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Hand me down mac

tech_huntertech_hunter MoreSeattleRegistered User regular
edited April 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So I got a G3 mac from a friend. He ordered it refurbished from geeks.com or something like that. Well it is slow as hell and it says it has OSX on it but when I try to install firefox or something for OSX im told its not running OSX when the system info clearly says OSX. So it seems that they may have done some kind of upgrade and it didnt take right? Also how much ram can a G3 have. I put some extra sticks in it has 4 slots I think I may have 512 in it now but havent bothered booting it up yet. I want to buy OSX from apple and get a dvd drive for it since you need that to install OSX..so how did they do an upgrade with just a cdrom drive!? But is it really worth it I mean its pretty much a free mac and I wouldnt mind putting some money into it...ohh and it only has a 6 gig drive, definately going to need to upgrade that. I am interested in learning about macs more and also other people that visit and want to use my computer can just use the mac instead :) So what do you think, get some little upgrades and if so how much can i upgrade on a G3, or should I just trash it?

Sig to mucho Grande!
tech_hunter on

Posts

  • FristleFristle Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Well, you're using a computer that came out in 1999 (earlier if it's the beige one). If it is good for anything anymore that's a real testament to the model. Check out Low-end Mac for a community of people still using old Macs. You can get tech support and ideas there.

    You can check how much RAM is in your Mac by going to the menu bar at the top and clicking the Apple logo and selecting "About this Mac" -- if you have 512MB of RAM already, you'll do okay. Is it the blueish translucent case G3? If so it can support up to 1GB of RAM. With that much RAM you could even run OSX 10.4 and be okay. If it's the beige PowerMac G3 case, that's the one that maxes out at 768MB, which would still be a decent amount for today's software if you upgraded it. I mean they were still selling brand new Macs at the Apple Store with a default of 512MB until sometime last year.

    "About this Mac" also shows the build of the OS, from which you can determine the exact OS version. In the Apple world there is not much in the way of backwards OS compatibility. The most recent OS is currently 10.4, and if you're running 10.3 you're going to be unable to run ~5-10% of applications out there (not to mention Widgets since there was no "dashboard" in that version). If you're running OS 10.2, you'll have a problem running even more stuff. I can't really say if that's your Firefox issue, but it very well could be. If it's got OS 10.1, forget about it, don't even use it until you can reinstall with a newer OS.

    Upgrades (assuming you have the blue model PowerMac G3):
    1 Gig of RAM (PC100 DIMM) ...with 4 slots, it should be cheap as hell to buy four 256MB DIMMs on eBay
    250GB hard disk (Ultra ATA) ...again, cheap ($65), go bigger if you want, or smaller/cheaper if you want

    Indeed, for a hundred bucks or so you could have a decent machine (don't expect any performance miracles though).

    Fristle on
    Fristle.jpg
  • tech_huntertech_hunter More SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    yeah it is the translucent case it had like 128 MB to start with and I put more sticks in but all dont have stickers showing how much ram they are I am only guessing it is holding 512 but it could be 312. I will need to boot it up and see. So yeah I think I will get OSX an new HD and dvd drive. I am not expecting miracles or anything I would just like to learn more about Macs and it would be nice as an additional computer. Think it would be capable of running wow? I put a VGA video card in it I think his has 256 MB of video memory.

    tech_hunter on
    Sig to mucho Grande!
  • FristleFristle Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I want to buy OSX from apple and get a dvd drive for it since you need that to install OSX..so how did they do an upgrade with just a cdrom drive!?

    With a Mac, you can attach an external disk via Firewire and boot from it by holding down a certain key at boot. If geeks.com had a Firewire-attached DVD-rom drive or something, they could have been using that to install OSX from DVD. But, OSX didn't even ship on DVDs until recently -- OSX 10.4 (Tiger) -- before that it came on CD. If you're purchasing a legit copy, Apple offers a CD version of Tiger as an option (order form PDF).

    Get that newer bigger hard disk before trying a new OS though. OSX 10.4 requires like 3GB alone.

    Another upgrade you can do on an old Mac is to put in a CPU upgrade card. You can take the processor to a 1.0GHz G4, probably tripling the performance. But it's $300, so borderline not-worth-it.

    Fristle on
    Fristle.jpg
  • FristleFristle Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    yeah it is the translucent case it had like 128 MB to start with and I put more sticks in but all dont have stickers showing how much ram they are I am only guessing it is holding 512 but it could be 312.

    312MB is not a valid multiple of 8 so I don't think that's possible. 368 maybe (if it had 128MB and you added 256MB more).
    I will need to boot it up and see. So yeah I think I will get OSX an new HD and dvd drive. I am not expecting miracles or anything I would just like to learn more about Macs and it would be nice as an additional computer. Think it would be capable of running wow? I put a VGA video card in it I think his has 256 MB of video memory.

    No, it will never run WoW I'm afraid, even if you upgraded the CPU via the method in my last post. It just doesn't have support on the motherboard for a powerful-enough video card. See, I think you are mistaken about the video card you installed. This G3 will only support PCI video cards, and they stopped making PCI cards ages ago. The industry went to AGP a few years back, and then recently AGP died and now you can only get new cards in PCI-Express (PCI-e). If you put a video card that was not a PCI one in that machine, you better remove it again before you boot because who knows what will happen, if it might get damaged or something.

    P.S. In my previous post, I meant to give this link for the specs on your model.

    Fristle on
    Fristle.jpg
  • tech_huntertech_hunter More SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Yes it is a PCI card I just meant it had a VGA (dsub?) Connector on it. The other video card it had in it looked a little like a DVI out but it must have been something else. So I got a PCI video card for a MAC from a friend of mine that actually has a connector i can connect a monitor to this card is made by ATI. I know it works tried that out before I started putting the ram I had laying around into it.

    tech_hunter on
    Sig to mucho Grande!
  • FFFF Once Upon a Time In OaklandRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Since everyone else here has said to get a bigger HD/more RAM I'll leave those be. However...

    If/when you get a bigger HD, don't get anything over 120GB. Early blue and white G3's had a problem with hard drives over 128GB in size. If you need/want HD space over that, you'll need to look into a PCI expansion card.

    Personally, I wouldn't go with any of those CPU upgrades. Unless you could find a ZIF G4 off of ebay for real cheap. (Even then, the gain isn't all that much, since you're still dealing with the G3's abilities, as far as I/O goes, etc.)

    All-in-all, the G3 you have is still quite serviceable for email, web, very light graphics work (though, I don't think you could get Adobe CS2 on there. You could do Adobe CS.)

    Personally, if it were my machine, I'd also install OS 9 (dual boot) and boot into OS 9 to play all my favorite (non-WoW) games.

    FF on
    Huh...
  • tech_huntertech_hunter More SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    What is this you speak of, non wow games on a mac? I thought wow was the only game for a mac :) yeah I dont need 120 gigs 60 to 80 should be fine it will just be a general use machine mostly. The cpu upgrades are pricey I could just go and get a mac mini for that. So I guess it will be dvd drive, HD and order Mac OSX from apple, memory I will see how that goes with the memory I have put in it so far.

    tech_hunter on
    Sig to mucho Grande!
  • FFFF Once Upon a Time In OaklandRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Eh, hehe. Well, I've got Diablo 2, Warcraft 3, the Myth series and the Marathon series :winky:

    Actually, I think I could run some of them through classic.....:!:

    FF on
    Huh...
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It would probably cost you less money to buy an AppleTV and hack it to run as a desktop than to pay the power bill for an old G3 tower. And the AppleTV would be a hell of a lot faster.

    supabeast on
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