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View Full Version : Worth it to take a FREE G3 and put OS X on it?




BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 08:16 PM
So, here is the deal. I'm saving money for a Mac Pro for my business, but my MBP is just going to have to do for now.

Let me set the stage of my place of residence:
I have a MBP, my lady has a MB. We BOTH have a Windoze Desktop Computer. They are both ridden with virii, running poorly, and just plain sucky. What I am looking to do is get rid of both of those computers, and replace them with one Mac to be the household internet browser, file sharer, print sharer, and paper writer. I was looking at possibly getting a Mac mini or iMac off of ebay to serve this purpose, but then i'm still looking at $600+, which won't help me in my saving for a Mac Pro for the spring.

My mom has an old G3 that she said she'd give me, and it would be way cheaper to get OSX for that, put some RAM in it, and set it up to do what I want.

My Question is, will it run OSX, Office 2004, and be able to handle my external hard drive and printer sharing and all that. The specs are as follows:

PowerPC G3 400MHz

Built in Memory: 192MB
DIMM0/J19, 64MB
DIMM1/J20, 128MB

Video Memory:15.96MB

Backside L2 Cache: 1MB

Machine ID: 406


I know I would need more RAM, whats the total this thing can take? RAM for it can't be too expensive can it? I have an older copy of OSX, so no cost there, the only cost would be more RAM.

Whaddya Think?

(and as an added bonus, it was still when Apple was doing the color thing, so its a pretty aqua blue :) )



BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 08:17 PM
Oh yeah, it currently has OS 8.6 on it if that matters.........

BigPrince
Jan 21, 2007, 08:19 PM
Panther with lots of RAM is acceptable. Tiger is a different story. But for your needs it might be acceptable.

Are you a student, you should join the ADC so you get the OS for free and a good hard ware discount when your ready.

Eidorian
Jan 21, 2007, 08:33 PM
You can get 1 GB of RAM in that old Power Mac. It'll running 10.3 and 10.4 just fine. Office 2004 is tame on PowerPC.

trainguy77
Jan 21, 2007, 08:38 PM
It will be slow but usable. Don't expect anything more then some light internet browsing and word usage. Personally I would not want to use it for much at all. It may be better off just to buy a emac with a decent amount of RAM already in it. Maybe at the 1ghz or 1.25 ghz speeds.....

BigPrince
Jan 21, 2007, 08:39 PM
You can get 1 GB of RAM in that old Power Mac. It'll running 10.3 and 10.4 just fine. Office 2004 is tame on PowerPC.

Tiger loads really freaking slow on a G3 with 1 gig of ram.

Eidorian
Jan 21, 2007, 08:47 PM
Tiger loads really freaking slow on a G3 with 1 gig of ram.It works just fine on my Power Mac G3 400 w/1 GB of RAM. The only new component is a 40 GB hard drive.

BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 08:50 PM
So if I put a gig of RAM in it, and 10.3, I'd be good for my uses?

Eidorian
Jan 21, 2007, 08:52 PM
So if I put a gig of RAM in it, and 10.3, I'd be good for my uses?At least more then 512 MB. You also have 4 slots. It makes it much easier just to pack in a lot of sticks.

Applespider
Jan 21, 2007, 08:52 PM
Oh yeah, it currently has OS 8.6 on it if that matters.........

I might be wrong but I thought you had to have OS 9 on it in order to be able to run a couple of firmware updates that are needed for OS X?

BigPrince
Jan 21, 2007, 08:55 PM
It works just fine on my Power Mac G3 400 w/1 GB of RAM. The only new component is a 40 GB hard drive.

I guess we have different definitions of "fine." I used to support several dozen G3 machines with tiger and alot of them I downgraded back to panther which satisfied the users. They didn't probably know panther was a step back but they didn't care as long as it worked better.

Eidorian
Jan 21, 2007, 08:57 PM
I might be wrong but I thought you had to have OS 9 on it in order to be able to run a couple of firmware updates that are needed for OS X?You are correct.

I guess we have different definitions of "fine." I used to support several dozen G3 machines with tiger and alot of them I downgraded back to panther which satisfied the users. They didn't probably know panther was a step back but they didn't care as long as it worked better.I had to use a Power Mac G3 is a my main machine for some time. Quartz Extreme was the only thing I really missed. That's not that hard to get working either.

ITASOR
Jan 21, 2007, 09:00 PM
I ran Tiger and Office 2004 on my Power Mac G3 400Mhz with 512MB RAM. It ran just fine. With 512 RAM it would run a lot better, but even 512 was definitely useable.

BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 09:47 PM
So I have to upgrade to OS9, Do all the Firmware upgrades, then upgrade to 10.1, and then go from there?

this is getting complicated ;)

BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 09:48 PM
Thanks for all the info guys, MR Rules! :cool:

Maxwell Smart
Jan 21, 2007, 10:13 PM
So I have to upgrade to OS9, Do all the Firmware upgrades, then upgrade to 10.1, and then go from there?

this is getting complicated ;)

Nah, just install the firmware upgrade (if it requires OS9, then yes, you must upgrade), then install whatever version you want (preferably Tiger).

I have ran Tiger on 300-400Mhz G3 towers just fine, and I currently run it on a 366Mhz G3 clamshell with 576MB of RAM. The key is to have 512MB or more RAM.

Steven1621
Jan 21, 2007, 10:19 PM
why not just reformat the PCs?

BiikeMike
Jan 21, 2007, 10:39 PM
why not just reformat the PCs?

Because its a PITA to try and get the Macs and PCs to talk to each other over the network and share a printer. I've tried and tried and tried, it just doesnt work well. plus, the file sharing is SLOOOOOOOOOW!

And hey, why are you telling me to use a PEECEE?! ;)


And I just installed 9.2, and i'm about to get all the upgrades, and then install 10.2, if it will let me with this small amount of RAM :) Then tomorrow, its off to CompUSA! What is the exact kind of RAM I need, anyone know?

SmurfBoxMasta
Jan 22, 2007, 06:26 AM
What is the exact kind of RAM I need, anyone know?

yep, someone does know :D

You need PC100, 168-pin SDRAM, 3.3v, 10 or 8ns, NON-ECC, ***MUST be low density** meaning that it has chips on both sides of the circuit board.
256MB max size x 4 will get you 1GB.....

ps you may wanna look around the marketplace forum (here & macnn also), alot of the members have stuff for older macs for sale, and/or ebay too, might save ya some $$ :p

zali0n
Jan 22, 2007, 06:30 AM
It'll be fine, my girl friend has a 400mhz slot loading imac g3 with 512MB of RAM and a 40GB HDD and she does everything it, including Office 2004, iTunes 7.0 and her new shuffle 2G works a treat with it.

She uses it for her college work, watching DVD's, listening to music and it servers her just great.

USMaC
Jan 22, 2007, 06:48 AM
Sorry if it's in here somewhere and I just missed it, but are you talking about a PowerMac G3 tower, or an iMac?

AppleMatt
Jan 22, 2007, 06:50 AM
I'd use it as a server - I wouldn't really recommend it as a day-to-day (although I used a 333MHz G3 with 10.2 for quite some time) machine.

Also the plural of virus is viruses, not virii.

AppleMatt

elppa
Jan 22, 2007, 07:33 AM
G3 with 266 MHz and 196MB RAM runs panther nicely and is not bad with Office X 2004.

So go for it.

RichP
Jan 22, 2007, 07:45 AM
What about a used, cheapo PPC mac mini off ebay? You can always resell it once you get enough money for the machines you want.

BiikeMike
Jan 22, 2007, 08:34 AM
Its a G3 Blue and White Tower.

And why not get a cheapo one? because I don't want to pay for a slow computer, did I mention this one is FREE?! :)

I installed everything on it last night, updated it to 10.2.8 and everything seems to be working fine, even with 192 megs of RAM. So after I go to the store and get a bit more, I think it will be great. AND..... one of the major reasons to do this, is my fiancee has been bugging me to clear off the desk, it just has too much crap on it, and this will DEFINANTLY help!

Hey, if it makes her happy, it makes me happy!

USMaC
Jan 22, 2007, 08:42 AM
Before I moved overseas, I set my mom up with a 450MHz G3 B&W with 384 MB RAM, OS X 10.2.8, and MS Office 2004. I wanted to leave her with something that would "just work." Aside from the random problems caused by "user error" (which I've ben able to talk her through from the other side of the world), it has had absolutely no issues. I think it will work out great for what you want. Good luck!

BiikeMike
Jan 22, 2007, 05:55 PM
Well, Here I am, posting on my new (old) Mac!

I have 704 Megs of RAM, should be enough for what I need. But What I can't figure out is why it won't recognize my external drive. Its a firewire segate 300GB, and it sees it in disk utility, but I can't access it. Any Ideas?

mjstew33
Jan 22, 2007, 06:06 PM
How is the drive formatted? Are you sure the FW ports are working?

gnasher729
Jan 22, 2007, 06:36 PM
I know I would need more RAM, whats the total this thing can take? RAM for it can't be too expensive can it? I have an older copy of OSX, so no cost there, the only cost would be more RAM.

To get an idea of RAM prices, check www.crucial.com. You may find RAM cheaper elsewhere, but they have everything and are definitely good to give you an idea. It really depends on how old the Mac is; RAM prices for really old machines can be ridiculously high, but RAM for a 400 MHz G3 should be affordable.

And get a cheap USB 2 card if you want to add an external hard disk to use it as a file server (internal hard disk would be limited to 128GB).

Maxwell Smart
Jan 22, 2007, 06:45 PM
Sounds good, now all you need to do is install Panther or Tiger, Jaguar is a bit dated, especially when it comes to finding programs, most require 10.3.9 or higher.

BiikeMike
Jan 22, 2007, 06:46 PM
How is the drive formatted? Are you sure the FW ports are working?


Its an HFS+ Drive, and the FW ports must be working, because it shows up in disk utility with my partitions and everything :confused:

BiikeMike
Jan 22, 2007, 07:53 PM
I don't get it... It shows up in disk utility, it verified fine, I just can't access it. There are no Mount or unmount options, its just..... there?

elppa
Jan 23, 2007, 07:41 AM
It may not help… but they only thing I can think of is to download iMount (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/23654) and see if it will recognise the drive and mount it for you

BiikeMike
Jan 23, 2007, 06:36 PM
It may not help… but they only thing I can think of is to download iMount (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/23654) and see if it will recognise the drive and mount it for you

I got iMount, it recognizes everything, and when I hit "mount" nothing happens :confused:

macg4
Jan 24, 2007, 09:01 AM
ive got both a powerbook pismo 1gigram/60gig hd and a powermac g4 400mhz 1gig ram/120gb hd and they both are running tiger just fine. i also used to have a powermac g3 400 1gig ram and it was fine with tiger, not really that slow