Upgrading a 233 MHz iMac Tray Loading /B

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by donaldl43, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. donaldl43 macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    I got the above described computer on Ebay for $5 and I would like to make it so I can at least run OS X and iTunes. Maybe even the iPhone SDK unless that's out of the question.

    Btw it's a G3 which I forgot to put in the subject line although you probably knew that.

    I'm a PC Geek so I know my way around the hardware but have never owned an Apple. I've read various things on upgrading the RAM to 256 or 512, not sure which exactly I can do. I know it's got 1 slot but I don't know what the max size SO-DIMM I can put in it. Seems like Apple says 256 but I've seen on the net some people say 512. Wish I knew which was right.

    I also want to upgrade the hard drive but one problem I have is I don't own an install CD for any Mac OS. Can someone suggest the best one to get? I suspect I can find one on Ebay but don't want to waste too much money and time. Figure someone here might be able to help.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. dsnort macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2006
    In persona non grata
    For the memory, try Other World Computing, ( Google it) Even if you don't buy the memory from them they have a pretty upgrade tool that you can use to get specs for your machine.

    Or go to www.Apple.com>Support>Tech Spec and look up your model.

    As for OSX, I think all your going to be able to run on that machine would be 10.3 Panther, others here would know better. You can usually find the older Mac OS distro's pretty reasonable on ebay. One caveat, DON"T BUY GRAY INSTALL DISKS! They are specific to the machine they shipped with and won't work on any other Macs. Only buy full retail versions, I think they're always black.

    EDIT:And make sure whatever you buy it's on a media compatible with your machine. Nothing worse than an install DVD for a machine that only has CD-ROM!
  3. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
  4. Mac SK macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    You have to upgrade the firmware before you install OS ten or you can kill the machine. The start point for the upgrade should be OS 9.2.2. Then the firmware update, then OS ten. The firmware resides on the Hard Drive and if you change it you need to put it back first before the upgrade. Not all Mac install disc have the firmware for tray load Imacs. Finding the Disc for that model would be a good idea and then up it to 10. You can find the firmware update at the apple web site.Good Luck.
  5. MacTech68, Apr 7, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Whilst the tray loading CD drive G3 iMacs do have firmware updates, OSX only "fries" the slot loading CD drive G3 iMacs. Still, it's worthwhile checking it but you need to have a minimum of MacOS 8.1

    The last firmware update for the Tray Loader is iMac Firmware Update 1.2

    The iMac Tray load actually has 2 SO-DIMM slots. One on the top of the socketed CPU Card and one underneath. The one to the edge of the main logic board is actually a Video RAM socket.

    The following article only shows the one on the top side of the CPU card:


    There is also a Firmware update for the original CR-173 CD-ROM drives to improve reading CDs.

    Apple's original specs only include memory modules available at the time the machine was designed. As far as I know, you can fit a 256MB SO-DIMM in both the top and bottom slots to get a total maximum of 512MB.

    Also, be aware that OSX on these machines can only boot on partitions no larger than 8GB and that partition must be the first logical partition on the drive. The remainder of the drive can be accessed as a second partition, but you cannot boot from the second partition.

    EDIT: as far as OS, if you want OSX, 10.3.9 is the highest Apple ever supported. I'd suggest getting a retail version of 10.3.x (not one that is labeled as "for iMac" or "for iBook" etc). Running OSX on an 8GB partition can be a bit problematic depending on how many applications you install.

    Hope that helps
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  6. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    That helps a lot!

    I'm wondering if I used Ghost to copy the existing 4 GB drive to an 8 GB partition on a bigger drive would it work? I use Ghost all the time for PCs but have never tried for an Apple.

    My thought process is this:

    1) Upgrade the memory to either 256 or 512 if possible.
    2) Upgrade the hard drive
    2a) Use Ghost if it works or
    2b) Find a copy of OS 9.2.2 and install on a new drive.

    Also wondering if this is going to end up costing more than just getting something that has OS X already on it and selling this iMac.
  7. spue2001 macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    dont think of it as a way of getting osx , the upgrade is a learning experience , enjoy working on this classic machine
  8. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    Good point. I will probably learn a lot more about Apples and Macs by doing this upgrade than just going out and buying one.

    I found a place that sells memory for this machine. For a 128 MB it was $17 and for a 256 it was $47. I bought 2 128s. I figure it should do ok with 256 total. If I end up getting it all upgraded and I want in the future I could always get the 256.

    I'm still curious about using Ghost to do the hard drive. I guess I could always try it since I've got a spare 40 GB drive sitting here.
  9. Sly macrumors 6502


    Nov 30, 2003
    Airstrip One
    OS X runs very poorly on this iMac, you are not going to get a good impression of what OS X is about, imagine what it would be like running XP on a similarly spec'ed PC. My advice is use this one for OS 8 or 9 and buy something with a G4 + as an OS X platform (the G4 iMac is a great machine and one of Apple's best designs).
  10. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    It currently has OS 8.5 on it. I don't mind using 8.5 on this machine if I could install a newer browser. Using Microsoft IE 5 currently. Not sure what browser would install on 8.5 that would be compatible with newer web sites. Even yahoo.com tells me I need something newer than IE 5. Is there a version of Safari or Firefox that will run?
  11. MonksMac macrumors 6502a


    Dec 5, 2005
    Try a browser called iCab. It is somewhat slow but, is still actively developed I believe. Or you could try a newer version of IE 5 (5.1 is the highest I think) or Netscape. Either way good luck!:apple:
    P.S. I don't think Ghost would work on a Macintosh. I don't think Ghost reads the HFS or HFS+ filesystems that macs use.
  12. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    I think you're probably right about Ghost. There is a raw clone option? I can't find anything on the net about anyone having any luck using Ghost so probably not.

    Thanks for the browser suggestions. I do have IE 5.1 on it and it kind of works. I'll check the 2 suggested.

    On a related note there is a Mac store near here that has a copy of OS 9 but they want $45 for it. I really hate to spend much when I don't know exactly what I'm going to end up doing with it.
  13. ChocolateJesus macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2008
    $45 for OS 9?! They must be selling it as a collector's item or something. Look around on eBay, or "acquire" it.. no real guilt there, Apple can't make money off it anymore anyway. :)
  14. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    Here's one on eBay for about $25 plus it would be $7 shipping. I also found this one that I could bid on.

    I'm not sure where I could "acquire" one. ;)
  15. MacTech68, Apr 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    If you already have MacOS 8.5 on the machine, you might want to try updating to 8.6. It's a free update and contains many of the OS 9 improvements and many applications that work with OS 9 work with 8.6.

    A few suggestions on top would be CarbonLib 1.6 and MRJ 2.2.5. Sadly you won't get a recent version of Java onto MacOS 8.6 or 9.2.2. MRJ 2.2.5 is the last available for 8.1-9.2.1.

    You might also want to look at Mozilla 1.3.1, an un-supported build for the Mac but included some enhancements over 1.2.1. I'm not sure if iCab has improved beyond that, but would assume it has. Explorer 5.1.6 is the last version for the "classic" MacOS and is pretty useless.

    You might find that you don't need OS9 after all.

    The beauty of the older pre-OSX OS is that it's a drag-copy backup. If you copy the folders you can see to another disk (a thumb drive for example - slow with USB 1) then copy it back to another drive formatted as MacOS HFS+ (also known as HFS extended), then that gives you a bootable copy on the new drive.

    The decision of which way to go is yours. MacOS 10.3.9 will give you a machine compatible with current "internet technologies" but slow. OS 8.6 or 9.2.2 will give you a faster machine but with poor compatibility to current technology.

    Good Luck! :)
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  16. Rodus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2008
    Midlands, UK
    OS X on a Bondi Blue whilst useable is not fast, you really want to load up on as much RAM as possible (512 MB) and as fast a HD as possible to minimise the speed penalty of virtual memory. As the GPU in these machines (ATI Rage Pro Turbo) is also archaic you need to cut down on the eye candy. Shadow Killer has made a dig difference on my 10.3, Rev B iMac.
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007

    if possible can you please provide more information so we can know exactly what iMac it is.

    i am guessing because it is a 233MHz machine that it is the original "Columbus" (code name) iMac - which was released may 1998...

    depending on the revision number of the machine there are a few different maximum memory limits
    Rev. A - 384Mb
    Rev. B - 512Mb
    these limits are "actual" limits, not the limits that apple has claimed them to be.

    ok now, bceause i have one of these sitting right next to me, i know a fair bit about it. the maximum OS it can run is 10.3.9., which (correct me if im wrong) cannot run the SDK that you wish to run..

    it can however (through some modifications to software) run 10.4. I have been attempting to do this but so far have been unsuccessful! i have gotten the machine to boot using 10.4, but anything above that is a no no..

    ANY sort of IDE HD will work in the iMac, but trust me when i say this, it is a PAIN in the ASS getting into change the HD. it is SO hard!!!! the computer has a maximum of 128GB per drive, so anything above that will only be seen as 128gb - or they wont work)....

    anyway thats all

    any other questions??
  18. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    It's a Rev B. That's what I meant when I put in the /B in the title. I am fairly sure it's limit is 512 MB. Not sure how differently it will run with 256 Vs 512. I'm hoping it does ok.

    I think I've realized to run the SDK I should probably get something newer. I'm thinking of a Mac Mini just to get something but I still want to go forward with upgrading this as much as I can for as low a cost as possible. It's not that I don't have the money, it's that I don't want to throw good money after bad if I'm not going to get it to where I want it to be.

    As spue2001 said the fun is in the learning. I will most likely know a bit more about them if I go through all the steps to upgrade.

    I found a company in Canoga Park(CA) near me called Used Macs that claims to have a lot of old Mac hardware. I think I'll go by there this morning just to look.

    Another thing I need to ask. I downloaded a copy of Mozilla yesterday from here but I couldn't install it. When I would double click on the file it told me I needed part of Stuffit Expander. I did a search on my drive and found that Stuffit Expander is on there but when I would double click on it I didn't see anything that suggested it was running or doing anything. I think the Mozilla file ended up named something.bin but I couldn't see the .bin in the name. I suspect the extension is hidden? Anyways, how to install that would be helpful.
  19. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    I went by the store I mentioned called Used Macs this morning. It's a small office type suite with Macs laying all over the place. I told him what I wanted to do and he said he would install OS 9 for $10 and OS X for $10. He said he doesn't sell the CDs.

    He also had a 256 MB RAM module he sold me for $15.

    I think I am in love with this place. :D He said he would do this so cheap because he knows the machine isn't worth much and I suspect he hopes I end up buying a newer machine from him. That is quite likely as he's got a ton.

    I installed the 256 module and booted into 8.5. It works like a champ. Then I tried to boot onto a Live CD of Ubuntu 6.06 just for the fun of it. It didn't work well. I found someone who said it would do fine with 5.10 so I found an ISO and burned a copy then booted into it. That worked fine too. Of course my goal is not to have a Mac running Linux. I've already got a PC running Linux but it was fun just to see if I could do it.

    I also put in a 160 GB hard drive for him to install the newer OS's on. I know with that machine it won't use any more than 120 GB but that was the smallest drive I had that I knew worked.

    This afternoon I will take my machine in to him and he's going to do the 2 OS installs. I'll talk to him about what machine he might have that will run the iPhone SDK at that point. I want to keep the iMac but make it useful. It should be when I get 10.2 or whatever he is going to install on it.

    While I was there a woman walked in and said she had an iMac she wanted to sell because she just bought a new one. Seems she had a Tray Loader like mine but she wanted $20 for it. I couldn't think of any reason to buy it from her. What I did find interesting is how much I've learned about G3 iMacs in just the short time I've had this one. I know I've only scratched the surface but it's still kinda cool.
  20. spue2001 macrumors member

    Aug 2, 2008
    you're starting to see its more than just a computer , i hate to see old macs end up in the trash and with more people seeing the appeal of older macs hopefully the will be less at the dump , full credit to you for saving the g3
  21. Mac SK macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    In order to install OSX a tray load iMac MUST have iMac Firmware Update 1.2 - or very bad things will happen!:eek:
  22. donaldl43 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 7, 2009
    I left it at the Used Mac store and the guy is going to install everything that's needed. He put 9.2 on it at first and it said it needed the firmware so he then put 9.0. He pushed in a button with a pin and started it up and said that would upgrade the firmware. Does anyone know if that's correct? I'm still pretty much in the dark about these things.
  23. Mac SK macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2008
    Yes thats the way its done...But I always installed the firmware update from a disc I made of the download update, it my not be on the OS install disc. The update is just for the install of OS ten. Have him check the boot rom # in system profiler before you install Ten. There nothing in Ten to stop the install or tell you the firmware is wrong. Apple wanted to sell more machines and didn't care if you killed it. The upgrade start point is OS 9.2.2. What he did was just put in the firmware to make the machine run,thats like 1.1 you need 1.2
  24. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    You should have said where you were earlier... and yes i think I've dealt with the USED MAC guy when he was in Hollywood... is he a Brit? Always fair with me.

    I'd still do a 10.3 on the imac, ask him. I ran OS9 through 2003 on my then new Titanium Powerbook and let me refresh my own memory here... it crashed. It froze. OSX is way more stable than OS9 it is a new universe and you will have no trouble running it on the 266.

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