Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's just that easy

Running out of storage space on my PowerMac G5 recently, I had to take the plung and perform my first ever upgrade on this system: a new hard drive.

The G5 tower has two drive bays, so I knew I would at least be able to add a second drive and not have to replace my existing drive. Of course every PC tower I've owned has had several bays also and that still didn't make the process of adding a second drive easier.

The G5 takes SATA (serial ATA) drives, and all I had ever done before on PC was IDE and SCSI drives. So, this would be another first.

For my new drive selection I chose another Seagate Baracuda - same as my "A" drive. The Seagate's have better reliability - and a 5 year warranty, while the "better-priced" Hitachis only have a 1 year warranty and inconsistent reliability. A little luck produced a 160GB Barracuda for only $50 after rebates. Pocket change...

Once I had received the drive I looked for Seagate's instructions for installation on the Mac. In the 20 page install guide I could find none - till I looked a little harder. There was one single paragraph on about page 5. That's it. All the rest was for PC installation.

Opening the G5 case and viewing the interior is a scene to behold. Never have I seen the inside of a computer case look so clean and beautiful. If you haven't seen one, you won't appreciate it until you have.

The hardware installation on a G5 requires no removal of the entire case, no limited area screw locations (no screws at all in fact), no removal of power supplies or bezels, etc. Simply screw in the four little guides and slide the drive in the open, and easily accessible bay. Oh, and did I mention the self contained connectors taht are sitting there waiting to be plugged in? No cable installation or routing required.

And no jumpers or master/slave drive settings required.

Once the drive was installed, case closed, and external cables all connected I powered on. At boot I received a message saying the drive I inserted was not recognized - would I like to initialize it? I selected "initialize" and waited about 10 seconds for disk utility to open. Then I had to Partition the drive so it would appear.

This took two mouse clicks, and I had to enter the name I wanted the drive to be called. Partitioning then took about 30 seconds.

That was it. Done. No hassles.

My total installation time, including disconnecting and reconnecting all my cables took about 15 minutes. That's probably 5 minutes more than it could have taken.

On any PC this would be no less than an hour's work.

Color me impressed.


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