How useful would a G3 iMac be today?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dingdongbubble, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. dingdongbubble macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007

    I managed to find someone who has an old iMac G3 and he wants to sell it. Now as Macs arent popular over here, no one is buying it I think. So when I talked to the guy about the price, he said give me anything :D. Yeah I can name my price.

    So in the worst case scenario, the iMac G3 will be a 233 mhz machine and in a best case scenario it will be a 700 mhz 'beast'. So can you tell me how useful each would be?

    Hopefully not, but if the machine does not have any OS on it, then what should I do? Where can I get the specific RAM for it?

    A 700mhz G3 can be compared with what clock speed from Intel Pentium? And how about a 233 mhz? I am sure you ahve heard about the megahertz myth. I am talking in that context. I think that a G5 1.8 ghz can totally own a Pentium 2.8-3.6 ghz.

    I was thinking of getting at a negligble price ( afw bucks maybe the change leftover in my pocket). :eek: What do you think?
  2. Bowlerguy10 macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    At my computer
    Overall the G3 at this point will serve almost no purpose and you are better off spending more cash to get an updated mac and not a paperweight.
  3. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    I use a G3 iMac, in my kitchen, as an access point to my iTunes library and also to look for recipes online.

    I say get it, but don't spend more than $50 on it.
  4. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Ack! It's not quoting someone when you put words in their mouth! It'd be better to respond to each aspect of the quote separately.

    But yes, getting a G3 iMac at this point is worthless save as a kid's computer.
  5. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    hmmm lets forget about the price because I am sure I will be able to get at a dirt cheap price. And if I dont like it, I might sell it on ebay which will prolly fetch me a lot more.

    I HEARD that its still good for basic stuff like watching DVDs and stuff?

    To tell the truth, I just want it for web browsing (a LOT) and for iTunes (wont mind another player) and watching videos here and there.
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Should be OK for browsing and iTunes. Just watchout for flash sights. You would need a fairly old version of OSX. Panther at the most, I would think. Or you could install Linux on it.
  7. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    I would get it. For that stuff, it would be fine.
  8. Sky Blue Guest

    Sky Blue

    Jan 8, 2005
    Web browsing will be slow, especially a page with a lot of flash.
    iTunes would be ok.
    I think videos would be pretty jumpy.
    it might not even have a DVD Drive
  9. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    I'd go for it if it is a slot loader DVD drive and maybe 400-450 mHz or more. I've got two of these on extended loan to family and they're fine for web browsing, iTunes, a bit of word processing etc.
    You'll find iPhoto is a bit slow at loading all those high res digital photos, but it'll work ok. Put Tiger on it if at all possible, and buy as much ram as you can (2 x 512mB I think from memory - go to Crucial to find out what sort to get). One drawback might be the lack of usb2 and the lack of Airport (unless you're lucky - some came with Airport cards fitted, but it's difficult to buy the type these machines need now, except overpriced on eScam, sorry, eBay). Hook it up to a router with a network cable though - cheap and reliable.
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    If you do get it stay away from buying any upgrades for it that can not be moved to another computer. The SDRAM costs about $40 for 512mb so maxing it out could run up to $80 (which would buy you a 733-800Mhz Quicksilver G4 on eBay). Unless the iMac has less than 512mb then at least bring it to that mark.

    Useful upgrades that can be migrated later on. External DVD Burner, External Hard Drive, USB Wireless adapter through

    For the OS 10.3 since 10.4 will tax the G3 processor unecessarily, unless you must have widgets. Most any program you would want to run will work in 10.3.9. Run the oldest version of iTunes possible.

    Install Firefox 1.5 with these addons
    Adblock Plus
    Flashblock - only show flash you want so the G3 doesn't start crying
    Download them all
    Google "Speed up firefox" to change about:config settings

    With all other software I would run the oldest versions you can get away with, since they will use less resources in general (one notable exception Office 2004 got way better performance than V.x).

    Other software I would recommend
    Video LAN Client - for DVD playback
    Bean - Simple Word Processor, free, better than textedit, low resource use
    NeoOffice (Openoffice)- very slow to launch but free office suite
    Earliest iTunes to support Apple Lossless (I think 4 or 5) unless you need the music store and video store
    Maybe an old version of iLife
  11. dsnort macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2006
    In persona non grata
    Best source for memory for these old Macs is Other World Computing, IMO. You need to know what type it is, and the specs. Some of the older models with >400 Mhz probably aren't worth the effort. If it has a DVD ROM you can watch movies on that, but, you cannot watch movies from iTunes on any G3 iMac. They don't have enough GPU or VRAM for that.

    Oddly enough, I just gave my folks a 600 Mhz G3 iMac "Snow", running 10.4.11. They didn't need much of desktop, and it was their first Mac, so the price was right.

    BTW, for websurfing and word processing, it runs rings around their new Toshiba laptop running Vista on an AMD chip.
  12. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    just be aware that the earlier G3 imacs only had a CD drive so you wouldn't be able to watch DVDs on them
  13. dingdongbubble thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 1, 2007
    sounds good. :)

    Thank you all for the replies. If I do get it, I will let you know what are the specs. Can you tell me what people did with these Macs when they were new and shiny and cool? Do you think its a good hobby to collect old Macs? :cool:

    Do you know any website to download old versions of Mac programs? Not too old though cuz the ones I found were crazy old.
  14. jacobluecke macrumors member


    Dec 19, 2007
    Jefferson City, MO
    My parents use my old iMac DV 400 (lime green) as their only computer. What a great machine.
    I used to edit movies, record music, everything with that computer. I think the "DV" actually stands for "digital video," but I might be mistaken.
    I've found speed to be a totally subjective thing. I thought the old iMac was a bit slow when I moved up to faster G3s and G4s. But now I find it nearly unbearable after working on a new intel mac.
    But when my parents are done with it, I'll definitely take it and use it for something.
    I also feel that those early iMacs will be collectors items some day. They are almost iconic in their looks and design. I still love how that mac looks. They also hold a special place in apple history as being the machine that helped save the company.
    ...ok, I'll stop there, I'm a little too passionate and nostalgic for these old iMacs.
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Most of the opensource programs can be found on their makers web sites. While the latest version is easily found you have to scour the site to find previous releases.

    As for commercial programs eBay is the best source. If the program is two generations or more old it usually goes for about nothing. You might also find them here in the marketplace or through craigslist. Those are the only good legal methods I can think of.
  16. simplyme91 macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    I have a G3 500mhz, sitting on the floor in my room. I haven't used it in about a month. The buzzing of it was driving me crazy so I'm using my mom's Dell laptop for now, while saving up for a new computer.
    I could listen to music and surf the internet, but that's it. I definitely couldn't watch videos on it. Of course it probably didn't help that had Tiger on it.
    I have no clue what to even do with the computer. It's too pretty to throw out!:D
  17. iGrant macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2006
    If you want a cheap Mac to surf the web, listen to music and watch DVDs, I would highly recommend a eMac. You can get one on eBay that will do everything you want AND it is WAY more powerful than iMac G3. You are looking to spend right at a 100 bucks, but from computer . . . thats nothing!

  18. Darkroom Guest


    Dec 15, 2006
    Montréal, Canada
    i sold 2 iMac 400MHz G3s last year... my old one, and one i found on a snowy sidewalk (and still worked, power cord and all). i sold them both easy on craigslist for $30, without HD or Ram. both persons who bought them said they were planning on using them as servers. the G3s may be old, but they are workhorses.

    G3s are when macs lasted! i had my G3 for 7 years before it finally died! they sure don't make macs the way they use to. :(
  19. tuc macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2003
    Some of those slot-loading G3 iMacs have DVD-ROM drives, but most read CDs only. I have one with a DVD-ROM drive and it does work fine for watching DVDs.

    For web browsing it will work, but it will be slow for many of today's web sites.

    I thought the max RAM was 2 x 256MB, but I'm sure those here that say 2 x 512MB are correct. Unfortunately, older PC100/PC133 RAM is kind of expensive, and not all PC100/PC133 DIMMs are compatible with G3 iMacs.

    The biggest problem I have with my iMac G3 is an odd one. The speakers are too darn loud. I have the volume on its lowest setting, but I wish it would go one or two clicks lower without muting.
  20. MacHappytjg macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2008
    well who knows what you do because i use my imac g3 350mhz with osx 10.3 (panther) and i use photoshop cs, flash studio 3, and ms office 04 and mine runs fine on those programs not to mention 10 gb of music, my friend has a imac g3 400 and is now running osx 10.4.11 (tiger) and runs fast for it being old and small processer and basically runs all those programs - the music
  21. MacHappytjg macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2008
    the max ram is 1gb which is alot for a old computer and 120gb hd is the max it can read i have 640mb on mine which is alot and fast
  22. MacHappytjg macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2008

    mines 9 years old :D:D:D
  23. XwiredTVA macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2008
    We've got three here in the office.

    1) Runs Filemaker Server 7 and has 9 databases on it. G3 400/512mb ram/120gb HD (max size for G3's)

    2) Runs as a file server with 3 Firewire drives and 2 USB printers. G3 600/512mb ram, 80gb HD.

    3) Run's iTunes server for the office and RSS news. It's also where the others clock in and out. G3 400/256mb/40gb.

    All have VINEServer on them so they have no keyboard or mouse (#3 has a keyboard) and are controlled remotely. It's kinda cool and no slower than any G4/G5/Intel running the same stuff.

    All run Tiger with latest updates. For a database server they actually work REALLY REALLY well.

    Some neat tricks I've done with a couple are replacing the CRT with an LCD and using a TV Box to VGA and made one into a TV (wanted to use the slot load for a DVD player but couldn't find any slot load DVD players that were cheap). Another thing we did with one was running 10.3 and Virtual PC so we could run Win95/98 to support an older customer on older software. Worked, no complaints.

    At home my son has my old G3 700/1gb/100gb unit running classic and 10.3. He likes it a lot, but he's only 3. He'll cry if you take it from him and he hates the PC I have at home.

    You form a bond with hardware like this because of it's character and unwillingness to die. I'll keep the 700 as long as it functions. It's on it's 4th or 5th HD and second CRT but keeps on going.

    Most notable failure is the PAV board, cheap to get and easy enough to replace if you know what your doing. Instructions are everywhere on the web.

    Sometimes when you save one you can see them smile back at you.
  24. ChocolateJesus macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2008
    Yeah, I'll chime in too on this one.

    My lime green iMac DV 400mHz was my first mac, and it is still in service today as a torrent slave. Also, I use that computer when I really need to get work done, as it is simply incapable of running anything that would distract me (aside from Duke Nukem 3D.. :D)

    Word processing (Office '04, TextEdit), Torrents (Transmission), Music (Vox), runs DVD's flawlessly, instant messaging (Adium) and browsing (iCab), all running on Tiger. The 768mb of RAM doesn't hurt either.

    Take good care of them, and they'll take care of you. :)

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69 April 1, 2008