Blue and White Power Mac G3

Bold best summarizes the Blue & White Power Mac G3. With an entirely new minitower case design and huge graphics on the side, this Mac would stand out even without the bright color.

In a big step forward, these models have 4 PCI slots, one more than previous models, and the B&W G3 is the first computer to ship with copper CPU technology (used in the 350 MHz to 450 MHz models).

Blue and White Power Mac G3And with a tip of the hat to the iMac, the B&W G3 doesn’t have a built-in floppy drive.

The keyboard and mouse also come from the iMac. Users had mixed reactions to the round mouse; fortunately, there are plenty of good alternatives. Likewise, although the keyboard has a nice feel, it is missing some keys that Apple has provided on full sized keyboard for years (see iMac’s Keyboard: The Missing Keys for a full list). The availability of standard layout keyboards from Apple and others means you don’t have to live with the stock keyboard.

As on the iMac, USB has practically replaced ADB, but Apple left one ADB port on the B&W G3 for legacy peripherals. The addition of 400 Mbps FireWire provides a fast alternative to the missing SCSI. (SCSI PCI cards are readily available, allowing access to SCSI hardware.) Although this model has FireWire and USB ports (see Apple Knowledge Base Article #58430, USB Info and Benefits of Dual-Channel USB), it cannot boot from either. Also, it does not support FireWire Target Disk Mode.

Unfortunately, the Blue & White Power Macintosh G3 shares the same product name as the earlier, very different Beige Power Macintosh G3. You’d think Apple might have learned a thing or two about product name confusion with the PowerBook G3/PowerBook G3 Series situation, but that isn’t the case.

The Revision 2 B&W G3 uses a different motherboard, has an additional drive bracket, incorporates a new IDE controller chip (marked 402) that supports UDMA-33, and includes a faster version of the ATI Rage 128 video card. 350 MHz and 400 MHz models may have either motherboard; 450 MHz versions only shipped from the factory with the Rev. 2 board. The improved IDE controller supports the standard master/slave drive configuration and solves a drive corruption problem. The Revision 1 board isn’t stable with many modern hard drives on the built-in IDE bus because the controller doesn’t support UDMA (Mac OS X does an end run around this problem by disabling UDMA on the Rev. 1 motherboard).

A common suggestion in the old days was to put the hard drive on the 16.7 MBps ATA-3 bus used by the optical drive, but the Rev. 1 motherboard doesn’t support booting from hard drives on that bus. See the Wikipedia article about the Blue & White G3 for a lot more information about Rev. 1 failings.

When buying a Blue & White G3, insist on getting a Revision 2 system. The best way to make sure you’re getting a Rev. 2 motherboard is the “402” marking on the CMD646 IDE controller chip. See Accelerate Your Mac! for more details on differences between these motherboard revisions.

Although this model doesn’t support drives larger than 128 GB on its main 33 MHz drive bus, the 16.7 MHz bus used for the optical drive supports multi-word DMA 2 and may support larger hard drives.


  • models
    • G3/300 introduced 1999.01.05 at US$1,599; discontinued 1999.06.
    • G3/350 introduced 1999.01.05 at US$1,999; discontinued 1999.08.31.
    • G3/400 introduced 1999.01.05 at US$2,999; discontinued 1999.08.31.
    • G3/450 introduced 1999.06 at $2,519; discontinued 1999.08.31.
    • Replaced by Yikes! and Sawtooth Power Mac G4.
  • code name: Yosemite
  • nickname: Smurf
  • model ID: PowerMac1,1
  • model number: M5183
  • part number, Rev. 1: M6670 (300), M6668 (350), M6665 (400)
  • part number, Rev. 2: M6657 (350), M7555 (400), M7553 (450)

Mac OS

  • Rev. 1 requires Mac OS 8.5 through OS X 10.4.11 Tiger; Rev. 2 units shipped with Mac OS 8.6 and require 8.6 through OS X 10.4.11.

Core System

  • CPU: 300/350/400/450 MHz PPC 750
  • L2 cache: 1 MB 2:1 backside cache (512 KB on 300 MHz model)
  • Bus: 100 MHz
  • RAM: 64 MB or 128 MB standard, expandable to 1 GB using PC100 SDRAM (3.3V, unbuffered, 64-bit, 168-pin, 100 MHz) in 4 DIMM slots; not compatible with double-sided DIMMs
  • Performance:
    • Geekbench 2 (Tiger): 169 (300 MHz), 186 (350 MHz), 223 (450 MHz)
    • BYTEmark: 9.85 (300 MHz), 11.51 (350 MHz), 13.31 (400 MHz)
    • MacBench 5: 926 (300 MHz), 1144 (350 MHz), 1323 (400 MHz), 1484 (450 MHz)


  • GPU: ATI Rage 128 on 66 MHz bus, supports resolutions to 1600 x 1200 with 32-bit support, VGA output (replaces older DA-15 port Apple has used since 1987). Rev. 1 runs graphics processor at 75 MHz, while Rev. 2 uses faster 90-100 MHz clock. Some educational units came with a Rage Pro video card that supported video capture.
  • VRAM: 16 MB



  • 4 PCI slots (3 are 64-bit 33 MHz, one is 32-bit 66 MHz and is used for the video card)
  • ADB: 1 port
  • USB: 2 USB 1.1 ports
  • FireWire 400: 2 ports
  • FireWire 800: none
  • Ethernet: 10/100
  • Modem: optional internal 56k modem
  • Microphone: standard 3.5mm minijack, compatible with line-level input including Apple’s PlainTalk microphone


  • size (HxWxD): 17.0″ x 8.9″ x 18.4″
  • Weight: 30.0 lb.
  • PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
  • upgrade path: ZIF CPU upgrades

Accelerators & Upgrades

Online Resources


  • Power Macs earlier than the 2002 Quicksilver models do not have built-in support for IDE hard drives with capacities over 128 GB. Without a third-party solution, larger drives can only be formatted to 128 GB in these models. There are three options:
    • Intech’s ATA Hi-Cap Support Driver (supported on B&W G3’s CD/DVD bus but not on Ultra33 bus)
    • A PCI IDE card that supports big drives
    • A FireWire enclosure that supports big drives
  • Units that shipped with Mac OS 8.6 cannot use OS 8.5, only 8.6 and later versions of the Mac OS.
  • To distinguish the Rev. 1 and Rev. 2 logic boards, check the number printed on the CMD chip at location U1. On Rev. 1 boards, the number is PCI646U2. On Rev. 2, it will read 646US-402.
  • The Blue & White G3 can use all three types of PC100 DIMMs: 3-2-3 (the slowest), 3-2-2, and 2-2-2 (the fastest). It will recognize which you have and set timing to match the slowest installed memory. For best performance, use only 2-2-2 DIMMs – and be sure to specify unbuffered memory.

Short link:

searchwords: yosemite, bluewhiteg3

One thought on “Blue and White Power Mac G3

  1. Pingback: Installing Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” without the use of XPostFacto on an iBook G3 Clamshell without FireWire | luttztfz

Comments are closed.