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View Full Version : Bought a iBook G3.. Advice/ Discussion




92WardSenatorFE
Sep 24, 2009, 08:42 PM
Well I've been looking for a laptop to haul around with me to school and back and not having to worry about getting broken, etc.

A few weeks ago I found a listing on eBay for a iBook G3 (500 MHz/ 64 MB RAM/ 10 GB HD) with a buy it now of $80 and about a day left. I offered $40 and surprisingly the seller took my offer. It took him almost two weeks to ship it, and I'll be picking it up from my friend on Monday (he picked it up for me so it wouldn't sit at the post office all weekend). It also didn't come with an adapter, we ended up buying a chinese knock-off magsafe adapter also (kinda worried about that also, but it works... would've bought the real thing but there weren't any in our budget that wasn't "As-is".)

Anyway, we got it and it ends up being a former school laptop. Boots up fine to OS 9.2 and still has a lot of the software the school installed on it (Appleworks 6, Office 98, iTunes for the main stuff) along with tons of old documents which we deleted (looked like classroom rosters and stuff dated from the early 2000's).

Getting to the point, now that I have it I'd like to get some advice on your end. I've looked through the forums for a few days now but I haven't found any answers to that directly addresses my questions. We've already decided we are going to bump the ram with a 512 MB stick (probably will DEFIANTLY help). Outside of that, heres what I'm looking at:
-> Buying a airport card. Wondering how well wireless works on a iBook G3 also. We have a Linksys Wireless G router that I use on my Macbook, not sure if it would be compatible.
-> Upgrading the hard drive to either 60/80GB. The one thing I've heard about iBooks is they are a real pain to install new hard drives. I've seen where most people say it isn't worth it, but I don't really feel like going to the trouble of buying another machine when what I already bought works.
-> Buying a used working battery. It came with a battery that literally lasts 5-10 minutes depending on the usage. Again, not a necessity but the current one lasts long enough that I don't have to reset the date every time i use it.
-> Possibly dual booting it with OS X Tiger. Theres no way I'm going to do that now with it only being 64MB RAM/ 10 GB HD, but i was kinda thinking that might be a good idea once/ if I get the new HD put in. OS 9 works for me (considering I grew up on OS 9 in the school system :rolleyes: ) but I'm really aiming for what will be more stable.

Anyway I'm just looking for some basic advice. Any questions/ comments are welcome.

-Jake :)



NewMacbookPlz
Sep 24, 2009, 09:56 PM
Unfortunately, with all the money you'll spend on Airport/RAM/HDD/Battery/OS X tiger, you probably could have gotten a better spec'd G4 iBook, probably ~1ghz in speed.

A MagSafe adapter also won't do anything for that computer, as the iBook used the barrel style connector.

As for the Airport card, the card for that model only supports 802.11b, and IIRC will only support up to WEP 128-bit encryption. (I may be wrong, a software update may enable WPA encryption)

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 24, 2009, 10:41 PM
Unfortunately, with all the money you'll spend on Airport/RAM/HDD/Battery/OS X tiger, you probably could have gotten a better spec'd G4 iBook, probably ~1ghz in speed.

A MagSafe adapter also won't do anything for that computer, as the iBook used the barrel style connector.

As for the Airport card, the card for that model only supports 802.11b, and IIRC will only support up to WEP 128-bit encryption. (I may be wrong, a software update may enable WPA encryption)

Thanks for replying. I took the G4 idea into consideration, but I was attracted to this machine due to it had the capability of running OS 9 outside of OS X. I worded my post funny, I would consider dual booting it with OS X but only if it would operate more stable than OS 9. I have the install CDs for 10.4 if/ when I'm ready for them. OS 9 is fine for my needs right now. (Kinda went toward OS 9 because I have some classic Mac apps that I can't use now with Leopard)

I misposted on the adapter.. I thought the technical name for that kind of adapter was Magsafe, but I guess the older ones are called something different. But I do have the barrel shaped adapter, it looks like a magsafe on the newer MacBooks but it has the adapter and my friend has already tested it and it works fine with the iBook.

Truthfully, I didn't expect the seller to accept the $40 offer, considering it was half what he wanted and there were other iBook G3s that looked worse going for around $90-120 range at the time. A G4 would definitely have been acceptable but its like I said, it's not going to get any "hard" usage. Surfing the web, writing papers and playing music are probably the main things that I'd use it for... I still have a perfectly fine MacBook.. its just I'm tired of using the Windows computers at school which have so much bloatware that they are highly unreliable and abused.

---
Update on Airport: I did some further research into it and I don't think I'll do that upgrade. I have a linksys WRT54G and I don't really feel up to messing with the settings considering it took me long enough to get it to work with several PCs and my MacBook. Which is why I started this topic, to get input on these upgrades. Ethernet will do just fine for the time being.

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 24, 2009, 11:33 PM
Ah, I didn't even see that you already had a MacBook. I thought this was your first Mac sort of thing...whoops!

California
Sep 25, 2009, 01:36 PM
A hard drive up grade will speed things up immensely. So will that 512mb ram stick.

The airport card is also a nice thing to have but since you already have a Macbook, it sounds like ethernet is fine.

I have an iBook battery that is brand new I'd sell you if needed, but if you are going to keep it on the desktop, why bother?

It will run tiger well with dashboard disabled and scream on OS9.

I never look at upgrades on old computers as a waste of money.

You can always re sell the upgrades.

TJRiver
Sep 25, 2009, 02:00 PM
A hard drive up grade will speed things up immensely. So will that 512mb ram stick.

The airport card is also a nice thing to have but since you already have a Macbook, it sounds like ethernet is fine.

I have an iBook battery that is brand new I'd sell you if needed, but if you are going to keep it on the desktop, why bother?

It will run tiger well with dashboard disabled and scream on OS9.

I never look at upgrades on old computers as a waste of money.

You can always re sell the upgrades.

How much?

Right now, my G3 iBook is being used as a stereo hooked up to a set of speakers in our bedroom. It would be nice to be able to cut the cord. I paid about $100 for mine, but it came with the airport card, which sells for about that much by itself. The "b" wireless should work with any modern router, but it will slow down all other wireless devices on the same network to "b" speeds (unless you have a "dual band" router like the newer Airport/Time Capsules)

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 25, 2009, 04:16 PM
How much?

Right now, my G3 iBook is being used as a stereo hooked up to a set of speakers in our bedroom. It would be nice to be able to cut the cord. I paid about $100 for mine, but it came with the airport card, which sells for about that much by itself. The "b" wireless should work with any modern router, but it will slow down all other wireless devices on the same network to "b" speeds (unless you have a "dual band" router like the newer Airport/Time Capsules)
This isn't necessarily true. Every B/G router I've owned/used (Linksys, D-Link, Netgear, Motorola) will output both B and G signal at the same time. Maybe wireless-N is a separate story, but in the case of 802.11b/g, there should be a setting in your wireless router's settings to choose which or both signals to broadcast.

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 26, 2009, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone :)

As for the battery, I think I'll just hold off for now. It lasts long enough so I don't have to reset the date/ time every-time I boot the machine so thats good enough for me.

I'm definitely looking into upgrading the RAM and Harddrive. The only problem with the hard-drive is the machine didn't ship with its "install disks", and the guy who sold it says he bought it surplus and there aren't any (hence its a school laptop), so my next question if I bought the original restore disks off ebay for a iBook G3 (9.2.2/ 10.1) would that be compatible? Like said I have the install for Tiger but I'd rather use which ever is more stable/ faster. I heard about the new "Classilla" browser for OS 9, which should make surfing the web less of a pain (considering it lives up to what it says it'll be).

I'll look into airport, but I still think they'll be hassles. I googled my router and supposedly it supports both, but then I also read something about the original airport card might not be able to support the password or something like that (I'm pretty knowledgeable about computers but I'm a noob when it comes to networking/ wireless).

Again, thanks a lot everyone for the support and help. I'll be getting the machine Monday and it'll be the first time I see it in person (so far everything I've heard/ seen is via my friends webcam) so I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Off-topic but I burned my first iMovie HD/ iDVD project on my Macbook today and it was awesome! Works a lot better than any video editing I've used on Windows.. I can't wait to get started learning FCE! :apple:

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 26, 2009, 01:21 PM
Yup, the password issue with the old old Airport cards is that they only support WEP encryption, which is pretty much useless.

If you setup your router properly, and it's relatively new, you'll be running WPA or WPA2 encryption.

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 26, 2009, 02:53 PM
Yup, the password issue with the old old Airport cards is that they only support WEP encryption, which is pretty much useless.

If you setup your router properly, and it's relatively new, you'll be running WPA or WPA2 encryption.

Yeah, I see. If I remember correctly when we set it up, it was WPA. We got it in 2006. You'd imagine that it wouldn't be that hard to set up but I had to talk on the phone for almost an hour with some non-english woman to finally get it set up. Most of the networks I'd use are passworded and fairly newer so a Airport card would probably be useless.

Hrududu
Sep 26, 2009, 03:02 PM
Yup, the password issue with the old old Airport cards is that they only support WEP encryption, which is pretty much useless.

If you setup your router properly, and it's relatively new, you'll be running WPA or WPA2 encryption.
You can connect to WPA networks with the original Airport cards. I've got a G3 iMac, G4 Cube, TiBook G4, Clamshell G3 and 800MHz iBook G3 all connected to my home WPA network.

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 26, 2009, 06:26 PM
You can connect to WPA networks with the original Airport cards. I've got a G3 iMac, G4 Cube, TiBook G4, Clamshell G3 and 800MHz iBook G3 all connected to my home WPA network.

Must have been a software revision issue the last time I tried with a friend's G3 iBook. I do recall on my G4 iBook with the B/G Airport extreme card, I had to run a software update to enable WPA/WPA2 support because the factory version only supported up to 128bit WEP.

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 26, 2009, 07:06 PM
Must have been a software revision issue the last time I tried with a friend's G3 iBook. I do recall on my G4 iBook with the B/G Airport extreme card, I had to run a software update to enable WPA/WPA2 support because the factory version only supported up to 128bit WEP.

Would the update be applicable with OS 9? The main thing that splits me between installing OS 10.4 once I get the 60GB hard drive is that I'd like OS 9 for stability and classic support, but at the same time I'd also like it to have Tiger so I could install my printer drivers, a more recent version of iTunes and iPhoto. But at the same time I realize that the machine is older and probably more stable with OS 9. I might dual-boot to see which works better but I was really hoping I'd get a reply from someone that uses OS X on a 500/600 MHz iBook G3.

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 26, 2009, 07:10 PM
Would the update be applicable with OS 9? The main thing that splits me between installing OS 10.4 once I get the 60GB hard drive is that I'd like OS 9 for stability and classic support, but at the same time I'd also like it to have Tiger so I could install my printer drivers, a more recent version of iTunes and iPhoto. But at the same time I realize that the machine is older and probably more stable with OS 9. I might dual-boot to see which works better but I was really hoping I'd get a reply from someone that uses OS X on a 500/600 MHz iBook G3.

Couldn't you just install 10.4 and then install OS 9 via the OS 10.4 CD in the way that it runs as "Classic" mode, or something like that. I remember my 10.3 installation on my iBook was setup that way. IIRC, Classic mode is available up through 10.4, but was discontinued in 10.5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Environment

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 26, 2009, 07:32 PM
Couldn't you just install 10.4 and then install OS 9 via the OS 10.4 CD in the way that it runs as "Classic" mode, or something like that. I remember my 10.3 installation on my iBook was setup that way. IIRC, Classic mode is available up through 10.4, but was discontinued in 10.5

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_Environment

Yup, I know that. But what I'm getting at is if I kept OS 9, it would be for stability reasons. I'm just trying to research what OS would be stabler - 10.4 or 9.2.2.

Another question I have that I became aware of.. the CD I have to install OS 10.4 would install from scratch. Would I even need to bother buying the iBook G3 install CD? I read on Apple Support that if you don't have it, you won't have any of the special applications that came with the iBook.. but what are the special applications? And would they even be compatible with OS 10.4 considering they were designed for 10.1/ 9?

NewMacbookPlz
Sep 26, 2009, 10:35 PM
If the 10.4 disc is the retail version, it'll install just fine.

The iBook setup discs may contain the specific apps from the year the computer was released, not sure what those would be...whatever the equivalent of iLife from back then is I guess. You may be able to order a set of those CD's from AppleCare for a minimal cost ($30 maybe) if they still have them available...may be too old though, not sure.

molala
Sep 27, 2009, 08:44 AM
If you don't want to get an original airport card (they are hard to find and costly), consider a wireless USB adapter. I've used a Netgear WG 111 v2 on my Powerbook G3 running 10.3. Works with WPA.

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 27, 2009, 04:03 PM
If you don't want to get an original airport card (they are hard to find and costly), consider a wireless USB adapter. I've used a Netgear WG 111 v2 on my Powerbook G3 running 10.3. Works with WPA.

Thank you SO MUCH for that idea! I never thought of that. I checked ebay and they are chalk full of those! I will definitely be buying one of those when I install 10.4.

As for the iBook CD, the only application I can think of that might have came with it is AppleWorks, but I'm not sure. I don't remember any real applications that came with OS 9 similar to iLife thats not available free online somewhere.

I'll be getting the laptop tomorrow afternoon so you'll be hearing from me some more (and pictures :) ).

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 28, 2009, 08:36 PM
...And I received it today.

It works a lot better than I'd expect it to preform. Reguardless, it still takes 2:30 to boot up. I thought that since it was a former school laptop that they'd wipe it, well they left almost everything on it. About 3-6 different printers, networks, tons of old documents dated from 2004 and all sorts of other junk. Will need some cleaning.

A system reinstall would probably be the best, but rather than buying the disks I'm going to try and clear it up and wait for the new Hard Drive w/ 10.4. I was wondering, I know I probably should post this in the OS 9 forum (if theres even one), but how can I get rid of the computer loading like 20 different extensions on boot up? I believe this is whats slowing it down. Also, theres a shortcut on the desktop named "Launcher" that opens up a windows of applications, would it be ok to delete this also?

Anyway, thanks for the help guys. I'll post pictures in about a hour, cameras charging :)

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 28, 2009, 10:06 PM
As promised, a picture is attached! More to follow at a later date.

Another question, I think it has a bad hard drive or its going bad. Applications like Appleworks, Microsoft Word will not open and pop up "Error type 1, 2, or 3" error (changers everytime). Plus, sometimes finder will unexpectedly quit or the computer will give me a bomb error trying to load something. Any ideas?

Maserati7200
Sep 28, 2009, 10:17 PM
Reguardless, it still takes 2:30 to boot up.

Ouch bro :eek:

And I'm surprised they didn't delete that information on the computer, shouldn't that be confidential?

92WardSenatorFE
Sep 28, 2009, 10:31 PM
Ouch bro :eek:

And I'm surprised they didn't delete that information on the computer, shouldn't that be confidential?

Under further examination, they did delete the servers off of it. However, they still have all the applications installed along with tons of files.

I have now ran into a bigger problem, the OS refuses to load almost ANY application.. I get an error type 1, 2, 3 or bomb error type 10. Happens with stuffit exander, Appleworks 6 and Word '98. Any ideas?

SkyBell
Sep 30, 2009, 10:32 PM
I run 10.4 on an 800 MHz iBook G3 with 256 MB of RAM. It's definitely usable, maybe even as a main machine. Of course, the specs aren't exactly the same, but this might give you an idea. I can run Safari, iTunes and iChat well with little trouble (iTunes lags a bit, but that even happens on new machines, so it's kind of to be expected.) and I'd be very happy with it if it didn't have so many hardware-related issues. :rolleyes:

I saw you mention Classilla earlier, and if you plan to get on the internet on OS 9, it's the only half decent browser left for the OS. I can actually browse MacRumors and other similar sites on my 300 MHz iBook with it, which is really something you can't get with another browser. (Although iCab is a good backup if it's needed.)

As for the applications not booting, do you have those problems with apps you've installed yourself? Could just be corrupted files.

For what it's worth, AppleWorks is basically the equivalent of iWork. (If you can get it working/reinstall.) And there is iTunes 2 for OS 9. :)

92WardSenatorFE
Oct 22, 2009, 04:32 PM
Thanks everyone for your help!

I went to the Apple Support Discussions page and they suggested that I should reinstall OS 9. So, to my luck I was able to get ahold of a OS 9.2.1 CD and wipe the HDD and start fresh!

And, that eliminated ALL of my problems (except one). The only problem I have now is that sometimes the trackpad will start to corrupt and the mouse will float to random spots on the screen, but a USB mouse works fine.

I also managed to get Appleworks 5 on it, along with iTunes 2 [still working on my playlists, i have to convert all my songs to MP3s! :eek: ]. I've pretty much decided that I'm not going to upgrade the HDD and install OS X (primarily because I've reviewed how to install a new HDD, and knowing the failure rate of these machines I don't really want to activate any dormant problems). I do have a refurbished battery on the way (supposedly lasts 4+ hours, well see) and I'll max out the RAM after that gets squared away.

I have to admit its a really cool machine, I've never seen OS 9 preform so well. One last question: Does anyone know any USB Wireless G adapters that have OS 9 drivers? (and no, I can't get ahold of a airport for it).

Thanks a bunch! Attached is a more recent picture.