How to max out a PowerPC G3 500 MHz iBook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by navaira, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #1
    Hello,

    I have this lovely (and HEAVY ;) ) iBook laying around and taking space. It won't connect to my B/N/G wifi, it's got the Airport card. If I lower security on the network it connects, but I don't want to do that for obvious reasons. I tried a USB wifi card but the iBook doesn't detect it at all. It's running 10.4.11 and it's bloody slow with it but I hoped the newest possible OS is going to help with the wifi. It didn't.

    So I have three questions... OK, four:
    – how to connect it to a modern internet network?
    – how to max out RAM? (I've got 128 MB but I read 640 MB is possible – but prices I found are... let's say I could get another, beefier Macbook for that much money)
    – is there any way to stick a SSD in it?
    aaand fourth...
    – should I just not bother and pretend it's a museum item?

    Thanks a lot for any responses!
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    First of all, something's not quite adding up as the slowest iBook G4 was 800mhz.

    I'm going to guess that you either have a 500mhz iBook G3 Snow(marked only iBook at the base of the bezel) or a 500mhz Powerbook G4.

    If it's the former, your options are a bit limited.

    First of all, 128mb is going to make Tiger slow. Your max is either 576 or 640 depending on how much RAM is soldered to the board. Fortunately, the RAM in these is actually a standard PC part that was widely used in laptops of the era. It's a 144 pin SO-DIMM. Depending on which revision of iBook, either PC-66 or PC-100 is specified. Faster speeds will downclock, so I usually just order PC-133 when I'm buying RAM. You should be able to find a PC-133 SO-DIMM on Ebay for $10 or less.

    The network thing is more of a problem. Under 10.4.11, your Airport card only support WEP or WPA/AEK, both of which are fairly insecure. I set up a "guest" WiFi in my router using WEP encryption for older computers, but I frequently turn this on and off because of how insecure WEP is. There are a couple of options that will get you onto modern networks at "G" speeds, but they are external to the computer. Wired networks are always a good option too, although I recognize their inconvenience.

    There are a couple of SSD options for these. You need a 44 pin PATA SSD. You can buy cheap Kingspec SSDs on Ebay, or expensive ones from OWC. I go with a "middle of the road" option-I usually buy a 128gb mSATA SSD and PATA bridge for it. The ones I buy-when assembled-have the same form factor as a regular 2.5" drive. My total cost for drive+enclosure usually runs $50-60.

    A lot of us on here have machines similar to yours. IMO, one of their great strengths is in playing older games, although they are great for wordprocessing and other light tasks. I HIGHLY recommend installing OS 9 in addition to 10.4.11. The machine will be very perky, and programs that are native to OS 9(like a lot of games that will run on this) will run much better than in classic mode under 10.4

    Finally, if you have a Powerbook instead of an iBook, all of the above is still true with two exceptions

    1. The maximum ram is 1gb with two 144-pin SO-DIMMs. They will need to be at least PC-100, but again PC-133 is fine. Again, this is an inexpensive upgrade

    2. For modern connectivity, remove your internal airport card and purchase an "Airport Extreme" compatible Cardbus card on Ebay($15 or less). This fits in the Cardbus slot on the left of the computer, and will give you full access to all modern networks under 10.4.11. OS X recognizes it natively and it will work just like the built-in Airport card-you don't need to install drivers and will control it with the "antenna" symbol in the menu bar. I can connect to the 802.11x/WPA2 Enterprise network at work with no problems. The downside is it won't even be seen under OS 9.
     
  3. navaira thread starter macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #3
    Oops! Corrected. Thank you. It is the Snow version.

    Yes. I have an Airport card in there and it won't let me be great. Would that be Cardbus as well? I've bought an actual Airport Extreme, then found out I can't use it.

    I've been trying to search for "ibook g3 cardbus" and "ibook g3 wifi" but no sensible results... Ebay has no results for "ibook cardbus". Am I out of luck here?

    I'd like to take this computer to my mother's – she lives in a different country – and just leave it there so I don't have to bring my Air just to write some emails. I'm guessing OS 9 browsers will not work with most modern websites... I had no chance of checking 10.4.11 Safari because, well, I have no wifi.

    Thanks for the response!
     
  4. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #4
    I've bought a number of these and they work great on Tiger as well as Leopard:

    http://www.edimax.com/edimax/mercha...dimax/global/wireless_adapters_n150/ew-7811un

    Mine came from eBay last year - they were less than £5 then. You have to download a driver package from their website - it installs and runs as a transparent background service.

    With that and extra memory, TenFourFox or Safari/Webkit will give you reasonable online access.
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    iBooks don't have a Carbus slot-that was a feature only seen on Powerbooks.

    I do have one of these

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007PTCFFW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It's powered by a USB port and then plugs into the ethernet port. It's quite small-roughly the size of two match boxes. It's configured entirely thought the browser, so is OS independent.

    If you do get it on the internet, be sure to download TenFourFox-it's an up-to-date and(for the time being) has source parity with Firefox. This means it's both secure and will render web pages correctly.

    As for OS 9-you do have Classilla. It's also based on the Mozilla framework but presents itself as a mobile browser. This means that it will(where available) render the mobile version of the page rather than the desktop version. Since the mobile sites are usually "lighter" this gives you a speed advantage.
     
  6. navaira thread starter macrumors 68040

    navaira

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #6
    Wow, that's amazing. Thank you all for replies! I'm going to have some fun with it.
     
  7. sawpits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #7
    Do you remove the Airport Card before using one of those? Thanks.
     
  8. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #8
    In the iBook I bought it for, I'd already removed the Airport Extreme card - I don't see why you can't simply turn the Airport connection off and then install the dongle as it uses it's own driver and connection manager.
     
  9. sawpits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #9
    Thanks. I'm also thinking of trying one in my G4 Powerbook so I can get an 'n' connection and the improved performance over 'g'.
     
  10. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #10
    Hope goes well. I've checked, they're still on eBay (UK) at £4.99 inc - however, the ones I bought were branded as Neotech but seem to be the same.
     
  11. sawpits, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    sawpits macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2014
    #11

    Here they are $9 - $11 on eBay, including shipping, worth the try. Listed as Edimax here.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #12
    Just note that on early iBooks/Powerbooks(anything old enough to use the original Airport card) USB dongles are going to be bottlenecked by the 12mbps USB 1.1 in these. On Powerbooks you can get around that with a Cardbus USB 2.0 card, although IMO the Airport Extreme option is a bit more elegant.
     
  13. bobesch, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

    bobesch macrumors 6502a

    bobesch

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Location:
    Kiel, Germany
    #13
    Hi,
    guess you have the "translucent"/"snow" iBookG3 (http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ibook/specs/ibook_500_late_2001.html)
    As Dronecatcher mentioned the Edimax mini USB-WLAN-stick is excellent to connect the iBook/Tiger using the latest encryptions. You do not have to remove the old Airport-card - just switch off Airport at all (but you also might switch Airport on for an ad-hoc Hotspot).
    Max-out RAM for Tiger - it'll give you a whole new experience !!!
    Tiger with iTunes 9.1.1 will enable the iBook to get access to shared iTunes-Libraries within your home network but unfortunately iTunes in the Cloud isn't supported.
    I would go for an mSATA-Upgrade (IDE-mSATA-Konverter plus mSATA SSD)
    - here for example are a big 250 GB mSATA: https://www.amazon.de/Crucial-MX200...UTF8&qid=1466283171&sr=8-2&keywords=mSATA+250
    or a "smaller" 128GB version: https://www.amazon.de/Transcend-MSA...F8&qid=1466321740&sr=8-1&keywords=mSATA+128GB
    - hers's a converter to fit the mSATA into the iBook: https://www.amazon.de/DELOCK-Konver..._UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=B77R9CZZR89TE5TJT01B
    With an HDD/SSD the primary partition has a limit of 128GB, so if you should go for a bigger drive (like the 250GB model mentioned above) you will have to create multiple partitions via USB-IDE-adapter before you may install Tiger (you can do this by putting the iBook into targeting mode via FireWire, once the mSATA has been already attached to the iBook)
    There's a guide at iFixit to replace the HDD: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iBook+G3+12-Inch+Hard+Drive+Replacement/131 (it's a bit tricky. Go for the iSesamoTool! - that's my favorite tool. The screw-drivers are common-sense)
    I use three partitions on my G3: 1st: Tiger (min.10GB, opt.20-30GB; best up to 128GB e.g.to hold the complete iTunesLibrary); 2nd: MacOS9 (10-20GB); 3rd: DATA

    That will make a perfect machine:
    - WLAN(Tiger) with Edimax
    - MacOS9: a) Tiger/Classic or b) native on 2nd partition. One may use the SystemFolder of MacOS9 which is on the 2nd partition either with Tiger/Classic (boot 1st partition with Tiger) or native (boot from the 2nd partition) or have MacOS9.2 in the Classic environment and another previous MacOS on the 2nd partition.
    - with Classic or native MacOS9 you may run superb versions of MSOffice2001, Acrobat5, Photoshop7 (MSOffice2001/Classic has a very good screen-performance to Office2004)
    - Here's a mixed Tiger/Classic-setting for the iBook: email (native Client), webkit for Tiger (instead of Safari), MSOffice2004 plus Converter or MSOffice2001/Classic, Photoshop5-7/Classic and a lot of software
    You may find a lot of MacOS-Software a MacintoshGarden that will run nicely with Tiger/Classic (including Office2001, Photoshop, Acrobat5)

    This is still a "contemporary" setting of software on the iBook:
    - streaming iTunes-libraries at the home-network
    - Office: MS Office '04 with "MS XLS Converter" for docx/xlsx/pptx-files; LibreOffice; iWorks'09. (You may as well Office2001/Classic together with free "MS XLS Converter to be up-to-date), old AppleWorks6 (including a good painting-prog)
    - PDF-Editing: Acrobat5/Classic; Skim, PDFpenPro (lets you drag&drop transparent-gifs into any PDF, e.g. stamp&signature), CombinePDFs (throw PDFs and pictures/scans together in a box and create a new PDF)
    - fax with inbuilt fax-modem or even group-fax with PageSender-software
    - email
    - basic web-browsing (webkit for Tiger or Classical on Classic/native)
    - webDAV (native on Tiger, with Goliath on MacOS)
    - file-sharing (native on Tiger, with Transmit1.7-FTP-Client/Dave for Win-networks on MacOS)
    - screen-sharing (with VNC-clients both on Tiger and MacOS; with TeamViewer7 on Tiger; with MS RemoteDesktop on Tiger)

    It's really worth the effort..
     

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