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Beige G3 minitower questions

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#1 just.in.time

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:18 AM

Picked up a G3 minitower server today. Have a couple questions.

First, it came with two hard drives installed, one ide and one ultrawide scsi. The 4gb ultrawide scsi drive appears dead. Worth replacing with another SCSI drive, or better to replace that accompanying SCSI PCI card to an ATA/133 card and stick with IDE drives? On a SCSI drive on a Beige G3, is OS X still limited to a partition on the first 8gb of a drive?

Second, video card. I'd like to add a PCI graphics card to the computer. I'd ideally have drivers for an accelerated experience in 10.4, 10.2.8, and 9.2.2, with bonus points if the drivers are available for 8.6 as well. In 8/9 it would still need to allow the wings AV card to function, as well as support DVD playback. From what I've read in old threads on this site, from best to worst these are my options:
Radeon 9200
Radeon Mac Edition
Radeon 7000
Rage 128
Is that correct? I'm leaning towards the Radeon Mac Edition because it supposedly supports hardware T&L(whatever that is). Would be doing some gaming on 1996 to 2000 era games.

#2 ArmorAlley

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  • LocationSwitzerland

Posted 19 April 2017 - 08:03 AM

This machine has a 66MHz bus and a CPU with a speed anywhere between 233MHz and 366MHz. This machine was made in 1997-1998. Don't expect Mac OS X 10.4 to run well on it.


Personally, I would hunt down a SATA PCI card [1] and get yourself an SSD for it. If you want LVD SCSI, it is available. An Adaptec 19160 | 29160 | 39160 or an ATTO UL3D will all give you 160 MB/s SCSI.

Secondly, if you want to run Mac OS X, you will need lots of RAM, but this is reasonably easy to acquire. 512MB should be enough.

Thirdly, I would aim for a 16MB-64MB card, like the ATi Radeon Mac Edition, Radeon 7000, nvidia GeForce2 MX and such like. The ATi Rage 128 Pro that came with the B&W G3 is not at all a bad card. I remember being very happy with my 3DFX Voodoo 3 card back in the year 2000 when I was playing Quake 3. Radeon 9200 cards tend to be expensive. I'd get the first reasonably inexpensive accelerated card you can find. You'll need to do your homework though. www.xlr8yourmac.com and wikipedia.org are useful here for comparisons.

Fourthly, keep an eye out for combo USB-FW cards. You'll only get USB 1 but that'll be enough for keyboards and mice.

If networking is important, get yourself a 10/100 card. As far as I remember, it comes with a built-in 10baseT port.

You have 3 PCI ports and a myriad of cards to choose from.


Most importantly, if 3D-gaming is important to you, you should keep an eye out for CPU-Upgrades like the Sonnet Encore ZIF, or stick with games that were published around or shortly after the mac was made. The MDD came out in 2003 (so, 5 years after your mac) and it has a CPU speed of 1.2MHz) and is a good 4-5 times more powerful than your Beige G3. Games written in 2002 may not run at all well on machines made in 1997.


That being said, I have a 450MHz B&W G3 with a Radeon 9200 and it runs Deus Ex and the like well, so you'll have to see how it goes.


[1] something like this — the Sonnet Tempo PCI card — is very good. One can boot from it. The auction below is for the equivalent of USD35 but it is in Switzerland.


Macs in active-ish use: IIcx | IIfx | Performa 475 | B&W G4

Macs available for use: SE; SE/30; LCIII; Q950; PM7100; PM7300; PM8100; 2x once-working Wallstreets; once-working Pismo; spare B&W G3;

#3 Brett B.

Brett B.
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  • LocationSouth Dakota

Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:05 PM

Mine has a 400MHz CPU module clocked up to 433MHz, 768MB RAM, 80GB IDE hard drive (using the onboard controller) as well as two IDE DVD-RW drives, and a flashed PC Radeon 9200 w/ 128MB.  Also have a USB card and 10/100 ethernet card.


I don't know about partition size limitations but I suspect you're right.  I've never run OS X, OS 9 doesn't care... I have one big 80GB partition.


Performance with the onboard IDE controller is very good IMO.  Good enough that an IDE controller card would be a waste of a PCI slot.  The only thing here is that you need a Rev C ROM to use more than one drive per channel.  I don't know how easy they are to track down these days.


I am very happy with my Radeon 9200 but the drivers for it do not work well.  The Radeon utility crashes when I try to load it and there are some other issues - I think I had a working software package for it years ago but it has been lost and it's just about impossible to put back together now.  


Previously I had a Radeon 7000 Mac Edition with 32MB.  I think it's a better choice these days because you're not relying on unobtainable software and zero documentation.


I would really recommend getting a 10/100 ethernet card too.  10mbps onboard ethernet is just so bad.


These are really my favorite Macs of all time, they are as close to perfection as it got back then.  I just wish for one more PCI slot or onboard 10/100 ethernet!

68k: LC475, LC630, Plus (upgraded 512k,) Plus, 2x SE, SE/30
PPC: 2x Beige G3 Server, QS G4, Rev. A iMac, G5, G4 iMac 1GHz

#4 Compgeke

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  • LocationFairfield, California

Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:00 PM

For hard drives you could even go as far as SATA. If you can find a SIL3112 card with a big enough ROM, it can be mac flashed for SATA. Otherwise I'd just stick with SCSI for now, used server drives aren't particularly expensive and nor are SCA to whatever you can dream of adapters.


For the graphics card, Radeon Mac Edition or the 7000 would be my choice. Both work under 8.6+ no problem. Should be a bit easier to find than a real Mac Radeon 9200 as well, 7000 PCI cards shipped in some machines.

#5 just.in.time

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 05:42 PM

Thanks guys for the input.

ArmorAlley, are you in Switzerland? If so would you be able to pick that SATA card (https://www.ricardo..../v/an899697458/) up for me and ship it to the US? Is that $35 a buy it now price or auction style? Just feeling out possible solutions for that. Using "modern" disks would be very convienent.

I actually picked up a FW400/USB2.0/100(or maybe 1000)mbit Ethernet combo card about a year ago in anticipation of finding a G3 minitower. On my quicksilver it works perfect in X, but the Ethernet doesn't seem to work in 9.2.2., as well as USB being run at 1.1 speeds as expected in 9. Most likely needs a driver for Ethernet. I'll post details on the card tonight.

I'm thinking I'll go for a Radeon Mac Edition as it should have the overall best support I'd imagine and offer decent performance.

Edited to add: I happened to have one stick of PC133 laying around and it was a 256mb module. Works great in the G3, and means I only need to pick up two more sticks of 256mb to max it out.

The 10.4 install would be used primarily for hopping onto tenfourfox and acquiring more software and networking with my more modern machines, but 9.2.2 will be its primary OS. So pokey performance under 10.4 is okay :)

Edited by just.in.time, 19 April 2017 - 05:45 PM.

#6 just.in.time

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:01 PM

Just purchased a Radeon Mac Edition from eBay for $22 shipped. Should have that here early next week :D

#7 ArmorAlley

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  • LocationSwitzerland

Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:14 PM

Hi just.in.time,

It is a 'Buy it Now', rather than an auction and I am in Switzerland. I can get you the card. Do the maths though. It will be CHF7 to get the card to me and then maybe another 15 to get it to you, depending on how you want it sent. Are you prepared to spend the equivalent of USD60 on this card? It's a good card (I already have two from the same seller) but I'm sure that you can get it for a lot less in the States.

Send me a PM if you want me to bid on it and I'll do it immediately, but think about it first.

It's a heady rush, kitting out a new computer.

Macs in active-ish use: IIcx | IIfx | Performa 475 | B&W G4

Macs available for use: SE; SE/30; LCIII; Q950; PM7100; PM7300; PM8100; 2x once-working Wallstreets; once-working Pismo; spare B&W G3;

#8 MJ313

  • 6502
  • LocationNH

Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:38 PM

You could message max1zzz and see if he can cook up a PCI SATA card for you. He's helping me out, as I need (well, really want) one for my G4.

A growing pile of Macs.

#9 just.in.time

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 09:09 PM

Thanks AA. I'll see if I can locate one locally (US) first, but will keep you in mind if I can't find anything.

I sent max1zzz a message to see what he says.

#10 just.in.time

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 03:43 AM

Okay, so the combo card I bought a year ago in anticipation of this project is an SIIG USB2.0/FireWire/Gibabit combo card, Model US2305 Part No. JU-2NG011.


I tested it previously in my quicksilver.  Seems to work great in OS X, but 9.2 wasn't seeing the Ethernet jack.  FireWire and USB worked fine though.  I'll have to look for drivers for OS 9.  If anyone knows of any, please let me know :)

#11 Bolle

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  • Location.eu

Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:18 AM

I can put together one of those FireWire/USB2.0/SATA Combo cards for you or just send you one of my stocked SATA cards if you are getting USB and FW from a different card.
Bluets and Granola Bars, Make a chewy snack.

#12 just.in.time

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 04:40 AM

Hypothetical question.  What is the maximum size Serial ATA hard drive that could be used in a Beige G3 running 9.2.2 and 10.4.11, respectively?  Assuming of course that said Serial ATA PCI card supports large drives (I think they all do), and are supported under OS 9 and OS X.


320GB? 500GB? 1,2,3TB?

Edited by just.in.time, 21 April 2017 - 04:40 AM.

#13 Bolle

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  • Location.eu

Posted 21 April 2017 - 07:56 AM

I have been running 2TB with no problems. Did not yet try 3TB but it should work.

Bluets and Granola Bars, Make a chewy snack.

#14 just.in.time

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 07:26 PM

Awesome, glad to hear that.

#15 just.in.time

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 12:39 AM

Well my deal of a graphics card came in and the fan was running incredibly loud (think bearings are shot).  That, combined with a non-functioning DVI port prompted me to start a return.

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