iMac G3 Bondi Blue ZIF Upgrade

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misterk85's picture
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Hey folks. I just acquired a nice iMac G3 Bondi Blue for $4.00 from the local shop. With a quick change of the dead RAM, and a bigger hard disk (10GB instead of the original 4GB), I decided to look into getting a speedier processor. I believe it's a whopping 233 or 266MHz, and I'm hoping there's bigger out there. Anyone know what I need to look for?

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madmax_2069's picture
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do you mean something like th

do you mean something like this

Imac G3 CPU upgrade HARMONi G3 CPU upgrade will fetch around $300+

google search results a google search showing the available ones.

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The tray-loading iMacs don't

The tray-loading iMacs don't have ZIF-socketed CPUs like the G3 and G4 towers do; they use a proprietary daughtercard. The fastest factory card you can put in is 333MHz, but as mentioned there are aftermarket cards available (at ridiculous prices).

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misterk85's picture
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A bit of speed is better than none...

Right now a 333MHz would be a bit better, as I noticed that there was no actual ZIF (the daughter-card is not too bad). I want to have it just for a basic web browsing and possible download system if I can get OSX on it... Might have to look into getting something for it.

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even at 333mhz web browsing m

even at 333mhz web browsing might be out of the question, even with OS X.

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Considering you spent $4.00 on it...

I'd strongly recommend finding ways to enjoy it that don't enjoy dumping any more money into it. There really isn't any way to turn a tray-loading iMac into a "modern" machine. Even with a faster CPU card the other limitations (the ATA/16 HD interface, terribly slow ATI Mach64-based video controller, and 512MB maximum RAM ceiling are just some of the big ones) mean you're just not going to make the machine "quick" even by the standards of a decade ago. It's also difficult to install any version of OS X later than 10.3 on the tray-loading iMacs which seriously limits your choice of modern web browser. (It is *possible* to put 10.4 on them with some hacking, but that doesn't improve the situation that much.) They also suffer from the "boot partition can't be bigger than 8GB limitation", which makes using "reasonably-sized by modern standards" hard drives unnecessarily annoying.

It's also worth noting that the internal monitors on those machines *do die* eventually. If you have a completely working one you've almost got a rare collector's item on your hands. (I gave away my Bondi in 2006, which had been hardly used for its whole life, and part of the reason I dumped it is it had just started to get "twitchy".)

As it was in 2006 my 233Mhz/256Mb RAM specimen wasn't a *terrible* websurfing terminal so if your standards are low enough it should manage the job without a CPU upgrade. Flash of course was completely useless, but even a fast G4 is getting too slow to play Flash video now so there's nothing you can do to fix that. And since a CPU card fixes none of the *other* basic issues with the machine there's another strong argument against wasting the money. You could try overclocking the stock card... Google for instructions. You might kill it, but you're only losing $4. And apparently people who did it almost always got them to work at 300Mhz.

In short don't expect to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. The iMac was a "fair" machine for 1998, but its limited expandability basically anchors it there. And 1998 was a *long* time ago...

misterk85's picture
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For a basic system...

I decided to just upgrade the hard drive for now, I threw a 20GB drive in (Partition 1 of 8GB, the other being 11GB - gotta love that scattered missing gig or two), and threw OSX 10.3 on (haven't done any updates yet, but that's to come sooner or later). Might just throw a simple office suite on it (like AppleWorks) and use it for my business for printing off invoices or sales receipts in a spreadsheet.

Things I was questioning on the system, I think I have the Rev. 1 (original) Bondi. It has an infrared receiver on the front (something similar to the Performa 6200CD)... The questions are:

1. Is the maximum RAM 256MB or 512MB? (I've seen results stating both).
2. What can you do with the Infrared port? Is it just for communication between computers or can you get one of them fancy Logitech Harmony remotes and program the Mac to accept IR signals and change the songs on iTunes, etc.?

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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IrDA

Fascinating. I didn't know that there were bondis with an IrDA option--available with only with revisions A and B. Here's a page with a lot of good photos of one:
http://vectronicsappleworld.com/collection/bondi.html
And good old Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G3

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Re: Considering you spent $4.00 on it...

Eudimorphodon wrote:

They also suffer from the "boot partition can't be bigger than 8GB limitation"

Wait, i thought that was with a Beige G3 that only had that issue and thought that the New world rom and the sort of updated hardware in the iMac G3 fixed that issue (again i thought), or did that get fixed during the slot loading iMac era.

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misterk85's picture
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IrDA

The first link shows my system. I got a nice Logitech Harmony remote I'd like to sync with the Mac for iTunes to change songs, but if I can't, oh well.

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misterk85's picture
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8GB and RAM

Yes, this has the 8GB issue... sorta silly in my opinion, but heck I'll suffer it out. Tongue

As for the RAM, Kingston reports the 233/266/333 iMac can support 512MB with the 1.2 Firmware...
http://www.ec.kingston.com/ecom/configurator_new/modelsinfo_disc.asp?SysID=6573&mfr=Apple&model=iMac+233%2F266%2F333&root=ca&LinkBack=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kingston.com%2Fcanada&Sys=6573-Apple-iMac+233%2F266%2F333&distributor=0&submit1=Search

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I think it was only used for

misterk85 wrote:

The first link shows my system. I got a nice Logitech Harmony remote I'd like to sync with the Mac for iTunes to change songs, but if I can't, oh well.

I think it was only used for data transfers.

http://support.apple.com/kb/TA25714?viewlocale=en_US

misterk85 wrote:

Yes, this has the 8GB issue... sorta silly in my opinion, but heck I'll suffer it out. Tongue

If i remember correctly the version of xpostfacto for tiger allowed me to install tiger onto anyone of the three partitions i had set up and would boot from any of the three.

I think it was more of a Apple induced software limitation to make it hard for users to install OS X onto these older machines to try and get them too buy a newer Mac.

misterk85 wrote:

As for the RAM, Kingston reports the 233/266/333 iMac can support 512MB with the 1.2 Firmware...
-snip-

I think the rev A could only see and use 384mb (one stick of 128 and one stick of 256mb) while the rev b could use 512mb (two 256mb sticks).

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Re: For a basic system...

misterk85 wrote:

1. Is the maximum RAM 256MB or 512MB? (I've seen results stating both).

It will take 512MB of RAM but to do it you have to use a pair of specific somewhat-difficult-to-find SO-DIMMs. ("Most" 256MB SDRAM SO-DIMMs you'll run across use chips too dense for the iMac's memory controller to handle. A visual hint: If the SO-DIMM is bristling with a total of 16 memory chips across both sides *then* you have a chance. If it uses any less then you're probably out of luck. Any DIMM which uses too-dense chips in the wrong layout either won't show up at all or will be recognized at 1/2 capacity.)

misterk85 wrote:

2. What can you do with the Infrared port? Is it just for communication between computers or can you get one of them fancy Logitech Harmony remotes and program the Mac to accept IR signals and change the songs on iTunes, etc.?

Basically the port is an irDA converter plugged into an Appletalk serial port. (Seriously, if you take the machine apart you'll find a normal Appletalk socket on the motherboard that the module plugs into. Under OS 9 and earlier you can actually unplug it and wire up a printer or whatever in its place.) Back in the day it was for talking with things like Palm PDAs or eMates. It's not a "consumer" IR receiver, but... eh. Under Linux I could suggest some software you might be able to try to get it to listen for a remote control. (Whether it's possible to make work would depend on what guts there might be in the converter module.) But under OS X... no idea.

misterk85's picture
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As for RAM

I found some low-density 256MB sticks on eBay (16-chips per stick). I ordered one to see if it is compatible, even if it's not, I got some old laptops that can use it. If it does, I'll be ordering another stick of it.

I only got one problem now, I can't find an actual serial number on it. The serial number I have, marked under the barcode, is not in Apple's systems (I called, they can't find it), nor is it in System Profiler (OSX 10.3.9)... any ideas on what might be causing that?

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eeun's picture
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What do you need the serial n

What do you need the serial number for?

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For security sake

Just in case someone decides to steal my system (small communities in the area got a lot of criminals).

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misterk85's picture
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Mezzanine Port

What is the Mezzanine port for on the motherboard? Is this where the Airport card adapter locks into?

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It was basically expansion sl

It was basically expansion slot of sorts

(copy and paste from Wiki)

It was only for internal use by Apple, although a few third-party expansion cards were released for it, such as a Voodoo II video card upgrade from 3dfx and SCSI/SCSI-TV tuner cards (iProRAID and iProRAID TV) from the German company Formac; this was removed from later iMacs. According to an article in the German computer magazine, the socket can be retrofitted on revision C iMacs.

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So I'm Guessing...

Guessing Airport Wireless is out of the question...?

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Well you could find a USB wif

Well you could find a USB wifi adapter that will work in OS9 or OS X. or you could go with the Ethernet to wireless bridge (linksys and a few other brands have them) some are really expensive wile others cost as much as some cheap routers ($30-$50).

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