New Hard Drive, Part 1

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 22nd, 2004 • 7:45 am

A few days ago, I mentioned my current problems with my G4 (MDD)’s internal hard drive (IBM 120 GB drive that came with the computer), and the fact that I had ordered a new Seagate drive anyway and was going to install it and complete the transition to this new hard drive.

Well, I got the Seagate hard drive from TigerDirect yesterday (they have a pretty good deal, even though their shipping costs are atrocious).

First step was to install it inside the machine. I have some experience working inside this G4, what with last year’s Power Supply Replacement Kit and everything. We had a bit of a thunderstorm this afternoon and it was a good excuse to turn the computer off, unplug everything and get busy.

When I opened the machine, I noticed that there were several possibilities. I could use the unused ATA/66 connector and put the hard drive in the (larger) drive bay under the SuperDrive — but I didn’t have the equipment to fit the hard drive inside a larger bay, so it would have had to stay loose inside. Not a very good idea.

Or I could mount the hard drive vertically in front of the IBM drive itself. There is room for two 3.5″ hard drives there. But I had to remember how to unmount the existing drive first. I knew I had to do it when I installed the Power Supply kit, but I couldn’t remember exactly how it was done…

Well, the trouble with turning the computer off is that you cannot search through your collection of PDF files or browse the web when you need help… I couldn’t locate the printed instructions for the kit either. After some head scratching, I managed to vaguely remember enough of the process to be able to do it again. Just one screw to remove and then a plastic lever to pull, and then some torsion to be applied to the whole contraption. And off it came.

Now I had to attach the second drive in front of the IBM drive. The Seagate drive didn’t come with any screws. Fortunately, there were 4 unused screws screwed onto the metal structure itself, obviously in anticipation of exactly what I was trying to do. Nice thought by whoever decided to put these 4 extra screws in there.

Then it was just a matter of plugging everything in and mounting the whole structure back onto the side wall of the computer. Not too bad at all!

I am not sure which ATA interface is used for these particular drives, but I think I remember the G4 (MDD) coming with one ATA/100 interface, one ATA/66, and one ATA/33. Since I saw both the ATA/66 and the ATA/33 elsewhere in the machine, I am assuming this one is the ATA/100, which is just as well, although based on what I am reading today’s hard drives don’t really make full use of the added bandwidth.

I also made sure that the jumpers on both drives were on “Cable Select”, so that I didn’t have to worry about which was slave and which was master. They were both on “Cable Select” by default.

So I closed up the G4 and started it. Soon enough, the dialog box warning me that I had a volume that OS X didn’t recognize came up. I launched Disk Utility and formatted the drive. Et voilà.

There is just one minor problem: I can hear it. Or at least I can hear something. It’s a fairly low-frequency hum that comes and goes regularly over a period of approximately 20 seconds. It’s not very loud, but it’s there, and I notice it. I hope I didn’t move anything inside the G4 that I shouldn’t have moved. I’m definitely going to have to go back in there to check things out.

It’s strange, because it’s not a “normal” hard drive sound. It almost sounds like a fan hum, only it comes on slowly and goes away just as slowly. Very strange.

PS: I just went down to the G4, and moved the whole computer a little bit. The hum is gone. Definitely didn’t have anything to do with the hard drive! It’s just that this G4 machine has all kinds of possible noise sources, and obviously some of them can be activated or deactivated by just moving the computer around a bit!

One Response to “New Hard Drive, Part 1”

  1. Henry Neugass says:

    Glad your installation went so well.

    The hum — a mechanical resonance. When you jogged the machine, you moved something around and destroyed it.

    Hmmm, you’ve got a digital camera. Next time you do something like this, could you keep and post a photo log of the steps (and missteps!). That’s the only thing I can imagine that would improve your blog.


Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.