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grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1
Power Macintosh G3 Video Cards

It's been awhile since I've contributed, so I hope you won't think it tacky for me to charge in with a request for advice. Here it goes: I have a beige Power Macintosh G3. Specifically, this one:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g3/specs/powermac_g3_266_...

It does not get a lot of action, in part, because I don't have the space to set it up properly. The acquisition of a hardcore KVMA switch, though, has set me to thinking. I have a spare channel and could probably make it work if I can hook the G3 up to the video and audio switching. (I don't want to give up my mouse and keyboard choice, and I've already confirmed that it does not work with the G3.)

The catch though, is that the KVMA is DVI. It is DVI-I, so it could pass analog from my VGA output, through the switch and on to the monitor, but the monitor's DVI port is strictly DVI-D. There is a VGA connector on the monitor, but that's a no-go in this situation for reasons I will not bore you with.

So, here's the question: What PCI video cards, with a DVI output, are out there for beige G3s? I have some clues that these might work:

  • ATi Radeon 7000 PCI
  • ATi Radeon 9200 PCI

...but it's really just tags included in eBay listings that suggest G3 compatibility. I don't want to rely on that. Currently the machine has an ixMicro TwinTurbo 8MB PCI in it.

I have also shopped VGA to DVI/HDMI converters, but I don't like the cost to quality curve. It looks like you have to spend north of $100 to get something you could hope to support enough of your video modes to make the endeavor worth it. Also, upgrading the machine for $20-40 appears to be a better solution even if you ignore the savings.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

I intend to run OS 9.x.x, so any card would have to be supported on pre-OS X systems.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

I have a beige G3. It has a (16 MB) Rage 128 card pulled from either a b/w G3 or early G4. While it works great, its VGA only, nor is it suitable for my KVM setup, as that shares a 16:9 wide screen display and this card is only capable of a 6 x 4 ratio, albeit millions of colors at 1600 x 1200. So even if I had an adapter for the card, it would be useless on the wide-screen thats attached to the KVM.

Nor can I recommend a suitable PCI card here, ebay has loads of flashed examples which may or may not work. I've never been successful at flashing video cards either, in the two or three attempts I've made at it.

One option possibly, is one that does work for me. I also have a PPC Mac Mini with a 32 MB card (ATI Radeon 9200). For some reason if connecting from the DVI port of the mini to my KVM (or direct to display), there seems to be some problems with the digital signal (strange artifacts). But if I use the DVI to VGA adapter that came with the mini, it works beautifully. Now, instead of using DVI with this on the KVM I have it plugged directly to the VGA port of the display, but the USB keyboard & mouse are shared between the other PCs via the KVM. I can select between D-Sub & DVI using the selector buttons on the display itself. Not perfect, but usable.

Balrog's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 24

There's also the "ATI Radeon" card.

ROM images that can be used to flash non-Mac cards to work with Mac can be downloaded from here:
http://themacelite.wikidot.com/wikidownloads2

Be careful, many of these require a larger ROM chip on the card than most non-Mac cards have. For these, a "Reduced" ROM would be needed. It's suggested to look at the chip markings.

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

That's a handy link--thanks. I guess I'm just going to try to pick a Mac Edition Radeon off of eBay and how I get lucky.

MikeTomTom: I can recall seeing some verbiage about "strange artifacts" on the 9200 being solved by a 2005 firmware update. Do you know if your card has that update?

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

"strange artifacts" on the 9200 being solved by a 2005 firmware update. Do you know if your card has that update?

I don't know. This Mac mini is a recent ebay aquisition that I've had for just on 2 weeks now. It reports itself as model PowerMac10,1 with a Boot ROM vers. 4.8.9f4 and the card reports itself as chipset ATY,RV280, Device ID 0x5962, ROM Revision 113-xxxxx-120
Also, this mini was new after July, 2005. It has the full SuperDrive, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth built-in.

However, I don't mind that this mini seems more "happy" with VGA and not DVI, I have other PCs that use the DVI port of this display via the KVM, there doesn't seem to be much difference that I can tell, and its display at 1920 x 1080 in 32-bit color via the VGA port is excellent.

I bought a Radeon 9200 Mac Edition--we'll see how it goes.

I probably should look for one for my own beige beast. I hope it goes well for you, too. According to Low End Mac, this card is compatible with all PCI based Macs (except for the DA & Gigabit Ethernet G4's in Mac OS 9). However, it also mentions a minimum of Mac OS 9.2.2... which may be OK too if this is the OS you intend to run.

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

I'm prepped and ready to go: The machine has a fresh install of 9.2.2 and the ATi drivers are already installed. It's just a matter of plugging the card in, I guess.

At a minimum, I hope to end up with better video modes than what I was getting from the TwinTurbo. The modes that worked were either too low or a resolution (800x600) or too high of a resolution (1360x1024). The middle range just did not seem to want to play well with my LCD screen for a variety of reasons.

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

I bought a Radeon 9200 Mac Edition--we'll see how it goes.

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

Ok, so here's an update on my attempt to put an updated video card (Radeon 9200 Mac Edition) into my Power Macintosh G3.

I bought the card off of eBay, and replaced the TwinTurbo that was in my system to start. Video output from the DVI and VGA ports of the card produced a solid white screen, with a single black underscore in the upper left. Installing the January 2005 ATI OS9 drivers did not improve the situation.

Digging around on the net, though, I found some updated extensions that purported to be specifically for the Radeon 9200 DVI card. I first found reference to that here, but the download link was dead. By searching the filename, I did eventually find it here. Although the machine is pretty slow to boot, it's now putting out video--even up to 1920x1200x32bpp from the DVI port.

I can detail the differences in these two extension sets, but a quick difference to note is the version of the ATI 3D Accelerator extension--from version 5.0.4 to 7.0.4. The remaining extensions only differ in minor or revision version numbers, or not at all. The latest modification dates on the files in the newer set is March 27, 2005.

I'm stilling looking for the ATI Displays control panel, but will update this thread as I figure it out.

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

This extensive discussion of ATI drivers for classic Mac OS points out that the ATI Displays control panel, at least as of version 3.2.1, does not support the Radeon 9200.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

@grawlix.computing: Thanks for the feedback on your efforts. Are the 3rd party extensions working OK for you despite the lack of (ATI) support? That is can you set your display to your desired display resolution/frame rates OK? Does it switch between your KVM setup OK? DVI, OK? Can you switch resolutions & color OK (games esp. may need fewer colors and low resolutions to play)?

grawlix.computing's picture
Joined: 2009 Jun 1

The KVM works great. I have done some resolution and color switches and it that works good, but I have not done very extensive testing. The recommended resolutions appear to all be matched with relatively low refresh rates, which had been a shortfall with the TwinTurbo.

Also, at this point I'm fairly certain there is no ATI Displays control panel that works with the Radeon 9200 and os9.