confused about ATA / installing new drive


macrumors 601
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
i want to install new hard drives into my g4. i run ProTools LE and would like to eke out better performance (right now i do everything on one drive).

i have a dual 500 g4. according to the System Profiler, i have two ATA controllers. on one is the original 40 gig drive. on the other is a DVD-RAM drive.

i don't know the controller speed. i'm thinking of getting 2 of these drives:

i notice it's rated for ATA-100. i suspect my g4 ATA controller is slower (but really have no idea).

will this work? i.e. using a drive rated faster? i assume it would step down to whatever my controller is. also, from what i understand, i can have 2 devices on each controller. is that right?

what i'd want to do is install like this:

ATA 0: new 80 gig drive (osx boot), existing 40 gig drive (os9 boot)

ATA 2: new 80 gig drive (audio record drive), existing DVD-RAM drive

anyone know of anything wrong w/ this approach? or these drives? or any installation gotchas?



Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
You can run ATA100 (or even ATA133) drives on older controllers all the way back to ATA33 (and before if you want, all of this assuming that the controllers can handle drives of the size you are adding). All that happens is that the drive downgrades to the best ATA it can (the same happens with ATA100 controllers and slower drives). I would recomend the Western Digital 80Gb drives with 8Mb cache on them. They cost about the same, but have higher performance and don't put out much heat.


macrumors 68030
Aug 1, 2001
Santa Cruz Ca
Some details.

The controllers are ATA-66.

Keep the DVD-RAM in the "Zero" position on the cable it's attatched to or U will have some issues with CD-boot and installing Jag.

You should get new ATA cables for this with longer cables between drives so you can keep all 3 HD's on the bottom (the Zip bay needs some modification to fit a HD properly). Get the "round" cables as opposed to the ribbon style so there's less stress on the cables when doing tight wiring.

Mac OS doesn't support "Cable-select" adressing so you'll want to keep all those little jumpers' settings in mind.

Do 1 drive at a time so U can keep troubleshooting simple.

Go to an Apple store and order another drive frame for the bottom so U have 2 if U only have 1, each should fit 2 drives.