Where great old Macs live again!

James and John discuss eBay finds: Mac poster, Key Lime iBook,lighted Apple sign. John reviews some SSD solutions, and news includes found Apple documents and Apple Park.

Direct download of this episode: Episode 430

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Hey Guys:

Great episode as usual; thank you. Also, much thanks to John for his segment on SSD solutions. Three years ago I tried to upgrade a PDQ Powerbook with an OWC SSD drive and encountered the master/slave issue that prevented the SSD drive from working. The OWC's drive is set to master state (unchangeable) which conflicted with the CD drive which is also set to the master setting on these Powerbooks. Thankfully the drive worked beautifully in another Mac I owned, but I never knew how to solve the issue until you aired this segment. The card(s) with switchable settings is just what I need. Thank you so much for shedding light on this issue to an otherwise fine Powerbook. Looking forward to the next episode.


Just a thought: Has processing power on the Mac's progressed enough that Apple (or some other developer) could produce one application (emulator) that would emulate all Mac OS systems (1.0 - 10.11)?  This would produce a way for old applications to be run and files accessed yet produce a reason for Apple to get old users to upgrade. I'm not trying to take the romance out of retro but I can see one good Pro Mac (w/ emulator add-on board?) with this ability being a boon for commercial companies with old Mac application & files and some retro users.

Is it at all viable to use SSDs in older Macs? No PPC Mac supports TRIM (which was introduced with 10.6.), wouldn't you run into problems sooner or later? Any experiences?


I was hoping some more experienced SSD users would answer your post and maybe they will. I believe, I have read in the past it was a problem, but there has been a lot of open source software developed to minimize this issue. See the next episode for more info, and keep your eyes on Low End Mac for that diagram that Rick is going to design showing SSD upgrade paths/options for certain Macs. Back in 2014, when I was looking into upgrading systems (G3 & G4), I sidestepped the TRIM issue by going with OWC's line of SSD's for older systems (Mercury Pro Legacy & others). Apparently, these drives have built in drive leveling, etc. See here:

I installed mine in December 2014 and have had no issues with the drive (boots G4 in 45 seconds).

Hopefully, someone with SD card upgrades will post to answer your question also. They usually have to deal with the TRIM issue you are speaking of.

Best Regards - Jake

Hey guys,
Many true SSDs like mSATA support load leveling and automatic trash collection like Jake mentioned, so TRIM isn't needed. SD and CompactFlash do not have this feature, and I only use those on older OSes (pre-10). It all comes down to how much you use your computer in question. If you use it daily for very intensive tasks, or as a main workstation, you'll want an mSATA, and expect it to work a long as it would in a modern computer. The quality of the media is important too. A Komputer Bay card isn't going to last as long as a Pro grade Sandisk. Right now, I have various solid state drives in 10+ Retro Macs (it would probably be easier to count Macs that don't have solid state at this point), and the only issue I had was a crappy Komputer Bay CF card. Either way, I plan to start some kind of database on Low End Mac as soon as I can so we can track and share solid state options. Stay tuned for that.
For emulating older OS X on computers today, you can use PearPPC for Windows. I've run Jaguar and maybe Tiger on it (on a Windows VM on a Mac no less). There's also Mac-on-Mac, which is a port of Mac-on-Linux. Both of these haven't been updated in many years and don't work well at all. There's just not a "market" for this yet. You'll never see Apple produce something like this, as they want you to always stay current. It's up the community to do make it happen. I'd imagine you'll see OS X emulators in about 10-15 years, when these machines are further removed from the ability for the average person to access the hardware.

Also, you can find instructions of how to run 10.4+ in VMware on a Mac or Windows (and probably other platforms too). Parallels and VMware have official support for 10.4-10.6 server, and 10.7+ as a virtual machine.

Thanks guys. I ordered the Ableconn adapter and am going to install it with a high quality 120 GB mSATA SSD in my G4 PowerBook 1.67 GHz. This is my workhorse Mac (still no Intel Macs in the house). Its original HD has given up the ghost after >10 years. I'm booted from an external FW drive right now but would like to have the portability of a built-in drive again. So I guess this is the best time to try and see how it goes.

Awesome. If you get any odd boot up or access issues, let me know. I'll send you an image of some jumpers I had to bridge. I only had to do this on a KingSpec SSD, not the mSATA, but it was on my G4. I don't think you'll need it though. Just test before you reassemble!

Thanks Rick! The Ableconn adapter finally arrived. They don't sell them in the UK/Europe and don't ship to Europe at all, I had to ship it to my US address and then forward it.

Which jumper setting should I use? Master or Cable Select mode? (Surely nor slave mode?) The adapter is preconfigured to Cable select, and I'd like to make sure I set it right before installing. I don't want to risk firing up the G4 PowerBook while it's disassembled.

Also, I'm going to go with a Samsung EVO 250 GB mSATA instead (my PowerBook should support it) since they're actually about 30€ cheaper right now than the 120 GB ones.

I didn't have to change the jumpers on the adaptors, so you should be good with cable select. The only one I had to force a master to was the KingSpec IDE SSD.

I installed the mSATA SSD inside the AbleConn adapter today, leaving the jumper at Cable Select. The 17" PowerBook is a pleasure to work with as it's really spaceous inside, all screws and no glue.

Everthing worked smoothly, the SSD was recognized immediately, formatting as HFS+ and then cloning my boot drive to it was no problem. Had Mac OS X rebuild system cashes and verify the file structure for good measure. I'm booted into the SSD as I'm typing this. Applications start a lot faster. I don't know how reliable it'll be in the long run, but it's looking very good right now.

I also swapped the HD in my 800 MHz G3 iBook for an mSATA 120 GB Samsung EVO drive with the Ableconn adapter. Operation went flawless, but took more than two hours. Since the iBook can only take 640 MB RAM and needs to swap to the HD a lot the performance increase is very noticeable. BTW, the computer still had its original 2003 30 GB spinning HD. It never died and gave me >14 years of reliable performance in daily use. Retired with honors.




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