View Full Version : Making gurus feel really smart... Help for novice....

08-14-2002, 12:36 PM
Hi there,

After having spent hours yesterday trying to figure out the best way to upgrade my Lombard (bronze) to a) larger hard drive, b) firewire and c) cd-rw ..... I'm probably a little more confused than when I started.

Here are my questions: In the 40 gb range, I've been told that the 4200 RPM IBM Travelstar drive is fine. One Apple rep says that the new 5400 might melt the computer.... Or something like that. Another self-proclaimed Mac guru (not from here) says that it wouldn't make any difference in performance. Does this seem right?

As to Firewire: Is the pc card solution the best one? I've seen one from Maxtor that you just plug into the pcmcia slot and voila....

Any recommendations on CD-RW?

Thanks in advance.
The stoopid Mac guy

[This message has been edited by keysersoze58 (edited 14 August 2002).]

08-14-2002, 01:06 PM
Try searching the drive database here: http://forums.xlr8yourmac.com/drivedb/search.drivedb.lasso

Do you mean a 5400 drive might melt the computer? I don't think so. The 5,400 rpm drive I have in my Lombard now makes it no hotter than the original 4,200 rpm drive that was in it before. Though I am sure the harddrive provides some heat, if anything, the processor makes the machine run hot on the bottom. As is, I never run my Lombard without propping it up on something (generally a binder). Sorta dumb that apple never put legs on it.

As to performance of 4,200 rpm drives versus 5,400, I don't per se notice a difference, but if you search that drive database, I think you will find some benchmarking tests submitted by people and there is some performance gain. I run OS X and now Linuz and since those OSes do a lot of disk writing, I went with the 5,400 IBM Travelstar. Seemed to make sense for my needs, but your needs may be different if you are running OS 8 or 9 or require the most storage for the least money.

XLR8yourmac.com may have info on the firewire card too. I don't know of any other way to get firewire on a Lombard save the PCMCIA slot on the side. Even if you could hook something up via the USB or SCSI port, it wouldn't run at firewire speed, which sort of defeats the purpose.

The Gurus sell a firewire card, but their site isn't back up and taking orders. I can't remember which brand it is, but Gurus sells it, it is probably a good one. Otherwise, I don't see why any particular Mac compatible firewire card is better than another (at least that you will notice). They should all be plug n play anyway on a Mac.


08-14-2002, 01:14 PM
Anthony, thanks for the update... I was tempted to try the 5400 drive but didn't want to have any sort of meltdown.... Glad to hear it's working for you... I'd planned to upgrade to OSX as well, so this is great information.

Thanks for the other tips as well. Much appreciated.

08-14-2002, 01:50 PM
Not having ever owned a Power Book at all this may seem a dumb question. Why don't you glue a couple of rubber or silicon feet on the bottom to lift it up?

I know, go back to my tower......


08-15-2002, 05:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Not having ever owned a Power Book at all this may seem a dumb question. Why don't you glue a couple of rubber or silicon feet on the bottom to lift it up?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

LOL! Don't think I haven't thought about it, Rick, but there is that slightly neurotic, anal retentive side of me that says if I do that, it has to be done right and has to look good (I mean, c'mon, I ain't gonna screw up my PB's good looks!), and that is just more effort than I want to put into it! The binder does the same thing!

Scott- Following up on the Travelstars, you may notice people saying that they are loud, and if you are going with the 32 gb, one guy on the drive database at XLR8yourmac (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com) really complained about it. I've been using my 32 gb Travelstar for about three months, and it is just not loud. Didn't start out loud, hasn't gotten loud and makes by far less noise than the original 4,200 rpm Travelstar that was in it.

I also just noticed that you mentioned CD-RW for it. MCE Tech makes one. Try MCE Store (http://www.powerbook1.com.). They are pricey, but you only have two other options (well, really one, because the last one is not worth the effort to me). SmartDisk makes one too. Check here: SmartDisk CD-RW drive page (http://store.yahoo.com/smartdiskstore/exbaycddriv4.html.). Problems is that it is slow compared to the MCE drive (but its cheaper). XLR8yourmac (have you noticed that is a great place to always go first?) http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif also has some articles on taking a Matsushita drive from a dell notebook and making it work in the Lombards and Pismos. Apparently, you need to do some mod to the drive by cutting resistors or something. It is the cheapest option, as I recall, but way more trouble than its worth (at least, to me, anyway).

The nice thing is that if you get the CD-RW drive. MCE tech also makes an external enclosure, so if you upgrade to an ibook or TiBook down the road, you can get one of those cases and have a USB/firewire CD-RW drive. And, of course, if the new machine already doesn't have a bigger harddrive than what you get now for the Lombard, you can put it in the new machine or get an external firewire case for it.



[This message has been edited by tmxmnr (edited 15 August 2002).]

08-15-2002, 01:48 PM

Actually I was looking at the 5400 RPM, 40 GB GNX.... It's a little more pricey but seems to be a generation forward for IBM... I wasn't too worried about the noise, although I am glad to hear that yours is quieter... I was just worried that the heat would be overwhelming to an already warm Powerbook.... So if you are saying it's less hot as well, count me in.

I was actually looking to get the CD-RW as an external from the get-go..
It sounds as if the combo (USB 2 and Firewire) would be the way to go. There seems to be a lot of options out there and it's more than a little confusing... Still digging (with my spoon), appreciate the input...


08-15-2002, 04:46 PM

Check out Barefeats (http://www.barefeats.com). They have test data on the next generation GNX drives from IBM and, from what I recall, they stood up to or performed better than the latest 40 GB Toshibas with the 16 MB cache.

I didn't think about it, but you are right, it makes more sense to get the firewire card bus and the external CD-RW. I would guess you could get a much nicer drive for the price of the MCE expansion bay drive (heck, you could probably get a DVD-R for 399 bucks!).

Good luck!