got my hands on a beige G3, worth upgrading??

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by enginerd, Sep 7, 2005.

  1. enginerd macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Well we got a new PM G5 at the office so now I can pretty much claim the old G3 it replaced. It's a G3 266mhz. Digging through my spare parts pile, I managed to upgrade it to 448mb RAM, added an 8.6gb 7200rpm hard drive and upgraded the video to the max 6mb. I can also put in a 30gb drive, but not sure if it would be worth it yet.

    In the meantime, I installed jaguar on it and it's actually quite usable though I really don't have anything to use it with. I have a good PC and my G4 iBook runs circles around it. Anybody have any ideas what I can do with it? And any upgrade ideas? I checked around: adding a combo usb/firewire card is about $45 and about half that for just one. A G4 500 upgrade is about $130 and I could get a radeon 7000 32mb on ebay for about $30.

    Still with a mini just $500, it doesn't seem economical to spend much. Anybody with some feedback and opinions?
  2. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    I'd put that 30GB HDD in there and have it as a backup if your iBook starts to act up.

    Have some of the basic programs on there that you need, i.e. - Office, Safari, and whatever else you use.

    Just an idea :)
  3. yadmonkey macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2002
    Western Spiral
    I'd have a hard time justifying sinking any money into that which could otherwise go to a mini. You could use Tiger, you'd have firewire, it's very fast in comparison... sell the G3 and put it towards a mini!!
  4. enginerd thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2004
    I did think about keeping it as a spare, but I already have a desktop pc and mac laptop and even a mini with wireless keyboard and mouse would start to clutter my desk more than I'd like.

    I thought about giving it to my brother who has a 600mhz win 98 PC and would like an ipod. Would Itunes and ripping music be tolerable on the G3? Anybody know if i can add a PC cd-rw drive to it to replace the 24x (i think) cd-rom reader?
  5. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The CD rw might work, has a great database on third party cdrw/dvd/ etc..

    Ripping mp3s would probably take 20-30 mins pr CD, but itunes would run ok.
    The machine hasn't firewire or usb, so an ipod would require a usb2 card.

    Run OSX in thousands color(16bit), not millions(24bit) (the 6mb card handles 16bit much better than 24 bit)

    10.2 is the latest osx you can install, so check what reqs the ipod/itunes need.

    If you are into oc'ing, those 266mhz easily runs on 300mhz (mine have done that since 1998 and is still working great), althougth it migth ruin your CPU
  6. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Here is what I did with the exact same machine. Used XPostFacto (google it) and installed 10.3.9 . The limit of OS X on Beige Macs is 10.2 , but XPostFacto makes Panter, and I hear Tiger as well, run pretty good. Visit and look up overclocking. You can overclock that machine to at least 300mHz, although I got mine up to 333 w/83mhz bus speed. Noticeable.
    An iPod will NOT connect to a Beige unless you install a firewire or USB 2.0 PCI card. The iPod was not around yet when these machines were prevalent.
    In the end I added a wireless card and an Airport Express and the computer is a music jukebox in my living room. Works wonderfully. I also added a IDE CD-RW and it burns well too.
  7. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    I use the exact same machine as my backup and an iTunes server (running Jaguar).
    My laptop was stolen a year ago...but I know DAMN sure no one is going to take that hunk of junk...
    It does all the basic stuff just fine.
  8. enginerd thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Thanks for all the feedback, guys. Actually, I just remembered that I have a USB cd-rw drive also that's supposed to work with macs. Can this beige G3 boot from usb cd drives?? I was browsing xlr8yourmac (thanks for the link--great site!) and I read about many people having installed internal cd drives that worked great, but wouldn't work as a bootable device without a firmware flash, if at all. I'm guessing I'd run into even more problems with external drives. I don't mind buying a usb card (only ~$20) and if that works along with the ext. cd-rw, I'll have a very functional and usable machine.

    Gimmeslack, actually I happen to read about xpostfacto, but according to a faq, many people had problems running the built-in video on these particular macs with panther--did you ever have issues with that? I don't want to have to get another add-in card--pricey!
  9. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    At Low End Mac I remember reading an article that some beige G3s have problems with slave drives and require a firmware upgrade. Check your firmware version in the System Profiler (In OS 9.x.x) and you'll know whether you have an affected logic board or not.

    I used my 266MHz iMac as my primary machine up until last year, so your G3 can still be useful, but don't spend too much money on upgrades. If you really want to have a "project computer" get one of the AGP G4 towers - they have much better upgrade potential.
  10. tsk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    My advice: find a dumpster or a sucker on eBay. I had an old Beige PM that I let my kids use and it was more trouble than it was worth. You could put Jaguar on it, but some things didn't work quite right.
  11. enginerd thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2004
    Thanks for all the feedback. Most helpful :) I think what I'll do is that if I can find a large bag to haul it home, I'll grab a USB 2.0 pci card, then I can use it for a good backup mac with the 30gb drive and my ext. cd-rw.

    Blackadder, funny that you mention the G4 AGP graphics models. I have two of those here, but I don't see them being replaced soon. Quite remarkable how long and productive they've been. :cool: Well when we do replace them, I'll be looking to scoop one up for myself.
  12. applemacdude macrumors 68040


    Mar 26, 2001
    Over The Rainbow
    jsut run os 9 on it and put some classic apps on it/////

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