Question on optical drives in PowerMac G4 (Graphite)

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by aalberto, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. aalberto macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2005
    Hi. I'm new to this forum. I have used Macs before, but never owned one...

    I'm thinking of purchasing a pre-owned PowerMac G4 from PowerMax (saw one online that I liked). I'm doing some research as to the upgradeability of this particular model, and, so far, I think I can upgrade the RAM (using PC100 modules) and the hard drive (I plan to put in a Seagate 160Gb hard drive that I'm currently using in a PC).

    My question is: what does it take to upgrade the optical drive (the model that I saw comes with a DVD-Rom drive)? I'd like to put in my HP DVD Writer if possible, but I'm not too familiar with the hardware aspect of the Macintosh. I'm sure that the hard drive uses an ATA interface, but what about the optical drives? Do they also use the ATA interface, or do they use SCSI? I guess if I have to, I can purchase an external drive, but I'd rather have an internal one, if at all possible.

    In addition, does this particular Mac come with USB 2.0 ports, or would I have to purchase a card to give it that functionality?

    So far, I have already purchased Mac OS X 10.2 and QuarkXPress 6. I'm planning to use it for typesetting and graphics manipulation, but I don't want to shell out the $$ for a brand-new Mac. Any help would be very much appreciated.
  2. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I'd do a little cross shopping before buying from PowerMax; they are by all accounts one of the most expensive Mac resellers (though they seem to have an excellent service record).

    Check out DVwarehouse, or Mac of All Trades - both usually have good prices and selection.

    As far as drives are concerned, PowerMac G4s have an ATA bus for hard drives and optical drives. There is no onboard SCSI.

    Most older Powermac G4s have 2 USB 1.1 ports (+2 on the keyboard) and 2 FireWire400 ports. If you want USB 2.0 you'll need to buy a PCI card (inexpensive, I bought one for $10).

    I also strongly recommend you buy Tiger (OS X 10.4.x), since it has the best hardware support. Your HP burner will probably work fine if you are running Tiger, but you may need extra software with 10.2 or 10.3.

    I recommend you buy a G4 with a 133mhz bus (or 167mhz if you can afford it). Check out Low End Mac or Everymac to learn more about which G4s have which components. You should probably consider a "Digital Audio" or "Quicksilver" G4 since they have the 133Mhz bus over the older 100Mhz models. Just a suggestion. ;)

    Good luck. I bought my G4 (a Digital Audio Dual 533Mhz) from Mac of All Trades, and have since upgraded it into a pretty fast machine with new HD, optical drive, RAM, CPU and video card.
  3. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    You might check out, look in the drive compatiblility database to see if there are any issues with a specific drive model you are considering. Otherwise, I think just about any ATAPI drive should work just fine.

    I agree with Lord Blackadder's comment about PowerMax. A quick look at their product page, I see a PowerMac G4 "sawtooth" 450 for $349. That's a lot of money for a 6 year old computer. I just got one for $175 off ebay (of course that's ebay, and not everybody likes or feels comfortable with ebay)

    Update: Took a closer look at PowerMax. They're currently selling used MDD and Quicksilver G4s for more than a refurb G5 direct from Apple! They're full of **** as far as I'm concerned! :rolleyes:
  4. aalberto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2005
    Thanks very much for the suggestions. I came across PowerMax through Google. I'll investigate this further and keep you posted. Thanks!!!
  5. aalberto thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 2, 2005
    Thanks for your suggestion, Lord Blackadder - I checked Mac of All Trades and they did have much better deals on what I was looking for! I'll see the selection they have and get back if I have any questions. Thanks again!
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    One tip on optical drives: XLR8YourMac will give you pretty much all you need to know about compatibility issues if you do a search, but generally if you don't already own a drive, I'd look at Pioneer.

    There's plenty of room to debate whether they're the best available option, but they're quite cheap and since Apple uses them (though not exclusively) they're generally directly compatible with iLife et al. Not that other drives may not be as well, they're just sort of a safe bet, and so far I've had no issues with the three I've installed and/or used internally.

Share This Page