The Low End Mac Mailbag

GeForce Startup Delay in Leopard Solved, Transclucent Menu Bar Tied to CPU Speed, and More

Dan Knight - 2007.12.24

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from Low End Mac!

This is our last Mailbag of the year, and what a year it's been. We've solved problems with AirPort Extreme in G4 iBooks, discovered how to install Leopard on unsupported hardware, looked at booting iBooks and PowerBooks from Compact Flash, and a whole lot more. We're very much looking forward to the year ahead.

Dan Knight, publisher - Tip Jar

GeForce Startup Delay with Leopard Solved

From Brian Deuel:


Thanks to "Gotoh" over at the Mac Elite forum, the Leopard bootup delay caused by GeForce video cards in G4 systems has been solved [see Leopard Boot Delay with G4 and GeForce 6/7]. Simply remove AppleHWSensor.kext from /System/Library/Extensions, and the delay goes away. The delay was due to Leopard not supporting temperature sensors in G4 systems.

Of course, messing with extensions can be dangerous and could cause system bootup to fail, so anyone trying this should tread lightly.



Thanks for this invaluable information. We'll be linking to it several places on Low End Mac.


GeForce FX5200 Probably Not a Good Choice with Leopard

From Joseph Burke:

I read the recent letter in the Mailbag concerning whether the GeForce FX5200 is Core Image compatible. There is a caveat that goes with the FX5200. The FX5200 proved itself to be fairly useless with DX9 games under Windows even with 256 MB of video memory, so it may not be a very good choice for running Core Image/Core Animation under Leopard. The FX5200 simply did not have the muscle necessary to run demanding DX9 games in spite of it's hardware compliance with the standard, and I seriously doubt that it will be a good choice to use with Leopard, which is more graphically intense than Tiger was. If it runs at all, it will most likely crawl.

DFS writes that he wants to run Leopard on one of these machines but does not want to use a video card that draws off the power supply. The minimum he is going to need to run Leopard reasonably well will be a Radeon 9500-9800 card or a GeForce FX 5500-5950 which will require a tap to the power supply. I use a Radeon 9700 in mine and I had to use a power splitter from a PC that had a mini Molex connector for extra power.


Apple states that it's the least powerful Nvidia card that supports Core Image, and that's what I reported. Based on all the tests and reviews I've seen, the Radeon 9600 Pro is a much better card, and it generally sells for less than the GeForce 5200.

As I don't have Leopard, a Radeon 9600 Pro, or a GeForce 5200, I have no way of looking into this beyond what I read.

As far as drawing off the power supply, it's not a subject I'm familiar with. Living in the late renaissance era of personal computing (Power Mac G4 Mirror Drive Door, Mac OS X 10.4) and not being a gamer, I've had no reason to go beyond the outdated Radeon 9000 card in my equally outdated computer. Then again, it's not obsolete until I say it is. :-)

I'll be looking into power draw as we add profiles for AGP video cards to the site.


LeopardAssist Automates Unsupported Installs

From Ben Stafford:

This link might be of interest to you and your readers: LeopardAssist 1.0 Helps Install Leopard On Some Unsupported PowerMacs

Ben Stafford


Thanks for the info on LeopardAssist, which essentially automates the process in Dylan McDermond's article. I'll be sure to add links in Dylan's article and our Unsupported Leopard Installation article.


Dual G4 Power Mac Misreports CPU Speed

From Clint McIntosh:

I tried your trick to tricking the Leopard installer on my Dual 450 MHz G4 (gigabit ethernet) and it works!

However, I have a problem that is a little more odd than installing an OS on unsupported hardware. Years ago, I dutifully applied Apple's G4 Firmware update for my computer, and upon the first reboot, my computer began reporting itself as a Dual 250 MHz G4! No amount of PRAM zapping or NVRAM resetting will get it to report its true speed. When I try to rerun the Firmware updater, it tells me that I've already run it and won't let me re-flash the firmware.

I've run multiple benchmark apps just to confirm that my Mac wasn't dumbed down, but all tests confirm that the speed of the computer matches that of a Dual 450 MHz G4. How can I permanently write the true CPU speed back to NVRAM?

Clint McIntosh


This is a new one for me. I Googled Power Mac G4 Firmware Update 4.2.8 and haven't found anyone else reporting the same problem. I'll post this in the Mailbag and hope a reader can provide some insights - and perhaps a fix.


Translucent Finder Menu Bar Tied to CPU Speed?

From Brian Deuel:


Regarding the translucent Finder menu bar in Leopard . . . I don't think that even having a QE/CI/CV supporting video card has anything to do with whether it appears or not. I have reason to believe that it is based on CPU speed. I did an experiment with my spare DP500 G4, and my current workhorse, a DP500 G4 upgraded with a Sonnet 1.8 GHz processor. Prior to installing the Sonnet upgrade, I noticed that my Leopard menu bar wasn't translucent. After the upgrade - and running the same install of Leopard that I ran prior to the CPU upgrade - the Finder menu bar was suddenly translucent. I then installed Leopard on my spare DP500, using the same GeForce 6200 that is in my main machine, and sure enough, no translucent Finder menu bar.

What minimum CPU speed is needed? That I do not know. Although trivial in a way, it might be worthwhile to add whether the Finder bar is translucent to the unsupported install questions. Just a suggestion :)

Brian Deuel


Now there's an interesting discovery - put in a fast enough CPU, and you get a translucent menu bar. Let's see what readers report about CPU speeds that do and don't provide it.


Leopard on Upgraded Digital Audio Power Mac

From K. Wightman:

Hi Dan -

This one for the Leopard Unsupported Installation page:

I've installed Leopard (both client and now Server :)) on a Digital Audio. The specs:

  • RAM: 1.25 GB of RAM
  • CPU: Gigadesigns dual 1.6 GHz upgrade
  • VID: Radeon 9600 Pro (I bought this from OWC - I seem to recall that it was originally from a G5 but was modified by them for use in G4s)

I was able to install Leopard client with no modifications, which was kinda cool. When I installed Leopard Server, I didn't have a spare Mac bootable dual layer DVD drive (my MacBooks are the only machines here that have 'em), so I made a disk image of the server install DVD, wrote it to a partition on a FireWire hard disk I had laying around, and booted off of that. I didn't have to make any modifications to the installer, though.

Subjectively, Leopard feels the same as Tiger did on this machine. Since I played with Leopard client on it, I installed an ACARD 6880M ATA controller and new hard disks in it (this so I could have RAID-1'd hard disks for Leopard server/Time Machine backups of my laptop and my girlfriend's laptop). No noticeable speed difference here, although I am worried that my Digital Audio's power supply is going to kick the bucket with the extra load!

When I installed the Gigadesigns CPU a while back, it required booting off a CD to install their own motherboard firmware upgrade. The Boot ROM for mine is 4.2.8f1, with Gigadesign's "7447(a) firmware enabler". Interestingly, the CPU ID string in the System Profiler reports "Processor Name: PowerPC 60? (1.1)".

Another possible 'supported' dividing line would be the version of the ASIC in the motherboard (see My revision is 7. I'd be interested to know if other Digital Audio models have a different ASIC (mine was originally a single CPU 533 MHz).

Benchmark scores:

  • Geekbench: 1118
  • Xbench: 27.73

I didn't run the benchmarks before the upgrade. I'll be reinstalling Leopard Server in the next few days, though, and may load up Tiger Server and rerun the benchmarks...



Thanks for your report, which confirms the discovery that as long as the CPU runs at 867 MHz or faster, the standard Leopard installer will run without modification. (Possible exception: We have not received a single field report of a Yikes! G4 running Leopard, with the stock CPU or upgraded.) I don't think the installer checks ASIC versions at all.


iWork Not Just Optimized for Leopard

From Liam Greenwood:

Hi Dan

You commented in your reply to Derek about iWork:


(I have Office and don't like it. I've worked with Pages and Number, and I don't consider it worth the expense and time to switch all of my work over.)

I'm not surprised that you're having issues with iLife 06; Apple produced iLife 08 to give us applications optimized for Leopard. Just one more way to get our money.

Just as a point to consider - iWork 08 brought in Numbers, a significant addition to iWork, and did extensive changes to Pages, giving it a word-processing persona as well as the page-layout one. So I think it is egregious of you to intimate that it is just an 'optimized for Leopard' release.

In my case I read a review of Numbers that was positive and indicated some items that were of interest to me. So I downloaded the trial version and played with it a bit - and found that there was enough functionality in it to be worth the price. Which is a drop in the bucket compared to Office. It's cheaper than Office even if you buy an 'Educational' license of Office.

We got a family pack; my wife keeps the budget in Numbers rather than in Excel or OpenOffice. I use Numbers and have just done the Seasonal newsletter for family and friends in Pages. Used it for the first time and, like Numbers, it has a number of little interface tweaks that made it the easiest page layout program that I have used. Previous have been FrameMaker, Pagestream, Quark, and others.

I looked at previous iWorks and didn't perceive good value for me - so used OpenOffice. iWorks 08 had significant changes, such that I got it and used it on Tiger - nothing to do with Leopard.

Cheers, Liam


Don't get me wrong: I think Pages and Numbers are great. If I wasn't still absolutely thrilled at how well the ancient AppleWorks 6.2.9 (last update: 2003) works, I'd choose it over Office in a heartbeat. I only have Office because I won a free copy, and I hate to use it (but sometimes you have to). I really enjoyed my 30-day trial of iWork 08, but until I have a project that requires more than AppleWorks provides, I'm not ready to make the investment.

My comment to Derek had to do with his problems using iLife 06 apps with Leopard, and my response was that iLife 08 is designed to work with Leopard, where iLife 06 wasn't. That says nothing about how well iLife 08 will work with Tiger, only that it should work a lot better with Leopard than iLife 06.


Weak iBook G4 AirPort Solution

From Jason Greshes:

Dan, thanks tons for running a recent letter about the two-click iBook AirPort antenna. Although I've been through tons of Macs, this is one thing I wasn't aware of! I had taken my AirPort card out of my G4 iBook to put in my wife's 20" G4 iMac, and left the iBook sitting on a shelf for a while. I thought I had an AirPort G card laying around for the iBook, but it turned out to be spare original AirPort card. I traded that with someone for a G card, put that in the iBook, and got almost no AirPort reception.

I figured it was a bum card (the guy had been awfully anxious to trade it!) and got a replacement off of eBay. Then that one had the same problem, and I figured the iBook itself was at fault (the screen bezel had cracked, and I thought maybe the antenna itself was damaged). Happened to look at Low End Mac (actually, to see what iBook G4s were going for these days!), saw the letter you ran, and had the iBook's AirPort at full strength a minute later.

Thanks again,


That's one of the joys of building community with the connectivity of the Internet. Someone is stumped, someone else researches and finds a solution, and it's posted for the benefit of all. Glad to be of help!


Logitech Webcam Won't Work with iChat

From James Gager:


I recently received a Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks, and I downloaded the driver from Logitech. The camera works within the Logitech software, but I can not get iChat to recognize the camera. My computer is a Power Mac G5 dual 1.8, 2.5 gigs of RAM running 10.4.11. I don't know if this is in your realm of expertise but I appreciate any help you can give me.

I also want to thank you for your timely response to my question a couple of days ago.

Have a Merry Christmas,
James Gager


It's not my area of expertise, but the answer is simple: iChat only supports FireWire webcams. Fortunately, others have stepped in where Apple has not provided support. Further, there are two versions of the Quickcam for Notebooks Pro, one of which works with OS X 10.4.3 and later, and one that doesn't work with the Mac's drivers. Guess which one you have?

  1. See if there's a macam driver for your webcam - free. In your case, a driver exists, but its status is "depends", so it may or may not work. Another option is the commercial IOXWebcam X, which sells for $19.95. It claims to work with your Quickcam.
  2. Install Unsanity Application Enhancer (APE), free.
  3. Install iChatUSBCam ($10), which supports your webcam.

The macam drivers and APE are free, and you can test drive iChatUSBCam before paying for it, so you can know if that solution will work at no cost - and then only $10 to register iChatUSBCam. If the macam drivers don't work for you, add $20 for IXCWebcam X.


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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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