I bought a used iMac G3 recently and I am trying to get it at max performance. Atm I am at the phase of replacing the HDD. I read on some places that 7200 RPM drives may have overheat problems in the G3 is that true? I probably wont be stressing the drive too much since most files come from network but its good to know. Also what type of drive do I need ? The ones I am considering have :


IDE Fast Ultra DMA ATA/133

Both are 7200 rpm refubrished drives at 80 gb and 2mb catche. Is one of those better choice ?

As an alternative if 7200 rpm is not good idea/ interfaces not compatible i got this :

ATA/133 HDD Hard Drive IDE

Thanks and hope I didnt put too many questions there ^^.

  • Which iMac are you talking about, there are several revision. The original 233 tray loading optical drive style or the slot loading optical drive style of iMac? See here for a list to choose from everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/index-imac.html – MrDaniel Feb 28 '12 at 16:31
  • summer 2000 450mhz – latusaki Feb 28 '12 at 16:56

The iMacs range from supporting EIDE ATA-3 to Ultra ATA as noted in EveryMac.com under the "Int. HD Interface:" section for each iMac, but the good news is that they are all backwards compatible.

Fortunately, the technology itself is pretty easy to use, even if the labels given to it often stink. So one useful way of dealing with all the standards and labels is simply to ignore them! Look past the hype, and focus on what the drive's actual capabilities are. If you want to really understand what a drive can do and what it supports, you should look at its specification sheet and see what features and transfer modes it is designed to use. Ignore labels like "EIDE" or "Ultra ATA/whatever" and find out what modes and functions the drive supports. Getting the real scoop on the drive means you don't need to worry about the pretty stickers slapped all over the box, or whatever the manufacturer is trying to claim.

One thing you need to be aware of is the 128GB size limitation. Your iMacs IDE controller can not address more than 128GB of a given disk.

Also overheating issue is probably not an issue? Eg if you go though OWC's MyOWC upgrade guide for any of the G3 iMacs even the oldest, they are recommending a 120GB 7200RPM drive as a replacement. The best way to be sure would be to figure out the power requirement specs for that original drive and see how they match up, and use that to pick a new one.

Also there is some discussion on newer 7200 RPM drives producing less heat than the early on 7200RPM drives 7200 rpm Drive Doesn't Overheat My G3 iMac

Three or four years ago I installed a 7200 RPM hard drive in a 500 MHz G3 iMac (Summer 2000). I lent it to a friend, who ran it round the clock for weeks on end. Never had heat issues. It runs Tiger well enough for basic Internet, email, word processing, and old versions of iTunes and iPhoto. A fast hard drive and 1 GB of RAM really did a lot for it. The drive is an 80 GB Samsung. It is out of production, but Western Digital still makes 3.5" ATA-100 hard drives. Any modern one-platter hard drive will probably run cooler than the iMac's original hard drive.

I put a 120 GB 7200 rpm Seagate hard drive in my 600 MHz iMac and ran it 24 hours a day for years with no overheating. One time I left home for two weeks during September in Texas with the air conditioning off the entire time while I was away. There was a hot spell while I was gone. When I got home the house, was 95 degrees. I'm sure it got hotter than that while I was gone. The little iMac ran perfectly the entire time.

Today's 7200 rpm hard drives have better bearings, use less energy, make less noise, last longer, and make less heat that the old, slow hard drives that came with the G3 iMac. I say put a 7200 rpm hard drive in it and don't worry about it. Expect to see a small performance increase as a result.

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Yes, since iMac G3s rely on passive cooling, a 7200 RPM drive can easily overheat in one. Go for the 5400 RPM drive.

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  • You got any support for that claim ? Also any clue about wether or not the interfaces above are all compatible with G3 ? – latusaki Feb 28 '12 at 14:53
  • I have disassembled and reassembled hundreds if not thousands of them. I installed 7200 RPM drives in various iMac G3 models for customers (despite my warnings), and saw many of them months or weeks later when those drives failed. We eventually started refusing to do it. – Jay Thompson Feb 28 '12 at 17:02
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    Any of the above drives should work with that iMac. What might be a fun experiment is getting an IDE SSD (they do make them) and a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter and hacking that together. It would stay cool and put the 7200 RPM drive to shame. – Jay Thompson Feb 28 '12 at 17:07
  • Yes 2.5" IDE SSD does exist but they seem very cost prohibitive, tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/… $124 USD for 8GB... – MrDaniel Feb 28 '12 at 20:56
  • 32GB for $83 on Amazon: amazon.com/gp/product/B000T9QRKE/… – Jay Thompson Feb 29 '12 at 1:59

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