Apple iBook G3 500mHz 12 inch M6497

The iBook G3/500 (Dual USB, Translucent White) replaces the iBook G3 466mHz SE (M6411) and iBook G3 366mHz clamshell M6411, both released some 9 months earlier.

As would be expected, the “Dual USB” model includes two USB ports  and is equipped with a faster processor, faster memory, superior graphics, VGA out, an internal microphone, a higher resolution display, stereo speakers, and the option of more capable optical drives. It also uses a substantially smaller and more conservatively clad “translucent white” case compared to the more outlandishly colored cases of the Clamshell iBooks.


The iBook G3/500 (Dual USB, Translucent White), features a 500 MHz PowerPC 750cx (G3) processor with 64k level 1 cache and a 256k “on chip” level 2 cache running at processot speed.


The iBook incorporates a base 64 MB or 128 MB of RAM, soldered direct to the motherboard. It’s single memory slot accomodates a single 144-pin PC100 SO-DIMM memory module. The maximum memory capacity of this system is 576 MB for the model with 64 MB of onboard memory (M7698LL/A), and 640 MB for the models with 128 MB of onboard memory. The iBook also accomodates a PC133 SODIMM.


The Original Snow iBook incorporates a 10.0 GB Ultra ATA hard drive and a tray-loading CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, or DVD-ROM/CD-RW “Combo” drive. The Hard Drive could be technically upgraded using an off-the-shelf ATA 2.5″ laptop drive.  However, users had to be technically proficient to gain access to the case which, unlike previous models, was clip together (and easily broken).

Video & Graphics:

The iBook G3 500mHz incoporated a 2X AGP ATI Rage Mobility 128 graphics chipset with 8 MB of VRAM and a 12.1″ TFT XGA active matrix display  offering 1024×768 native resolution and a scaled resolution of 640 by 480 or 800 by 600.  The on-board video could not be upgraded. The iBook G3/500 (Dual USB) is capable of mirroring the contents of the internal display on an external display via VGA.
Ports & Connectivity:

The Snow iBook G3 incorporates two USB 1.1 ports and one Firewire “400″ port, 10/100 ethernet port, an internal 56k v.90 modem, an A/V port offering VGA output, stereo sound output, headphone jack, built in microphone and an internal port for the addition of an optional WIFI Airport card (802.11b).


There are at least four configurations of this model, varying by the amount of pre-installed RAM and optical drive. It was offered with 64 MB of RAM and a CD-ROM drive for US$1299 (M7698LL/A), 128 MB of RAM and a DVD-ROM drive for US$1499 (M7692LL/A), 128 MB of RAM and a CD-RW drive for US$1599 (M7699LL/A), and 128 MB of RAM and a DVD-ROM/CD-RW “Combo” drive — only by build-to-order direct from Apple — for US$1799 (M8520LL/A).


Upgrading the ram in the iBook 500 is a snap.  The keyboard lifts out with only a single plastic screw that needs half a turn (top centre of keyboard) and 2 tabs that need to be pulled back (top left and right of keyboard).  Under the keyboard is an aluminium cage, with 4 screws.  The cage is the mounting point for an airport card.  Removing this gives access to the PC100 SoDimm slots.

Unfortunately, upgrading the hard drive requires diassembly of the iBook.  This entails removing the bottom cover as well as the logic board to gain access to the drive itself.

Known Faults:

The iBook Dual USB and it’s subsequent G3 derivatives iBook G3 GPUwere known to have a fault with the on-board graphics chip, which was “surface mounted” to the underside of the motherboard. The fault, which has been described as being due to “continual flexing” of the case when users pick up the laptop by the bottom left hand corner and also as being down to corrosion of the solder (cold joints), resulted in the GPU becomming detached from the board at it’s connections, leaving the user with a blank (grey) screen. As described on Apple’s discussion board, “you can often lifehacker repair ibook 500 GPUfix this yourself by removing the iBook’s bottom housing, and placing a shim of any sort, about 1mm to 1.5mm thick, onto the raised square on the bottom shield. “ Lifehacker also describes a method of mounting a “tealight” on the GPU (Graphics Processor), lighting the tealight and leaving it.  The heat from the tealight will heat the GPU, melting the solder and repairing the failed joints.

 Supported Operating Systems:

The Original Snow iBook shipped with MacOS 9.1 pre-installed. Later systems also had MacOS X 10.0.4 pre-installed, but MacOS 9.1 was selected as the default. This system cannot run versions of MacOS X more recent than 10.4.11.

Speed Tests:

The iBook G3 500mHz (Dual USB) is comparable in speed to the 400mHz iMac G3 and Maginally faster than the Powermac G3 Blue & White 350mHz.  By further comparison, a Powerbook G3 400mHz (Lombard) is some 3% slower.

iBook G3 500mHz speed tests

May 1, 2001 October 16, 2001
500 MHz PowerPC 750cx (G3)
Details: N/A
1 214
Soldered Integrated
Details: N/A
66 MHz 500 MHz (Built-in)
Details: N/A
Open Firmware 1 MB
Details: The Boot ROM is roughly 1 MB, other instructions are loaded into RAM.
64k 256k (on chip)
PC100 SDRAM 10 ns
64, 128 MB 576, 640 MB*
64, 128 MB* 1
Details: *64 MB onboard M7698LL/A, 128 MB onboard other configurations, single SO-DIMM slot.  Refer to this guide to install memory in the iBook G3
Rage Mobility 128 SDRAM
8 MB 8 MB
Details: The video cannot be upgraded.
12.1″ TFT XGA 1024×768
Mirroring Only 1024×768
10.0 GB Ultra ATA
24X CD-ROM* None
56k v.90 10/100Base-T
Details: N/A
802.11b (Optional) N/A
2 (1.1) 1 (400)
AirPort None
Details: This iBook has an internal “AirPort” (802.11b) wireless networking slot with an internal antenna in the case. Installation guide for Airport available here.
Full-size Trackpad
Notebook iBook (12-Inch)
Details: This iBook was offered in a 12-Inch “translucent white” case.
M7698LL/A* iBook – Dual USB
M6497 (EMC N/A) PowerBook4,1
42 W h LiIon 5 Hours
MacOS 9.1 MacOS X 10.4.11
Boot/Classic Mode Emulation Only
Details: This model is capable of booting in MacOS 9 and using MacOS 9 applications within the MacOS X “Classic” environment.
1.35 x 11.2 x 9.1 4.9 lbs (2.2 kg)