iBook G3 900 on 2017?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by G4fanboy, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. G4fanboy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Andalucia Spain
    #1
    I have the chance on getting the last G3 iBook. For 30 Euros.

    Pro: Runs Mac OS9

    Cons: No Leopard, No USB 2.0

    I would want to use it for iTunes, PowerPoint, video playback (already downloaded and encoded for playback)

    Do it worth the time? Cheapest G4 portable here is 80 Euros and Intel MacBooks are 110 or more.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 18, 2017 ---
    The machine: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ibook/specs/ibook_900.html

    The Zen report on G3 http://powerpcliberation.blogspot.com.es/2012/08/video-on-powerpc-part-2-playback-on-g3.html
     
  2. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #2
    I'd say yes but you might want to factor in battery cost.
    Mine is the 800Mhz 12" model and I'm surprised what it can do - for most web stuff you'll be in the slow lane but it is capable.
    I can play 360P h264 in Mplayer (Coreplayer not supported - no Altivec) but if you convert files to MPEG4 you can have easily playable full screen stuff.
     
  3. G4fanboy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Andalucia Spain
    #3
    This one have 256 RAM in it so it could be a 14" iBook. Is it loud? I mean, can you notice the fan?
     
  4. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #4
    I don't hear the fan on mine, the HDD is probably louder ;)
    --- Post Merged, Sep 18, 2017 ---
    I hate to say it but consider your requirements - for the price of this iBook plus a new Chinese battery, you can get a Quad Core 7" Android tablet that'll play HD video and do the web with no hitches etc etc.
     
  5. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Nice one. I believe the 900Mhz iBook was the fastest G3 based Mac ever produced. I owned an 800Mhz iBook G3 back when it was near new and it did a great job. I can recall that by the time Tiger was available though, my iBook had begun to feel slow compared to other Macs. Tiger will run on it, but I'd recommend maxing out the RAM to 640MB (if it's not already). iTunes will be fine. Home Sharing / Library sharing works between the current iTunes 12.6.2 and Tiger's iTunes 9.2.1. Video playback will be fine using VLC or mplayer. Just bear in mind that h264 playback is going to be demanding on the old G3, especially for anything larger than 640x480. As @Dronecatcher states, Mpeg4 encoded video is smooth and DVD playback should be perfect if it has the combo drive.

    Running Mac OS 9 also means you can operate Connectix Virtual Game Station (if you can locate a copy), which means you can pop in any old PSX game and play at full speed. (Crash Bandicoot anyone?)
     
  6. Hrududu, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017

    Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #6
    The G3 is a fun little notebook, but it's got more downsides than just USB 1.1 and lack of Leopard. It only supports 802.11b Airport, lacks the velocity engine which is key in video playback, uses PC100 memory vs DDR, and caps out at HALF the RAM a G4 iBook supports. They also have worse video cards and no built in Bluetooth which may or may not sway your decision. The big ones though are the 640MB memory cap, no AirPort Extreme, and as you mentioned, lack of USB 2.0. If it's in great shape and has a good battery & power brick, it's not a bad deal, but I'd go no slower than a G4 if you actually plan on trying to use it.
     
  7. AphoticD, Sep 18, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017

    AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    Don't forget to mention that nearly every G3 iBook was plagued with an issue which caused the upside down GPU to disconnect from the logic board. (Maybe it was just low grade solder which lets go under high operating temps?).

    I've had to doctor a couple of iBooks by adding padding between the GPU and the bottom case just to push the GPU up and in place on the board.

    If you haven't bought it yet and you've got your sights set on a G3 (for OS9), I'd personally vote +1 for the G3 Pismo over the G3 iBook. Better expansion, dead easy to pull apart, the BEST keyboard of it's era, and a black curvaceous body ;)

    Even if it is slower, the Pismo is a better Mac, and it can be upgraded to 1GB RAM and a G4 CPU expansion / daughter card (if you can find one).
     
  8. weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #8
    ROHS, which means although lead-free solder melts at a higher temperature than a tin/lead compound, the tin/copper mix is more brittle when repeatedly heated and cooled down and will eventually crack. BGA and lead free solder is a marriage made in hell. I steer away from supder-duper GPUs in notebooks now for that reason.
     
  9. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #9
    Despite all these cons, the iBook can do everything the OP wants and as it's half the price of the G4 alternatives, budget will be a factor.
    My view is that after all these years, the surviving G3 iBooks are the 'good' ones - mine is well used and has plenty of scars - I'm sure if the motherboard was bad it would have died years ago.
     
  10. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    Yes, I can confirm that after pushing the GPU back into place, replacing the logic board (via an Apple Service center under Apple's extended logic board recall on this model) and then having to repeat the GPU "fix" a year or two later, the only reason I let go of my iBook G3 was because the Wifi signal had finally crapped out after years of opening and closing the lid. It must have crimped and damaged the antenna's wiring.

    I do miss the little iBook G3 12" and I'm always keeping an eye out on eBay for a quality one. But recalling my iBook history stops me from taking anything that looks beaten up. I know the components and build quality of the iBooks were greatly inferior to that of the PowerBooks. This cheapening is obvious when you open up an old iBook and everything is sticky taped together and bound in layers of tin-foil and paper like sheets, screw threads are stripped from factory and the thin plastic internals are warped and cracked from years of heat and wear.

    I'm glad I got my recent Pismo. Upgrades for this are coming in shortly: 32GB mSATA SSD, another 512MB RAM and a new battery.
     
  11. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #11
    My G3 iBook playing a film and streaming internet radio in iTunes at the same time....

    Picture 1.png
     
  12. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    Cool. That's what the OP asked for. Throw PowerPoint in the mix and I'm sure it will handle all three at once.

    Is that iTunes 8? Does it play nice with current iTunes shares? I haven't tried it yet on the Pismo. I failed to mention in my earlier reply to the OP that iTunes 8.2.1 was the last version for the G3s running Tiger.
     
  13. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #13
    It's 6.0.1 - it doesn't share with 11.4 - haven't tried with other versions, I don't use iTunes as much as I used to.
     
  14. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #14
    In 2017 the G3 Macs - all of them - are a complete waste of time. If the desire is to waste time for fun and nostalgia then that’s fine but the machine is completely useless otherwise.

    Yes the Intel Macs are over 100 Euros but they are fully functional machines. For example I just bought a MacBook5,1 Aluminum Unibody model for less than 125 Euros and installed High Sierra on it. With High Sierra, this machine can be used in 2017 as a primary laptop, although you’d want to install an SSD and more RAM.

    I wouldn’t pay 30 Euros for a G4 MacBook, much less a G3. In fact, I have a G4 MacBook sitting on my shelf at home. It has not been touched in over 5 years. I replaced it back then because it was too much of a waste of time to try to get anything done on it. Even just checking email was painful.

    Plus, as mentioned, those specific G3 models have a habit of dying because of a manufacturing flaw with the logic board at the GPU.
     
  15. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #15
    Apart from the fact a G3 iBook can do exactly what the OP requires it for - Powerpoint, movies and iTunes.
     
  16. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    It all depends on what your reasoning is to look at older hardware.

    If a savvy Mac user wants just bang for buck, an early Intel MacBook is likely to be the best value for money.

    But, if you appreciate a G3 for what it is; a fully functioning Mac pushing nearly 20 years old, it is an amazing feat of technology.

    Even just being able to slowly browse the modern web using TFF or TenFourKit, play movies and listen to music is spectacular for a machine which was built with a lifespan of no more than 5 years.

    I just don’t think many people would be satisfied with a G3 iBook as their ONLY computer. Unless they don’t intend to do much online. For example, a writer may find a standalone G3 iBook or PowerBook perfect for focused, distraction-free writing.
     
  17. KawaiiAurora macrumors 6502

    KawaiiAurora

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    Location:
    Europa
    #17
    PowerPC laptops are actually pretty useful. They let you do lots of things and are great if you just want to do 1/2 tasks without getting too distracted. That being said, I still easily find ways to get distracted on my PowerBook G4 thanks to PopCap games like Chuzzle and sites like Wikipedia..

    I don't know but Intel Macs just don't have the same charm.. my mum's late 2006 iMac 24" she got a while ago ended up running Windows since it runs better than OS X 10.8.5; this, obviously, is something which you can't do on PPC Macs. Perhaps one of the best things of PPC Macs is that you'll be asthonished of what they can handle (720p video on CorePlayer for example) with a little tweaking and messing around!
     
  18. EugW, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #18
    Not really. Trust me, I've tried. Basically, you can only do things that made sense in say 2004. PowerPoint? Not any file with any sort of multimedia. In fact, one of the reasons I upgraded from it (way back in 2002 actually) in the first place was because PowerPoint and other applications were deathly slow on it.

    Movies? 480p MPEG4 maybe but not anything with h.264... which is basically everything these days.

    iTunes? Not any recently purchased content, and don't expect to sync your devices with it, unless you just have a 10 year old iPod or something.

    For the record, I currently have five PowerPC Macs in my possession, and all are fully functional, so I have a lot experience with them.

    Indeed. It can be fun to play with a G3 iBook. But just don't expect to do anything useful with it, unless you have a very specific piece of legacy software you need to run (like OS 9 equipment control software or something).

    IMO the minimum Mac one should consider for actual work or even just modern internet access or stuff like that is a Core 2 Duo with El Capitan support. And BTW, in addition to my PowerPC Macs, I have two Intel Macs that cannot run El Capitan. They are not quite as useless as the PowerPC Macs, but are quickly becoming much less useful than before. I just replaced my 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook4,1 with 10.7.5 Lion with a 2.0 Core 2 Duo MacBook5,1 Unibody Aluminum because 10.7.5 is obsolete. Surfing has become problematic due to site incompatibilities, as all the current versions of the main modern browsers won't run on it. Heck, even the latest version of iTunes won't even run on it, which means my iPhone can't sync with it.

    Considering I only paid CAD$180 / US$150 / 125€ for my MacBook5,1, I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to subject themselves to the pain of trying to use a G3 iBook in 2017, or paying 30€ for it, unless it was only for a very specific piece of legacy software, or for a trip down memory lane.
     
  19. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #19
    I'm sorry but you're wrong, I play 360P h264 on my G3 iBook with Mplayer and higher resolutions are possible with more sympathetic codecs - which is precisely what the OP intends to do.
    What modern iTunes content will be unplayable? If you want music on the go I'm sure mp3, aac and aiff will suffice.
    Powerpoint I'll grant you is an unknown to me, I haven't touched it in years.

    I don't think the OP is looking for a device that is a go-to laptop for everything - just for his needs, and above all, with a limited budget.
     
  20. EugW, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #20
    360p h.264 is iffy at best. I'm sure you already realize that you aren't actually able to do much else at the same time. And unfortunately, the vast majority of content out there now assumes 480p or better. 360p is basically some YouTube stuff, or something that's been specifically encoded for this purpose, which these days is not much. Also, iTunes videos. He did say movies and iTunes.

    The point is, yes, you can pick very, very select media and files to make it work on the G3, but it's really a waste of time. Do it for nostalgia, or do it for legacy software, but don't actually recommend it to anyone who just wants to save money, because it's a false economy. You'd be much better off putting that 30 Euros to better use, on an actually functional computer by modern standards. And in Mac-land, that means Core 2 Duo and something less than 10 years old. Even the Core Duos are very problematic in 2017.

    I realize you have a different perspective judging by your sig, but you're not really providing practical advice IMO. Again, why spend 30 Euros on a G3 iBook, when you can spend 130 Euros on a Core 2 Duo MacBook that is far, far, far, far, far more useful?
     
  21. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #21
    That's subjective. The vast majority of downloaded content I watch is 360P as I don't watch it on huge screens.

    No, you can't watch h.264 and multitask - but as my screengrab demonstrated, MPEG4 can be viewed whilst doing other things. Personally, I don't watch movies and do other stuff at the same time.

    I follow your point but this is a forum for old PowerPCs and @G4fanboy is a veteran, not some newbie who's wandered in looking for advice.
    Most of us here use these old Macs because of the charm of their redundancy, we're not simply looking for a tool to get the job done. As I said to the OP, if that's all he wanted a £50 Android tablet would do all that.
     
  22. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #22
    Android doesn't do iTunes.

    He did mention both G4 Macs and Intel Macs. I am pointing him to the Intel Macs --- for only 100 Euros more --- to do everything he wants to do without serious compromise. As you already know, getting anything to function passably (and I use that term lightly) on a G3 takes some real effort.

    But yeah, ultimately, the choice is his.

    P.S. Too bad the OP isn't in Toronto. I'd sell him my 2006 Core Duo iMac for 70 Euros. But honestly, I wouldn't recommend that either, because it's IMO obsolete and too much of a hassle to deal with 2017.
     
  23. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #23
    Android doesn't do iTunes but it'll play music - all depends on OP's requirements.

    Again, I'll say the OP is talking about the G3 because other options are too expensive.

    I have 2 Core Duo Macs and there's nothing I require they can't do - it's all about what your requirements are.
     
  24. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #24
    They can't run the current versions of modern browsers, specifically Safari, Firefox, or Chrome. This means there are incompatibilities with some websites. Even just checking your banking info online or registering your kid for a sports program can sometimes be a problem with these Macs.

    Even just Netflix movie playback is also often a pain, for performance reasons.
     
  25. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #25
    That's true although Roccat is still supported. Yes, the clock is ticking but so far, for me, things are ok - I'll upgrade when I need to.
    I'm not a luddite by the way, I just don't spend more than I have to and there's things I'd rather buy than a new Mac that I can get by without.
     

Share This Page

67 September 18, 2017