Classic Mac Hardware (Troubleshooting, Upgrading, & Modifying) > Storage Technologies

The Definitive EVB-002 Guide to Adding Large Hard Drives/SSDs (Power Mac G4 DA)

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FBz and I have expanded our knowledge and broken known boundaries in the 1st quarter of 2022 with respect to installing large storage drives into various Power Mac G3/G4 models.  We will be explaining and showing real world results realted to upgrading internal storage with large IDE/PATA drives, large mechanical SATA drives, and of course, SATA SSD drives.  This topic/guide will ignore SCSI technologies and SATA add-in cards, since we will be focusing on the absolute cheapest way to go for our members on a low budget.

This low-cost approach to adding storage will target using internal IDE/PATA controller(s) with the $5 EVB-002-3 IDE to SATA adapter known affectionately here on the forum as the “bribge” IDE to SATA adapter. Also, we will included some new undocumented knowledge for G4s that can natively address drives larger than 128GB (macs that have an IDE controller that is 48-bit LBA compliant)

Lastly, we be adding information that has been discovered via trial an error for successfully installing different drive combinations into many beloved macs.  No doubt, this info will be valuable to beginners and have some real surprises in store for our veteran users.

Power Mac G4 DA (Digital Audio) Internal IDE/PATA Controller

So, it became clear that it was time to get a Power Mac G4 DA (Digital Audio) Tower out of storage and run some tests in 2022...

Unfortunately, there is some misinformation on this awesome machine, so let's get it right.

From Low end Mac...

--- Quote ---Macs that don’t include big drive support include tray-loading iMacs, slot-loading iMacs, beige G3s, blue & white G3s, Yikes! G4s, Sawtooth (a.k.a. AGP) G4s, Digital Audio G4s...
--- End quote ---

So, the DA G4 was released about 6 months BEFORE the Quicksilver 733 G4 (rev 1 board) and yet we found some really cool new information that I will break down, but first, as previously explained from our site:

--- Quote ---If you intend to use hard drives larger than 128GB under OS 9, then be aware that you will need a Mac with an IDE controller that is 48-bit LBA compliant. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, it is the ability of the Mac to see the total number of heads, cylinders, and sectors of large hard drives... the Power Mac G4 QuickSilver 733, 800, Dual 800, 867, 933, and Dual 1 GHz with logic board 820-1276-A will NOT work and peak out at 128 GB.
--- End quote ---

Of course, the revision B Quicksilver Board (820-1342-B) can address drives over 128GB.

So it does not make sense that the DA (released BEFORE the QS rev A board) would be able to utilize drives over 128GB.  In fact, all documented info. states that the DA is NOT 48-bit LBA compliant... but the DA has a secret waiting for those to discover...

I have verified the the Power Mac G4 DA 533 (with a logic board model of 630T3523/630-3633) is 48-bit LBA compliant.

After installing a single 500GB Western Digital Blue Hard drive (WD5000AAKB), I created 4 Partitions and was able to boot to Mac OS 9 without issue and was able to utilize the entire 500GB of space in Mac OS 9.  We will now need this DA break-thru independently confirmed.

The Elusive EVB-002-3 / Bribge Adapter and a single SATA Drive

To lighten the mood, and add some humor, it is obvious the Chinese manufacturer misspelled the word "Bridge" and the actual printed circuit board reads... "Host Bribge"  The lowercase "b" is a lower case "d" reversed, but we don't care, we are happy to have this low cost option so many years later.

Our forum inventory has this adapter in great abundance and as a special for members, they’re available for $8.99 each (which includes postage within the continental United States)

It must be stressed that the easiest configuration with this adapter in a G4 DA tower is a single SATA drive (mechanical or SSD) and the adapter jumper set to "Master".

The single drive scenario may sound limiting, but a large SATA mechanical drive or SSD (500GB or 1 TB) is going to one killer G4 with Mac OS 9.

Create a partition of 190GB or less for the OS9 Boot volume and partition the rest how ever you want.

The Elusive EVB-002-3 / Bribge Adapter and a Dual Drive Setup

So, this is where things get a little strange, but we will lay out some rules to live by when installing the EVB-002-3 Adapter in a G4 DA Tower with more than one drive...

RULE 1: There has been NO successful combination found of (2) SSD drives with a EVB-00203 adapter working together on the same controller in the G4 DA Tower that works, so don't try it unless you have a lot of time on your hands

We have tried many combinations of different sizes and manufacturers of SSD drives, and many combinations of setting the drive jumper on the EVB adapter to Master or Slave (or even removed) and none yield a working system.  A working system is defined as one that can boot to OS 9 and where both SSD drives are visible/usable after booting. Every attempt has been marked by failure... the most common failure exhibits itself as "flashing folder with no system boot" or "flashing folder with system boot after a long timeout and only one drive being seen."

RULE 2: If you must use (2) drives, use (1) SATA SSD or mechanical drive with an EVB adapter and (1) mechanical IDE drive on the same controller in the G4 DA Tower

To achieve success the only documented combination to work is to use a Seagate hard drive jumpered as "Master with non-ATA compatible slave” and the EVB adapter jumpered as "Slave" (Jumper removed)

If your Seagate diagram looks different on your hard drive, don't panic. All Segate Baracuda drives tested so far (7200.x) have the setting "Master w/non-ATA compatible slave" even though the pictured jumper settings may not list this as an option.  Again, this sometimes undocumented setting is absolutely critical to get an SATA SSD drive and a mechanical IDE drive working together on the same IDE cable in a Power Mac G4 DA. This setting is achieved by jumping the (2) sets of pins (5,6,7,8) that are closest to the IDE Cable connector on the Seagate drive.

A useful physical setup, is to mount the Mechanical Seagate IDE Drive (set to "Master with non-ATA compatible slave”) to the tray and literally Velcro the SSD (connected to the EVB set to slave) on top of the Seagate drive.

List IDE/PATA mechanical Drives that could not be set to "Master with non-ATA compatible slave” and failed to work with the EVB set to slave:

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKB IDE ATA/100


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