Installing a Large 128Gb+ Hard Disk in the Mac G4 Cube
I’ve been running my G4 cube with a large hard drive since just after I bought it in May, 2005. I thought it was time to show you the quickest way to replace the drive in 10 minutes, without any major disassembly.
The Cube is a product of its day and I’ve had mixed results with high capacity drives in my Cube, including drives that “should work”.
Firstly, bear in mind that if your drive is larger than 128Go (A Go “Giga Octet” is the new way of saying GB when you mean 1024x1024x1024 bytes rather than 1,000,000,000 bytes that the drive manufacturers use to inflate their drive sizes 128Go is about 132GB) , you’ll need to purchase the
Or else your computer will only recognise the first 128Go, regardless of the drive size. I’ll discuss this in a later post.
Update: You can use an Open Firmware hack to achieve the same thing. Read here.
You’ll need a set of Torx drivers for the star shaped “security” screws. Sizes T8, T10 and T12 should do the trick. You will also need a medium sized pair of pliers for some minor and painless case modifications.
Opening the case:
First make sure you have the fan, the torx drivers and enough room to work on, i.e. a flat, clear surface within easy reaching distance.
- Unplug the Cube and invert it. Take care not to scratch the machine’s plastic case. I inverted mine onto a pillow.
- Push the rectangular, inset bar located on the upturned base in firmly, until you hear it click. Now release it. The handle should pop out.
- Use the handle to lift the chassis out of the upturned case. If this is the first time it has been removed, it might take a little teasing to get things moving.
- Lift the chassis out vertically, taking care not to scratch the insides of the case with the metal corners of the chassis. The chassis has no sharp corners so this is not a serious issue. Still, it would be a shame to scratch it.
- Now place the chassis down on a flat, clear surface. Take care not to damage the sensor on the top of the unit (probably facing downwards since it’s the side opposite the handle).
- Push the handle in all the way and let go. It should stay in place.
- Turn the case, so that the sensor is now facing upwards.
- Locate and remove the three Torx bolts which hold the drive hatsink in place as shown above. Note that the bolts are captive, and as such do not actually come out. This is a great Apple design point, since it stops the bolts from falling into the machine!
- Now lift out the heat sink itself.
- Locate the airport card flap on the side of the unit.
- Open the Airport door. It will swing out. Don’t worry, it’s well hinged and won’t fall off!
- Remove the drive power connector – Mine was stuck firmly and required pliers to release it!
- Now remove the ATA connector.
- The drive should now slide out from the opposite side of the chassis.
- Remove the guide rail from the side of the drive.
- Don’t forget the plastic drive guide rail
- Slide the drive back in.
- (Optional) You may want to coat both sides of the three steel posts which hold the drive with a drop or two of heatsink compound, since new drives run much hotter than the old 20GB drive that was in there and every bit of cooling will help.
- Replace the bolts which hold the heatsink.
- Replace the data and power connectors.
- Close the Airport card door. Make sure the airport antenna cable is taped firmly to the door if you don’t have an Airport card installed.
- Put chassis back in case, connect and power up.