Powerbook G4 mods?


ptdebate

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2014
333
4
Dallas, Texas
I use my Powerbook G4 almost all the time instead of my regular laptop and was wondering what mods or upgrades can I do to my PowerBook G4 1.25Ghz?

Here are the specs:
2GBs Ram
80GB IDE HDD
ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 (4X AGP) with 64 MB of DDR SDRAM

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook_g4/specs/powerbook_g4_1.25_15.html
My recommendation would be to find a relatively inexpensive mSATA SSD of your preferred size and fit it into an IDE enclosure such as the following:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/mSATA-to-2-5-PATA-IDE-SSD-Enclosure-Adapter-Case-9-5mm-Solid-State-Drive-/151519954907?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23474b07db

You may run into compatibility issues with SATA revision III so make sure your mSATA drive is SATA revision II.

This will be a drive preferable to older mechanical IDE drives due to increased reliability, faster data transfer rate, and quieter, more efficient operation.
 

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
778
547
Our actions define our legacy
My recommendation would be to find a relatively inexpensive mSATA SSD of your preferred size and fit it into an IDE enclosure such as the following:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/mSATA-to-2-5-PATA-IDE-SSD-Enclosure-Adapter-Case-9-5mm-Solid-State-Drive-/151519954907?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item23474b07db

You may run into compatibility issues with SATA revision III so make sure your mSATA drive is SATA revision II.

This will be a drive preferable to older mechanical IDE drives due to increased reliability, faster data transfer rate, and quieter, more efficient operation.
Would this be a good choice?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820168163&cm_re=msata_sata_ii-_-20-168-163-_-Product
 

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
778
547
Our actions define our legacy
should work fine. It's SATAII. 120GB should be enough. I would also invest in a external HDD for data storage.
Don't really wanna use external drive since it kinda takes away from the portability factor. And I doubt ill fill the SSD up, I mainly use my PowerBook G4 for Photoshop CS3,browsing,lightweight gaming and movies.
-------------
bunnspecial said:
I've used a couple of those for exactly what you're looking to do-they work fine in enclosures identical to the one Weckart linked above.
Okay, I'll probably order it tomorrow.:D
 

OrangeSVTguy

macrumors 601
Sep 16, 2007
4,109
54
Northeastern Ohio
I've had one in mine for some time now. I have a 64gb samsung msata with another adapter I bought. It doesn't have the shell like above so it kinda just "floats" in there but doesn't move at all.

I also have a 15" PB. You'll learn how nice the 12" are to swap out a HDD :D
 

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
778
547
Our actions define our legacy
I've had one in mine for some time now. I have a 64gb samsung msata with another adapter I bought. It doesn't have the shell like above so it kinda just "floats" in there but doesn't move at all.

I also have a 15" PB. You'll learn how nice the 12" are to swap out a HDD :D
I just took a look at the guides to removing the drives, and the 12" to me looks like a pain :p So many screws and you gotta take the keys of the keyboard.

I also took a look at the 15" and seems easier , you only remove the case screws.

Not gonna lie though, both seem like a pain :p
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,719
3,271
Kentucky
The 15" honestly isn't too bad-just keep the screws straight, and the top case lifts off without too much trouble. Once you have the top case off, the hard drive is right there.

I can tell you that the 12" really is a nightmare, and I haven't even had one all the way apart. I started to dig into one of mine to reconnect the(disconnected) optical drive, but had second thoughts after I got the keyboard off and realized that I'd barely scratched the surface. A member here is supposed to be sending me a couple of them in pieces, so I'll have the fun of putting at least one together.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,667
1,662
SATA 3 issues are more to do with Intel Macs and PMG5s with a SATA 1 bus - particularly because of the bridge chip SATA-ATAPI for the optical drive. I have exclusively used various mSATA 3 drives in both Marvel and JMicron 20330 based adapters and have yet to run into issues with drive recognition or booting. No need to pay extra for SATA 2 drives imho.
 

harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2013
331
20
United Kingdom
I can tell you that the 12" really is a nightmare, and I haven't even had one all the way apart. I started to dig into one of mine to reconnect the(disconnected) optical drive, but had second thoughts after I got the keyboard off and realized that I'd barely scratched the surface. A member here is supposed to be sending me a couple of them in pieces, so I'll have the fun of putting at least one together.
I've got an mSATA SSD and IDE adapter coming in the post soon for my 12". Hopefully the installation won't be too bad - it can't be as tedious as the time I had to swap display housings on my white iBook G3.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,667
1,662
It is a little worse. On the iBook you unscrew and pop things out. On the Powerbook you have to be extra careful not to scratch, bend or warp the thinner case parts. My Powerbook took twice as long as my iBook to take apart but then I did replace the PB logic board so did have a few more things to negotiate.
 

iModFrenzy

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 15, 2015
778
547
Our actions define our legacy
It is a little worse. On the iBook you unscrew and pop things out. On the Powerbook you have to be extra careful not to scratch, bend or warp the thinner case parts. My Powerbook took twice as long as my iBook to take apart but then I did replace the PB logic board so did have a few more things to negotiate.
How would one bend a Powerbook :p
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,667
1,662
How would one bend a Powerbook :p
In reality, the area around the ports on the left hand side and around the optical drive has very little "structural integrity". Aluminium is very malleable. Very easy to pull out of shape and stretch. Virtually impossible to straighten afterwards.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,719
3,271
Kentucky
When I first got my 15", the area around the latch button was bent out pretty severely. I used a pair of parallel jaw pliers and a piece of scrap leather(both things I use for getting dents out of watch cases) to very carefully straighten that area of the case. With the top case and hard drive removed, I had fairly good access to this area to work on it. There's a little bit of evidence now of where the metal was bent, and where I bent it back, but most you'd have to be looking for it to notice it.

One of my 12"(the one from the $46 Ebay special) has a pretty nasty ding on the front left corner. If I ever get around to tearing that one down, I'm going to work on the dent. I don't know if I'll have as much luck, however, as I'll need to reform the curve somewhat. Once again, the watch case repair tools I have(along with cotton and/or leather) might come in handy.
 

Surrat

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2014
478
154
United States
I have taken apart 12" powerbooks several times, its not THAT hard, you just have to be careful, and patient.

Important to lay out the screws and not mix them up, there are a LOT of those tiny screws. This is critical, there are over 30 screws you have to remove, and 3 or 4 sizes, make sure you dont mix them up. I would say the single biggest headache when I work on a PB12 is just keeping track of what screw goes where.

When you unsnap the top cover off the case, (the large metal top thats directly under the keyboard and includes the trackpad) make sure not to lift the rear too much before you lift the front. Lift the rear part just enough to get it out of its snaps, then move to the front. If you angle the top cover up too far at the back, the front clips will be jammed, and much harder to release, you could even bend the aluminum case they will be so tight. Keep the top as level as you can as you work around to unsnap it.

To replace the optical drive, you have to gut the PB12 and remove the motherboard. This is because 2 of the optical mount screws are under the motherboard.

The heatsink on the 12" uses thermal paste on the cpu, and thermal pads on the chipset, and gpu. Be very careful lifting off the heatsink, lift the cpu side first, then slide it diagonal upwards away from the gpu so you dont tear the gpu thermal pad. Another thing about the heatsink to be careful, is the 2 spring loaded screws that press it down on top of the g4 cpu. They thread into pegs that are bonded to the motherboard only. One of my PB12 had the pegs torn out of the motherboard from somebody that probably made them too tight. Make sure to press down to relieve the spring pressure when you remove them, and when replacing, press down, screw then down until they bottom out, then release to allow the spring to hold the heatsink. Dont torque them tight after they bottom out, just make them 'snug'.

Use the iFixit guide for powerbook 12" 1-1.5ghz, it is excellent, and follow it to the letter one step at a time.

Make sure you have a spudger tool, if you dont, make one before you start. For all the tiny cable plugs in the PB12, never ever pull on the wires to get them out, use the spudger to pop them up, all the plugs have a small ledge area, you can pry against to lift it out.

Anyway, thats my 2cents, hope its helpful.

-Edited for clarity-
 
Last edited:

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,667
1,662
Use the iFixit guide for powerbook 12" 1-1.5ghz, it is excellent, and follow it to the letter one step at a time.
As ever, always read the comments at the bottom before commencing. There are always one or two unnecessary steps in the iFixit guides that do not get corrected. One of those was the detaching of one of the small cable plugs, which wasn't attached to the top case and could be more easily dealt with after removing the top case rather than before as per the guide.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
I have an idea! How bout replace the white led with a color led? Or even an RGB color changing led? :D

You could also squeeze lights in other places for cool effects. Like near the vents. :D
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,273
40
I do like that idea but I am not sure how to power those lights.
That's the fun part :D You probably just need to connect the lights to the power source of the logic board, wherever that is. If there is no 3 volts (but there is always 5 volts) then you just use a resistor.
 

Surrat

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2014
478
154
United States
As ever, always read the comments at the bottom before commencing. There are always one or two unnecessary steps in the iFixit guides that do not get corrected. One of those was the detaching of one of the small cable plugs, which wasn't attached to the top case and could be more easily dealt with after removing the top case rather than before as per the guide.
Are you talking about step 17 here:

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/PowerBook+G4+Aluminum+12-Inch+1-1.5+GHz+Logic+Board+Replacement/553

All 3 of those cable plugs are attached to the top cover.