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HELP!!! Hard Drive Crash!

Time:November 30
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Hi guys.
I really need your help. Two days ago I erased my HD and reinstalled OSX from the scratch. Yesterday I updated everything, OS + all applications. Then I cleaned up everything, repaired permissions, optimized the system etc. Then I put all my data back which I had backed up on my iPod. Everything went all right. Then I switched on music synchronization in iTunes 7 and left for a while. When I got back after about 30min, the screen was black and hard drive spinning and would not stop.
It wouldn't boot up from the HD, so I booted up from System CD, S.M.A.R.T. status was verified but it didn't find OS on my HD. I turned it off, back on, booted up from CD again and this time it did not find the Hard Drive at all! I cannot even reinstall OS because there is no HD!
Any idea before I pay $300 plus flat fee for repair?
Thank you very much for any help.
Take care.
David
Powerbook G4   Mac OS X (10.4.8)  
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Sorry to hear that your hard drive died.
You have a few choices. First, speed: You can put a 5400rpm drive in or a 7200rpm drive. 5400rpm is the current standard, and 7200rpm provides for snappier response from faster disk operations.
Size: 5400rpm drives go up to 160gb (Seagate) and 7200rpm drives max out at 100gb. Seagates come with a 5 year warranty versus 3 years for most other drives.
You can get see a good selection of choices at OWC at http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/2.5-Notebook/ . Look down the left side of the page at the IDE drives, not the SATA drives (which work in the new Intel-based computers).
If you're handy and the thought of digging into the innards of your PB doesn't frighten you, you can swap the drive out yourself. You can view what's involved at http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/ (choose your model then HD replacement).
If you don't want to do that yourself, if you buy a drive through Apple they'll install it, however, if you source the drive yourself (maybe with more capacity or faster or both, for example), if you take it to an Apple authorized repair center, they will usually do the install.
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