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Opening Up a Mac

February 7, 2006

In the dawn of the new Mac-Intels, how do we extend the life of our PowerPC G4’s? Upgrade, of course. I’ve played with the guts of the desktop before, by adding a secondary hard drive and PCI cards for better video. But this time, I am entering a more ominous territory – replacing a drive. Browsing at MacWorld, I was approached by a salesperson. He was representing FastMac, a company that encourages do-it-yourself computing. I wanted to continue walking, but I froze. The words 16X internal Superdrive dual-layer DVD burner mesmerized me. My eyes glazed over, sparkling, with the thought of such beauty. The brand is the well-known Pioneer. And the price was a steal at $65. I thought to myself, I can do this. I can install it and make it work. But the catch is Apple does not officially support drives not bundled with their packages. At least, they would prefer that you buy a whole new computer, say, like the G5. So essentially, its like hacking. I would have to install a patch to make the Mac software recognize the DVD burner. Back at homebase, I open the computer, pull out the old original 2X DVD burner, install the new Superdrive, and download a patch. Not quite plug and play. And here goes the test – to burn DVD’s at lightning speed and at higher capacities. I am happy to announce, that it does indeed work. FastMac offers 1.4Ghz processor upgrades for about $250, but that would have involved messing with the motherboard. I am for plug-and-play, but not solder-wires-and-play.

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