I just picked up a beige G3 desktop for a good price. I'm going to add a few things on to bring it up to spec for OS X, let me know what you all think of this config. I don't need it to play games and do graphics work...I just want to learn about OS X and the UNIX underpinnings.
Power Mac G3 (beige) 266MHz
CD-ROM & Zip drives
Radeon 7000 64MB graphics card
It currently has only 128MB of RAM and the low-end Rage II graphics card. Is the bump to 640MB of RAM ($60) and the addition of a Radeon 7000 ($70) decent? Or is that overkill for the basics?
Totally forgot...should I stick with Jaguar, or pay a little extra and get Panther? (are they both compatible with my machine?)
The Radeon is overkill, you aren't going to get Quartz Extreme on a beige anyway... look for a Rage 128 so you can at least have basic graphics acceleration under X.
Panther does not support the beige G3s, unless you use Xpostfacto to hack it in.
640MB of RAM and 20GB is good for OSX, 266MHz G3 will get you there but involve a fair bit of waiting.
So is this a waste of my time? Here's what this is costing me:
$75 - G3
$50 - getting RAM to 640MB
$50 - Panther or Jaguar
$75 - Radeon card
$0 - monitor
I can just re-sell the computer I picked up. Am I throwing away my money and wasting time on this setup? I'm getting mixed opinions from people on this one. A few have even said that I'd do better saving and buying a Sawtooth G4.
You can use Quartz Extreme on a beige G3. It requires a small hack to OS X, which can be done manually, or with a program called PCI Extreme (Google). Results are mixed, but most seem to have experienced some acceleration using the Radeon 7000, though the payoff isn't huge.
You are spending a fair amount of money for what you're getting. While a beige G3 will run X, it's still better suited for Classic (and the Radeon 7000 is incredible in Classic compared to the stock Rage Pro or IIc). If you're really wanting to run X full time, then I'd agree with getting a Sawtooth G4.
I've got two old boxes with Radeon Mac Edition 32MB (not R7K) cards that run QE just fine, 9600 and Gossamer, both with 450 G3s.
I'd say play with what you've got. Any ram, vid card, HD, etc. can be transferred to other machines, so go for it! Be sure to overclock the bus to 83mhz if it'll take it, makes for a noticable speed improvement.
I bought a PC R7K, swapped out the eeprom chip and flashed it to Mac. You do need a PC on hand though to do the swap/flash thing. Aternatively, the Mac 9200 PCI is coming out soon, and a PC->Mac flash of that is sure to be available as soon as the card ships.
The 9100 PCI can be flashed too, under $60 for a kick-butt card. I bought one to flash to Mac (haven't done it yet though) and it's at least twice as fast as the R7K for only ~$10 more. As tested with Q3A on my PC - 99fps @ 640x max settings - for a PCI card - wow!
In retrospect, it seems silly to drop $250 on this setup when for almost the same money I can get a B&W G3 or pay another $250 and get a Sawtooth G4.
How slow is OS X going to run? Seriously. If I'm going to be waiting all the time, I'm selling the beige G3 on eBay again and will wait until I can buy a Sawtooth.
I just need this machine to dabble in OS X, but I don't want a painfully slow experience.
I've been using Jag on low end G3s since Jag arrived and am in no way dissapointed in the performance. Is it blazingly fast? Well, duh, no of course not. Is it painfully slow? Not by any means! Apple brought so many improvements to OS X Jag/Panther that in what has to be a modern miracle, the later the OS, the faster yer Mac will go.
Trust me, with a decent amount of ram (256, 512 even better) and a modern fastish HD (a 20 gigger is fine) X is very usable on an early G3. And remember, I repeat, all the additions you mention can later be swapped to a B&W.
ps: more speedbumping advice - in my experience, your 266 will do at least 300mHz . . .
Speed is in the eye of the beholder. Two different people will have two completely different opinions as to whether a given setup is "painfully slow" or not.
If you already bought the computer and have it in your posession, I'd suggest scrounging another 128MB of RAM for it (bringing it up to 256MB), and toying with it *as is*. (No new video card, etc.) You'll be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not it's benieth your pain threshold. Once you have that much RAM OS X will pretty much feel as fast as it's going to feel. (More RAM will help once you start *using* it, but the OS itself fits okay in 256MB.) If it definately *doesn't* meet with your satisfaction, I'd strongly suggest cutting your losses and selling it then, rather then trying to bring it up to snuff.
The value of video card upgrades for those systems is in my opinion highly overrated. I frankly can't tell the difference between a Rage 128 and a Radeon in my G4-ed B&W, unless I'm measuring Quake framerates. As far as that goes, the *video speed* of OS X since "Jaguar" is adequate on my 233Mhz iMac with the built-in 6MB Rage Pro. The *real* problem there is the freakishly slow hard disk controller, (The same controller as the Beige G3s, I might add.) and the general "low-bandwidthness" of the system as a whole.
As to using QE on PCI Macs, the general consensus seems to be that enabling it pretty much gives you the following:
A 5% - 10% improvement in windowing speed.
A 30%-60% decrease in hard disk and memory performance. (As pushing all those textures over PCI utterly swamps the bus.)
Hardly seems like a fair tradeoff, but, hey. Whatever floats your boat.
Thanks for the input, I'll just try the G3 to start with. If it really sucks, I'll just sell it.
So what's the consensus....Jaguar for $30, or Panther for $50? (Panther needs some work to install, but Jaguar should go in problem free....but it's slower)
I'm looking at PC133 168-pin SDRAM 3.3v unbuffered. Will that fit in the beige G3?
Theres a catch to using panther on the beige g3, You need a video card cuz xpostfacto hasnt gotten the onboard video working yet. I mean i run panther on this setup
Stock 266MHZ G3
Stock Apple CD-ROM
Lite On 48X CDRW- OS 9 and OS X both love it just fine
Radeon 7000 PCI PC version flashed to mac.
USB & FireWire Cards
Internal Zip 100 SCSI
I use this machine as my main machine, i built it up when my 450mhz iMac analog blew, I find it to be a nicer machine than my iMac Ever was, i mean hell of a lot more expandable, sure the 3 pci slots suck and a 19" Monitor on it is great. I ran jag when it was originally stock just a G3 266 128MB RAM, 4GB HD at that time it was still in its desktop case, I had to recase it into an ATX case to get the expandability I wanted. The only think i need is a G4 zif for it and id be happy
Well for panther, you will need to use the xpostfacto hack and use a pci video card.
I don't think they have gotten panther to run reliabliy under the onboard beige video yet.
But apparently the gui is qutie a bit faster under panther than jag so the look and feel of panther will be better than jag. But jag is out of the box compatible with your beige.
I wouldn't worry too much about upgrading the parts in leiu of gettting a newer system. The stuff you are talking about will work fine in a newer system like a b/w or a sawtooth (the memory, hd, video card, os, etc). So if you buy those parts, put them into the g3, have fun for a while, then buy a cheap barebones b/w or sawtooth and migrate all the parts into that system.
So since you would be migrating those parts into a new system, its not a real waste of money. (the b/w-sawtooth can handle the pc133 memory with no problem).
I currently have standard doublesided 256 pc133 dimms in my beige at home and they work swell.
ADD AS MUCH RAM AS POSIBLE AND USE PANTHER. IT IS MUCH FASTER.
Don't spend lots on ram unless you know the specific sticks you buy will work in a G4 as well. I've got 2 GBs of 256MB PC133 dimms that work great in Gossamer and B&W but are useless in Sawtooth and Quicksilver.
There are dimms that will work in both, but they cost more. See OWC's memory section for examples:
Actually, don't spend lots on ram period until you've tried the thing out with 256MBs or so first. Most any 128MB SDRAM will get you that far at least. Also, I agree with the suggestion to use Jag first - on the KISS principle if nothing else.
I would stick to the basics on the beige. As mentioned gat at least 256MB RAM more is better but don't spend too much. If it's desktop G3 you'll need low profile RAM.
Max out the onboard video memory and skip the Raedon or get a RAGE 128 as mentioned for about $20.00.
You should be able to bump the CPU to 300MHz without any problems. It will help a little.
And definately stick with Jag for your purposes.
All of this comes down to....... for the cost of the items listed you could buy a B&W G3 which will run Jag well not to mention that a beige will never run as fast as a B&W can.
With the B&W you get Firewire and USB built in too.
You could dump lot's of money into a beige Mac and make it really fast, but it will never be as fast as a non-beige G3 or G4 which cost's less.
Again, thanks for the all the replies. I'm going to start with Jaguar and move up to Panther once the kinks get worked out with Xpostfacto 3. RAM-wise, I'm going to start with 384MB (128 in the machine already, buy another 256).
Note When Installing Panther On Gossamer Beige G3 that has jag installed you have to erase and start fresh otherwise it wont work, i tried the upgrade and it gave me all kinds of hell. And panther is really easy to get going. once you disable the onboard video ure golden
I've been running 10.2 on a beige for some time, and I find the performance pretty good. Contrary to other reports, the onboard video acceleration is supported. No Quartz Extreme though, but you do get reasonable video response.
256 meg is some kind of threshold for X performance - I had it sitting right on 256 for a while, and even going up a further 64 made a difference. I'm now on 512. The amount you have suggested should be fine for a while.
I'd agree with getting a fast HD if possible (Seagates are good, and quiet), overclocking the CPU (improve the heatsink and cooling if possible) and/or getting a cheap used faster G3 or G4 ZIF. I can't answer to the suggestion of overclocking the bus speed, as I've never tried it, but it sounds like it's worth trying. Pick yourself up a cheap generic OHCI compatible USB card and download the USB drivers from Apple if you want.
I'd also agree with not wasting your money on a Radeon, or sinking huge amounts of money on this. Do the cheap upgrades, use for as long as it meets your needs, and save up for a B&W or a G4.