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Just Updated 8/18/2002

OSX on the 6500, a reality!: I know all of you have been waiting patiently to hear this and today I am announcing that OSX does work on the 6500! Last week I posted a letter from Dan who had an idea on how to get around the SCSI issue with OSX. His idea was to copy the contents of the OSX install CD to the HD and run the installer from this copy. Well Samy tried this and says it worked for him! Thanks Samy. Here is what he sent me.

[Dear friend;

I managed to install Mac OS X.1 in my powerpc 6500/250 MHz (128 mb RAM, with Sonnet crescendo G3/L2 300 MHz / 512 KB backside cache upgrade card, 15 GB maxtor ultra ATA / 100 drive ) so I wanna relate my experience :

Since SCSI CD-ROM is not until now supported, I made then a 700 mb partition on my hard drive, I used Apple Software Restore ver 2.1.2 to copy the entire OS X install CD to that partition and then used XPostFacto 2.2b9 to boot from that. Naturally I started from system 9.2 ( a bare bone one marked usable by the 9.2 patch in order to run it in oldworld machines).

First I didn't boot successfully, all I had is a sad blank screen, so I changed the setting by deselecting auto-boot? Setting input device at keyboard and output device at my on board ATI video card. I get a firmware prompt, I type boot command then return, I get finally the Mac OS X. Installer start running in Mac OS X...After the first auto reboot I unfortunately had a kernel panic, so I returned to OS 9.2 and I booted once again from xpostfacto with same procedure than before but using now restart rather than install, I finally get the finder it's an unforgettable great moment for me.

Despite the beta version of xpostfacto, it seems for me all is ok (scsi CD-ROM bug is not vital) except the fact that my crescendo G3/L2 300mhz upgrade card is not recognized by the system it's clear there's no driver installed in Mac OS X. I tried desperately L2Cacheconfig 3.2 from "Other World computing"; Cache ControlX1.2 released by PowerLogix; Sonnet X tune-up...but neither the one nor the others seem to work, OS X remain extremely slow with the original on motherboard soldered powerpc processor 603ev 250 mhz.

I think sonnettech stopped the investigation to build an OS X driver for his G3/L2 upgrade card. So I don't know if there is a third party driver to overcome that limitation, maybe a trick, patch or something like that. Anyway I wish it will be included in next release of xpostfacto. Guy, thanks you in advance for your site, it's really a great reference for 6xxx owners. Bye]

I asked for more info and here is his reply.

At first a 9.2 system is not necessary to boot from. You can install OS X using xpostfacto from Mac OS 9.0 or above (9.1 or better is needed if you want to use classic environment but it's not a good idea I think, Those old machines don't have enough capacity to permit more than 128 mb of max RAM or so but as you know classic require 256 mb memory at least to be fluid). Don't try with Mac OS 8.x or less, xpostfacto in his process copy long filenames to the destination drive. This is not allowed by early systems.

As I said, you have to make a 700 mb (or more) partition on the hard drive before installing OS X. After that, copy the install OS X. CD to that partition by using Apple Software Restore (ASR). Here to prevent any bug to happen, I think (and I'm not really sure) you should use ASR ver 2.1.1 or later. I take this information from an early document published by Ryan Rempel describing in it the original procedure for installing Mac OS X. On unsupported machines. "Automate ASR 1.0" includes "ASR 2.1.2", yon can download it at

Regarding the use of xpostfacto 2.2b9, I think, if you keep the default setting the machine doesn't boot successfully and you get only at start a blank (black) screen. This is a bug which I rectified by changing the initial setting of xpostfacto. So, use the "open firmware" menu of xpostfacto and deselect "auto-boot?" item (in xpostfacto window, "auto-boot?" change his state from true to false), then select "keyboard" in "input-device" item of the same menu ( This, permit you later, to enter command at the open firmware by using the keyboard ), finally select "video card" (mine is ATY_64...) in "output-device" item of the menu ( This, permit to show you later, the different stages of the OS X install process on your screen by the mean of the video card). Also selecting "verbose mode" in "advanced" menu is a good idea especially in case of bugs.

Now select the OS X install CD partition just restored by ASR to start up from, select the target volume that you want to install OS X. To and click the "install" button. After copying some "oldworld" kernel extension in the target volume the application boot the machine. At that moment, you get a firmware prompt instead of the previous sad blank screen. You will find two instruction written there, one of them tell you to type "boot" and press "return" if you wanna install OS X., and the other invite you to write "bye" and press "return" if you want to quit so that you reboot into your old 9.x system from where you have started. Naturally, you choose to type "boot" then press "return" and so the install process start...All will be ok until the first reboot, here I get a terrific kernel panic (I've got one, you might no, I think it depend on the particular configuration of the computer used) all you can do at that instant is to reboot the computer by pressing "ctrl-cmd-start"; you get then firmware prompt, type "bye" then press "return", this action lead you to OS 9.x, then open xpostfacto, verify if the setting I discussed above are not changed, and press "restart" button Again, in the presence of firmware prompt do "boot"...Installation proceed, and finally the finder appears.

As you know, my 300 MHz G3/L2 processor upgrade card is not recognized by the system, and I think it's not true what is indicated by the "profiler system" application (it's the equivalent of "Apple System Information" in Mac OS X.), It shows a powerPC G3 processor working at a law level frequency of 250 MHz that is strangely the same clock frequency of my original on board 603ev / 250 MHz processor. More sophisticated utilities like "PowerLogix Profiler X" ...contradict that statement. Unfortunately, all but sonnet cards on the market are PCI based cards which are supported natively by xpostfacto and this is the first time where we are in presence of L2 slot upgrade cards. This can result in lack of motivation to write "from scratch" newer G3/L2 drivers...Let the future invalidate that. I finish with an optimistic note, from my experience I can affirm that : a 6500 with a working upgrade card and a rapid hard drive worth the first bluebondy imac (with an extra floppydrive as bonus, incredible but open source drivers already exist for OS x).Last thing and not least, I'm not responsible of any damage...
Oh!, I forget to mention an important advice. One should install Mac OS X onto a partition that is entirely within the first 8 GB of his hard drive. This as Ryan Rempel said, is related to a limitation of the boot process on OldWorld machines.]

After reading this and past reports I have read about using OSX on older Macs and my own experience with OSX on newer Macs, I do not think it will be worth the time installing OSX on your 6400/6500? This is just my opinion and I certainly welcome any info from people trying to install it. Its just that with the CPU limitations and RAM limitations, I do not think OSX on a 6400/6500 will ever run fast enough to make people happy.

Here are some recommendations that might make it run faster:

6500/300 mother board installed. 1M L2 cache installed since there may not ever be L2 G3 CPU support? New 7200RPM HD. You may have to use the stock IDE bus since PCI IDE cards appear as SCSI devices in OS 9. They do appear as IDE devices in OSX though but I have no idea how this will affect the installer? Install an ATI Rage128 or better video card. These are the only PCI video cards supported in OSX. This part may pose a big problem since many if not all 6500 owners report not being able to get the Rage128/Radeon card to work in their Macs. Well since the L2 G3 is not supported in OSX and the Rage128/Radeon cards in general work without the L2 G3, I think this combo should work in OSX. Oh one last thing, max your RAM!

If you do the above you should get the best performance capable out of OSX on your 6400/6500. Please email me your experience with OSX if you try this. Thanks.

ATI Radeon cards installed in a 6500. Do they work?: I have been reading a lot of negative reports on my forums from 6500 owners that have tried to get an ATI Radeon card to work in their Mac. I only have one report from a 6500 owner who said it worked and I am unable to contact this person again? If anyone has tried a Radeon card (Mac edition or 7000) in their 6500 and it works, please email me your experience. Thanks. Basically I am looking for experience with 3D games. This seems to be the big problem. 2D works fine but if you play a 3D game, the 6500 will lockup in about 30 seconds!

ATI Radeon 7000 installed in a 6400 works great!: The 6500 has built in ATI chips which seem to cause a problem for 6500 owners of L2 G3 cards and an ATI Radeon card. The 6400 does not have built in ATI chips so it does not have issue with ATI's highend video cards and a L2 G3. Bob wrote with his experience with a 6400 and ATI Radeon 7000 card. Thanks Bob.

[Good day Tom,
I've seen Your website update today (8/5/2002) and here is my reply on Your questions about the ATI RADEON 7000 : I tried every combination I could think of , on both , the MAC port and the RADEON ports , with MAC and PC monitors(14 - 15 - and 17 inch).Everything was working good and still is.No troubles at all.
I did some experiments with extensions , e.g. QuickTime N1-5.0.2 (changed from the Dutch to the English version) , Apple's CD/DVD-driver N1-1.4.3 disabled and Apple CD-ROM N1-5.4 enabled.I also changed the places of the cards in the PCI Slots a couple of times (RADEON 7000 and F.W/USB combo).
Maybe a combination of all this , but at once there was no stuttering anymore.Before that , my solution on stuttering was keeping a CD in the player all the time.
That didn't hurt , but I like the situation more like it is now.(No CD in the player anymore).
As this may be of some help to the people on the forum , here is my configuration of the moment :

"Apple" Performa PPC 6400/200 - 136Mb RAM
"Apple" AppleVision 1710AV monitor
"Apple" SCSI CD-Rom (12X) intern
"Apple" build in SuperDrive 1.4Mb diskette-unit.
"ATI" RADEON 7000 32Mb Mac Edition video card.
"IBM" build in 4.3 Gig HD (ATA-IDE) with OS 9.1
"Quantum" Fireball ST 4.3 Gig SCSI HD with OS 9.1 in the upper-bay
"Sonnet" Crescendo/L2 G3 processor upgrade (BG3-400-1M)
"Sonnet" Tango PCI combo card (USB/FW)
"Farallon" Fast EtherTX-10/100 (YPN998L-TX) CommSlot II ethernet card
"D-Link" selfpowered Cable / DSL Internet Gateway + 4 Port Switch with integrated Firewall (DI-804)
"tekComm" selfpowered 6 Port USB Hub (FH-600)
"Lacie" selfpowered Studio 40 Gig FW HD (extern)
"Epson" selfpowered USB printer (Stylus Photo 875 DC)
"HP" selfpowered 4p ScanJet Flatbedscanner
"Yamaha" selfpowered 8424s CDRW (SCSI) extern
"Philips" ToUcam Pro (PCVC 740K) WebCam
"Motorola" selfpowered Cable modem (CyberSURFR Wave) extern
"Wacom" Digitizer II Tablet (ADB) with Erasing DuoSwitch (UP-801E) pen
"Logitech" Cordless Wheel Mouse Optical (USB)
"APC" Back-UPS 500
"Iomega" Zip-100 Plus drive (SCSI) extern

Extra build on Cooling Fan in the bottom of the machine (It's never in use.No need for it.) Temperature is always between 30-35 C°.

I don't know if you noticed but Bob says this Radeon 7000 card cured his audio stuttering issues! Other Radeon Mac edition and Radeon 7000 card owners have mentioned this in the past. It seems ATI has finally fixed this bug with our Macs and L2 G3 cards installed. Now if we could only get them working on the 6500 :(

OpenTransport extension 2.7.9 from OS 9.2.2 installed in OS 9.1: I had left a post on my forums asking if anyone was interested in trying OT extensions from OS 9.2.2 in an older OS since these extensions greatly increased online speed for me when I installed OS 9.2.2 on my other Macs. Maurice requested to try them on his 6500 running OS 9.1 and he says they work great! Thanks Maurice.

[Hi, the OT extensions worked perfectly, and so the other ones such as the tcp/ip appleshare and appletalk. I realized the online performance has really increased, there was no incompatibility, I will keep using them from now on and let's see if other people try this too to see if with their configuration they will also note a performance boost.

PS: If you have another idea for a test please inform me and I'll be glad to
do it!

If anyone else would like to try, you can download them from here. Please do not trash your old extension in case these cause problems for you! I also include the AppleTalk and TCP/IP control panels because generally they are all tied together so you would need these with the newer OT extensions. Also AppleShare extension is included to go with the newer Apple Talk control panel. Please email me your experiences with these. Thanks.

Sonnets L2 G3's can tolerate a lot of heat!: I hope none of you have to experience this but if for some reason your computer gets extremely hot, It seems the Sonnet G3 can take it. Here is a story from Elijah who had a bad power supply fan experience and the G3 survived! Thanks Elijah.

[Hi Tom

The other night I left my 400mhz, L2 G3 6400 Mac which has Avid Cinema and USB cards, geo modem, 2 hard disks and the stock Apple CD drive on all night downloading. When I woke up in the morning, I couldn't hear anything. I thought "Damn! Must of had a power cut". When I went over to switch it back on, the green light was already on. I turned on the screen and it was running fine. Everything working. I got dressed and thought "Hang on a minute my fan must be broken!". I checked the processor temperature and it was 89&Mac251;C! Yes 89&Mac251;C! Approx 170&Mac251;F!! Very hot! I shut it down immediately and took it apart. I felt the power supply and I nearly burnt myself on it. I took it out and put it in the freezer for 10 minutes. When I got it out it was still a bit warm but touchable. I took it apart and the fan wire had somehow broken. I fixed it and put it back together. I started it up and played Unreal and the temperature was 51&Mac251;C. The normal operating temperature is about 45&Mac251;C.

I guess that the Sonnet card is extremely heat-tolerant! I wouldn't want it to happen again though. There seemed to be no difference in the speed of the computer. Be warned about your fan wires...

I hope this satisfies the concerns some have had with temp issues and G3 cards installed. It appears they can take it :)

Fix for sound input switching to none in OS 9 when you want to listen to an Audio CD or your TV tuner: Mad Mac sent me some info on how to fix this problem. Thanks Mad Mac.

[I found a way to stop OS 9 from switching the sound input from CD-TV-VIDEO to none.
Step 1: Goto the extensions manager.
Step 2: Find sound manager.
Step 3: Uncheck sound manager.
Step 4: Reboot.

It will never switch to none after quitting the video player again! :-)]

Some of you may be asking "what else is affected by removing this extension?". Truthfully, I do not know? I do know that the extension is just a newer version then what is bundled in the System File itself. Every now and then Apple would include the Sound Manager extension into the System file but every time they updated QuickTime, a new, updated Sound Manager extension would be installed. So you still have a sound manager which is built into the System File but I don't know how old that one is or if its incompatible with newer versions of QT? If anyone tries this fix, please email me your experiences. Thanks.

I wonder if this would fix audio stuttering issues as well?

L2 G3 Info

Spec Comparison Page
L2 G3 reported temps

user letters
install review
Vimage drivers, latest

Sonnet Tech
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install review
hack for stability
Sonnet clocking
Mac OSX support
Crescendo 1.4.2-1.4.5

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CD containing The 6400 Zone plus past history for sale 9/3/1999

I was wondering if anyone would be interested in purchasing a CD with my entire up-to-date site as well as my 6400 Take Apart Manual? Plus, many of the past Just Updates included! I think this would be a great idea for anyone who hasn't been able to keep up or never saw my site until recently. Also for those of you with Sherlock, the CD is even better cause you can tell Sherlock to index the CD and then you can do a search on any topic, and if I ever talked about it, you'll find it! I have info as far back as mid 1997. I'm asking $10 US which includes shipping, and I will even include a few surprises! To make this offer even juicier I can add some download that you've been trying to get but just couldn't for some reason. Lets put my cable modem to work :) I will accept money orders and personal checks but I won't mail out the CD till it clears., books and more 7/2/98

I found a great way to earn some money while getting great deals to you on Macintosh books and software plus they have all kinds of other books, music, and more. Please click on the link on the top of this page whenever you feel like purchasing something to help sponsor this site. If you're unsure of what you want and wish to get a list of Mac related items, just type Macintosh in the search field on their home page and you will be presented with many choices to select.

The 6400 Zone is created to help you gain access to useful software updates and great shareware programs that add functionality to your system. It is also a one stop road map to other informative sites for answering your questions. Most of the info here is geared towards the 6400, but it is useful for all PCI Performa models and even the 6500 and all-in-one Macs based on the same. It's even useful to other Mac systems. I will be referring to my 6400/200 clocked to 220Mhz as just 6400/220, OK.

I will keep it updated as often as I can but I don't have much free time to work on it, so I suggest you check back at least once every a week. That should be sufficient. If you don't see something you would like to see here or have your own software / web site that would benefit the Mac community, please write to me at and I will check it out.

I use a Performa 6400/Vimage G3/320 OS 9.1, B&W G4/500 OS 9.2.1 with ASIP 6.3.3, B&W G4/500 OSX server 10.1.4, iBook Dual USB OS 9.2.2 / OSX 10.1.5, PM 6100 G3/240 OS 9.1, Dual G4 800 OS 9.2.2/OSX 10.1.5, and a PowerBook DUO 270c OS 7.5.5. If I encounter any problems, I will post them for all to read and respond to. Likewise, if you are having any problems and would like help just email me and if I can answer it I will, or I will post it here for others to read and respond to.

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