they use separate busses?
     
  11. zen.state, Nov 25, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2011

    zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    #11
    In an MDD the PCI would have little to no degradation for SATA. The faster technology inside new SATA drives would more than make up for any loss. The max speed of a HD bus is about the least important thing to overall system performance. It's having a drive that does the most with the speed it does have. Even brand new PATA drives (magnetic at least) use technology that is at least 2 generations old.

    As far as other PCI cards.. all the G4 towers are good at spreading the bandwidth over the PCI slots. Even the fastest USB drive will only be 1/3 the speed of a SATA so the internal drives will dominate in that aspect. It's nothing to worry about at all.

    You're getting caught up in specs and numbers rather than how things really work. To be fair to you though you obviously have no experience with PCI SATA. :)
     
  12. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #12
    I really don't see the point in buying an expensive part for such an old machine right now. I have an ad in the marketplace about finding some cheap upgrades, Don't get me wrong, this is one beast of a computer, but I am buying a MBP in March, and should really be saving up for that. After the MBP purchase, I'm going all out with this machine and will upgrade to its fullest.
     
  13. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    #13
    Not trying to convince you to buy one at all. Just correcting some of your perspective on things while still giving info that will help the OP so we're not totally taking over the thread.
     
  14. adcx64 macrumors 65816

    adcx64

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    #14
    Hahaha I understand. It's 1AM and I'm rambling. Disregard that last post.:)
     
  15. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

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    Jul 23, 2010
    #15
    The trick is just having patience and checking daily. I just picked up one for $28.01 with all the cables and original packaging from a seller with 100% positive feedback.

    As far as drives go, I suppose it depends on how you look at it. I personally think that it no longer makes economic sense to purchase PATA drives. You get far more storage per dollar with new SATA drives. The better performance is just icing on the cake. Also, I don't consider HDs to be an investment in any particular computer. I require a certain amount of dependable storage no matter how it's divided among my computers. I often switch them around depending on my needs, but drives are drives--They are the storage for my work and for my digital treasures.

    My slowest SATA (a WD15EADS Green) outperforms my fastest PATA (a WD5000AAKB Blue).
     
  16. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    #16
    Great find, ThunderSnake! I have 2x of the 1S2 and they are very reliable cards. Be sure to use the 5.1.3 firmware on any G4 tower. Most of them ship with the 5.3.x firmware which is much more suited to G5.
     
  17. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

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    Jul 23, 2010
    #17
    I don't have any SATA drives that would be considered high performance, but I'll share what I've learned...

    There is very little difference between my WD15EADS Green drive when used on the Firmtek card and when used on a generic adapter on the MDD's ATA 100 bus. The difference is less than 5%. My Blue SATA (WD5000AAKS) exploits the difference a little more, gaining about 10% when used with the Firmtek card. Theoretically, there should be headroom for a high performance Black drive or SSD to exploit a greater difference, but I've not yet tested this.

    However, I think I'm getting an SSD for Xmas, so if you want to wait a little while, I'll post some benchmarks when I get it.

    The Firmtek card makes a more dramatic difference in the Sawtooth and Quicksilver than in MDDs since the MDD has a faster ATA bus. Depending on the drive used, I think the generic adapter (when used on the ATA 100 bus) can be good economical alternative for a lot of folks.

    ----------

    Whoa, thanks for that! I didn't even think to check the firmware.
     
  18. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    Mar 13, 2005
    #18
    No problem. They will boot and run fine in a G4 with the 5.3.x firmware but things like system sleep won't work and drive sleep works intermittently. The FirmTek tech support staff themselves gave me that tip back in 2009 when I bought my first 1S2.

    Any G4 from the Sawtooth to the MDD should use 5.1.3 to get the most out of the card. The OP needs to take note of this also.
     
  19. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    #19
    Well just to chime in here w/ my SATA/SSD experiences on G4's..........

    Way back when I had a sawtooth that I felt was slowing down despite being maxed out on ram, a fast ATA/133 HD, and the leanest OS X system I could make. I jumped on a Firmtek 4port SATA card & drive combo on ebay that I hoped would breath new life into my machine........

    ALL I can say is: W O W !!!!!!!!! It was like I had bought a brand new machine :) :) period.

    Well that card & HD moved on up to some other machines over the years and finally landed in my last G4, a Quicksilver w/ a 1.6ghz cpu upgrade. When coupled with a newer, faster HD, it STILL made a huge improvement in overall system performance.

    And the OP is talking about also adding an SSD to the mix.......well that should be an interesting story for sure ! I had thought about doing that as well before I retired the QS, but I could not justify the cost vs getting a new machine, so I just let it go.

    OP, please post back with results should you decide to proceed with these upgrade
     
  20. zen.state macrumors 68020

    zen.state

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    Mar 13, 2005
    #20
    Add WGoins88 to the long list of people who ask for advice and get loads of it and then never respond or thank anyone.

    We need to make a list of all these people so we know not to bother helping them anymore.
     
  21. WGoins88 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Feb 8, 2011
    #21
    I was waiting for more people to respond before I politely thanked them! You don't have to be so angry about it. :confused: That, and I'm just a busy person that can't be on here all the time to reply!

    But yes, Thank you everyone for the help, and I will chime back in when I get the stuff (I'm getting it for Christmas).
     
  22. skinniezinho macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 1, 2009
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    Portugal
    #22
    Don't spend too much money on those sata to pata adapters, they sell dirty cheap on ebay, and they are only good on old machines with very limited ATA interfaces.
    I had one on my Sawtooth with my 500Gb Samsung F3.
    Later I bought an ACARD AEC-6290M for about 25eur shipped and it was a very good difference,now I can def. say that the bottleneck is the cpu.
     

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