[rescue] SSDs in powerbook G4s (was Re: revived: TiBook G4 867 (DVI)/ 1GB and MacOS9)

Ray Arachelian ray at arachelian.com
Sun May 13 19:00:39 CDT 2018

So to update this a bit - I just took apart an old 120G SSD, added an
inline 2.5" ATA to SATA converter (
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MU023LO/ ) and replaced the
original 80GB 2.5" disk - which I think is a 5400rpm. It's much much
faster now, and likely uses a bit less energy so the battery can last

If you try to use this inline adapter with a 2.5" disk, you'll find it
won't fit in your Powerbook. But the trick is that the 2.5" SSD has a
metal enclosure that is usually much bigger than the SSD's circuit
board. I'm sure not all SSD's fit this way, so if you have a few older
ones lying around from machines you've upgraded, carefully take them
apart and see if the circuit board plus the inline adapter is the same
or shorter than the total length as case, if so, it likely will fit in
your G4. (Not taking credit for this, I saw it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fx_5ouMDac )

Before you do this (and after you confirm the SSD board + converter will
fit), you should install the SSD drive in a USB enclosure,
format/partition it with Disk Utility, and see if it's compatible.
Alternatively, you could go to OWC or somewhere else and buy a
specialized PATA/IDE SSD, but these are overpriced, and likely you have
some old SSDs lying around after upgrades.

Next, you can either boot off the 10.5, or 10.4 DVD/CD and install it on
the drive, or in my case I downloaded an old version of SuperDuper that
works with 10.5.x and cloned the existing OS onto the SSD, since I had
already spent a lot of time installing and compiling various software on it.

If you've never opened up your G4 Powerbook, look on iFixIt and youtube
for disassembly instructions for your specific model, be very careful of
the flex ribbon cable on the keyboard that threads from the inside to
under the memory slot as this is a very fragile cable, and if you break
it, you'll have to find a replacement, which I'm not so sure is easy to get.

There's a question as to what to do about TRIM. 10.4/10.5 and OS9 will
not support TRIM, and the earliest TRIM enable I've found is for OS X
10.6. In my case I just do something like this:

B dd if=/dev/zero of=DELETEME bs=4096; rm DELETEME

The hope there is that the SSD might be smart enough to recognize zero
filled sectors as trimmable, but YMMV.

I'm going to see if my 5300ce will work with the same kind of setup,
that would be neat. Just gotta find some more <100G old SSDs that might
work there. Not sure what the max drive size for these is, I remember
the TAM has some artificial limit where it won't see disks larger than
2G, so maybe that applies to those as well. I suppose in those cases
something like a SCSI2SD or a CF to ATA board might be better.

Maybe I can make my SPARCBooks (mine has a SCSI to IDE bridge) or maybe
use these in my Tadpole Voyager and get all these to run faster this way.

More information about the rescue mailing list