Questions about CF cards in IDE adaptors in PPC laptops

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ziggy29, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. ziggy29 macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2014
    Oregon North Coast
    A couple weeks ago I chronicled my disappointment at the failure of trying to use a supposedly compatible SSD into my G4/550 Pismo. That might deter some people who have more sense than a crazy hobbyist like me, but I'm thinking on it some more. A little performance boost over a mechanical device would be nice, but more than that I'd like it to run cooler and use less power (given how scarce good battery power is for the Pismo now).

    I've decided to try another approach: instead of a regular SSD, I plan to try a Compact Flash card using a cheap CF to IDE adapter. I doubt I need more than a 64GB card; in reality even 32GB would probably be enough but I don't expect the price break on the smaller ones to justify it.

    That said, I'm learning about CF cards and such and I see their throughput ratings and such (i.e. rated MB/second or multiples like '400x' or '800x' or '1066x'). So my question is, if anyone has played with this stuff, for something like a Pismo, how much is overkill? I'm willing to pay a little more for faster as long as the innards of the Pismo can keep up. Once a card is faster than the data bus can practically transfer in reality, paying more for a faster rated CF card is a waste of money (apart from the potential of using it again later in a faster device).

    For sure I'd think anything rated more than 100MB/sec would be wasted on this, and for practical purposes, even half of that might be sufficient given the limited data bus. Does anyone have any practical, real-world experience with this sort of thing?
  2. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    I wouldn't. What's the price difference between the CF card and an mSATA SDD and an IDE-mSATA converter bay?
  3. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    I tried it. It works with OS9 and OSX, not so much with Rhapsody/UFS volumes. I have even used them in the PCMCIA/Cardbus slots in OWR notebooks and they boot and run happily from them. Good for test installations or rescue disks.

    If you are going to use it more than just occasionally, I would invest in an mSATA drive. CFs are better suited to occasional writes and not the myriad of small files that OSes create on booting up. Someone here wrote fairly recently that using a CF in his Pismo caused it to catch fire but I doubt very much that that is normally to be expected.
  4. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    I know I benchmarked stuff before, let me see if I can find it...

    My memory was that, there definitely were better cards/disks out there, but at some point you ran up against the limit of the bus speed...

    Let me see if I saved the files somewhere where I can find them.


    Ok, I found some bench marks on the first PowerBook I looked on...

    Next do I convert SimpleText PICT files to something we all can share today on the interwebs?
  5. ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2014
    Oregon North Coast
    These adapters fit in the form factor of a 2.5" Pismo drive bay?
  6. for this macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2014
    When I was deciding what to replace my dead HDD in my iBook G3 with. I read reviews and found that buying IDE SSDs was like a gamble. So I went with PLEXTOR PX-64M5M SSD and an IDE to mSATA adapter.

    It's much snappier. Boot time, applications launching are also way faster than before, even though it is merely ATA-66. I think random read/write speed is more important than sequential speed in my use. I haven't found any compatibility issue.
  7. blesscheese, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015

    blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Ok, after 5 seconds, I remembered, oh yeah, I have Photoshop on my Powerbook...

    Attached are the screenshots, what it shows is a 60 MB/s CF card in a Lombard, getting slower results compared to a 30 MB/s CF card in a Pismo (same IDE type CF controller). I should also benchmark my SSD's and HD, but my feeling is that these scores are definitely better than the old HD's.

    Aw crap, I have to upload the files to my Flickr account...
    60MB/s CF Card in Lombard (ATA-66 bus)
    ****** Flickr

    30MB/s CF Card in Pismo (ATA-100 bus)
    Yahoo is so annoying

    Maybe just go to my photostream, feckin' Yahoo
  8. for this, Apr 24, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2015

    for this macrumors regular

    Nov 18, 2014
    I believe the converter bay is the same size of standard 2.5" HDD.

    Well, the size of the mSATA-IDE adapter plus the SSD is less than half of a 2.5" HDD.
    When I bought mine, there was no reasonably priced converter bay available yet.
    So I just bought the mSATA-IDE adapter board and place it on my simple DIY plastic tray.
    You can adjust the size as needed. I'm not afraid it would dangle inside mine because the cable holds it securely.
    I don't know how it is inside the Pismo but I think you can DIY something for it.

    Attached Files:

  9. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    I've been buying nice quality mSATA-IDE adapters from China for around $10.

    The ones I buy assemble as a plain white box with the same size and form factor as a standard 2.5" IDE.
  10. robertdsc macrumors regular


    Jan 28, 2014
    GraphicConverter will do the trick. I don't remember if PictureViewer (as part of QuickTime) could convert to JPEG, but I definitely do know GraphicConverter can.

    Buying the license for GC back in the day was perhaps one of the best things I've ever done for my machines. Such a great program.
  11. ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2014
    Oregon North Coast
    Thanks for all your help. I never even thought about the mSATA option; I picked up a 60GB Kingston mSATA SSD and a 2.5" IDE enclosure (total price: about $45) and decided to just install a fresh copy of Tiger for now as a test. Works great and I can definitely feel a difference. Haven't tested the impact on battery life yet.

    I have a SuperDuper clone of my mechanical drive which had both OS 9 and Tiger 10.4.11 installed, so if I decide I want to mess with OS 9 again on this Pismo I can restore the image.

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