PowerMac G4 SSD

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Hexley, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Hexley macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    I have a Quicksilver 2002 Power Macintosh G4 1.0 DP and would like to install a SSD onto it. I know this Mac is limited to OS X Leopard 10.5.8 + updates.

    So what SSDs works and what does not work?

    M8667LL/A - PowerMac3,5 - M8493 - 1896
  2. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    I had a Kingston SSDNow 64GB in my MDD and it was pretty fast. That SSD is SATA2 so I didn't have an issue at all with it.

    The SSD now lives in my G5 as I use that more on a daily basis :)
  3. robertdsc macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2014
    How did you connect it to the G4?
  4. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
  5. Hexley thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    Is that cheaper than this?



    From what I've read my options are the following

    1) Ultra ATA 66MB/s to a PATA/IDE SSD like those from Transcend

    2) Ultra ATA 66MB/s to a 64GB Transcend CompactFlash 400x (90MB/s read & 60MB/s writes) card connected through a "Compact Flash CF Flash Memory Card to 2.5" IDE PATA Hard Drive Adapter Card"
  6. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2011
    Dunno, if you manage to score a used Sonnet-Tempo for less then the 10Euro/$ new PC-cards usually cost it is indeed not cheaper to do so :p

    But you can also add:
    "mSATA-modul + adaptor" and "SATA-SSD + adaptor" to your list.
  7. AmestrisXServe, Mar 2, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014

    AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    It is less expensive than a Sonnet card, with the following points understood:

    1. You will need to flash it on a PC system, that has PCI slots, running Windows.

    2. The product will be unsupported by any manufacturer, and any third-party.

    If you are unable to flash it yourself, you may find someone who will sell you one that is pre-flashed; or someone that will flash it for you.

    If you are unwilling to accept these caveats, then you may want to buy a card from a Mac HW seller, that is guaranteed in some way. It is less of a headache, but at 3x to 5x the price.

    You can also use PATA/SATA bridgeboard adapters. [user]Intell[/user] states that both Jmicron, and Marvell chipset bridge controllers, both work in this capacity. This will allow you to use a SATA-I or SATA-II device on your pre-existing ATA/66 (ATA-5) bus, albeit at restricted bandwidth.

    You have four PCI-33 slots, so you need to ensure that you obtain a PCI-33 card. Other PCI card types will not work, unless the card is backward-compliant with PCI-33, as many PCI-66 and PCI-X cards are. Read the technical specifications, to be certain. if you want a SATA card. The bus supports 64-bit cards, which means that you might want to look at cards that are both 33MHz, and 64-bit, if possible. The 64-Bit 33Mhz cards are rare, as only a handul of manufacturers used the spec, including Apple and HP. I believe that some Highpoint cards, based on HP Proreliant cards, are 64-Bit@33Mhz.

    An example is this 2Ware 8500 RAID controller, however I do not know off-hand what products can be flashed, and what cannot.

    The 64-bit cards usually have HW RAID support, which is always a blessing, and you can add external headers for eSATA to any SATA card, or external RAID support, while still using your internal drives, or drive bays. That doesn't mean that all cards with a RAID controller are 64-bit, and it is often difficult to deduce what is 64bit@33Mhz, and what is not. Some PCI-X cards, that are 64-bit, work on 33MHz PCI sockets, and may be, or may not be, 64-bit mode in that configuration.

    You occasionally can find 64-bit RAID SATA cards from many IT recyclers at a very low price. (Look for recyclers that sell server components.) If you need any suggestions, The 64-bit cards give you much more bandwidth, and will perform far better than PCI-33 32-bit, as well as providing HW RAID support. You do not want to so a SW RAID from Disk Utility on this system. A PCI-33 32-Bit card has a maximum throughput of 133MB/s, which is less than that of SATA-150 (150MB/s), whereas a 64-bit card will perform at a maximum throughput of 266Mb/s.

    The Sonnet card that you selected will work, and it is a 32-bit 33Mhz card. The benefit here, is that it works out of the box. You can expect data throughput on par with ATA/133, but nothing above that level. This is a limitation of a 32-bit wide, 33MHz bus, which has a maximum throughput of 133MB/s.

    I should write a FAQ on this, as it seems to crop up every few days.

    SATA SSDs, in HW RAID (RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-3, and RAID-5) are exceptionally fast. The RAID-0, RAID-3, or RAID5 configuration will greatly improve overall performance:
    RAID 0 will give you a read and write speed enhancement, at the risk of losing all datum if part of the array fails. With SSDs, this is far less likely than with HDDS.
    RAID-3 requires at least three drives, and will give you improved performance (read/write), at the sake of losing one of the three volumes for parity, which is a form of datum protection. I do not however, advise this level, as RAID-5 is far better.
    RAID-5 requires at least three drives, and is best with five. You lose one drive out of a RAID-5 set for parity, and it gives better read/wrtie speed than RAID-3.
    (RAID-6 is less common, and offers double-parity.)

    RAID-1 will give you increased read speed, with a write speed penalty, and a full mirror. This means that you must use two volumes, of which, one is always used for a mirror of the other. This gives far improved read performance, but penalises write performance. It makes sense for disc-based arrays, bot not as much for SSD-based arrays.

    If you want maximum performance out of your SSDs, and can afford the price for at least three volumes, you should consider a RAID-5 array. Even on a 33Mhz 32-bit controller, this will give you a performance boost, and it would rock your world on a PCI-33 64-bit controller. (It will maximise your drive performance, and give you a bit of extra protection.) If you want the maximum amount of space, with increased performance, and aren't worried about array failure, you could use RAID-0 instead of RAID-5.

    The key here is that even if you do not use RAID at present, cards that support it are a wise investment. The 64-bit cards both improve performance overall, but are scarce, and RAID support is a good option when buying a card, as even if you do not use it at present, it will afford you the option in the future. You can always add external NAS, or Enterprise-rated mechanical HDD volumes externally via eSATA.

    My feeling here, is that as long as you are willing to spend a good deal of money on a controller, you might do as well to spend the same amount on a card that has RAID support, which may cost you less than the Sonnet card, and put any difference into storage devices.

    To answer your other questions: Yes, you can use PATA SSDs, but this is unwise, as your price/GB is far more than a SATA SSD, or CF cards. CF cards will tend to be slower than SATA SSDs, and now that I have solid information on the chipsets for the bridge adapters, you would do better to use PATA/SATA adapters.

    The problem with this, for you, is performance, and you seem to care about that. A PATA/SATA adapter will bottleneck the drive performance by as much as 60% of its physical capabilities, due to using it on an ATA/66 bus.

    The SIIG SC-SATM-12 card is a Mac-compatible, PCI-33, 64-Bit SATA-II controller without RAID, that is quite affordable, if you can find one.

    A good RAID PCI-33 card, although I do not know if it supports the 64-bit bus operations, is the Highpoint 1740.

    The SeriTek series cards also support booting out of the box.

    The primary problem that I have with these, is that the data sheets do not specify that they work as 64-bit cards in a PCI-33 bus. They use a generic 32/64-Bit 33/66MHz label in their details, and don't have full data sheets that define this clearly. Finding a 64-bit card that works without flashing, can be an adventure. Someone else may have more accurate datum on 64-bit cards, but those that sell them often use generic labels, as they may not themselves know if the cards are 32-bit, or 64-bit, as most of them use a third-party manufacturer, and only add their own firmware to a product.

    The firmware is what will enable booting from the device on a Mac, and that is what you will want to flash, if you do not buy a card that works as-is.
  8. Hexley thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    AmestrisXServe thank you for taking the time to reply. That is very comprehensive.

    Really wish those Mac-compatible 33 MHz 64-bit PCI cards that you describe to be able to peak at 266MB/s were easily found. I'd love to stick as many Crucial M500s it can handle.
  9. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    The best that you can do is to constantly be on the lookout for them. A few exist, and as i said, several of the cards marked as 32/64-bit could be 64-bit @ 33Mhz, or they could simply be compatible with a 64-bit bus, in 32-bit mode.

    32-bit and 64-bit modes do not affect the bus, as would using a 33Mhz card in a 66MHz bus. The bus width does not halve if you use 32-bit cards in it.

    That is the single advantage of a 32/64-bit 33Mhz bus, over a 66Mhz 32-bit bus (as used in many PC architectures). The 66MHz bus instantly drops to 33Mhz, if any 33MHz devices are in use, as it has only one clock. A 33MHz 54-hit wide bus can operate simultaneously at 133MB/s and 266MB/s.

    I know that the cards from the HP Proreliant series were 64-bit, and I also know that some of these are hardware identical to some of the RocketRaid products. They can be used in your system, but they may not be bootable devices.

    If you do not need to boot from an array, you can use these, and load drivers for them, often, as-is, by using drivers from Highpoint. Some will require hybrid, or modified drivers, and some cards will require driver hunting. Most of my systems use PCI-X, or PCIe, so it becomes a bit easier to find products to use with them, but a PCI-33 64-bit bus can be versatile, and useful, assuming that you locate a product that takes full advantage o its capabilities.

    The main problem is that the 33MHz 64-bit specification was uncommon. In the PC market, servers nearly-exclusively used this specification, and other than that, some Apple hardware. Desktop PC systems ignored it, and went with PCI-66, so the selection of inexpensive, widely available 64-bit PCI-33 cards is slim to naught.

    There are also a FW cards that uses the 64-bit bus, so you may find a FW-800 card in this type: I don't recall any USB 2.0 cards that were 64-bit, and PCI-33. If you can find a PCI-33, 64-Bit Firewire 800 card, it will toast any USB card that you would ever use on this system.

    You may want to buy a few cards from eBay, or somewhere similar, at a low price, that you suspect are 64-bit PCI-33: Remember that those PCI-X cards state they work in fallback mode on PCI-33, and they may do so in 64-bit mode, if they are configured to detect 64-bit availability.

    Then, armed with a few choices, try each, and perform DRT tests, and see if any of them break outside the 133MB/s barrier. If they do, you will know beyond any doubt that the card is 64-bit, and you can sell any that you do not need.

    If the data sheets were more clear on this point, I could assist you further, but I believe that I own exactly one working system at this point with the same bus as is in your G4: An XServe dual-G4, and I can't really experiment on it, as it is a server in use.

    I may have an early G5 with the PCI-33 sockets, but it isn't in use, and if it is what I believe, it is packed in its original box. (I had planned to put that system back into use in a lab environment at an unspecified, future point.)
  10. Hexley thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2009
    Going back to something easier sourced.

    1) Transcend PATA/IDE SSD reads at 104MB/s and writes at 93MB/s. This would saturate Ultra ATA/66. Would it boot?

    2) Or am I better off with a "Compact Flash CF Flash Memory Card to 2.5" IDE PATA Hard Drive Adapter Card"? The 64GB Transcend 400x cards reads at 90MB/s and writes at 60MB/s. Would it boot?
  11. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2011
    I had/have:
    - a Transcend 32GB IDE SSD in a MacMini G4 -> worked
    - a ??? 120GB IDE SSD in an iBook -> works
    - a hybrid SATA drive in a PMac G5 -> works
    - same hybrid drive in PMac G4 -> worked, but never bothered to flash the SIL3112, so no boot
    - a small CF-card in internel IDE on that same G4 -> works
    - mSATA SSD in a PowerBook (which has/had other issues) -> works

    Whatever you buy, you will allways need either an adaptor or PCI-card as noone makes SSD that directly connects to 40pin IDE.

    Well unless you buy an over expensive and small FlashModule....
  12. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Do you need the drive to boot the OS?

    If not you can use every PC-card with a SIL3124 or SIL3112 chip. Without flashing. You just have to install drivers (which can be found on the net).

    I made a list of flashable and non-flashable cards that work here:

    What do you aim at?
    - Faster transfer speed? Do not get a SSD. (see transfer speeds)
    - want the OS (bootable card) and Applications (every card) start faster? Get a SSD. (use SATA-to-PATA Bridge on your existing ATA66-Bus, where your main drive is now. This is the cheapest way (versus bootable SATA-PCI card). Also SATA-SSDs are cheaper than PATA-SSDs.)

    You will never get 133MB/s speed with a SATA-PCI card:
    1. 32bit PCI card (looks like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/82/NIC-FA312.jpg/220px-NIC-FA312.jpg)
    will give you max. of 35MB/s NOT MORE!
    2. 64bit PCI card (has Pins and cuts like this http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...0px-Intelpromtserverpcixadapter1000mta342.jpg)
    will give you a max. of 62MB/s (maybe 65MB/s) NOT MORE!
    - I tested both transfer capabilities with numerous files and files sizes without a benchmark Tool (benchmark tools will tell you, that your SSD gives you 80-120MB/s on a 32bit PCI card, which is not possible).

    Look at this picture:
    Those that say 5V or universal are the Pin Layouts you have to look for on Ebay.

    About CompardFlash cards: SSD is prefered.

    I have a Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD (SATA-III). I chose it, because TRIM is not supported under PPC-Macs and the Crucial was said to be that one with the best Garbage Collection. (If a SSD doesn't have TRIM or a good Garbage Collection it will get slower over time and only a complete reformating can solve this.)
    It took me several attempts to get it formated (in a Sawtooth G4 via a Sonnet SATA-card) the first time, but once I succeeded it seems to work. I recommend staying at SATA-II though.

    I am not really into SSDs and was long time against it and even now that I have tested it (because I was curious) I do not see the real advantage. In one of my ibook G4s it gets freakin hot (hotter than a HDD). The speed adavantages did not impress me as well (Apple Works 320GB HDD 7sec., SSD 3sec.). The only reason I would keep it, is that it is quiet, but I haven't decided yet, wether to keep it or not.

    This http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=18755901#post18755901 might give you an insight of the usefulness, too.
  13. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2014
    Both PATA SSSs, and CF should boot, but are not the best options for you. Compare the price per GB, and you will see why, when you need to buy an adapter in any event.

    If you want to use the internal ATA/66 bus, a SATA/PATA adapter, and a SATA SSD would serve you better.

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