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Joined: 2019 Jan 25
Problem with 500mhz iMac g3 stuttering while gaming

I recently acquired a 500mhz iMac g3 and I am having issues with some games. While playing specific games they will stutter. In Quake 3 it will only stutter only slightly at first getting progressively worse till the point that it is unplayable before smoothing out and the cycle starts over again.

At first I thought it was probably hardware related, but the Quake 3 demo has no problems running at all, nor does Unreal Tournament. Other games I have this problem with include Driver and even Wolfenstein 3d. The demo for Wofenstein 3d also runs perfectly smooth.

Any ideas of what could be causing this?

For more info the machine is running the macoslives custom 9.2.2 os. I have also replaced the hard drive with a 40gb western digital bought new from and upgraded the ram to 1gb with cheap pc133 modules from eBay.

The machine is backwards compatible with pc133, but could that be causing any issues? The battery was dead when I got it, but it does seem to hold a charge and I made sure to set the time and date correctly.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks


Joined: 2017 Jan 11

The "cycle" of error you speak of will be key to fixing this. My first impression is failing GPU, not necessarily the GPU chip but perhaps communication between the chip and its outside world.

Until then, I'd reset the Mac OS to default, meaning erasing a drive and laying down a fresh unmodified OS9. This model oughtn't need the Lives OS, go with oem os.

davisdelo's picture
Joined: 2016 Oct 31

I think the quickest and most non-invasive way to start troubleshooting would be to take advantage of the Extension Manager. Duplicate your current set in there and then disable all the non-essential and non-gaming related extensions. Restart to test the new set.

sfp1954's picture
Joined: 2013 Dec 29

What version of QuickTime are you running?
Virtual Memory - on or off? The recommendations for each game could be different.
I agree with the idea of experimenting with the extensions manager.
There should be an option for a preset named "9.2 base"
What are the recommended Operating Systems for each game?

9.2.1 Universal is here with the 9.2.2 update if you want to do a clean install.

Also a 9.2.2 iMac installer.

Joined: 2019 Jan 25

Ok I have done some additional troubleshooting, and have made some progress.

I downloaded a restore disc for the 2001 iMac that would have originally came with this machine, which was os 9.1. I also removed 1 ram stick bringing it down to 512 mb, because with 1gb it would not allow me to use virtual memory, so now VM is turned on.

I used the openGL installation included on the Quake 3 iso. Also went into the extensions manager and turned off a ton of extensions, including stuff like drivers for Nvidia cards and other ATI cards that are not in this system. Quicktime version is 4.1.

Wolfenstein 3d is now running perfectly but Quake 3 still has the stuttering issues while its demo version does not.

Any other ideas?

Thanks a ton guys, this is an amazing site!

sfp1954's picture
Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Does Quake give you video options? ie Something other than Open GL?
I remember that in Diablo II I believe you had a choice between Open GL and Software Mode.
I don't think Open GL will run very well on a machine without a dedicated graphics card.