Best possible OS for ancient iMac, and how to install?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Jackonicko, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. Jackonicko macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2002
    High Key to Hades
    My 82 year old father replaced his long-serving iMac with a new eMac last year, and now wants to 'cascade' the iMac to his girlfriend.

    It would be nice to get it running the newest possible OS 9 and OS X, but when I've tried to install them I get prompts that I need to 'update the Firmware'.

    I have not the faintest clue what that means.

    The machine is a tray-loading blueberry 266 MHz iMac Power PC G3, machine ID 406, with 32 MB built in, running OS B1 8.5.1.

    I have OS 9 and X discs that came with an iMac DVSE and an iBook G3/500.

    What do I need, what do I need to do?
  2. spinne1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 12, 2005
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    I don't know if OS 9 will even install with only 32 mb of ram, and I know for sure that OS X won't. You are better off not putting any money into this computer and just running it on OS 8.5.1. There is not a huge difference between OS 8 and OS 9 for general use. I think even upgrading the ram is money wasted when that money could buy perhaps a used Blue and White G3, or go towards a much newer iMac (500-700 Hz for example). The 266 will seem VERY slow running OS X. As far as updating the firmware, type the following into Google and see what you get:

    266 iMac firmware

    or try:

    266 iMac update firmware

    EDIT: I just got some links for you to save you the time and trouble of Googling it (but it would have been good for you)
  3. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
  4. rickvanr macrumors 68040


    Apr 10, 2002
    Mac OS 9 only needs 32MB (40MB Virtual) to run.
  5. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I'll mail you a 64mb chip for the price of a stamp for your machine.

    It'll run os9 great. I've put Panther on a 233mhz and 266 with 128 on them.

    PM me if you want the 64mb chip. It'll make me happy to keep an old mac happy.
  6. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    I have a tray-loading iMac 266MHz and it runs OS X Panther reasonably well - with 288MB RAM. I'd recommend 256 MB minimum for OS X, you might be able to get away with 128 but don't expect much, if anything.

    Even with lots of RAM the 266MHz iMac will start to struggle with anything beyond the more basic apps like Safari.

    As for OS 9, even with only 32MB RAM it will run well but I recommend 96MB+ for best performance. OS 9 is probably the best OS for this computer in terms of wringing the most speed out of it. But software is becoming obsolete.

    Make sure that you do the latest firmware update as per rdowns' link. It isn't difficult but it is necessary.
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I strongly disagree with the "forget it" opinion. For $40 (link) you can add a 256MB stick for a total of 288MB, which is enough to get OSX moving. You may want to stop at Jaguar (Panther will probably also be ok if you have a copy, but I wouldn't try Tiger), but for a very modest investment you can get it running reasonably new software.

    And yes, I know OSX will be DOG SLOW on it; that's not the point--it still won't crash, is easier to use for beginners (the dock is simple), and without OSX you can't run anything close to a modern browser (last pre-X browsers are IE5 and Mozilla 1.2, neither of which are anything to write home about). With At least Jaguar on there, you can get Camino or Firefox up and running, along with Mail and some version of iTunes, which will cover basic websurfing, email, and music duties acceptably (particularly for someone dating an 82 year old).

    Me, I wouldn't even bother installing 9 on it--what for?

    (Also, to note, I recently got a friend of my wife set up with exactly one of these computers with a paltry 192MB of RAM running Jaguar, and it's doing fine with Camino, Mail, and iChat. The previously computer-less family is happy with it, and I even managed to set it up for them using VLC across the Pacific ocean--surprisingly smooth.)
  8. madmax_2069 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2005
    Springfield Ohio
    I own 2 beige G3 AIO running at 266mhz my test mac only has 96mb ram and runs OS X 10.2 alright with no crashes or foulups. 32mb ram will run 9.2.2 good but wont run much at the same time cause 9.2.2 does a crap job with memory management. i would recomend buying a memory upgrade of 256mb ram and install OS X 10.2 and above. if a beige G3 running at 266mhz with 256mb ram can run 10.2-10.4 that Mac can run it but with 256mb and above.
  9. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    An 82 year old guy with a girlfriend. Now that is cool.

    And yeah, more RAM OS X blah blah blah....
  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    82 years old, a girlfriend AND a MAC guy?

    Now that is cooler.

Share This Page