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FAQ: PISMO HD Compatibility Matrix

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Q What internal hard disk would you suggest for the PowerBook (FireWire)?

A Unlike previous PowerBook G3 Series, the hard disk in the PowerBook (FireWire) model uses an ATA-66 interface. Since the Keylargo I/O controller is different from the Heathrow and its successor, the Paddington controllers used in the PowerBook G3 Series, there could be slight differences regarding compatibility with hard disks. So a new compatibility matrix project has been launched, which will accumulate user reports to provide assistance in choosing the right hard disk. Please use the form at the bottom to share your experience.

Related Articles

PowerBook G3 Series and iBook Hard Disk Compatibility Matrix

The original Matrix covers the PowerBook G3 Series (1998, 1999), XCaret Pro and iBook. Includes links to some benchmark results.

FAQ: Some MK1214GAP drives cannot be used as startup disks. (NOTE: in Japanese)

This is an article regarding the Toshiba 12GB hard disk which features a 1MB cache. There are some rare reports that this disk could not be used to boot PowerBook G3 Series (1998, 1999) models due to its inability to be set to master mode. It is advised to read this article if you plan to choose this hard disk (and can read Japanese).

Improving the user experience of the hard disk -- adjusting ABLE with ATA Test (NOTE: in Japanese)

The Toshiba MK series are reported to have a sluggishness when spinning up compared to IBM drives. This is due to the power saving features of the drive. The user experience can be improved by adjusting the Power Management system of the disk itself via the freeware APM Tuner (formerly ATA Test). This matrix also provides information whether APM Tuner was effective for each disk.

Low Risk
Medium Risk
Relatively High Risk
High Risk
Will NOT Work
Risk Classification Legend

PowerBook (FireWire)
XcarEt pro 99
Effectiveness of APM Tuner

IBM Travelstar 32GH

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

IBM Travelstar 30GT


(30G, 12.5mm)


(30G, 12.5mm)

Works: Modest to no improvement. *20

IBM Travelstar 20GN


(20G, 9.5mm)

No Reports Yet
Works: Modest improvement

IBM Travelstar 18GT

DARA-218000 (18.1G§12.5mm)*1

DARA-218000 (18.1G§12.5mm)*7

Works: Improvement!

IBM Travelstar 12GN

DARA-212000 (12G, 9.5mm)*2

DARA-212000 (12G, 9.5mm)*9

Works: Improvement! *21

Toshiba MK2016MAP


(20G, 9.5mm)

1MB cache

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

Toshiba MK1814GAV



1MB cache

MK1814GAV (18G,12.5mm)*11

1MB cache

Works: Huge improvement! *12

Toshiba MK1214GAP

MK1214GAP (12G, 9.5mm)*4

1MB cache

MK1214GAP (12G, 9.5mm)*14

1MB cache

Works: Huge improvement! *16

Toshiba MK9014MAP

MK6014GAP (9G, 9.5mm)*19

1MB cache

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

Toshiba MK6014MAP

MK6014GAP (6G, 9.5mm)*6

1MB cache

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

Fujitsu MHJ2181AT

MHJ2181AT (18G,12.5mm)*13

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

Fujitsu MHK2120AT

MHK2120AT (12G, 9.5m)*8

MHK2120AT (12G, 9.5m)*17

Will NOT work


No Reports Yet

(18.14G, 12.7mm)

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet


No Reports Yet

(12.07G, 9.5mm)

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet


No Reports Yet

(9.04G, 9.5mm)

No Reports Yet
No Reports Yet

*1 Mr. Osawa (PowerBook 500/14) and 2 others (PowerBook 400/14) report AOK.

Mr. Mulberry reported initial instability, but 0-formatting solved the problem. Mr. mon reports he likes the drive for its quietness and smoothness.

30/Apr 2000 In a PowerBook 400/14, there are occasional large sounds which cannot be eliminated with APM Tuner.

*2 Mr. sugiyamaKaz6120!, Mr. Seki report that this was the OE drive in their PowerBook 500/14.

An unsatisfied user reports it benchmarked more than 10% slower than the OE Toshiba 6GB drive (no model number given) and was loud.

30/Apr 2000Mr. m-ogura had a NCR shop install this in a PowerBook 400/14. After a month, says everthing is AOK and he feels the operations have become faster, especially the boot up sequence.

Mr. Fukushachou and Mr. Minami report AOK in a PowerBook 400/14.

*3 Mr. iode reports that the head retraction noise is noticeable and the spinning and seeking sound is comparable to the original IBM DARA-206000. The perceived speed of operation has noticeably increased.

Mr. sugiyama and Mr. Kawanishi report AOK in a PowerBook 500/14.

Mr. Oda agrees with Mr. Yano's comment about the noisy head retractation.

Reporter Nanko from the famous Mac Treasure Tracing Club reports AOK in a PowerBook (FireWire) 400/14. There is a metallic spinning sound, but the speed is up to the level of 3.5" 5400 rpm class drives. Some Toshiba insiders reveal that only the MK-1814GAV has an improved, next generation caching alogrithm compared to the hard disks that debuted around the same time.

Mr. Yamanoi is a satisfied customer, reporting it is quiet and fast in a PowerBook (FireWire)400/14.

Mr. Kaneso reports an evident improvement in the Finder when opening folders with a very large number of Photoshop files and an improvement in benchmark figures.

Mr. hide, Mr. summerNEW, Mr. Ooshima and 2 more report AOK in a PowerBook (FireWire)400/14.

5/May 2000Mr. watanabe reports that in a PowerBook 400/14, the disk worked initially but was not recognized as a startup disk by the next day. Formatting did not help the inability to boot (read/write was OK), and ended up having it replaced.

*4 Mr. Kobayashi in the U.S. reports this was the OE disk.

Also, Mr. Miyatani reports that there was a significant improvement in write noise and speed when compared to the OE Fujitsu disk. He also reports a possible slight increase in the spinning noise and what seems to be the seeking noise when idle.

Mr. RYUU and Mr. Yoshida report AOK with a PowerBook (FW) 400/14.

*6 Mr. Amano reports this was the OE disk for his PowerBook (FireWire) 400/14, and is much faster and quiter than his previous PowerBook G3 Series 1999 model and its IBM hard disk.

*7 Mr. achan reports AOK (including hot swapping) in a PowerBook (FireWire) 500/14.

*8 Mr. Matsuura, Mr. Yaneya, Mr. Dewa, Mr. Tarow report this was the OE disk on their PowerBook (FireWire)500/14. Mr. Tarow comments it is very fast.

*9 Mr. Osawa uses it in an XcarEt Pro 99 and reports AOK (including hot swapping).

A report from overseas notes a lag in spinning up: Noisier than my old pb1400 drive (dunno what that was), but not by much. And seems a little slow to spin up/seek (~3 secs), but that may be normal for larger drives. So far, functions fine.

Mr. Seki reports if he specified Virtual Memory on a DARA-212000 in an XcarEt Pro 99, he was not able to put the unit to sleep. However, since it should be rare that VM would be used on a Media Bay device, which has a slower interface than the internal hard disk is rare, so this should be no problem.

Mr. sugiyama reports it has practical speed to be used as a startup disk.

*11 Mr. Kaneso reports AOK (including hot swapping) in an XcarEt Pro 99.

*12 APM Tuner seems to improve the negative impressions associated with the MK1814.

Mr. Ootaka reports that the MK1814 spins quiter than an IBM, but thought the cranking noise when the head retracts was loud and noticeable when playing back MP3 files.

Mr. mon reports the drive is pleasant, but has a slight sluggishness, which he can ignore. 16/May 2000 The same Mr. mon reports that APM Tuner completely eliminated the sluggishness and drastically improved the response of the disk.

*13 Mr. Ito reports this was the disk on his BTO model (18GB) ordered from the AppleStore.

*14 Mr. Hiro reports that the MK1214GAP works in a Pismo500Å{Xcaret pro 99. However, when the XcarEt Pro is used as the startup disk and MP3 files on the drive are played back using MacMP3, there is some choppiness to the playback. The MP3 files on the internal DARA-212000 do not suffer from choppy playback. And the same MP3 files do not suffer from choppy playback when played back in SoundJam, but Visual Plug-ins can be choppy. These problems should be solved by the latest APM Tuner which now handles Media Bay drives such as the XcarEt pro 99.

*15 28/Jun 2000 With a 2MB cache, this is a very comfortable disk. Details in Japanese can be found in the About the Travelstar 30GT report.

18/Jul 2000 Mr. Ando reports AOK in a PowerBook FireWire 400/14. APM Tuner made no significant improvement.

21/Jul 2000 Mr. Nishio reports AOK and faster operations in a PowerBook FireWire 400/14.

NEW23/Jul 2000 Mr. Suzuki reports AOK in a PowerBook FW 400/14 and that it also works in the CitiDisk 2000 enclosure in all of the possible PCMCIA/CardBus/FireWire modes.

*16 3/May 2000 Mr. Icchin reports it was the OE disk and that APM Tuner solved the choppy DVD playback problems.

8/May 2000 Mr. JayéÅ reports that APM Tuner improved the sluggishness in a PowerBook 400/14, and that it is faster than a DARA206000.

5/Jul 2000 Mr. Sio2 reports faster operations and that APM Tuner improved the sluggishness in Finder menus and scrolling.

*17 16/May 2000 Mr. mon reports AOK including hot swapping. He has also confirmed that APM Tuner does NOT work on this disk.

*18 29/Jun 2000 AOK in a PowerBook (FW) 500/14.

8/Jul 2000 Mr. yoshi reports it was noticeably faster than the OE Toshiba MK6014MAP disk on his PowerBook (FW) 500/14. The spinning is quiet but the access is noisier, but acceptable considering the speed improvement. APM Tuner can control the disk but there was little improvement.

19/Jul 2000 Mr. hiro (PowerBook FireWire 500/14) reports that he initialized it with Drive Setup J1-1.9.2 and it has been working fine for a week. The access noise is loud but the spinning noise is quiet. Overall he thinks it is one of the quieter IBM disks. The perceived operation speed is noticeable faster than the IBM DARA-212000. The head returns quite fast so he did not feel the need to use APM Tuner. If the capacity is adequate, the speed/cost performance ratio of this model is good.

*19 Mr. furusato reports this was the OE disk.

*20 18/Jul 2000 Mr. Ando reports AOK as the internal or in the Media Bay in the XcarEt Pro 99 in a PowerBook FireWire 400/14. APM Tuner can control the disk but there was little improvement.

*21 19/Jul 2000 Mr. Minami reports AOK in a PowerBook FireWire 400/14 and that APM Tuner improved the user experience.

Please report which disk worked in your PowerBook (FireWire)!
E-mail address
Name (Optional)
OS version

Hard Disk Model Name


Works as Startup Disk?
Can swap batteries during sleep?
Yes, if done quickly.
No, can't wake from sleep.

Can wake from sleep?
Can hot swap in XcarEt Pro?
Must sleep to recognize
Must restart to recognize

Does APM Tuner work?
Can control
Cannot control
Was APM Tuner effective?
No change
Got worse
You can use your handle name in the optional name field if you so prefer. I will not disclose any e-mail addresses.

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Medical macintosh (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004

Written/Edited by Y.Yamamoto M.D.

All rights reserved where contents are not already the property of other parties; they may not be copied in whole or in part,through electronic or other means, without the author's permission, or risk prosecution under Lows.

The Association of Apple Computer User Groups is not associated with nor a part of Apple Computer, Inc. the manufacturer of Apple Computers based in Cupertino California. PowerBook Army and medical machintosh are an independant, non-competing educational organization promoting and providing membership services to computer clubs (User Groups),


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