Requiem for a Machine

by Tom Bridge

My friend John is a hardware tech for MacUpgrades in Bethesda, Maryland. From time to time, we have long chats about the state of older Mac hardware, and after seeing what he can do with a Grey and White tower, I would consider him to be one of the last die-hard Mac Hardware Guys. He dropped me a line yesterday to let me know that Apple had marked the venerable old Blue & White machines as "Vintage", which means that they no longer will issue repair parts, no longer support the units' hardware and essentially means that repairing them will become near impossible.

The Blue and White tower was such a radical departure for Apple Machines, both aesthetically and design-wise. The Blue and White was the first Mac to take advantage of the hinged drop down door that made them so easy to work with, so easy to fix, so wonderful to live with. And now, like many machines before it, it has been relegated to Vintage status.

We come today, not to mourn Blue & White, but to celebrate it. Give us your best Blue and White Story in the comments.


2006-02-21 07:32:16
What does all that imply about the 2 PowerMac 7600 systems pulling server duty here at the Airporch? I've had the one since new ( spent about $3000 with upgrades ). The other has been around for 4 years running 24/7 in an airplane hangar. I take it down once a year to clean out the spider webs and dead bugs the spiders had dined on. Apple builds really good hardware. It seems likely that there will be good old blue and white systems around for a long time.
2006-02-21 08:14:06
I have 3 B/W's. They haven't been powered up for a couple of years. I just can't bring myself to get rid of them. Same with their revB iMac Brethren. Waiting for the Linux deployment at my daughter's school.
Al Diablo
2006-02-21 08:14:48
Yikes! How soon til both my Sawtooth G4/450s are relegated to Vintage Status???!!
2006-02-21 09:00:21
I was just handed an old blue and white a few months ago and its now doing just fine as my (low traffic) web and mail server. All it took was a little extra memory. Someone needs to come up with a Vintage badge for all these old machines that are still going strong. Beats the "retirement" that the old PCs get.
Tamas Jakab
2006-02-21 10:08:30
We had about 60 B/W G3s where I work. They were the easily the most problematic hardware I've seen in the last 6 years. That said, I loved the form factor and I was happy to see it mature in the G4.

The B/W G3 was a great idea released just a little too soon.

David Bishop
2006-02-21 10:17:44
I have two B/Ws at home - in fact, they are the most powerful macs I own :-) Well, my iMac is a 450Mhz G3 while the B/Ws are 400, but the faster harddrives more than make up for that. They all run 10.4 just fine, though I'm upset that I can't run iLife '06. Stupid G4 requirements :-( Anyways, they are good machines, and I'm sure they'll still be running for a while yet...
2006-02-21 10:28:14
Our blue G3 happily plays iTunes, DVDs, surfs the web, all in the latest version of Tiger.


OTOH, I wonder how 7-year-old PCs would handle the latest version of Windoze?

2006-02-21 10:57:07
The beige G3 mini-tower was the last slotted machine to go "vintage", so it comes as no surprise that the Blue & White was next in line to go. It's just that the Blue & White is definitely a landmark in design, so the dropping of support is more the pity.
2006-02-21 10:59:00
my wife's B/W at her school functions much better than her co-worker's 3 yr. old PC. it runs panther fine and for doing mail, surfing the web, and listening to itunes, it's just as capable as our new intel imac (mostly) :)
2006-02-21 11:18:44
I remember being home for the holidays and watching Steve Jobs show off the B/W on the Web, and my boss ordering one soon after. I worked in Germany at the time, and was going to take it with me back overseas. When I arrived in Stuttgart with the computer in tow, customs pulled me over and had me unbox it. I don't know if they thought it was a bomb or just wanted to see the cool new Mac.
mat x
2006-02-21 17:42:23
I'm stil using my B&W G3 tower. It's running 10.4 server and hosting my sites. Rock solid for the last 6.5 years. WIth 1GB of RAM and 3 hard drives, it's my hard working Mac. My beautiful smurf tower.
2006-02-21 17:47:44
Rumors of my Blue&White's death are greatly exaggerated. I use one at work, a 300MHz with Zip drive, RAM upgraded (by scrounging abandoned PCs after a layoff) to 704MB, 60GB hard drive (with OSX 10.2.8) + the 6GB original (for FrameMaker, the one Classic app I have to use since it's my primary authoring tool).

At home, we have two G3 iBooks (800 & 900MHz) and a beige G3/266 desktop. The latter is over 7 years old now and it still gets daily use.

2006-02-21 19:21:35
Don't have the B/Ws, but still use a blue and white Clamshell ibook, 2 Imacs (400 and 600), 800mhz ibook and finally one newer Mac Mini. Everything but the Clamshell and 400 iMac gets used every day. I need to turn the iMac into a server or something, so we can use it every day.
2006-02-21 21:38:42
I loved my B&W tower like a good friend. I bought it before going off to university and it lasted me all the way through, with no problems and some funky upgrades along the way. Afterwards it was passed on to my mom for another few years of service. It was recently replaced by a mac mini and it sitting unused at the moment (maybe forevermore).

Thanks for all the great times B&W, I'll always remember you.

2006-02-21 23:05:48
Here's a funny one--I'm still paying off the Apple Loan for the G3/300 I bought in 1998 for about 2 grand.

2006-02-22 07:16:14
my BW is Still in use as a desktop. I can't see any reason why it wouldn't last another 8 years! (is it really 8 years???) I purchased it new, with the matching 17" CRT. my first of 3 macs, and I couldn't bear to sell it, so i gave it to my buddy who teaches in an under funded high school. he used it as his main machine for a few years, and then purchased a laptop, and took the BW to work. it is currently the most powerful Mac in the school's lab. Kids learn photoshop, page layout, and web design on it.
2006-02-22 17:16:37
OK, I haven't actually got a B&W but I this post got me thinking and I remembered that I still have my Centris 660AV kicking around in the parts closet. Think I'll dig it our for one last nostalgic look at System 7. Might make a nice home for the Mini with a DVD burner and a large fast IDE drive.
2006-02-22 22:10:51
Actually, Tom, the PowerMac 9600 (introduced in '97) was, I believe, the first Mac tower to have the drop down side panel to access the inside, before the Beige G3 miniTower and then the the Blue-White G3 towers. But that's just a footnote; I agree, we long time Mac users can look back at some amazing design firsts and brilliant creativity in hardware from Apple over the years. I still use my eMate! ":-)
2006-02-28 13:53:05
While I no longer work at , which is still running on Xserves, there is some interesting factoids in this story, and I've also listed this below.

The Army Homepage (, while now on OSX & Xserves until a few years ago, did in fact run on Blue & White G3s. The B&Ws were a hiring bonus, we could pick any desktop computer we wanted. Well, after the NT servers were hacked, the Army Homepage was put on an older G3, and then we in good conscience could not justify having brand new B&W G3s on our desk, while an older G3 w/Webstar was laboring away under millions on hits.

If you'd like a happy ending to this story, the two B&W G3s in question were purchased from...

...drumroll please...

Macupgrades in Bethesda!

"MacWEEK - U.S. Army enlists more Macs. The U.S. Army's recent switch to a Mac OS server instead of Windows NT for its public Web site may be just the beginning of a major shakeup in the Army's platform strategy. The Army, which has set up a Power Mac G3 running StarNine Technologies' WebSTAR Server Suite 4.0 in a locked vault in the Pentagon, is considering using more Apple products, Army Webmaster Stephen Bates told MacWEEK."

2006-04-20 11:29:03
Geez, and just bought 2 of them yesterday! O'well, they will join the
9600, 7600, the Quadra and Mac IIci as 2 more useful machines that will see service until.....