iMac G3 uses (in the year 2018)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by redAPPLE, Oct 6, 2018.

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  1. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

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    #1
    i am offered an obviously old iMac G3.

    i am tempted to buy it (first off, how much would it be worth), but i do not know, if there is any use for it...

    maybe you could help me out and give some help, on how one can still use it.

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #2
    The price will depend on the revision of iMac G3. I don't have much experience with these models at all, but many regulars here can give you an idea of pricing from the original Bondi (1998) through to the last gen "Summer 2001" models.

    In terms of functionality, most models will run Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.11), with official support for Tiger starting with the 400MHz iMac DV SE (Slot Loading) model from October 1999 - July 2000. Earlier models should take Tiger using XPostFacto 4.

    In my experience, Tiger wants at least 384MB of RAM to perform fluidly and realistically, at least 768MB for web browsing via TenFourFox if that's something you plan on doing. Web browsing on a G3 is something you don't want to have to endure too much - keep it simple

    Mac OS 9 will perform beautifully on any of the iMac G3s, so you might find yourself happier with a zippy OS9 environment. There are loads of apps and games for OS9 available from Macintosh Garden or Macintosh Repository (Search on Google).

    Some examples where an iMac G3 will shine include;
    • iTunes music playback - Listen to internet radio streams or install a big enough HDD for your music and connect a decent set of external speakers.
    • Word processing - Install MS Office 2004, Pages (iWork '05), Bean, NeoOffice (?) or similar for a distraction-free typing workstation.
    • Adobe Photoshop / Creative Suite workstation - perfect for doing screen mockups in Photoshop or wireframe designs. Just don't push through a Gaussian Blur on a 1200dpi file.
    • Early console emulation - Virtual GameStation was a brilliant PSX emulator for OS9. The G3 will easily handle 16-bit and 8-bit console emulation too.
    • Install OS9, fire up Ircle and connect to your favourite old-school IRC network to chat with the thousands of dinosaurs still roaming those parts.
    • Learn to code! - Install the old version of Xcode in Tiger (or Panther), Metroworks Codewarrior or RealBasic (for writing OS9 apps) and get stuck into programming for PowerPC and the Mac Desktop -> then write some killer new app which supports our platform and get instant PowerPC retro street-cred :cool:

    I guess it comes down to what your expectations are for this old Mac?
     
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #3
    This was also what I was going to suggest. But to add to it, OP could also use iTune 4.0. Doing that and opening the appropriate ports in your router will allow streaming of the iTunes library across the internet. I.e, it can be accessed anywhere.

    The downsides to that are that both the iMac G3 and the connecting Mac would need to be using iTunes 4.0 for this to work. It also requires leaving the Mac on with iTunes running.
     
  4. amagichnich, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018

    amagichnich macrumors 6502

    amagichnich

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    #4
    This is by far the coolest list I have seen! If only there where emojies like in FB, i would totally give this post a big heart! <3 :apple: G3
     
  5. AL1630 macrumors 6502

    AL1630

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    #5
    I say that for games and most things, OS 9 is more useful than OS X on G3s, because these iMacs don't have the power to play many OS X games, but older OS 9 Games are right at home.

    Also, be warned that because iMac G3s have CRT screens, they have a PAV (Power, Analog, Video) Board with a component known as a flyback transformer. The PAV boards are known to fail sometimes, especially if it gets really hot.
     
  6. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #6
    I like the iMacs G3! They are lovely machines.
    If you can tell more about specs, accessories (KB,mouse, etc) and condition, it would be easier to give advise about decent pricing ...
    Better choice: SlotLoader/working optical-drive, >=400MHz; FireWire-port, better sound, 400GHz/1GB RAM for Tiger. (The early Bondi/Fruit Colors with TrayLoaders don't meet these 'better' specs - less fun, somehow tricky, when it comes to installation etc ... More about collector's items.)
    @AphoticD wrote a good overview about what's possible with the iMac G3.
    You may also look at this thread: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/the-g3-workstation-wiki.2125444/
    Think of it as classic car - it wants to be driven for pleasure, not as the one and only workhorse ...
     
  7. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #7
    I'm also in the "OS 9 on iMac G3s" camp.

    To me, these make REALLY great gaming machines for older games. Specifically, many older games are designed to run full screen at a resolution of 640x480. LCDs often look bad if run at something less than their native resolution(there are often only certain "magic" combinations that work), and when running at native resolution you can end up with the program running in a tiny window in the middle of a big screen. On an iMac G3, you can set the resolution to something like 800x600 and have the program fill a good part of the screen.

    Also, as mentioned, the speakers on slot loaders are GREAT.
     
  8. AphoticD, Oct 6, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #8
    I can recall QuickDraw 3D RAVE accelerated OS9 games always looked great with some super fluid frame rates on the 5 flavor iMacs; Pangea’s Nanosaur, Bugdom, Quake (and Quake 3 maybe?), Unreal, Driver and many other games like Tomb Raider 1 and 2.

    Earlier games like Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Postal, Fallout 1 and 2 (was this OSX only?), Warcraft II, Starcraft, Command & Conquer, etc will all run very happy on the iMac G3 at 640x480 res.

    F/A-18 Hornet and A-10 Attack/Cuba were enjoyable, with F/A-18 [Korea] taking advantage of RAVE acceleration.
     
  9. Amethyst1 macrumors 6502

    Amethyst1

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    #9
    Just a couple of amendments: When I used NeoOffice, I found it quite heavy on a G4 Mini so it may be a little much for a G3. TextEdit is also worth mentioning as a lightweight and basic word processor that comes with OS X. Lastly, MS Office v.X should be faster than 2004, especially on a G3.
     
  10. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #10
    Good confirmation. I was unsure of NeoOffice. It has been a long time since I used it. Another golden oldie is AppleWorks 6. It runs beautifully on possibly any PowerPC Mac, even an original "601" like the 7100/66. I believe I have AppleWorks 6.2.4 installed on my G3s in Panther and Tiger.
     
  11. bobesch, Oct 7, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018

    bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #11
    As far as I remember, MS Office'01 in Classic mode boots with same speed or even faster than Office'04, but let you "see more" of the spreadsheets and documents. Especially on a small screen (like on the Clamshell iBooks) that really matters. (But you'll have to boot up Classic first and need maxed out RAM).
    Using the Office'97-'04 file format (not the docx/xlsx/ppcx format) gives widest versatility of documents. My favorite version on Windows is still Office2000 without any clutter and ribbon...
    It's necessary to have a converter for the docx/xlsx/ppcx format at hands (either full Office:mac'08 or MS "Open XML Converter" for OSX).
    Since Classilla offers a great IMAP-email-client for os9, it would be interesting, if there's a kind of "Open XML Converter" that runs with native os9 - otherwise, it's important, to have a dual-boot option with os9/earlyOSX exact for that purpose. Sounds a bit awkward, but let's you use the G3/os9 as a nice non-distracting office machine with Office'01, ScreenSharing/VNC (VNCthing), FileSharing/FTP/AFP (Transmit/Fetch), webDAV (Goliath), IMAP/web (Classilla) plus the option to listen web-broadcast (iTunes/os9) or stream music from your smartphone through the iMacs great speaker-system (LineIn/OSX).

    With PageSender4.6/OSX and the inbuilt moden, the iMac is also a nice fax-machine in an environment, where fax-messages still matter (batch fax-out to multiple recipients / fax-in with either option to store messages or send to an attached printer). I use my 12"PB-G4(home) or a miniG4(office) for that purpose.

    AppleWorks6 is really great and fast booting both in os9 and carbonized in Tiger, so it needs no classic mode. I didn't really give it a try yet, because docs/sheets are not compatible with the rest of my environment (Windows-machines included). Would be an option to have a workflow, which includes native os9, Classic and SheepShaver and work with AppleWorks6 on all machines.

    The best link between old and new machines is, that printouts can be made to PDF-files with all systems ...
    --- Post Merged, Oct 7, 2018 ---
    Ah one more and most important thing!
    The early TrayLoader-iMacG3 (less than 400MHz) do not go into proper sleeping mode!

    The fan is loud and running all the time !!!

    So you'll end up shutting-down / firing-up the machine all the time and finally stop using it at all, because that's pretty awkward.
    I would really take that into account, if your main intention is using it than collecting it ...

    With a 1GB RAM (10-20$), an SSD-mod (40$) and real *fanless* SleepingMode (free ;) ) the G3 is best fun!

    (for SSD-Upgrade look here: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-g3-with-sata-ide-adapter-doesnt-boot-into-mac-os9.2135561/ )
     
  12. pl1984 macrumors 68020

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    #12
    IMO if you don't already know what you want to use it for then my recommendation is to avoid buying it. They're nice systems but there's no point in buying one unless you have a specific reason to do so.
     
  13. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #13
    LOL! I guess, the OP might have some "basic knowledge" about Macs (entering this community a long time before us both and at a the time, when the iMac G3 was still on the shelves ...) and he is certainly appreciating such a fundamental advise ... ;)
     
  14. pl1984, Oct 7, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018

    pl1984 macrumors 68020

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    #14
    Regardless of when the OP joined this site my advice is if they don't know what they want to do with the system then they should avoid buying it. IMO it doesn't make sense to try and find a reason to buy it.
     
  15. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #15
    Totally agree..like buying a car and asking, "where should I drive?"
     
  16. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #16
    I remember the years about 2000 when an iMac/Macs at all were completely out of my reach.
    I always admired those early colored Macs or the later white iBooks. Didn't know about Powerbooks and PowerMacs at all.
    Got my first ever MacBook in 2009 ...
    Regaining fascination for old Macs started with the view of an the acrylic Display when browsing the web for Eichler-Houses after reading the first chapters of Steve Job's biography. (http://www.eichlermidcentury.com/e_house/11_blb_desk.html)
    When I won the bid on my first PPC-Mac a few years ago, I had only a vague idea, *how* to use it and how it would fit into my current workflow. Same with my approach to os9. (Well, it's a computer made to work as a computer ... :D)
    Now I'm amazed, how capable these machines/os9/early OSX are even now, 15-20y after their arrival. And they both fit Retro- and current tasks. I wouldn't have found out, if I hadn't just bought my first PPC ...
    I guess, the OP is thinking the same way, but previously searches for confirmation, to make sure, the iMac won't end as a door stopper.
    Finally, there are so many things, those old machines are capable of (coding, office, fax, beamer-companion, music, legacy-progs etc etc ...)
    To find out "the one thing" is a matter of the eye of the be(er)holder.
    At least another iMac rescued from being dumped.
     
  17. pl1984 macrumors 68020

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    #17
    As you stated that's a guess, the OP did not state that they wanted to explorer older systems and the associated technology. If that's the case then that's a reason to consider buying it.

    Without a specific reason I can't think of a reason I would recommend a PPC system to anyone looking to do such tasks. There was a time when it may have been cost effective to do so. I feel that's no longer the case. Much more capable systems can be had for similar costs. I realize this is a PPC forum and the participants here love the PPC systems. But we each have our reasons for wanting to acquire / use them. We're not here searching for those reasons.
     
  18. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #18
    That's obviously common sense and not the OP's question nor the intention of describing my personal experience ...

    I definitely don't want to be included in that "We" o_O
     
  19. pl1984 macrumors 68020

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    #19
    The OPs "question", as phrased, is geared towards rationalizing the purchase.

    Like it or not you're a part of that we.
     
  20. Slix macrumors 65816

    Slix

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    #20
    To touch on some good uses for iMac G3s (I have a whole bunch of these - I love them!):

    - iTunes playback is really nice. You can either rip your own CDs, or use iTunes Sharing for connecting to other computers in the house. The Slot Load iMac G3s have really nice speakers too!
    - Games. There are dozens of great Classic Mac games for OS 9 and Mac OS X available on these machines. Some of my favorites include Pangea Software's Bugdom, Otto Matic, and Cro-Mag Rally, as well as Bub & Bob, Pac the Man, and Creatures.
    - Light internet usage. As mentioned, you need a bit of RAM and processor power to really use the internet on these computers nowadays, but I've use some as low as 400 MHz running TenFourFox with only 256 MB of RAM, and they do alright! Your mileage varies based on specific websites of course.
    - Word Processing. Pages 09 can run on iMac G3s running Tiger, and it performs pretty well. Pages 09 is great because it allows easy conversion to iCloud pages on newer Macs/iOS devices.
    - There are lots of random, neat programs such as LineIn that allow you to use the internal iMac speakers as a speaker output for an auxiliary cord, so you can use your phone's Spotify for instance with your iMac speakers (or, want to hook it up as an AirPlay device? Neat!).

    It really all depends on your interests. The world is at your fingertips if you let it be. :)

    Regarding prices, at least where I am, I would suggest not paying more than around $50 for an iMac G3 these days. Some of the rarer models would probably go for more, but don't spend something like $90 on a 400 MHz Lime iMac G3 (unless maybe it came with all the boxes and stuff inside). :p

    Either way, whatever you decide, I hope you like what you find, and you post pictures and stuff here for us to see! :)

     

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19 October 6, 2018