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Old G3 iBook needs speeding up

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by johnnyivan, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Hi There! My first post!
    I have this clamshell mac. It’s lovely and I use it as a typewriter basically – but even for that it struggles. I'm hoping that it's just a bit tired and needs a clean-out. I run Word on it, nothing else and it doesn’t seem to have the capacity to keep running. I hardly have any work stored on it - just small word docs really. It does things like: “There is insufficient memory to update the display” and then freezes up. Do you know of any way that I can get it running more efficiently. It’s OS9 by the way – perhaps it’ll run OSX? Here’s a spec:

    When I go into ‘about this computer’ it says:

    OS 9.0.2 Power PC enabler: OS 9.0.2
    Built in Memory: 64 MB
    Virtual Memory: 65 MB used on OS9
    Largest unused Block: 47.6 MB
    Mac OS: 20.3 MB

    In the Apple System profiler it also says things like:

    Disk Cache 2 MB
    Video Memory: 4 MB
    Processor Info: PowerPC G3
    Machine Speed: 300MHz

    As I said, it’s a typewriter really and I’m happy to just keep using it as that – although being able to view images would be useful too.

  2. macrumors Penryn


    You could install more RAM?
  3. macrumors G4

    [You need to upgrade the RAM. 64iMB is "way small" you can go up to about 300 (give or take) depending on what exactly what is in there now. bumping the RAM by a factor of 5x will make a huge difference. RAM upgrades are cheap.

    The other option is to switch to some lighter weight word processor. Do you really need Word. If so keep it but if not going to something like the Appleworks suit would help.
  4. macrumors G5


    It's desperately short on RAM, OSX is completely out of the question.
    Put in a 256 Mb module for US$32 or a 512 Mb.

    Other than that, make sure you are not running an excess of programs, fonts, control panels or extensions you don't need. Rebuild the Desktop once in a while, and make sure you maintain at least 2 Gb of freespace on your hard drive, and there's not much else to do to increase performance.
  5. macrumors newbie

    Thanks Lads.
    Is it difficult to install the RAM?

    What I don't understand is why this machine - which I presume is in the same setup as it was originally, with the same software - perfoms so poorly. Surely it wasn't always like this? It's running MS Word 98. I think this mac is from 1999.

  6. macrumors Penryn


    I had someone with a Pismo w/64 MB of RAM. It was running OS 9.0.4 and performing VERY POORLY due to the lack of RAM.

  7. macrumors newbie

    Hi CandaRAM,
    Thanks for the reply. How do you rebuild the Desktop safely? I just had a look om Google and it seems there's a common - but wrong - way to do it, and a correct way: using certain disk utilities.
  8. macrumors regular



    You could try putting Xubuntu on it, it runs on 64mb ram however 128 is recommended. It should be fully compatable with your ibook if you have 1.5 gb hd space available.
  9. macrumors 601


    Or you could not recommend that to people who clearly would be totally overwhelmed by installing Linux, and would likely find Linux very frustrating.

    The original poster needs more RAM, no two ways about it. He should also upgrade to Mac OS 9.2.2 for the best stability and finder speed optimizations. You can find it at Apple's support site.

    If you are happy with 9 don't worry about X.
  10. macrumors 603


    Perhaps ABiWord? I use it as my main editor.
  11. macrumors 603


    Yeah you need 9.2.2 by far the best Classic OS there was (although other people might disagree). As 9.0.X is not that great.
  12. macrumors 601


    A lot of people would prefer you say "it was the best Mac OS 9 there was."
  13. macrumors member


    Yes. I'd agree with running OS 9.2.2, it IS the beat classic OS there ever was.
    I'd also suggest upping the RAM (of course) maybe even up to 256 MB, g3's with that much RAM, just running word, would fly.
  14. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Indeed. I never liked OS 9, but then again I was brought up with 7 and 8.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Finally a technical thread I can understand. The guy needs to upgrade his OS and his RAM; I get it. So many of these threads are way over my head though. :eek:
  16. macrumors newbie

    Thanks for the tips everyone, very interesting. Does everyone who gets a mac feel as if they've joined a sort of club? There's a lot of affection for them.

    I'll see about getting the RAM. I'll geta quote for someone to provide and install it for me before I try and do it myself.
  17. macrumors 68040


    Put a new hard drive when you upgrade the ram. it will also speed up the computer.
  18. macrumors newbie

    Hi California,
    New hard drive might be a bit pricey for an old machine, and for what i want?
  19. macrumors 68040


    Not really. You can pull the new hard drive when you move up from the old machine. Save the old hard drive. You will notice a goodly difference with ram and hard drive and you can always part out the ram and take the hard drive with you. BTW, I have another 64mb ram chip that's yours for a few bucks. It will only help you a tiny bit.
  20. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    My dad uses his clamshell iBook the same way the OP does.

    In order to speed it up I scrounged up a 256MB DIMM and installed a 40GB hard drive to replace the shockingly small (and slow) 3GB it originally had. It is now running Panther and works very well for basic tasks.

    Installing the hard drive is a bit of a process, but doable. There is a how-to with pictures on iFixit's web site. You need only an assortment of screwdrivers, a grounding strap and a dose of patience.
  21. macrumors 68000


    Have You ever seen the inside of a clamshell iBook?? Putting a new hard drive in the thing is like pulling teeth, its a job that most Apple Techs are scared to do!
  22. macrumors newbie

    Well, that's me convinced!

    Do you know how I got this Mac? My wife's two bosses bought trendy iBooks - thought they'd treat themselves - and use them at Trade Fairs. I think they then discovered that the screen resolution and size was too small for effectively displaying their IT products. It's funny, I guessed that would be a problem when my wiofe told me, but it seems that they had to buy 2 of them first before the penny dropped.

    The company moved offices and the one I ended up with was tossed on the skip [rubbish/trash]. Along with quite a lot of other stuff. This was in 2003.
  23. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    I've done it myself with the how-to linked above. The trick is to keep track of all the screws...iFixit has a printable screw chart that allows you to lay the screws onto a box on the paper as you take them out - this makes it easy to keep things organized.

    Swapping the hard drives took about two hours, going nice and slow to prevent mishaps. It was worth it IMHO, the 40GB Samsung hard drive I installed was much faster and less noisy.

    It isn't an "easy" upgrade but it doesn't require special skills - just patience. Getting into a CRT iMac was worse I think - quicker but more risky.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Thanks for the help!

    Hi there, i upgraded the RAM. Actually, when i opened up the Mac i couldn't see any old RAM in it - there seemed to be an empty space for it!

    Perhaps the things ran so badly because the previous owner scavenged the RAM before binning the MAC? Presumably they can run on Virtual Memory or something.

    Now my wife is saying "You spent 70 Euro on it? They're selling Clamshells on eBay for 100 Euro! They're hardly worth anything!" I'm happy enough - I just need a typewriter and a new laptop would be expensive.
  25. macrumors Penryn


    There is RAM soldered onto the motherboard already. You'd only be adding additional RAM via the slot.

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