My G4 needs a hard drive - I need help

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by DrPete, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. DrPete macrumors newbie

    Sep 25, 2009
    My trustworthy G4 is overflowing with valuable information and I'd like to consider replacing its hard drive or adding a new one. I don't know much about this and looking for recommendations for how big and fast a drive (currently 120 Gigs) I can use.
    My G4 has the dual mirrored front with two optical drives. The profiler tells me the following:
    Model Name: Power Mac G4
    Model Identifier: PowerMac3,6
    Processor Name: PowerPC G4 (3.2)
    Processor Speed: 1.25 GHz
    Number Of CPUs: 2
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 256 KB
    L3 Cache (per CPU): 1 MB
    Memory: 1 GB
    Bus Speed: 167 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.6.0f1
    Serial Number (system): XB3100BBNP1
    Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-000393D46A2A
    The drive is listed under the ATA bus in the profiler with the following information:

    Capacity: 111.79 GB
    Model: ST3120024A
    So my question is can I at least double my capacity or am I limited due to my configuration?
    If I can upgrade, what type of system should I buy to be sure it works?
    How would I put my operating system on the new drive?
  2. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    It can take a 2.5" PATA (EIDE) Hard Drive, with a maximum capacity (AFAIK) of 320GB.

  3. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    I believe that model has 2 hard drive busses that can handle as many as 4 drives. One bus is ATA 66 the other ATA 100.
    Like TEG says a drive for it needs to be a parallel ATA drive, not one of the newer SATA drives.
    The MDD that you have is enabled for large drive support, so the only limit is how big a drive you can find that is still parallel, or PATA. I've seen as high as 400GB capacity.

    You don't need an OS on the second drive; it just needs to be formatted correctly using Disk Utility. Otherwise you can install as normal from a regular Tiger or Leopard disc that is not machine specific.

    Other than more RAM and maybe video there's not much upgrading to do on one of these without just buying a newer Intel model, and I wouldn't bother with another PPC (G5) anymore.
  4. BlueRevolution macrumors 603


    Jul 26, 2004
    Montreal, QC
    You mean 3.5" don't you?
  5. quantum003 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 27, 2009
    Hi Dr. Pete,

    If you do decide to install a new, larger hard drive you may consider taking your old one out instead of leaving it in... you can buy a very nice looking 3.5" IDE hard drive enclosure with firewire for about $40. Then you can fire it up, connect it with firewire, and use it to boot up your system when you feel like it.

    If you decide to just add a new, larger second drive in addition to your current one, when you open up your MDD you will find the hard drive is connected to two things: power (black/red/white/yellow connector on the right) and an IDE cable... slip the new drive into the connection between the old drive and where the cable connects to the motherboard. You will also want to change your old drive's pins to "Master" and the new to "Slave". There should be a picture on the drive illustrating how to do this.

    If you decide to install a second OS on the drive, boot up from your OS CD (hold down C while it boots), choose "Disk Utility" from the menu when you get into the installer, and format your new drive as "Mac OS Extended Journaled", and in options choose Apple Partition Map... after it is formatted like this you can choose to install a new operating system onto it as well, or instead, of your other drive. Kind of fun to have two OS's in your machine, hold down Alt / Option while it boots to choose the one you want to load.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Processor Name: PowerPC G4 (3.2)
    Processor Speed: 1.25 GHz
    Number Of CPUs: 2

    Sounds like a late-model "MDD" version to me (I have one, too).

    No need to take the old drive out. The MDD's have room for _4_ internal hard drives.

    And I believe they can be larger than 320gig as well.

    You _do_ need a PATA/IDE drive (and _not_ a "SATA" type drive).

    I'd recommend Seagate, and avoid WD, Maxtor, and Hitachi.

    You can either put the new hard drive in the same "carrier" as the factory-installed hd, or, put it in the 2nd carrier assembly which is located directly underneath the optical drives.

    Once installed, boot as usual from the old drive, and run Disk Utility and get it set up.

    After that's done, you might consider using either SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner to "dupe" the contents of the old drive to the new one.

    I'd leave the old drive in place, as a "bootable 2nd drive". It's ALWAYS preferable to have a 2nd online drive ready whenever you might need it.

    - John

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