Windows, Mac, DOS, and all those-other personal computing platforms
User avatar
CRTGAMER
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 11933
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:59 am
Location: Southern California

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by CRTGAMER Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:17 pm

isiolia wrote:A friend of mine bought me an SE/30 from the thrift store, but it's got the "simasi mac" zebra stripe issue. I think I tried the basic steps, leaving it most likely needing capacitor replacement.

I have a near-maxed out Quicksilver G4 for Classic OS stuff though, if I need it. One of the last machines that can boot OS9 natively (the early MDD G4s can too, and are better hardware, but sooo ugly). I think I also reverted my old Powerbook G4/400 to OS 9.

I actually had a few 030/040 Macs I acquired in college, but I dumped them when I had to move. Never really used them for much.

That is interesting, I always thought the G3 was the last of the iMac series that could dual boot OS9 and OSX. I do this with my iMac G3 CRT, many OS9 games that did not transition to OSX.

Image
Image
CRT vs LCD - Hardware Mods - HDAdvance - Custom Controllers - Game Storage - Wii Gamecube and other Guides:
CRTGAMER Guides in Board Guides Index: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1109425#p1109425

Image
Image
User avatar
isiolia
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:52 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:59 pm

CRTGAMER wrote:That is interesting, I always thought the G3 was the last of the iMac series that could dual boot OS9 and OSX. I do this with my iMac G3 CRT, many OS9 games that did not transition to OSX.


We were talking Power Mac G4s more, I think, though the original iMac G4s do still boot OS9 as well. The 2003 models and later don't, which mostly are the 1Ghz and faster models. There was a baseline 800Mhz model that also didn't, but the original lineup were 700 and 800Mhz machines.

They are, however, a pain to work on. :lol:

To explain my rational for a Power Mac G4, for folks that may not be as familiar with Macs (and because I'm stuck bored at work on a Saturday)...

Macs have had multiple major shifts in architecture and expansion over the years. The original 128k was based on the Motorola 68000, as many other computers and video game hardware has been (including things like the CPS-2, Neo Geo, and Genesis). Apple continued to use that series of processors for a while - the 68020, 68030, and 68040 and variants.

In the mid 90s or so, Macs transitioned to using PowerPC CPUs, and in doing so, to a new architecture. 68k native code on PowerPC machines was handled by an integrated 68k emulator built into the Mac OS. However, over time, more applications and parts of the Mac OS became native to PowerPC. There was also a period where applications would often include both a 68k native executable, and a PowerPC native one.

Over time, however, non-PowerPC support was dropped. The final Mac OS version that supported 68k machines was 8.1, though most pre-030 support was dropped after 7.5.5.
Arguably, then, a PowerPC based Mac provides more comprehensive coverage of Classic OS applications, unless you want/need to run pre-system 7 versions of Mac OS.

PowerPC machines also included a range of processors. Originally the 601, then the 603/603e in lower end machines and the 604/604e in higher end. There were also clones on the market at the time, based on motherboard designs licensed from Apple.
This era of machines can run most any Classic Mac OS applications, however, they (and 68k machines) tend to have ports and expansion more specific to Macintosh, or just less common (like SCSI drives). Technically, OS support for these machines does end at 9.1, which isn't quite the end of the line for Classic either.

When Steve Jobs came back to the company in the late 90s, he ended the clone licensing and consolidated the product lines into a fresh series of hardware based around the G3 (PowerPC 750...also the basis for the CPUs in the Gamecube/Wii/Wii U).
Those original beige G3s could easily fill a niche as a retro machine. They still rely on some Mac specific ports - DB-15 video, ADB (Apple Desktop Bus..technically, same cable as S-Video) input devices, and so on...but use more common SDRAM, have IDE hard drives (albeit with a 128GB size limit), and that kind of thing.

However, subsequently, Apple went all out with the translucent plastic and USB. First with the iMac, but then the iBook and B&W (Blue and White) Power Mac G3. B&Ws retain one ADB port for legacy compatibility, but drop SCSI, swap to VGA for video, USB for peripherals, and so on. Sucked for people with a room of old Mac accessories, but much more compatible with what became standard.
That said, some of them have defective ATA chips, which can result in corrupting data on replacement HDDs (I ran into this back in the day). They're also fugly, with a ginormous "G3" printed on the side.

The first round of Power Mac G4 towers are largely similar to the G3, just with a more conservative dark grey coloring ("Graphite" G4), and a new CPU of course. There is actually a split, however, for the initial 1999 models. Some of them, like the G3, only had PCI expansion (Yikes!), and some had AGP graphics (Sawtooth). Subsequent model years standardized AGP, and tend to be distinguished by other improvements (Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio), with the standard speed/RAM/etc creeping up over time.

These aren't a bad pick for a Classic OS machine. They're largely upgradeable via common parts, and may include (or support) a half decent GPU for 3D accelerated games. At the time, people were able to BIOS flash select cards sold for PC use too.

In mid 2001, the case design was updated to a lighter, cleaner look ("Quicksilver"), along with other incremental hardware bumps.

B&W G3s up through the first revision Quicksilver G4s support Classic Mac OS through 9.2.2 (final version) and OS X 10.4.11.
The second revision Quicksilvers (2002) support OS X to version 10.5.8...or, the final PowerPC compatible version.

The final design for the G4 is the MDD (Mirrored Drive Door), which rolled in a number of internal boosts (like DDR RAM support) with a new look. Most models in the lineup were also dual processor, arguably due to the PowerPC 7400 not getting much faster. As mentioned earlier in the thread, MDDs have the tendency to run hot as a result.
The original models can still boot Classic Mac OS natively, and support OS X through 10.5.8. The second revision (which added Firewire 800), drop support for booting into Classic.

So, tl;dr, a second revision Quicksilver or first revision MDD G4 can support natively booting the last revisions of both Classic Mac OS, and PowerPC compatible OS X. Between the potentially massive range of Mac OS software, ease of hooking up/upgrading, and high performance for the relevant software, I think they're great places to start (or maintain) for Mac.
Downsides are mostly that you have little access to old Mac hardware, and it may take some hunting to find the system enabler/etc for booting Classic unless you have the original system discs.
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 9468
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:35 pm

I had a Power Computing clone desktop called a Power Wave. It was a 604-based machine with SCSI, ADB, and classic Apple video. By the time I left college I had replaced the PCI ATI Rage II both a PCI Voodoo 3 2000 with a flashed BIOS (to make it Mac-compatible), upgraded the RAM, installed a new CPU daughter card with a faster 604, and was playing Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament with friends on the LAN.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
User avatar
isiolia
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:52 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:49 pm

I had (well, still have, it just no longer works) a Power Tower Pro. When the Quake 3 alpha came out - first on Mac, if you remember - I swapped my Voodoo2 card into it for the weekend to play. :lol: Most of the Mac games I have predate 3D accelerators though.
User avatar
noiseredux
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 38026
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:09 pm

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by noiseredux Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:25 pm

speaking of, I have some old Mac CDROM games I got at a yard sale I have no use for if anyone is interested.
Image
User avatar
samsonlonghair
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5034
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Now: Newport News, VA. Formerly: Richmond. Before that: Near the WV/VA border

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:54 am

Good write up on PowerPC and Classic Mac, Isiola.
Image
I had a G5 Powermac for a while. It was a beautiful machine. I had kind of a love/hate relationship with my G5. I had fun upgrading the hardware as much as I could: Maxing out the RAM, adding an extra hard disk drive, installing OSX 10.5 Leopard, and adding wi-fi hardware. Fun times for sure. It was my adobe workhorse for a while. I believe that Creative Suite 2 was the highest version of the software I could run on Leopard.

Trying to do anything on the internet got to be harder and harder over time. After Mozilla stopped developing Camino, Tenfourfox was the last option for web browsing. Finding workable software for PowerPC macs grew to be an increasingly bigger chore all the time. For instance, I had a DVD bundle of every issue of National Geographic that I wanted to install. The software itself was PowerPC compatible, but relied upon AdobeAIR for installation. Guess what? That's right, AdobeAIR wasn't PowerPC compatible anymore, and I couldn't find an old version of AdobeAIR. Pfft... That's just one example.

The lesson I learned is that PowerPCs can be a fun hobby box, but I can't rely on one to be my main workhorse. I eventually sold that G5 PowerMac partly to make it someone else's problem. As for me, I don't run any PowerPCs any longer. I'm all Intel these days. Sometimes I think about picking up a sweet "desk lamp" G4 iMac just to use as a client for VNC.
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 9468
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:04 pm

It's really too bad the PowerPC chip didn't have a larger audience. I think the architecture was fundamentally robust enough to compete with x86/x64 chips. IBM still develops it under the POWER line, but mostly for big iron.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
User avatar
samsonlonghair
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5034
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Now: Newport News, VA. Formerly: Richmond. Before that: Near the WV/VA border

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by samsonlonghair Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:08 pm

marurun wrote:It's really too bad the PowerPC chip didn't have a larger audience. I think the architecture was fundamentally robust enough to compete with x86/x64 chips. IBM still develops it under the POWER line, but mostly for big iron.

The problem seems to lie in heat and power consumption. PowerPC is a bit more literal than you would like when you take a look at the wattage such a machine draws. This excessive electrical draw naturally leads to more heat.

Increased electrical consumption and increased heat are not necessarily deal breakers on industrial grade computers in a climate controlled rackroom with multiple redundant backup electrical lines, but for the average consumer it does become a problem.
User avatar
isiolia
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 5565
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 1:52 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by isiolia Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:59 pm

Depends on the series. The 970 (G5) definitely was power hungry, but the 750s are fairly low power (though, relatively, low performance at this point).

That said, I think the general notion is on track. As good as the PowerPC architecture is, consumer computers just don't tend to be the focus of its development. Far as I recall, Apple was struggling to get CPUs and chipsets suitable for what they wanted, at least matching the pace of the market.

I still have a pile of G5s at work, stacked up with earlier Mac Pros that are no longer supported. It seems like a fairly narrow window of software that they could wind up being great for though.

For the benefit of those that haven't used Macs...

OS X originally did include an emulator (essentially), known as the Classic environment, that would boot OS9 within OSX and let you run older Mac applications. Some retail versions of OS X actually included an OS9 CD for this, and system discs for PowerPC machines tend to include a disk image for OS9 to support it (it's an "optional install", and not usually on the main OS disc).

This continued to be supported on (offhand) all PowerPC machines, even if they could no longer dual boot the two OSes.

Of course, Apple being Apple...

The first Intel based machines were introduced while OS X 10.4 was current (so the retail release doesn't support them, but they included a version of it). Similar to when they swapped from the 68k architecture to PowerPC, support for older machines and applications was phased out.
On an Intel-based Mac, OS X 10.4 included a PowerPC binary translator called Rosetta, which allowed it to seamlessly run PowerPC native OS X apps, much like the older Mac OS was set up to run 68k applications on PowerPC.

For PowerPC machines, as it turned out, 10.4 was the final version of OS X to support the Classic environment (Intel machines didn't support it at all anyway). The next version, 10.5, was the final version to support PowerPC hardware.

In 10.6, Rosetta became an optional install, and it was entirely dropped from 10.7. There are a few Intel based Macs that top out at 10.6.8, and a fair number more that are no longer supported after 10.7. Most any that could run 10.8 have been good through 10.11, but 10.12 is cutting support for a lot of pre-2009 or 2010 models. Such is the way of the Macintosh.


In any case, all that to say that there's a window of even OS X software that is plain incompatible with recent/modern Macs. I don't think it includes many unique games or anything though.
User avatar
marurun
Moderator
 
Posts: 9468
Joined: Sat May 06, 2006 8:51 am
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: The Retro PC Thread

by marurun Mon Sep 05, 2016 5:38 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:The problem seems to lie in heat and power consumption. PowerPC is a bit more literal than you would like when you take a look at the wattage such a machine draws. This excessive electrical draw naturally leads to more heat.

Increased electrical consumption and increased heat are not necessarily deal breakers on industrial grade computers in a climate controlled rackroom with multiple redundant backup electrical lines, but for the average consumer it does become a problem.


True, but had there been a larger consumer market for the chips, they could have been adapted for lower power and heat. IBM employs keen engineers. But the x86/x64 duopoly/tech monopoly won out in the mid-market. Unlike ARM, which has the lower-power market all to itself, Power has only the very upper-end, which is a perpetually declining market. Arguably the mid-power market of consumer PCs is also slowly contracting.
B/S/T thread
My Classic Games Collection
My Steam Profile
The PC Engine Software Bible Forum, with Shoutbox chat - the new Internet home for PC Engine fandom.
Return to Personal Computers

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests