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Ask Max: Upgrading a PowerBook's Memory and hard drive

Asked on 09/10/2007:

I have a 1.5 GHz G4 17" PowerBook. It has 512 SD RAM and an 80GB hard drive.

I know I could upgrade the RAM, but can I upgrade the hard drive? I see that the newer ones have a 120GB hard drive or even a 250 GB hard drive. If I can, what would you recommend and how much are they?


You can upgrade the hard drive in a Mac laptop. The drives used in a G3 or G4 PowerBook are standard 2.5" PATA (AKA EIDE or ATA) drives. Currently the largest PATA laptop drive is 160GB. The larger laptop drives are SATA based 2.5" drives and will only work in Intel-based Mac laptops. MCE makes an upgrade kit that will come with tools and instructions. It's cheaper to buy the naked drive and use your own tools, but this is the best way for the casual tech to upgrade their drive.

MCE upgrade kit

I would also recommend getting an external drive enclosure to place your old drive into. That will let you copy info over to the new drive. Also, this way you'll have an extra backup drive at the end.

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