Is there a drive size limit for a Mac G4?

Jazhawk

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 16, 2007
37
0
Las Vegas, NV
I have a Mac G4 with two drives in it. ATA 115 GB and a 20 GB. Both small to me but it's what the machine came with when I got it. I would like to put a 300 or so in it as primary at some point.

Are these systems limited to what size they can handle?

-Jahawk
 

astrostu

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2007
378
15
Depends on which G4. Any system post- and including the Quicksilver model supports hard drives larger than 120 GB. Any system prior to it does not. If you have one before (as in you bought it before June 2001, like me), you could buy a new hard drive controller which would let you have a drive larger than 120 GB.

And it's not that you can't put a larger one in there, just that it won't recognize the drive as having more than something like 128 GB to work with.

This is from memory from when I made this mistake about 3 years ago ... take it with a grain of salt until someone else chimes in.
 
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mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,777
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
My understanding, although I'm not 100% sure, is that it depends on whether your Mac has an ATA-66 (those Macs can't use >137GB without some tweaking) vs. ATA-100 (can use essentially any PATA drive you want).

So, the above post is essentially close (although I could be wrong also). This is must be a PowerMac (since you have 2 drives), right? It looks like, from Apple-History.com, that both generations of Quicksilver and the Gigabit Ethernet PMG4s all have ATA-66 controllers. Apple-History actually lists the Mirrored Drive Door PMG4 as the first one with an ATA-100 controller.

As an aside, in terms of other Macs that have G4s, the Cubes are all affected by the issue; the iMac G4 made a transition to ATA-100 before it got EOL'd, so there are some that do and some that do not. It looks like all Titanium PBG4s have ATA-66 (and so are affected), but all Aluminum ones have ATA-100. Finally, it looks like the iBook went to ATA-100 with the second revision to the iBook G4 (2004).

But again, I'd like to be verified before you go to press with this also. ;)
 
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gnasher729

macrumors P6
Nov 25, 2005
16,699
3,440
My understanding, although I'm not 100% sure, is that it depends on whether your Mac has an ATA-66 (those Macs can't use >137GB without some tweaking) vs. ATA-100 (can use essentially any PATA drive you want).
Just a note since getting anything smaller than 160GB starts getting difficult: You can put a 160GB or larger disk into the older Macs, but only 137GB will be used.
 
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Jazhawk

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 16, 2007
37
0
Las Vegas, NV
Just a note since getting anything smaller than 160GB starts getting difficult: You can put a 160GB or larger disk into the older Macs, but only 137GB will be used.
Ok, I think I understand most of what was said but a side question is, why after so many iterations of Mac systems, would a box a G4 be limted at all?

Then I have a Quicksilver question. Like what is that?

-Jazhawk
 
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astrostu

macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2007
378
15
Ok, I think I understand most of what was said but a side question is, why after so many iterations of Mac systems, would a box a G4 be limted at all?
Again, this is from research from a few years ago, but my memory says that I read that computer folks didn't think that hard drives would really get that big, and so it was an issue with the hardware simply not being built with the ability to recognize drives that large.

Kinda like the idea that 32-bit applications can't access more than 2 GB of RAM, which worked well for decades because no one had nor needed that much RAM. But now we have apps that do and RAM is much cheaper per MB.


Then I have a Quicksilver question. Like what is that?
Quicksilver refers to the model of G4 tower. Go to this page for more information on what the Quicksilver was. Or simply search for it on http://www.apple-history.com .
 
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Jazhawk

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 16, 2007
37
0
Las Vegas, NV
Again, this is from research from a few years ago, but my memory says that I read that computer folks didn't think that hard drives would really get that big, and so it was an issue with the hardware simply not being built with the ability to recognize drives that large.

Kinda like the idea that 32-bit applications can't access more than 2 GB of RAM, which worked well for decades because no one had nor needed that much RAM. But now we have apps that do and RAM is much cheaper per MB.




Quicksilver refers to the model of G4 tower. Go to this page for more information on what the Quicksilver was. Or simply search for it on http://www.apple-history.com .
Hey, that's the box I have. Hmmm. Who knew? Thanx for the links and the info.

-Jazhawk
 
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