installing hard drive in iBook G3


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 16, 2006
so my boss' ibook g3 just broke, he brought it to apple and they said it needs a new hard drive and were going to charge him something like 400 dollars to replace it. He decided not to do it because it's so old. (not sure how old, but it's a white g3 with a cd tray). Anyway, i told him i should be able to do it. I've found directions online on ifixit and stuff but need a few more questions answered.

1. Will any 2.5 inch hard drive fit? I think i'm going for 5400 rpms because i don't want it to get too hot and he wants 80 gb. how is this one?

2. How will i run the os once it is installed? Do i need to installl 10.0 first and then move up? Can i install from the cd or do i need to do it from another computer via target disk mode?

3. ifixit suggests i get a "spudger" which i guess it a plastic anti static toothpic type thing to remove hard to get parts. Definitely needed or no? I have a set of small screw drivers that i've used for my powerbook that i thik should be fine.

4. Any tips at all you wanna throw at me. THANKS!!


macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
1. A 5400 RPM drive will work as well as long as its 9.5mm high. The OWC one you linked would work.

2. You can install the latest version of OS X that you have.

3. The "spudger" is used as a prying tool in most instances to avoid damaging the case.


macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2005
Make sure you get a PATA drive, not a SATA one.

As far as advice:

If you aren't experienced be very methodical and find someone knowledgable to help you. It really isn't hard to replace the hard drive in an iBook but i can imagine it would be quite painful if you haven't worked on one before.


macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2002
MontCo., PA
Anything up to 10.3 will install fine from a CD. If you want 10.4, your best bet since you'll already have the new HD out is to stick it in a firewire enclosure, plug it into another PPC Mac, and install it that way. It can be done other ways, but I found this way to be the easiest. You can also take the opportunity while it's apart to overclock it slightly and bump the RAM.


macrumors member
Jun 16, 2004
With a CD tray, you have an iBook G3.

You'll need a 00 sized phillips head screwdriver, and for a spudger a plastic knife or the edge of an old ID or credit card will work.

Oh, if this is your first time doing this, you'll need lots of time, too. The first time I took apart an iBook G3, it took about ~2 hours to get to the hard drive.

While you're in there, you might want to suggest to your boss to upgrade RAM as far as it'll go - which I believe is 640 MB. With that amount of RAM (and that processor), I wouldn't suggest using Tiger - if he's never used Tiger, you might want to suggest using Panther instead - it was peppier on my 12" PowerBook than Tiger, it'll be peppier on an iBook G3.

One thing you might want to ask him is whether or not his machine has had the logic board fix - generally, the problem manifests itself as a black screen or very corrupted image. If he hasn't had that fix, it might be worth buying a different used computer instead - the iBook G3 has had a ~50% failure rate. An early iBook G4 these days go for about $400 and doesn't have the logic board issue.

Any 9.5 mm PATA hard drive should work - though make sure the one you eventually choose has 8 mb of cache. A 5400 rpm drive with 8 mb cache will be much faster than the original drive.

The hard drive cable is also (IIRC) rather fragile, so be careful when you pull it out of the hard drive/motherboard, or it might tear.

You might also want blank paper and scotch tape to tape down your screws - you'll have a lot.

If you have any questions in regards to "best practices," I'll watch this thread - I've torn down... lets see, in order of age... Power Mac 7300, Lombard, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G4 Cube, iBook G3, iMac G4, PowerBook G4 12", PowerBook G4 15" Alu... some of these are more fun than others...


macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 16, 2006
wow thank you soo much, everyone! you've all been a huge help. i'm going to order a hard drive soon. i'll keep posting if i have any issues. thanks again!!!