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B&W G3 Revison 1 Motherboard - Getting Panther to Load


Well-known member
The Road to OS X Panther (10.3.x) B&W G3 Revision 1 Motherboard

(NOTE: I did this in Jan of '07 and posting it here for future reference)

After a couple of weeks battling with my B&W G3, I have finally gotten OS X Panther loaded onto my Blue & White G3 revision 1 system. There were many pitfalls along the way. In all honesty, loading OS/2 Warp 4 on an Evo N600c laptop was a lot easier! But I’m glad I have sorted it out.

I thought I’d post my experiences so that anyone else trying load OS 10 Panther (or Tiger 10.4.x) onto the B&W G3 from scratch will have an outline of things to do. I assume that you will be loading OS X only and not OS 9. I'm sure I've made some errors here as I'm new to the B&W G3 so please correct anything that I may have gotten wrong.

Key steps on the road to Panther are:

1. Figure out if you have a revision 1 or 2 motherboard (some call them revision A or B) . The revision 2 motherboard is better as the IDE chip will handle two drives but revision 1 won’t. This site has pictures of the new revision 2 B&W G3 mb.


If you have a revision 1 motherboard, don’t even try to hook up two drives on the hard drive IDE channel. This stumped be for a good six hours as I have built PCs for 20 years and everyone knows that IDE allows a master and a slave drive. Except in a B&W G3 revision 1 motherboard!

Do not try to use any IDE drive that is larger than about 40 gigs with a revision 1 motherboard, on the HD IDE channel. If you do, you will get data corruption. I used the 12 GIG Apple HD to load the OS and will not use it for anything else. 12 gigs is plenty of room for Panther.

To get more drive space just add a PCI IDE controller. I ordered this one and will be adding a 40 and 110 gig hard drives to my G3. This controller will handle drives larger than 132 gigs without any problems.


2. If you are starting clean, you will need to install OS 8.6 first! This is so you can install the firmware update that the B&W G3 needs. The update can ONLY be installed under OS 8.6; it won’t work in OS 9 or 10. If you don’t have the firmware update, OS 9.1 will not install but OS 10.1 and 10.3 will start but in my case they all failed.


If you already have the firmware update, the installer will let you know. My B&W G3 reports the Boot ROM version as 1.1.1f4 AFTER the firmware update has been applied. I don’t know what the version was before I updated it. So if you have a B&W G3 that you don't know what has been done to it, load OS 8.6 and find out.

Note: My B&W G3 would NOT boot from an OS 8.5.1 PowerBook G3 CD but will boot & load from an 8.6. iMac CD.

3. Make sure your cdrom drive works! The Apple 24x drive in my G3 started failing so I put in a Samsung DVD burner SM-352B (it was lying around so I thought I’d give it a go). It seemed to work but in the end I replaced it with a known B&W G3 compatible DVD drive, the LG GCC-4480B. Bought on ebay for $35. Since Tiger comes on DVD and CDs are $10 extra and you have to mail the DVD in to get them, get a DVD drive for your B&W G3.

(NOTE: I have since loaded Tiger 10.4.8 with no issues)

4. Make sure you have a USB keyboard and mouse! Do not use an ADB keyboard! The OS X 10.3.4 install program did not recognize my ADB keyboard and mouse! I had to scrounge around at 2 AM and I didn’t have a USB mouse in the house. I found a USB to PS/2 adapter that lets me use a PS/2 mouse & keyboard via USB with my Libretto U105 laptop. I plugged it in and used a PS/2 mouse & keyboard with the B&W G3 to install 10.3.4. IBM PC to the rescue!

5. Remove any non-essential items from the B&W. My OS X installations kept failing until I removed the PCI Adaptec SCSI adapter from the G3.

6. This is a strange error. If you have a Windows Server on your network that has AppleTalk running but doesn’t have Macintosh services set up, the OS X install will FAIL. It tries to communicate with the server, fails to do so, then aborts the install! I had to disconnect the CAT5 Ethernet cable from my G3 to get it to install 10.3.4 once I discovered this error in the log.

7. OS 10.1 Install will not let you partition your hard drive. It will let you format (erase) it. 10.3.4 let me partition and format the hard drive which you will need to do if you.

8. Make sure your memory is good. I reduced my RAM from 1 gig to 128 MB before 10.3.4 loaded. I’m not sure if I had a memory problem but by swapping out the DVD/CD drive, removing the SCSI card, and reducing the RAM, I was able to get 10.3.4 installed onto an Apple 12 gig IDE drive.

So after two weeks of struggles I finally got Panther installed and it updated to 10.3.9. I’m happy! I plan on buying Tiger for it but I wanted to make sure OS 10 would load because Apple will NOT give you a refund for Tiger if it doesn’t work on your machine. You assume all the risk!

Things that I plan on doing to my B&W G3 includes adding a better video card & larger display, Bluetooth keyboard & mouse, more hard drive space, and a 500 MHz CPU.

(NOTE: I added a USB 2.0 PCI card and a USB Bluetooth dongle. The PCI card has an INTERNAL USB port and that's where I put the Bluetooth adapter. I now use the Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The only issue is that the Bluetooth drivers don't load untill late in the boot sequence and you can't press C to force a boot from a CD. Keep a USB keyboard handy for that!)

I bumped the RAM back to a gig. For now I’m just using it to test our web pages to see how they render under Safari but I just might start using it for other things as well. Ultimately I want to consolidate all my Mac files from my Sys 6 and 7 days on to a single hard drive and get them moved to my Windows server for easy access.



i don't have an answer to your problem but here is what i have found, using a ata 33 cable on these vs the 66 style will help with the os getting curupted. i bought a rev 2 board off ebay for mine. i also have a g3 900 and radeon 7000 and panthers permissions kept getting screwed up put tiger on and no problems.



Well-known member
Didn't the early Beige G3's have a similar problem with slave drives? You would think apple had learned their lesson, unless they had a lot of parts from the early Beige production still lying around. Apple was big on never discarding anything for a long time. Some of the hodge podge machines from the late 80's to mid 90's are ample proof of this.