SSD upgrade for iMac G4 Globe

I recently upgraded the hard disk of an iMac G4 Globe to SSD. The G4 was bought from a graphic designer who obviously has taken care of the beautiful machine very well. It looked very new, at least the outside.

I have a quite old Corsair Force Series F60 60GB SSD sitting around and it is perfect for upgrading the hard disk of the G4. And my G4 had an IDE interface of ATA 100 so potentially it can reach the theoretical maximum data transfer rates, which would be very exciting for a 16 years old computer.

TL;DR: The SSD disk with the IDE adapter, is around twice faster in sequential reads and writes and 17 times faster in random reads and writes! Though it didn’t reach the theoretical speed of 100MB, it still was very exciting and worth the hacking.

Since the F60 is an SATA disk, I used an SATA to PATA IDE adapter bought on eBay and I have read before not all of them work well with G4 Globe. Anyway, I decided to give it a chance and it costs just 2 US dollars includes shipping.

Received the adapter after around 3 weeks and here is how it looks like:

Opening the iMac G4 Globe is not a difficult task for someone has worked with computer hardware before, especially when following the nice guide of ifixit.

Remove the old hard disk following the guide above, and attach the adapter to the IDE cable:

Then connect the SSD to the adapter:

And put everything back together following the ifixit guide reversely. Turned the G4 on and it did not boot, showing a typical question mark which probably means it couldn’t find a disk to boot from.

The first thing came to me is that the adapter is not compatible. But then suddenly, one missing block stroke me, which was that in the old PATA/IDE era, there was this thing called Master/Slave. You need to specify which device is the master and which is the slave.

So I opened the G4 again, and there it was. It turned out the DVD drive was set to “Master” and the adapter had a jumper pin as well set to “Master”. I set the jumper on the DVD drive to “Slave” following this example:

After putting everything together and tried to boot the G4 again and this time, it successfully recognized the new disk and boot to OS X without any problem.

It did seem to be faster, but to prove with numbers, I used xbench to benchmark the SSD and luckily I had a result when G4 was running with the IDE disk.

XBench result before upgrading:

After upgrading to SSD:

Conclusion: In short the SSD disk with the IDE adapter, is around 2x faster in sequential reads/writes and 17x faster in random reads/writes!