What can I do with a couple of iMac G3s with OS 9.0 and 9.2?

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#1
So there was this thing on Craigslist with someone in my area needing to get rid of a ton of iMac G3s. I went over there with $25 intending to buy one iMac, came home with 3. One as far as I can tell cannot turn on at all, but the other two have both powered on and booted. Both are iMac G3s, one 333mhz and one 350mhz, one with OS 9.0.4 and the other with 9.2.2. Both appear to have 6 gig hard drives. One has 32mb of RAM and I can't figure out where to install more. The other has an accessible RAM slot cover which I have 256mb of memory to put in it, I think...

So, what can I do with these old beasts? Can I install OS X on them? How much is that, and is it worth trying?
 

psylichon

Genius
Moderator
Oct 31, 2007
16,591
751
113
41
Philly
#2
no. sorry... the only purposes those machines could serve right now are perhaps as conversation pieces.
 

acosmichippo

Genius
Platinum
Sep 10, 2007
15,385
1,089
113
DC
#3
you can always make them Macquariums.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#4
Got the other one to power on & boot up (G3 400 and a DVD drive) - it's got an iBook OS 9.2.1 setup CD in it, though, and I can't figure out how to get the CD out and boot to the hard drive. The eject key on the 2007 Apple USB keyboard doesn't work, and I can't see any buttons for ejecting on the iMac itself.

I figured I might set them up as Internet browsers for my brothers to play around with whenever they're over here visiting, but the only browser I can find is IE 5.1, and that's old as hell. Is there anything that will run on OS 9 that I can make work?

Also, the guy who sold them to me told me they all had OS 10.4.8. Was he pulling my leg, or is there a special key command I have to do to get to a dual boot menu?
 

psylichon

Genius
Moderator
Oct 31, 2007
16,591
751
113
41
Philly
#5
Those machines can't run 10.4.8

I think if you press and hold F11 or F12 long enough, the CD/DVD drive should eject.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#6
Figured out the Startup Disk control panel. I managed to boot into that one's OS, it has 9.2 on it as well.

What's the latest version of OS X they could run?
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#7
Hm, I'm getting a weird problem out of the 400mhz. I went to do the firmware update, and when it reset, it just does 4 beeps, the power light turns orange, flashes 4 times, then back to green. Then nothing.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#8
Bah, means it's toast apparently. The firmware update must have botched, and now Apple's site says it needs to be serviced.

That's what I get for trying to fix it. :D
 

Hondamaker

Genius
Gold
May 14, 2007
9,946
671
113
56
Fairborn, Ohio
#9
Bah, means it's toast apparently. The firmware update must have botched, and now Apple's site says it needs to be serviced.

That's what I get for trying to fix it. :D
Hey, at least you tried, and you had some good ideas as to what to do with them.
 

acosmichippo

Genius
Platinum
Sep 10, 2007
15,385
1,089
113
DC
#10
sounds like a trip to the Pet store is in your future...
 

geordisjd

Zealot
Bronze
Jul 1, 2007
2,442
12
38
#12
My old iMac G3/DV/400 runs great, as long as you don't expect to play WOW on it. I upgraded its RAM to 1 GB. I have Mac OS 10.4.8 on it. It's great for browsing, running Word or Photoshop and it still can work in the classic mode.
What firmware upgrade did you try to use?

I'd love to get my hands on yours! There isn't an older mac that I haven't been able to fix. I'd start by using another Mac and connect them by their firewire ports, start the iMac in target mode and see about reformatting the HD from the other one. Then try to install the appropriate firmware update (I'm not at home, so I'd have to wait to check which update is appropriate).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

psylichon

Genius
Moderator
Oct 31, 2007
16,591
751
113
41
Philly
#13
Those machines can't run 10.4.8
My old iMac G3/DV/400 runs great, as long as you don't expect to play WOW on it. I upgraded its RAM to 1 GB. I have Mac OS 10.4.8 on it.
See I'm gonna stop responding to Mac threads 'cause I'm obviously talking out my rear end. Sorry.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#14
See I'm gonna stop responding to Mac threads 'cause I'm obviously talking out my rear end. Sorry.
No worries, buddy, if everybody stopped responding to Mac threads cause they were afraid of saying something wrong, then nobody would respond to Mac threads. I welcome any and all input ;)

I only have one working iMac at the moment. The other slot loading iMac lost its hard drive. It started making strange grinding noises, so I'm going to try to pull the hard drive out of the one with the fried firmware, and put it into this one.

The firmware update was 4.1.9, I believe; whichever one Apple's site tells you to apply before installing Mac OS X. Not that I have Mac OS X... Just figured having it as up to date as possible was a good thing anyway
 

geordisjd

Zealot
Bronze
Jul 1, 2007
2,442
12
38
#15
I just figured out my processor was 500MHz (not sure how important that might be) and I just upgraded to 10.4.11. I will NOT attempt to put Leopard on this. It's running too nicely to do that.

Its firmware version is 4.1.9, so it must be the most recent.

And just to show you that even Lola approves of it:

Anyway, don't give up on an iMac G3. They're still good little computers.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Eragon

Zealot
Gold
Jan 8, 2008
3,056
5
38
50
Frederick, MD
#16
geordisjd,

That was very well put. Thank you. I've heard a lot from the Mac forums, especially as it regards Leopard, that the working shelf life of Macs is being limited. Apparently, Apple has decided to slowly kill off Power PC machines by establishing lower processing speed thresholds.

What is really nice is that the Mac is a truly durable machine, and that owners can expect to get many good years out of them. :)
 

geordisjd

Zealot
Bronze
Jul 1, 2007
2,442
12
38
#17
Well, thank you.
I think Tiger is going to be with us for a while longer. There are still more people out there using Tiger than those using Leopard, and Apple is still upgrading it, so it's a good sign.
 

fury

Evangelist
Gold
Oct 23, 2007
2,274
238
63
33
Louisville, KY
#18
So you can repair a Mac's firmware by connecting it to another working Mac via firewire and doing something?

Do tell...

I don't have a firewire cable, and as I said, these are the only Macs I have, if that makes a difference.
 

geordisjd

Zealot
Bronze
Jul 1, 2007
2,442
12
38
#19
So you can repair a Mac's firmware by connecting it to another working Mac via firewire and doing something?

Do tell...

I don't have a firewire cable, and as I said, these are the only Macs I have, if that makes a difference.
You need a functional Mac first! (didn't you say that the other one's HD is dead?). You may want to borrow a laptop from a friend, and using a 6-pin firewire cable (borrowed or bought), after you put the G3 in target mode, you can initialize and reformat the G3's HD by using the disk utility from the other computer(use the journaled HFS+ option to initialize). Then you can install a fresh 9.1 or 9.2 OS on your HD and have a functional computer. It's now ready for you to apply the firmware update.

Now remember that you do not need firmware 4.1.9 unless you want to install Mac OS 10.2 or later! If you want to stick with OS 9, you don't need it.