Mac emulator

Emulation of old Macintoshes, Mac hardware, or Mac peripherals.

Mac emulator

Postby ratfink » 2011-4-09 @ 19:55

Just looking for a few pointers really.

My old Mac 5500 with a G3 upgrade is probably going to die some day, the hd can't last forever anyway and although it takes IDE hd's it only takes ones that have Apple firmware available [or something like that]. I have a spare motherboard but it's really the hd that bothers me and I'm tired of buying secondhand gear that - in the case of hd's - often doesn't work for long.

So I wondered if someone could recommend a PC-based Mac OS emulator that could run OS7.5 through to OS9? Windows or linux [Debian if possible]. With sound and video so I can play [mainly] Ambrosia games like Barrack, Apeiron, Mars Rising.

Would a P4 2.8ghz be beefy enough to replicate G3/400 performance?

Edit 7/7/11: So to summarise what seems to be around for Windows based on replies received and then browsing wikipedia:

vMac emulates early 68k Macs and runs up to 7.5.5
Basilisk II emulates later 68k Macs and can run up to OS8.1
Sheepshaver emulates early PowerPC Macs and can run OS's 7.5.2 to 9.0.4
PearPC can run various PowerPC OS's but in Mac terms it can run OS X and nothing earlier

There's also Executor which can some 68k software on an x86 computer.

And SoftMac.
Last edited by ratfink on 2011-7-18 @ 20:38, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby Zup » 2011-4-09 @ 21:10

I guess Basilisk II and vMac would work, but keep on mind that those emulators will emulate Motorola Macs (no PowerPC, no Intel), so they will work up to MacOS 8.

Pear PC emulated PowerPC Macs, but only worked with early MacOS X (and it's support is limited). It is estimated that PearPC emulated Mac OS X at 1/10 of system speed (so a P4@2.8Ghz would run as fast as a PPC@280Mhz), but it doesn't take in account better CPU architectures (now a i7 core running at 2.8 Ghz has more power than a P4 at the same speed, and most CPUs are now multicore).

I've installed Mac OS 7.5 in Basilisk II and it worked, but I hadn't applications, so I don't know how well it behaves.

Also, I've installed Mac OS X in Pear PC, and it worked sluggish (with a 1 Ghz AMD CPU, it behaved as expected). Also, I made a disk image from a running iMac (266Mhz with Mac OS 9) and tried to load it in Pear PC but it didn't run. The image was OK, because I put it as a secondary disk and I had access to all files from Mac OS X.

Really, I don't know how could you make work Mac OS 9 in a PC.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby leileilol » 2011-4-09 @ 22:30

I use Sheepshaver for Mac OS 9.0.4. Works for me, but doesn't work on Windows 7.

Expect PowerPC 100MHz speeds with it on modern systems, though.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby cfoesch » 2011-4-10 @ 18:23

PearPC never got support for Mac OS Classic, (the OpenFirmware implementation was a bit off, creating tons of issues...)

leileilol is right about SheepShaver though, it doesn't support memory paging, but Mac OS Classic doesn't use it. This would also increase the speed of emulation, as the slowest part of PearPC was address translation.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby ratfink » 2011-11-16 @ 12:21

Incidentally I looked at these emulators and it seemed they wouldn't be able to run those ambrosia games without issues - some of them get specific mentions on a compatibility list I saw. I forget where, kinda lost interest :wink:.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby sliderider » 2011-11-17 @ 02:07

ratfink wrote:Just looking for a few pointers really.

My old Mac 5500 with a G3 upgrade is probably going to die some day, the hd can't last forever anyway and although it takes IDE hd's it only takes ones that have Apple firmware available [or something like that]. I have a spare motherboard but it's really the hd that bothers me and I'm tired of buying secondhand gear that - in the case of hd's - often doesn't work for long.

So I wondered if someone could recommend a PC-based Mac OS emulator that could run OS7.5 through to OS9? Windows or linux [Debian if possible]. With sound and video so I can play [mainly] Ambrosia games like Barrack, Apeiron, Mars Rising.

Would a P4 2.8ghz be beefy enough to replicate G3/400 performance?

Edit 7/7/11: So to summarise what seems to be around for Windows based on replies received and then browsing wikipedia:

vMac emulates early 68k Macs and runs up to 7.5.5
Basilisk II emulates later 68k Macs and can run up to OS8.1
Sheepshaver emulates early PowerPC Macs and can run OS's 7.5.2 to 9.0.4
PearPC can run various PowerPC OS's but in Mac terms it can run OS X and nothing earlier

There's also Executor which can some 68k software on an x86 computer.

And SoftMac.


The whole 5400-6400 5500-6500 family were probably the worst Powermacs because of the memory architecture and the fact that you could only upgrade the CPU through the L2 slot. You only get 128megs with a x500 and I think 136 with a x400 which means you can't run OS X with them. The CPU also precludes OS X because OS X doesn't see the CPU upgrade, only the onboard 603, and won't run. I'd try to find a G4 or early G5 Powermac if you really need a replacement. They are all getting to be dirt cheap now but if you decide to go the G5 route, stay away from any model with liquid cooling. They are prone to leaking and ruining the motherboard.

If you don't mind blowing a lot of money on upgrading an older machine, something from the beige line like a 7500 or Powermac G3 (stay away from the 7200. It has the same CPU issue as the machine you already have with the original CPU soldered to the motherboard) or a New World Blue and White might be fun to play with. I have a 7500 with a G4-1ghz upgrade and it's a beast. I also have a beige G3 with a G4-500 and a 7600 with a G3-400 and though none of them matches my Powermac G4, they are all brutes running period software and games. Installing OS X to these is possible but may be challenging if you're not comfortable playing around with the open firmware. Instructions are easily found online. These are awesome machines for games like Quake and Diablo if you put in a decent video card. I got a bulk deal on Rage 128 cards for all my machines but you can flash most PC Radeons up to the 9200-9250 if you want to keep it cheap. Mac Radeons are a bit heavy on the wallet.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby ratfink » 2011-11-17 @ 10:19

Thanks for the advice but I don't need anything faster. I know, could get something more modern that could run more exciting games, but I've had enough of that kind of fever, I tend to end up collecting things I will never use and to be honest I'm getting too old for that whether it's games or hardware. I actually looked at g4's a while back, but concluded that the 5500 [and the old 5200 board I have] give me better compatibiltiy for what I want these Macs for.

I have pc's for quake and diablo2, the mac only gets used for those games occasionally [in fact I reckon it was not turned on at all for maybe 3-4 years, except to check it worked :pppt:] so it's lower capability doesn't really matter to me. In fact it's likely that it will only be used for much older stuff from now on, if at all.

So my interest was purely in terms of preservation of what I have, and an emulator seemed a possible way to do this and save space. It's a little disappointing to find the emulation scene isn't there yet - and may never be i guess - but I can appreciate it's a lot of work to produce this kind of software especially in terms of emulating Macs where the demand - at least for game support - isn't going to be so high.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby Jorpho » 2011-11-17 @ 17:28

As mentioned in that other thread, MESS is still rolling along, it seems.
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Re: Mac emulator

Postby ratfink » 2011-11-17 @ 22:47

Yep, looks interesting.
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