[olug] OT: Mac G4 woes

Phil Brutsche phil at brutsche.us
Mon Dec 24 00:18:03 UTC 2007

Optical drives in G4 Macs drives are usually IDE, so if the thing boots
off an IDE CD chances are you have at least one good IDE controller.

Have you tried putting another IDE drive in it? When they go bad
sometimes they just stop responding.

Dave Thacker wrote:
> My son's G4 will boot to the install CD, but will not recognize the 
> IDE hard drive.  When I run system diagnostics I get no errors, but 
> when I run hardware profiler, I don't see an IDE interface.  I think 
> that's probably not a good thing:  Questions
> 1) Will the interface appear as IDE in System Diagnostics?

Not a clue, but I would expect it to.

> 2) Is there a BIOS I can get into to check whether the IDE interface 
> is enabled?

Yes, OpenFirmware. Apple+Option+O+F when you power it on will get you
into it. Don't know the command to probe the IDE bus right off hand
though - probe-ide-all works on Suns, and OpenFirmware is very similar
to Sun's OpenBoot...

> 2) If the IDE port is dead, can I put a SCSI card in?

Yes and no. The only SCSI cards supported by OS X >= 10.2 are made by
ATTO and use LSI Logic SCSI chips.

SATA and IDE cards are cheaper and much more common. For most desktop
uses a current SATA drive + controller w/NCQ will give better performance.

> 3) Are there any diag iso's I can download to further pinpoint the
> trouble?

An Ubuntu/PPC install CD might give you more verbose hardware probing...


Phil Brutsche
phil at brutsche.us

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