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Upgrade WallStreet Part 1, Page 2

I started out with a few of the obvious upgrades that just make life a lot easier and in one case safer. If you have a Wallstreet with a black brick shaped AC power supply, Apple is offering free replacement on exchange. Seems that the company who made them for Apple (and a few others) had some faulty ones, which caught fire. Go to the Apple web site and sign up for the exchange. I've never heard of an Apple power supply catching fire, but better safe than sorry.
Changing the hard drive in any of the G3 PowerBooks is a very easy task, more so than the old and new iBook . . .

Absolutely first thing to do is to upgrade the hard drive that came with the Wallstreet. The hard drives that came with the two Wallstreet I have for this project were only 2 gigabytes, tiny by today's standards. Let me tell you right now, do not get rid of that original Apple Branded Toshiba hard drive, I will tell you why later. Even the high speed 292 and 300 MHz Wallstreets had pretty peony 6 GB hard drives, not worth trying to live with considering the really low prices 20, 30 and 40 GB drives go for now. Changing the hard drive in any of the G3 PowerBooks is a very easy task, more so than the old and new iBook or the Titanium! You can do it yourself with just a small Philips screwdriver, a small Torx T9 and T8 screwdriver, which you can buy at Sears. At the end of the story I will include links to sites showing you "how to".

Choosing the right size drive for you may be a lot of factors, price being one of them. A quick tip, while you can use a 2.5" hard drive that is as thick as 12.7 mm, you should stick with a 9.5 mm drive because of heat build up in the Wallstreet and the Lombard. I initially tried out two drives that are at two extremes, price and speed. One is a moderate cost IBM 4200 RPM Travelstar 20 GB and at the other extreme, the new MK4019GAX Toshiba 5400 RPM 40 GB, both are only 9.5 mm thick. IBM's Travelstar's has an attractive street price for a 20 GB drive at around $90.

Here came the first surprise. Apparently the IBM Travelstar creates an unusually high magnetic field for a 4200 RPM hard drive, which interferes with the PowerBook's "sleep switch" located inside the lower body housing adjacent to the Delete key and right above to the hard drive. When you close the PowerBook cover while the PowerBook is on, it will not awaken from sleep mode, if you close it after shutting down, it will not start up. You will hear an "electronic clicking" sound when you press the power button. There has been a lot of discussion on this subject on various tech sites. People have also reported that a small weak "refrigerator magnet" placed for a second on the case next to the delete key "resets" the sleep switch, something I don't think an owner should have to do!

The permanent solution is actually simple, place a .04mm thick sheet of a non ferrous metal like brass between the HD and where the sleep switch is in the body of the PowerBook.I purchased a small piece of .2mm (1/64th") thick sheet of polished brass and then cut it in half to the right width to fit between the screws inside the hard drive caddy (see photo below). We needed to use a double thickness of the brass, to block the magnetic field created by the 40GB drive. Larger drives may need even more brass.


Red dotted line indicates where the Brass is in the Caddy

The alternate low cost solution is a 4200 RPM Fujitsu or Toshiba's MK2018GAP 20 GB drive, which will cost a bit more than an IBM, but they certainly don't have the magnetic nuisance factor. I asked IBM to send a replacement drive of their choice, but they refused to do so. Since this problem may well exist on their other 4200 RPM size drives, I will caution you on the choice of the IBM Travelstar hard drives unless you're comfortable with the solution we found.

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Toshiba was the original equipment supplier to Apple for all the G3 PowerBooks; they were private labeled with an Apple logo. So, for the ultimate hard drive upgrade I tried this new 5400 RPM, 40 GB screamer! It is an impressive boost to data access and program loading, a noticeably 13.2% increase over a 4200 RPM drive. An added bonus, it's very quiet, something that has caused a lot of complaints from other hard drives because the drive is right under the thin keyboard assembly.Here was the second surprise, this Toshiba drive also created the same magnetic field problem the 4200 RPM IBM drive does, although it might be more expected considering the a 5400 RPM drive would require a larger motor, hence a stronger magnetic field. Again the .04 mm of brass in the drive caddy was sufficient to block the magnetic field problem.

So, for the ultimate hard drive upgrade I tried this new 5400 RPM, 40 GB screamer! It is an impressive boost to data access and program loading, a noticeably 13.2% increase over a 4200 RPM drive. An added bonus, it's very quiet, something that has caused a lot of complaints from other hard drives because the drive is right under the thin keyboard assembly.

While the MK4019GAX is difficult to find to buy on the Internet because it is so new, but it is well work the effort to find them. This series of 5400 RPM drives are also available in 20 and 30 GB sizes. As an alternative, I would also particularly recommend Toshiba's MK4018GAP 4200 RPM hard drive, it is also only 9.5 mm thick and I have one in my G3 Pismo. The MK4018GAP retails for $350, but I've seen them for around $165 street price all over the Internet. Of all the hard drives I tested, the Toshiba MK4019GAX is definitely the Best Choice for optimal performance. Short of replacing the original G3 processor with a faster one, this is a measurable performance increase.

There really are a lot of choices for you as far as hard drives are concerned; your needs and budget should dictate size and speed. Just remember that your choice should be one that you may want to live with for the next one or two years. Just remember that you choice should be one that you may want to live with for the next one or two years.

While you've got that PowerBook open lets stick something else in that will help performance, RAM. As the old saying goes, "you can't have enough RAM", but there can be a physical limit. For a long time the Wallstreet and Lombard was thought to be limited to a measly 192 MB of RAM, at least that is what Apple's specifications lead you to believe. The physical problem was the lower RAM Slot 1, which is on the underside of the Logic Board. The Rev A through D iMac's suffered the very same limitation. The physical size allowed for the SODIMM module in that RAM Slot 1 dictated that it must be a "Low Profile" module, also manufacturing limitations kept the better RAM makers from building large Megabyte Low Profile SODIMM, but that has changed! Most manufacturers are considerate enough to designate these low profile modules as a 64L, 128L or 256L SODIMM module.

I slipped a Viking Components MPG3/256L low profile 256 MB module into Slot 1 and a standard MPG3/265 256 MB module into Slot 2. These are PC-100 CL2 SODIMMS and while the system bus on a Wallstreet is only 66 MHz, the CL2 factor of this module is the important feature! CL2 means that this module has the fastest refresh speed of 2-2-2 (3-2-3 is the slowest), important for optimizing program or basic operations performance in any computer and every bit helps for an older slower bus design. You should try to buy only CL2 RAM for any Mac for that matter, ask whether you are getting 2-2-2 when you're buying RAM. Your budget and applications needs will dictate whether you want 128 MB or max out at 512 MB. Just buy quality RAM from a reputable well-known manufacturer like Viking. It is so nice to have half a gigabyte of RAM on any PowerBook, whether you're using OS X or OS 9.x, and that bring me to the next subject of this project, the choice of Operating Systems.

It is so nice to have half a gigabyte of RAM in any PowerBook, whether you're using OS X or OS 9.x, and that brings me to the next subject of this project, the choice of Operating Systems.

Contrary to popular opinion, you can and should put OS X on your G3 Wallstreet PowerBook (that includes the Lombard and Pismo). OS X v10.1.5 now recognizes all the hardware on the Wallstreet, including the popular expansion bay options like the DVD/CD, VST's Zip 100 Drive, Apple's Floppy Drive and all the PCMCIA or Cardbus peripherals (some may require drivers of course). You should also install OS 9.2.2 for Classic Mode operation.

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Links for buying Toshiba MK4019GAX
Baber.com
HardDrives4Less
HardDrive.com



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