Search Query

July 25


You can upgrade your iBook with more RAM, larger hard drive

Hey Mac Guy: I purchased an iBook several years ago, a G3 500. It came with a miserly 10GB hard drive and 256 RAM. I would like to upgrade the hard drive to 40GB or 60GB, and upgrade the RAM to 512. Is there a site I can go to for directions on how to replace the hard drive? I have an external 40GB hard drive, so I'll be able to move all apps and files there for the replacement. Lastly, I believe this iteration of iBook has a RAM expansion slot, so I would need only purchase a 256 RAM card. Does this make have an additional RAM slot?

— iUpgrade

Hey iUpgrade: The web site XLR8YourMac ( usually has detailed guides for this sort of upgrade. I found this one ( linked there. It explains how to dig into your iBook and swap the hard drive or the optical drive. Read through this procedure, it is not for the fainthearted. If the job looks too challenging, take the computer to your local Apple Authorized Service Center.

Your iBook can hold a maximum of 640MB of RAM. There is 128MB on the motherboard and one RAM slot that probably contains another 128MB SDRAM module. You can toss the old one and buy new RAM in either 256MB or 512MB increments. Ramjet ( lists the 512MB module for $149.


Hey Mac Guy: My Ethernet card got fried in a recent thunderstorm. I work on a G4 and the original is attached to the motherboard. I have ordered and installed a new, cross-platform card in one of the back slots, but I can't get it recognized. Apparently it's still trying to communicate through the original card. Any suggestions on how to get it to recognize the new card and bypass the old?

Fried and Frazzled 

Hey Fried: First, make sure you have the proper drivers installed if they are needed. Check the manufacturer's web site to be sure you have the latest version. Once you have done that, setting the order that your Mac uses its various networking capabilities is a snap.

In Mac OS X, open the Network System Preference Panel (choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and then click the Network icon) and select Network Status from the 'Show' pop-up menu. You should see a list of networking options that may include Built-in Ethernet, Airport, Internal Modem, etc. You should also see your new Ethernet card listed. Mac OS X uses tries these in top-to-bottom order. If you want to use the new card instead of the Built-in Ethernet, simply drag it higher in the list.

This same functionality is available in Mac OS 9 by pulling up the TCP/IP control Panel and changing the 'Connect via' pop-up menu to the new Ethernet card. You may also need to change this in the AppleTalk control panel as well, but I can't check it right now since by Mac running OS 9 is lazy. It does not feel like working today.


Hey Mac Guy: I saw a sale regarding Panther and iLife on Apple’s website today. I see Tiger is next and that the new iMacs are ramping up. I guess I can install Tiger on my iMac and I should just wait to buy it, not Panther? No telling I guess. I was thinking Panther was still relatively new.

Cat 22 

Hey Cat: Apple has a new promo that they call “Add more life to your Mac”. You can get a $50 rebate if you purchase both Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and iLife ’04. If you go for the Family Pack of each, the rebate climbs to $80. This offer is valid until September 25, 2004 and it basically rebates the entire cost of iLife ’04, Apple’s suite that consists of iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD and Garage Band. You can get the details on Apple’s web site (

Panther was introduced late last year and is a great choice for most Macs with a G3 or higher processor. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2005. If you need an updated OS you would be better off getting Panther now instead of waiting for a year. Although initial reports indicate that there are plenty of new features in Tiger and that system requirements will be about the same as previous versions of OS X, there is no compelling reason to wait for a year or more to upgrade your iMac.

Paul Vaughn is a freelance writer, graphic artist and web designer. Have a Mac-related question?

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