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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Feasibility of 10.3 w/ G3 iMac

Feasibility of 10.3 w/ G3 iMac
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haze
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May 21, 2004, 02:05 AM
 
It appears for e-mail, the Net, etc. you can get by with a G3 iMac. However, what if you do a little more intensive stuff. Like rips CDs, edit the occasional photo, burn cds, etc? I got a call from my father and the PC I built for him five years ago is getting long in the tooth. He wants to pick up something cheap and after I took him to the Apple Store when we were at the mall he is leaning towards a Mac. My ex had a clamshell and he really liked that, but he gets frustrated when things are slow. Will an G3 iMac or clamshell be suitable> He won't want to upgrade again for awhile so will it be good 3 years from now? Or should he spend more and go with an eMac? I wouldn't mind having him pick a refurbed or used G4 tower, but for the price of a G4 500mhz he could probably get a 1Ghz emac. What is the advantage of a slower G4 tower over a much faster (cpu and memory) emac?
     
tooki
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May 21, 2004, 03:47 AM
 
How is the G3 iMac? If it's a tray-load iMac, I really wouldn't bother, as it has a slow 66MHz system bus, and can't hold enough RAM for what I consider to be effective OS X use. A slot-load iMac is OK, as long as you put in all the RAM it can hold (1GB), and I'd probably recommend upgrading the hard drive to a modern 7200RPM drive (it will make a big difference). But in no way will such an old machine last another 3 years from now.

That said, an eMac is a great OS X machine. What's the advantage of the tower? Expandability, which will probably go unused in this case.

My vote is for the eMac. Just be sure it has more than 512MB RAM in it, I strongly urge you to spend the extra $ to put it up to 1GB (not Apple RAM -- it's overpriced -- use Crucial instead).

tooki

edit: fixed brain fart (correction in bold)
( Last edited by tooki; Jun 18, 2004 at 08:48 PM. )
     
CaseCom
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May 21, 2004, 12:36 PM
 
I second tooki's vote for the eMac. Ripping CDs is significantly slower on my iMac (400 MHz G3) than on my PowerBook (867 MHz G4).

Plus, if you want to burn CDs, G3 iMacs didn't offer internal burners until the 2001 models, I believe.

I think a new $800 eMac is a better value than spending $300 on eBay for a G3 iMac that is approaching obsolescence anyway.

(tooki: Did you mean to say a slot-load iMac is OK?)
     
haze  (op)
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May 21, 2004, 01:26 PM
 
I guess you guys are right, the G3 iMac technology is a liitle too old. I just saw over at the Apple store a refurbed 15 in iMac for $999. That sounds like a fair price. As does the iBook 14 in for $999. I may have to convince my father he needs to bust open the piggy bank.
     
jobsen_ski
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May 21, 2004, 06:07 PM
 
well right now I'm using a snow iMac G3 with a 500MHz proccesor running BOTH 9.2.2 and 10.2.8 - and theres a great reason to but a G3 iMac it will run 9.2 as well some of the newer mschines wont. But anyway it will handle OS X great. I will be upgrading to 10.3.x shortly and as Im sure your aware 10.3 is actualy faster on all machines which i great for users with older machines. Ye in 3years a 500Mhz processor might be outof date but I can still see me with my iMac.

I think the fastest G3 imac were 700 or 800MHz and IF you can get one on ebay for a good price! geat! Get 1 although I wouldn't go below 400MHz, personaly i think they look better than the emacs theyre more curved - because of the curved CRT and a little smaller- I know it will be a sad day when I have to give up my snow iMac!
iMac
G3|snow|500Mhz|384Mb|10.2.8|20Gb
iPod mini|silver
     
xgray
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May 21, 2004, 06:17 PM
 
Originally posted by haze:
I guess you guys are right, the G3 iMac technology is a liitle too old. I just saw over at the Apple store a refurbed 15 in iMac for $999. That sounds like a fair price. As does the iBook 14 in for $999. I may have to convince my father he needs to bust open the piggy bank.
The G3 you're describing there (a flat panel G3 iMac) would be plenty good enough to run 10.3, although pumping up the ram a bit (512mb at least) wouldn't hurt.

At our office I have several older CRT iMacs which run 10.3, Photoshop 7, etc., with respectable performance.

Of course for $999 you could also get a new G4 eMac, which would be even better.
     
swissmann
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May 21, 2004, 06:24 PM
 
My parents have a G3 iMac at 400 MHz. They have an external CD burner and are running X.2 on it. They seem to be all right with it, although compared to my my Dual 2 G5 it is painfully slow. My recommendation is to pick up a refurbished 1 GHz eMac with a combo drive from the Apple Store Special Deals for $599 (was there this morning anyway and shows up from time to time). For $600 you are getting a quite a good machine. What you don't have with it is a lot of expandability options and DVD burning. If these aren't concerns I'd snatch one up. Or you can go for the Superdrive model for $799. Hope this helps.

Apple Refurbs link
     
Hemingray
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May 21, 2004, 06:28 PM
 
Originally posted by tooki:
A tray-load iMac is OK, as long as you put in all the RAM it can hold (1GB), and I'd probably recommend upgrading the hard drive to a modern 7200RPM drive (it will make a big difference). But in no way will such an old machine last another 3 years from now.
Careful, the Rev.A's and Rev.B's are tray-loaders, but I'm pretty sure their max RAM is either 128/256/512MB depending on who you talk to.

I set my mom up with a Rev.A G3 iMac at home with 10.3 and added a 256MB RAM chip in there (disassembling a Rev.A/B iMac is always such fun!) and it runs so-so. Definitely not that great. And the screen real estate is very cramped!

I agree with tooki, if you do get a G3 iMac definitely upgrade the hard drive to a faster one with a bigger buffer. But pour too much money into RAM and hard drive upgrades, and you could be getting pretty close to the cost of a refurb eMac.

I also recommend an eMac. In fact, that's what my mom will be getting very soon to replace her current G3 iMac. It's a great value for light computer users. Good luck!
     
bradoesch
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May 21, 2004, 08:25 PM
 
Originally posted by Hemingray:
Careful, the Rev.A's and Rev.B's are tray-loaders, but I'm pretty sure their max RAM is either 128/256/512MB depending on who you talk to.
I think he meant to say slot-load.

I'm running 10.3.3 right now on an iMac DV (see specs in sig). It works fine for email and Internet, but apps like iPhoto are ridiculously slow. This is my first Mac, and I'm still thrilled how well it performs 4 years later. Still running the latest operating system and working fine. We bought a PC around the same time, and it still struggles with Win98SE.
( Last edited by bradoesch; May 21, 2004 at 08:30 PM. )
     
chadpengar
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May 21, 2004, 11:37 PM
 
I have a 5.5 year old 233mhz Bondi Blue iMac with 10.3 on it. It works fine for the occasional surfing, for email, for text editing an AppleWorks, and I run an old version of Canvas in Classic on it once in a while. It has a newer 7200rpm HD in it, 256MB RAM, but otherwise is stock. Not ideal but my wife likes to use it for her stuff, which is mostly email and some surfing.
     
atkin
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May 22, 2004, 12:37 PM
 
I'd go for the eMac. It will last longer than any second hand machines.
     
deTaNg
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May 22, 2004, 01:35 PM
 
I bought my sister an Imac DV G3 500mhz about 4 years ago and upgraded the ram so it totals 768MB. It still runs great for her needs @ the age of 16 and she does web surfing, typing, email, ripping CD's, wireless internet and network through the airport card, chat messaging and most other daily needs. It works quite well with just a slight delay in speed and looks great to boot. It's running OS 10.3.3 and does quite well on the graphics and speed. Hope that helps quite a bit.
     
deTaNg
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May 22, 2004, 01:37 PM
 
It's a slot loading Imac.. doesn't need a tray to put in a DVD or CD.
     
Big Fat Octopus
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May 24, 2004, 12:31 AM
 
I am using 10.3.3 Panther on an original 300Mhz Blueberry iBook with 160Mb ram and 3.2gig hard drive. Yes I'm mad but it actually works fine, just really slowly

I needed to use Safari for a couple of websites that wouldn't work in OS9 browsers anymore. For browsing, email, MSN Messenger and word processing it is fine. It is frustratingly slow running anything else of note ie: Photoshop, and if you have too many apps going at once.

So OSX is quite remarkable for it's ability to run on older G3 gear. It's just a question of how much patience you have
- 24" iMac 2.4Ghz 4GB 500GB
- PMG4 450Mhz 384Mb OSXserver.
- iPhone 3GS
     
kentuckyfried
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May 24, 2004, 01:40 PM
 
The blue and white "Yosemite" PowerPC machine (400 mhz) runs Panther just fine. Maybe not as snappy as the newer g4 machines, but if you only need it for web-surfing, it's perfectly OK. iPhoto-wise and ripping wise, it'll be a bit sluggish, but if you're not in a hurry it's ok.
Now I know, and knowing is half the battle!
     
tooki
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May 24, 2004, 06:50 PM
 
Originally posted by CaseCom:
(tooki: Did you mean to say a slot-load iMac is OK?)
I surely did. It's fixed now!

tooki
     
vsurfer
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May 28, 2004, 06:08 PM
 
Second machine here is a G3 400 DV here running 10.3.3. (320 MB RAM.) Seems just fine and dandy.

The updates to Jag, and subsequently Panther made that machine more responsive.

Now I'm just waiting to see how 10.3.4 fares on these 400mhz machines.
     
Paxton
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Jun 10, 2004, 03:34 AM
 
Hello, I Have a Rev C (Lime) iMac, running 9.22 and X.3.4, and it is faster to load X than my 667Mhz G4. The iMac itself has only one major change to it, and that is 256mb of ram, but otherwise is stock. It is much faster running Panthet than 9, and will run 7 native Mac applications with no lags or skipping whatsoever. The computer won't last another 18months, as with more than the 8 mentioned applictions, it does stall, and I feel the need to go to the beach (and play with that constantly spinning beachball)

Good luck with the computer choice, and reply to us, and tell us of your purchase.




using windows is like this
Mac LC575, iMac Rev. C (Lime), PMG4 667mhz, iBook G4 14 inch 1.2ghz
     
storer
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Jun 13, 2004, 08:02 PM
 
Originally posted by tooki:
recommend upgrading the hard drive to a modern 7200RPM drive (it will make a big difference).
\

Most people suggest that that speed hard drive would be too hot for an iMac.
     
bradoesch
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Jun 15, 2004, 03:28 PM
 
Originally posted by storer:
\

Most people suggest that that speed hard drive would be too hot for an iMac.
I've also heard that modern 7200 rpm drives run cooler than the 5400 rpm drives that shipped with the iMacs.

I've got a WD Special Edition 7200 rpm drive in my iMac DV right now, and it runs a little warmer than the 6500 Maxtor that shipped with it. I think I remember people on here saying Seagate makes cool running drives, or maybe just quieter. I can't really remember.
     
CaseCom
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Jun 16, 2004, 03:04 AM
 
Originally posted by storer:
Most people suggest that that speed hard drive would be too hot for an iMac.
I've had a 7200 rpm Maxtor in my iMac DV for four years with no ill effects. Many others have done the same.
     
bradoesch
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Jun 16, 2004, 01:32 PM
 
You might be interested in this compatibility list from XLR8YourMac.
     
storer
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Jun 16, 2004, 10:06 PM
 
Originally posted by CaseCom:
I've had a 7200 rpm Maxtor in my iMac DV for four years with no ill effects. Many others have done the same.
its kool (no pun intended) i just read that somewhere
     
tooki
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Jun 18, 2004, 08:53 PM
 
Originally posted by storer:
Most people suggest that that speed hard drive would be too hot for an iMac.
Those few people are basing that on very old information. 7200 RPM drives since at least 2000 have been no hotter than 5400 RPM drives, and in fact, the new 10,000 RPM SATA drives are also no hotter.

The 2002 7200 RPM Maxtor I added to my blue and white G3 actually does run cooler and quieter than the stock 5400 RPM drive that Apple put in the machine in 1999.

tooki
     
Rev-O
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Jun 20, 2004, 02:08 PM
 
600 MHz G3 iMac (Blue Dalmation, thank you very much), 512 megs o' ram, stock 40 gig hard drive, running 10.3.4 without a problem. Ever. Rock solid.



Is it as fast as my G5? Of course not. But it sits in my front room (and occasionally on a kitchen counter) and gets used for iChat, Mail, Safari, Reunion, my daughter's games, and is used as our ground floor stereo with iTunes & Soundsticks.
I think that my poor iMac may get left behind when 10.4 is released, but it will still make a great & compact little internet & music box.
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
     
   
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