on vtools/68kmla

iBook G3 (2002)

I’m not really sure how it happened. One day I was on the 68KMLA forum and saw that someone else in the UK had just picked up a little 12” iBook G3. Next thing I knew I was searching through eBay, and shortly (a week) after I had a 12” iBook G3 too. This ticks off the ‘G3’ box on my wants list, and honestly it’s SO CUTE. I remember when these were new (and waaaaay outside anything I could afford), so it’s nice to finally get my hands on one, even if it’s 18 years later.

iBook G3

This is a 2002 model with a 600MHz PowerPC G3 processor. All these machines have a permanent 128MB of RAM built into them, but I like maxing out everything if possible, so I acquired a 512MB module to fit into the (single) slot to bring it to it’s maximum of 640MB. That’s more memory than it would ever need and means I don’t have to rely on virtual memory.

iBook G3 RAM

Considering the age of the machine, it’s in remarkably good condition. The keyboard has very little wear, and amazingly the battery not only holds a charge, but lasts for several hours on that charge, meaning that it’s genuinely a portable device. The hard disk is a 20GB unit which appears to work fine, and this machine has the optional ‘AirPort’ wifi (802.11b) card, which is a bonus, even if it can see every network in the vicinity of my house EXCEPT my own network.

I’ve got it running MacOS 9.2.2, which it would have originally come with. It can run early versions of MacOS X, however I bought it with the purpose of having a MacOS 9 machine. This may change in future depending on how bored I get.

iBook G3 9.2.2

The bad bits:

- It’s an old machine, and it appears the CMOS battery is dead. Not a massive deal.

- The CD-ROM drive is temperamental at best. These machines had an optional DVD/CD-RW combo drive, which I think would suit it better, so I will be getting one of those to replace it. I don’t strictly need the optical drive, but I might as well fix it just in case I require it one day.

Unfortunately, replacing anything other than the RAM requires taking the machine apart which appears to be a very long process if the guide on iFixit is to be believed. My plan is to get the parts, as well as a mSATA-PATA converter to replace the spinning disk, and do all the replacements in one hit.

There will be further updates on this little machine as I get the parts required to fix/improve it. Stay tuned.