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Thread: 333 MHz Tray-loading iMac.... can it run OS X?

  1. #1
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    Default 333 MHz Tray-loading iMac.... can it run OS X?

    I have a good friend who wants to buy my old Strawberry G3 iMac (333 MHz, tray loading CD-ROM; 256 MB RAM) for basic email, ebay and internet surfing. His old PC is biting the dust, and he's never used a Mac before.....

    Can my old iMac run OS X?

    I must admit, I don't really need the unit sitting around anymore, but I am afraid that it will be too slow to run OS X.

    Is this something that XPostFacto would be good for?

    Since he's a good friend, I was going to pull the old 6GB HDD and replace it with the spare 40GB 5400 rpm HDD I recently yanked out of my Quicksilver....... I've already got the 40 gigger zeroed out, partitioned (10GB and 30 GB) with OS 9.2.2 installed on the 10GB side, with the plan that OS X will be installed on the 30 Gig side.

    Do you think my friend will wind up hating me later on (because of how slow OS X will/might be at 333 MHz), or do you think, overall, he'll be grateful?

    Oh yes, and BTW...... if I follow Apple's instructions for iMac take apart (iMac: Installing Memory Parts 1 & 2; Article ID 43012 and 43013), is the HDD attached to the logic board, or did Apple squirrel it away somewhere else in the machine?

    Many thanks for opinions, advice...

    Boyd 9

  2. #2
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    Will it run OSX ? Yes. But slow, very slow compared to what you are used to with your quicksilver, and it will be further handicapped with the slower 5400 rpm HD. Also, 256 MB is just barely enough, it will require more than usual HD access, the slower drive slowing things down again. I have a lime 333 MHz iMac and have run Panther on it, the drive must be partitioned and OSX installed in the first partition, I think 10 GB is too large, but not sure. Also, I recommend installing the HD before you format and install the OS, I have come accross machines that will not boot if the HD and OS are not fixed up in this order. It is not hard to install RAM or HD in the machine, care and slow methodical steps as with tinkering around in any computer.

    As for your friend's feelings towards you, "never look a gift horse in the mouth" comes to mind.

  3. #3
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    Hi Boyd,

    Bif is on the right track. You must partition the HD, and the first partition must be no larger than 8 Gigs. 7.9 is a good number to use. Then install OS X on that first partition; the rest of the space will be visible and usable, but not bootable....so use it for data storage. I would use OS 10.3.8 or newer. The later faster OSes help the slowest machines the most...

    Don't forget to get firmware up to date before you install OS 10! you must be booted to OS 9 on the HD, and run the firmware update from the HD. Installing and/or running any flavor of OS X without the firmware update can kill an old imac!

    As for the HD, if you have it apart to update the RAM, you are close to the HD. It is hiding down under the optical drive in that same tray that holds the logic board, RAM and CPU. Follow the ribbon cable to find it. Better yet, google imac take apart instructions to see detailed photos.

    Will it be fast enough? Depends on the user's expectations. I think it will be OK for a casual user. I would look at it as an opportumity to get him to be a switcher. Once he is hooked on Macs, he will be eyeing a new mini in no time......

    Update - One other thing to watch out for: ATA drive jumpers. Any ATA HD used in an imac must be jumped to Master. If not, Disk Utility will see the drive, initialize the drive, and you can even install the OS.....but it will not boot. Fun to figure out what is wrong if you are unaware, forget, or set the jumper incorrectly... At least you can get really good at taking imacs apart and putting them back together if you overlook it.

    Last edited by unclemac; 08-14-2005 at 09:36 PM. Reason: incomplete info
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  4. #4
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    Thanks Bif and Uncle Mac

    Based on your advice, will scrap putting the 40 GB 5400 rpm drive and (like I said, it's a good friend) install my ATA100 7200 rpm 80 gig Seagate in there instead... since he's throwing me a few bucks for the unit, I can use the money to replace it with something bigger

    8 gig partition for OS X, eh? Even on an 80 Gig HDD? Is that enough for virtual memory, etc?

    Also (because, I'm like brain dead), for best results, shouldn't OS 9 get installed on the OTHER partition (i.e., the partition WITHOUT OS X on it)..... I'm thinking of the HUGE slowdown I saw after I installed OS X on my 40 gigger in my old 867 MHz '01 QS...... Those few hundreds of thousands of OS X files really caused me to see the spinning beach ball a lot, even on an 867 MHz G4.....

    Again, thanks for the tips.... this all sounds do-able.

    Boyd 9

    P.S.: I thought that 256 MB was all the RAM my G3/333MHz iMac could have..... am I wrong about this?

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    8 gig partition for OS X, eh? Even on an 80 Gig HDD? Is that enough for virtual memory, etc?
    Yes, unfortunately your G3 MUST have OS X on the first partition (at least the faster partition ) But yes tight for room. Make it 7.9 GB and keep it lean as possible.

    Yes, I defiantly keep OS X and OS 9.x on different partitions or drives.

    Using the 80GBer you could make 3 partitions with the next about 50-60 GB for OS X Applications (I think), any data etc. and the remaining partition for OS 9.x and use OS X Disk Utility to partition the drive if possible.

    My 2 cents - Randy

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    Not a bad plan...3 partitions would keep it clean.

    As for the 8 Gig rule, it is a hardware limitation of the ATA controller, so yes OS X has to be on the first partition, and yes, it has to be 8 Gigs or less. Otherwise it will not boot. Same on the beige G3s - same vintage hardware.

    You can get more than 256 in the tray loaders. Some folks get two 256 sticks in them, while others report that only one slot shows the full 256 - the other only sees 128....I will have to dig a little for the details.

    Starting to forget exact details as these machines get long in the tooth...
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  7. #7
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    Default Got the HD Installed.....

    Thanks again to everyone.

    Boy unclemac, you ain't kidding about that 'first 8GBs' bit......

    I originally created 3 partitions..... 7.9 for OS X, a 17GB slated for OS 9, and then the remainder (50 GB or so) for files and misc storage. What I did not know was at the time I created the partitions, I goofed on the '7.9' bit - - - I made it a hair larger than 7.9 because Disk Utility kept deducting 2% or so from the total that I entered (I assumed that 7.9GB was the desired end result, but now realize 7.9GB is the number you have to start with and let Disk Utility deduct what it wants); The end result was that OS X wouldn't install at first because the partition was larger than 8 GB (but only by a hair!), and I had to reformat the drive all over again before OS X would install..... which it finally did.

    Since I'm preparing it for a new user, I decided to leave it as 2 partitions, 7.9 GB for OS X, and the remainder for storage, to make it simpler.

    If I remember correctly, TZ had posted a routine for separating the 'users' folder off of the boot volume in order to boost performance...... should I consider doing that in this case? Will it help with overall performance? Would doing this be transparent to a new user (i.e., would they even know the difference in normal usage, or will I get frantic calls late at night from my friend wanting to know what's going on with his computer?) And if my friend wants to load up his iTunes library with music, wouldn't it be better this way? (For instance, I'm already at 9GB with my iTunes library).

    I also found out, in my initial scenario, that OS 9 would NOT boot in the 17 GB partition I created for it....... my guess is that since the partition was over 7.9 GB, that it didn't recognize it, right?

    I am supposed to hand off the computer tomorrow...... should I:

    a) leave it alone; or
    b) move the users folder to the other (much larger) partition
    c) reformat it again, into three partitions, for this scenario:

    FIRST: 7.9 GB for OS X
    SECOND: 7.9 GB for OS 9
    THIRD: 60 GB for MISC. STORAGE

    As it sits right now, the computer has no OS 9 on it at all.....since this person is a new user, do I even need to get into that with him right now? (What I'm thinking here is that I'll be the first person he'll call with any questions...........something to consider........)

    Any ideas/suggestions, as always, most appreciated

    Boyd 9

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    Lightbulb

    The 8GB includes 'hidden' partitions and my reading and experience is to side on 7.8 or 7.7GB. Even if you have to put some files and applications elsewhere on another partition.

    OS 9 is not affected or limited to any 8GB rule. The only rule, which doesn't apply, is that you can't boot from a volume > 195GB. The 8GBs is from the beginning of the drive, sector zero, not the size of the partition itself. OS 9 shouldn't care if it is at the end of the drive, 4GB, or even 80GB. The drive does need to be initialized in OS 9.1/9..2.1's Drive Setup. Any machine that relies on XPostFacto should not use Disk Utility for formatting a drive.

    Most systems (and I don't know imacs) that have 8GB limit, only 'support' Jaguar and had to use XPostFacto to install and change startup from 9.1 to 10.x using XPF and not use any Apple Startup disk program or control panels.

    Having /Volumes/volname/Users/account elsewhere works but could confuse. You can just use aliases or tell iTunes Pref anywhere you want.

    Performance depends and while you could use Firewire, it can be a problem at any moment.
    Last edited by TZ; 08-21-2005 at 09:27 AM.

  9. #9
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    Note for TZ (as he does not use imacs personally - he has higher standards. ). Even though 1st gen imacs share the same 8 Gig limit with Beige G3s, they don't need Xpostfacto to run OS X, because they have built in USB as I recall. No Fire Wire ports on the first 4 revs. So there is internal....and that's it. We won't even mention USB.


    And no Xpostfacto means no need for Drive Setup Boyd. All we need in this situation is Disk Utilty, less than 8 Gigs for the first partition, and be sure the box is checked that installs the OS 9 drivers if you need to boot to 9.

    I have never had an issue with using 7.9, but never setup machines to boot to 9 anymore, so as TZ says, it is safer to do a bit less than 7.9. No other limitations to OS 9 (again as TZ said, that would effect your setup), so either you likely have an install problem..... It should boot from any partition of any size on the drive: the only limiting factor is enough room to install (about 1 Gig depending on the install and OS version). Just be sure you did check the OS 9 driver box.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  10. #10
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    Default Successful hand-off.....

    Thanks again TZ and Unclemac....

    I've become so spoiled by my souped-up '01 QS that I had sort of 'forgotten' all of those issues relating to G3 machines..... (when I was shopping for my pre-owned 01 QS I had originally looked at used B&W's to save a little money..... glad I sprang for the QS instead)

    Getting the 80 gig HD into the iMac was a bit tricky and frustrating, but not as big a deal as I thought (FINDING IT was the main problem), and although I had to reformat the drive all over again (because I screwed up the 7.9 Gig partition first time around), I was glad to do it..... wiped it clean and reinstalled OS X.... less worries for my friend (and for me too, hopefully).

    He has an ancient laptop running Windows 98, and compared to that, the G3 333 MHz iMac --even running OS X-- is a SPEED DEMON!

    Don't know why, first time around, the iMac wouldn't boot OS 9 from the 17 GB partition..... I almost always remember the 'install OS 9 drivers' option because I still use OS 9 myself..... must've screwed something up or some kinda quirk in the machine......

    Again, thanks for all your help. My friend is pleased as punch and I'm glad my old iMac can be of service rather than gathering dust in the basmement.

    Now, anybody have any ideas of what to do with an old 6 GB iMac Hard Drive???

    Boyd 9

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up Good job. Another Mac on the block

    I've been watching this thread ... nice work - everyone. - Randy

  12. #12
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    Sucess! Nicely done.

    As for the old HD, they are nice for keepin' your target shootin' skills keen, or take it apart and use the disks for Xmas ornments?
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

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