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Vintage Ruby iMac G3/400 repair project

I have a niece who has inherited an old Ruby iMac G3/400 (new in the Summer of 2000) with a broken handle and CD-ROM only (rather than the preferred DVD-ROM).

Lowendmac and Everymac have been very helpful in guiding me through the how to cheaply max out the capabilities of this old machine. I do not want to through much money at it, as the entire machine is not worth much; but I would like to give my niece the nicest, newest machine experience she can get for the very low budget. It only has to last a couple years, when she goes to college she’ll get a shiny new MacBook.

If you have any slot-loading iMac G3 machines collecting dust, I’d love to talk to you about recycling:

  • a handle, this one is broken. the handle screws into the top rear plastic case
  • a DVD drive, to replace the CD inside this one
  • a quiet, ATA5 hard drive of between 10 and 120 GB (there is no point putting a larger drive in this old machine, and the 60GB I have is really noisy

I looted a pair of 512MB PC100 memory sticks from my old cube (which I eventually need to replace). That brings her machine to 1GB.

I looted an old 60GB Maxtor drive – but am considering dropping back to the original 10GB Quantum Fireball as it was much quieter… looking for a quiet 30-80GB drive if one is really cheap.

I upgraded classic OS to 9.2.2 and used that to upgrade firmware. With new firmware this machine can load 10.4.11 or 10.3.9 just fine – so I am working on that .

I’d be willing to buy a complete Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) Retail Boxed Set if you have one… I cannot find mine (which is really frustrating).

Update: eBay to the rescue; several auctions later (some won, some lost) – I’ve managed to replace the internal CD-ROM with a DVD-ROM drive; upgraded the memory to 1GB; replaced the 10GB drive with a silent 80GB Hitachi 180GXP drive; and I allegedly have a replacement handle on the way.

I’ve installed Mac OS 10.4.11 with 9.2.2 for classic games and apps, MS Office 2004 student edition, several old games, a few TV shows, some music, and iLife ’05 for iPhoto and iTunes (’06 requires a G4, GarageBand and iMovieHD require 600MHz or better). The G3/400 is pretty slow compared to what I’ve become accustomed to, but it can read and write Word/PowerPoint/Excel for school work and she can watch DVDs on it with a headset and manage her iPod through iTunes 8.2.1 (the most recent version for a PowerPC G3). This should tide her over until she is in college and gets a modern MacBook.

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