SSD Installation in my Cube

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by bunnspecial, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    I've been meaning to write this up for a while, but not too long ago switched out the hard drive in my Cube for an SSD.

    I know many folks would wonder why go to the trouble, but as often the case, with machines we love upgrades often don't make financial sense. That's never stopped me, though(within reason). Cubes are also know for serious heat problems, and the combination of an SSD with a base fan has really helped cool mine down a lot.

    Initially, I tried to use a standard 2.5" SATA SSD, but the IDE-SATA adapters I had would not fit in the Cube. Instead, I decided to go the mSATA route.

    I started with a 2.5" IDE mSATA enclosure-I've used several of these in Powerbooks, and like them because they duplicate the form factor of a 2.5" drive.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the inside of the enclosure, along with the 128gb mSATA drive that's going in it

    [​IMG]

    And the drive mounted in the enclosure

    [​IMG]

    Then the enclosure closed up

    [​IMG]

    And mounted in a 2.5 to 3.5" bracket, along with a laptop to desktop IDE converter.

    [​IMG]

    There are several steps in here that I didn't photograph, but I initially installed the drive in a G4 tower and booted the tower in Target Disk Mode. I connected the Cube to it, and used Disk Utility to set the drive up with two equally sized partitions-one for Tiger/OS 9 and one for Leopard. I cloned the current drive in the Cube(Tiger and OS 9), and ran the Leopard installer from the G4 tower.

    It was then time to take the Cube apart, and put the SSD in it.

    The Cube was disassembled to remove the hard drive

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then the SSD in bracket slid in

    [​IMG]

    Mounted, and reattached

    [​IMG]

    And the Cube put back together

    [​IMG]

    All said and done, the install didn't take too long, and provides a noticeable speed improvement for the Cube.

    The maximum sustained write speed I was able to get was 58mb/s. I've noticed in Powerbooks with an ATA/100 bus, these adapters seem to max at 92mb/s, so it seems as though the adapters have a pretty consistent "overhead" of about 8mb/s. Even so, it's much better than IDE Platter drive I've ever used. If it weren't for the base fan, this cube would now be completely silent-I don't guess I realized or appreciated how much noise the hard drive was making.
     
  2. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    Location:
    Stockholm
    #2
    Good job thanks for showing it off! I always love these upgrades that don't make financial sense. :)
     
  3. GraniteTheWolf macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #3
    Who sticks money into a PPC mac and thinks about financial sense? NO ONE! Ya do it for the geeky computer love of the machine lol :rolleyes:

    I'll be taking similar pics soon with the same SSD and enclosure for my old clamshell. Fun stuff!
     
  4. CapnCrunch53 macrumors member

    CapnCrunch53

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Location:
    Indiana
    #4
    That tiny little thing is 128GB? Jeez. Flash memory has come such a long way. Very nice upgrade, bet she's nice and speedy now. I'd love to get my hands on a Cube someday.
     
  5. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    I didn't appreciate just how tiny mSATA drives were until I started using them in these upgrades.

    They're about as long as a typical USB flash drive, and about twice as wide. They are easy to find up to 1Tb, although admittedly I can't see myself putting one that big in a PPC computer.
     
  6. desantii macrumors 6502

    desantii

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    #6
    What app are you using to measure disk speed? I installed an SSD in my cube as well and would like to benchmark
     
  7. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
  8. Ih8reno macrumors 65816

    Ih8reno

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    #8
    Love it, may try something like this on my stock cube!
     
  9. catzilla macrumors 6502

    catzilla

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    #9
    With the price of SSDs dropping I will probably replace the homemade fusion drive in my Plex mini with a bigger SSD. That SSD will go into my '06 server mini freeing up a 64 GB SSD, which desktop PPC to energize...
     
  10. desantii macrumors 6502

    desantii

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    #10
    Ok, just tested my cube, has an intel 40gb SSD and results are very consistent. I am getting 59mb/s


     
  11. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #11
    Any problems with the SSD installation so far? I tried something similar and I found that although Xbench reported excellent speeds which nearly saturated the bus, and fairly speedy loading times, I found that the system overall felt slower. The main issue was that the CPU seemed to be pegged at 100% anytime the system wrote to the drive - so even downloading a file from the net would slow the system down to a complete crawl. I ended up removing the SSD as a result and reinstalling the standard drive.
     
  12. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #12
    Okay, I do have to make a bit of a confession.

    I found OS X(both Tiger and Leopard) to be fairly unstable with the SSD, although OS 9 was rock solid and blazing fast.

    So, about 3 days after putting this post together, I actually ended up going back to a 120gb platter drive. OS 9 feels slower, but the rest of the system seems the same. All of my instability issues are now gone.

    When I installed the platter drive, I did also go through and do a complete tear-down. I removed the heat spreader from the CPU and put fresh thermal compound on it(after a good cleaning, of course) and also cleaned and put a coat of Artic Silver 5 on the(large) surface between the heat spread and the heatsink. I don't think was the issue, especially since I have a base fan and the SSD removed a big sourced of heat from the heatsink, but thought it would be a good idea to do it anyway. I can change the hard drive in a Cube in about 5 minutes now(especially after learning that I don't have to remove the top plate), but still thought I'd go back to something I knew would work while I had it taken apart(not a small job, as anyone who's ever done this can attest). I might try the SSD again, but the time being I'm cruising along fine with a nice WD 7200 RPM 120gb drive.

    With all of that said, the SSD will most likely end up in my A1139 Powerbook when it gets here-I know from experience with my A1138 that this combo will work in that situation, and also benefit more from the faster ATA100 bus than the ATA66 bus in the Cube.
     
  13. CubeHacker macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
  14. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #14
    Unstable in that sometimes they would fail to boot correctly to the desktop, or I would get a complete system lock-up when trying to do something simple like open a folder in the Finder. Basically everything I did would give me a beachball that could sometimes be cleared by force quitting whatever application I was running or relaunching the finder, but sometimes I couldn't even get the system to do that.

    Forcing a restart would usually get me a few more minutes, but the system was more or less unusable under OS X.

    As I said, it was fine in OS 9.

    I really wanted this to work, and had high hopes for it initially, but unless I'm just missing something obvious things just didn't work out right.
     
  15. GraniteTheWolf macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #15
    Should I abandon my mSata to IDE setup for my clamshell? Wish I could find a thread on someone having success in putting an SSD in a clamshell so i knew exactly what to buy.
     
  16. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #16
    bunns...
    sorry that things did not work out for you, and just when I was starting to get interested in this mSata idea.
    I've been running SSD's in my 2 cubes for a few years now without so much as a hiccup.
    I use OWC mercury SSD's with a cheapo ide-sata adapter from ebay, and although I'm not proud of it, the SSD just hangs loose attached only by the drive cable.
    It works so why try to fix it, as the saying goes.
     
  17. bunnspecial thread starter macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #17
    The mSATA drives have actually worked great for me in a couple of Powerbooks. I've also installed them temporarily in G4 towers for testing and file transfer before installing in Powerbooks or other final destinations without a hiccup. I'm not sure what it is about this particular one that the Cube didn't like. I actually had it booted and running for about a day in a Quicksilver to do the Leopard install(and run the updates) and it worked perfectly in all that time, as well as when I reinstalled it in that same Quicksilver after removing it from the Cube. I used the same Quicksilver also to set up and install Leopard on the 120gb platter drive I'm now using in the Quicksilver, so I don't think it's the issue.

    I'd actually initially tried installing an old OCZ Vertex 60gb SATA drive I have kicking around, but the Cube didn't give me enough space to install the IDE-SATA adapter I had...maybe I should try again with that route, and buy one of the "low profile" SATA adapters that are out there.

    I could also try the mSATA drive in my other Cube and see if it reacts the same way.

    For the time being, however, I have absolutely no hesitation about installing mSATA drives in Powerbooks. As I said, as soon as I get my A1139 from Canada, the mSATA drive that I used for this installation will be going into it.
     
  18. GraniteTheWolf macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #18
    I just read that another option to try is to install the OS from the computer needed to the SSD in an external case. I imagine firewire would be necessary for this to work- doable tho!

    Once finished, remove SSD from case and install it into the system.
     

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