Best Mac to Dual Boot OS 9 and OS 10.5

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by paulwgraber, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. paulwgraber macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    I want to get a Mac that can support Classic OS for my classic games and also support OS 10.5 for some of my OS X games. I would like to have classic on one HD and X on the other. What is the fastest mac I can get that is capable of doing this. I currently have a DP G4 1.8 GHZ and it has been a nightmare doing anything classic including OS 10.4. I realize classic is not supported by my mac so I am going to downgrade so to speak. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
  2. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    SOME of the 1ghz emac's would support booting into os 10.5 and os 9. you don't need two hard drives to do this. there were a couple of other machines that would do this also, i just can't remember which ones they were.
  3. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    Apple never sold a G4 with 1.8 GHz processor, so, you have a PM G4 with an upgrade processor installed? Unless your PowerMac is a MDD model with a FW800 port, then your Mac should be able to boot to OS 9 - unless your third-party processor doesn't support it.
    The fastest Mac that supports BOOTING into OS 9, is the MDD PowerMac G4, which is either a single or dual 1.25 GHz processor. Again, the quickest way to tell, if there's just a FW400 port, but not FW800, that Mac can boot into OS 9. If there's a FW800 port, then no OS 9 - only the classic environment, which is also not supported if you are running Leopard.
    Anyway, the fastest Mac for OS 9 booting is a MDD G4, with stock processor (1.25 GHz), and no FW800 port on the logic board, can boot into OS 9, regardless of the presence of OS X 10.5.
    And, as always, both OS 9 and OS X can be installed on the same hard drive - although the MDD gives you lots of options for multiple drives.
    Don't forget, that whichever hard drive has OS 9 installed, requires a hard drive with OS 9 drivers installed to boot into OS 9.
  4. paulwgraber thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2013
    Sorry it is the Dual 1.4 GHZ I have.


    I also have full install versions of OS 9, 9.2, 10.1, 10.4 and 10.5.
    So I would just install OS 9.2 on one HD and 10.5 on the other. I have 3 250G
    HD's to spare.
  5. ifrit05 macrumors regular


    Dec 23, 2013
    Near Detroit, MI. USA
  6. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    As Delta says, the fastest machine that can boot OS 9 is the 1.25 GHz MDD (the one WITHOUT DDR memory.) You can get it in dual CPU, lots of RAM, GeForce 6200 video card.

    Although I really like my first-gen iMac G4, 17". Fast enough for any OS 9 game, nice compact "classic" form factor. Runs Leopard just fine. (Since it's "only" 800 MHz, it does need the OpenFirmware trick or LeopardAssist to install, but Leopard runs just fine once it's installed.)

    You could also do an upgraded Cube. I mean, if you're going to go for "Mac OS 9 chic", you might as well pick something with style. :-D
  7. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Doesn't the MDD have trouble with the GeForce 6200?
  8. Bob Kiwi macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2010
    I had a MDD Dual 1.25GHz, and even had the Sonnet upgrade processor to dual 1.8GHz running Mac OS 9 (that'd be the fast Mac OS 9 native machine, once upgraded). I think I have a GeForce 3 as the best Mac OS 9 graphics card? I'd have to check.

    The machine was extremely unstable, I think my upgrade card was bad. I ended up just using the 1.25GHz processor. Still super fast, but then the PSU went bad, as MDDs are known to do. It was loud, as MDDs are known for too.

    In the end, while I still have the MDD that doesn't work, my go-to dual boot machine Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X 10.5 is a PowerBook Titanium G4 1GHz, the 3,5 model from late 2002.

    I threw an SSD in there, took the battery out and run headless. It's super quiet, super small, and still super fast for Mac OS 9 stuff. I think Mac OS X 10.4 would run better than 10.5 on it, but that's about it. The SSD really helps out.

    I think for the space, I'd rather have a top of the line Mac OS 9 laptop and Mac OS X PPC laptop than one big machine. Getting a last generation PowerBook is next for me, then the Titanium can run Mac OS 9 all the time. Even having a KVM and the like it will still take up less space than a single desktop.

    I have the top of the line G5 to serve as the best Mac OS X PPC machine, running Classic in Mac OS X 10.4 is pretty neat. But I think splitting the roles to two machines is best.
  9. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    bob, that's pretty similar to what i've done. i have a 600mhz g3 imac running os 9 sitting next to a 1.25ghz imac running os x. i have a usb switch so that i can just push a button to share a keyboard and mouse between the two. works for me.
  10. jrsx macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2013
    Tacoma, Washington
    I've heard they have fans that sound like a biplane.:eek:
  11. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
  12. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    The 6200 caused problems with mine. However, as with any part your mileage may vary.
  13. Swampus macrumors 6502


    Jun 20, 2013
    All MDDs use DDR memory. The only difference was PC2100 on the lower end (133MHz boards) and PC 2700 on the higher end (166MHz boards). But the memory type had no bearing on their ability to boot OS9. The ones with FW800 cannot boot OS 9 (but can still run it in Classic Mode). That's pretty much all that you need to know.

    I don't know if we can really expect mileage to vary in a part that is known to be incompatible. Intell is correct. Best to avoid GF6200 in MDD altogether.

    OP, one attractive option might be to look for another MDD? You'd need one without the FW800 port to boot OS9. I'd try to get one with the faster 166MHz bus. Then, nearly everything would be interchangeable between the two (can be really handy when it comes to troubleshooting). Everything except the Airport card and logic board itself would be interchangeable with the other system.

    I should note that I have a really strong bias fondness for these G4 towers. I have an 8 core Mac Pro and an 4 core MBP, but a Sawtooth and two MDDs are still part of my daily computing. Not as a hobby, they're a meaningful part of my workflow. They're solid dependable machines.
  14. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    The fastest Apple-supported card for the "MDD 2003" was the 4600. I upgraded mine to a Radeon 9800 but I wouldn't suggest that in this case because then you'll only get acceleration in OS X.

    I regret selling that machine :(
  15. Dimitris1980 macrumors newbie


    Jun 21, 2008
    Athens Greece
    I have an Imac G3 at 500 Mhz (2001 model indigo) that runs mac os 9.2 really fast. So i believe that every other mac that can boot from mac os 9 and is faster that the imac g3 will be a dream for this os. I have also a pm mdd 2003 the model with the single processor at 1.25ghz. I used it only few days (Mac Os 9.2 was so speedy and also mac os tiger seemed fast to me) but recently i got it from the basement in order to work again with it. I have to wait for my order (one 300 gb hard drive with os 9.2 and tiger installed in one partition and leopard on another, one gforce4 Ti 4600 video card and one airport card) to test the machine. I don't have the experience yet but i think that it would be great to play mac os 9 games on this machine. I would like also to buy a sonnet upgrade but until now i find it very expensive but i can also say that i am worried because Bob Kiwi said that his computer was unstable with the sonnet.
  16. bmehilos macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2007
    I had a similar setup on a Rev. A iMac G4. Hardest part was tracking down the ROMs but it had no problem running both from the same HDD.
  17. kymcbigmouth macrumors newbie


    Jan 23, 2018
    Iowa, USA
    uhhh, what mac are you using and how did you downgrade? i have a mac g4 (lampshade 1.25ghz) and i swear if y'all could find a way to downgrade on that, imma be the happiest dude ever
  18. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    If you have a 1.25 GHz G4 iMac, you can't boot up in OS 9 like older Macs will, but you can certainly have both OS X and OS 9 sharing the same system. The OS 9 system in that configuration is known as "classic".
    If you have Leopard installed, that does not support the Classic (Mac OS 9) environment. You would need to have a partition with Tiger (or older - any iMac G4 will also support booting to OS X 10.3.9), and then add an OS 9 System Folder.
    You would need a Tiger (OS X 10.4.x) installer DVD. You can download a disk image of the Tiger installer (OS X 10.4.5, IIRC) from the Macintosh Garden site, which has all kinds of obsolete Mac software.
    When you look at the OS X download page, scroll to the Mac OS 10.4.6 DVD line, where you can get that image.
    You can ALSO download the OS 9 installer - there's all kinds of OS 9 downloads at that same site.
  19. AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    I'm not sure about your particular iMac, but the folks over at have had a great run with getting various unsupported (OS X only) G4 Macs to boot OS9 natively. Check the Unsupported Hardware section to download a Bootability Test iso. If you register to become a member, you can download their Unsupported OS 9 iso to boot and install a full Mac OS 9.2.2 system.

    I haven't had any luck getting it to work on my Aluminum PowerBooks (1.5Ghz+), but I believe your Flat Panel iMac may be bootable. However, just being able to boot OS9 is one thing, the next step is getting your hardware to work, and as far as I know, none of the integrated Nvidia GPUs (like the GeForce 4 MX or FX 5200) are working properly in the Unsupported OS9.
  20. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Just some clarifiing notes for kymcbigmouth. There are two sorts of PowerPC-Macs (PowerPC Macs = those before they changed to Intel processors). a) PowerPC Macs that are able to boot OS X and OS 9 natively, b) PowerPC Macs that are able to boot OS X, but only can run OS 9 in a sandbox /virtualisation while booted int OS X. The sandbox is provided by OS X (up to version 10.4.11). The sandbox in which OS 9 can run on these machines is called "classic environment" or shortly "OS 9 classic" or "classic". When people refer to a) they usually say just OS 9 or native OS 9.

    As Aphotic already mentions there is an option c) for PowerPC Macs that usually would fall under category b. You can find that on macos9lives-forum as he mentioned.

    Also Macs always have a minimum OS. It is usually the OS they first were released with. You can look up the lowest OS number posible on your machine at
  21. benwild_33 macrumors regular

    Oct 15, 2016
    If you can find a quicksilver/digital audio/gigabit Ethernet/sawtooth with an aftermarket CPU upgrade then that can be a good route to getting a powerful OS9 machine, my dual 1.8GHz definitely runs OS9 as I had to install it to run the sonnet firmware upgrade disk. Only issue is they aren't all that common and you have to find one from someone who doesn't know what they've got otherwise they're expensive.

    In terms of portables the tititanium PowerBooks support it, the best being the 1GHz model and the 17" 1GHz PowerBook can run it with a few tweaks
  22. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    As far as I know OS 9 can't utilize the second core and despite (I think) Photoshop there were no OS 9 applications that did, so a Single 1,8GHz CPU Upgrade or other would do as well (they can be found much more often and often go for 50,-EUR here). Actually a Sonnet 1,8GHz CPU (type 7447) is on par speedwise with a 1,25-1,42GHz Apple CPU (7455), that can be found in the PowerMac G4 MDD - His iMac G4 has a 1,25GHz 7445 Apple CPU, which should be slower, but I don't think that is the problem here anyway:

    If a Mac is capable of booting into OS 9 every CPU speed will do OK (of course there are scenarios, where a faster CPU will be nice, but...)
    If a Mac is not able to boot into OS 9 and has to emulate it via the classic environment you need a fast CPU, but then again you won't be able to do heavy stuff anyway in classic mode. (I never tried Photoshop on a G4 in classic mode, but I assume it will be a pain no matter the CPU speed. But then again Macs can always act surprising :) ).

    I had some strange experiences with Classic.

    - iMac G3 DV 400MHz, 1GB RAM, 10GB HDD with 10.2.8 and OS 9.1.2:
    this Mac is capable of booting into OS 9, so OS 9 was fully usable for me including light Photoshop work with DIN A4 scans and such. I sometimed was too lazy to boot into OS 9, while I was in 10.2 and so I just opened classic and started OS 9 applications there. Apple Works, of course ran fluently. Master of Orion II, a space strategy game went fluently.
    - ibook G4 1,33GHz, 1.5GB RAM, 320GB HDD (faster than the 10GB):
    this Mac doesn't support booting into OS 9. I had 10.4.11 and OS 9.2.2 on it. I used CLassic there and Apple Works worked fine, but Master Of Orion II was very slow, moving the mouse resulted in the cursor jumping and it felt like the cursor was glued to the screen. The same with other Apps.

    I have a PowerMac G4-AGP and several CPU Upgrades a Dual and Single 7447 1,8GHz among them, but I don't remember trying Classic with it. I currently have the 1,2GHz 7455 Upgrade by Sonnet installed, simply because it can be cooled passively (there were two generations, one passive and one actively cooled) so I can't comment further on the speed needed under OS 9 natively or in classic.
  23. Dronecatcher, Jan 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018

    Dronecatcher macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2014
    Lincolnshire, UK
    Apparently there're quite a few apps that take advantage of dual processors under OS9:
  24. AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    IIRC AppleWorks 5(?) was a Carbon app which ran natively in both OSX and OS9 from the same installation. That might account for it performing well in both scenarios. I have seen some quirks like that with Classic. I recall the RPG Fallout games were unplayable in Classic because of mouse problems, but maybe stepping back to Jaguar could have resolved that. From what I understand there were changes in screen buffering of Classic in 10.3+

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