View Full Version : Nubus Video Card to support OS 9.0

02-12-2001, 12:40 AM
I have a 8100 Mac that I want to install my Sonnet G3 card and I want to explore my options without being forced to buy the Sonnet HPV adapter. I would like to know if I have to buy the adapter becasue the G3 card covers all of the 3 nubus slots? Or can I just buy a nubus video card and maybe use the last slot on the motherboard. The only problem is if I can get another nubus video card, how will I know if it supports OS 9? Am I going to end up spending more money than the stupid adapter considering another video card? The only nubus card that I think will work is the Sonnet Sonata Pro which is very expensive and I am clueless if this is a viable option with the G3 card. I guess the first issue to resolve is how many nubus slots are being coverd up by the card and then explore the compatibilty issue of nubus video cards and OS 9. If at all possible I would stick with the Apple HPV that I have and maintain millions of colors, but this would require the Sonnet adapter. But the question remains, if I go third party, is there an inexpensive nubus video option avaiable that works with OS 9? For example I did look at Radius vintage video cards and ran into a dead end of most of them supporting video up to OS 8.1 Please help. Thanks.

02-12-2001, 02:23 PM

Whether the Sonnet G3 card you have is compatible with their Sonata card depends on whether the G3 card is the older model (compatible) or the new Crescendo/NuBus G3 Processor Upgrade Cards with Fortissimo Bus Doubling Technology (not compatible). Sonnet Tech has stated, via email to someone who copied and resent to me, that their new Fortissimo cards are not compatible and they have no plans to make them compatible since they no longer sell the Sonata cards. So, what is the model number of your Sonnet G3 card?

Now other NuBus cards? The MacPicasso 340 is the very same card as the Sonata. Villagetronic sold and rebranded the 340 to Sonnet. The MacPicasso 320 is a lower end card and I corresponded with someone who had one and it displayed serious video artifacts with a G3. The only other one that is any good (and fast) is the NuBus Radius Thunder IV series (caution, Thunder II series is older, slower, and much older OS compatible).

I have several ThIV models but only running thru OS8.6. The Thunder IV GX*1600 will do up to 1600x1200xMillions on a 21" monitor that supports that setting. They work fine thru that point for me, though others have said that one of the inits that allows on-the-fly resolution changes is broken at 8.6. Mine works but YMMV. They can still use the Monitors & Sound control panel to set resolution and colors thru 8.6, as can I. I don't know about OS9 and higher.

In many respects the HPV card and pass-through is a good choice if your HPV card has 4MB of VRAM which will allow up to 1152x870xMillions on a 21" monitor. A lot depends on your monitor size and which HPV card you have. Some are only capable of 2MB VRAM max and typically came with 1MB installed, some 4MB VRAM max, with either 2MB or 4MB installed. Trag, a Guru moderator with extensive NuBus experience, can expand on this and possibly provide more NuBus options. k

02-13-2001, 08:13 AM

Thanks for the response. My Sonnet Crescendo G3 card is model C61-G3-512-250 which is I have a little over a year. I spoke with Sonnet yesterday and they said most video cards work with the G3 card including Radius and Supermac. Recently, they have started remanufacturing the Sonata Pro because of popular demand. I wasn't able to get them to recommend a video card that would be OS 9 compatible, it was like pulling teeth talking to them.

I have never heard of the MacPicasso 320, but the thunder IV was sounded like it was a promising idea until the issue of OS 9 compatibility. I had contacted Radius in regards to their vintage collection of video cards and they too were clueless about anything that would work with OS 9.

Maybe I am stuck with the only alternative--the HPV adapter. I have a Apple HPV that allows up to 2 mb of vram. But then again, I could do some more research just to make sure there is a nubus card out there that will work.

02-13-2001, 12:24 PM
we have not yet seen the Sonata Pro on our Sonnet restricted price lists and product descriptions. We're gradually accumulating a number of issues to discuss with Sonnet, so we'll be talking to them in a few days, I suppose.

my feeling is, the HPV card is faster than any NuBus card (simply as a matter of architecture), so unless you need to use a NuBus card for some reason, it makes little sense to spend additional money on a machine which is already well-along in years.

02-13-2001, 01:02 PM
Your Sonnet G3 is compatible with the Sonata card or MacPicasso 340. Whether they are currently OS9 compatible I don't know. If Sonnet is going to begin selling them again, then I feel certain the card will at least become OS9 compatible.

If the HPV card with 2MB max is enough for you and your monitor (unknown size), then that is an immediate solution and there is no software to install. It just works. The Sonata/MacPicasso solution would have many more possible resolutions and number of colors for large multiscan monitors. Trag and I have tried a barrel full of NuBus video cards. None any good speed wise except the Radius Thunder IV series (SuperMac cards slow and way out of date OS wise) and the Sonata/MacPicasso 340. If you find something, post what it is, and either trag or I can comment on it. I can tell you that recently there were a bunch of MicroConversion NuBus cards on eBay. I have two. They are terrible. Dog slow, serious video artifacts with or without a G3, absolutely no redeeming value. k

02-13-2001, 01:02 PM

I am well aware of the fact that my machine is considered a "relic," but I still like it. I merely was trying to explore options to maintain optimum video quality which will be lost when just placing the G3 card in the pds slot. Since the only options are the HPV adapter or using a nubus video card, I was exploring which was more cost effective. Sonnet is on planet pluto, I called them again and they said the Sonata Pro ($199.95) is still available, but no sure for how long. They suggested that I contact CRA systems for a vintage card compatability. I think you are right about sticking with the Apple HPV, and of course this would mean getting the HPV adapter. Kaye is right the Radius Thunder IV is a great option if I am willing to bump down the OS to 8.5.

02-13-2001, 01:10 PM
I am currently on a NuBus Power 120 with Newer G3 300/200/1MB and Thunder IV with OS8.6 and a 21" multiscan monitor. But I don't know, and would not recommend, OS9 with this video card since I have not tried it. HPV seems like the best bet unless you have a large multiscan monitor and need high resolutions/colors greater then a 2MB HPV card can provide. k

02-13-2001, 03:15 PM

I agree that the Apple HPV is the best option, and of course I would have to purchase the adapter. The Thunder IV is really nice and I would have to change to OS 8.5 to use it. I have a lead for $25 on the Thunder IV which is a bargain of the century. My monitor is a 16 inch (832x624).

Maybe I can find a used adapter and save a couple of bucks, if not, I found a net store that sells the adapter with shipping for $93 dollars. Its just time to bite the bullet and buy the adapter. I really appreciate your help and understanding for the love of the older Mac. Why throw the baby out with the bath water? I am going to keep using my SCSI machine until it wont work anymore. I wanted to also shaer that I have spent a total of $157 to purchase the 8100, replace the motherboard, add an internal zip and put a 32x slot loading Pioneer CDrom. Not bad. So another $93 wont kill me at this point to have the machine exactly the way I like it. This is my hobby although an expensive one at times, but I save money doing everything myself. So, I say jokingly "oh hail, the old nubus machine."

02-13-2001, 04:07 PM

Here is what Sonnet had to say about the Sonata:

They've pretty much been discontinued by Villagetronic who is the actual
manufacturer of the board. We still have some of them in stock.
Villagetronic owed us about 100 boards and they finally delivered. You'd
have to call Sales at (800) 786-6260 and find out how many we have left.

The Sonata cards do not work with our new Fortissimo Nubus cards (part#
CFG3-XXX-XXX) but they will eventually.

Thanks for the suggestion to stick with the Apple HPV, since the options are too limited or otherwise too costly. Have a great day!!!

02-14-2001, 06:04 AM
I would be very surprised if Sonnet dedicates any engineering resources to updating compatibility for the 100 or so remaining boards when they have already announced that they were no longer selling or supporting them. I guess my point is, they have already shown a willingness to walk away from this (and other) product and not look back. I wouldn't expect anything different from them this time, unless the compatibility fix is, indeed, trivial.

02-14-2001, 08:47 AM

You are absolutlely right that Sonnet is not providing any support for the board and neither is Villagetronic since they are the makers of the board. VillageTronic had a distributer on the eastern board who abondened selling as well. Sonnet wants you to buy the HPV adapter and use whatever card you can find that works. They referred me to CRA Systems makers of Vintage Radius and Supermac knowing that boards are not compatible with OS 9 and compatibility is up to OS 8.5 with the Thunder IV 1600 model. I was angry that they didn't provide the information since I had purchased their G3 card , so the tech support wasn't there. But the good thing is that macgurus knew this game all to well. Thanks to you guys I know my options.