So, fixing an iBook G3, need some help getting Tiger...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mzs.112000, May 6, 2018.

  1. mzs.112000 macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    So, I am working on an iBook G3, same one I worked on years ago, I just upped the RAM to the max of 640MB.
    Now, the person who uses it would like to put OS X back on it, obviously the newest version of Tiger 10.4.11. She is still using it as a daily driver, which I know is not really a strong suit for a G3 :)

    The problem is, that laptop does not have a working optical drive, and my only other Mac is, unfortunately, a Hackintosh that does not support Firewire so Target Disk Mode will not work(even if it did, I have no Firewire cables). So, it seems, if I cannot figure out a way to install without an optical drive, it will be stuck with Linux.
    Would a USB CD-ROM drive work? I know that they can boot from USB(Thats how I got Linux on there 4 years ago...), but I am not sure if you can boot an OS X install CD off of a USB CD-ROM.

    Assuming I can get Tiger back on there, I will also be installing Office 2008, iWork 09, Photoshop CS2, TenFourFox, VLC, Flash 10.2(will mod it so it looks like 11.5), Acrobat 9.4, Evernote, Perian, F.Lux and Google Earth 4.3.
    Then it should actually be better as a daily driver than Linux was, due to better support for Office files and Photoshop, Flash and having some other "major" applications available(even if they are old versions).

    Also, I am looking for a DLSD Powerbook 15", ideally for less than $120, and that does not require 20 eBay reviews and can ship to California...
  2. pl1984 macrumors 68000

    Oct 31, 2017
    Depending on the model of iBook you might be able to pick up a parts system from Ebay for dirt cheap. Of course this runs the risk the parts system may have a faulty optical drive too.
  3. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    Supposedly there are bare optical drives for about $2.49 + $8.49 shipping, but I am skeptical as to whether those are real, they say they are sold by PowerBookMedic, but still.
    --- Post Merged, May 6, 2018 ---
    Will this optical drive work? World Computing/MIBG4SD8XDKA/
  4. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    You could boot from a USB stick but with USB 1.1 the installation will be painfully slow. Better to get the optical drive sorted out. With optical drives, you need to make sure the eject button and force eject hole line up with the iBook's drive cover, assuming you still have them. The PB Medic would at least be likely to send you something that lines up.
  5. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    Figured out, instead of getting optical drive, might just get her a G4, an iBook G4 would be much faster and support Leopard.
  6. bobesch, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 6, 2018

    bobesch macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2015
    Kiel, Germany
    Oh, there a several options:
    1) Booting/installing a Tiger-Install-DVD/CD via external FireWire-OpticalDrive
    or better
    2) go for a cheap iBook G4 for a) install via Target-Disk-Mode or b) replace the G3-iBook (BTW the G4 iBooks run faster and do smell better than the G3 ones too) or c) both ...

    Sorry that you don't live next door, presumably, since I've won an auction for 100+ "cables" of all sorts for 3$ and I would be happy to share some of them firewire-cables ...
  7. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    Probably going to get a G4 iBook, since the person I am doing this for was still using the G3 as daily driver, I am sure a faster CPU, more RAM, better GPU, USB 2.0, 5x faster WiFi with WPA, and newer OS will be quite appealing.
  8. bobesch macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2015
    Kiel, Germany
    (Ups, Safari crashed, but my previous post did survive. Didn't see that. So here the second version ...)

    Yeah, that's the best option. Preferably a 12" 1.2GHz iBook G4 with 1.5GB RAM and mSATA-upgrade. (The 1.33GHz are somehow puzzled once you happen to take a look under the hood.)
    That G4-iBook certainly will be overkill compared to the iBookG3. And they don't have these smelly keyboards anymore...
    Both Tiger/Classic or Tiger will run decent on it. But the G4 cannot boot into os9.
    For that purpose you might install Tiger to the G3 via TargetDiskMode.
    Sorry that you don't live next door - got a box with 100+ "cables" for 3$ recently and would be happy to share some of them FW-cables ...
  9. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    The person who I am working on the laptop for is not interested in OS 9 anyways, for now, the iBook is her daily driver, which means email, printing, writing word documents, music, playing DVD's, banking, and managing stuff from an Android phone. OS 9 seems to be incapable of any of that. Since this person does not really want to give up using an old Mac, a G4 seems like the best option to keep going. Of course, with 1.5GB of RAM, put a 128GB SSD in, run Leopard for newer apps but disable eye candy and spotlight, then she might be able to stay on PowerPC a little while longer.
  10. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    If you want the full 1.5GB of RAM you will have to look out for the last release of the iBook G4, especially if you want to run Leopard. They are sought after and will cost you more in decent condition. Expect to pay about $50 and upwards.

    Earlier iBook G4s will boot into Mac OS 9 natively with a little coaxing but with some caveats.
  11. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    That seems to be the main issue I see right now, but then again, I think it is a fair price for said machine, iBook G4 is IMO still usable even for daily purposes if you have patience, and can tolerate older software. That is why I am looking for a G4 to replace this persons G3 daily driver.
  12. AphoticD, May 7, 2018
    Last edited: May 7, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    As others have pointed out, your options for getting Tiger onto the iBook G3 would be to either;

    A. Install Tiger via USB - use Disk Utility to restore the disk image onto a USB thumb drive (~8GB). You will need to boot via Open Firmware commands. It's really not as slow as you might think. My clamshell iBook G3 installed the base Tiger system via USB1 (without all of the language packs and extra fonts, etc) in about 30 minutes.

    B. Source an external Firewire DVD drive. I have two of these which have come to the rescue on multiple occasions. I am not sure if a USB optical drive would work, but it's worth trying if you have one. You'll likely need to boot using Open Firmware commands.

    C. Remove the HDD and install it in a USB or Firewire housing to install the OS using a different (G3, G4 or G5) Mac - then reinstall into the iBook once completed.

    D. Replace the optical drive with a known working unit.

    The last gen iBook G4s are really capable little PowerPCs. I have the 1.33Ghz 12" iBook G4 with the Radeon 9550 GPU and it seems to be just as capable as the last gen PowerBook G4 12" (1.5Ghz). It runs Leopard perfectly. Even with all of the visual eye candy enabled. 1.5GB of RAM should be plenty.
  13. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    So... unfortunately, I will not be able to get an iBook G4, or anything else. My main laptop has failed me... okay, it still works, but sometimes it will not start up and sometimes it just randomly shuts off without warning. BIOS code says it could be either CPU or main board. Looks like it might be time to fire up the Hackintosh(which is still on 10.8 because 10.10 has no hardware graphics support).

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