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Mikeyy00

Sawtooth w/Sonnet - unstable OS9/10.5

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Hi all,

 

I abandoned my Cube aspirations and picked up a pristine Sawtooth locally. Factory specs are a G4 400, 256 RAM, 10GB HDD.

 

I ripped most of that out. Tossed in a Sonnet Encore 1ghz, bumped RAM to 1gb, and chucked in an SSD. Also is rocking a Radon 9000 and two Voodoo II's so I can play Glide games (I think Glide is better than Rave personally).

 

OS9 freezes randomly now, 10.5 won't even install. But 10.4 runs like a champ. No freezes, games work, classic works. I've stressed the CPU, GPU, everything is fine. 

 

What gives? Even removing all the upgraded parts, except the CPU gives me the same symptoms. My gut is to blame the CPU.. but why does 10.4 work then? You'd figure a defective CPU would be defective on any OS.. 

 

I've checked that the firmware on the Mac is up to date, I've tried running Sonnets firmware patcher (which doesn't seem to be required - based on the install instructions), the patcher errors out, which is weird I guess? But the install doc makes no mention if it even needing to be run.

 

Any ideas?

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Are you sure that the RAM is not to blame? Try it in OS 9 with one stick of RAM.

The SSD may also be a source of the problems. I have an SSD connected by means of LVD SCSI-SATA adapter on a FWB jackhammer in my IIfx and it works most of the time (much to my surprise), but it is given to suddenly stop working. Hence my suspicions.

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You’ll need Leopard Assist to install 10.5.  I recommend using a separate HDD for OS9.  I tried installing both 10.4 and OS9 in my Sawtooth on one HDD and OS9 froze on me when it booted up for the first time after the installation.

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IIRC OS X 10.5 was the first big leap into transitioning completely to Intel architecture—the last officially supported version of OS X for PPC.

 

I'm not sure how far back the support went for 10.5 though. I never even bothered trying on my iBook G3 or even PowerBook G4.

 

Edit: IMO 10.5 was far too bloated, probably accounting for the support of both Intel and PPC code. And MacFox is right, you need to upgrade to 10.5 from 10.4.x I believe. I recall having to do so on my Mom's old G5 iMac.

I view it as kind of a bastard OS, with 10.6 being X's peak in features and performance. I'd use 10.4.11 if it were my machine. 

Edited by jessenator

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1 minute ago, MacFox said:

You’ll need Leopard Assist to install 10.5.  I recommend using a separate HDD for OS9.  I tried installing both 10.4 and OS9 in my Sawtooth on one HDD and OS9 froze on me when it booted up for the first time after the installation.

Leopard assist only changes the clockspeed reported by open firmware. When it's actually got a 1ghz installed, I don't need to use that for the disc to boot. Good thought though.

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9 minutes ago, ArmorAlley said:

Are you sure that the RAM is not to blame? Try it in OS 9 with one stick of RAM.

The SSD may also be a source of the problems. I have an SSD connected by means of LVD SCSI-SATA adapter on a FWB jackhammer in my IIfx and it works most of the time (much to my surprise), but it is given to suddenly stop working. Hence my suspicions.

I have tried multiple combos of RAM.. I have 7 or 8 DIMMs, and no matter the combo, I get the same odd behavior on OS9.

 

Oh, and Re: the SSD, I did try another IDE disk I had lying around, same issue.

 

Makes me still want to blame the CPU.. but again, why does 10.4 work?

Edited by Mikeyy00

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I agree that it's strange, but I've had a totally different bucket of issues with G4e ZIFs, enough to give up and replace it later with a cheaper, more stable G4 ZIF @ 500 MHz.

 

A bad RAM issue would easily manifest in the virtual memory hungry Mac OS X, Mac OS 9 doesn't really exercise that part of the computer. I think the only version of 9 that Sonnet officially supported with those G4e ZIFs was 9.2.2. My copy did come with a special set of drivers for Mac OS 9 support, which I think were largely for the L2 cache. That was version 2.3.1 of the Crescendo/Encore drivers.

 

The last thread on these upgrades reported other stability issues, so you're not necessarily alone, although it seems nobody has the same set of issues. :tongue:

 

Personally I like 10.2.8 on these old Macs the best. It's something that only Power Macs of this vintage can run, and it's got its own funny quirks. Very different from what we take as "modern" Mac OS X.

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The firmware patch is only needed for the 7447 upgrades. (1.6GHz and faster)

745x CPUs will work without the patch. The machine wouldn’t even chime if it doesn’t know the CPU type.

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4 hours ago, Bolle said:

The firmware patch is only needed for the 7447 upgrades. (1.6GHz and faster)

745x CPUs will work without the patch. The machine wouldn’t even chime if it doesn’t know the CPU type.

I did try the patch anyways, but same behaviour. 

 

Worse case ill I’ll take a stock 450 and change it to be a 500.. that should be plenty for playing 2000 era games. But it’s a shame this damn 1ghz won’t play nice with OS9. 

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Bumping this thread up a bit, but I think it makes sense to keep all this in one place.

 

I wanted to report that I am having similar issues.  I picked up a Sawtooth the other day with a 1.2Ghz Encore ST installed.  It had Leopard on it which seemed totally stable, but I bought this thing for OS 9 (OS X is for the dual MDD!) so I wiped it and installed 9.2.2.  On OS 9 I get freezes like crazy.  Sometimes it won't even finish booting, sometimes it makes it 5 minutes, sometimes 15, but inevitably it just totally locks up (no error, just the pointer, screen, audio etc all freeze).  Certain things seem to make it more likely to freeze, such as trying to start Unreal Tournament, or copying a file over the network via FTP.  I never got it to freeze when the system was left idle-- it would only happen if I was "doing something".

 

Stuff I've tried (not necessarily in this order):

  • Swapped RAM for known good sticks (tried about a dozen individual PC100 sticks with sizes between 128-512MB)
  • Swapped the Radeon 9000 that was installed for a spare I had that I know works fine.  I'd be curious to try an Nvidia card to see if it's a conflict with the ATI drivers, but I just have these two 9000s and a PCI 7000.
  • Swapped hard drives
  • Switched out the IDE hard drive to a SATA drive on a PCI SIL3112 controller
  • Removed extra USB 1.1 card
  • Verified installation of Sonnet extension and firmware update (system is on the correct 4.2.8 firmware with the Sonnet patch)
  • Booting with only the Sonnet extension
  • Booting with no extensions at all
  • Cleared PRAM via Cmd-Opt-P-R
  • Cleared NVRAM in Open Firmware
  • Tested for issues using a bootable TechTool Pro disc -- primarily the RAM, but found no problems on any other tests either

 

Unfortunately I don't have the stock CPU so I have no way of verifying that the Sonnet really is the problem... all I can do is keep swapping other things out in an attempt to find the problem.

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Random thought: Did OS 9 seem stable on either of these machines without the upgrades?

 

I have trouble believing this is strictly speaking a hardware issue, because Mac OS X is, as mentioned, much more demanding on all aspects of a system than OS 9 is.

 

My personal experience with OS 9 on anything "fast" is that it's kind of like a teenager who just had a really big growth spurt, it's got a lot of legs that it has no idea how to use, so it's frequently off balance and experiences random stalls.

 

With high performance upgrades: Mac OS 9 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, still Mac OS 9. To quote Apple's ad for the Power Macintosh 8500, it's still a bad and crashy OS, and now it can be a bad OS and crash a whole lot faster.

 

If OS 9 really is a lot more stable on the stock CPU, I'll admit I don't have any advice other than to see whether or not there is any drivers or enablers that OS 9 needs, or to just use the stock CPU, and get/build a different machine for OS 9. (I see Mr. Ksoft lists already having a different OS X machine and this being the OS9 box.)

 

One thought, what OS 9.2.2 installation media are you using? Are you doing 9.1 + 9.2 upgrade + 9.2.2 upgrade, or a 9.2.1 + 9.2.2 upgrade, or the eMac'03 installation CD (please let me know if you have this disc) or something else, such as one of the unofficial distributions from OS9Lives?

 

I see games mentioned, and for games in particular, at least for Mikey00's use case of GLIDE games on Voodoo graphics cards, it's worth noting that iMacs were typically the target for those games, because they were the most popular machines and the ones most likely to be in homes, so the stock CPU of any particular moment in a Power Mac should be good, at least for games from ~1999 or so. Of course, for much newer games, the RAM and CPU/GPU upgrades will end up seeming relevant. The Radeon 9000 was contemporary in 2002-2003 or so, for example, which was when iMacs and PowerBooks themselves reached a GHz.

 

From way above, regarding 10.5 on these machines: 10.5 checks for a CPU speed of 867MHz or higher, so you can either boot into OF and manually tell it it has any CPU frequency over 867MHz (there was a utility that could do this as well), or you can image an install of 10.5 installed on another machine. (I used SuperDuper back in the day to copy an install of 10.5 from a 1GHz iMac G4 to a 466MHz Digital Audio, which was sort of painful because the dA had its stock disk and only 256 megs of RAM, which by 2009's standards is "not an awful lot.")

 

 

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I actually forgot to report back.  I did find a solution to my stability problems.  I put up a thread on MacOS9Lives and we figured out that removing the Apple CPU Plugins file from System Folder:Extensions:Multiprocessing completely solved the stability problems.  I haven't had any issues since.  It seems odd since the system isn't even multiprocessor, but my theory is that it does some other functions as well (thermal sensing/CPU scaling management?) and, as it's a Sawtooth, expects the G4 7400 instead of the 7455 on the Sonnet.  I haven't noticed any actual loss on functionality or performance, so it seems like a decent fix.  *Shrug*

 

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Nice!

 

As my recollection goes, that particular file is one of the ones the OS9Lives people are more proud of including.

 

Curious: What OS 9 "distribution" (for lack of a better word) were you using? Was it an official one, or?

 

If it was theirs, I suspect/wonder if the [personal opinion] non-optimal way they are packaging their "universal" "installers" is making things harder for people who don't know to go look for that file and get rid of it in certain circumstances.

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I was using that one (MacOS9Lives) but had similar issues with retail discs.  I even tried 9.1 and couldn't even get through an install without freezing.

 

I'll have to check one of my systems installed from a normal disc, but I was pretty sure the CPU Plugins file was always there.

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Interesting. I'll have to look at my iMac G3, PowerBook G4, and iBook G3, to see what they've got. I always use Apple CDs, either retail 9.1, 9.2.1, or the eMac'03 9.2.2. (the iBook, I set up using its original 9.0.4 CD.)

 

It's worth noting, I don't actually have any Macs from this era with non-stock CPUs, except I suppose for my Yikes board with a G3 in it, so the Sonnet CPU upgrade might be the commonality here.

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