I started this thread to serve as a warning to my fellow PowerBook G3 Wallstreet owners who may be contemplating an SSD. Reasons for adding an SSD are numerous, including elimination of noise and heat, power reduction, and greatly improved performance. Sadly, after spending dozens of hours debugging with OWC staff over the past 4 months, and after going through two RMAs, I cannot recommend the OWC Legacy SSDs for the PB G3 Wallstreet. I am posting this today because OWC refunded my money today, bring a close to my long and unsuccessful journey.
In Nov. 2011, I started the following topic about OWC Black Friday discounts and SSD pricing:viewtopic.php?f=21&t=17318
I eventually purchased the 40GB model, as I discussed in this thread:viewtopic.php?f=21&t=17322
I also purchased an external 2.5" USB/Firewire enclosure from OWC, anticipating my need to more easily move files to/from the SSD when I was setting it up. Furthermore, I purchased the newest version 3.6 of Intech Hard Disk SpeedTools from OWC, so as to format the drive to get the best performance. We verified the performance benefits of HD Speed Tools in this thread:viewtopic.php?p=162755#p162755
Sadly, I never could get the OWC Legacy 40GB SSD to work properly in the PB Wallstreet, nor would it work properly in the external enclosure, neither by USB or Firewire, even when I attached it to my Intel iMac. The first and second SSDs I received from OWC worked better with my iMac in the external enclosure than they did inside my Wallstreet, but even then the READs/WRITEs were unreliable and eventually (usually within a day of testing) the drives stopped working altogether.
The third 40GB Legacy SSD I received from OWC (my 2nd RMA drive) did work pretty well. That drive actually worked inside my Wallstreet PDQ computers (I have 2 of them), and I was able to format it with the OS 9.2.1 CD and Apple's Drive Setup. I was also able to install OS 9 from that CD and onto the SSD, which I was not able to do with the first two SSDs OWC sent to me. However, some software acted very strangely. The web browser that came with OS 9 (MSIE 5) worked fine, but Classilla took forever to boot off the SSD and often locked up for 60 seconds at a time when I performed even the most simple operations -- things that never occur on a spinning platter hard drive when used in that same Wallstreet. But even Finder copies were troublesome. If I dragged a folder with a few files of just a few MB in size each over from the OS 9 CD (or another attached hard drive) to the SSD, the first couple files would copy over very quickly, but then the progress dialog would freeze for 30 seconds or longer. Sometimes the copy would complete after a very long time, and other times it keep me waiting for 15 minutes, so I would be forced to restart. Other software would work perfectly. Boot times were fast and reliable, and all the educational software I moved to the SSD for my kids booted right away. But the occasional mystery lockup would occur, and OWC was not able to explain it.
I was upset by the fact I could not format the drive with HD Speed Tools 3.6, nor could those tools "take over" the SSD, despite the fact I could reformat a normal spinning platter drive inside my Wallstreet with HD SpeedTools just fine. I reported this to OWC on multiple occasions, but they never commented about that.
I made numerous HD videos for OWC to show them clearly what I was going through. I am no novice to computing, so I quite nearly overloaded them with details, showing them I was not doing anything wrong. They never did tell me what was wrong with the first two SSDs I got from them, nor were they willing to try a firmware update to get my 2nd and final RMA drive to work in the Wallstreet.
I do not say this to bash OWC. I merely state the facts. OWC Bradley was very helpful through the process, and I appreciate that. But going through the RMA process at OWC takes months, folks. Because I live in Japan, shipping took a long time. Getting a replacement drive from them took no less than 3 weeks to get to me, despite the fact I was required to return my defect drives to them by a deadline. I used EMS at my expense because FedEx (which OWC agreed to pay for) was troublesome for me. (EMS takes about 3 days to get from Japan to the states, and cost about 1/3 of FedEx too.) So the reason this took 4 months to resolve was because of the time required to test, make videos, spend lots of time waiting for discussions on OWC "chat", ship defectives to OWC, then wait weeks to get replacements sent to me, then repeat all previous testing, both inside the Wallstreet and inside the external drive enclosure I purchased. I've always considered myself a man of patience, but this process really put that to a test, let me tell you!
In the end, OWC was unable (and due to the age of the Wallstreets, no doubt, "unwilling") to try a firmware mod to resolve the problem. I verified the problem in two different PB Wallstreet PDQ computers. And that coupled with the fact I have zero issues when using normal 2.5" spinning platter hard drives inside those same Wallstreets proves that my computers were not a problem.
As of today, April 4, 2012, OWC still lists their "Legacy" SSDs as being "For All Laptops that use a 2.5" IDE/ATA Drive." But as my testing has shown that is not true insofar as they do not work with the PB G3 Wallstreet PDQ series (and most likely not the original Wallstreet series either). Furthermore, if you look at the bottom of the individual Legacy SSD web pages, you will see photos of each of the notebook models that OWC says is compatible. As of today, you can still find the Wallstreet series listed, including the PDQ. Again, I must emphasize that this is simply not true as far as the Wallstreet PDQ is concerned. So buyer beware.
I asked OWC several times if they actually did testing in a Wallstreet. Bradley told me indirectly they did, but he never told me directly. He just said that they would never say it was compatible had they not tested it. Perhaps that is what he was told, but my testing proves otherwise. I also spoke to one of the OWC engineers, and he never told me directly if they tested in a Wallstreet. Wallstreets are ancient computers now in 2012, so it makes logical sense that they did not. Had they tested their Legacy drives extensively in the Wallstreet, they no doubt would have found the same problems I found, and then either resolved those problems through a firmware tweak or simply removed the Wallstreet from their compatibility chart. On my 2nd RMA, OWC once again alluded to the fact they tested the RMA drive in a Wallstreet prior to shipping it to me ("alluded" means they did not tell me that flat out nor did they provide me with specifics of that testing). But again, even that drive did not work, and I told OWC that if they did test the SSD in a Wallstreet prior to shipping to me, they certainly did not test it beyond installing OS 9. Because like I said, I could install OS 9 from the CD to the SSD inside the Wallstreet, but then when I booted off the SSD and did even basic things like Finder copies, the problems were very apparent. But again, I think they didn't want to spend a lot of time testing on a Wallstreet (if they did test on one) simply because in their minds, I was probably the lone individual out there still using a Wallstreet. Spending too much time testing would be a waste of time. I am speculating here, of course. But the fact the 2nd RMA drive did not work gives evidence to the fact my speculations may be accurate.All said, if you own a PB Wallstreet, do not put an OWC Legacy SSD in it.
It will not work as expected. And you will lose a lot of money and time during the RMA process. I've been a happy customer of OWC for many, many years, so I do not write this out of some spiteful attack on the company. I don't do things like that, especially when I've been a very satisfied OWC customer until now. I simply wish to report the facts so that future SSD buyers and Wallstreet owners can make an informed purchasing decision. Whether other branded IDE SSDs (if they exist) would work in the Wallstreet is of course something I do not know since I've not tried those. But I will admit to you that I am very skeptical now. I will probably buy things (especially RAM) from OWC again in the future. But as of now, I don't think I would buy an SSD. Perhaps it could be said that their SSDs work better on modern Macs, but the past 4 months discourage me from wanting to test that theory. I hope some of you find this information helpful.