SSD in 12" PowerBook G4 results

harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2013
331
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United Kingdom
Following bunnspecial's recommendation of an mSATA SSD and 2.5" IDE enclosure, I bought one to try out in my 867 MHz 12" PowerBook G4. Up until now it's been running with the 60GB drive the machine shipped with in 2003, which has been dreadfully slow (too slow to run Leopard well, even with the full 1.12GB memory).

The SSD gave a noticeable increase in performance and made Leopard actually run quite well. Of course this is hardly a fast machine (unlike my PowerMac G4) but at least it runs well enough to use again - especially coupled with Erik's excellent TenFourFox tweaks. The laptop also runs a lot cooler, I very rarely hear the fan come on now whereas before it would be on regularly. The fact that it's silent is really nice. With the decreasing availability of 2.5" IDE hard drives and the ever falling prices of SSDs, this is definitely the way to go for anybody looking to replace or upgrade their PowerBook's hard drive.

One other thing - as OS X Leopard lacks any sort of TRIM functionality - are there any things I should do to maximise the lifespan of the SSD?

In case anybody wants to know, this is the mSATA enclosure that I used.
 

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harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2013
331
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United Kingdom
If that is a beer there on the right, I imagine you probably needed it after dealing with getting inside the 12". :D :D
It was an absolute pain to work on - the palmrest was stuck fast and took about half an hour of prying to come free. Still not as bad as the iBook though :rolleyes:
 

ptdebate

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2014
333
4
Dallas, Texas
Kudos to you brother, you've successfully completed the most stressful vintage Mac HDD replacement.

It's often recommend to disable virtual memory if you're running Tiger or earlier on an SSD but perhaps someone with more knowledge can weigh in on whether or not it's necessary in 10.5.8.
 

Surrat

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2014
478
168
United States
Start the powerbook in target disk mode, connect it to another mac via firewire. On the other mac running Mavericks or Yosemite with Trim Enabler, run disk utility and select the powerbooks ssd. Run repair disk on it, and that should trigger the trim function.

If it worked, in the disk repair dialog, you will see something like "trimming blocks".

----------

Kudos to you brother, you've successfully completed the most stressful vintage Mac HDD replacement.

It's often recommend to disable virtual memory if you're running Tiger or earlier on an SSD but perhaps someone with more knowledge can weigh in on whether or not it's necessary in 10.5.8.
You should never disable virtual memory, some apps use it even if you have plenty of ram. If its off, those apps can crash.
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
7,259
4,342
Kentucky
Looks great! It definitely makes a difference in the useability of these little 12" PBs.

BTW, I do every once in a great while go in and "erase free space" using disk utility. This is something of a "nuclear" option and something that WILL shorten the life of the drive, but it effectively resets all of the marked-as-deleted-but-not-deleted files and restores the drive's performance.

Again, I'll stress that I do this very infrequently. I'm guessing once every 6 months would probably be often enough on, and maybe even once a year.
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
5,085
2,391
One other thing - as OS X Leopard lacks any sort of TRIM functionality - are there any things I should do to maximise the lifespan of the SSD?
TRIM does not work on IDE, anyway, so forget about enabling it over FW or USB. It has to be over a SATA connection.

It was an absolute pain to work on - the palmrest was stuck fast and took about half an hour of prying to come free. Still not as bad as the iBook though :rolleyes:
I thought the iBook was much easier overall but YMMV.

Start the powerbook in target disk mode, connect it to another mac via firewire. On the other mac running Mavericks or Yosemite with Trim Enabler, run disk utility and select the powerbooks ssd. Run repair disk on it, and that should trigger the trim function.

You should never disable virtual memory, some apps use it even if you have plenty of ram. If its off, those apps can crash.
Won't work. Same reason S.M.A.R.T. won't. Disk Utility still detects it as an external drive and TRIM wants a SATA connection or it isn't playing.

The only thing you can do is to minimise anything that writes unnecessarily to the HDD. Virtual memory is one example with Surrat's caveat. Spotlight is another. To be honest, by the time your mSATA is showing signs of wear, the price of replacements/upgrades will have fallen as to make it a relatively painless purchase. It is just the hassle of opening up Jony's maintenance-unfriendly designs to do so.
 

harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 30, 2013
331
20
United Kingdom
The only thing you can do is to minimise anything that writes unnecessarily to the HDD. Virtual memory is one example with Surrat's caveat. Spotlight is another. To be honest, by the time your mSATA is showing signs of wear, the price of replacements/upgrades will have fallen as to make it a relatively painless purchase. It is just the hassle of opening up Jony's maintenance-unfriendly designs to do so.
Thanks for clearing that up. To be honest - I would imagine that this machine will get retired long before the SSD wears out. It's usable at the moment, but 3 or even 2 years down the road I don't know.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
52
Most made after 2003 are.
"Most" but not all; especially cheap ones. My ORICO USB 3 enclosure doesn't support SMART. I tried with SMARTUtility after installing the driver but it didn't work.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,900
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Inside
That would be the result of the manufacture using non-standard parts in an attempt to limit cost and inadvertently introduce defects.
 

Blackomen

macrumors newbie
Jan 4, 2015
19
0
US
Yesterday I put a Samsung 32 GB msata ssd with one of those jmicron chip enclosures in my 12 inch iBook 1.2. It does seem to make a fair difference in boot/wake. Also when saving my docs in open office it's noticeably quicker.

I had installed a 1 GB stick of Kingston low density pc2100 but it has not been doing well with it lately. Kernel panics and at one point it was recognizing it as half capacity. I put my half gig stick back in and it's running much better. I ordered a gig stick of owc ram. Hopefully that will work better.
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,381
8,799
Boston
Back in the mid 00's when I owned a 12" the HD died and it was out of Applecare.

Apple wanted two arms and a leg to fix it. I looked up how to do it and said no way. I ended up selling it and getting a MBP at the time.

Congrats on getting that in there. It's quite a process.
 

jaesonk

macrumors newbie
Mar 19, 2015
15
0
SSD transplant?

I put an SSD in my 15" PowerBook5,6. It works wonderfully. Awesome speed improvement.

I recently picked up a 17" PowerBook5,9. I'd like to just transplant my SSD from the 15" to the 17". On initial attempts today, the 17" just doesn't see the SSD drive when installed. If I return the original IDE drive, the 17" is fine.

Both systems are set up with 10.5.8.

When the SSD is installed in the 17", it just sits at a blank grey screen. The apple logo doesn't appear and no spin wheel. It will boot from the install disc. Disk Utilities doesn't show the SDD at all.

Returning the SDD to the 15", the 15" boots fine from it. The SSD is Apple Partition Map and OS X Extended Journaled.

What bit of magic am I missing here? I thought it would be an easy transplant. Thanks in advance.
 

Blackomen

macrumors newbie
Jan 4, 2015
19
0
US
When installed mine and booted from the OS X disk I had to format it using utility for it to recognize it at all.
 

Cox Orange

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2010
1,787
234
BTW, I do every once in a great while go in and "erase free space" using disk utility. This is something of a "nuclear" option and something that WILL shorten the life of the drive, but it effectively resets all of the marked-as-deleted-but-not-deleted files and restores the drive's performance.

Again, I'll stress that I do this very infrequently. I'm guessing once every 6 months would probably be often enough on, and maybe even once a year.
Isn't this the same as the secure erase option, where Disk utility writes zeros over it? I read that this does not help, because the cells of and SSD work differently than HDD sectors and the data will still be present.
The only thing you can do is backup to an external drive using disk utility or SuperDuper, then format the internal drive and put the backup back to the internal drive. Formatting will set the cells to zero again.
... or choose an SSD that is known for good Garbage collection. But I also read that there are more and more people that say TRIM is not entirely a positive feature to desire and SSDs even work better without it.

On the SAT driver, I read people having problems with it. Look here
"Worked fine for several external drives but caused unrecoverable freezes in disk utility when I attached one particular WD* drive."
http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/47045/s-m-a-r-t-for-usb-and-firewire-drives
 

skinniezinho

macrumors 65816
Jan 1, 2009
1,065
83
Portugal
Start the powerbook in target disk mode, connect it to another mac via firewire. On the other mac running Mavericks or Yosemite with Trim Enabler, run disk utility and select the powerbooks ssd. Run repair disk on it, and that should trigger the trim function.

If it worked, in the disk repair dialog, you will see something like "trimming blocks".

----------



You should never disable virtual memory, some apps use it even if you have plenty of ram. If its off, those apps can crash.
Sorry to bump such old thread.
Is this valid even for newer MacOs versions?
I have my X230 hackintosh which I could plug the msata that I am using in the Powerbook to enable trim.
I am running m-sata kingston s200 60Gb on a Lindy msata to IDE adapter, although the powerbook is "snappy" there are certain situations that it is very slow (moving an app to applications folder for example!).
Makes me think, something is not right.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
22,447
15,279
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Sorry to bump such old thread.
Is this valid even for newer MacOs versions?
I have my X230 hackintosh which I could plug the msata that I am using in the Powerbook to enable trim.
I am running m-sata kingston s200 60Gb on a Lindy msata to IDE adapter, although the powerbook is "snappy" there are certain situations that it is very slow (moving an app to applications folder for example!).
Makes me think, something is not right.
It's probably still valid.

However, how old is your SSD? If it's less than three years old or so then I wouldn't worry about it. The majority of newer SSDs have improved garbage collection. Although it isn't TRIM and you can't control it, it does the same thing.

As far as slow copies to the app folder, my 17" PowerBook has always had that problem. I have an mSATA SSD in it now and it still has that issue. I suspect that is because permissions are being applied during the file move/copy. Unless you are having other file issues I wouldn't worry about it.
 

RhianB

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2016
1,483
2,073
505 USA
I had similar experiences with my PB12 & installed 64gb mSata. Over all, many functions are snappy while others absolutely bog down. I have never been able to discern clearly whether it was an issue with the mSata or adapter or system hardware. As I have others in a few powermacs I own, I tend to lean towards the innolite msata itself as the Samsung I have in my MDD for example is much more consistent operation to operation & individual tests on the innolite did produce some weird read-write results but is inconclusive on its own and could be an expression of hardware as well, or heck maybe one has onboard garbage collection and one doesn't and I wasn't aware - again, I haven't had the time to dive more deeply into this.
 
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