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joshc

iBook G3 Snow White 2001

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I picked up an iBook G3 Snow White from eBay for £48, not bad I think.

 

It works perfectly (except the battery which lasts 2 minutes) and the keyboard does not smell of armpit! (look it up, it's a thing with these...)

 

It has 384MB RAM or something like that. It came with Panther and was running horribly, so I found a set of original iBook discs on eBay, 9.2.2 and 10.1.2, so I've split the 10GB drive into two partitions and installed OS9 and OS X, both run well, although OS 9 is noticeably faster of course.

 

My primary intention is to use it as my quick OS 9 machine. :rambo:

 

Bonus points if you can guess the game in the photo.

 

 

IMG_8980.jpg

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Nice find.

 

I still have mine, first hand computer ! (The last one before MacBooks with the Radeon 9550 in it)

 

Just guessing : Chromium B.S.U. ?

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I have a few of the stinkers. The former mac guru of RE-PC in Seattle, Chris, sold a few to me. they were nice machines, if you can ignore the keyboards .

however, I must ask if you can provide a closeup of the sticker with the black apple logo on it, which is on the left hand upper corner of your screen. I have not seen the like before.

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Is this the "Dual USB" iBook? Kept mine since first years at university. Decent OS 9 machine.

 

Love me some Ambrosia classics! SWOOP! right?

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20 minutes ago, jessenator said:

Love me some Ambrosia classics! SWOOP! right?

That's gotta be it!  I still have my activation code for that, after all these years.

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8 hours ago, ppcoutlaw said:

I have a few of the stinkers. The former mac guru of RE-PC in Seattle, Chris, sold a few to me. they were nice machines, if you can ignore the keyboards .

however, I must ask if you can provide a closeup of the sticker with the black apple logo on it, which is on the left hand upper corner of your screen. I have not seen the like before.

I hadn't seen the sticker before either, it's going to stay. (I usually remove stickers)

 

It's from The South Yorkshire e-learning Programme (SYeLP), an education programme in the UK where I guess Apple provided iBooks for the programme.

 

4 hours ago, jessenator said:

Is this the "Dual USB" iBook? Kept mine since first years at university. Decent OS 9 machine.

 

Love me some Ambrosia classics! SWOOP! right?

My knowledge of these models is not great, it has two USB ports.

 

Swoop is correct, well done.

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8 hours ago, ppcoutlaw said:

I have a few of the stinkers. The former mac guru of RE-PC in Seattle, Chris, sold a few to me. they were nice machines, if you can ignore the keyboards .

I heard you, but comparing a 2018 MacBook and this, I would say the MacBook is worse.

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Nice score!  It's getting harder to find decent versions of the original iceBooks / dual-USB iBooks, especially ones that have both rubber pads in the upper corners of the screen still present (seems lots of folks thought those were very tempting things to pick at).

 

Apart from some well-documented issues with GPUs that were most prevalent in the higher clocked G3s (700-900MHz) they're reasonably reliable machines.  Personally, I like the keyboards on the G3 iceBooks a lot more than the later versions found in the G4 iceBooks.  They're atrocious to work on with all the plastic clips and tiny screws but at least right now they're cheap enough to be practically disposable if something major goes like a motherboard. 

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10 hours ago, demik said:

I heard you, but comparing a 2018 MacBook and this, I would say the MacBook is worse.

Perhaps, but the MacBook keyboard doesn’t emit a pronounced smell of body odor, which is common on these machines due to the adhesive used on the keyboard...

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Was it specific to one particular revision?  I've got machines with the original keyboard (green ribbon) and the newer revision keyboard (gray ribbon) and have yet to experience that smell first hand.

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13 minutes ago, jessenator said:

I've also never experienced that... Let alone heard of that. Smells like horsehockey to me.

If you google it there's a claim that some particular 2001 iBooks came with some kind of stinky adhesive on a label stuck on the back of the keyboard. It seems like they all trace back to a few people griping on the Apple discussion forums and an article in Low End Mac, and in every case it looks like the iBook in question was a used one. (Like, the original posts are all from like 2006.) Frankly it seems more likely that these guys bought iBooks that spent too much time wedged in someone's armpit.

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I bought the 700MHz 12" version of this 4-5 years ago and it smelled pretty awful; buying a new keyboard and letting the iBook air out until it arrived solved that problem. It is definitely the keyboard that produces the smell but I'm not sure how you tell the stinky ones apart from the rest. Sadly the GPU died about a year ago, a shame since otherwise it was a fast, durable OS 9 computer.

 

Just wondering, has anybody experienced GPU issues on their iBook and tried fixing it? Interested in possible solutions.

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9 hours ago, AwkwardPotato said:

Just wondering, has anybody experienced GPU issues on their iBook and tried fixing it? Interested in possible solutions.

If it's dead alread, I would try a reflow of the Logic Board. Nothing to loose. You can use your oven for this. I got about a 50% success rate on MacBooks GPUs with this.

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9 hours ago, AwkwardPotato said:

I bought the 700MHz 12" version of this 4-5 years ago and it smelled pretty awful; buying a new keyboard and letting the iBook air out until it arrived solved that problem. It is definitely the keyboard that produces the smell but I'm not sure how you tell the stinky ones apart from the rest. Sadly the GPU died about a year ago, a shame since otherwise it was a fast, durable OS 9 computer.

 

Just wondering, has anybody experienced GPU issues on their iBook and tried fixing it? Interested in possible solutions.

Yeah the keyboard smell is a real thing. I have one on an 800MHz model that had been through at least 3 logic board replacements before I got it (with a bad GPU of course). It's not really BO smell, it's definitely synthetic, acrid, like you've set an electric kettle on a stove burner and it's starting to melt. It doesn't bother me too much but some people hate it. I guess maybe we can make a new thread and ask people to post part numbers of their smelly keyboards? That could help ID which ones to avoid before buying on eBay or something.

 

There are a variety of solutions to the GPU problem. Most people who are afraid of attempting a reflow will simply apply lots of pressure to the GPU package. This will make it start to work again in some cases, but it's really not permanent. The best solution is total disassembly (to avoid heat damage to the rest of the machine) and then a reflow of the GPU. Some people will just use a heat gun, others will use a proper hot-air rework station, and some people will throw the board into their oven. Either way you have to be super careful with the later 800 and 900MHz models because the GPUs have external RAM chips mounted to the GPU package, and if you apply too much heat too quickly the solder on those will melt before the solder on the bottom of the GPU package itself, and this may cause the RAM chips' solder balls will collapse. There's no recovery from this without removing the RAM chips, cleaning the pads on both sides, and re-balling the RAM chips before reflowing them. Huge pain. 

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Strange that I've never encountered that.  I literally have worked on thousands of iceBooks, but they were all either 500-600MHz G3s or ~1GHz G4s, and high school students are not the type of folks on the whole that take good care of a machine they didn't have to buy.  I've definitely seen and experienced first hand the GPU problem before, and it's the Achilles heel (or glass jaw as I think Gorgonops referred to it) that stains an otherwise reliable model.  Biggest problems I saw when these were new / still current machines were backlights going out, CD-ROM drive trays not closing (hello, tape!), and dead HDs because the G3s didn't have shock sensors.

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My odoriferous keyboard, on an 800MHz translucent model, has the gray cable, No readily identifiable part number though there are some possibilities: On the cable is: 77-48.N2601.001B. On the keyboard is a sticker with a bar code below which I assume is a serial number, beginning with KZ6. There's also what may be either a regulatory or a model number: CM-2 E206453.

 

21 minutes ago, EvilCapitalist said:

Biggest problems I saw when these were new / still current machines were backlights going out,

Was that a problem? I have yet to experience backlight failure on an iBook. I do have some Samsung panels where they slowly faded to a dull pink before failing prematurely, but those were all 14.1" units on Lombards, Pismos, and a couple ThinkPads, not iBooks. 

27 minutes ago, EvilCapitalist said:

I've definitely seen and experienced first hand the GPU problem before, and it's the Achilles heel (or glass jaw as I think Gorgonops referred to it) that stains an otherwise reliable model. 

I'm pretty sure most people agree that the GPU problem was caused by:

*Insufficient cooling for the Mobility Radeon chip (it was mostly these and later chips, not the early R128M, that had problems), partially related to

*Insufficient physical support for the Mobility Radeon chip, leading to damage from

*Case flex due to the minimal internal structure on these models, causing

*Solder joint cracking because

*RoHS solder was not properly flowed at the factory.

 

The redesigned iBook G4s totally remedied most of these problems by relocating the GPU from hanging from the underside of a corner of the logic board to adjacent to the Intrepid chip and CPU on the top of the board, clamped to a big heatsink. They still used RoHS components (more, in fact) but the redesign kept some of the problems from manifesting. They also may have improved their manufacturing processes to better suit RoHS devices.

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Case flex will be what killed most the machines I was around/supported.  These were in the hands of HS students, so they weren't treated gently and were opened/closed many orders of magnitude more than a standard user.  With all the cabling for the screen running through that tiny opening for the screen hinges (also near the main exhaust port...great idea, Apple!) I figure it wasn't so much the backlights failing as cabling getting pinched or worn.

 

Definitely agree that the G4 iBooks were much better in terms of reliability than the G3s, though personally I like the early G3's case design better.  The later opaque G3s and all the G4 iBooks show wear horribly owing to that bright white plastic case.  More than once I heard them referred to as yellow-snow iBooks after they'd been in service for a while.  It's too bad they never booted OS9 natively.

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I worked at an AASP when the icebooks were current. Smelly keyboard syndrome was (is!)  real. It is a very particular odor, and I can recall it to this day. Maybe whatever was causing it had to do w/ local weather humidity or something? Which explains why some folks have never smelled it and others insist it's endemic to the models.

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Oh yes. It is very real . Before I got my units, Chris , the former mac guru at REPC in Seattle smirked a bit and handed one over for me to sniff. I about burned my nose out. It is kinda like scorched electric gym socks. He said that some had the smell,and to get rid of it you had to get another keyboard to replace the smelly one. I recall he said that it was a supplier issue for that particular part number. One supplier used a glue /adhesive that eventually would start to let you know it was there.

 

 

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