Radius Rocket II in a Mac II

David Emmons reports: A Radius Rocket only works on a Mac with full size NuBus slots, and is running at least System 7 but no system later then 7.1 (I use 7.1.3, which has the scriptable Finder). It is ideal for a Mac II or IIx/cx whose processors are barely usable with todays software (though I did get the II’s 68020 to run Microsoft Office 4.2).

If you can install memory and a video card, then you can install the Rocket. You will also need to install the Rocket’s Software, RocketWare, which you can get at Radius’s site on the Web. If your Mac’s ROMs are 32-bit dirty, you need Mode32 (Mac II, IIx, IIcx, and SE/30).

Compatibility: The Rocket hates sound.* The system tricks it uses to run make handling sounds a pain (if not impossible). Do not install Sound Manager 3.0 or later! It can handle SM 2.0 for some programs, and I never have had problems with Finder Sounds, but many games will not work, most notably Ambrosia games, but you can still use the motherboard processor for those.

The Rocket also dislikes fax software. Again, run off the motherboard.

Install MacsBug. It seems to make the system fairly stable, and I even can get Escape Velocity to play, but none of the sounds work. But this game needs a fast processor.

Install at least 12 megs on the Rocket (I have 20). It’s barely usable at 8.

Remember this machine is a Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing. Your motherboard is fully compatible with most things but is slow. The Rocket is very fast but also very temperamental.

I’ve been using this Rocket II for almost two years and it has served me very well.

Here is what I run:

  • Netscape 3.02
  • FirstClass 3.5 (with all sound resources removed)
  • Excel 5.0a and Word 6.0a (these actually work great)
  • Escape Velocity (just hit cmd+G when the debugger comes up)
  • Marathon (all versions…sound is spotty)
  • Kaleidoscope 1.7
  • Text to Speech (works great)
  • Many shareware games (most though need to run on the motherboard)
  • More extensions then you can shake a stick at.

What you can’t run

  • Anything that requires System 7.5 or a PowerPC.

But the thing to remember is that this Mac is 10 years old and it’s system software is almost 5, yet I’m running some things that are brand new (Netscape for one).

Experiment. It’s still fundamentally a Mac so you can always recover without extensions.

My final view is that the Rocket is not for everyone. In some ways it’s more like a PC then a Mac, but if you keep in mind it’s limitations you will have a very fast and very cheap system.

I am always willing to help or answer questions.

Support? What support? This is a Mac! I don’t need support. 🙂


P.S. The Rocket sound it makes at launch is very cool. 🙂

* The Radius Rocket doesn’t have any sound hardware. It relies on the main CPU to handle all sound.

Keywords: #radiusrocket #radiusrocketii