View Full Version : Complete Mac newbie buys iBook G3

May 4, 2012, 12:46 PM
So a while back my Dell Latitude D610 died, which meant I needed another laptop. Luckily I had $130 set aside at this point, as I had been saving up for a gaming laptop of any sort. So anyhow, a few calls and a missed G4 later, a guy in Atlanta calls me. "Yeah, I have a couple Macs, but I'm not really sure what generation they are. Come down to my warehouse and take a look" so I finally convinced my parents to take me down. When I got there, he pulled out three laptops. A 12" Mac for $120, a 15" Mac for $135 and a Dell Inspiron for $70 (I had asked about sub $100 options as well, being an unemployed student.) So I leave with my newly purchased iBook, all the OS X 10.1 system restore CDs for a Blueberry iMac (Want one of those too, some day. XD) a carrying bag and a resoldered yo-yo charger.

So now only a week later exactly, someone tripped over the charger and tore the re-soldered wires (still runs on AC power but won't charge) and I've managed to upgrade the OS to OS X 10.1.5.

My main question is, can an iBook G3 still be useful? What OS would you suggest I install, and what upgrades are available? My boyfriend has OS 10.5, would that install? Thanks in advance!

And also, before anything begins, I'm sorry if there's another topic about this already. I just don't have a lot of time online, and my iBook's current browsers (Camino and an old Firefox) don't always load pages correctly. Thanks for any help. :3

May 4, 2012, 08:47 PM
iBook G3's can still be useful, but it depends on what you use it for. I bought an iBook G3 second hand and honestly its just too slow for me. OS 10.1 is really out of date and you'd really need to look at upgrading to OS 10.3 or 10.4 if you want compatibility with the most software thats out there.

Also to mention, a lot of iBook G3's have issues where the GPU can come loose on the motherboard and render the laptop unusable. I don't know what model you have, but its really common on all G3's (and some G4s) from the 600-900MHz range.

If you decide to keep the G3, I would highly recommend upgrading the RAM and possibly looking at upgrading the HDD (and OS). However, after you do put all of that money into it, you are almost better off buying a iBook G4 (which is what I did and I can't say I have been more satisfied).

Good luck!

May 4, 2012, 10:52 PM
Yea, I agree. G3's can be used for light stuff like browsing, but not really for heavy things like movie editing. Also, you cannot run the latest version of iTunes on it either. What processor speed is your iBook? (Go to the :apple: menu, and click "About This Mac") If it's lower than 800MHz, I would probably sell it on eBay and get a G4, because it will be very slow. In fact, I went ahead and bought a MacBook because the G4 was inadequate for my needs.

If you are wondering about versions of OS X, you really need to upgrade your G3 to Tiger (or OS X 10.4.11). The G3 doesn't support Leopard (10.5), though the G4 does. You would be much happier with a G4. Leopard is a great operating system... much better than Tiger in my opinion! You will need more RAM and Hard Drive though... also, OS X 10.1 is so old, I don't think anything hardly supports it! (it's like 2001 or something) and it would be very unstable and is totally unsupported by Apple (although Tiger isn't supported anymore either, it's not as outdated... it's only 7 years old as opposed to 11)

Also, those CD's may not work as they are for a blueberry iMac, and not for an iBook

Good luck! Welcome to Mac OS X!

May 5, 2012, 11:38 AM
Yeah, thankies! It is rather slow... When I go to "About this mac" all I get is "192 MB and PowerPC G3 processor". I might try to get a friend of mine to torrent OS X 10.4 for me. I'd buy it, but sadly all I have left is $10 and the end of my yo-yo charger doesn't look like it's going to hold out much longer. D:

As for the iBook G4, I actually have a friend who's supposed to sell me his this summer for $145. I might keep the G3 as well, I'm something of a computer collector so it'd be a nice thing to have even though I'd much much rather have a Clamshell. I love how colorful those were. <3

May 5, 2012, 12:49 PM
Ohhh... OK! Also, Torrents don't work on old G3's usually... especially with older OS's. I'd just hold out until you can get your hands on a G4, then save up for Mac OS X Leopard if it isn't installed.

Try clicking the more info button on "about this Mac"

May 5, 2012, 01:17 PM
I've found 10.3 to be best on a G3 500 Mhz but the 900 Mhz ibook G3 might run 10.4 ok. The g3 ibook takes PC100 Or PC133 144 pin SODIMMs with 512Mb the maximum available. You obviously have a 128 Mb or 64 Mb sodimm in the single slot already as the ibook has 64Mb or 128Mb of RAM soldered to the logic board. You'll need an airport card if doesn't have one already.

May 5, 2012, 03:09 PM
A G3 with 10.1?

Not useful. OS X wasn't even entirely useful on it's own until 10.2 or 10.3.

I'm guessing the highest you can go is probably 10.3.

Also, sorry to say, but the price seems really high. Those things usually sell for $30-$40.

May 5, 2012, 04:34 PM
Im sorry, but you paid WAY too much for a G3, i have seen them on CL for under 60 bucks.

Besides that, you should be able to get 10.3 to run nicely, even though those (ive heard) run better on OS9, just make sure to max the RAM and maybe upgrade the HD.

May 5, 2012, 06:14 PM
10.4 is the most useful OS for a G3 but under 640MB of RAM and its going to be painful. Honestly, if it won't run 10.4 then you're really just about better off with Mac OS 9.2.2 to be honest. You're going to find it very fast and Classilla (http://www.floodgap.com/software/classilla/) is an excellent and fairly up to date web browser. If it were my iBook, I'd rock OS 9 all day long on it.

tom vilsack
May 6, 2012, 04:49 AM
i used to own a iBook G3 Dual USB so these comments might be helpful

-what G3 model is it? (500-900MHz)
-you need to max out the ram (576MB or 640MB)
-min osx version your gonna want to use is 10.3 panther...but i would suggest 10.4 tiger
-with that being said,unless you need osx for some type program,i would suggest running mac os 9.2.2 and using browser classilla...and also finding great older software at places like macintoshgarden...you will find sites even like yahoo's home page very slow with osx,while using mac os 9.0 it's at least ok...

-now having said all that,if this is gonna be your main computer and your short on $,sell the ibook G3 and go looking on your local craigslist (don't buy from a dealer) for a powerbook G4 (1.33/1.5/1.67GHz) something like a nice 15" 1.5GHz with max 2 gig's of ram and osx leopard and you'll will enjoy your mac experience alot more then using the G3....

May 8, 2012, 11:53 AM
I did a search on the model number, and I'm fairly sure it's a 500 mhz considering what I do know about it. It's got a 10GB hard drive (The other models with the same ID turned up with 15GB hard drives) and was used as a school computer (It has "RMS" scratched into the plastic on the bottom.) pointing to it probably being the cheapest model possible. One feature, however, that I've never seen in other iBook G3 pictures, is a tiny button above the headphone jack with a logo looking vaguely like this (<) next to it.

As for getting OS 9, can someone help me with that mayhaps? I actually managed to get the OS X CD to install on the laptop the day I bought it (Bad move, I think a more recent OS X was on it since it was running Youtube) and it had an OS 9 folder, but I deleted it because classic apps weren't running. Do you think it might be on the install disc where I can get to it?

May 8, 2012, 07:25 PM
Unless you have the original restore CDs, you will need to find a copy of Mac OS for sale online. You can check ebay for the disks, they come up frequently. Make sure you buy the retail Mac OS CDs/DVDs, and not the machine specific versions. Amazon has some available too.

As for youtube, youtube will barely play on iBook G3s (no matter what OS you are using). Mine even had trouble with 240p. Your best bet would be downloading MacTubes, though I'm not sure how well that works with iBook G3s.

May 9, 2012, 09:55 AM
Well, I may have found some OS 9 files on the program restore disc. (I looked all over the OS X disc, but only found OS X junk with no OS 9 install) They're two icons, of a blue folder with a macface. One was called "Mac boot 9.2" or something like that (I forget and I can't look since I forgot the charger at home. The laptop will only run when plugged in now since the end of the charger has come unsoldered.) and the other is called "system". I tried copypasting the two into the Classic folder in my system folder, but it wouldn't let me. I started the computer up with the CD in the drive and I swear it booted into OS 9, and was talking about wiping my hard drive to restore the previous configuration, but it said the configuration wouldn't work on my computer. Ghetto rigging time, maybe? ^_^;

Also, I know this probably isn't the place, but might anyone have a spare, neglected Clamshell they'd be willing to part with? I don't have any money (I have like, $6 left) but I collect old school video games, so I could definitely barter for one. It doesn't have to be working, (might prefer that actually, that "mac revival" thread has me wanting to save up for a netbook and stuff it in. XD) or have a charger, but both would definitely result in me being willing to trade off some of my more rare stuff. I know beggers can't be choosers, (And why be choosy? Clamshells look awesome no matter what. <3) but my ideal Clamshell would be a tangerine, lime or blueberry model with OS 9 installed and a decent charger. If I like it better than my DualUSB I can just transplant the Airport card into the Clammy, and if not I can keep it as a secondary laptop and copy the OS 9 off of it, and use the charger for both laptops.

Thanks in advance all, and thanks for your help so far too. This is one of the most helpful communities I've ever been to. :3

EDIT: For more helpful info on what I can and can't do, I did get a small bundle of CDs with the computer. One OS X 10.1 install CD with no OS 9, Three software restore CDs, one CD containing Appleworks and a Mac Hardware test CD. They came in a folder with a blueberry Apple on it, and after the install the "computer" logo in Finder appears as a Blueberry G3, which is why I assume it was designed for said computer. At one point one of the discs contained Bugdom, which I installed (nostalgia, used to play it in elementary school though it won't work since I lack classic) and still contains another game called Nanosaur on it, so it's obvious these restore discs must contain some sort of trace of OS 9.

May 9, 2012, 12:40 PM
My first mac was an iBook G3/800Mhz. I had 640MB of memory in it. It ran very well, and I really liked it, but it developed the cursed logic board display failure. Apple repaired it 4 times, and when the 3 years was up, they replaced it with my iBook G4 1.33Ghz. Even that laptop isn't very good these days. It's pretty darn slow. Flash is almost useless. But I keep it around, as it runs classic software nicely.

I agree with the posters here. Try to install Tiger on your iBook. 10.4 was a pretty decent OS. It's not as full featured as Leopard and up, but it will serve you just fine until you can afford better.

May 10, 2012, 10:08 AM
Okay, now that I have the charger on me and am capable of getting online, I can finally tell you the actual names of these mystery files I found.

Imageboot9.2, Mac OS ROM, System, Apple menu items and Control panels.