Mac OSX support from Sonnet

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Sonnet to support OSX on G3/G4 upgrades and maybe even the L2 G3???

10/6/2000: Sonnet sent out a press release last week about concerns people have with their just bought G3/G4 upgrade and compatibility with OSX. And they have every right to be concerned since these people just put down a lot of cash for an upgrade that may not have a full life expectancy they once thought! Sonnet does mention they will support their CPU upgrades in every Mac that Apple says OSX is compatible with, and here's the interesting part, that they will also try to get the L2 G3 systems to run OSX! Now I know this sounds hopeful but I don't want to get every ones hopes up as Sonnet would seem to be doing. I believe it will take a lot of hard work for them to make this happen since the 6400/6500's don't seem to even like the System Disk utility which customizes the PRAM to allow the Mac to boot into OSX. Without this OSX will never run :( I will continue with my efforts to get it working and maybe with lot of luck we'll be running OSX by next year :) Below is a letter a MacWeek reader received when questioning Sonnet on this very topic.

I seriously doubt we will be able to make OS X work on L2/PCI upgraded machines. Our programming team is real pessimistic about their chances for success. This doesn't mean we're not going to try.

Also, one big inhibiting factor is the amount of RAM that you can get in your machine isn't much more than the minimum amount of RAM needed for OS X. This would make for a fairly useless machine if all you can run is the OS and not any applications.
-- Neal Sonnet Customer Service]

As a side note, don't think just because OSX is right around the corner that OS9 is dead. OS9 has many years left in it as developers can produce apps in Carbon form to run on both OS's. Not only is this easier in the short term for them, it also allows all of Apples customers to run their software. Even for those of you still running some form of OS 8 or 7, obviously you never found a need to upgrade in the past, so why now?

2/10/2001 Sonnet working hard to get OSX to run on older non-OSX compatible Macs!: Here is a link to a MacWorld UK article on Sonnet trying to make their G3 upgrades Mac OSX compatible. As I have stated before, I would not expect OSX to work on our systems due to the way the G3 is being accessed and the other differences in the mother boards from Apples business systems (7500-9600). But the article does mention that they are working on compatibility for the Performa 5400 which is the same as the 6400 practically, so maybe it might happen? If they do get it working I would think it will only be worth it if you have maxed out your ram and have a decent speed L2 G3 upgrade. At least a 300Mhz or faster? Even on my PB 233 G3, OSX is sluggish :(

2/24/2001 OSX and Sonnets L2 G3 upgrades: Walter informed me that Sonnet has a big OSX picture on their L2 G3 product page. It mentions that they are working on making OSX run on L2 G3 upgraded Macs like the 6400! Thanks Walter. This is some good news. In the past they had commented that PDS and L2 G3 upgraded Macs would most likely not run OSX but now they have a big ad saying they are working on it. Oh the possibilities! I sent them the info from the Accelerate link above to help them out :)

3/23/2001 Sonnet has big plans for us!: Here is a news flash I just received tonight. Sounds very encouraging!

[News Flash!


As the Macintosh industry is well aware, Apple will release OS X this Saturday, March 24, 2001. Sonnet remains committed to providing broad support for this final release, and wants you to have the latest information on our plans for this exciting new arrival. While Apple has officially dropped support for pre-G3 systems, Sonnet is preparing to deliver the future to many of these loyal users.

In the coming weeks, Sonnet will provide an OS X upgrade path for users of popular PCI platforms like the Power Mac 7500, 8600 and the 9600. We also have plans to expand this reach to other PowerMac and Performa users. Only Sonnet has made this commitment and invested the engineering resources to make it possible.

For Sonnet's latest OS X compatibility statement, and a Mac OS compatibility matrix, please visit:]

Notice the Performa users note :) I'm getting giddy!

Sonnet L2 G3 and OSX: Here is some more info found by Josh. Sonnet has updated their web site with some nice sounding info :) They actually admit it may be possible to make OSX work on L2 G3 upgraded systems! Thanks Josh.

[Sonnet has updated their site (march 15) with the following
Crescendo/L2, Crescendo/7200, Crescendo/PB, and Crescendo/NuBus. It is likely that Sonnet will be able to support Mac OS X with the Crescendo/L2 and Crescendo/7200. It is unlikely that Sonnet will be able to support Mac OS X with the Crescendo/PB and Crescendo/NuBus. The Mac OS X Public Beta is not currently compatible with any of these products. While every effort is being made to resolve Mac OS X compatibility, no specific assumptions should be made regarding future Mac OS X compatibility with these platforms. Sonnet will release drivers to fully support Mac OS X on these systems as the drivers become available.
looks like we may get os x in our sonnet l2 g3 upgrades!

More info on Sonnet and OSX support: Tim sent me a letter he received from Sonnet on a request for info on OSX support for L2 G3 upgrades. Thanks Tim.

We're working on that compatibility. I imagine on the day OS X is actually released, we'll update our website with a proposed timeline as to when and what products will support OS X.

Personally, I wouldn't hold your breath waiting because the L2 upgrades will be the toughest to provide compatibility for but we'll certainly try our best. This is just my opinion and doesn't reflect that of Sonnet.
Sonnet Customer Service]

4/7/2001 More Sonnet info on OSX: A reader of mine was sent the following letter from Sonnet Tech support. It states the current state of Sonnet on getting OSX to work on the L2 G3. Which is there haven't started yet :( I hope this isn't true!

[ OS X won't work with or without our card. Your machine isn't supported by Apple so the installer won't recognize your machine and it won't install. We plan to provide support but I know we haven't started on it yet for the G3/L2 family of products. It's going to be a tough piece of software to write and we're working on the easier support first to get that out of the way.

Sonnet Customer Service]

4/21/2001 Sonnet OSX info and death of 500Mhz L2 G3?: I received this letter from a reader of mine who heard from Sonnet that they have not gotten anywhere with OSX on the 6400/6500 and that they have discontinued the 500Mhz L2 G3 upgrade!

[Tom, I spoke to a Sonnet customer service rep and they reported to me the same info that on the L2/G3 upgrade to OSX will not take place. The system is not designed to take it. Also they have discontinued the L2/G3 500 Mhz cards. The rep told me they would continue to make the 400 Mhz cards both the 512 cache and the 1 meg 400 Mhz.]

I don't know about the OSX info but I have seen that the 500Mz card has been removed from several Mac catalogs already. I think it was discontinued because the market for the 500Mhz version was too small. Only the 5500/6500 can use it where all the 6400/6500 and like Macs can use the 400Mhz version. So if you are a 6500 owner and want one of the fastest 6500's around, I suggest you find a 500Mhz card before they are all gone!

8/4/2001 OSX on a 6400; update: I received this info from Cyril who found some interesting info on the cube-zones web site. If you follow the link below and scroll down to the Sonnet paragraph, the last thing they note is Sonnet telling them that a L2 G3 upgrade for OSX is very near and could be ready by the end of the year! I will see it when I believe it but this is good news if its true! Thanks Cyril.

[I don't know if this is news for you.... but OSX may work on the 6400 with a sonnet card.... that is what I was told at MWNY..... check]

2/9/2002 Sonnet discontinued work on OSX support for L2 G3 upgraded Macs!: Here is a link to Sonnets news that states they will no longer try to get OSX supported on L2 G3 upgraded Macs due to many issues with the mother boards and OSX itself. This is sad news but it what I have been saying to some of my visitors all along. In my experience on a B&W G3 400Mhz and an iBook DUAL USB 500Mhz system, OSX is pretty sluggish and requires lots of memory. The 6400 or 6500 really can't handle OSX even if it was to work. I think any Mac under a G4 with less then 256M of ram would be doing OSX an injustice. I will still post any info I find on getting OSX working on our Macs but in the event it does, I would not hold your breath for any kind of usability.

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This page last updated 2/22/2002