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SATA Internal Hard Drive

by dhurley755 / November 25, 2009 8:38 AM PST

I have a G4 Mac I wanted to buy a much larger drive. I bought a 1TB SATA internal drive, but when I tried to install it I found out it could not be installed on my G4. The motherboard does not have slots for the cable that came with the SATA drive. The hard drive that came with the computer is Ultra ATA from Seagate 180 GB. I found out that ATA and SATA have completely different configurations. I am planning to return it to the store. Is there anyway I can use the SATA on my G4, or should I just buy a larger Ultra ATA? Happy Thanksgiving.

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You could purchase
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / November 25, 2009 12:21 PM PST

a PCI SATA card which will give you the necessary connections to install that drive.

Be aware that some of the G4 models, and you did not mention which one you had, have an HD size limitation on them.
The PCI and AGP graphics machines, and possibly a few others, are limited to 127GB drive size. It does not matter what size drive you put in there, it will only register 127GB.

With the PCI SATA card that limitation will not apply.


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by fox3 / December 10, 2009 12:36 AM PST
In reply to: You could purchase

Or you could install the sata in an external usb or firewire drive but transfer speed will then be limited.

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(NT) that would work too
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 10, 2009 4:08 AM PST
In reply to: External?
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I have done this
by mhollis55 / December 21, 2009 1:10 AM PST

I had a G4-400 (Sawtooth) that I installed a Sonnet SATA card in. I then bought a 500GB SATA drive and then a 1T drive and installed both in succession and everything worked just fine. There is no limit on the G4 Mac to the size of the hard drive you can install -- the limit is in the SATA or ATA specification and, since G4s used ATA controllers, they had limitations that were built into the controllers. If you are using a SATA controller card, your 1T drive will work just fine.

I can recommend the Sonnet SATA card because it, like everything I have used from Sonnet, simply works when you install it.

Also in that same computer was a Sonnet G4 processor upgrade that ran at 1GHz, which really breathed new life into the computer. I used it for about 9 years and recently purchased a Mac Pro Cheese Grater.

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