The unbelievable Powermac G3

Adamscomputerrepair

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Yesterday, as I worked, my lovely fiancée Liz sent me a picture from goodwill. She had happened upon a Powermac G3 Blue and White. Her text read: “Is $15 a good deal? Or should I pass this one up?” I almost fainted.


Long story short, it’s at home waiting for me to boot it and get the specs (I work nights on Tuesday and open on Wednesday so I honestly got the thing home and passed out). I do know it has a 6GB OG hard drive, but it looks like the disc drive has been replace and the ram might’ve been upgraded from 64mb. The graphics card has a capture card built in which is something I’ve never seen before and it has an airport card slot but it’s missing the airport card itself. Seeing as how slow 802.11b is anyway, I’m probably not replacing that.

Thoughts on what I should do with it? Does anyone have any idea what kind of graphics card that is? It also looks like there’s a socket for RAM on the back of it.
 

Adamscomputerrepair

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I use mine as a server. File server, music server (iTunes 4.0 for access anywhere) and all my backups are sent to the server. I have a PCI SATA card with a 2TB RAID and two Gigabit NICs. Running OS X 10.4.11 Server.
Sounds awesome. Any idea what that graphics card is? I’ve searched all over the internet and the only thing that makes sense is the capture card was typically on the ATI Rage 128
 

RhianB

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I use mine as a big blue paperweight :D

Truthfully, I'm in the same boat as you as I just scored mine a month or so back for $30 USD, a clean revB with KB/puck mouse & box (no styrofoam inserts or discs unfortunately). It boots to Tiger from the original Quantum fireball SE (6GB IIRC) in it. I have no clue on the video card in yours. Mine is the standard 16mb rage128 - I think a pretty stinky card after playing with it. First two upgrades I plan to make to this particular box will be HDD and then pci GPU upgrade - something nice, ideally 64mb+ and DVI and isn't $250-300 bucks. Luckily, ram is already maxed out on mine.

We'll see how this one builds up. $15 bucks - very nice score. :apple:
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
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I have a rev A and a love/hate relationship with it because it is very unreliable, simply refusing to start up at times for no reason whatsoever. Having used SCSI drives on it, I now have a SATA adapter card in it because the onboard IDE is really glitchy and only supports one drive.

On the other hand, it is a good machine in stock condition for exploring Rhapsody/Mac OSX 1.x as the onboard ADB leaves the single USB supported by Rhapsody free.
 
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z970mp

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I have a rev A and a love/hate relationship with it because it is very unreliable, simply refusing to start up at times for no reason whatsoever.
My rev B is the same. Oftentimes, I will need to turn it on, and then hit the reset button before it will show any picture. Even after two video cards, it has exhibited this same behavior.

I never even had any luck with Rhapsody on it - and this was all when its Rage 128 was still installed, mind you (and I believe even across two different ODDs).

No matter what RAM modules I use, it will always throw an occasional kernel panic in OS X. Linux, BSD, and OS 9 are the only ones not to do this, but the problem is that the former two run slow as hell (you can even feel it in the CLI), and OS 9 is useless for any Internet or even network-related tasks.

From all of my personal experience with this computer, I quite frankly feel that the printer depicted in the video below is not all that dissimilar from the Blue & White. People who have described this machine to possess a sulking type of personality have most definitely hit the nail on the head!

 
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Adamscomputerrepair

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Okay so update: the CD drive is trash. That’s fine, I had a hard drive with os9 and 10.4 installed. Here’s the kicker; I cannot get the option key to go into the preboot partition chooser.

Does anyone have an idea of how to get to tiger from OS 9 without holding down option?
 

Adamscomputerrepair

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Aug 9, 2015
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Okay so update: the CD drive is trash. That’s fine, I had a hard drive with os9 and 10.4 installed. Here’s the kicker; I cannot get the option key to go into the preboot partition chooser.

Does anyone have an idea of how to get to tiger from OS 9 without holding down option?
EDIT: never mind, I finally figured it out. And for some reason, I have panther instead of tiger. Could’ve sworn it was tiger but oh well. I just wanted to look and make sure OS X would work right on here for video purposes
 

Adamscomputerrepair

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Option will not access boot picker on a B&W-that's a feature that came along with AGP graphics systems.

If you boot into Open Firmware and type multi-boot , you get a primitive text based boot picker.
Well on another note, this is a Powermac 2,2. Not sure what that means, but it’s awesome despite its shortcomings.
 

bunnspecial

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PowerMac 2,2 is the summer 2000 revision of the iMac G3. It sounds like someone has been messing around with the model identifier in Open Firmware.
 

Adamscomputerrepair

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PowerMac 2,2 is the summer 2000 revision of the iMac G3. It sounds like someone has been messing around with the model identifier in Open Firmware.
No that makes sense. I pulled the hard drive out of a now defunct iMac G3. I’m going to reinstall as soon as I can find a working disc drive.
 

bse5150

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Jan 12, 2014
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I use mine as a server. File server, music server (iTunes 4.0 for access anywhere) and all my backups are sent to the server. I have a PCI SATA card with a 2TB RAID and two Gigabit NICs. Running OS X 10.4.11 Server.
What kind of speeds do you get with that? I have a Yikes! (Pretty much the same thing albeit with a 400MHz G4... Not like you didn't already know that.) with a gigabit ethernet card with the same Realtek chipset and I don't get anywhere close to gigabit speeds in 10.4.11 Server.

My main interest is in having a machine to serve files and act as a print server for my 68K and beige PPC machines. They are pretty much limited to fast ethernet so gigabit ethernet is not really important for that. However, I bought a book on Tiger Server from Amazon and I read that I could also use the machine for netbooting installs onto other newer PPC machines and to serve up updates so I'm kind of interested in that now too and gigabit would be nice for that.

I would really prefer to not have to use the Yikes! as a server and instead use my existing Linux server to do all of that stuff avoiding having to power another computer on all the time, but the papd (is that what it's called?) portion of netatalk has been removed from the more recent incarnations. I don't really need to be able to print from my early Macs, nor do I particularly want to print from them, but there's a certain satisfaction derived from being able to say that I can. I also found something online called bsdpy (or something like that) that would let me net install my PPC machines from my Linux server (installing Leopard can be a PITA on some Macs otherwise... in my experience but I may just be doing it wrong.) but I wouldn't get the update caching with that... At least not from what I can see.

I didn't install a driver for the ethernet card as it just seemed to work. Is that what I'm missing? A driver?
 
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eyoungren

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What kind of speeds do you get with that? I have a Yikes! (Pretty much the same thing albeit with a 400MHz G4... Not like you didn't already know that.) with a gigabit ethernet card with the same Realtek chipset and I don't get anywhere close to gigabit speeds in 10.4.11 Server.

My main interest is in having a machine to serve files and act as a print server for my 68K and beige PPC machines. They are pretty much limited to fast ethernet so gigabit ethernet is not really important for that. However, I bought a book on Tiger Server from Amazon and I read that I could also use the machine for netbooting installs onto other newer PPC machines and to serve up updates so I'm kind of interested in that now too and gigabit would be nice for that.

I would really prefer to not have to use the Yikes! as a server and instead use my existing Linux server to do all of that stuff avoiding having to power another computer on all the time, but the papd (is that what it's called?) portion of netatalk has been removed from the more recent incarnations. I don't really need to be able to print from my early Macs, nor do I particularly want to print from them, but there's a certain satisfaction derived from being able to say that I can. I also found something online called bsdpy (or something like that) that would let me net install my PPC machines from my Linux server (installing Leopard can be a PITA on some Macs otherwise... in my experience but I may just be doing it wrong.) but I wouldn't get the update caching with that... At least not from what I can see.

I didn't install a driver for the ethernet card as it just seemed to work. Is that what I'm missing? A driver?
Both of my NICs are NetGear and I chose them specifically after doing research to make sure they'd be Mac compatible without having to install any drivers. I am not sure what speeds I get, but copy times are within the norm of Gigabit Ethernet that I am used to (a 6GB copy in say, 12-13 minutes). That's probably not Gigabit speeds, but it's certainly faster than Fast Ethernet and that's ultimately my intent here.

A year and a half ago, I upgraded our cable connection to Gigabit, so I got a Gigabit router and that's when I upgraded the G3. Why have a Gigabit network with a Mac that cannot take advantage of it? And since it was a server - two NICs. The stock port is not even connected as I don't use it at all.

The more important thing for me was hardware that could handle fileserving and large file copies without flooding the internal bus. I settled on a PCI-SATA card that is connected to an external RAID enclosure via eSATA. So far it's been rock-solid.
 

eyoungren

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What kind of speeds do you get with that?
OK.

As of this moment I have a 700GB file transfer going from my server to my Quad. I seem to be averaging around a 12.5 to 16mb per second transfer rate. My understanding is that Fast Ethernet tops out at 12.5mb per second.

Transfer rates take a hit with a lot of small files and most of this 700GB is small files. Add in the 100mhz bus and the fact that the RAID is two 5400rpm hard drives, and this is the result (at this time). That's faster than Fast Ethernet, but definitely the bottom end of Gigabit.[/QUOTE]
 
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bse5150

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Both of my NICs are NetGear and I chose them specifically after doing research to make sure they'd be Mac compatible without having to install any drivers.
I did the same. I don't know what brand the nic I have is, but it's the chipset that matters... At least that's what I was able to get from my research. Like I said, the card I have just seems to work. Perhaps it's a limitation of the pci bus on this mac? I dunno.

I am not sure what speeds I get, but copy times are within the norm of Gigabit Ethernet that I am used to (a 6GB copy in say, 12-13 minutes). That's probably not Gigabit speeds, but it's certainly faster than Fast Ethernet and that's ultimately my intent here.
Sounds like you are getting speeds pretty consistent with what I was getting. Like you said, better than fast ethernet... But a little more wouldn't hurt.

A year and a half ago, I upgraded our cable connection to Gigabit, so I got a Gigabit router and that's when I upgraded the G3.
I upgraded to gigabit internet last september. Cable guy told me that I shouldn't expect gigabit speeds unless I had a $4000 computer. I wouldn't expect to do one thing at gigabit speeds on the wan even with a $4000+ computer. My main interest was in being able to do more stuff at good speeds rather than being able to do one thing at a great speed so I didn't care about that.

Why have a Gigabit network with a Mac that cannot take advantage of it?
My thoughts exactly, which is why I asked what I asked.

And since it was a server - two NICs. The stock port is not even connected as I don't use it at all.
What are you using the second nic for? Redundancy? Do you have two subnets accessing your server? I don't use the builtin port either... No reason to subject myself to 100Mb if I don't have to.

The more important thing for me was hardware that could handle fileserving and large file copies without flooding the internal bus. I settled on a PCI-SATA card that is connected to an external RAID enclosure via eSATA. So far it's been rock-solid.
I just have a 320GB (of which I only use 120... I prefer not to use the "software" solution to utilize the rest of the drive.) ide drive in my yikes! on the internal ide bus that I don't feel a need to upgrade/change. I like zipping stuff around over nfs so the speed of the internal drive is not as important to me. This is another reason why I inquired as to what kind of speeds you were getting.
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OK.

As of this moment I have a 700GB file transfer going from my server to my Quad. I seem to be averaging around a 12.5 to 16mb per second transfer rate. My understanding is that Fast Ethernet tops out at 12.5mb per second.

Transfer rates take a hit with a lot of small files and most of this 700GB is small files. Add in the 100mhz bus and the fact that the RAID is two 5400rpm hard drives, and this is the result (at this time). That's faster than Fast Ethernet, but definitely the bottom end of Gigabit.
The drives themselves shouldn't be the bottleneck. I have external 5400rpm drives on two linux x86 machines and I'm able to saturate the gigabit connection when moving files across the network to them. I think you might be right about the bus thing though. I wonder if I moved the nic to the slot currently occupied by the video card if that would improve things? I can sacrifice video performance for better network performance on a machine I'm wanting to use as a server. The slot the video card is in is 66MHz right? And the others are 33? Does that sound right? I'm just working from memory and it's been a long time since I looked at the pci speeds on this mac.
 
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eyoungren

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What are you using the second nic for? Redundancy? Do you have two subnets accessing your server? I don't use the builtin port either... No reason to subject myself to 100Mb if I don't have to.
Internal connections. I have my router set to port forward the WAN IP to the internal IP of one NIC. All my external connections thus communicate through that NIC.

The other NIC I connect to via it's internal IP address directly when at home.



I just have a 320GB (of which I only use 120... I prefer not to use the "software" solution to utilize the rest of the drive.) ide drive in my yikes! on the internal ide bus that I don't feel a need to upgrade/change. I like zipping stuff around over nfs so the speed of the internal drive is not as important to me. This is another reason why I inquired as to what kind of speeds you were getting.
My boot drive is a 160GB PATA drive. I'm just sharing the RAID drive.

The drives themselves shouldn't be the bottleneck. I have external 5400rpm drives on two linux x86 machines and I'm able to saturate the gigabit connection when moving files across the network to them. I think you might be right about the bus thing though. I wonder if I moved the nic to the slot currently occupied by the video card if that would improve things? I can sacrifice video performance for better network performance on a machine I'm wanting to use as a server. The slot the video card is in is 66MHz right? And the others are 33? Does that sound right? I'm just working from memory and it's been a long time since I looked at the pci speeds on this mac.
I'm not sure. I didn't realize there might be a difference on bus speeds. Regardless, my G3 is running headless - that is with no video card. I control it entirely through screen sharing, which is another benefit of two NICS. If one fails or isn't working correctly I can connect via the other IP address. That's happened before when a cable went bad on me.
 

Adamscomputerrepair

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I don’t plan on doing anything this fancy. I’m going to dig out an IDE disk drive, install tiger (for YouTube purposes...aka part 2 of my video) and part 3 will cover using FireWire to capture video off an old mini DV camcorder for fun.
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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I don’t plan on doing anything this fancy. I’m going to dig out an IDE disk drive, install tiger (for YouTube purposes...aka part 2 of my video) and part 3 will cover using FireWire to capture video off an old mini DV camcorder for fun.
Considering how I maxxed out my old PowerMac G4, I have literally kept a very light hand on this G3. It's doing everything I intended it to do (I always wanted a G3 as a server) and doing it well. I will admit that this is probably more than most are willing to do, but hardly fancy. ;)
 

bunnspecial

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There are some fun G3-specific upgrades out there if you want to hunt for them.

I have one that's running on a 1ghz G3 upgrade. These are fun as they run crazy cool(you use the stock heatsink) and unlike the Sonnet 1ghz G4 don't require extra power. Also, unlike the Sonnet G4, you don't have to drop the FSB to 66mhz. These went as fast as 1.1ghz- @Surrat has one. The downside is that officially they won't work with anything newer than 10.4.9 for whatever reason.

My 1ghz computer also has a Voodoo 5 5500 GPU. These were expensive and rare when new, and funny enough PC guys would actually buy the Mac version and flash it to get DVI(the PC version is only VGA). Unfortunately, mine has one dead GPU-I have replacements and I need to send it to @dosdude1 to rework. Also, the VooDoo is really pretty much an OS 9 only card, and there aren't that many programs that can actually leverage its full instruction set. It will work in OS X, but either with no acceleration or only minimal(don't remember which).

I have one B&W that came from a very dear professor at work. She had used it quite a bit(you should see the desktop) but it was a time capsule in that it still has some of the plastic on it, the case is perfect, and it was running its original install of 8.5.5. I did do some mild upgrades in the form of adding more RAM to supplement its original 128mb, and replaced the dead ODD with I think a combo drive. I have a few others that have been "hot rodded" a bit with things like G4s, and at least one kicking around that has Rhapsody and every OS X DP installed on it.
 
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bobesch

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Oct 21, 2015
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My main interest is in having a machine to serve files and act as a print server for my 68K and beige PPC machines.
Oh, maybe you may have some advise...
I'd like to connect a MacintoshClassic with an os9-PPC-machine.
How did you physically get the 68k machines connect with the Yikes?
Even after reading a lot about possible options, I'm still confused...
This is my idea, how I may proceed further:
Macintosh68k/Mini8SerialSocket - Mini8ToSerialAdapterCable - SerialToUSBAdapterCabel - [AppleTalk] - iMacG3/os9/USB
I don't know how and if this Serial <=> USB connection will workd at all.
So, what kind of connection do you use (Serial - Ethernet) / (AppleTalk- TCP/IP)?
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