Best Overall PowerPC Mac for OS 9

timidpimpin

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
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I have not run OS 9 or any classic OS since about 2004, and have forgotten much of what I knew back then. That was on a PowerMac G4 Yikes which ran 8.6 and 9 very well, but I doubt a Yikes is the best option now.

What I want is a system that's good at all things OS 9. Not just certain things.

At the moment I'm considering buying a Sawtooth with a G4 1GHz upgrade that a friend of a friend has offered to me for a mere $80. It also has maxed RAM to 2 GB, but it only has the stock Rage 128 video card. I have a Radeon 9000 Pro and Geforce 4 MX that I can install in it. Though I think the Rage 128 will be plenty of video card for 9. That's what I had on the Yikes and it ran very well.

All ideas and input are welcome.
 

Raging Dufus

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2018
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Kansas USA
I have not run OS 9 or any classic OS since about 2004, and have forgotten much of what I knew back then. That was on a PowerMac G4 Yikes which ran 8.6 and 9 very well, but I doubt a Yikes is the best option now.

What I want is a system that's good at all things OS 9. Not just certain things.

At the moment I'm considering buying a Sawtooth with a G4 1GHz upgrade that a friend of a friend has offered to me for a mere $80. It also has maxed RAM to 2 GB, but it only has the stock Rage 128 video card. I have a Radeon 9000 Pro and Geforce 4 MX that I can install in it. Though I think the Rage 128 will be plenty of video card for 9. That's what I had on the Yikes and it ran very well.

All ideas and input are welcome.
Depends on what you plan to use it for. For overall OS 9 use, I'd say you could hardly go wrong with a 1 GHz Sawtooth, but I don't think I personally would give $80 for it. If it was a faster G4 upgrade, maybe, but not for a 1 GHz with the stock Rage card.

Any of the higher-end machines that originally supported OS 9 will be fine performers and likely give you little trouble: Titanium PowerBooks and Quicksilver Power Macs (some MDD's too, but beware of the power supplies). Over at Mac OS 9 Lives they've found ways to hack installs of OS 9 onto later and faster unsupported hardware like some aluminum PB's and Mac Minis, but as I understand it they come with some compromises.

I'd say, try to get a better deal on the Sawtooth.
 

timidpimpin

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I know the Radeon 9000 is the most powerful of the three cards I have... but that doesn't mean it's the best card for 9.

Also... 9 only supports up to 1.5GB RAM right?
 

Raging Dufus

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2018
308
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Kansas USA
Any of the choices you listed will be fine under OS 9, including the Rage 128. You'll find some more opinions on the subject here and here.

A lot depends also, on whether you'll be dual-booting with OS X. Cards that support Core Image under OS X do not support 3D acceleration in OS 9 (this doesn't apply to any of the cards you mentioned, however).
 
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Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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I know the Radeon 9000 is the most powerful of the three cards I have... but that doesn't mean it's the best card for 9.

Also... 9 only supports up to 1.5GB RAM right?
Yes, 1.5Gb. Honestly can't comment on best card - I've driven a 1920x1200 Apple Cinema with no problems with a 9000 and GeForce4 - I suspect gaming will be the only leveller.
 
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timidpimpin

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Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
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Any of the choices you listed will be fine under OS 9, including the Rage 128. You'll find some more opinions on the subject here and here.

A lot depends also, on whether you'll be dual-booting with OS X. Cards that support Core Image under OS X do not support 3D acceleration in OS 9 (this doesn't apply to any of the cards you mentioned, however).
I'm not the dual boot type really. I like to dedicate each system to a certain OS. Otherwise I would just install 9 on my Gigabit Ethernet tower which I have Tiger on.

This Sawtooth will be dedicated to 9. I'm excited! I have always heard good things about the Sawtooth's, but have never owned one till now. I'm going to get it this afternoon.
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
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2,215
Australia
I'm not the dual boot type really. I like to dedicate each system to a certain OS. Otherwise I would just install 9 on my Gigabit Ethernet tower which I have Tiger on.

This Sawtooth will be dedicated to 9. I'm excited! I have always heard good things about the Sawtooth's, but have never owned one till now. I'm going to get it this afternoon.
Well done @timidpimpin, the Sawtooth is a fantastic Mac.

There may be some interesting tidbits for you here:
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/my-powermac-g4-lucky-dip-twins.2070101/
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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Kentucky
With the Radeon 9000 and a standard OS 9 install, you need to be sure you install the 9000 drivers with some card OTHER than a 9000 installed. Otherwise, you will find yourself locked out of being able to do anything. I think that the OS 9 Live universal install avoids this issue, but I haven't used it much.
 

swamprock

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Aug 2, 2015
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I know the Radeon 9000 is the most powerful of the three cards I have... but that doesn't mean it's the best card for 9.

Also... 9 only supports up to 1.5GB RAM right?
My Sawtooth has a Radeon 9200 in it, which I've heard is basically just a 9000. Regardless, it works great under OS 9.
 

timidpimpin

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Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
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My Sawtooth has a Radeon 9200 in it, which I've heard is basically just a 9000. Regardless, it works great under OS 9.
The 8500, 9000, and 9200 are all based on the 8500 GPU. The 9000 is an under-clocked 8500 and the 9200 is even more under-clocked. With this one segment of Radeon cards the lower the number the more power you get. Silly ATI.
 

timidpimpin

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Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
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It was a slow day at work today. So I came home early and decided to setup my Sawtooth for OS 9, but there's an issue... it won't boot the OS 9 install CD. I know the optical drive works because I put a Tiger install disk in it to confirm that it did. All I get with the 9 CD is a grey screen with no optical activity. I have tried holding down c and also option, where it saw the 9 CD and I selected it to boot from. Same grey screen with no CD activity.

Please be gentle... it's been at least 14 or 15 years since I have used any classic OS.

Here's the current config...

Sonnet G4 1GHz
1.5GB RAM
6GB Maxtor HD
LG DVDRW
Rage 128 Pro 16MB
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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Reset the PRAM

Do you have a factory CPU? I would try booting/installing with that if possible and install the Sonnet extensions and software(like Metronome) before reinstalling the Sonnet CPU-although I would expect a 1ghz Sonnet to be more or less PnP.
 

timidpimpin

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Original poster
Nov 10, 2018
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Reset the PRAM

Do you have a factory CPU? I would try booting/installing with that if possible and install the Sonnet extensions and software(like Metronome) before reinstalling the Sonnet CPU-although I would expect a 1ghz Sonnet to be more or less PnP.
Already tried the PRAM. I don't have the original Sawtooth CPU, but I do have the original 400MHz daughtercard from my Gigabit Ethernet system. I have the original heatsink also. Should I try that?
 

for this

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2014
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What about the M9145LL/A?

It's the last MDD capable of booting into OS 9. Firewire 400 only, but 1.25Ghz.
I've an OS 9 bootable MDD but I miss my old Sawtooth when running OS 9. The MDD fan noise ruins OS 9 experience since it's not regulated like in OS X, any workaround is just a workaround.
 
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bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
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Kentucky
Already tried the PRAM. I don't have the original Sawtooth CPU, but I do have the original 400MHz daughtercard from my Gigabit Ethernet system. I have the original heatsink also. Should I try that?
It's effectively the same as a 400mhz Sawtooth CPU, so should work fine.
 

RhianB

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2016
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505 USA
Im a fan of my dual 800 quicksilver for OS9 although I’m also way into the idea of a OS9 portable that isn’t a clamshell. I also have OS9 on a MDD and the noise isn’t horrendous. Certainly they all are loud boxes by today’s standards.

Best of luck with your sawtooth.
 

timidpimpin

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Nov 10, 2018
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I ended up settling on OS 8.6. By running 9 again I remembered how unstable it can be at times. I always had good experiences with 8.6 back in the day, so I went online and found an ISO of the original Sawtooth system disk with 8.6.

And the system runs so well on the extra G4 CPU I had that I don't even need to use the 1GHz G4 it came with. I can save it for an OS X project where it will be much better served. I had forgotten that my Gigabit Ethernet system came with a Sawtooth 450MHz daughtercard in it. I had remembered it as a 400MHz for some reason. When I bought the 1.3GHz G4 upgrade for the GE I just threw the 450MHz in a parts box and forgot about it.

The system is super snappy and responsive, which makes this very well cared for Sawtooth seem like a brand new computer. Gotta love some late 90s nostalgia! Really enjoying using it.

My screaming fast OS 8.6 machine specs...

G4 450MHz
1.5GB RAM
40GB 7200RPM HD
Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB

Thanks for all the guidance, everyone!