View Full Version : what do do with a free G3...

Nov 15, 2006, 04:23 PM
My office is getting rid of a bunch of old computer parts and one of them happens to be a B&W G3. As far as I know it works, the hard drive may be failing since it books up with the folder with a question mark on it. I don't know the full specs other than at least 128MB of RAM (there's two sticks and I can only tell what one of them says), not sure of anything else since it won't boot up.

It comes with an OS 8 disc but I'm sure something newer can run on it. What versions of Linux would be good to try out? I'm tempted to put it in the kitchen and make it a household computer but I'm not sure yet. Gotta see if its working all the way first...


Scarlet Fever
Nov 15, 2006, 04:48 PM
if it supports Airport, you can use it as an AirPort Express station; stream music to it from other computers, and play it through your living room speakers.

For that you will need a recent version on iTunes, which may mean having to buy more RAM to run OS X. It takes PC100 DIMMs, with a maximum of 1GB over 4 slots

The HDDs are Ultra ATA, which aren't terribly expensive - around AU$0.67 per gig. When it was released, it had a BTO option of 3 36GB HDDs; im not sure if this is the maxiumum it can take, though.

Congrats on getting a great machine for free!

Nov 15, 2006, 05:58 PM
I'm not sure it it supports Airport, I can't seem to find the connector for it inside. I may have to go third party for that since wireless is the only option for anyone in the house aside from my computer which is right next to the router. I don't have a living room either (currently living in it :D ) so I don't know how well it would work for streaming.

I have some spare ATA hard drives at home, I'll see if I can get one of those to tinker with it on. I'm concerned about running OS X on such an older machine though, I was thinking something more like Xubuntu (http://www.xubuntu.org/). I'll think of some more ideas when I take it home. Its a heavy thing so I may wait until I can get a car for it. :o

Nov 15, 2006, 06:13 PM
My bondi '99 imac runs 10.2.8 perfectly- 6gig hdd and 256mb of ram make it an excellent iTunes machine for the garage. To think I used to work on that thing!:rolleyes:

Nov 15, 2006, 06:16 PM
10.4 and a couple of 256 sticks added and it should do fine for light stuff.

As for wifi you can just use a pci card that works with OS X, there are a few databases of compatible cards about the place, the B&W G3 was pre airport.

Don't forget to play around with jumper block overclocking.

Nov 15, 2006, 06:41 PM

Take the G3 and put it in a 1980's boombox!

Use a shock-resistant hard drive and PUMP UP THE JAM!

Video too, obviously.

Nov 15, 2006, 07:44 PM
Buy either a ATA controller card or a SATA controller card, some hard drives, a gigabit ethernet card and turn it in to a file server.

Nov 15, 2006, 08:22 PM
Send it to me seeing as can't get the one i have to work. ;)

Nov 15, 2006, 08:50 PM
Xubuntu should work fine. I used Ubuntu on my ibook till it had a logic board problem, and since the B&W had slightly lower specs than my iBook, xfce is a better choice than GNOME. Thats exactly what I'm planned to do with my B&W once I reassemble it and get a monitor. As for the maximum HD capacity, its limited to 128GB w/o something (I forgot what).

Nov 15, 2006, 08:56 PM
space heater

Nov 16, 2006, 06:15 AM
There is no Airport option for the Blue and White series.

It can hold up to 1GB of PC100/PC133 SDRAM, but PC133 will downclock to PC100.

It will hold any sized hard disk, but without either a new Ultra ATA controller card, or some piece of software which I forget the name, it will only see the first 137GB of the drive. Its Ultra ATA 33.

The video card that comes stock with these models is a Rage 128 Pro 16MB PCI card. It fits into a 66MHz PCI slot, which runs it at double the speed, which is the same speed as AGP 1X. The maximum upgrade path is a Nvidia GeForce FX5200 or 6200 (Never tried the 6200) A PNY GeForce FX5500 card flashed with a Mac BIOS will show up as a 5200, and will allow you to run Quartz Extreme as well as Core Image, without using any funny hacks.

The maximum processor upgrade would be a 1.1 GHz G3 from Powerlogix or a 1 GHz G4 by Sonnet (Sonnets horrible). The 1 GHz G4 does take it from a 100 MHz bus to a 66 MHz, which cripples the the performance and makes it worthless.

Your best bet for it is to get it to at least 384, if not 512MB or more, and load on either Panther or Tiger, and it will be a nice machine. I have one doing that just now, and it works great. :) Another thing you could try, is if you have some of those really tiny jumpers, you could overclock the CPU 50-100 MHz to get a bit more speed out of the beast.

Enjoy. :D

PS - Awesome navel piercing. :D

Nov 16, 2006, 06:33 AM
Buy either a ATA controller card or a SATA controller card, some hard drives, a gigabit ethernet card and turn it in to a file server.

Thats what id be doing as well. Mmmmm.

Nov 16, 2006, 02:20 PM
I'm actually temped for the fileserver thing, I've been thinking about some kind of NAS solution or RAID'ed external drives in some form or another for my media collection so this may fit the bill.

There's only room for three drives inside so if I wanted to do a RAID 5 I'd like one separate just for the OS itself, can another fit in the space for a Zip drive or is there not enough room? Doesn't it already have gigabit ethernet or was that not added to the PM until later? What's the best OS to use for a fileserver, Linux or OS X? I'll be sharing it with mostly Windows machines and one or two Macs.

I expect to upgrade it a bit but I don't want to spend too much money on it if its going to be a headless server. RAM is a definate, CPU is a maybe. We'll see. Just wish the thing was a bit quieter...

Nov 16, 2006, 04:47 PM
Personally, I use an MDD as a file server ever since I upgraded to a Mac Pro. I use the latest version of Tiger and it's been working great. Gigabit ethernet yields me approx 15MB/sec transfers through a router/switch that does NOT support jumbo frames. I suspect that a switch that supports jumbo frames could improve speeds by several MB/sec.

In your case, I think that about 512MB of RAM should be fine for file serving purposes. I'm quite certain that the G3 will be able to handle things fine as well. I would suggest you try it first and see how things run before investing in upgrades.

If I remember correctly, the B&Ws allowed for four drives to be installed on the bottom of the case. If you need to install more drives, the Zip bay works, but you will not be able to fasten it down with screws unless you drill your own since Zip drive screw locations are different. Also, once you've installed the OS, you really wouldn't have much need for the optical drive which opens up yet another bay. Lastly, I know that some people have even installed drives on top of the optical bay.

As for which OS... Again, personally, I used OS X Tiger. Windows machines don't have any problems connecting to it. Apple makes it even easier by offering Bonjour for Windows, too. My experience with Linux is limited (at best), so, I'm not going to comment on that...

As for noise, (again, I'm going by memory) I think that standard ATX power supplies worked with B&Ws with little or no modification. Replacing the built-in power supply with a quieter one should solve all of your noise problems.

Nov 16, 2006, 04:55 PM
Another way is to make some simple brackets, to stack a second HDD on top of the first, but it may be hard to close the door.

Duct tape is also your friend. :D

Nov 16, 2006, 07:02 PM
When it was released, it had a BTO option of 3 36GB HDDs; im not sure if this is the maxiumum it can take, though.

It should be able to take up to 120GB HDDs