The iBook G3 Challenge

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Altemose, May 26, 2014.

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Can a G3 Mac Be Used As a Daily Driver in 2014

  1. Yes!

    37 vote(s)
    62.7%
  2. No!

    22 vote(s)
    37.3%
  1. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #1
    After reading a post by a forum member here about how he threw away his iMac G3s because they were "completely useless", I decided it was time for a test. On YouTube, a couple of prominent PowerPC activists were doing "PowerPC Challenges" like ItsMyNaturalColour (Great YouTube Channel for Mac Fans) and Jack S.

    They however are using G4 and G5 machines which we all know are very capable especially when heavily upgraded *cough* eyoungren's QuickSilver *cough*. I was recently given an iBook G3 by RedCroissant, a very nice forum member here. I decided to put it through its paces in 2014, testing whether I could complete all my school work and entertainment on an older 2003 iBook G3.

    The specs are a 900 MHz PowerPC G3, 640 MB of DDR RAM, a 40 GB 4200 RPM hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 with 32 MB of VRAM. Hardly desirable specs for use in 2014. In fact, most PCs from the era are not in use today either.

    In terms of software, I am going to pick the best selection tailored to the machine. For Office purposes I am going to use Microsoft Office 2004, while the web will be handled by Tiger WebKit. I am a fan of Leopard WebKit and prefer it over TenFourFox, but that is a discussion for another thread. I am going to need to perform foreign language class work, so I will have to load Rosetta Stone for French. Now on to entertainment... I am a huge fan of iChat and will use that in conjunction with Skype 2.8 for IM and calling. Everyone loves YouTube, so I am going to use the infamous MacTubes. And a little gaming never hurt anyone so I will load Assault Cube and attempt to load Battlefield 1942.

    When I got this iBook it was pretty dirty looking. RedCroissant didn't really mess with it and essentially put it on the shelf as soon as he got it. Some 91% isopropyl alcohol took the stickers right off and revealed some pretty fresh looking hardware. In fact, aside from some light scratches and a small crack on the corner, it looks pretty much new! Talk about generosity amongst our peers! Thanks again RedCroissant...

    I am going to use this iBook until Saturday and give a check in every day until then. Oh, and the best part of my challenge is that in addition to being limited to a G3 for my portable, I am not going to use my PowerMac G5 or Intel MacBook Pro. Talk about a challenge! Now we will wait to see the results...

    Why am I doing this? Well I just want to see if that forum member is right or wrong. Are these machines really useless trash or do they still have some life left in them. This challenge is specific to a G3 machine, to prove the point even more.
     

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  2. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #2
    You're a sick, sick man. You need help! OK, I kid. I have an iBook G3 600MHz that I bought to tinker around with. $50.00 in clean condition. I'm currently installing OS X 10.2 on it and it seems pretty snappy for its age (it has a 600MHz G3, 640MB RAM, 20GB HD, CD-Rom drive).

    I guess what gets me is that we all used these systems when they were new. They were very capable at the time and, given the software available at the time, should still be useful. Time has moved on and the web is getting more and more difficult to use with such systems. I wouldn't think of doing video work on this system (even though we once could...and did). I see no reason you couldn't use this system for day to day tasks if you have the software of the time available to you.
     
  3. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #3
    Exactly my point! I actually have an identical 600 MHz G3 to yours too! $50 is a bit steep though I must say.
     
  4. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Location:
    Sebastopol, CA
    #4
    I have this identical laptop, except I think it is 933 MHz, and it really isn't THAT bad, at least until you try using the internet (especially flash)
     
  5. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #5
    A 933 would be a G4 if I am not mistaken.
     
  6. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

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    #6
    That's right...sorry, I have one of those too, and I get them mixed up.
     
  7. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    #7
    Now that I think about it I paid $45 ;) Anyway it's a hobby computer for me. I bought is specifically to run Mac OS. Though so far I've only been able to run OS X (10.1 through 10.4). It is pretty peppy with the older versions. It's a perfectly serviceable system except for those things where time has passed it by. Things like video editing are understandable. But to browse the web? Do we really need I multi gigahertz computer to browse the web? I recall browsing the web on my PowerMac 8100 (and before that a Quadra 660av). I really don't feel I'm getting more information today than I was back then. It's like a modern movie which emphasizes special effects over a story line. It looks awesome but in the end did it really buy you anything?

    Do I sound old?
     
  8. harrymatic macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    I used my G3 iBook and nothing else for a week last year. It's certainly feasible, if frustratingly slow. I was able to do everything I normally do - email, Facebook, YouTube (on the website in 240p) in addition to standard office things like MS Word.

    Mine is a 800MHz with 640MB memory, the infamous 32MB ATI graphics, DVD reader/CD writer and a 60GB hard drive with 10.4.11. Oh and the keyboard from an iBook G4 as well as clear polycarbonate panels because I removed the paint :). This laptop was retired from daily use a while back, especially since I got an iPad, but it still comes along if I need to type things on the go. The fact that it's clear always turns heads!

    A word of advice - OmniWeb is by far the best browser for these machines. It's still pretty up to date and you can set user agents for specific sites - i.e. appear as iOS Safari to Hotmail.com, etc.
     
  9. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    Big difference. A G4 400 MHz is worlds better in terms of modern usability compared to even a 900 MHz G3.
     
  10. SimonUK5 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2010
    #10
    This is really making me regret selling my iBook G3, i bought a MINT boxed on (no kidding all the box and inserts were there, with an Unused Charger!).

    It was a fantastic machine, i really loved it.
     
  11. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    #11
    How long ago did you sell it and for how much?
     
  12. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

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    ladner cdn
    #12
    +1
     
  13. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

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    #13
    I know the differences in processors, but it is just that since the clock speeds are nearly the same, so I get that aspect mixed up.
     
  14. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
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    #14
    I know. A 933 though would be good and perfectly usable for day to day and Leopard. Heck I could get by on a 733 if I had to with video editing.
     
  15. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #15
    The only thing is that the web has changed since then as web developers have crammed their bloated websites full of Flash, gargantuan images, and Javascript. It drive me abslutely nuts. I don't want to enable 87 different scripts just to read a news article. I don't want to load a 7 megabyte JPG just for the background image. I don't want videos in place of articles. I don't want fancy drop down menus that require Javascript just to see what's in the website. I don't want my computer bogged down by the dozen or so trackers that all try to report back home and do sketchy stuff on my machine (did you know Doubleclick accesses your keyboard API?). I want well ordered text with minimal graphics, no Flash, no Javascript, no trackers, and minimum resource usage. That's it.

    I'm going to have another beer.
     
  16. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
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    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #16
    This is another reason I use TenFourFox.

    AdBlockEdge, No Script, Request Policy, Block Site, RefControl, Local Load and BetterCache.
     
  17. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #17
    I am not saying TenFourFox is a bad browser. I am just more of a WebKit type of guy! Though OmniWeb for the G3 looks promising. I am typing this from Tiger WebKit.

    The 4200 RPM hard drive is killing me though. I fired up my other iBook G3, the one that I am giving away and despite having a slower processor it is worlds faster in usage.

    Obviously, you'd want a G4 or preferably a G5. But I must say... I am having no troubles handling on the G3.

    Sent from my iBook G3, which happens to run on a different fuel than yours...
     
  18. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    556fmjoe

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #18
    I am a big fan of NoScript, but it takes dedication. I use NoScript and Ghostery and they do a good job, but break a lot of sites that abuse Javascript and use it for everything. The OP's computer would really benefit from just disabling scripts and images entirely.
     
  19. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #19
    Oh, I know. My response was to 556fmjoe. He made several valid points about the state of internet sites today. The fact that modern browsers on modern systems can routinely power through all this without blinking though doesn't mean that there are no options to mitigate the problem on our older systems.

    It just requires you to use a browser that is capable of utilizing addons. Safari didn't get this until later and the last PowerPC version cannot hold a candle to the Mozilla based browsers when it comes to this.

    Even if you're partial to Sea Monkey you can still use these addons because Sea Monkey still has a Mozilla core.
     
  20. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    I never used Sea Monkey. Is it any good?
     
  21. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #21
    Ghostery has a memory leak, and it's a pretty big one. I ditched it a while back in favor of using RefControl. RefControl has a setting that makes each and every site you visit think you suddenly just appeared there. There's no tracking back to where you came from. Which is pretty much what Ghostery tries to achieve.

    I've set NoScript to block (Untrusted) several ad sites as well. I never have to worry because it always blocks them. Google analytics is a big offender. There's also a few Fanboy ad and nuisance subscriptions you can get for ABE that also kill tracking and ads.

    There's a number of other tricks with the addons I mentioned as well that can improve peformance. For instance, Local Load forces any Javascript libraries that you are allowing to load, to load locally and not from the website's server. That decreases load times signifigantly. I have a much improved experience here on MR because of it.

    ----------

    Sea Monkey was cool in it's day. I don't use it any more simply because the addons I use won't work with it or it has problems.

    It retains the old Netscape interface and you cannot really theme it, which is another strike against it. But for a while it dominated as a good alternative to Firefox.

    They are of course maintaining a PowerPC version of it now, but I find it buggy and unstable and it still can't handle the setup I have in TenFourFox.

    For what you are doing though, a Tiger compatible version would probably fit right in. You can run most of the addons. But then you can still run T4Fx too, so I'm not sure, other than a love for Webkit, what would be holding you back from using T4Fx if you're going to try Sea Monkey.
     
  22. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #22
    Differences between SeaMonkey and TenFourFox. Both with the exact same setup. Not hard to tell which one I want to stay with. :D
     

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  23. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Elkton, Maryland
    #23

    Do you own any Intel Macs? And if so what browser do you use? For a while I was using Stainless but it is out of date now.
     
  24. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #24
    No, I do not. The oldest versions of the Intel laptops are still beyond my price range.

    I do use an Intel 2.8 Quad Core Xeon Mac Pro at work though, but it's only a year old. We got it last year when the G5 I told you about fried it's logicboard. The MP was a replacement for the G5.

    Up until two weeks ago I used the Intel version of TenFourFox 17 (yes, there's an Intel fork for TenFourFox). I'm using Firefox Aurora right now however.

    My Firefox profiles at work are totally different than the TenFourFox ones on my personal Macs.
     
  25. Altemose thread starter macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #25

    Ah okay. The basic Intels are very pricy. Even though the specs on early models are very bad people think the Apple commands a higher price. I saw someone selling a Core Duo MacBook for $450.
     

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