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Installing an IDE RAID Setup in Your B&W G3 or G4 System
By Mike B.
Published: 2/14/2000

Performance Tests | Hardware Installation | Softraid Install

The photos below illustrate the steps required to install two IDE hard drives in an Apple B&W G3 or G4 system (since the case designs are identical). The photos don't show the simple step of installing the IDE PCI card, which is very simple and is describled below in text. Note - you can use the two drives for non-RAID setups also.

The procedure would be similar for the 9600 (or 8600) systems, as they have a removable brown plastic baseplate in the floor of the case. See my 8600 4-Drive Internal RAID article for more information. (the stock baseplate can mount two drives side by side -but in the 9600 you'll lose access to at least one lower PCI slot.)

Why Do I Need an IDE PCI Card For IDE RAID?
Since all Mac RAID Software was designed to work with SCSI drives, IDE drives connected to the Apple motherboard IDE controller will not be listed in the software's scan of SCSI devices to setup the RAID array. As noted in my first review of a PCI IDE Controller (Turbomax) on the Mac -  PCI IDE controllers appear as SCSI devices to the Mac and so do their connected drives. This means the IDE drives connected to a PCI IDE controller will be 'seen' as SCSI by the RAID software. (See the Softraid install page for more information on installing the driver/configuring the array).

About IDE Drive Jumper Settings:
Since the dual drive IDE RAID has each drive on a separate cable, there's no need to change the default Master drive jumper setting of most IDE drives. (Most IDE drives come already set for Master or single drive setting - but verify the settings before installing the drives .)
Note Western Digital drives need single drive settings (no jumpers usually) - if a WD drive is set to "master" with no 2nd (slave) drive on the cable, you'll usually see a flashing "?" at boot (for at least several minutes, it then seems to find the drive/system folder and boot - this problem does not happen if set to single drive setting). If in doubt on a WD drive, check their jumper settings page at

Tools Required:

  • Phillips Screwdriver (+)
  • Anti-Static Wrist Strap (recommended)

Hardware & Software Required:

  • Two IDE Hard Drives (ATA/66 or better, 7200 RPM drives preferred)
  • Two IDE cables (retail boxed hard drives usually come with a cable, otherwise you'll need to buy these separately.) If you're using an ATA/66 card and drives, I highly recommend using ATA/66 cables (80 conductor). Many computer stores carry these cables or you can purchase them from sources like (Standard 18" versions now run about $6.50 each.)
  • Mac Compatible PCI IDE Controller (Turbomax, VST, Acard, Sonnet or SIIG Mac model)
    (as of 2002, up to ATA/133 speed interface Mac cards are available)
  • 8 Screws (4 each to secure hard drives)
  • Mac RAID Software (I used Softraid 2.2.1)
      *Note* if you have an IDE RAID card (w/switches to set RAID) you do not need any RAID software. OS X 10.1 and later also have builtin RAID support in Disk Utility.)
  • Power Supply "Y" Cable
    (needed if you don't have two spare power supply connectors)

Install the PCI IDE Controller:
Locate a free PCI slot and remove the slot cover retaining screw and cover. Install the PCI IDE controller, fully seat it in the PCI slot and secure it in place using the screw from the slot cover. There are no extensions software needed for any PCI IDE cards for the Mac. (But the card *must* have Mac firmware, PC IDE cards will not work.) We'll connect the IDE cables later in this article.

Installing the 2 IDE Hard Drives:
The photos below cover installing the two IDE hard drives that will be used for the RAID array. (Make sure the drives are set to "Master" (or "Single drive" if a Western Digital drive) and each drive should be on a separate cable, since IDE can't write to two drives simultaneously on the same cable/channel.)

Internal View Before Installation

The two empty drive bays on the left will be used for new drives. The photo shows a PCI SCSI card that I later removed. I installed the PCI IDE card in the 2nd slot, just to allow more room for cable clearance. Any slot would have worked.

Removing HD Mtg Plate Screw

The B&W G3 (post-rev1 models) and G4 systems have individually removable hard drive mounting brackets that are secured by a single screw in the front/center position as shown in the photo above.

Lift Out HD Mtg Tray

Once the screw is removed, lift the mounting plate up and out of the case. (The plate has two tabs on the bottom that fit in recesses in the case floor that serve as guides.)

Mtg HD On Plate

The hard drive mounts to the plate via 4 screw holes that match the threaded holes in the bottom of the hard drive.

Securing Drive 1 in System

Slide the hard drive/bracket's two guide tabs (at the rear of the mtg plate) into the case's baseplate cutouts and secure it with the screw removed previously.

Secure drive 2

The same procedure is repeated for the 2nd drive.

Connecting Cables:
The final step is to connect the IDE cables and power supply connections to the drives. If using ATA/66 or better cables, make sure the blue connector is attached to the PCI controller card. Connecting the IDE cable to the drive nearest the front of the case (farthest left in the photo) is a bit more difficult due to the cramped area.

If you don't have two spare (available) power supply connectors, use a 'Y' adapter cable available at most computer stores or Radio Shack (less than $5 usually, often $2.50 or less at computer shows). I had to use a Y adapter, since I'd already added a 2nd IDE drive over the stock boot disk on the vertically stacked bracket as shown in the photos.

Completed RAID Setup

The next page covers creating the RAID volume using SoftRaid
(Not required if you're using a RAID IDE card with hardware RAID switches.)

(Note: OS X 10.1 and later have built-in RAID support.)

Performance Tests | Hardware Installation | Softraid Install


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