Author Topic: OS 9 on Power Mac G4 FW800  (Read 337 times)

Offline MacBob61

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OS 9 on Power Mac G4 FW800
« on: August 30, 2017, 06:31:31 AM »
Hello All,

I recently picked up a nice Power Mac G4 FW800 1.0 GHz, for next to nothing. Using the great info on this forum, I have OS 9 up and running on it. Everything seems to run just fine, with the exception of a couple of niggling problems:

1) I can not adjust the monitor resolution independently of OS X. The Monitors control panel shows one resolution only - and that resolution is whichever one that happened to be used with the last run of OS X. In case it is relevant to the problem - the video card is the stock NVidia GeForce4 MX 64MB.

2) The OS 9 DVD Player (Apple DVD Player 2.7) refuses to run, giving the error:

          Apple DVD Player cannot find software it needs
           Try reinstalling Apple DVD player  (201)

I found & downloaded the Apple installable package of 2.7, so I removed the pertinent files & reinstalled it, but the problem persists. Also, the OS X DVD player runs just fine, so it isn't a hardware problem. I also found and tried an installation of version 1.3. This gave a long error relating to the inability to find the correct hardware. So, no joy there!

Any reasons for/solutions to the above problems?

Thanks,

Bob



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Re: OS 9 on Power Mac G4 FW800 with nVidia GeForce4 MX
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 08:59:02 AM »
  I've done a lot of testing with all the video cards I have, including flashing various ROMs.  I have one of the very same GeForce cards as you do, which came to me in an MDD FW800, and have concluded that the issue is likely the video card's ROM itself that is purposely not properly compliant with OS 9.  Given that those particular MDD machines were never intended to support booting OS 9, this would make sense.

  nVidia appears to handle the device reporting to the system on these, and the previous 2 MX, by enabling the presence of "Port A" or "Port B" in the device tree in Open Firmware.  If a monitor isn't connected then the device is absent as far as the motherboard is concerned.  This is really annoying if you want or need to re-flash a ROM without a monitor connected and using a second card for video because the system can't see the device to flash it!  When I flashed the wrong ROM once I was forced to put it in a PC and use a DOS-based flasher to correct it.  Additionally, I've found that under OS 9 the DVI port will detect a monitor and native resolution properly but will never display video.  I'm using an adapter on the ADC port instead.  I'm also convinced that neither of these cards was ever intended to be used for dual monitors (under OS 9 at least) unless they came stock from the factory as "TwinView" variants.  (Flashing a non-TwinView card with a TwinView ROM won't change that, and can have bad effects on basic function.)

  I hadn't known about the DVD Player issue, but I can hazard a guess that the OEM GeForce4 MX is not being handled/accepted by nVidia's OS 9 drivers and therefore the DVD Acceleration component of the drivers is not engaging and reporting to the system.  I can confirm on my own system that the error you received upon starting DVD Player happens here also.  Perhaps the drivers can be hacked to accept this card's PCI device ID, but I don't know.

  The ROM I have in my 4 MX card is version 2032.  Does anyone know if there is another version available, newer or older, that would address the issue?  This card, and my OEM 2 MX for that matter, have mostly sat on the shelf over the years because of the various annoyances they create on one or the other operating system, in particular negating the usefulness in a dual-boot machine.  I've never been a big fan of ATI, but if memory serves me correctly I've had the least trouble overall with the Radeon 9000 under OS 9, with the Radeon 7000 PCI a close second.  (I just recently picked up a GeForce4 Ti 4600 so it's too early for me to conclusively comment on that one.)

Offline MacBob61

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Re: OS 9 on Power Mac G4 FW800 with nVidia GeForce4 MX
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 10:57:02 AM »
  I've done a lot of testing with all the video cards I have, including flashing various ROMs.  I have one of the very same GeForce cards as you do, which came to me in an MDD FW800, and have concluded that the issue is likely the video card's ROM itself that is purposely not properly compliant with OS 9.  Given that those particular MDD machines were never intended to support booting OS 9, this would make sense...
  The ROM I have in my 4 MX card is version 2032.  Does anyone know if there is another version available, newer or older, that would address the issue?  This card, and my OEM 2 MX for that matter, have mostly sat on the shelf over the years because of the various annoyances they create on one or the other operating system, in particular negating the usefulness in a dual-boot machine.  I've never been a big fan of ATI, but if memory serves me correctly I've had the least trouble overall with the Radeon 9000 under OS 9, with the Radeon 7000 PCI a close second.  (I just recently picked up a GeForce4 Ti 4600 so it's too early for me to conclusively comment on that one.)

From everything that you said above, I infer that you have used a different card (say, a Radeon 9000) in the FW800, and the machine exhibited neither of these problems. Is this correct?

Now to address some specific points:

Quote
nVidia appears to handle the device reporting to the system on these, and the previous 2 MX, by enabling the presence of "Port A" or "Port B" in the device tree in Open Firmware.  If a monitor isn't connected then the device is absent as far as the motherboard is concerned. Additionally, I've found that under OS 9 the DVI port will detect a monitor and native resolution properly but will never display video.  I'm using an adapter on the ADC port instead.

I've experienced none of this - but then again, the only monitors that I own are VGA. I use a DVI-VGA adapter (came with the Mac) and have had no problem displaying video on three different monitors.

Quote
  The ROM I have in my 4 MX card is version 2032.  Does anyone know if there is another version available, newer or older, that would address the issue?

My card is also ROM version 2032. I also ask this question.

Thanks,

Bob



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Re: OS 9 on Power Mac G4 FW800
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 09:41:47 PM »
  As far as digital outputs go, this card only has one digital output driver chip, so apparently can't do dual digital - I'm going to take another look at my 4 MX and test over again with the VGA ports for dual output.  I am considering also re-flashing the stock ROM to ensure its integrity.  (It's possible my card is just plain defective.)  The 4 MX (late model variant with 2032 ROM) locked resolution behavior seems to be a permanent issue in OS 9 though, no matter what port type is used.

  I recently did testing of support for 1920x1200 resolution support under OS 9 for another forum.  All cards I tested were placed in the same MDD FW800.  Here are the results reposted:

https://www.thinkclassic.org/viewtopic.php?pid=13804#p13804
Quote
I had enough time this evening to go ahead and perform testing on all of the OS 9 compatible AGP cards at my disposal.  As per monitor availability mentioned above, dual-monitor testing was performed with one 1920x1200 screen plus one 1920x1080 screen.  ADC ports were adapted to DVI where required.  The host machine was an MDD FW800 with Sonnet MDX dual 1.8GHz CPU booting the 9.2.2 Universal ASR from MacOS9Lives.com.  Here are the results:

nVidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 OEM/128MB BGA VRAM/ADC+DVI (Apple P/N 603-0939/630-3988) - ROM 1105
1920x1200 + 1920x1080 both at 24-bit color - dual digital

ATI Radeon 9000 Pro OEM/64MB TSOP VRAM/ADC+DVI (Apple P/N 603-3352/630-4845) - ROM 131
1920x1200 + 1920x1080 both at 24-bit color - dual digital

nVidia GeForce4 MX OEM/64MB BGA VRAM/ADC+DVI (Apple P/N 603-2539/630-4465) - ROM 2032
1920x1200 at 24-bit color - single digital output only
- Comments - This card is strange because it appears they made the bizarre cost-cutting decision of having two digital connectors but only one DVI transceiver chip!?!  (An older version of this card does actually have both transceivers.)  The card will detect both monitors properly and report them to the system but will only display image on one of them.  Using VGA via adapter on the second port yields a locked 640x480 resolution on the second monitor, but at least it shows picture simultaneously.  I don't know if part of the problem is limited OS 9 support in the ROM due to it having originally been part of an OS X-bundled system, or if the ROM was flashed at some point with a version that wasn't quite correct for this hardware variant.  If anyone knows a different ROM version that works correctly in this specific variant, please let me know.  If you have a source for the ROM file or can extract it, even better.

nVidia GeForce4 MX OEM/32MB TSOP VRAM/ADC+DVI (Apple P/N 603-1263/630-4023) - ROM 1121
1920x1200 + 1920x1080 both at 24-bit color - dual digital
- Comments - This is an older variant than the one above, with the older pin-style RAM and both digital transceiver chips present.  Get this one if you want dual-monitor digital output.

  That's all the stock Apple OEM cards I have that passed the test.  If you don't mind flashing a PCI card to a Mac ROM, or using VGA only, here is another card I have that you could try:

ASUS AGP-V7100(T) based on GeForce2 MX/32MB SD VRAM/VGA - flashed to Mac with modified ROM 1057.019
1920x1200 at 24-bit color - single VGA analog output

  It is highly likely that all of the cards with working dual-monitor support will also support dual 1920x1200 with full color.  If I ever get another monitor with that capability, I will test again and provide an update.  I do own a Quicksilver machine also if you think there's any reason to test the cards there for motherboard compatibility.  I don't remember having any issues with any of these cards in there though.  The card I'm currently using in it (booting OS X) is the GeForce4 MX 32MB I listed above.  It seems to work equally well there and supports Quartz Extreme.  (Even the old non-ADC Rage 128 Pro cards will work in both machines types, although they are very limited in capability.)

  ATI Radeon AGP 7000, 7200, 7500, 8500 and 9200 Mac Edition retail models should also support 1920x1200 24-bit color, given that my OEM Radeon 7000 PCI does, but only have one digital output where present.  The same should hold true for the Apple OEM GeForce2 MX and GeForce3 cards.  Somewhere I have an Apple OEM GeForce 2MX, but I would expect it to work exactly the same at the flashed ASUS one, except for the option for one digital output included.

  The ATI cards did not exhibit the locked resolution behavior.  I will revisit the nVidia cards and give you a proper summary of their resolution behaviors.