November 16th, 2004


Upgrading the iMac

I'm about to move a 120 GB IDE disk from an external Firewire case to inside my iMac. (For those of you who haven't been following my computer setup over the years, it's a 15-inch original version flat-panel iMac G4/800, with Superdrive (CD-RW/DVD-R burner), 768 MB of memory, and a 60 GB internal drive; there are also 80 and 120 GB external, Firewire-attached hard disks.) I can't seem to find a reason why I can't capture video to the Firewire disk without dropping frames, so this is the next best answer.

I've used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the internal disk to the 120, and am running off the 120 as I type, booted over Firewire. Everything seems to be present and working properly.

The next step is the hard one: moving the disk inside the iMac. I have no doubt it'll fit, physically, or that it'll boot and run. What's worrying me a little is the iMac's design. I'm going to have to pretty much completely disassemble the base to get the drive out, and reassembling it will require some thermal grease. Now, I haven't had to mess with that stuff for years, but in this case, it's imperative to ensure that the heat pipe that carries heat away from the G4 has a good thermal path to the heat sink on top of the case. Whee.

This is a slightly unusual feeling for me. Normally, hardware holds no mystery for me. I've got all of the necessary tools, and know how to use them. I don't have any heat sink grease that I know of (and I don't think Paul does, either), and I'm not sure, if Radio Shack carries such, that it's the good stuff. A trip to Mankato might be called for to get some of the good stuff. The last thing I want to happen is to have this machine crater on me. That makes me just a little nervous.
  • Current Mood
    nervous nervous

It works...and it's fast, too.

The iMac went together with no apparent trouble, and seems to run fine.

It's quicker, too. The drive that was in it originally was a Maxtor DiamondMax D540X. The new drive is an IBM Deskstar 120GXP. Maxtor? 5400 RPM, 12 millisecond average seek time, 43.4 MB/second internal transfer rate. IBM? 7200 RPM, 8.5 millisecond average seek time, 74 MB/second internal transfer rate. Yes, it does make a noticeable difference.

The IBM is noisier than the Maxtor, but I'll put up with that happily. Especially with 59.64 GB free space.
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished