Original PowerBook G3 - OS Supported?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dpaanlka, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    Someone here pointed out that Low End Mac lists the original PowerBook G3 as being Mac OS 7.6 compatible. I'm 90% certain that no G3 that ever shipped from Apple was compatible with Mac OS 7, and the only way to get Mac OS 7 to run with a G3 is through third-party upgrades.

    Am I wrong? Or is the LEM thing a typo.
  2. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    According to my documentation the original PowerBook G3 came with Mac OS 8.0, but would not work with the retail version of 8.0 (you would need the retail Mac OS 8.1 if you lost your OEM 8.0 disk for that PowerBook).

    That having been said, the PowerBook G3 was pretty much a PowerBook 3400c with the 603e processor swapped out with a G3 processor. So theoretically Mac OS 7.6 should be able to handle all the hardware other than the processor.

    The problem with the G3 processor is that if a system doesn't know that it uses a special caching technique it'll over look it altogether. In the case of Rhapsody systems from that era, the G3 would perform at the same speeds as a 603e of the same clock rating (because the G3 was based on the 603e architecture). Apple released a patch for Rhapsody so that pre-G3 versions would work correctly with G3 processors.

    I believe that additional software is what tells the system how to make use of the G3 cache when running some version of 7. And that same software tells the system where to look for the cache when using 8 and later on hardware that wasn't designed for the G3.

    Given that, running Mac OS 7.6.x with the upgrade software used for the PowerBook 2400c with a G3 upgrade would be the best combo for getting 7 on one. If the installer doesn't work, installing 7.6.1 and the upgrade software on another system (like a 3400c) and then making a disk image of that volume to install everything on the G3 might work.

    ... that is how I would attack the issue, but I haven't even seen one of those G3s in a couple years now, so this is just a best guess.

    Reference material:
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The maximum OS that can run on the original PowerBook G3 is MacOS 9.1. With XPostFacto, you can install MacOS X.
  4. dpaanlka thread starter macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    I told this person that the best way to get a G3 PowerBook with Mac OS 7 was to get a 1400c or 2400c and put a G3 upgrade in from Sonnet or Vimage. I really have serious doubts that 7.6.1 would boot a Kanga, regardless of how similar it is to a 3400c. I suppose this will be a project of further investigation on my behalf sometime.

    It is interesting that Rhapsody would treat a G3 as a 603. Mac OS 7 seems to do the same thing if you install a G3 upgrade but don't install the software for it. It still boots the machine fine, but it runs without cache.

    Way to not read the original post at all.
  5. dhazeghi macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2006
    No, 7.6.1 doesn't work

    In case anybody is still interested, 7.6.1 does not install on an original Kanga G3 Powerbook.

    I just tried, and I get an error along the lines of "this software cannot be installed on this computer."

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