The Low End Mac Mailbag

Hard Drive Problems with Rev. 1 Blue & White, Can't Burn DVDs at 16x, .mac to MobileMe, and More

Dan Knight - 2008.06.18 - Tip Jar

Hard Drive Problems with a Rev. 1 Blue & White G3

From John Muir following up on Blue & White Frustration:

Hi Dan,

Quoting from your LEM page on the model:

"The Rev. 2 B&W G3 uses a different motherboard, has an additional drive bracket, incorporates a new IDE controller chip (marked 402), and includes a faster version of the ATI Rage 128 video card. 350 MHz and 400 MHz models may have either motherboard; 450 MHz versions always have the Rev. 2 board from the factory. The new IDE controller improves slave drive support and solves a drive corruption problem. I've heard that the Rev. 1 board isn't stable with modern hard drives on the built-in IDE bus, and this especially rears its head under Mac OS X. Yet another reason to go Rev. 2 . . . Although this model doesn't support drives larger than 128 GB on its main 33 MHz drive bus, the 16.7 MHz bus used for the optical drive supports multiword DMA 2 and can support larger hard drive."

That seems to agree with my flaky IDE experience. I definitely have the earlier motherboard (as identified by the IDE controller chip marking) and the earlier case with less drive racks. Although the page doesn't say anything about it - I tried the old "use a drive smaller than 8 GB" trick in case OS X needed to be fully contained in that space. The machine's original 6 GB drive alas had the same issues with installing Tiger as my 120 GB.

Running System Profiler when booted from my Tiger DVD, I discovered that various drives would actually be corruptly named. Not a good sign! The bad drives also seemed to change places between each other when I'd shut down, juggle them around between the two IDE channels, and reboot from the DVD. That's very strange behaviour and makes me doubt the IDE controller full stop.

Interesting idea about possible overclocking being to blame. System Profiler reports a bus speed of 100 MHz and G3 clock speed of 400 MHz. Aren't those spot on, provided it is the original 400 MHz IDE configured machine? It came with a DVD drive and Zip drive in the top, and one 6 GB IDE hard drive in the third bracket, just as stated in the PDF manual I downloaded from Apple before poking around inside.

It would be a shame if I can't get to the bottom of this. (Potential IDE controller card included.) As I must admit the fold open case is brilliant!


And a bit later, he emailed: "Looking at your link: I recognise that jumper block by the description. The label is still intact, so this is one non-hacked Mac."

Hi John,

First thing I'd do is disconnect the Zip drive - I've found the built-in Zip drives to be the culprit more often than not when dealing with flakiness. Also simplify things by only having a single hard drive on the 33 MHz IDE bus while troubleshooting, as it eliminates interaction problems.

Flaky RAM can be another culprit. Try removing all modules and running the machine with just one at a time in the Classic Mac OS to help weed out problems - and keep in mind that Mac OS X is more critical of RAM specs than the Classic Mac OS.

Keep us posted!


Hi Dan,

Just been looking around for the PCI options. A mixed tale, it seems.

The most promising cards I've been able to locate for sale are these Sonnet: Tempo hard drive ATA/133 and Tempo Serial ATA.

Alas, only the SATA card is bootable, which is essential for me. I do have a couple of "spare" SATA drives the G3 could house for me (once their data is juggled), but the price of that card in the UK is . . . £51.70. More than a hundred dollars. I hesitate.

The other card has a trick up its sleeve. It's a standard IDE card but has a clip for a 2.5" laptop drive so you can pop one straight in too. Nifty, but without boot potential, pretty much useless in my case.



Thanks for sharing that info. The folks at Sonnet have come up with some wonderful Mac upgrades over the years: the Presto Plus, which adds ethernet and a 68040 CPU and 32 MB of RAM to the Color Classic and some other vintage Macs; the Crescendo/7200 G3, the only G3 upgrade for the Power Mac 7200 (and now a steal at US$40); the HARMONi G3 card, which gives tray-loading iMacs 600 MHz performance and a FireWire port; a 466 MHz G3 upgrade for the PowerBook 1400; and a wide range of PCI, PCI-X, and PCIe cards for adding fast IDE support to pre-IDE Power Macs and faster IDE to G3 and later models as well as Serial ATA, FireWire, USB 2.0, etc.

I've been using Sonnet products since the early 1990s, starting with the 25 MHz 68040 Presto upgrade for the Mac IIci. They're a company worth watching, as they have strong Mac support, but I wasn't aware that they made an ATA card with room for a 2.5" notebook drive. It reminds me of the old Plus HardCard from the early days of DOS, which combined a hard drive controller with a hard drive on a single card. This is a clever way to repurpose a pulled notebook hard drive - a shame it isn't bootable.

You might want to investigate the Acard AEC-6280M PCI Ultra ATA-133 IDE Adapter for Mac, which OWC currently sells for US$70. I have no experience with this card, but I used the older Acard Ahard ATA/66 controller successfully in a beige G3. I can't access at present to verify that the current card is bootable, but the old Ahard was.


Hi Dan,

I have actually made some progress with the machine in the meantime. The Wikipedia has a surprisingly detailed write-up of the Rev. 1 motherboard's IDE issues.

Limiting hard drives to just its 6 GB original and keeping dual sided DIMM's out of the equation, Tiger installed without any issues. Keeping things simple seems to be the way to go when working with it. I removed the Zip drive from the equation early on, as I have no Zip disks anyway. Tiger has been behaving well and is fully updated, including my old Classic system (which came alongside Jaguar on my PowerBook) which I brought over to use WordPerfect and rescue some ancient documents.

To make this Mac truly useful to me, though, I broke with habit and ordered up a pair of bootable controller cards from eBay. One is dual IDE, which will bring my old hard drives back into the equation, and I've already slotted in a spare old 16x SuperDrive for the original "5x" labelled DVD-ROM. The other card is Serial-ATA and will help me from having to swap around drives as much in my solitary USB caddy.

I've heard that PCI disk controller cards are the way to go and should let this old machine breathe again. What I really want to use it for is burning much of the data I've lazily hoarded onto poorly backed up spare hard drives, and if it can house a few of those and the burner and keep the data flowing then I'm all set.

I'll report the results when the cards arrive.

Many thanks for your help as always,


Thanks for sharing your success. The Wikipedia can be a great source of information, and I found the following especially enlightening: "Stable operation can be achieved if the drive can be limited to Multi-Word DMA Mode 2 (disabling UDMA), although this has the side effect of limiting throughput to 16 MB/sec." The article also notes that the second ATA channel (Ultra ATA/66 for the optical drive) doesn't support hard drive booting, something else I didn't know. Also that "Mac OS X avoids the UDMA issue by disabling UDMA on all affected G3 motherboards."

I've made several updates to our B&W G3 profile. Thanks again for all the information.


Two Drives May Cure Blue & White Frustration

From Ben Szymanski:


After reading your response to a confused and frustrated Blue & White owner in your LEM Mailbag [2008.06.12], I may be able to help.

Last spring, I saved a Blue & White from going to the dump for a whole $20. It was stripped of both RAM and a hard drive and just a general mess. Luckily a friend's old Windows computer had recently broken down, so I salvaged the hard drive and RAM and popped it into my Blue & White.

I then tried to install Mac OS 8.6, 9.2, and 10.2, all of which failed.

I was pissed, to say the least. It hadn't really cost me anything, outside $20, a few drops of blood and sweat, not to mention several hours of restoring and cleaning the case [it was spray painted!].

I did some research and found out about the bad ATA adapter, and that just ticked me off even more.

Then I decided instead of getting angry about it, why shouldn't I just tinker with it a bit.

I tried many combinations of internal I/O connections and disconnections. Nothing worked.

Then, as a last try, I found a IDE/ATA cable with three connectors on it. I connected an old CD drive along with the hard drive, and it would boot and let me install all the versions of Mac OS listed above.

So the solution I found was to connect two devices to the IDE/ATA chain in Master/Slave mode. It might not work for everyone, but it's worth a try. Since then, my Blue & White's been behaving fine and booting rock-solid from the hard drive.

I am actually trying to get it to boot off of Compact Flash, but have been having problems because of that ATA controller. I'll be sure to write in when I finish the project in whole.

I did eventually find another old hard drive, by the way, so there isn't a CD drive sitting inside the case.



Who woulda thunk it? My advice is usually to cut back to one device per ATA bus when troubleshootiing - but in your case, the solution was adding a second device.

I've forwarded your email to John Muir in hopes it may help him out.



From John Muir:


The Serial ATA card I have on its way is indeed a Sonnet. That should really let the system sing.

I was luckier than Ben with the condition of this B&W G3. Besides a few scuffs on the Apple logo outside the fold out case-side, and naturally many years of dust I sweeped out, it's all in good order. My only troubles have come from the bad IDE controller, which was a total surprise to me, as I've never encountered such a flaky one before. Keeping things as simple as possible though (using the original tiny hard drive on the right bus and with the right memory installed) has got it up and running for now.

As this G3 stands, it's not actually useful to me. Its original hard drive is cramped as well as slow, and I doubt the secondary IDE channel the optical drive is hooked up to actually has the throughput for DVD burning. But with those PCI cards installed it should be another whole story. I'll bypass the onboard IDE entirely.

Once things are ship shape (fingers crossed), I'll put it through its paces and write up the results.



Thanks for the follow-up. It's been a real learning experience, especially the bit about Mac OS X disabling UDMA when it's running on a Rev. 1 B&W.


Rev. 1 Blue & White Is a Road Apple

From Adam:

Hi Dan,

With regards to John's B&W G3 frustration, I can fully empathise. I bought one dirt cheap on eBay, and it came with the dreaded Rev 1 motherboard. A PCI card is really the only way to go for reliable IDE performance; I think NewEgg stock them, but they aren't that cheap. RAM is also an issue, as he has found. The B&W won't recognise double-sided chips so you will loose half the memory if you use them. Single-sided DIMMs are pretty hard to track down nowadays, although they do come up on eBay (again, often not that cheap).

To be honest, the most cost effective way I found was to buy a G4 Sawtooth 'board and CPU on eBay and ditch the Rev 1 G3; with a bit of basic tinkering the G4 board will fit the case, although you will need a new backplate. The Sawtooth has none of the problems, can take up to 2 GB of RAM, and has a faster CPU plus an AGP slot. If you shop around this is actually a fair bit less expensive then getting the G3 up to reliable working order. I wouldn't want to use the G3 onboard IDE bus for a server, the data corruption and associated problems can be horrendous. I love the B&Ws, but the first iteration could definitely count as a road apple.

Hope this helps John.



That's a clever solution - and a quick check on eBay finds that you can buy a Sawtooth logic board for less than a Blue & White G3 logic board. But that doesn't include a G4 CPU. Total cost for the mobo, shipping, and a 400 MHz CPU (from Operator Headgap) is about $55 - or you can buy a whole 500 MHz Sawtooth with 512 MB of RAM, a 20 GB hard drive, and DVD-ROM for about twice that (from Mac of All Trades).

Looking at the used G4 market, I'd hesitate to invest much in fixing up a G3.


Why Can't I Burn a DVD at 16x?

From Guilherme Maranhao:


How are you?

I have a DVD burner (Pioneer 111D, IDE) inside my B&W G3 (400 MHz, rev 2, upgraded to G4/400 MHz) running Mac OS X 10.2.8 with 1 GB of RAM. Hard drive is a Barracuda 80 GB 7200 rpm. My burning software is Toast Titanium 5.1.3.

This burner is rated at 16x burning speeds for DVDs, but I was never able to burn higher than 4x simply because I don't have the option. My burning software is Toast Titanium 5.1.3. Where is my bottleneck? IDE bus? Toast? Jaguar?

Thanks in advance for your input!



There are several possible factors here: the drive bus, the nature of burning, the software used, and the media. If you're using 4x media, the software and hardware are design so at to not allow you to choose a higher burn speed.

A 1x DVD speed is roughly 1.35 MB/sec., so a 16x burn would require 21.6 MB/sec. throughput, something your Power Mac should easily handle on the 66 MB/sec. optical drive bus. Of course, that assumes that your hard drive can feed out the data fast enough, which ought to be the case with your Barracuda.

It's interesting to note that because CDs and DVDs have more data toward the outer edge than they do toward the center of the disc (using zone constant linear velocity), most optical drives nowadays are rated as "up to" a certain level of speed. Extensive testing of 16x DVD+R media in several brands of drives by shows that burn speed for 16x drives started at 7x and slowly worked its way toward 16x. The overall average burn speed for a whole disk came out at about 12x - not what you'd expect.

A tested 4x drive was 4x across the board, and an 8x drive started at 7x and worked its way up to 8x.

Of course, since that article was published in 2004, speeds have increased even further. We had 18x DVD burners, 20x burners, and now as high as 22x. tested several a 20x LiteOn drive last year and reports that it started at 8.04x and worked up to 19.85x for an overall average 13.6x burn speed. An LG 16x burner came close, ranging from 7.57x to 16.56x (exceeding its 16x claim!) for an average 11.92x burn speed - it took 13 seconds longer to burn a DVD than the 20x LiteOn.

Your Pioneer DVR-111 was among the 16x drives in that report, and I have to report that it came out at the bottom. It started burning at a decent 7.10x and rose to 16.56x, but it only averaged 9.55x. It took 1:44 longer to burn a DVD than the 20x drive. (For the record, the 18x Pioneer DVR-112 was the third-fastest drive in the roundup.)

In addition to the disc reporting its maximum burn speed and the drive burning at a variable speed, the final factor is disc quality and compatibility with your hardware. Just because a DVD-R or DVD+R disk is marked as 16x doesn't mean that you will be able to burn it at 16x in your 16x drive. I don't know how the burner and software decide how far to scale back burn speed, but that may be what's happening here.

Finally (I think I've covered all the bases here), I've seen reports that writing from a disk image to DVD may let you burn faster than burning normal files from your hard drive.

Lots of variables here!


Later in the day, I followed up with this:


Further research indicates that the other IDE bus in the B&W G3 is a 16.7 MB/sec. ATA-3 bus, not a 66 MB/sec. ATA-5 bus. The ATA-5 specification didn't even exist until 2000.

And that means that you can't feed data to the DVD burner fast enough to burn at 16x, although it should be capable of burning at 8x.


From .mac to MobileMe

From Anthony Burger:

Dear Dan,

With the change over from .mac to MobileMe, Apple has also changed the system requirements. I've been a subscriber to .mac since late 2004, and currently I'm still using Mac OS X 10.3 'Panther'. What Apple has me wondering is if I'll still be able to send and receive email through Panther's Mail application?

My current Macs are a Power Mac G4 400 MHz Gigabit Ethernet, and a Power Mac G4 466 MHz Digital Audio. Panther does everything that I need in an OS, and I have a emotional attachment to it. Also I don't see any point in upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, which is just a temporary solution to a permeant problem. By permeant problem I refer to Apple's not so gentle "encouragement" to purchase new hardware or software. I am leaning towards buying a Mac mini once they are sold with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Hopefully MobileMe won't cause me to choose not to renew my .mac account. However if I can't send or receive email in Panther, that is just what I will do. Thank you for Low End Mac, and for it being a place where we can find help, and a community of like minded souls.

Thank you,


Thanks for writing. I can't imagine that you won't be able to access your email, as IMAP is a well defined standard that isn't dependent on a particular operating system. Mail has supported it for years, so it should just work.

Apple also states that you can access MobileMe using Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7 (Windows only), and Firefox 2 or later. Fortunately for you, Firefox 3 runs on Mac OS X 10.2 and later, so you should be able to connect without upgrading to Tiger.

However, there is a catch - some MobileMe features require Leopard, and some may be compatible with Tiger but not Panther. You might want to double-check with Apple, but email ought to work.


802.11g and G4 for a Slot-Loading iMac

From Gregg Eshelman:

Will any of the 3rd party 802.11g WiFi cards for PowerBooks work with the AirPort adapter cards for the CRT iMacs?

What CPU upgrades were available for these iMacs?

I just picked up a 400 MHz iMac DV (with CD-ROM instead of DVD-ROM) for $5 and am looking for cheap upgrades. Google, Yahoo etc. are turning up little information on what people did with these Macs back when they were new.


You're not going to find any 802.11g or later cards that will work with the original AirPort adapter. However, there are several USB WiFi adapters with Mac support. The drawback there is that USB 1.1, which is found on all G3 iMacs, can't come anywhere close to supporting the maximum throughput of 802.11g. OWC currently sells the Asus/AddLogic adapter for US$30, and you can download the Mac drivers from the OWC website.

I only know of two CPU upgrades for the slot-loading iMacs. Both use a 550 MHz G4 with a 1 MB level 2 backside cache. The FastMac upgrade sells for US$200, and the XLR8 upgrade is just $1 less. Both upgrades require you to send your logic board in for the upgrade.

The big question: Do you want to spend $200 on a G4 upgrade when you can buy a 15" 700 MHz iMac G4 with a Combo drive for as little as $300?


Can't Print to QMS PS 410 Printer from OS X

From Kim Thomas:

Hi. I have a question. I have a great little workhorse QMS PS 410 laser printer. I also have a MacBook running X.4.10. Is there a way to get these two to work together? When I upgraded to 9.0, I used iPrint quite successfully. Now, I can't find printer drivers to work with my system. Any hardware and software suggestions would be helpful. The 410 is so much superior to the Brother I'm using that I'm only marginally happy with.

Thank you so much for your help.

Kim Thomas


I'm stumped - and impressed that your 15-year-old printer is still hanging in there. I'll post this in the Mailbag in hopes someone will write in with a suggestion.

I have a Konica-Minolta Magicolor 2430DL, which is a descendant of your QMS, and it does a great job with color images - but I'm less than satisfied with the text output. I use a Brother b&w laser for most of my printing, but go to the Magicolor when I need color output.


Scrolling with a Pismo Trackpad

From Sherwin Gluck:

Hi Dan!

Thanks for Low End Mac. I find myself checking it out often, as I am unwilling to part with my Cube or my Pismo!

The article about "two finger scrolling for older 'Books" got me wanting the same thing for my Pismo. Well, I found this great shareware program called SideTrack that gives me one finger scrolling as well as programmable corners on the Pismo's trackpad. Of course, the Pismo can't compete with the newer PowerBooks and MacBooks in terms of speed, but now my trackpad can do some of the same neat tricks that theirs do!

The Pismo gets my vote for being the best laptop ever made . . . easy access for upgrades and repair, PCMCIA card slot, great keyboard, and 10 hour battery life when using two very easily replaced batteries. Now if they would just remake the Pismo with Intel inside!

Sherwin Gluck


Thanks for sharing your experience with SideTrack. I hardly ever use a notebook these days, so I haven't had a reason to try modern trackpad drivers. I'm happy to hear it's working so well for you.

As far as an Intel Pismo goes, that ship sailed in January 2001 when the PowerBook G4 replaced the Pismo. It introduced the widescreen display, the G4 processor, and a one-inch-thin design at the expense of the second PC Card slot and a bay that could hold either a second battery or a drive of some sort. Apple is as likely to introduce a notebook as versatile as that as they are to introduce a sub-$1,000 desktop Mac with expansion slots and drive bays.

It's a shame Apple isn't willing to let another manufacturer build OS X computers to fill niches Apple has no interest in.


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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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