What to do with a late generation iMac G3

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by DrRusty, May 9, 2010.

  1. DrRusty macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2010
    I have just picked up (FOR FREE ?) an iMac G3 (500 MHz), which from initally reaserch shows it to be a later model, but not exactly sure which one yet.

    20Gb HDD (pretty small ?)

    Next issue is that this will be my first foyer into the world of Apple Computers.

    It has OS X on it, but it seems a little stuffed up by the previous owner and a new fresh install on a larger hdd, looks like a possible way forward (except I will need to find a copy of OS X as it wasn't supplied.

    I'm also guessing that an Airport card make sense (if compatible) as an internet connection is pretty necessary.

    Any advice etc... welcome.
  2. Airforcekid macrumors 65816


    Sep 29, 2008
    United States of America
    I ran one of these for awhile great machines you can throw a copy of PPC linux on it or buy or "Download" a version of 10.4 Tiger its great for email and web just dont install flash and stick to Safari and your good. Keep in mind its 10 years old and will have a slight lag 3-4 bounces to open apps.
  3. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    hmmm if you really want to use it , then upgrade the ram 512 mb is enough better more , the internal 20?gb might seem small but you can easy and cheap upgrade to a 120gb ide harddrive , the imac g3 only can see up to 128gb internal , you can pick harddrives up quiet cheap , does'nt have to be brandnew , the ram too not to be brandnew as long as its working , but look for mac compatible pc 100 and pc 133 ram modules
    another thing if you go for external storage , go for a firewire harddrive , as the iMac only has usb 1.1 , but offers firewire 400 which is faster then usb2.0 in the real world
    i use my iMac g3 as a bedroom computer as its silent and i fitted a slot dvd drive inside ..used but working fine to watch dvd's and downloaded films (no HD obviously)
    other then that , emailing , bit of surfing here in the forum /ebay
    they are fine little computers , and with the right harddrive inside absolute silent , so ideal as a bedroom computer , even use as tv is possible , i bought a firewire analoque tv card and a freeview box with aerial feed (no scart!) so i can watch and record tv programs
    and flashplayer and youtube is possible , as long as its not HD video so avoid any video with the HD sign in youtube, and avoid fullscreen and go down from millions of colors to thousands of colors , you wont see the difference but your little graphics chip in the iMac g3 will thank you :) another thing is if you use tiger , disable dashboard and spotlight unless you need it really (how to's you find in google)
  4. kresh macrumors 6502a


    We used one (a 450 MHz G3 DV Graphite) for a long time as a file server for iTunes media, as well as a computer for visitors to browse the web. It kinda fit in with the rest of the stuff in the living room. I installed 10.4 and used 2 Firewire 400 drives.

    It was surprisingly snappy and never gave any trouble at all. I'll admit that I had it wired to the AEBS, I'm not sure how it would have performed using it as a file server with the Airport card.
  5. iMJustAGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2007
    Beach, FL
    Craigslist that sucker for $50, that's what I did. I thought I wanted it for the sentimental value but it was just gathering dust. Mine was teal DVD/512MB/40GB/300 MHz/No installed Airport and it sold within hours of posting.
  6. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    btw in order to fit a airport card you need this adapter card fitted the airport cards are easy to find but the little board to connect the airport to is not that easy to find , but dont worry a simple wireless stick will do the job too look to get one like mentioned in the video
  7. drewdle macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2010
    Nanaimo, BC
    You could hot-rod it, but I'm not sure how far you'd get. A 500Mhz G3 isn't bad if all you want to do is word processing and games from the late '90s, but the internet will be difficult for it, even with upgrades. So aside from selling it and making some cash, you've got two options.

    1) Install Mac OS 9.2 on it and keep it around as a toy machine. Yes, OS 9 is long dead and most software out there is never going to run on it, but it was the system that originally shipped with the computer, and just for fun, you could throw that on there and see just how quick on their feet they were.

    2) Upgrade memory to at least 384Mb and install OSX 10.4, and as long as this iMac has FireWire, it should pass the system check just fine. Use it as an iTunes/Safari station, and install ClickToFlash for Safari so that Flash doesn't ravage the computer at every turn. Don't bother with Firefox unless you can stuff 512Mb of memory or more into it. It should turn out to be a decent internet terminal, just don't be expecting any YouTube or video co-operation. I have a B&W G3 tower that works great in this capacity.

    If you do go the upgrade route, just keep in mind you're unlikely to make back any of the money you sink into it.
  8. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    I have a g3 ruby 450Mhz, it has upgraded HD to 120GB and 640MB RAM.

    Some inferences:

    Internet: surprisingly good experience, obviously any flash is troublesome and youtube etc are no-go options

    ilife: again not so shabby if you accept that it is not the latest and greatest

    Word/Pages: Run great

    In reality, it is probably too slow to be used for the web, but I have mine filled with music and set up as a colourful stereo, for this it is absolutely perfect
  9. helios16v macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    I too have one of these suckers sitting around just collecting dust. I was going to turn it into a fish tank but I just cant find myself to take a perfectly good working mac and turn it into a few seconds of entertainment before I find my self bored with the fish lol.

    are there any alternate operating systems that will run on this so internet videos do work?

    I would love to set this up next to my bed and watch The Simpsons online before I go to sleep.

    Android OS?
    Google Chromium OS?
    Linux with a working flash player? (Gnash is garbage)

    All I would want to do with it is online video streaming, so I could disable anything else to get it to run faster making google chromium os the best solution but has anyone managed to get this working on there macs yet?

    I had it working flawless in a virtual pc on my girlfriends macbook pro but i haven't gone any further with it.

  10. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    It's "foray" not foyer but I admire your use of the language.

    There is an airport card adapter you need to get for your imac. i just gave one away to a guy on MR here a few months ago, if I could remember who he was, he might sell it to you for small amount.

    Larger 120gb hard drive is best you can do

    Bump up ram to 1 gig.

    Run Tiger on it. Disable dashboard.
  11. wickedking94 macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2010
    He thats the same as m imac! im using it right now to write this. its an excellent little computer, and can still do some good stuff. making powepoint presentations, most websites, including facebook, a bit of light video editing, itunes for sure! ou can use it as a server too! i you really want to you can add up to 120GB HDD, its not too hard, and a Gig of ram is a must. much better value than a ten year old windows.
  12. tonythemediaguy macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2006
    Hi There,

    I have a 400MHz G3 (half tangerine/half lime/all working) that sets next to my 17" mbp. I keep a copy of all of my itunes on there, works great for that. I also use it for pdf versions of books I'm reading. I can have it running and not interfere with my mbp. I actually have 2 working bondi blues too that I intend on using for pac-man arcades. I replaced the flyback transformers in those so they're like new again.

    I pick these up regularly on CL here in Honolulu for about $25. I had a couple snow g3's which are 600MHz but they make a lot of noise with their fans! My favorites are the convection cooled fruit colors, there's no fan. The only noise is that of the hard drive, which I hope to switch out to pata ssd in the very near future. Should eliminate all noise. Aside from the slot loading DVD that is, which works great btw, great little DVD station.

    I haven't tried loading ubuntu on there, but I have 1GB ram in this 400 that I use almost everyday. I have 10.4 on here but also boot into 9.2.2 from time to time. MacMame .66 runs great under os9. MAME OS X works good too, but there's a huge performance increase running it under os9.

    Lots of options there. Here's are some 3d models for using it as a mame cabinet. http://bartoparcade.katorlegaz.com/
  13. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    iMac g3 600mhz with fans? since when did these have fans , i have a 600mhz iMac g3 and there is absolutely no fan inside , all iMac g3 slot loader are fanless , even my 700mhz version doesn't need a fan and is quiet (western digital HDD), there is in fact more noise coming from my mini G4
  14. tonythemediaguy macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2006
    You're right. I was confusing the Snow model imac g3 with the g4 eMacs I have a couple of.
  15. jparenti macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2010
    500mhz doesn't sound like much to some, but there's plenty to do with it. I have a 600mhz Snow iMac with a 30GB drive that originally had 256MB of RAM when it was given to me. I use it as an Internet browsing machine (sans YouTube, but I can live with that) and as an iTunes jukebox. I upgraded mine to 1GB of RAM today, and now 10.4.11 loads up in about ten seconds. It's a very capable machine. I also put OpenOffice on it, but beware -- it loads up slow and stays slow. (I haven't checked after the RAM upgrade to see if it's any faster.) As a word processor, it does the job though.
    Most people don't even know why they need multiple GBs of RAM and hard drives that can hold the Library of Congress. I've proven to more than one of my friends and family that a decade-old CRT iMac can indeed live in 2010 without a lot of accommodating.
    (Please, please, PLEASE -- if it works, don't gut it and put fish in it!) :D
  16. drewdle macrumors regular

    Apr 26, 2010
    Nanaimo, BC
    Try out OpenOffice again, you'll be pleasantly surprised, especially if you're running the Cocoa-native v3. On both my B&W tower and my iMac it was heinously slow, but it's much quicker on it's feet now that the iMac has 1Gb of memory, so I suspect you'll see a similar improvement (as you're running Tiger and your processor is close enough to mine; OpenOffice has no use for AltiVec G4 processing).

    And I concur on the fish-tank comment! Please don't gut it if it works! Hell, I'll buy it off you, even though I may spend a few nights in the doghouse for doing so. :)
  17. NorCal Explorer macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2010
    Weaverville, CA
    iMac G3 back up computer

    I have a 700mhz snow iMac with 1 gig of ram and 160 hd (127.89 gb recognized) and love it. I use it to see how far into the 21st century I can push it. I installed a "N" usb wifi dongle on it and a bluetooth dongle to be able to use see wpa2 networks and have a wireless keyboard and mouse. You can have an extensive iTunes collection running on it via an external 1 tb hd. I have also experimented in installing iWork 09 on it and it does run.

    Great little machine that you can do so much with. Perfect for beginners and those who just want to check email and surf the net while listing to music in iTunes. :apple:

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