I have a 350MHz iMac G3, but should I keep it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dandeco, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. dandeco macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    I have an iMac G3. It is a 350MHz Indigo slot-loading model. It also has...

    576 MB of RAM
    7 GB hard drive
    CD-ROM drive
    ATI graphic card with 8 MB of memory
    NO FireWire
    Mac OS X 10.3.9 installed

    I bought it for $125 last week, including keyboard and mouse, from a Traders' Mart near my college. It initially had Mac OS 9.0 on it, but performance wasn't very good, so I applied the latest firmware and updates, then formatted the drive and put Mac OS X Panther on it.

    I don't use it for much. I tried using it as a main desktop computer in my room until severe limitations began to strike (not enough disk space, Apple thinks Panther is obsolete, some sluggish performance, etc.) I can connect it to the Internet using my Linksys USB Wireless adapter (I found a Mac OS X-compatible driver for the chips it uses), but it can get sluggish; I have used Safari, Firefox and Yahoo Messenger with it. For now I basically use it as a music jukebox with iTunes, a photo viewer/organizer/editor with iPhoto and a small musician studio with GarageBand (I can create songs using the pre-recorded loop thingies but it is difficult to use the MIDI-based loops). I have also done a bit of video-editing with iMovie, using a couple of test QuickTime clips. Though it is quite sluggish with importing, rendering, preview and exporting, I have been pleased with the final output of my test projects. But with limited disk space and no FireWire, heavy video work is out of the question. I can't even watch videos on YouTube without them randomly pausing/stuttering.

    But I like the form factor for the iMac G3 and how low-priced it is these days. I am actually considering buying an iMac DV off of eBay. I have seen a few good ones including a keyboard and mouse for a similar price of the one I bought, and often with Mac OS X Panther or Tiger preinstalled. Though it looks identical in many ways, here are the differences with the one I am looking into from the one I own:

    500MHz G3 processor, a tad faster than the 350MHz G3 processor, but I think it may perform better with that amount.
    256 MB of RAM, but maybe I can swap one of the 128 MB modules from it with the 512 MB module from my current iMac to boost performance.
    A 20 GB hard drive, which is enough to store my current PC iTunes library and my photos, in addition to more room for some extra applications and my documents and any video editing I may do.
    A CD-RW drive. Sure, it's not a Combo drive or a SuperDrive, but it sure beats a regular old CD-ROM drive; plus I can burn mix/data CDs with it.
    Two FireWire 400 ports, essential for editing video from my MiniDV camcorder or if I want to buy an external hard drive or DVD burner for it.

    However, it will still have the same graphics card and USB 1.1 ports as my current model, but the above things I mentioned will make up for that.

    As far as video editing on an iMac DV with a 500MHz G3 processor goes, I won't be using the latest software. I have a copy of iLife '04, and if I browse around I might be able to find a copy of Final Cut Pro 3 or something similar.

    As for my current iMac, once I've had the DV model for some time, I can sell the 350MHz model on eBay for some extra cash. Seeing similarly-priced iMac G3s on eBay and given the configurations/operating system it uses, I think it could sell for $70 or $80, since I will be paying maybe $100 for the iMac DV anyways. It is in great working order, and is also in very good condition in terms of cosmetics, with a small scratch somewhere on top (it was there when I bought it). Plus, I'm sure a family that does not have enough money to buy a new PC, let alone a Mac, could easily take it in.

    Now, I am VERY tight on cash, and I don't even have enough for a new Mac Mini, let alone a modern iMac. But as far as modern Macs go, once I have a job and the money, I plan to buy a MacBook White. Maybe I could also get a Mac Mini, hook it up to my old HP VGA-connection CRT monitor (or buy a used Apple Studio/Cinema display), hook it up to my iMac G3's keyboard and mouse, and maybe use a Belkin Switch thingy to switch between both Macs. But I do like how iMac G3s are inexpensive and a good budget way to hop the Apple bandwagon, and how one can customize it to his or her expense.

    Any comments/suggestions?
  2. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    An iMac G3 is getting quite old. You'd be much better suited to getting an eMac with a 1.0+ GHz processor. Its pretty easy to find those for around $100 now, and a 1.0 G4 is way better than a 500MHz G3. Here's a couple eMac's to check out:



    The first is only $105 after shipping - the second is $139, but its got slightly better specs. Get the model number from the sellers and check everymac.com to see the exact specs - some of the 1.0's have USB 2 and use DDR RAM; some only have USB 1.1 and use SDRAM (which means you could use the 512MB you already have). I would guess that the first one (cheaper) is the older 1.0 that uses SDRAM and has no USB2. Not sure about the other, though.
  3. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    +1 on the G4 idea. You shouldn't bother with G3 iMacs at this point, especially when G4 AIOs are available for what you paid.
  4. dandeco thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008

    The second one might be the third generation education-only variant that had a CD-ROM drive. How good is that one?

    Once I upgrade the memory and the OS to Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard, I could even run iLife '06 on that eMac at this rate!
  5. iann1982 macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2008
    Leicester, UK
    I've got an eMac G4 1.25ghz and it runs iLife 08 fine, I only really use iPhoto regularly, but it's great for that. Would definitely not go down the G3 route, they're just too old, any flash on a web site (even ads) slows the machine to a crawl.
  6. JasonK macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Eugene, OR
  7. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    The Marketplace rules are there for a reason, do not circumvent them please.
  8. eRondeau macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I have a 600MHz iMac G3 "Snow" that reliably ran a webcam all last summer. And I expect it will again this summer too. :apple:
  9. iSaygoodbye macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2009
    a boat
    hes not selling just asking what he should buy

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