Still possible to use iMac G3 as daily machine?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Appleuser201, Oct 23, 2018.

  1. Appleuser201 macrumors member

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    Oct 12, 2018
    #1
    I am wanting to get a 600mhz iMac G3 with 1gb of ram and use it as my daily machine for email, internet (no video watching, no gaming), and word processing. Can I still get by on the internet in 2018 with a G3 iMac running 10.4.11 tiger and TenFourFox as my browser?
    I am also wondering if anyone out there owns an iMac G3 that they use everyday either as their daily driver for stuff like work and internet or owns a G3 that serves a significant purpose besides being a huge paperweight. Looking forward to seeing the responses!
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #2
    I own an iMac G3, less than 600mhz. But I can't really use it because it's got less than 100mb ram. It was passed along to me; I'm not really an iMac fan.

    I do have another G3, but it's not an iMac. It's being used as my home server. Specs are in my signature.
     
  3. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #3
    It will be an exercise in frustration and will require a lot of effort to set up all the workarounds if you're new to this.
    TFF on a G3 iMac is excruciatingly slow and you will need an add on to selectively turn off javascript and/or TFFBoxes going to mobile versions of websites.
    Tiger Webkit is faster but not as secure and you will have to use a mobile device user agent to speed things up - however, if your browsing needs are mostly text based, Webkit allows you to also switch off images, CSS styles and javascript - under those circumstances the browser is very quick.
    Bizarrely, Youtube is one of the easier things to do on a G3...
    --- Post Merged, Oct 23, 2018 ---
    Infact I've just been whizzing round m.youtube on my G3 - anything I want at 360P, I copy the url, launch a script, download and playback full screen...simply amazing for such an old machine :)
     
  4. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #4
    Congrats! A 600MHz iMacG3 with maxed out RAM is top of crowd!
    os9 is worth a try:
    - IMAP/web (Classilla)
    - WordProcessing (MS Office'01; NisusWriter)
    - ScreenSharing (VNCthing),
    - FTP (Transmit)
    - webDAV (Goliath)
    You may also run that stuff in the Classic-environment of Panther/Tiger, but native-os9 is more snappy...

    G3-wiki: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/the-g3-workstation-wiki.2125444/
    SSD-upgrade: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-g3-with-sata-ide-adapter-doesnt-boot-into-mac-os9.2135561/
     
  5. RhianB, Oct 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #5
    I don’t think so. They’re super cool retro boxes that give the warm n fuzzies (Mine is so cute) like nobody’s biz but to run one as a daily driver is just too slow & hard. DDs IME need to at least approach normal expectations of speed & be able to stream content whether you use YT or not. I just don’t see a imacg3 doing this within any realm even approaching normal expectations of use & speed. I like to use my wife as a benchmark for “normal expectations of use” and there is ZERO way she could or would use one of these as a DD.

    My imacg3 to me is a quirky os9 machine, jukebox & (almost) indestructible toddler playroom edu-tainment computer.

    I’d still totally scoop that imacg3 you’re talking about because it’s bad*ss but for DD uses, & minimum *ok* performance, I wouldn’t look at anything less than a powermacg4 dual cpu something with a decent GPU & 1-2gb ram running leopard & even with that, you’re still going to be waiting around a bit.

    For DD duties in 2018 with pretty decent performance & it had to be PPC, I’d not look at anything less than a dual core powermacg5 with a buncha ram running leopard & TFF.

    IMO, YMMV - either way, best of luck to you! :)
     
  6. AL1630 macrumors 6502

    AL1630

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    #6
    Unfortunately, I'm going to have to agree with the others and say it's probably just a little to low-spec for daily use. They're great for nostalgia and retro games though. You'll be able to use some basic websites like HTML Gmail or maybe old reddit if you're patient, but that's pretty much the max. I would say a 1GHz G4 with at least 1-1.5 GB of RAM is the bare minimum if you want a usable daily driver PPC system.
     
  7. Kliee, Oct 23, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018

    Kliee macrumors newbie

    Kliee

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    #7
    Well, true I don't know much about the iMac G3. Despite its "historical importance" and unique design, I was never really attracted to it.

    That said, here are my two cents:
    A good G3 with some RAM and Tiger works at a great pace for the kind of productivity you wish to pursue (text editing).

    Internet is going to be quite slow, even speaking solely of "text based" browsing. Also, the screen real estate on a G3 iMac is ok-ish but limited under OSX. Web browsing will be possible but not comfortable. A G4 would be better, a G5 quite good.

    That is, unless you are a lynx user. Then it's going to be as fast as ever ;).

    E-mails should be possilbe very comfortably if you intend to use a heavy (local) client, like mail, and not a web based one.

    It might not be exactly the same machine, but I am typing this on a G4 667Mhz PowerBook with 1Gb of SDRAM. Not quite the configuration you want but still close. It's handling everything fine and I can do all my work with it.
    As for the web, it gets quite slow as soon as many tabs are opened and the text I am seeing now on the screen lags a bit behind my typing.

    That said, I can be patient for this.
    If you can be too, and want to use the iMac G3 for the sake of using the iMac G3, then go.
    If you really expect a decent PowerPC web browsing machine, then G5 it is.
     
  8. Slix macrumors 65816

    Slix

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    Mar 24, 2010
    #8
    Despite what others here have said so far, I'd disagree and say that a good G3 iMac with enough RAM could fairly easily run lots of stuff on TenFourFox. It really comes down to what add-ons you enable and browsing stuff you disable to speed things up (see @eyoungren's tweak thread). A 600 MHz one with 1 GB of RAM should be great for a lot, I've used 400 MHz iMacs with much less RAM and they seem to do fine.

    Keep in mind these machines were meant for a simpler internet, but with that in mind and some patience, you can get by, I'd say. The users here have lots of helpful tips if you find yourself stuck on something with the PowerPC Macs!
     
  9. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #9
    There is no stock config ppc imacg3 that will be even remotely fast on today’s web - just many, many degrees of painful slow & slower. I guess if you want to be that person who claims an imacg3 as their daily & has all day to wait for it, then go ahead, but to say you need patience is a gross understatement.

    It’s one thing to say it can in theory and a whole other thing to say it does it well. That’s being dishonest imo. There is nothing fast at all about TFF (tweaked or not) and a ppc g3. Imacg3s are cute little skittles of the Apple rainbow which we all love but a reliable DD on the Internet of 2018 they do not make.

    That’s like saying a Ford model T is a great car to daily. Technically, yeah you can drive one but holy hockey sticks why would you want to?

    Buy an imacg3 because you like it, it gives you the warm n fuzzies & you like to play with vintage hardware, not because you think it will be a great daily because it won’t.
     
  10. bobesch macrumors 65816

    bobesch

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    #10
    With a spare desk at home the iMacG3/os9 might be a casual non distracting nice little working place at home: access and edit MS Office-documents via FTP/webDAV (only pre XML-files), print to PDF, send a fax, check IMAP-mail, browse a forum, listen to music from your smartphone via line in, write your memoirs ;) ...
    A pretty nice successor of a good old type-writer ...
     
  11. mzs.112000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2015
    #11
    Yes, you can probably still use that machine in 2018....
    For word processing, you have access to Microsoft Office 2008, older versions of LibreOffice, OpenOffice, NeoOffice, and Bean all still work just fine. For email, there is TenFourBird, but it hasn't been maintained since 38.1, the default Mail program still works as well, Mailsmith used to be a great mail client, but I don't know if it still works. TenFourFox still works well although it doesn't use the newest rendering engine(probably for the best, even on Intel, the switch to Photon UI and re-writing everything in Rust, kinda turned Firefox to sh*t IMO). Tiger-WebKit also still works well. Video watching can still be done with VLC, it is quite capable of playing DVD, or playing video from a USB or SD Card, everything up to 720p is still playable in the right format. Mplayer and Perian are also quite nice, with Perian being the best option for high-res and it supports loads of codecs, AFAIK it also has a browser plugin, so it can help with YouTube video's. For gaming, options are a bit more limited, although any Mac game from 2004 or older should work just fine, some open-source games are still available for PowerPC. Also, since this is a G3 with 10.4.11, Classic environment is still available, so you might get some use out of older MacOS 9 programs...

    A DLSD G4 PowerBook or a G5 would still even have reasonable performance in 2018, but a G3 will still work just fine. Sadly, sometime in 2019 or 2020, internet will no longer be an option on PowerPC's(at least on OS X), since without TLS 1.3 support, websites will stop working....
     
  12. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #12
    Be careful with this kind of advice, as it's rather vague and misleading. Not every iMac has a DVD drive as standard, hi-res video would be uncompressed video which unless you have a DV camcorder to plug in, you're not likely to come across and plugins for Youtube simply don't exist anymore.
    Maybe academic anyway as the OP seems to have lost interest already ;)
     
  13. mzs.112000 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    When I say hi-res, I just mean any video with resolution of 720p or greater, compressed or otherwise. And I thought ViewTube still worked for getting Youtube working?
     
  14. mikehalloran macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Mine's a 1.2 twin-core and I won't. It gets used for converting old files and running certain legacy apps. Mine dual-boots into 10.4.11 or 9.2. I converted it to an SSD last year and that helped a little but still...
     
  15. mzs.112000 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 22, 2015
    #15
    How much RAM do you have? The more RAM you have, the better.... Any time you load a file from the SSD, it still has to go over the PATA bus(which is horribly slow), even if your SSD can do 500Mbps, PATA is still limited to 100Mbps... The best thing to do(if you have enough RAM) is to create a RAMdisk on boot, then copy commonly used program to the RAMdisk(TenFourFox is a great example). Now, whenever you run TFx, it will already be in RAM, and all temp files are stored in RAM, this greatly speeds things up... On older Wintel XP machines, once memory sticks with more than 1GB per stick came out, people could put up to 8GB of RAM in their computers, of course, XP only see's 4GB, so people developed programs that would use the extra RAM as a RAMdisk.
    PowerMac G5 machines(with 8GB or 16GB RAM limit's), can see a performance increase(but not by much, since they use SATA, which can take full advantage of SSD).

    Another idea would be to put in a PCMCIA(PC Card) USB adapter, and then put an SSD into a USB 2.0-SATA enclosure, since USB 2.0 can go up to 480Mbps, loading programs from an external SSD might be faster than an internal one. Of course, if you have a Firewire 800 port, use a Firewire enclosure, which will be even faster than a USB one. I think some PowerPC Mac's can even boot from Firewire drives, so you could even load up the entire OS like that.
     
  16. XaPHER, Oct 28, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018

    XaPHER macrumors regular

    XaPHER

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    #16
    ATA/100: 100 MegaBytes/s
    USB 2: 480 Megabits/s -> 60MB/s (minus overhead of bridging SATA over USB and usb mass storage driver)

    ramdisks are fast, but are still treated as a volume; when launching an app from a ramdisk, it'll read from ram then load a copy of the exectuable, create a heap and stack in a virtual memory segment just like it does for any application stored on a physical drive. Then since your ramdisk is a block of memory that cannot be freed, it'll pressure main memory more than normally, which in turn will probably make the kernel use swap space more aggressively on your hard drive.

    No.. TLS 1.0/1.1 will be deprecated by 2020, and there are no plans to deprecate TLS 1.2 right now (and among others TFx, leopard-webkit have support for up to 1.2). TLS 1.3 is still not so widely used and the web will continue to work for at least a while.


    It looks like this thread is essentially dead, but I can relate somehow.. One day I'd seriously like to put my 7100/80 (upgraded with a sonnet crescendo G3/260) back on my desk and re-use it as my daily driver like I did a while ago. There's plenty of applications on Mac OS 8.6/9.1 that still work like a charm for what they do (a few that have no replacement on OS X). Possibly more extreme than a 600mhz iMac.
     
  17. nglevin macrumors member

    nglevin

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    Jul 8, 2018
    #17
    Like that time Ars Technica took a Mac IIsi and found it really fun and useful when using it as it was meant to be used, compared to the time they tried to use a TiBook as a modern internet machine.

    If you can escape from the mindset that the only thing a computer is good for is to surf the internet and watch some YouTube videos, you can still use an old Mac quite capably, isolated from the rest of the internet-using earth. It's not hard to find good, old Macromedia and Adobe software that fills the Desktop Publishing, multimedia and digital imaging niches. Gifs and Jpegs just haven't changed much in the past 20 years.

    How about a DAW for music making? Mac OS 9 could do that, so could an old school Amiga. I mean that's the whole point of MacOS9Lives really. Old machines that didn't have so many background processes swimming in the background could be shockingly effective at producing digital music, given strict timings that can't be as easily done in a multithreaded environment and the trusty MIDI protocol.

    Some niches like digital video are going to need a multicore Intel Mac or even an iPhone. That's still a fraction of the content we make and consume every day.

    One time, I used to have an iPad (first gen!) along with a Quadra 800 for games and document writings, and that was how I was getting by with the internet/music split on the iPad with real writing work and classic games on the Quadra. Clumsy, but fun, and it kept me from being bombarded by modern life.

    That setup's still perfectly fine now. You just need to take that internet and put it in a (gasp) Chromebook, or an iPad. Or some other dedicated device that's made for consumption.
     
  18. XaPHER, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018

    XaPHER macrumors regular

    XaPHER

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    #18
    I'm aware of the points you've brought. I agree, though I have a tendency to push it a bit further.. namely restrict to "mission-critical" internet. If I'm writing something, I only surf the web to fetch a necessary, missing reference off it. If I'm playing music, I can download some tracker audio files from modarchive. This is still possible on my 7100/80 (did it last time I booted it), doesn't require another device (well, unless you have to access services inaccessible by the 7100), and is even more disturbance-free. Another side effect of avoiding "casual" internet usage is it contributes to creativity. If it wasn't for a few things about Mac OS 8/9 (lack of any solid self-hosting development toolchain to build new programs, mainly) I wouldn't hesitate about this..

    EDIT: It's been a few seconds since I posted this but I realize writing it made me change my mind. I'm going to put my 7100 next to my MDD on my desk and enjoy using it, at least for a while.
     
  19. mzs.112000 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Oh, so it looks like I had a huge brainfart, I thought the PATA bus was rated in Megabits....
    Also, I thought there was a program for Linux and OS X that can pre-load programs into RAM, and cause the system to execute the code directly from RAM without copying...
     
  20. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    #20
    There is preload for linux, but I never noticed that much of a difference with it installed.
     
  21. XaPHER, Oct 30, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018

    XaPHER macrumors regular

    XaPHER

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    #21
    Anyway, operating systems that support dynamic linking always keep shared libraries loaded for a certain amount of time when they're not needed anymore. That's where it's most critical when loading from disk and I think it does its job pretty well. Though when an application bundles 30mb+ of private frameworks because there's no official way of adding shared libraries to the system (OS X, I'm looking at YOUUU) this easily defeats the utility of reusing shared libs in memory. That's even more complicated when it comes to proprietary frameworks/apps. When I start to think about all this stuff I usually fall asleep while standing.
     
  22. Appleuser201 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
     
  23. laylow macrumors member

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    Dec 17, 2018
    #23
    I edit photos in CS2 and audio in Audacity on my 400MHz DV SE pretty regularly. Works just fine.
     
  24. mikehalloran macrumors 68000

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    #24
    My G4 is still useful for a few things and I'm glad to have it around. Life's too short for trying to use it on the internet, however.

    My 2¢
     
  25. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #25
    Just depends on the G4. I have no problem using normal internet tasks on my 1.67 GHz G4 Powerbook (posting from it now while also burning a CD ;)), but it was a bit painful on my 1GHz iBook I used to have as my main Mac before this.
    That said, I was using Tiger on the iBook, so I don't know how Leopard Webkit would've performed, and I also wasn't using uMatrix in TFF back then, so I don't know how much better it would be with either of those options.
     

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66 October 23, 2018