G4, SATA I, SATA II, fastest hard drives

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Nova77, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. Nova77 Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Hi, I need to change my G4 MDD's drives, because they suck (has the basic 60 GB 7200rpm as boot drive and a 5200rpm 120 GB taken from an old pc).

    Take this as a challenge : I want the fastest stuff possible for that machine, and yes I know its old. I do not want to go the easy way, so keep that in mind.

    Ok, so here's what I have in mind.

    What I know:
    -PCI SATA I cards are bootable
    -PCI SATA II cards are not bootable but faster
    -SATA I to ATA adapters are a bit slower but they spare a PCI slot

    What I want to know

    -How the speed of the boot drive affects OS X's speed
    -What are the fastest drives for SATA I interface
    (it can be a SATA 2 or 3 drive, but keep in mind that they will slow down their speed while using SATA I... so maybe a SATA I drive can be faster or equal?...)
    -What are the fastest drives for SATA II interface


    P.S.: If you have some real word speeds that confirm what you are saying, that would be much appreciated!!
  2. zen.state, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011

    zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Because these cards run in 33MHz PCI they will only be able to reach about half SATA 1 speed. You will get 70-80MB/sec. I know this because I have run SATA cards in at least half the G4 models.

    I have never heard of a standard PCI card with SATA 2 as it would be pointless.

    A WD Black or SSD combined with a SATA 1 card will achieve the best overall performance. Even though they both won't be able to hit max speed anyway they both would have much faster seek times. That means that even though they can still only hit 70-80/MB a sec they can get there much faster and also go to a polar opposite part of the drive much faster.

    I call the WD Black drives the poor mans SSD. Even though they are magnetic they perform close the low end SSD. I boot from a 3.5" Black in my G4 and a 2.5" Black in my MacBook. Very fast drives. Main things they improve is boot times and app launching.


    I forgot to add that you really can't find SATA 1 drives anymore other than the odd leftover stock on the really expensive 10,000 - 15,000 rpm magnetics for servers. Those are hundreds.

    SATA 2 works perfectly on SATA 1 chipsets and if you happen to get a SATA 3 drive (like the 3.5" WD Black in my G4) simply set the drive jumper to SATA 2. There are only 2 jumper pins and it can only fit one jumper so there is no confusion.
  3. Nova77 thread starter Guest

    May 12, 2011
    That is fasle sir. Full lenght pci slots (like those in my MDD) can reach up to 166 MB/sec. PCI-X is even more. This is a fact. So SATA I can be maxed out, as it has a max of 150 MB/sec.
  4. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Well to be fair I never used PCI SATA in a MDD before. I still can't imagine it getting anywhere near that speed. Also many of these SATA cards are not full length so you can't expect full slot bandwidth.

    If you know exactly how fast it can go then why are you even asking?

    Since you only concentrated on one out of the 14+ lines of text I wrote I will take my help elsewhere.
  5. Nova77 thread starter Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Don't be offended, I did read it all... But the thing is, you start by saying its impossible to reach a really good speed. And the point is, how far one could take that hardrive speed....

    Also, you did not answer any of my questions listed up there. How would a SATA 3 hdd compare to a SATA 1 one?? How does your caviar black compare to an old 10 000 rpm hdd?... etc

    I don't know the harddrives file transfer speed, nor the ssd's speed. I only know what the PCI bus can do, and the theorical max speeds of SATA interface. This is nothing about the drives themselves... Thats why I'm asking.

    If some1 knows what one could do to get the best speed possible, knowing the G4's limits, please tell me. Hope this clarifies any confusion.
  6. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    I found this xbench HD score of an MDD with the same SATA card I have in my Sawtooth. The highest speed it hits is 101MB/sec.


    Like I said.. they are not full length cards so you won't get full slot bandwidth. I did comment on boot speed and drive performance. You're on your own man. I'm done.
  7. Nova77 thread starter Guest

    May 12, 2011
    I do appreciate the help ;)
    I don't understand why you look a lil mad though...
  8. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    I do not know, if I have that right in mind or am confusing something, but I think I heard somewhere, that there is much overhead which slows it down and that the bandwidth is shared over the 3-4 slots in the G4s, so if you are running something else besides the SATA-PCI card it will slow down even more.

    Please correct me, I did only read this on the fly, when I was searching for something different last week.
  9. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Not mad at all. It's just that I did answer some of your questions and then you tell me I'm wrong and say I never answered anything. Then you base your argument on some stat you read somewhere and forget to equate or don't realize that these SATA cards are never full length unless it's a high end hardware RAID card which ads 100+ to the price.

    You asked for real world experience and I gave you my real world experience. If you don't like it or feel it doesn't suffice then you're on your own.
  10. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2010
    Another option to get you across the 100mb/sec mark might be to set up a RAID with two good quality PATA drives like the WD 5000 AAKB's. Do it across both buses, though. Put one on the ATA 66 and the other on the ATA 100. For all intents and purposes, this will function like a single 133Mhz bus.

    In terms of raw speed, the only thing I've found superior to this is a SATA card / ATA 100 RAID setup.

    You can attach your current boot drive, observing proper jumper positions, to one of the free connectors on either eide ribbon for the purpose of cloning to your new RAID, but I would then remove it and save it as a backup. Two drives on either bus, especially the 66Mhz bus, will compromise airflow in these machines.

    Of course this only works on MDD model G4s. They are the only ones that have the extra bus.
  11. Nova77 thread starter Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Thanks for the suggestion.

    Any thoughts on the new velociraptors?

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