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Upgrading a Powermac G3 B&W

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ryanflucas, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. macrumors regular

    I recently picked up a Powermac G3 B&W. I'm more of a PC guy and have somewhat limited Mac experience but I have worked on some in the past and used to own a iMac G3 266.

    I did some initial upgrades with parts I had (system was unchanged from factory spec) and now have the following:

    -- PowerMac G3 Series 300MHZ 512K L2 Cache
    -- 640MB Ram (256,128,128,128)
    -- Apple DVD-ROM (upgraded from the included CD-ROM)
    -- 6GB Hard Disk (I have an additional 20GB installed as a second drive, not currently being used though)
    -- Zip 100 Drive
    -- ATI PCI Video Card (16MB - I tried playing a DVD & it failed. I opened the case and it was missing the DVD decoder chip attachment)
    -- Old Beige full size keyboard & USB Generic Mouse (system came with neither, was able to scrounge up these to use in the meantime)
    -- 17" Graphite Apple Studio Display
    -- Mac OS 9.2.2
    -- Boot ROM version 1.1f4

    What I would like to do is upgrade the video so this machine can play DVD movies smoothly, and also run Mac OS X. I have an additional 40GB hard disk, so I'm thinking of pulling the two currently in the system and replacing with just the 40GB drive. I'm expecting to use the system for basic Internet, and some light graphic design. I've started getting more work troubleshooting Mac's for clients of mine so having a fairly new Mac around would be nice to get more experience on.

    A do have some questions though.

    1. Can this system with the specs I have above run Mac OS X 10.4 fairly well? I'm not expecting it to be a speed demon, but I wouldn't want it to run so slow it feels like its parked either. :confused:

    2. Can someone recommend me a video card upgrade with DVD support? I've seen alot of Mac Radeon's around, 7000, 9600, etc.

    3. Do Apple Pro mice have any sort of warranty or can be fixed? A friend gave me one when they heard I got a Mac. Mouse is optical and lights up but cursor doesn't move when I use it.

    4. Is there any place I can get Mac OS 9.2 retail from? Has it long been discontinued by dealers?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I picked this system up for a steal (monitor and base unit cost me $25) and its been pretty good thus far. :)

  2. macrumors newbie


    I have a B&W G3 400MHZ, like you i have some some upgrade with the memory hard drives and so on, I would reccomend a Radeon 7000 PCI to speed up things a little but the limiting factor is unfortunately the PCI bus speed.

    You shoudl be able to run tiger fairley well although you will notice that while moving apps around the screen or viewing dashboard is it a litle smow. You can use PCI extreme to speed this up conciderably but DVD playback can be slower.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Please excuse me if this isn't financially viable, but since you mentioned doing light graphic work, i would strongly advise against upgrading the G3 B&W and get a faster, Dual G4 PowerMac.

    I picked up a Graphite Dual 450 G4 with 512 RAM (Upgradable to 2GB) and a 60GB HD for only £185 UK pounds. That is a bargain and it is quite a capable machine. Plenty more power than the G3 PowerMac and you won't need to upgrade for light graphic work. Maybe more RAM.

    I'm sure you will be better off putting the money toward a G4 instead of upgrading the G3 (which will probably cost as much as the G4)

    Hope you don't mind me giving my opinion.
    Let us all know what you decide to do, and how it all goes.

  4. macrumors 603


    First thing you should do is overclock that baby!
    www.xlr8yourmac.com has all the info needed on that. It is not that hard, just as simple as changing the jumper locations. After that, add some RAM, and you will have smooth playing DVD's in no time.

    Take it from me, My G3/350 overclocked to 400 has 650mb, a DVD-ROM, and it runs Tiger pretty good, not great.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    The first thing I would do is buy a G3 or G4 450 Mhz Zif chip from ebay. I wouldn't pay more than $50 for it. I would then get a Radeon 7000 Mac edition. It will play DVDs fine. You can run 10.4 fine. You will want to get at least a 66Mhz ATA card to plug your drives into. Why? The bus speed of the motherboard ATA controllers is so slow, you will find yourself waiting a lot while the drives churn. You can get a 66Mhz card cheap on ebay (look for "Acard 66" and you should find a few.)

    The best place to get OS 9.2 is again ebay. Why do you need it? A better bet would be to get a compatible CD or DVD burner (which you will want anyway), install it, burn your present system folder to a CD or DVD, and then put it back on your computer after you install OS X. Then you can simply choose that system folder as your Classic system folder in OS X's System Preferences.
  6. macrumors 65816

    I'm considering similar upgrades to a B/W G3. Will any of the pci hard drive cards on ebay work, or do I have to drop $70+ on a mac specific card?
  7. macrumors 68000


    The best thing yoou can do with those baby's is upgrade the graphics card to a 32mb or 64mb ATI radeon 7000 (flashed, you can get them on ebay).

    Also if your running OSX try and max out the ram to 1gb will make a big difference, maybe also upgrade the dvd-rom to a pioneer superdrive, they work fine and are bootable.

    But at the end of the day, the machine will still be very slow compared to any current day G4....your best bet is probably to look at getting a old G4 tower...but if you are getting a good deal on the B&W go for it, they can be alot of fun....

  8. macrumors 6502a


    You have to get a Mac specific PCI card. Note that some will be cheaper than others based on whether it is an auction or just a power seller selling for a set price. The latter will be higher in price most of the time. Look for auctions that are not getting that much action. Or first do research into the specific model numbers of Mac cards, then do ebay searches using the specific model number (but not the manufacturer) and make sure to click the little button that says to also search the listing itself, not just the auction title.

    Your hope is to find models that are both PC and Mac compatible but that are listed in PC categories. Why? The price and demand will be much lower.
  9. macrumors regular

    I have a B&W G3 that I painted black with red apples. It's currently at 1GB RAM, 100-ish GB internal HDD, running 10.4 SERVER. No problems at all :eek: I was even using at as a web sever for a while. I love Apple's shelf-life. These things are like Cheetos- still good after 7 or 8 years :D
  10. macrumors regular

    By light graphic design, I mean opening up Photoshop (or a opensource app) once in awhile and editing a photo. No where near professional quality or speed would be needed. More or less this Mac would be for me to play around in Mac OS X, browse online, and try out some applications I couldn't otherwise on my PC's.

    Currently I'm checking out a ata66 raid card on Ebay, and looking into zif cpu upgrades. I did check my motherboard and found I have a Rev.b logic board so I can add a larger hard drive without risking data corruption.

    I do see an inconsistency though. When I browse Ebay auctions (and some websites) I see Mac OS X restore sets that are specific to certain desktop & laptop models. Then I see talk of Apple restore sets having universal install capabilities. For example a restore set for an eMac or an iMac having two discs, and talk of one of them being a universal install disc (installing on any supported Mac) and then the second disc possibly not working because it is machine specific. I've also read on various sites that machine specific cd's are only for that machine with no exceptions. Which is it then? Is there any truth to any of this?

    Does anyone know if there are any issues with newer peripherals working on this older model? For example could I get a mighty mouse & an Apple Pro Keyboard and use them without problems (provided I have the correct installed OS)?

    Thanks for all the comments and advice! :)
  11. macrumors regular

    Will ATA66 RAID cards work just as good? For example could I get a RAID card and just use one port on it? Is RAID on most cards a necessity, or an option that I can ignore and have it default back to a plain ole ATA66 controller?
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Yes, a raid card would work, but you would pay slightly more for it, so why get it?
  13. macrumors 6502a


    You don't want to buy OS X as restore discs. You should only buy a "retail box" version, meaning a version that you would buy if you went to a computer store and got a boxed complete version that will install on any Mac computer that can run OS X. Yes, restore discs are only for the machines they came with and may not work for anything else.

    Any USB mouse and keyboard will work, so yes, both of the above will work fine. You do have to configure the mighty mouse, but it is easy and there are surely directions with the mighty mouse. Also, with a B/W G3 you can even use old ADB keyboards, which means you could use the vaunted Apple Extended Keyboard II, which is so nice, I still use it with my G4 (via a Belkin USB-->ADB converter). Yes, the keyboard is ugly beige, but the key action is perfect to me. You could get one of these keyboards VERY cheap.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    As for ATA controllers you could get a 66Mhz card for economy (which would limit you to 120 GB drives generally speaking), or you could get a 133Mhz card which would cost more but allow you to get any size hard drive.

    A couple 133 cards:



    Frankly, there is no reason that Mac PCI cards should be so high, therefore I would wait until I found a 66 card cheap, or just bite the bullet and get a 133 card.

    I cannot find any 66 cards that are reasonably priced right now.
  15. macrumors newbie

    graphics card

    I have this setup:

    B&W With G4@500mhz, 1gb ram and a 80gb Harddrive. I run Tiger and want to add a new graphics card to get a dual monitor setup.

    The question is as follows:

    Can i plug in a PC Graphics Card or do i need the Mac Edition cards?
  16. macrumors 68030


    I have the Beige 300 MHz G3 minitower, with ATI Radeon 7000 card 32MB
    Mac Edition, 120 GB Hitachi ATA HD and the Pioneer DVR-106U DVD drive.
    Running 10.2.8.

    You'll actually be fine if you can find a retail copy of Mac OSX Jaguar and upgrade it to 10.2.8

    Have CS1 installed and it works O.K
    Play DVD's perfectly.

    Granted I'd like to upgrade her to Tiger, but I've spent enough already.

    Funny thing is that the single processor 1.25 GHz Mac Mini G4 will outperform it and you can pick one of those up for maybe $300.00 these days.
  17. macrumors 65816


    A) mAxDaRam.....OS X will use every mb you give it......

    B) Get a Radeon 7000 or 9200, a must have to play DVD's and/or QT movies

    C) If you're gonna get a HD controller card, an ATA/100/133 card will make a world of difference compared to the internal bus. Sonnet's Tempo cards are excellent (used several over the yrs notta problemo) Forget the Raid unless you have 2 fast HD's of the same size.

    D) Be careful with the overclocking. Do it in 50mhz steps and test before going higher each time. Every chip has it's own tolerance. My old 350 went up to 500 easily, but my friend's 450 would go to 500, and became unstable @550
  18. macrumors 6502a



    You have to use a Mac edition unless it is a PC card that has been successfully flashed.
  19. macrumors newbie

    Radeon 7200

    I got a used Radeon 7200 PCI card from a friend and want to flash it for mac use...How and where and what?
  20. macrumors 6502a


    This link is NOT for the Radeon 7200, but it will be informative reading as to the process and the links may help:

  21. macrumors 6502a

    Chef Medeski


    On eBay these things run for a 350 Mhz at around $90 including shipping. Get up to 500 and your looking around $100. If you can find one of these for $50. I'll give you $5.
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Firstly, I wrote that in March. At the time, B & W upgrade cards at low Mhz were not fetching so much on ebay. Recently they seem to be fetching a bit more. But also keep in mind that I said to look for a G4 OR a G3. A G3 Zif (Apple brand--not Sonnet, etc) at 450 Mhz usually do go for around $50. I've seen them go for less. There is no good reason why G4 upgrades at 400-600Mhz are going for so much, but I realize sometimes people get bidding fever and bid too high. I have often seen upgrades go for MORE than their brand new price while still available brand new. I don't get that. Nonetheless, I would still not pay $100 for a G4 450 Mhz and I don't think anyone else should either. The benefit is not worth the cost.

    That said, deals can still be had:

    G4/550 at $71

    G4/500 at $59.50

    G4/500 at $59.99

    Be patient and you can get a G3 or G4 450Mhz for approximately $50.
  23. macrumors newbie


    No issues. I use the mighty mouse and keyboard that came with my MacPro (at work) with my B&W G3 at home. The G3 is running Tiger, and it recognized the keyboard and mouse with no set up required.

    I'm using a Radeon 7000 MacEdition from eBay ($30); works great. I wouldn't know how to flash non-Mac Edition PCI though.

    Ok, question -- who here has had success with the Sonnett Encore/Ziff CPU upgrades? I'm considering one for the G3, and just want to know more about them. I'm comfortable with the installation -- it's whether the performance gains are worth the price that I'm curious about.

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