How to upgrade iMac G3 (233 Mhz)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by stovetop6872, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. stovetop6872 macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Okay so recently I recieved an old (I think original) iMac G3 233 Mhz for FREE! I was very excited. It only has a 4 GB hard drive and 32 MB or RAM. The optical drive is broken (almost positive) it wont read any disk, it just asks to format every disk. Any way, it still has ALL the other guys information on it and not much space left, so I would like to reinstall the OS. There are no disks, but I would hopefully install Panther on it. There is also no firewire port. I think that parts of the operating system are missing because I cannot open some "control pannels" they are just completely empty so I cannot even do user accounts. So I would like to spend UNDER 100 (dollars) TOTAL on upgrading the Hard drive (doesn't have to be big (20 - 40 GB) (enough for the OS and a few others), RAM, and OS. I have two brand new MacBook Pro and iMac 24" with a superdrive so I don't know if that helps. Thanks for your time.

    EDIT: I also have an external CD burner (USB) if that helps any) Thanks again
  2. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    don't waste your money. Turn it into an aquarium.
  3. apearlman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Red Hook, NY
    What for?

    It's hard to advise how to upgrade the machine if you don't specify exactly what you plan to do with it. Especially considering you have 2 other macs already. What's this ancient 3rd one for?

    If you just want it running as a novelty, then leave the hardware alone, and find an OS9 cd to install. Run the software that was designed for this hardware.

  4. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    I just would like to know what I need to upgrade it. It will be used for little kids and I would like OS 10 on it for software and networking reasons.
  5. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Okay, a little update on the iMac situation. I have downloaded the 9.2.2 update and that made everything in the "Control Panels" go back to normal so everything is there. I also discovered that OS 10.0.2 was on, I didn't even know that!! So good news: no need to buy OS 9 or 10. I do have the Panther retail disks so I am wondering how to install those. I am going to buy 2 128 MB RAM sticks (PC-100 I think) so that will only be $15 per stick. ( World Computing/100SO128168/)...So that should be about it. The Panther disks are on CD, but the internal CD drive is shot on this iMac. I do, however have an external CD writer and two other Macs with SuperdDrives, how can you install OS 10.3.9 with an external CD drive (via USB...**note - no firewire on this iMac)?? Thanks for all the help again...In the end this will only cost around 30 bucks, not bad! :apple:
  6. stovetop6872 thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 27, 2007
    Does anyone have any more suggestions? Thank you!
  7. edenwaith macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2001
    Fun with old Bondi

    I've encountered a pretty similar situation.

    I have an original Bondi blue iMac, and the CD drive doesn't work, but I can get external CD drives (in this case, an Iomega CD-RW) to work. However, there is a catch. Considering the age of this machine, it doesn't seem to be possible to boot from an external drive. When I hold down the Option key, a Startup Boot menu isn't offered like on later Macs.

    One suggestion that was made to me, was to install your OS on another hard drive (if you have a computer that is old enough to have, say, Mac OS 10.3 on it), and then install the hard drive into the iMac.

    Otherwise, your best bet is to find a replacement for the CD drive. I believe I once found that CD drive for the original iMac priced around $60.
  8. edenwaith macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2001

    One more thing, now that I consider it. My iMac has 160 MB of RAM, the original 32MB and an additional 128MB. Double-check to see if that original 32MB is soldered onto the board, or if it can be removed, first, before purchasing more RAM.
  9. Moriarty macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2008
  10. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Ah, the joys of getting "upside down" on a "free computer." I think if you peruse your local Craigslist for a period of time, you're likely to find a faster G3 iMac, like a DV400 with a slot load DVD drive for around one Benjamin, and it will have firewire, VGA out, and run Panther, possibly Tiger, like a champ. If you can unload the 233 for some cash or parts . . . you're even more ahead.
  11. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    You have two MBP's and a 24" iMac and now a new book end.
  12. siliconn macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2009

    Yes you can install a new hard drive with a new operating system (panther).
    That's the easiest way to install a new operating system. Watch the IDE connector, on the motherboard that connects to the hard drive, it is wired back to front.

    If you use a normal IDE cable, it won't fit, because new ones have a middle hole blacked off, just cut off the offending pin on the mac.

    Otherwise you need another apple CD drive or early versions of OSX (i don't know about Panther) won't install. Some earlier OSX's require all the hardware to be correct before they will load the operating system, correct monitor, CD sometimes and at least an apple hard drive too. And a hard drive over 8 gigs has to have the operating system in the first 8 gigs or the computer won't find it, and load it. (probably needs partioning too)

    The CD drive has the power and info in the one cable, so if you can solder, you can connect a normal full size CD Drive ( or hard drive) and have it coming out the side and install other software. But it sound like you want to keep the form factor of the computer, so you won't want to do that.

    An old PC laptop drive might have the same connectors. So it might be an option. Try to get the same brand, that apple used, and it might even load your operating system.

    Or if you want to spend a ridiculous amount, replace the screen with a LCD install a PC powersupply and get a new cd writer. Install a sonnet harmony upgrade and get firewire. The make room for 3 more 500 gig IDE hard drives.

    While its a bit of trouble and cost, and probably not worth it, its fun.

    Check out...

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