Dead hard drive - 1.67GH 17" G4 Powerbook: worth replacing?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by treehorn, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. treehorn macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    So...I did something really stupid. I made dinner using a recipe on my 1.67GH low res 17" G4 Powerbook. And I guess it wasn't as secure/stable/flat a surface as I thought it was. And after I was done and closed the computer and walked away I heard a huge THWAP and found the computer on the floor behind me.

    Yup, it fell about 4' onto the ground. Flat, so only minimal external damage (a bit of a ding on the case but nothing serious). However, the hard drive is toast. Makes nasty noises, won't start up, Disc repair software doesn't read it. But the computer seems to be working fine - can start up using CD/DVD, screen is fine, track pad and keyboard seem to be working fine.

    I did some looking about what installing a new hard drive at IFixit and the instructions...are a bit intimidating:

    I've replaced optical drives and hard drives on other computers without batting an eye but this seems...pretty hard core.

    Am I right? Is it something I should attempt? Or should I pound my head into a wall for my stupidity for doing something like this when I'm cash poor and break down and get a new laptop?
  2. raziel777 macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2009
    League City, Texas
    Everyone makes mistakes. This might be a good time to make the jump to a new laptop. Plus the new ones are alot easier to replace the hard drive should this ever happen again. :D
  3. InLikeALion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    Greener places than I used to live
    If your "cash poor" then I would say you would be irresponsible NOT to try the hdd replacement. That machine is still good for lots of things. It might seem intimidating, but if you print out the ifixit directions and take your time, it is very doable. I replaced the drive on my wife's powerbook last year, and it was easy. Not simple, but easy.

    If you're not going to replace it, please send it to me, cause we could certainly use it, as my wife's pb is failing in various ways.
  4. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Get a wd 250 gig ide drive, 7200 rpm ide drive or a samsung 160 gig 5400 drive. Check a 3rd party authorized repair shop, and see how much it is to have it repaired. Max the ram out while you're at it.

    You'll get new life out of your old system.
  5. treehorn thread starter macrumors 6502


    Aug 21, 2007
    Problem is only reason I need a laptop is to multi task/surf the web when I'm watching TV - so don't really need to spend money on a new computer for that :)

    InLikeALion - how difficult was the drive swap (was it as...warning filled as the one I linked to?)

    The 3rd party in town is Tekserve and to be honest...I loathe dealing with them and have had nothing but bad experiences (you would think that with Apple Stores popping up everywhere, 3rd party stores would be attitude-free...)
  6. brent0saurus macrumors regular


    Feb 16, 2006
    i just replaced the hard drive on my 15" powerbook and it wasn't too hard. or at least it shouldn't have been.
    on the very last step when you unscrew the bracket that's holding the drive in, i stripped those screws like an idiot. SO BE CAREFUL NOT TO DO THAT.

    luckily my dad is super handy and this weekend i went to his house and he put slots in the screws with a bevel and i got it out no problem.

    It's really not hard at all, just make sure you organize your screws. I laid out a piece of paper that had all the steps on ifixit on it and put the screws next to the steps and labeled how many screws were supposed to be there.

    other than that just make sure you have a clean work environment, a big table, and be patient. it does take a little bit of time (maybe a half hour) but it's great to have a new hard drive (although mine makes the occasional clicking sound like every 30 seconds which is kind of making me nervous but some people say it's the read head parking...) and it's a huge capacity (160 instead of 80 gb.)

    also, since you have a powerbook, i think you'll need an ata drive unless i'm unaware of the 17" PBs capable of sata.
    i got my drive from and it was $60 with free shipping. Western Digital Scorpio.

    good luck!!
  7. PowerBookRelic macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2008
    I replaced my PB's HDD, it was not difficult at all. It is; however, very meticulous. Print out the instructions, and as Brent said, get a big workspace and take your time. If you just use it to surf the web, etc, it would be dumb to buy a new MBP (>$2.5K) for those reasons. Get a faster HDD and increase the size, and you are good to go. I found that it did take about a half hour. Follow the instructions, pay attention, and remember that the case is made out of a soft material, so don't be too forceful as it can bend.
  8. THX1139 macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2006
    I've swapped drives in my old G4 several times; it's easy if you have the correct tools. I bought a cheap torix tool set at radio shack and that is all you need besides a decent screwdriver.
  9. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Jul 1, 2007
    Your powerbook is still a very good machine, replace the hard drive and use it for another few years.
  10. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    If you can use a screw driver you can replace a hard drive. Go slow and be sure to format the HD before you install OS X.
  11. glhiii macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2006
    Keep tradk of screws

    I've done this many times. The most important thing is to follow the directions and keep track of where the screws go. I do this by scotch-taping the screws to the pictures of where they go. There are about 4 pages of directions, and each ends up with a few screws taped to it. As I finish each page, I put it on top of the other ones I've finished. Then to reassemble the computer, all I have to do is work through the pages from the top to the bottom.

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