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Turn an internal iMac G3 hard drive into an external drive?

I am hopelessly ignorant when it comes to hardware...  I have a
perfectly good 40gig hard drive in my G3 iMac going to waste, while I'm
running out of room on my G5 iMac.  Is there any way to turn my G3's
internal drive into an external drive for my G5?  I've read about
enclosures that do this in general, but is there one that would work
for this specific purpose (i.e. Mac compatible, and for the G3's hard
disk, more specifically)?  I'd appreciate any advice anyone might have!

0
kennedy
12/30/2005 4:47:46 AM
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Also, I have no idea what 'size' the G3's drive is (for example 3.5",
or what)...  I don't even know what that really means.  It's the
default included with the G3 iMac, I guess; sorry I can't be more
specific!  Is there any way to figure that out other than taking it out
of my G3 and physically measuring it?

0
kennedy
12/30/2005 5:00:51 AM
<kennedy.nolan@gmail.com> wrote:

> I am hopelessly ignorant when it comes to hardware...  I have a
> perfectly good 40gig hard drive in my G3 iMac going to waste, while I'm
> running out of room on my G5 iMac.  Is there any way to turn my G3's
> internal drive into an external drive for my G5?

Yes.  The main question is whether you want to be able to keep using the
iMac G3.

Assuming your iMac G3 has a Firewire port (should do if the 40 GB drive
is the original one supplied with the computer), one option is to put
the iMac G3 into "target mode" and connect it to your iMac G5 with a
Firewire cable.  (You do this by holding down the "T" key as you start
up the iMac G3.)

In target mode, the computer acts like an external hard drive for the
connected computer, so you can use the free space on its drive for
anything you like, and also transfer files between the two.

When you want to disconnect the computers, eject the G3's hard drive
from the G5's desktop (by dragging it to the trash), then unplug the
Firewire cable.  You can then safely shut down the G3 by pressing the
power button.

If you don't want to keep using the iMac G3 and actually want to take
the drive mechanism out and put it in an external case, that is also
possible.

It is rather a lot of effort, however, and you would probably be better
off simply buying a much larger external hard drive for use on your iMac
G5.  Entry level external drives are typically 120 GB now, and 250 GB is
readily available.

> I've read about enclosures that do this in general, but is there one that
> would work for this specific purpose (i.e. Mac compatible, and for the G3's
> hard disk, more specifically)?  I'd appreciate any advice anyone might have!

Mac compatibility is unlikely to be an issue - pretty much all hard
drive enclosures should work on a Mac.

You may have to choose between an enclosure with Firewire 400 (IEEE
1394a, also referred to by Sony as "i.Link"), Firewire 800 (IEEE 1394b),
USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 connections.  Some more expensive ones come with both
Firewire and USB connections.

If you want to save a little money, go for a Firewire-only enclosure
(Firewire 400/IEEE 1394a should be fine) as Firewire gives you the most
features (e.g. the ability to boot the computer from the external drive)
and will perform better than USB.

Definitely steer clear of USB 1.1: it will be slow as molasses.  USB 2.0
is OK, but I did some experiments with a recent model PowerBook G4 and
it appears that Firewire 400 is considerably faster than USB 2.0,
despite the numbers implying they should be similar speeds (or even a
slight speed advantage in USB 2.0's favour).

You don't need Firewire 800 unless you have a computer which supports it
(it is included on PowerMac G5 models and high end PowerBook G4s, but
not iMacs) and you have a really fast hard drive.

If you can afford it, a dual USB/Firewire enclosure gives you slightly
more options, in case you want to connect the drive to a computer which
doesn't have a Firewire port.

> Also, I have no idea what 'size' the G3's drive is (for example 3.5",
> or what)...

The iMac G3 uses a bog standard 3.5" low profile drive mechanism, so you
just need a drive enclosure which supports a 3.5" drive.

> I don't even know what that really means.

The 3.5" figure is the approximate diameter of the physical disk inside
the hard drive.  (It refers to the fact that the drive occupies the same
width as a 3.5" floppy drive.)  The whole drive is typically 4" wide by
5.75" deep and 1" high (for a "low profile" drive: there are also older
"half height" drives which are 1.63" high).

This web site has a good overview of various hard drive sizes:

http://www.storagereview.com/guide2000/ref/hdd/op/form.html

-- 
David Empson
dempson@actrix.gen.nz
0
dempson
12/30/2005 6:55:54 AM
In article <1h8ecyc.f9x802tzamogN%dempson@actrix.gen.nz>,
dempson@actrix.gen.nz (David Empson) wrote:

> <kennedy.nolan@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> > I am hopelessly ignorant when it comes to hardware...  I have a
> > perfectly good 40gig hard drive in my G3 iMac going to waste, while I'm
> > running out of room on my G5 iMac.  Is there any way to turn my G3's
> > internal drive into an external drive for my G5?
> 
> Yes.  The main question is whether you want to be able to keep using the
> iMac G3.

Kennedy & David-

David's response is quite thorough.  I have heard of larger drives, but
have only seen 400 GB HDs in the stores.

If you would go to the trouble of removing the old G3 HD, why not just buy
a new, larger HD and install it in the G5?  You could install the old G5
HD in an external enclosure and clone it to the new one.

If you shop for an enclosure, be sure it has written on the box that it
supports larger HDs.  I have one that is limited to around 128 GB.  The
manufacturer's web site says it supports larger drives, but mine is
apparently an older unit that had been stored in a warehouse since before
they upgraded.

Depending on the chipset used in the enclosure, some FW HDs won't boot. 
You want one with the "Oxford" chipset.

Fred
0
fmmck
12/30/2005 5:19:21 PM
Thank you so much for such a thorough and prompt reply!!  I am not
particularily interested in keeping the G3 around...  I had considered
the 'target mode' option, but the size of the machine makes that rather
inpractical for my purposes.  But you suggest it would be worth it to
buy a new drive (which looks quite expensive to me) rather than simply
an enclosure (which I see you can get for under $50?)...  Is it really
that complicated to set up?  I had this idea that I might simply be
able to open up the G3, pull out the disk, pop it into the enclosure,
plug it into my G5, and voil=E0.  Am I deluding myself?

0
kennedy
12/30/2005 5:34:48 PM
On 2005-12-30 12:19:21 -0500, fmmck@aol.com (Fred McKenzie) said:

> In article <1h8ecyc.f9x802tzamogN%dempson@actrix.gen.nz>,
> dempson@actrix.gen.nz (David Empson) wrote:
> 
>> <kennedy.nolan@gmail.com> wrote:
>> 
>>> I am hopelessly ignorant when it comes to hardware...  I have a
>>> perfectly good 40gig hard drive in my G3 iMac going to waste, while I'm
>>> running out of room on my G5 iMac.  Is there any way to turn my G3's
>>> internal drive into an external drive for my G5?
>> 
>> Yes.  The main question is whether you want to be able to keep using the
>> iMac G3.
> 
> Kennedy & David-
> 
> David's response is quite thorough.  I have heard of larger drives, but
> have only seen 400 GB HDs in the stores.
> 
> If you would go to the trouble of removing the old G3 HD, why not just buy
> a new, larger HD and install it in the G5?  You could install the old G5
> HD in an external enclosure and clone it to the new one.

The G5 drives use serial ATA so will not work in most external enclosures.

0
Malcolm
12/30/2005 5:56:10 PM
The whole point of this is to avoid the rather sizeable expense of
buying a new HD, but, after a bit 'o research, I see it really is quite
complicated to get at the old HD, so perhaps you are all right; it just
isn't worth it.  Thanks for the tips!

0
kennedy
12/30/2005 7:21:06 PM
On Fri, 30 Dec 2005 13:21:06 -0600, kennedy.nolan@gmail.com wrote
(in article <1135970466.639426.215520@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>):

> The whole point of this is to avoid the rather sizeable expense of
> buying a new HD, but, after a bit 'o research, I see it really is quite
> complicated to get at the old HD, so perhaps you are all right; it just
> isn't worth it.  Thanks for the tips!
> 

I'm pretty sure it wasn't mentioned in this thread that Macs don't boot from 
USB, as a rule.

-- 

Tim
lance_1012@hotmail.com

0
Tim
12/30/2005 7:44:32 PM
<kennedy.nolan@gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you so much for such a thorough and prompt reply!!  I am not
> particularily interested in keeping the G3 around...  I had considered
> the 'target mode' option, but the size of the machine makes that rather
> inpractical for my purposes.  But you suggest it would be worth it to
> buy a new drive (which looks quite expensive to me) rather than simply
> an enclosure (which I see you can get for under $50?)...

What capacity is the current drive inside your iMac G5, and what are you
storing on it?  Are you only intending to use the external drive for
additional data storage, not backups?

I'm trying to get a rough idea of how much space you are likely to need.
Your iMac G3's 40 GB drive might not be big enough to get you very far,
but could do as an interim solution until you can afford a larger
mechanism.

A reasonable option is to use an external drive for a complete "clone"
backup of your internal drive, plus additional storage.  In this case,
going for a drive with at least twice the capacity of your internal one
would be a good idea.

The cheapest 3.5" ATA hard drive mechanisms at present (on a $/GB scale)
look to be 250 GB (around $115).  You could save a little money by going
for 160 GB, but anything smaller than that is not cost effective.  400
GB and 500 GB drives are also relatively more expensive.

Add in the cost of a hard drive enclosure ($50 to $75 if you avoid
Firewire 800) and you are looking at $140 to $190 for 160 GB or 250 GB
external drive.

OWC is advertising a preassembled 250 GB Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 drive
for $210, and it comes bundled with Retrospect Express (backup
software).  You could save a little by "rolling your own" but would lose
the bundled software.  (Their 160 GB preassembled drive is $180, 80 GB
is very cheap at $130, given the price of the hard drive mechanisms.)

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/fw400-USB2-combo-drives/

> Is it really that complicated to set up?  I had this idea that I might
> simply be able to open up the G3, pull out the disk, pop it into the
> enclosure, plug it into my G5, and voil´┐Ż.  Am I deluding myself?

The hard part is getting it out of the iMac G3.  Assembling an external
drive is easy enough.

-- 
David Empson
dempson@actrix.gen.nz
0
dempson
12/31/2005 1:02:44 AM
In article <1135964088.655091.238540@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
kennedy.nolan@gmail.com wrote:

> Is it really
> that complicated to set up?  I had this idea that I might simply be
> able to open up the G3, pull out the disk, pop it into the enclosure,
> plug it into my G5, and voil=E0.  Am I deluding myself?

Kennedy-

NO!

In our efforts to help, we may have mislead you.  A Firewire external
enclosure can be had for around $50.  Just remove the HD from the G3,
install it in the enclosure, hook it up and go.

I think the point we were trying to make, was that the resulting external
HD is only going to provide temporary relief.  A larger external or second
internal drive in the G5 would be a more expensive but longer-lasting
solution.

I forgot that the G5 uses a Serial ATA (SATA) drive, which is different
from the Parallel ATA drive in the G3.

Fred
0
fmmck
1/2/2006 4:10:34 PM
Thanks...  You're quite right, the relief is very temporary, and it's
not the ideal solution, but I have the drive, it'll take some of the
pressure off my current drive, and I don't have a lot of moola, so why
not?  Thanks for all the tips!

0
kennedy
1/4/2006 3:37:52 PM
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