Part 2
Updating your early iMac G3
August 17, 2002

Sorry for the very long delay in developing this second part of updating an early iMac. Part of the problem with finishing this was the effort to analyze if and whether to include a processor upgrade. Certain market factors have thrown a monkey wrench into that. Most notably the entrance of the new eMac and the bargain basement prices for the now "economy G3 iMacs offered by Apple. At around $700 for G3 iMac with Firewire and DVD/CDRW's or a $1,094 G4 eMac with Firewire and a CDRW, spending another $300 to $400 for a processor upgrade just doesn't add up.

Sonnet Technology had an upgrade kit which gave you an IBM based G3 600 MHz processor with the addition of a Firewire port for your non Firewire Rev A through D iMac. But though we requested this kit for the story, Sonnet refused and kept pushing the slower 500 G3 on us. Something sounded funny, so we check various sites that sell their processor kits and no one had the Harmoni G3 600 listed as available. There is also one serious drawback in both the 500 and 600 MHz IBM based Harmoni kits and that is that they are only 256K L2 Cache. That is actually less cache than your Rev C or D iMac came with originally.

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With the inability to actually test the performance of the Harmoni G3 600 and suspecting that the small cache will be a drag on your iMacs performance, we can't actually recommend these upgrades, considering the price again vs. a newer iMac or eMac.

PowerLogix offers the iForce G4 500 MHz upgrade kit with a full 1 MB L2 Cache for the Rev A through D iMacs at $369. However, it does not include the addition of a Firewire port. Again, we were unable to get one of these kits in time for this article's already postponed deadline.

...upgrading you RAM to the fastest you can buy, your 333MHz is still plenty fast.
Both PowerLogix and Sonnet are solid upgrade kit manufacturers; you won't be hurt if you choose to buy from either. They both stand behind their products that are well engineered.

Whether you choose to upgrade your processor or not, considering the cost against just buying a new much faster Mac is just a matter of economy and your user needs. If you have an original Rev A or B "Bondi Blue" iMac which had a 233 MHz processor, than one of the kits like the iForce G4 500 make some sense. But if you have a late model Rev D G3 333 MHz processor, we really don't think any processor upgrade make any sense. With the addition of the 7200 RPM Hard Drive covered in Part 1 and upgrading you RAM to the fastest you can buy, your 333MHz is still plenty fast.

Which brings us to upgrading your RAM in your early iMac. My daddy always told me, there are two things you "kain't have 'nuff of" speed and memory! Oh I think there was one other thing too . . . . oh yeah, money. Trouble is, my dad was in the Automotive industry with Ford and that was long before personal computer. Guess that would explain his Ford Cobra and memory was for never forgetting you wife's birthday or your anniversary, which is where the money comes in.

Anyway, may I digress? The iMacs respond quite nicely, as do any G3 or G4 generation Mac, to very good speedy RAM, SODIMM's to be specific. Though some RAM manufacturers do not list it as such, SODIMM's for the G3 PowerBook Wallstreet and the Rev. A through D iMacs are the same?


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