View Full Version : Looking for a bigger HD

Boyd 9
11-08-2009, 11:37 AM
Hey there all you Gurus

My 250 GB seagate is showing it's space limitations and I'm looking to go a bit bigger. I could set up a RAID thingy (never done that before) -- I do have some other HDs lying around that I could use to set that up -- but really, for the sake of convenience, was drooling over either a 1 TB or 1.5 TB Seagate drive (from the Gurus, of course) and transferring all the data over to that.

So, money IS an issue, but think I can scrounge together the dough for a new Seagate.

Currently, in my G4, I've got two internal SATA drives (one for booting, the other for using), and for back up, have a Burly Hot Swap with two more SATA drives.

My questions are these:

1) should I save money by setting up a RAID and cram another HD into my Mac?

2) Should I make it easier on myself and just buy a brand new HD?

3) And if I buy another HD, will a SATA II drive work in my SATA I set up without having to do a whole lot of tweaks? Honest to admit, I have not been keeping up with the world of SATA II, and I remember early on there were some minor issues with compatibility -- at least that's what I remember -- did those ever get resolved, or have they just gotten worse?

Thanks for all suggestions, of course

11-08-2009, 05:42 PM
I think RAID0ing some newer drives might saturate a G4. I'd vote to keep things simpler, cheaper and buy a new drive.

New drives are faster. Bought a new 500GB Seagate this spring and it is faster. This has some info (http://www.macgurus.com/raid/raidmain.php) it might help you some or not.

The speed freaks will be around and assist you better. :D ;)

11-08-2009, 06:23 PM
What SATA card is inside your G4? That is a big part of the answer since some of the older ones have issues with newer features on drives.


Boyd 9
11-08-2009, 07:26 PM
It's a Firmtek/Seritek -- but (and this could be an impt but) -- I have not upgraded the firmware on it since I bought it (a couple years ago). And I guess I'm wondering if I should upgrade the firmware sometime soon -- but don't you have to disconnect the SATA drives from it to do that first, though?

And newer drives are faster -- yeah -- I like that idea -- plus keeping things simple -- like that idea too. Yeah, maybe better to just get the new drive.

Of course, all opinions and suggestions welcome, of course. Many thanks

11-08-2009, 07:42 PM
BIG difference between 2 port and 4 port cards. The 2 port card can handle most any new drive as it ignores several of the new features that break the 4 port card. Those silly stupid features, like Spread Spectrum Clocking, are added to desktop drives to make them candidates for server markets as well. Pathetic, in my mind, and a total dis of consumers by drive manufacturers since those server features complicate the drive unnecessarily and cause compatibility issues on what *should* be a simple robust hard drive for us. (my editorializing rant for the day)

The 4 port Firmtek card has conniptions over SSC enabled on drives. Make sure also that you are running the latest firmware on it.

The 2 port card mostly ignores the server stuff and is more widely compatible because of that. DO check out the firmware updates available. (make a copy of your OS to a Firewire drive maybe?) Not sure if you can be booted to the card while installing an update to it, check the read me.


Boyd 9
11-09-2009, 09:09 AM
When I went to try and upgrade the Seritek/Firmtek firmware...

As my profile sez, I have two SATA cards -- the one mentioned above -- and the other I got from a third party vendor that is switchable -- it has internal and external ports -- the latter is the one I use for the Burly hot swap.

Anyway, disconnected the two HDs from the Seritek card, and plugged them into the other card, switched it over to internal and rebooted.

When I rebooted, I got the message that I could not log into my user account. When I typed in my password, it still would not let me log in. Several times this happened.

It's not a password issue (I've had the same user name and password for years), and I know it's not an issue with the other SATA card (it works fine for connecting the Burly)... so, wtf already?

I'd really like to update the firmware on the Seritek -- so, can I boot from the Burly (I don't know if I've ever had to try that), or, do I need to do something like a reset PRAM when connecting the drives to the other SATA card.

Wasn't really expecting this, but couldn't imagine that it's any big problem -- just puzzling, that's all.

Oh, and btw, it's one of the 4 Port Seritek cards. Don't remember the exact model, but I think it's something like 1V4 - I used to have the box it came in floating around somewhere, but that was about 4 or 5 moves ago.

Boyd 9
11-09-2009, 09:24 AM
Reads as follows:

If your current firmware is working for you, FirmTek does not
recommend updating the firmware. This falls under the heading, "If
it's not broken don't fix it". While FirmTek tries to make every new
driver release better than the last, there is always a chance that a
new firmware upgrade may actually cause an issue with some

One exception to this rule: Leopard users will want to upgrade. The
new 5.3.1 firmware corrects a Leopard wake on sleep issue. However,
Tiger users that are not experiencing problems should stay with
their existing firmware.

If you have read the information above and still believe you need a
firmware upgrade, please follow the step by step installation
instructions below.

Well, I've always been of the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it school.' Should I update the firmware or not? Not sure what to do now (I'm running 10.4.11)

11-09-2009, 10:55 AM
No way for me to answer your 'can you boot from the Burly' question. Bootability is built into, or not, the host card. You will have to chase down whether that particular card is bootable.

The reason I brought up firmware update was if you intend to install newer drive(s). From what I understand the 4 port Firmtek cards needed some updates to run with later model Seagate drives. Not sure what applies to other drives since I didn't ask about them - and my knowledge is a couple years out - the afore mentioned conversation was quite some time ago.


11-09-2009, 02:18 PM
When my Raptor died last year I got a Seagate replacement via Gurus. I have not had any problems with it and my Firmtek 4 port card. When I got the Rapor I did have some problem with the Firmtek 2 port card and ended up putting in the 4 port card, and all was well. Until the Raptor died and early death.

But the latest Seagate drives and my Firmtek 4 port card have not had any problems, and I have never done a thing to it.

FYI I did some speed tests on the new Seagate drive, it was very speedy. In fact the replacement drive that WD sent me is still in the wrapper. With the Giga dual 1.6 inside the old DA it got pretty hot, the Raptor didn't help with the temps either.

Anyone need a Raptor?

Boyd 9
11-09-2009, 04:16 PM
Oh, right -- bootability is built into the card :rolleyes: Uhm.... yeah.... of course it is -- just had a moment of not thinking too clearly there.

As for the other news, that all sounds great. Really thinking about NOT updating the firmware, esp considering yeungfeng's post. I've got a Giga bumped 2001 Quicksilver -- and with a Raptor as the boot drive, and a full length Graphics card in there -- well, let's just say that the QS has it's particular demons with heat issues -- one reason I don't want to go RAID and put another HD in there -- I figure 2 is plenty in there right now.

Sorry to hear about the early death of your Raptor. I had to yank the 150GB Raptor when I almost filled it up. Anybody want it? I'm willing to let go of it for a good price to the right Guru :D

P.S.: Honestly, tho -- I tell ya' -- part of the joy of having a great-running machine is that (and of course, thanks to the help from all the Gurus here) -- once I worked the kinks out of everything, my machine has been smooth running -- seriously, have not had to screw with anything (other than a HD swap) for a couple years..... can't say the same about PC's unfortunately, at least in my experience. OK, enough ranting fer now. Thanks again for all the advice.

Boyd 9
11-10-2009, 09:09 AM
Here's some info on the other SATA card I have. Anyone else here have one?


Just curious

But looking at this previous thread, me thinks it's NOT bootable


11-10-2009, 09:38 AM
We carried that card for a little while. Been long enough I don't remember all that much about it - but I do not believe it has any of the required code to make it bootable.


Boyd 9
11-11-2009, 01:08 AM
Is that if my other SATA card is not bootable and there can't be anything connected to the Seritek during firmware updating, then I'll have to boot from the internal DVD drive in order to be able to successfully update the firmware on the Seritek (should I want to do that, in spite of Seritek's warnings) or find an old ATA drive lying around somewhere that I can boot from?

Hmmmmm..... gonna have to think on this one.

11-11-2009, 01:21 AM
Sorry to hear about the early death of your Raptor. I had to yank the 150GB Raptor when I almost filled it up. Anybody want it? I'm willing to let go of it for a good price to the right Guru :D

I had a 150 gig raptor in my MacPro that lasted exactly six months before dying of spontaneous combustion. I've since replaced it with a 300 gig Velociraptor. And I ONLY run my system with the side panel OFF.

The heat inside these things is unreal. :rolleyes:

Boyd 9
11-12-2009, 09:48 AM
The heat inside these things is unreal.

Yeah, I know all too well about that -- fer sure -- esp with having an '01 QS -- one of the reasons I opted for NOT adding another HD in there -- the two I have in there are fine by me.

FWIW, I guess, given the above info and insights from everyone, I'm wondering if in addition to a bigger HD, I should just pick up another Seritek SATA card -- they've got a 2-port internal SATA card, bootable, and under $65. That way, with two bootable SATA cards in my system, future updates to firmware will be no problem at all.

I'd appreciate hearing any opinions from all you Gurus if that would be a) money well spent or b) don't bother wasting my time and go with the two SATA cards I've already got......

11-12-2009, 10:25 AM
The only reason I would 1) update the firmware or 2) replace a card with another older chipset card, is that I wanted to install a new hard drive that to operate properly needed the updated firmware.

That is what started the firmware conversation in the first place. Do I install a new drive or not and what will that entail.

Well, if you install a newer faster drive and it requires a firmware update to run, then do 1) and maybe 2).

Otherwise, if installing a drive is plug and play, then skip 1) and 2) and move to 3) run computer till it won't run any longer.