View Full Version : Beige G3 won't run OSX?

03-28-2003, 08:57 AM
My beige G3 is having wierd problems with OSX. It's a Gossamer motherboard with revision 3 ROM, originally with a 266 processor and now with a NewrTech 466 upgrade. It ran (and still runs) OS9 perfectly. Still has original 4GB HD, 320MB RAM and 6MB VRAM. Before upgrading the HD and getting an ATA card, I decided to see if it would run OSX. I partitioned the HD, loaded OS9 and then OSX. It ran fine so long as I left the machine on or did a warm reboot. From a cold reboot, it had problems booting into OSX. At first if I retried several times, it would load, but then after a while it wouldn't at all. Screen freezes, wheeling pizza of death, etc. The problems were bizzare and got worse. I reformatted the drive and reloaded both OSs several times. Finally I brought it to a tech. We eliminated the processor as a problem by reinstalling the original 266 and getting the same results. That also seemed to eliminate a software problem with the cache enabler; I had been using Sonnet's Tune-Up. The tech told me that OSX was spitting out error codes that Apple didn't recognize. He finally found a bad memory chip, but even replacing that didn't solve the problem. Now he's convinced there is a problem with the logic board, probably in his estimation a bad memory bus. My concern is that at first I could in fact install OSX and run it, and run applications under it, with no problem, and that the problem has gotten increasingly worse. The tech even tried removing the HD from the machine and trying to get it to read the OSX CD, and it froze before it got to the point of looking for a HD, so it appears the HD isn't a problem either. I'm taking the machine back today. I'd like to get it to run OSX, but if not it will run OS9. Bizzare problem. Has anyone seen anything similar to this? Any suggestions?

[This message has been edited by anhdru (edited 28 March 2003).]

03-28-2003, 11:52 AM
Make sure that you do in fact have ram designed to work in beige. That has been hashed out in the forums numerous times.

320MB should be enough to install but is still on the low side.

Zap the pram and make sure the battery is fine. Sonnet Tune-Up 1.2.6 should work, so too you should make sure to have Apple Startup Disk 9.2.5 to begin with. And that the partition was in fact less than 8GB, not just 8GB (7.5GB perhaps).

Did you use Drive Setup? And if so, v. 2.07? or Disk Utility to partition the drive? Are you talking about 10.2 or something else? Also, that the PCI ATA card is current, again, no mentenion of what card you used. Any of those and other items can help solve your dilemmas.

A Safe Boot (shift key down) helps.

Hard to diagnose "bizzare and worse" but I'm sure it was frustrating. However, it is not necessary to have a Rev C - I still use the Rev A ROM, and OS X builds its own virtual ROM revision under Jag anyway.

I do have 9.2.2 and OS X both on the OS X volume, as well as a volume for just OS X. I also find SCSI drive (on ATTO controller) to be much better than ATA but thousands of people on Apple Discussions - and there is a whole section (or was) devoted just to Beige G3, very very active area. Oddly, it wasn't always easy or apparent what and why some had trouble or not. Starting from a near "stock" system helps some.

RAM can be iffy, so I would configure Console pref to alert you of any crashes and see if there are kernel panics or crashes occurring. There shouldn't be any. What did the tech mean by "spitting out error codes" as that sounds like pseudo-geek to impress rather than to inform - maybe.

It might be just voltage or power supply or something else, it is now 5 yrs since Beige G3's shipped.

- G.

03-28-2003, 12:15 PM
Thanks, Gregory. As always, you're a fountain of good information.

I'm still working with a 4GB total HD. This is an experiment to see if it's worth investing more $$ in the G3, it wouldn't be for me if it won't run OSX. I partitioned the drive about 750MB for OS9 and 3.25GB for OSX. I did use Drive Setup, off of the OS9.2.1 CD I got from Apple when I got OSX, offhand don't know what version. Does it really matter? The tech did replace the battery, that didn't seem to help. I don't know if he zapped the pram, if not I'll do it. There is no ATA card, the PCI is the original from the machine, don't know if it's ok -- isn't that built into the logic board? The reference to "spitting out" error codes was entirely my language. I saw many error codes myself while I was trying to get it to work -- sometimes I'd get a screen freeze and then a system-prompt would show up on the upper-left corner; sometimes I'd boot to run fsck on the HD, and then after it confirmed no problems, I'd try to load OSX and get a bunch of error messages, which I didn't know how to interpret. Interesting comments about voltage regulator or power supply -- I'll check into those. How do I determine their health, or the health of the PCI bus, if I don't have diagnostic equipment? Thanks again for all your help.

03-28-2003, 01:03 PM
No need to partition a 4GB drive. OS X needs 2.8GB minimum, and then even more for temp disk space while running.

RAM that is PC66 does not always cause trouble, but it often will with anything more than a 300MHz G3 cpu. RAM designed for a Yosemite is usually the safest.

When running fsck, do not logout, reboot, or better yet, just do a Safe Boot - hold down the Shift key during startup.

Look for Startup Disk 9.2.5 on the Jag CD in "Utilities" or something. Some L2 cache can't take more than 250MHz, and some cpus that work under OS 9 need to be throttled back - OS X is hard on memory including the L2.

It sounds like it was kernel panics. I'm sure you've read that Jag needs the Repair Permissions as soon as you are done installing and can do so.

Not sure how they found a bad memory chip, but I'd suspect ALL of the memory. Unfortunately, prices have moved back up, and PC100 costs $52 for 256MB, at OWC or Crucial. I'd put the G3/466 and make sure that you have the L2 set to 2:1 though.

Any good hard drive is a safe investment. It may be that the drive is a source of trouble anyway. From Drive Setup, run Test Function in the background and let it check all the blocks on the drive. DS 2.04 came with 9.1 and there is a later version in 9.2.1 that is better. Some people would use Jag CD to partition. If you only want to run OS X, you don't even need OS 9 or the OS 9 drivers. I don't anymore. So it only boots OS X.

Along with zapping PRAM, boot into Open Firmware by a
"Command + Option + O + F"

"set-defaults" <return>
"reset-all" <return>

Which is also helpful.

Beige ROMs are usually A, B, C. Yosemite systems were known as "rev 1" and "rev 2." Might also want to look at the G3*Zone on www.xlr8yourmac.com (http://www.xlr8yourmac.com) though I can't think there is anything you need there.

I've seen web pages to help Beige owners and found them to be good but never perfect help. Attempts to put together a step-by-step cookbook approach that is "scientific" are hard to do and apply 100% across the board.

- G.

03-28-2003, 05:32 PM
I've made copies of your comments and will try them out this weekend.

The tech found the bad memory by removing all but one stick at a time and seeing what happened. One caused consistent crashes, so he removed it entirely. It is PC66, and I'll try to get at least one 256 PC100 to see whether that helps. He tried my memory in his G3 and the other sticks worked allright, but who knows? Better to replace; it's not THAT expensive.

He also replaced the battery, which should have zapped the PRAM, right?

The drive partition was the result of Sonnet's instructions for Tune-Up, which strongly recommends it. I may be switching to another cache configuration tool, L2CacheGrabber (?- I think that's the name, it came recommended by a former NewrTech engineer), which may not require the same, but in any event it sounds like I should reformat the drive without partitioning. I do want to have OS9 there for a couple of applications to run in Classic.

The tech said he also had already checked the power supply and voltage regulator and they checked out ok.

So I think it's related to memory. I'll let you know what happens after I work on this Saturday.

Thanks again, Gregory.

03-28-2003, 06:56 PM
DIMM First Aid won't run in a Beige, but will in a B&W or later, and is very useful. PC100 CAS2 10 ns (8 ns is also good and/or better). PC133 should be avoided though.

RAM can be "bad' but still allow booting etc and yet may result in drive errors or file corruption or just enough trouble to trigger an application error. (Even Apple has had software that would trigger kernel panics).

PowerLogix cache control has mixed reviews, but I don't think there is anything wrong with or reason to switch from using Sonnet Tune-Up. I use it with G4/500 in my Beige. My B&W doesn't require anything. And in fact, any G3/466 actually shouldn't need cache control unless Apple System Profiler shows cache as "zero."

Good luck.

03-31-2003, 02:50 PM
Gregory, Just saw this thread and say you said Dim First Aid will not work in a Beige. It worked fine in my G/3 266MT. Where did you get this info?

03-31-2003, 03:19 PM
Gregory, your suggestions combined worked just fine. I installed two sticks of PC100 256MB RAM (available locally to where I live @ $34 per stick), zapped the PRAM, reset defaults in Open Firmware, then reformatted the HD using Jag's Disk Utility. I dispensed with partitioning the HD, did it all in one, and had Disk Utility install OS9 drivers. Then installed OS9.2.1, zapped the PRAM again, reset in Open Firmware again, insatlled NewerTech's cache control utility, zapped and reset again,installed OS9.2.2 update, zapped and reset again, then installed OS 10.2, then Sonnet's cache configurer, then OS 10.2.4 update, then the applications, etc. Everything is rock-solid and stable so far. I haven't done much more than run basic applications like Word X and AppleWorks, but all of the wierdness is gone. The memory was clearly bad, and even though the local tech said that a bad battery wouldn't cause these problems, I'm convinced that having him install a fresh one helped alot too. As did your suggestions about taking it step by step and clearing the PRAM and resetting the defaults. Even the installation of OSX went more smoothly than it had before. Thanks again, Gregory. I should have posted the inquiry first before going to the tech -- $200 spent to find out I had bad memory and get a new battery!

03-31-2003, 03:44 PM
When last I used DIMM First Aid on B&W it worked fine, but when I tried on Beige G3 it would not - in B&W it won't "repair" DRAM that is lacking code to deal with CAS latency. It will in a G4.

Your sure, and I was sure that it would not launch on mine. I'll look into this.

- G.

Turns out there are two versions of DIMM First Aid and "1.0" will work on Beige but the one I had was "1.1" and it wouldn't even launch (not supported on this hardware or something message).

[This message has been edited by Gregory (edited 31 March 2003).]

03-31-2003, 03:51 PM
I'm glad it's working well now. $200 would buy a nice 36GB 10K drive from Seagate or Maxtor, then add Ultra2 and watch everything run fast and smoooth. Sorry you had to take the long hard route to get there.

- I don't think you need that many zaps and resets, but hey, it worked!


03-31-2003, 06:58 PM
Gregory, one other question: You mentioned that a G3/466 shouldn't need cache control unless System Profiler reads the cache at zero. Before I installed SonnetCache, Profiler read the cache at "ok." Does that mean the cache is properly configured? My unscientific observation says that the computer ran faster after installing SonnetCache, but I made no measurements. Is "ok" different from "zero" as far as OSX goes (I assume it is, but please enlighten me)? Thanks.

03-31-2003, 08:11 PM
I think that was a "zero k" rather than what you should see, which is "1MB" or "512k" so yes, you needed the cache enabler on it.

04-01-2003, 08:06 AM
I found DIMM First Aid 1.2 (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macos/10415) which shows up on VersionTracker, but MacUpdate only had v. 1.0 (and I was using v. 1.1).

Very good information for any RAM upgrades.

- G.