G4 PBook - was USB designed not to power

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nomadix, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. nomadix macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2006
    howdy Folks:
    17" P Book 1.68 OS X 10.4.8 120G 1G

    just returned from Genius bar at Apple store - I was told the G4's were not designed to power external drives thru USB

    Does this sound correct ?

    having a bit of difficulty with this - after all the " Hey Were Mac " sales pitch

    anyone clear this up for me ?

  2. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois

    That makes no sense.

    It should just work when you plug it in to a PowerBook.
  3. squeeks macrumors 68040


    Jun 19, 2007
    yeah that dosent sound correct

    g4 powerbooks are still pretty new

    i dont know what the genius was thinking
  4. FJ218700 macrumors 68000


    Mar 8, 2007
    Blue Dot, Red State
    my 80 and 250 GB WD bus-powered USB drives won't mount on my 1.67, they will on my G4 towers.
  5. nomadix thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2006
    Howdy Mates;

    poking around and I see posts on different sites dating late 2005 where this issue is discussed - seems the G4's - at least those built in 2005 had weak USB drives - citing Mac is more geared toward firewire - problem was corrected with Mac Book

    though it do not make sense - seems what Geniuses say is correct with the G4

    so - guess a firewire drive 2.5 enclosure is what I need
    still seems daft for such a recent machine


    cheers ya:
  6. zakatov macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    South Florida
    That sounds about right because back then, Apple was all about Firewire, leaving USB as just slow peripheral connectors. Were they even 2.0 on the G4Books?
  7. FJ218700 macrumors 68000


    Mar 8, 2007
    Blue Dot, Red State
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    There are also some USB devices that will try to draw more power than USB 2.0 allows by specification. I think the notebooks can handle one device at full spec power, and there are a lot of 2.5" USB bus-powered drive enclosures that I'm fairly sure I heard of people using with Powerbooks, but a beefier enclosure / 3.5" drive may not work because it may be asking for too much power.

    Part of the controversy also stems from a seeming lack of clarity on whether a system should be designed to be able to handle max power on all these ports at the same time. If you think about it, this becomes problematic on a notebook. If my 12" iBook, which only has a 40W power supply to begin with (and runs on much less -- 12-15W, I think, when off battery) has 2x USB and 1x Firewire ports and they're all expected to maintain max load at the same time, that's actually a fairly large amount of its total power budget (i.e. it might be 10-15% or more).
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    You have 500 mA available. Many drive manufacturers play fast and loose with the standard, and assume that if you have 500, then they can get away with drawing 650. Wrong.

    So it is correct to say that the PB G4 provides standard USB power, and that in practice, many external drives are not compatible with the standard.
  10. nomadix thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2006
    Howdy Folks;

    Controversy - ..... what else can be said .....

    ok - so good points mentioned - yet if you can power a devise on other machines that only a PB will power with a Fire Wire - a disconnect for me

    I have no problem with the PB machine not powering externals whilst on battery - ( incidently battery was replaced in this factory service - machine is 16 months old ) - too bad it wont power these externals whilst on main power

    A new question I pose - as I will have to get a new enclosure for this 100G 2.5 - firewire drive - I see a few on eBay - none mention whether S ATA or IDEE - do it matter for these ?


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