Vectronic's Grape iMac G3/400 DV
Originally Published: Feb. 27, 2003
The iMac G3/400 was my first new computer. I had been planning to buy a computer for about a year and was leaning heavily toward a Gateway 500 MHz PC. It was a few years after the original iMac had been released and Apple was well on the road to recovery after years of decline, but they still had a way to go. At the time, I would have called you a fool if you had suggested that I buy a new Mac. That was until I happened to see one first hand. I came across the CompUSA Apple Store (store in a store) while shopping for a new PC. When I saw the new iMacs, I was instantly sold.
The iMac G3/400 has the following ports: two USB 1.1 ports, two FireWire 400-Mbps ports, one 56.6K RJ-11 modem port, one 10/100Base-T Ethernet RJ-45 port, one microphone jack, and one speaker jack. Two headphone jacks are on front of the computer. There is also a video out port on the back of the computer. The programmer and reset buttons, previously only pinholes on previous generation iMacs, are now actual buttons. The iMac G3/400 is the first iMac to ship with FireWire ports. The G3/400 has two built-in Harman Kardon stereo speakers on the front of the computer. A built-in microphone resides on the front of the computer in the center over the monitor. Apple dropped the port cover of previous generation iMacs. The port orifice on the G3/400 is a slanted elongated oval setting smoothly on the side of the computer.
Adding RAM to the G3/400 is considerably easier than previous generation iMacs, which required removing the motherboard. As illustrated below, changing RAM on the G3/400 is accomplished by opening a door on the bottom of the computer. An AirPort Card can also be added in the same place. The G3/400 is the first iMac to be "AirPort Ready". My G3/400 does not have an AirPort Card.
(Click) Adding RAM:
The G3/400 has a modest graphics system that was a slight improvement over previous generation iMacs. The system uses ATI Rage 128 graphics (2x AGP) with 8 MB SGRAM. The G3/400 supports video out. The connector is on the back of the computer. Apple shipped two grills for the video out port, one to cover the port and one to use if you intend to connect an external monitor. The process of changing the cover is depicted below.
(Click) Changing video out port cover:
The iMac DV was a redesign of the original iMac form factor. Most notably, Apple replaced the tray loading CD drive of the original iMac with a slot loading drive. With the introduction of this model, Apple never again substantially redesigned this form factor. Except for color, minor tweaks and upgraded system specs, the slot loading G3 iMac kept this basic design until Apple retired it in 2003. The iMac DV is so named because it was the first iMac that could play DVDs as a standard feature. It was only a player. It could not burn CDs or DVDs. I was forced to buy an external USB CD burner to meet my storage needs. Apple really pushed the DVD concept. This iMac shipped with a DVD copy of A Bug's Life (1998) from Pixar. The iMac G3/400 is noticeably glossier than the previous iMacs, which says a lot. The case is so shiny that it is difficult to photograph.
The iMac G3/400 doesn't have an internal fan like previous iMacs. If it were not for the sound of the spinning hard drive, you wouldn't hear anything. There is a handle built into the top for moving it around. After a few hours of operation, you can feel the hot convection current streaming out of the holes in the top. The lack of a fan doesn't seem to have affected it in the least.
This Mac kept me going for a few years, but began to feel underpowered around the end of 2001. Everyone was about to begin switching to OS X and this Mac just didn't have the juice to get the most out of it. I moved on to a G4 iMac Flat Panel in 2002. Although I never used the G3/400 with a broadband connection, it gave me countless hours of dial-up browsing.