500 MHz iMac G3

Snow iMacThe iMac first achieved 500 MHz in mid 2000, and the last 500 MHz iMac was introduced in mid 2001.

The summer 2000 500 MHz iMac (also known as the 500 MHz iMac DV Special Edition) includes a 4x DVD-ROM drive, a 30 GB hard drive, 128 MB of RAM (expandable to 1 GB), and Rage Pro 128 graphics with 8 MB of dedicated memory. It was the top of the iMac line when introduced and sold for US$1,499, It came in graphite and snow. It runs Mac OS 9.0.4 and later.

Apple introduced a pair of 500 MHz iMacs in early 2001, one for the North American market and one for international sales.

The international 500 MHz iMac was almost identical to the summer 2000 model, but it came in indigo, Flower Power, and Blue Dalmatian. It has an 8x CD-RW drive instead of DVD-ROM, 64 MB of RAM, and requires Mac OS 9.1 or later.

The North American 500 MHz iMac adopted a newer version of the G3 CPU, one with an onboard Level 2 (L2) cache running at full CPU speed. The built-in 256 KB cache was generally superior to the 512 KB L2 cache found in earlier Macs that ran at 40% of CPU speed. It sold for US$1,199.

The final 500 MHz iMac was introduced in July 2001 and sold for just US$999. Available in indigo or snow, it has a 20 GB hard drive and includes 128 MB of RAM. This generation of iMacs introduced Rage 128 Ultra graphics with 16 MB of video memory.

Apple introduced a stripped down 500 MHz iMac with CD-ROM to the market in January 2002. Except for the optical drive and 64 MB of RAM, the US$799 model was identical to the 500 MHz CD-RW one.

Mac OS X

Non-Apple upgrades and peripherals (such as unsupported USB devices, replacement drives, and third-party memory) may cause problems when installing or booting into Mac OS X.

Be sure to read and follow Apple’s “Read Before You Install” install instructions to increase the likelihood of getting OS X installed and running on the first try.


  • CPU: 500 MHz PPC 750 or 750CXe
  • Bus: 100 MHz
  • RAM: 64/128 MB, expandable to 1,024 MB using two PC100 SDRAM (3.3 V, 64-bit, 168-pin, 100 MHz)
  • VRAM: 8/16 MB
  • Video: supports resolutions of 640 x 480, 800 x 600, and 1024 x 768 using ATI RAGE Pro 128 or RAGE 128 Ultra chip set
  • Display: 15″ CRT (13.8″ viewable) multiscan to 1024 x 768
  • L2 cache: 512 KB backside cache or 256 KB onboard cache
  • Hard drive: 20/30 GB EIDE drive. Maximum IDE drive size is 128 GB without third-party support. See How Big a Hard Drive Can I Put in My iMac, eMac, Power Mac, PowerBook, or iBook? for your options.
  • DVD-ROM: 4x
  • CD-RW: 8x
  • CD-ROM: 24x
  • USB: 2 separate USB 1.1 ports and controllers
  • FireWire 400: 2 ports
  • Modem: built-in v.90 56k modem
  • Ethernet: 10/100Base-T
  • WiFi: 802.11b AirPort Card, requires AirPort Card Adapter
  • Microphone: internal
  • Power supply: 150W
  • PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
  • Height: 15.0 in/38.1 cm
  • Width: 15.0 in/38.1 cm
  • Depth: 17.1 in/43.5 cm
  • Weight: 34.7 lb/15.8 kg
  • family numbers: M5521

Online Resources


  • You cannot plug the iPod shuffle directly into the iMac’s USB port – it will not fit. It will not charge if plugged into a keyboard USB port or an unpowered USB hub. To charge it while using it with your iMac, you must us a USB extension cable, powered USB hub, iPod shuffle dock, or a USB power adapter.
  • Update Firmware Before Installing Jaguar!, Geoff Duncan, TidBITS, 2002.10.28. If your firmware isn’t at version 4.1.9, you need to boot into OS 9.1 and install it before attempting to install Jaguar (OS X 10.3) on your slot-loading CD-ROM or DVD iMac.
  • You must have the keyboard plugged directly into an iMac USB port to boot with the power key (Eject on the Apple Pro Keyboard); it will not work if the keyboard is attached to a hub.
  • The iMac loads the MacOS Toolbox into RAM, unlike other Macs which use it from ROM. You lose the use of 3 MB of memory but gain faster performance.

keyword: imac500