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Ask Max: What are my options for an external G3 iMac CD/DVD drive?

Asked on 11/17/2009:

Hey Jacob!

I just bought my first machine used for 10 bucks and guess what?! Its super cool and super old. Its an iMac G3 in the original bondi blue running on OS 9.1. Is there a chance that this tech-savvy-less, Mac pea brain hairstylist can burn cds and dvds from this beautiful piece of history? Word on the net is that you're the one who'd know. Can I purchase an external/internal cd/dvd burner that'll work for this beautiful dinosaur?

Please tell me what me has to do. My utter respect and adoration. Peace, love, and a lifetime of great hair days to ya. Cheers!

- Patrice



The original Bondi Blue G3 iMac was a revolutionary computer and set Apple back on the proper track. Unfortunately this computer is limited in how expandable it is. The later iMacs with FireWire ports make them much more expandable via external hard drives and external DVD burners. This is not to say that your iMac will not do more, it just means that you are limited to USB 1.1 compatible devices for your upgrades or replacing internal parts.

CD burning will be your limit to optical drive upgrades because an average DVD is larger than your 4 GB hard drive. You could not even store enough data on your drive to burn a DVD. You can easily burn CD-R discs by replacing your internal drive. MCE Tech used to make a replacement G3 iMac CD drive and they may still have them in stock.

Here is the installation guide for that G3 CD drive, not tough but make sure you are OK with the process.

Beyond that the people over at Low End Mac can be a great resource on learning about you beloved "piece of history." Of course any time you have a upgrade question just give us a call, we would love to help.

- Jacob

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