The Low End Mac Mailbag

Leopard Problems with GeForce Graphics, on eMacs and Power Macs, and More

Dan Knight - 2007.11.14

What 'Supported' Means to Apple

From Cristobal Daniels:

I hardly ever use DVD Player, in fact I find it annoying that I have to take time to disable it from automatically opening and playing video DVDs, and then turn off full-screen option (in case I start it by accident). I usually have at least two free media players installed which play DVD movies, often as an extra feature among many.

As far as models of Macs supported by Apple, some people seem to forget that for Apple, "supported" means they have to provide service, troubleshoot, and repair such models and be able to diagnose both hardware and software problems. Against they're own economic interests. Apple can't easily play PC customer support musical chairs ("the problem is with the driver contact them": "no, its the OS, contact them": "no its the hardware, send them the part/entire PC") "Not supported" does not mean that any particular configuration won't work. Many will work, maybe with some unnoticeable/minor glitches.

Cristobal Daniels

GeForce 6200 Yields Very Long Leopard Boot Time

From Jerome Littleton:


Figured I would pass this info along: I had asked about the SATA drive on a Digital Audio Power Mac. You said someone had one running, but it took 4 minutes to boot, but once up and running it was fast.

I purchased an Nvidia GeForce 6200 256 MB video card, the company that sent it to me included instructions concerning Leopard. If running Leopard it would be about a five minute boot time (this may be the issue he is having with long boot time). If doing a clean install of Leopard, they suggested putting the original video card back in for the install. Once installed, upgrade the video card.

The card I purchased was originally for a PC and was flashed for a Mac with 2 pins disabled (advertised as the Mac version - in a way I guess it was). Hope this helps.

If you post this, I would like to mention beware of any dual 933 G4 Digital Audio Power Mac listed on eBay: it comes up as that in About This Mac, a 933 G4 11.3 which is a 533. A 933 dual upgrade card was manufactured by a third party, either Sonnet or NewerTech (cannot remember). If it has an Apple card, it is a 533 g4 11.3.

I have looked and cannot find where Apple produced a dual 933 G4 11.3. I do not want someone to end up in the same boat as me, having to upgrade something after paying for dual 933. Research before you buy if you are new to Macintosh.

Jerome Littleton


Thanks for the info on the GeForce 6200. I'll be sure to include a note about Leopard boot times in the card's profile. I've also added a note to the Digital Audio Power Mac profile about the dual 533 MHz model sometimes being misreported as a dual 933 MHz computer.


Overclocked 700 MHz eMac Installs and Runs Leopard

From Matt:

Hi Dan,

Just wanted to start by thanking you for the great site. Now then - I have a 700 MHz eMac (1 GB RAM, GeForce 2 MX) that obviously would not be able to install Leopard - unless it was overclocked! Fortunately, I already had my big white wonder clocked up to 900 MHz, thus qualifying it for Leopard. No tricks were needed on the software end - it installed without a hitch. The whole system seems about 90-95% as responsive as Tiger was.

Also, I tried DVD Player, knowing some people have had issues on the lower end - it ran beautifully. The "better quality" deinterlacing option was greyed out (likely because of an inadequate graphics chip), but I would say that it still seemed to look better than Tiger's DVD playback. I was truly impressed!

Just thought I'd throw this into the fray, in case any adventurous overclockers were out there wondering if they'd need a modified install disc. :-)



Thanks for the field report. It seems that any Mac running past the 866 MHz mark can run the installer. Nice to hear it's working so well for you.


Leopard on 2 More Power Macs

From Jeff Plourde:

Hi! My name is Jeff, and I successfully upgrade my G4 Sawtooth 400 (overclocked to 500) with the modified installer. It seem to run fine and faster. The only thing missing was the Dock, but after I unplugged my 320 gig hard drive (since the ATA-HI_CAP driver won't run under Leopard), the Dock is back and working well.

Using the same modified installer on my new Dual 800 Quicksilver, and saw the same result.

  • G4 500, 896 MB RAM, GeForce 2 MX400 flashed
  • G4 800DP, 1.5 Gig RAM, GeForce 2



Thanks for the report - and especially the note about the hi-cap driver.


Leopard on Dual Processor 533 MHz Power Mac

From Eje Hultén:

Hello, just want to inform on my experience with Leopard on a DP 533.

Installed Leopard on my wife's DP 533 MHz with 1.5 GHz RAM and a Belkin "High-Speed Wireless Network Card". I did this on Leopard's first day on the market using a G4 Mac mini 1.42 GHz as installer and DP 533 as a FireWire disk. This was a clean install. I then reinstalled Office 2004, iLife, and some other software officially compatible with Leopard, the DP 533 has been running as good as it did with Tiger ever since - and booting-time is shorter with Leopard.

Eje Hultén


Thanks for your report.


Leopard on 700 MHz eMac

From Jeremy Taylor:

I got Leopard running this weekend on my 700 MHz eMac, 512 RAM, the video in it is a 32 MB GeForce 2 MX. I hacked the installer and ran installation from my 3G FireWire iPod. So far, the system works great. I don't have an external drive, so I can't try out Time Machine, but from what I have read it won't work anyway, since my machine only supports Core Animation in software. Otherwise, it seems good to go!


Thanks for one more data point. Nice to know Leopard works well on so many unsupported Macs.


Leopard Failure on a Cube

From Mark F:

Dear Dan Knight,

Here is my partial report of a failed attempt to install "Leopard" Mac OS X 10.5.0 on a G4 Cube last Saturday. I made no notes; this is entirely from memory. Please forgive any inaccuracies or inconsistencies.

I attached the G4 Cube's hard drive (Mac OS X 10.4.10) in Target Disk Mode as a FireWire 400 drive to a 20" iMac G5 where I had previously installed Leopard.

  • I backed up the G4 Cube to another FireWire partition using Carbon Copy Cloner 3.0.1.
  • I rebooted the iMac G5 from the Cube's hard drive.
  • I ran the Leopard installer, first wiping the Cube's hard drive, as was required by the installer.
  • I attempted to restart the Cube from its Leopard clean install.
  • There was a gray background at boot time. There was no Apple logo. There was no 'spinning spokes' (or 'gear') activity indicator

In short, the G4 Cube would not boot or reboot. The memory chime is audible, but there was no screen activity.

I restarted the G4 in Target Disk Mode. The FireWire logo did not display.

I restored the Mac OS X 10.4.10 partition to the Cube using Carbon Copy Cloner 3.0.1.

The Cube boots normally, however the Apple logo and spinning spokes do not appear. The first sign of success is the blue background, which indicates, I believe, a successful load of the Mac OS X kernel. Subjectively, the boot seems to take longer, but perhaps this is because it now lacks familiar progress landmarks and, of course, I am watching more intently on an 8-year-old machine!

I believe that I have damaged the firmware on the G4 Cube somehow. I will probably repeat this experiment on the same G4 Cube or another one, using a 1.42 GHz G4 mini as host, and see if I do better. I also plan to install Leopard on a G4 733 MHz.

Any advice you may have will of course be appreciated.

Mark F


Odd indeed, as we have received successful reports of running Leopard on the Cube. The first thing I'd try is going to Power Mac G4 Cube Firmware Update 4.1.9 :Information and Software on Apple's website, downloading Firmware Update 4.1.9, boot into Mac OS 9.1 or later, and install the Firmware Update as detailed on Apple's page.

You might also try cloning the Leopard installation from your G5 iMac to the Cube's hard drive using Carbon Copy Cloner.


3 More Unsupported Leopard Field Reports

From Mark Benson:

Number 1: 15" iMac G4

  • 768 MB RAM
  • Standard 800 MHz/256 KB L2 cache
  • GeForce 2 MX 32 MB onboard (4x AGP)
  • 80 GB Hard Disk

Modified the installer image onto a FireWire external hard drive. I ran the installer on the target machine.

Most everything works okay, including Time Machine and DVD Player. The biggest issues are both to do with the graphics card drivers, I think. One is the machine comes out of sleep and the screen comes up flat white, no desktop at all, making it impossible to use. The other is that the screen blanker that turns off the screen actually just freezes an image on the screen and stays on. It even dims the backlight, waits, then turns the backlight back up to it's normal level when the blanker is supposed to kick in. I think these may get fixed, I have seen mention on the Apple support forums of people with supported G4 iMacs with GeForce 4 MX (effectively an over-clocked GF2 MX internally, from what I can gather) having the same issues. Like I say, I think it's a driver bug.

Performance is okay, but the graphics are quite ropey. I put most of this down to the scrawny GF2 MX graphics chipset - it always was rubbish for anything GPU intensive in Macs and PCs. I haven't changed anything since the install.

Number 2: 15" Powerbook G4i/667 (VGA/Gigabit)

  • 768 MB RAM
  • Standard 667 MHz/256 NB L2 cache
  • ATI Radeon Mobility with 16 MB DDR SDRAM (4x AGP)
  • 30 GB Hard Disk

Unfortunately, because the FireWire port is dead on my TiBook, I had to remove the hard drive and attach it via FireWire to the iMac G4. Having done this, I simply Carbon Copy Cloned the iMac's installation over to the Powerbook's drive.

Worked just fine, although it was awfully confused the first time it booted. I let it settle, index, and set the correct hostname and computer name, etc., and rebooted. From there it's worked okay. Sleep works fine; I haven't tested the DVD Player or Time Machine, because the machine is not really used for anything like that.

Performance is more than acceptable. Having the ATi graphics card seems to make all the difference! This machine is usually shot-for- shot on a par with the iMac above - it certainly was in Tiger - but it runs Leopard better. It's no Indy 500 racer, but it's not bad for a battered and bruised 6-year-old laptop I got for free as a gift from a fellow geek. :) No hardware changes have been made.

Number 3: Blue & White Power Mac G3

  • 768 MB RAM
  • Sonnet Crescendo G4/ZIF 500 MHz/1 MB Cahce
  • ATI Radeon 9200 PCI (66 MHz) Mac Edition with 128 MB DDR VRAM

Leopard won't boot because of a lack of driver. I ensured this machine wasn't listed in the 'bad machines' string when I modded the installer, and the minimum speed is set to 266 MHz (below the level of the slowest G4 I know of!). The installer kernel panics at boot, claiming it has no driver for this class of Power Mac. I really want to get Leopard working on this machine, as it's probably better equipped than both the other unsupported machines I have, and I've been using the machine since I graduated in 2002.

Mark Benson


Thanks for the info. I'll be sure to add notes to the G4 iMac profiles for models with GeForce 2 and GeForce 4 graphics about the sleep problem.


Leopard on Pismo Update

From Adem Rudin:

Hi Dan;

This is a final Leopard followup [see Leopard on an Upgraded Pismo].

First, the ATIRage128 kexts, bundles, and plugins had no effect on DVD playing abilities, other than a message about the ATIRage128.kext being improperly installed.

As for the other 7 .kext files mentioned, newer versions of all seven are actually present on a default Leopard system, which is rather confusing in the case of some, such as "AppleMediaBay.kext", as I am not aware of any Apples made after the Pismo that include a media bay, so why would Apple include this in an OS that does not support the Pismo?

In any case, I experimented with replacing the Leopard versions of these kexts with their Tiger versions and ended up with a 'Book that would not boot. Using FW Target Disk Mode to reinstall all of the default Leopard kexts failed to bring the Pismo back into bootable shape.

I re-imaged the Pismo with the backup of it's Tiger install I made with Carbon Copy Cloner, and all was well. I think I'm sticking with Tiger on this thing for the time being.



Thanks for the update.


Sawtooth: Maximum RAM, OS X Support

Hi Dan,

Does not the Sawtooth take 2 GB RAM? Low End Mac states 1.5 GB. Apple states 1.5 GB. EveryMac states 2.0 GB.

I also note the Apple page does not acknowledge OS X compatibility. EveryMac notes 1.5 GB available for OS 9; 2 GB for OS X.

Best regards,


All G4 Power Macs prior to the Mirror Drive Door model have only three slots for RAM, and the largest module they support is 512 MB. EveryMac got it wrong.

As for Apple's Sawtooth profile, it's ancient. Apple generally creates these when a model is new and rarely updates them - no mention of Mac OS 9.1 or 9.2 either. The Sawtooth is fully supported through Mac OS X 10.4.whatever, and we have several reports of 10.5 "Leopard" working on it as well, although you have to work around the installer to get it there.


Oops, I was wrong. An eagle-eyed reader more familiar with these older G4 Power Macs than I pointed out that while the Sawtooth and Mystic models only support 1.5 GB with Mac OS 9, there are four RAM sockets, allowing up to 2 GB of RAM with OS X. dk

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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