The Macintosh Server G3/300 Minitower was released in 1998 as the final beige tower design by Apple. This G3 Server used a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, a single 4.0 GB SCSI hard drive (with space for a second drive), and a 24x CD-ROM drive.
This minitower also contained a “Whisper personality card” that added audio input and output ports. According to LowEndMac, Apple had planned various “personality cards,” but only audio (“Whisper”), audio/video (“Wings”), and audio/video/DVD playback (“Bordeaux”) were ever produced.
The case design of this minitower includes a removable side panel and two internal tabs that, when released, allow the entire tower to tilt 90 degrees on a hinge allowing easy access to all internal components. Interestingly, the side door panel latch and internal tabs are made from translucent blue-green plastic, a design aesthetic that would soon become the Mac design norm that same year when the original iMac was released.
Ports on this computer include SCSI; ADB (Apple Desktop Bus); Ethernet (10-100); Mac serial and printer ports; Apple Video (DB-15), line-out and microphone 3.5 mm jacks. Three card slots are available: the first is empty, but ready for a high-speed SCSI port; the second slot has a second high-speed ethernet port; and the third slot adds two USB ports.
The exact factory configuration of the server is shown as: 1MB Cache/128MB/2x4GB UW/CD/10-100 ENET. The model is M4405, and the serial number area specifies a production date of May 27, 1998, at 3:30 PM.
The Power Macintosh G3 was the first new tower desktop to be released after the original iMac in 1998. The iMac at the time was originally released in “Bondi” blue—a translucent blue-green hue reminiscent of the waters off Bondi beach in Australia—that was replaced in 1999 with a brighter translucent set of colors including a shade of blue called “blueberry.” The Power Macintosh G3 was closer in color to the blueberry iMac, but it was not an exact match.
The Power Macintosh G3 was known as the “blue and white” tower. The tower used a translucent white outer case on both sides and featured both a glossy, translucent blue Apple logo and the characters G3 boldy printed under the frosted white translucent plastic to achieve a blurred, shadowy effect.
The front of the Power Macintosh G3 was translucent blue with an underlying pinstripe pattern. The top of the front included spaces for two optical drives. This example includes a CD-ROM and a Zip drive (from the company Iomega). Below the media drives was a speaker, the power button, and two additional smaller buttons—reset and “interrupt” buttons—both used to recover from system-level issues.
The back of the tower included ports, including two FireWire (400) ports, one ADB port, one ethernet port, two USB ports, and side-by-side 3.5 mm microphone (audio-in) and audio-out ports. A space for a modem port is included, but unused in this example. Four slots were also available. This model includes slot 1 with a standard VGA port, slot 2 with AV ports including a DB-15 (“Mac Video”) port, two S-video, and one yellow video-in RCA port. Slots 3 and 4 are unused.
The port choices represent an interesting mix of legacy and brand new technology. While the desktop was the first to include FireWire 400 ports, it also included the then-new USB standard, but curiously included one then-outdated ADB port. The slots below show a similar mix of old and new: VGA and the old-style “Mac Video” DB-15 port. Thus, while the iMac was only looking forward, this tower allowed old and new peripherals to be used.
The right side of the tower included a latch with a circular rubberized grip that allowed the entire side of the tower to be opened on a hinge, revealing and providing relatively easy access to all internal components. Plug-in slots (such as video and memory) were attached to the hinged side, while components such as drives and fans remained attached to the internal metal frame of the tower.
Internally, this Power Macintosh G3 uses a 300 MHz PowerPC 750 G3 processor, 64 MB of RAM, a 6 GB hard drive, a 32X CD-ROM drive, and an ATI Rage graphics card. The hard drive was a faster, server-grade Ultra ATA/33 model when iMac computers of the time included IDE/ATA hard drives.
A highly specious rumor of the time noted that the design of this tower included a Disney reference. When viewed sideways, a Mickey Mouse ears shape can be seen in the negative space between the “bite” in the Apple logo and the inside of the Helvetica Bold “3” in the “G3” logo on the sides of this tower. The conspiracy theory speculated that Disney was contemplating the purchase of Apple.
I used versions of this blue and white tower in two of my educational technology leadership positions. In both cases, I used this tower to create videos and other multimedia using early versions of iMovie and other multimedia creation software.
During the 1990s when Apple produced external CRT displays, they built DB-15 video ports into Macintosh computers. Product manuals of the time referred to the port as the “Macintosh video port” and in the later 1990s, the “Monitor port.”
An Apple Service Source document for the Power Macintosh/Server G3 Minitower shows the port in a diagram labeled as the “Monitor Port.”
I have three different versions of this adapter that allows a Macintosh with this DB-15 monitor port to be used with a “standard” VGA monitor. The three versions I have are platinum, clear, and black. The black example is unopened. All three designs have the Apple logo.
During the 1990s when Apple first entered the external display market, they used the DB-15 video port. Product manuals of the time referred to the port as the “Macintosh video port” or later, the “Monitor port.”
An Apple Service Source document for the Macintosh LC Series/Quadra 605 (Macintosh LC, Macintosh LC II, Macintosh LC III, Macintosh LC 475, Macintosh Quadra 605) specifies the video standard as: “DB-15 monitor port for built-in video; DA-15 connector.”
This Apple Video Card Accessory (part number 513-0091-A) allowed “standard” VGA monitor to be used with a Macintosh computer.