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Mac Thread, Refreshing a G3? in Technical; The kids are getting older and increasingly playing on games and browsing the web. The missus wants her laptop back ...
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    dagza's Avatar
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    Refreshing a G3?

    The kids are getting older and increasingly playing on games and browsing the web. The missus wants her laptop back (I'm not daft enough to install their stuff on my laptop ) so she has dug out an old G3 from the loft.

    Specs are:

    G3
    400 MHz
    192 RAM
    10.3.9 OS x
    10 Gig HDD

    My questions are is it worth upgrading anything on it to get it running sweeter and, if so, what can be upgraded? (I know diddly squat about mac hardware). Minimum it needs is wireless if that is possible!

    The geek in me would like to save it

    Thanks

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    If you can dig out a bit more info about the model, etc ... use apple-history.com if you can.

    A good option may be SuSE for PPC. Stuck it on some older G3s a while back to get a bit more life at it worked fine.

    More RAM would be good but not essential depending on what you are using it for.

    Check out suitable cards (presuming it has a slot) that work with SuSE easily and then use Google Apps rather than installing locally.

    I'm still using my G3 iMac (500MHz, 512 meg RAM, 30 gig HDD, 10.4) and only use it for online stuff really or if I am happy to leave it running stuff in the background (audio archiving from cassettes, prepping podcasts, etc)

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    AntonioRocco's Avatar
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    Hi

    "is it worth upgrading anything on it to get it running sweeter"

    I still have an iBook G3 500Mhz, 384MB RAM, 20GB HD with 10.4.11 installed which I still use. It's more than good enough to browse the web, a bit of emailing and some low level printing. I keep it because it has a lot of useful utilities that you can't get anymore and that won't run on anything else. However when compared to the current models it is very slow. I could upgrade the hard drive if I wanted and probably squeeze another 128MB of RAM but I don't think I would gain anything other than a hole in my pocket.

    I have to agree with GrumbleDook but I think you may struggle in getting anything for it? Let alone anything new? PC100 Modules is what your model takes so if you have some lying around re-use them. Not all PC100 Modules will work. As you know most hard drive manufacturers have stopped making PATA/IDE drives, so you may struggle getting hold of these too? If you've got any 40GB, 60GB drives hanging around in any old PCs somewhere you could use them. If you're going to upgrade the drive or even stick another one in you will need the original installer disks that came with it to reinstall everything. Or at the very least universal versions of 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 or 10.4. Your problem may then be the quality of the optical drive? Although if you have an external firewire caddy with an IDE interface you could transfer the current drive into it, install a new drive and use something like CCC to clone over. If I recall your particular model won't support drives larger than 128GB.

    "Minimum it needs is wireless if that is possible!"

    I think this is going to be your biggest problem. There may be a slot that can accept the first generation Airport card (11mbs) but I doubt it. Even if there was it would be hard to source the card anyway. They can be expensive because of their rarity. EBay is the only place I can think of? After this I suppose you're left with trying to source a 3rd-Party wireless card or dongle? As I recall there was only one that worked with macs at the time anyway. A D-Link DW112 (I think?). Sourcing one of these will probably be just as difficult and expensive? You may have to just go for a wired connection? Don't be tempted in trying to use any new wireless dongles/cards etc as the OS, hardware and bus speeds more than likely won't support them.

    To find out more about mac hardware you could use this:

    Mactracker

    "The geek in me would like to save it"

    Know what you mean. I don't like chucking anything away that still works!

    Antonio Rocco (ACSA)

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    For your wireless you can pick up a belkin USB dongle from Pc World for about 20. Using the ralink drivers you can get it working. I will see if i can fid the link to download them. I did it with my g3 and it works. Just have to manually start the app to connect to the wireless network. Other than that though, not too bad.

    Also i found any flash content to be pretty sluggish, but this is more to do with adobe's crap programming for osx. Mine ran 10.4 and did so reasonably well. If I'm not mistaken it is still being used now but not by me.

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    Ralink corp.
    Is a link to the drivers page for os x

    Belkin : Wireless G USB Adapter
    Is the similar device that you need. I think the model number is the same, although it is now up to rev B i think

    And here's some information on the install (for leopard anyway)

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    I would replace the hard disk with something faster, quieter and bigger. Any IDE drive will work, although due to addressing limits it will only see up to 128GB as said before, even it it is a 160/250 etc drive. One or two sticks of PC100/PC133 512MB RAM will be a welcome boost. If you have it, the machine will cope with 10.4, if not then stick to 10.3.

    We used to run some 350MHz iMac G3s with 10.4 a couple of years ago. They were fine for day to day stuff.

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