Is an iMac G3 worth upgrading?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by KevRC4130, May 1, 2005.

  1. KevRC4130 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #1
    Hey everyone,
    So my brother who is a "poor, starving artist" in New York City has inherited an old iMac for free from his girlfriend's work. He is not really computer savvy, and does not know anything about Macs. He gave me a call asking what to do with it, and I wasn't exactly sure what to tell him. We aren't even sure what model it is, but based on the very bland details he gave me over the phone, I think it is either a 350mhz w/ a 7gb harddrive or a 400mhz w/ 10gb. We know it has 64mb of RAM and it is running OS9. The sticker on the back says" 'some year'-2001." Also, it is a blue (indigo?) color. Basically, he wants to use it for some basic graphics work, such as Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and a couple other similar programs. He is happy to use older versions of these programs. I know that upgrading the RAM is pretty much a must, but I don't think he wants to really spend money on hardware. Is there anything that the computer is really good for set up as is? Would it be worth upgrading the RAM? How much should he put in? I was thinking a 512 stick would be a good balance between cost and performance. What does a 512 stick for a G3 cost anyways? Should he put on OSX? What would be better to put on, Tiger or Panther? How much hard drive space does OSX take up?

    Also, where would he find older versions of programs (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc)?

    Sorry for so many questions, it just seems like it is going to need quite a bit of money sunk into it to get it semi-modernized, and I'm just wondering if it gets to the point where he'd be better off selling it and getting a used eMac or something. What do you think?

    Thanks
     
  2. sjpetry macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
    #2
    OS X will take up several Gb, so I would say no.
     
  3. California macrumors 68040

    California

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    #3
    I'd just do what I'm doing with my mom's iMac:

    install new 120 gig Deskstar hardrive, 7200 rpm (This is the maximum gigs for the iMac)

    Install one gig of ram

    This will max out the computer. You would be surprised what it can do with the faster hd and the ram. You can do this for way less than two hundred bucks if you shop around. Even with the Mac Mini, you need a keyboard and monitor, making the five hundred dollar base price moot.
     
  4. StarbucksSam macrumors 65816

    StarbucksSam

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    #4
    Have him go in to Apple System Profiler in the Apple menu and give you more information on the iMac.
     
  5. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #5
    Ask him if the CD-ROM is a tray-loading or slot-loading, it makes a big difference in upgradeability. It sounds like a slot-loading which is good-

    http://www.lowendmac.com/macdan/04/0910.html

    More RAM would be great for the unit, and worth it. You can actually run OS X pretty well on the old iMacs. It won't have fancy Quartz effects, but the basic OS will run. A 512MB stick should be around $50 or so(?)

    The new Dreamweaver and Photoshop will run on it, but it will be slow working with large files.

    It doesn't take too much work to stick in a new HD, although it sounds like your bro won't be able to do it. You can install OSX on the internal, and plug in an external HD for files.

    EBay is a good source for buying programs, some sellers are not legitimate but many are. Just make sure you read the auctions carefully.

    Some RAM and a larger HD will make it a usable machine with Tiger or Panther, and cost no more than $100 total. I would probably avoid CPU upgrades or anything like that. Instead of that, you could sell this iMac and buy a refurbed eMac from Apple.com for $549, and get a better machine for not much more.
     
  6. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #6
    I have an old iMac at home that my parens and brother and sister use. It was the 400MHz graphite iMac. I love that machine but it needs to be put out of its missery! Something has knackered with the monitor, it keeps flickering pink. The monitor keeps shrinking on the CRT. Applications keep dissappearing so I have to reinstall panther every month or so and applications have tuned into Arabic!

    I was looking at putting a Mac mini inside but I dont think that is possible.

    When I upgrade my PowerMac monitor I will try and give my current CRT to my parents and make them buy a Mac mini. I will probably try and get it set up as a server with a large HD or something.

    Hope you have luck resurecting your iMac. If anyone has any ideas how to help mine, please let me know!
     
  7. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #7
    You could replace it with an eMac. It will get you a similar footprint, and you can then retire your trusty iMac
     
  8. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #8
    yeah i could. My G/F has an eMac and i love it. They are great machines, hopefully they will get a good upgrade soon.
     
  9. KevRC4130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #9
    Ok, I just talked to him. It is a slot-loading drive.

    Also, does he need an Airport (regular), or does an Airport Extreme also work?

    Thanks for the help so far!
     
  10. wide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    He would need Airport, Airport Extreme is not compatible with that model. Airport cards are quite expensive now; he's better off using an ethernet cord (he could get an extension cord if need be).
     
  11. 150hp macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Location:
    Door County, WI, USA
    #11
    Regular airport & an adapter. The iMac has the antenna built in but needs a circuit board type of adapter for the airport card to plug into & then the combo plugged into the iMac.

    My 600mhz G3 iMac is keeping me very happy, BTW.
     
  12. cal6n macrumors 68000

    cal6n

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Gloucester, UK
    #12
    I bet someone has either upgraded, or tried to upgrade, to Jaguar or Panther without sorting the firmware. You're describing the classic symptoms. If it still boots OS 9, go get the right firmware from Apple:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86117

    Hello iMac, welcome back! You may need to replace the drive as well but they're cheap.
    :cool:
     
  13. KevRC4130 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #13
    Can you describe the adapter? Does it come with the cards from say Powermax, or the majority of cards on ebay?
     
  14. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    totally cool
  15. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #15
    I will have a go with the firmware when I get home. Would installing new firmware really stop the problems with the pink monitor. I can live with everything else but sometimes I have to leave the computer and it is normally worse at night.
     
  16. cal6n macrumors 68000

    cal6n

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Gloucester, UK
    #16

    I'm 95% sure. I used to buy them for £50-£75 on ebay, sort the firmware and sell them in the Friday ad for £250-£300. I've done a few! :)
     

Share This Page