What can I do with a Power Mac G3?

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
I'm looking for ideas here people!!

Every since I started looking to get a mac, I was curious about the value of these older machines. I ended up with a mac mini, and really love it. After a few months of not perusing the craigslist classifieds each day, my neighbor who is moving tells me he's got an old "apple" computer he wants to give away.

I go check it out, and it is a 350 MHz Blue & White G3 Power Mac! I tried to be extra cool when I said, sure, I'll take it off your hands!

So, anyway, what can I do with this thing? It has OS 8.6, 128 MB Ram, a 9 GB HD or so, CD-ROM, but lots of charm! I'm not looking for upgrades so much as creative uses of it as is... I can't make it a drive server because of the HD size limitation, right?

So, does anyone have any neat ideas?
 

GimmeSlack12

macrumors 603
Apr 29, 2005
5,396
7
San Francisco
Unless you upgrade at least a few things on it then all of my suggestions will be a waste.

First of all, upgrade the Hard drive. You can get any regular IDE internal drive to put in there. Put at least 250gb if you want to use it as a file server (It would be great for that). And upgrade the RAM! This is a important, as you can run 10.4 on that computer no problem but without more RAM it'll be painful.

At least get 9.2.2 on that thing if not OS X.
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
I think I read on lowendmac or somewhere that this model could only see a 128GB HD?

Also, where can one find a version of OS 9 to purchase? Do they sell it anywhere?
 

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004
21,658
131
You can put a PCI ATA card in there that will let you use drives of any size. I did this at work with a Sonnet Tempo card on a 733 Quicksilver which used to run as a server. This might be, along with some more RAM, the best use of funds towards it.
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,832
1,126
The Netherlands
Aaah... the beautiful Blue & White G3.

Neat things you can do....
1) Install Mac OS X Server 1.x (the Rhapsody version.. so cool) and play around with the beginning of Mac OS X.
2) Beef it up with some RAM, get a Voodoo 5 5500 PCI grfx card, and make it a "nostalgic" Mac OS 9 Mac, and play some good ol' games.
3) Get even more RAM, put in a ATA-133 PCI card, install a big HD, get a copy of Tiger Server and play around with that!

If you're really into it, try to get hold of a matching Apple blueberry 17" Studio Display!
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
Does the PCI ATA Card have to be specific to the Mac, or will any variety work?

Also, can anyone point me to sources for older versions of software, I haven't been able to locate any.

I do have the "matching" blue 17 inch CRT mega huge monitor as well. This thing looks great, but I fear its usefulness may be near zero...
 

bshelly

macrumors newbie
Jan 27, 2004
29
0
The PCI ATA card will have to be Mac specific as the inexpensive PCI cards for x86 systems do not have the correct firmware to be bootable or even recognized :(
 

THX1139

macrumors 68000
Mar 4, 2006
1,928
0
Use it to hold a door open. Or use it to hold paper down on windy days.
 

cluthz

macrumors 68040
Jun 15, 2004
3,118
3
Norway
I think I read on lowendmac or somewhere that this model could only see a 128GB HD?

Also, where can one find a version of OS 9 to purchase? Do they sell it anywhere?
Yes it can only handle drisks upto 128GB, but you can have 3(?) disks in it, giving you a total of 384 GB of space.

It will see bigger disks connected on firewire and usb ports!
 

dontwalkhand

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
5,196
1,197
You can always use external FireWire or external USB hard drives if you do not want to go the internal IDE controller method...Though ATA PCI controllers are cheap enough, that you can buy one and get a larger than 128GB HDD in there.
 

angelodmhl

macrumors member
Jul 17, 2007
44
0
Greece
Although not quite the same hardware, my 1999 imac dv (400MHz G3, 512MB ram, 80GB HDD) is my main desktop computer. And now, that in less than a year another Macbook of mine died (the third in LESS THAN A YEAR), it is my only computer.

I use it for internet surfing, email, bittorrent, itunes + iphoto server, wireless file backup server, light photoshop use, "office" programs like openoffice + microft office 2004, watching DVDs and some old games. All that under tiger.

Try to upgrade the memory to 256 (at least), and find a bigger and faster hard drive. The possibilities are endless with these old macs!
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
Lots of great input, thanks all!

I've been tinkering around, have taken parts of an old Dell that was just sitting around, so now I have a DVD drive, 384 MB RAM, and a second, 60 GB HD running in it just fine. I always knew keeping those old computers around would come in handy!!

Anyway, a friend had some old disks lying around, so I first upgraded to 9.2.2, then I thought I would try installing OS X. I tried a couple of different disks, and each locks up initially at boot with some sort of error, with several unix messages splashed on the screen.

What is the trick to getting OS X installed?
 

flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,582
2,410
United States
Lots of great input, thanks all!

I've been tinkering around, have taken parts of an old Dell that was just sitting around, so now I have a DVD drive, 384 MB RAM, and a second, 60 GB HD running in it just fine. I always knew keeping those old computers around would come in handy!!

Anyway, a friend had some old disks lying around, so I first upgraded to 9.2.2, then I thought I would try installing OS X. I tried a couple of different disks, and each locks up initially at boot with some sort of error, with several unix messages splashed on the screen.

What is the trick to getting OS X installed?

You need to make sure that you are using retail disks for OS X. The grey ones that come with computers are keyed specifically to the exact model and revision of computer that they shipped with.

Also, check this list for firmware updates for your computer:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86117

The updates will likely have to be installed using OS 9.x or older. And, you really should install any firmware updates available before upgrading to OS X.

Also, for more updates to your system, consult this list:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=31002
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
It is a retail DVD, and I do have the latest firmware.

I'll have to try it again this weekend, and post the error message I get...
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
Well, after a couple more tries, it wouldn't even get to the crashing part.

I found a link online to some ideas, which included resetting the CUDA. That must've done the trick, as I was able to install just fine after that.

It is working now, just installing the 10.4.10 update....

Pretty amazing for such an old machine.

Thanks for all the tips folks....
 

flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,582
2,410
United States
Well, after a couple more tries, it wouldn't even get to the crashing part.

I found a link online to some ideas, which included resetting the CUDA. That must've done the trick, as I was able to install just fine after that.

It is working now, just installing the 10.4.10 update....

Pretty amazing for such an old machine.

Thanks for all the tips folks....

Glad to hear that you found the trick.
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,690
1,185
New Zealand
3) Get even more RAM, put in a ATA-133 PCI card, install a big HD, get a copy of Tiger Server and play around with that!
May I ask why you recommend an ATA card? I own one of these G3s and it runs Panther comfortably but Tiger's rather slow. Would an ATA card help much or is it best to stick with Panther?
 

SmurfBoxMasta

macrumors 65816
Nov 24, 2005
1,350
0
I'm only really here at night.
May I ask why you recommend an ATA card? I own one of these G3s and it runs Panther comfortably but Tiger's rather slow. Would an ATA card help much or is it best to stick with Panther?
Yes an ATA card, when used with a faster HD (7200-10k rpm/16mb cache), will help these older machines considerably, regardless of the OS version!

At this point in time, just go for an SATA card & HD's. They are way faster and cost the same or less than the old EIDE/PATA units anyways.....

I recommend either SIIG or Firmtek cards, although Sonnet & others make them too. I had a Firmtek in my B&W, & moved it to a Sawtooth later on notta problemo !

Then I aquired a QS & added a SIIG to it, also n.p.o. It's bootable (as was the Sonnet), very fast, plug & play, & can take up to 4 drives......still running like a champ today :)
 

9Charms

macrumors regular
May 19, 2006
206
0
Vancouver, BC
It all depends on how much money you want to put into this thing.

But I would definitely make it an iPhoto server and/or file server and/or iTunes server.

Personally, I would buy a Highpoint Rocket Raid 1740 or 1742 and create a RAID 5 for all your data.

Then put VineServer (OSXvnc) on it. You can then stick the G3 in a closet somewhere, remove the keyboard, monitor, mouse, and control the G3 remotely.

But again, how much are you comfortable spending?
 

clindner

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 2, 2006
134
1
But I would definitely make it an iPhoto server and/or file server and/or iTunes server.

Personally, I would buy a Highpoint Rocket Raid 1740 or 1742 and create a RAID 5 for all your data.
I've been thinking about putting a SATA card in it to add larger drives, but I'm confused about compatibility. Will any PCI based card work, or only certain ones? I looked up these RocketRaid cards, and they don't indicate Mac compatibility. What's the scoop?
 

9Charms

macrumors regular
May 19, 2006
206
0
Vancouver, BC
I've been thinking about putting a SATA card in it to add larger drives, but I'm confused about compatibility. Will any PCI based card work, or only certain ones? I looked up these RocketRaid cards, and they don't indicate Mac compatibility. What's the scoop?
Ah, but they do. High Point Technologies has their own Mac website:
http://www.hptmac.com

You need something with Mac drivers. The 1740 is $130 CAD, so very affordable, especially when you consider it has RAID 5. You can find a review of a similar product from AMUG.

While it doesn't specifically state G3 support, I don't see why it wouldn't, but then again, maybe someone out there can correct me. I will be putting one of these into my Sawtooth tomorrow, so I'll let you know...
 

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,832
1,126
The Netherlands
May I ask why you recommend an ATA card? I own one of these G3s and it runs Panther comfortably but Tiger's rather slow. Would an ATA card help much or is it best to stick with Panther?
Mainly for the > 128 GB issue.

It *might* be slightly quicker, but I don't think you'll notice any performance gain over using the same 7200 rpm HD on the internal controller.
I do recommend disabling Spotlight on slower machines running Tiger.
 

confucious42

macrumors newbie
Aug 16, 2007
12
0
You could use it as an every day computer like I do with my B&W G3, or you could set it up for younger children to use when they are visiting.