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iMac G3/233 Upgrade And Discussion Page - Performance Of Latest G3 Processor Upgrades

iOriginal iMac

  • Processor: G3, 233 MHz
  • Bus Speed: 66MHz
  • Backside Cache: 512K, 117MHz
  • Installed RAM: 32MB (Max 256 MB)
  • RAM Slots: 2, 144-pin SDRAM
  • Min RAM Speed: 100MHz/10ns
  • VRAM: 2 or 6 MB (Max 6 MB SGRAM)
  • Drive: 4GB ATA
  • CD Drive: 24X
  • Network: On-board 10/100BaseT
  • Slots: "mezzanine"
  • Additional Ports: 4 USB, IR
  • Supported MacOS: 8.1 - X
  • Introduced: 8/98
  • Discontinued: 1/99
  • Initial Retail Price: $1,299
  • Current Price
    Special Notes
  • Included 56K internal modem
  • 4 USB ports (2 on keyboard)
  • Infrared port
  • Built-in 15" monitor
  • Graphics Chip Rage IIc or Rage Pro

iMac & iMac Upgrade Discussion Forum


Introduced in the late summer of 1998, the original iMac was an instant success, selling over 300,000 units in its first few months of availability. Not only was it snatched up by diehard Mac users, but Wintel converts and first time computer users flocked in droves to to get their hands on an iMac. The press, other than a few naysayers, fell all over themselves in praise of this innovative product from Apple. The computer was exceptionally easy to set up and connect to the Internet. Reviewers praised both the design and low cost of the machine calling the iMac a great value.

In large part it was the iMac that revived Apples fortunes, from what had been a near death experience for the company.

The computer was completely aimed at the consumer and education markets. It has no PCI expansion slots, no free drive bays and limited graphics upgradability. There is also no SCSI port or other high-speed transfer protocol. The machine uses hot-swappable USB ports (of which there are two on the machine) for connecting keyboard, mice or other external devices. This use of USB was a first for a Mac and heralded an explosion of USB capable devices.

The original iMac sports a G3/233 processor with 512K of backside cache. It has 2MB of VRAM giving you thousands of colors at 1,024 x 768 pixels. You can add an additional 4MB allowing you to have millions of colors at the highest resolutions. It is capable of 2D & 3D acceleration courtesy of a ATI Rage IIc graphics chip.

For Great Prices On Upgrades Check The Vendors Below
Processor Upgrades
Small Dog MacConnection

Graphics Cards
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RAM & Other Memory MacConnection

SCSI, Firewire USB Cards
Small Dog


Used/Refurbished Macs
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ebay Small Dog

The machine came with an anemic 32MB of Ram installed, which could be expanded to 128MB at the time of its release (see "Facts At A Glance" notes). It has a fast 4GB hard drive, but came without a floppy drive. The lack of a floppy drive generated a lot of criticism but the market quickly adjusted and provided other methods for getting data in and out of the iMac. The CD-ROM drive is 24X and is rather noisy in operation. It is the same CD drive found in the PowerBooks of the time, and does not have a powered drawer. It seems kind of fragile for school use.

Some complaints were raised by traditionalist about the compact keyboard and the non-standard round mouse. However many new users liked both.

On the front of the machine is a infrared port, from which you can beam information to/from other infrared capable devices, such as PowerBooks, digital cameras etc. The machine has a built-in 56K modem and on-board 10/100 Base-T Ethernet.

In a few short months Apple came out with a revision "B" of the iMac. Bowing to the complaints of gamers, this revision had 6MB of VRAM and a better graphics accelerator - the ATI Rage Pro Turbo - but otherwise remained unchanged.

Below you will find the MacBench 5.0 results for all of the current processor upgrades available for this machine. The bar graphs below express results as a percentage of improvement over the base machine, which receives a score of 100%. Further down the page you will find a table with the actual MacBench score.

Scores marked in red were provided by the manufacturer and scores marked in blue were independently verified by MacSpeedZone

Past upgrades for this machine

MacBench Absolute Scores

Processor Upgrade Card MacBench 5.0 Processor Score
iMac G3/233/117/512K 711
PowerLogix iForce G3/400/200/512K 1196
PowerLogix iForce G3/500/200/1MB`` 1626

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Copyright 1996-2003 by Cider Press Publishing LLC all rights reserved. MacSpeedZone is not authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Computer. Apple, the Apple logo, Macintosh, iPod, iBook, iMac, eMac, and PowerBook are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Additional company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks and are hereby acknowledged.