TheShortTimer

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
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London, UK
Hey all, I bought an iBook G3/800 for £25 GBP from eBay and I could do with an appraisal of whether this was a good purchase. It was described as in "good working order", missing a key and showing "the usual scratches that these pick up."

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The missing key wasn't an issue because I already have a donor machine to plunder from. :)

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A few minutes with a surgical wipe and the keyboard cleaned up very nicely! Though I'll need to pop off some of the keys to clean out debris that's accumulated underneath them.

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Target Disk Mode works: I connected the iBook to my MBP via FW400 to FW800 and I was able to mount and access the iBook's HDD in El Capitan.

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From what I can ascertain, the battery appears to hold a charge.

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As you can see, it successfully boots up - but I'll have to do something about the RAM: just the stock 128 MB! Ouch, I've checked my donor machine and it only has a 128 MB upgrade, which would bump up the iBook to 256 MB but still insufficient for optimal performance with Tiger. How about this PC133 module, would it work?

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Whilst cleaning the LCD, I spotted a few marks on the screen.

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They wasn't mentioned in the listing but it's conceivable that the seller didn't spot them - I didn't notice them till I started scrutinising the LCD after finding the first one. Is this trivial or should I raise it with the seller?

Does anyone have any tips on cleaning up the edge of the trackpad button?

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The DVD drive recognises discs and ejects them without issue and the HDD is predictably noisy. :D

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Soon after making the purchase, I remembered that this is one of the model's that's prone to GPU failure. :(

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It's inevitable that tech will fail at some stage - often when you least expect it but given the reputation surrounding the ATI Mobility Radeon 7500, is this machine destined to suffer a GPU failure, sooner rather than later?

What do you think, was it worth the £25 GBP?
 

1042686

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Sep 3, 2016
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Looks like a nice machine to me. The last ibookg3 I had an opportunity to buy was $30 bucks & had a dead mouse pad so I passed. My current ibook has a thin line of sprites that goes in and out right at the top of the dock. I guess it’s a crimped lcd cable but haven’t had & wont have the time to crack the lcd open and take a look so I just enjoy it for what it is - a cheap old ibook with an intermittent line.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
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Kiel, Germany
Congrats, nice machine and it sports that lovely translucent case I like most on the G3-Snows!
I think, the price is ok and the tiny spots on the screen are something to live with.
It's astonishing, that the battery is still in working condition.

I use a similar iBook mainly as an os9 machine and I'm always really impressed, how nice os9 performs.
(Mine has a single shiny pixels just in the middle of the screen - I know how these little display-spots do nag sometimes, but then "Oommmm ..." )

Godspeed, may the force be with your's GPU!
 
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MacFoxG4

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2019
293
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Looks like a good Mac to me.

I have a 700mhz iBook G3 and I like it a lot. The seller listed it as 800mhz, but it turned out to be a 700mhz model. It's become my main OS 9/PPC OS X Mac since I can't use my Sawtooth anymore. I was worried about the GPU too, but I figured that some of these type of iBooks that are still around today most likely had the GPU replaced. I was able to get the iBook for cheap (though not as cheap as you got yours), so I decided to take the risk. The battery on mine works well enough to remember the date & time, but I can't run the laptop off of battery power as the battery looses charge pretty quickly once I unplug it.
 
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TheShortTimer

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
910
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London, UK
Thanks for the feedback. :)

My next question is, does anyone know if a PC133 module will work the iBook? I know that in many cases PC133 RAM is backwards compatible with PC100 machines, will that also apply here?
 

1042686

Cancelled
Sep 3, 2016
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As long as it’s Mac compatible (Not high density, ECC, parity etc.), it is my understanding that pc133 is backwards compatible down to pc66.

I have 1gb pc133 in my B&W that has four pc100 slots & works fine.
 
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Project Alice

macrumors 68000
Jul 13, 2008
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This is cool. I’ve always wanted one. Even though everyone complains about the GPU. The GPU is my main reason for wanting one. The Rage 128 was in my opinion the main reason why iBook G3s feel so awfully slow. I bet OS X runs super smooth on there with QuartzEztreme enabled. Not to mention games with 3D that are newer than 1995.
 
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Imixmuan

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Dec 18, 2010
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That's a good purchase. After you are done playing with OS X, put 12.04 remix on there would be very curious to see how well that performs on a G3.Well enough for daily use is what I would predict, with the extra RAM of course. Back in the day I had 10.04 on a ibook G3, and I found it very usable.
 

weckart

macrumors 603
Nov 7, 2004
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I was worried about the GPU too, but I figured that any of these type of iBooks that are still around most likely had the GPU replaced.

I don't think so. I was given a 14" iBook 700Mhz and the display starts to play up after a while; freezing and generally becoming less responsive. I have had to shove a shim in it and hope that it doesn't get much worse.

I think for £25, it's a decent enough purchase given that the battery still holds a charge. It's probably the most expensive component of the iBook today.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 68000
Jul 13, 2008
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I've just ordered a PC133 144pin 512MB module so we'll soon see how smooth OS X runs with QE enabled. :)

@Project Alice what are you thinking of? GL Quake and so forth?
Yeah, pretty much. I have gotten Star Wars Jedi Outcast/Academy (quake3 engine) to run on an iBook G3 500mhz and an iMac G3, but it has to be at a very low resolution and the lowest settings. Even the original Radeon makes those games look pretty good.

Also I have been unable to get those games to run on my Pentium III IBM ThinkPads that also have a Rage 128. The fact that they run on the Macs is impressive.

If I play a game on a Rage era chip it’s something like Starcraft or Age of Empires II.
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
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London, UK
Yeah, pretty much. I have gotten Star Wars Jedi Outcast/Academy (quake3 engine) to run on an iBook G3 500mhz and an iMac G3, but it has to be at a very low resolution and the lowest settings. Even the original Radeon makes those games look pretty good.

Also I have been unable to get those games to run on my Pentium III IBM ThinkPads that also have a Rage 128. The fact that they run on the Macs is impressive.

If I play a game on a Rage era chip it’s something like Starcraft or Age of Empires II.

Many of the titles in my gaming thread were tested on an iBook G3 500mhz with a heavily tweaked Tiger installation and pleasantly surprisingly, only a handful either wouldn't run at all or were too slow to be playable. One example was the DarkPlaces version of GL Quake, as discussed here. It'll be interesting to revisit it on a G3 with a faster CPU and superior GPU and gauge the results. :)
 
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Alex_K

macrumors member
Mar 27, 2019
30
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Pretty good price, in my opinion. I bought the exact same model on ebay for £6.30 earlier this year but it required an 80-mile round trip to collect, so ultimately probably cost more than yours. Working versions are becoming increasingly rare because of the graphics issues they suffer from, and therefore usually come with a premium price-tag on ebay.
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
910
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London, UK
A nice and cheap PC133 144pin 512MB from eBay has maxed out the RAM to 640MB. :)

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I've enabled ShadowKiller and disabled Spotlight along with the Dashboard - which has pretty much become my M.O. for lower end PPC machines and I've also set up a dual boot with OS 9 for playing pre-OS X games and flashing the DVD drive to RPC-1. The battery appears to misreport its capacity and is an entire hour less than what the energy settings indicate! It's still good for short work though.

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One major issue is the trackpad: it intermittently stops working under both 9 and X. However, it returns to operation when the computer resumes from sleeping or reboots. I'm using a mouse as a workaround but I'd like to ascertain whether this is a software problem or an indication of a hardware fault. What do you reckon?
 

weckart

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Nov 7, 2004
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If it is misbehaving under both OSX and OS9, then it's likely a hardware fault. Maybe a loose connection exacerbated by heat when the laptop has been running for a while, since you say rebooting/sleeping seems to fix things. Both would follow a period of internal cooling for the laptop.
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 27, 2017
910
1,502
London, UK
If it is misbehaving under both OSX and OS9, then it's likely a hardware fault. Maybe a loose connection exacerbated by heat when the laptop has been running for a while, since you say rebooting/sleeping seems to fix things. Both would follow a period of internal cooling for the laptop.

I'll have to raise this with the seller because it was described as fully working. Would this be an isolated issue or a sign that the logic board is going to experience additional problems? I'm asking in order to determine whether I should request a refund if it's a case of the latter.
 

weckart

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Nov 7, 2004
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I'll have to raise this with the seller because it was described as fully working. Would this be an isolated issue or a sign that the logic board is going to experience additional problems? I'm asking in order to determine whether I should request a refund if it's a case of the latter.
Good question. Might be a RoHS issue or maybe a handling issue. Hard to tell without opening up and seeing what is inside.
 
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