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Quartz Extreme with Unsupported Video Cards 45

BandwidthHog writes "This thread over at Ars Technica discusses a simple .plist hack to enable Quartz Extreme on the PCI version of a supported video card, i.e. the original Radeon PCI and Radeon 7000, two of the most popular video cards for those of us running on 'unsupported' OldWorld machines."
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Quartz Extreme with Unsupported Video Cards

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  • More info... (Score:5, Informative)

    by catseye ( 96076 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @01:50PM (#4157703)
    There's also a small set of reader reports on here [] about this hack. Apparently there can be some odd artifacts/display problems, and the speed increase is minimal, but other than that it works! Pretty cool.


    • Artifacts on what PCI card? The Radeon 7000? I've got an old G3-333 that i installed os x 10.2 on and it runs as fast (exception is the UI) as my G4-733 running 10.1 (so it is significantly faster than 10.1). And I was planning on buying a ATI Radeon PCI 7000 for it (and the Quartz Extreme) but if it doesn't work I'm not going to waste the money.

      Any suggestions? (thanks)
      • Re:Question (Score:4, Informative)

        by catseye ( 96076 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @02:50PM (#4158162)
        Just a note: I've not actually used this hack since I'm running a G4/867 and a Dual 1GHz Quicksilver. I just posted the link to more information (and because I think is a great resource; I like to promote it. ;) )

        If you follow the link, it looks like most people are just using plain Radeon PCI cards and having pretty consistent success. I mentioned the artifacts only because one person complained of minor screen weirdness (the "preview" in column view wouldn't display correctly) but I wouldn't say that problem is even necessarily the fault of the hack.

        With the reduced bandwidth of plain PCI versus AGP, however, I wonder what the real benefits will be. But it looks like it certainly doesn't hurt! Good luck.

        • I guess the main difference is in rendering multiple windows. Since I'm giving my old G3-333 to my little brother (in law) so he can do some software development (java/cocoa with interface builder) for me and learn/get paid in the process (and I can have someone to bounce mac os x development off of, even though he has a long way to go at 16 years old).
  • 33MHz/66MHz PCI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by klui ( 457783 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @03:09PM (#4158292)
    I think those with Macintoshes with 66MHz PCI slots will see more benefits than those with the 33MHz variety. This is probably why some people see no difference with QE enabled versus disabled.
  • by johnpg ( 204191 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @03:13PM (#4158316)
    I did the hack last night. I have both a supported AGP and "unsupported" Radeon PCI. The PCI is my second display. Initially the hack turned QE on for the PCI but OFF on the AGP. That of course was undersirable, but simply removing the preference fixed that and both displays are QE enabled.

    For example the orignal is set up as:


    They suggest you change IOAGPDevice to IOPCIDevice. But to make it work on both just remove it, like:


    What did that do for me? Well for one thing I've seen the same artifact issues with column view quicktime previews as others have reported. It's no big deal however. I also had a kernel panic upon my initial reboot after enabling the hack. I rebooted again and it was fine and has been ever since.

    I've not noticed a large speed increase, but it is a bit better. What you do get are some effects that are normally turned off when not using QE (transition fading when using automatic wallpaper switching), etc.

    I'm sure there are reasons why this wasn't enabled by Apple...besides them wanting everyone to buy a new Mac. But all in all the hack does work and is worth checking out.

    • My setup: DP533, stock GeForce2MX running primary monitor, Radeon 7000 running secondary. I did the same and removed that line thereby activating QE on both monitors.. Really decent speed boosts with any overlay windows and I've found NO artifacts whatsoever. Column view works perfectly.

      Maybe it depends on the card/system?

    • They suggest you change IOAGPDevice to IOPCIDevice. But to make it work on both just remove it, like:

      Do you see the word "array" there? What part of "array" don't people understand?


      I mean, how obvious does it have to be? It's not like there aren't 5000 other *.plist files on the system to crib from.

  • I have a PCI Rage on my PowerBook, so I'm not gonna bother trying.

    The point is though that enabling QE on PCI will take away bandwidth from other PCI cards, such as storage, sound, and networking.
    • It doesn't matter for you. Quartz extreme requires ATI Radeon or better graphics chip or GeForce2MX or better graphics chip. In particular these newer chips have the ability to do textures that are not powers of two, which is required for QE implimentation.
      You can hack the software as much as you want but the hardware isn't there to do it.
      • Re:PCI problems (Score:1, Redundant)

        by 2nd Post! ( 213333 )
        I thought I made it clear I wasn't going to bother trying because I had a Rage 128 onboard?

        I've got the AGP (dedicated bus) but I don't have the hardware capable of doing, as you say, power of 2 textures among other things.

        I actually meant to say that people who enabled this and have other third party PCI cards may see a performance degradation because QE is sucking up the PCI bandwidth
  • by tbmaddux ( 145207 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @04:53PM (#4158918) Homepage Journal
    If you get it to work, try this after choosing a "Screen Effects" in System Preferences (watch out for spaces that Slashcode inserts in the path):

    /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/R esources/ enSaverEngine -background &

    Flurry is a good one with OpenGL particles. Make a transparent yellow-on-black Terminal window, run 'top', sit back and groove on the juicy goodness.

    • Cool trick. I was in an Apple Store on Monday and went around testing the performance of various machines using this. Of course the DP 1GHz suffered no noticeable lag compared to a static background. I was surprised to find that the 800 MHz TiBook showed no slowdown either. The iBooks were quite slow, and exhibited greenish box artifacts around all the windows while it was running. Although in regular screen saver mode, flurry ran great on them as well.

      Honestly, I think they ought to leave at least one or two machines in the store running this just to show how powerful QE can be. But as knowledgeable as they may be, I'll bet most of the salespeople there didn't know what happened or how to turn it off - other than rebooting. ;-)

      Wish I could have tried this on my 733 at home, but I'm still on 10.1.5 and it doesn't support the -background option. It would have been interesting to compare the difference between that and Jaguar, with and without Quartz Extreme enabled. Anyone know if this (-background) will still work with QE disabled?

    • If you want a nice UI to control this, grab Fackbore Effects [], which also lets you run multiple screen savers simultaneously.
  • I've gotta non-supported Rage 128 Pro in my Dual 450.
    • by TWR ( 16835 ) on Wednesday August 28, 2002 @05:53PM (#4159446)
      Unless you can redesign that Rage 128 Pro by yourself, and add support for T&L and textures that aren't powers of two in length or width, Quartz Extreme isn't going to work on your computer.

      Unfortunately, people have gotten their brains stuck on the amount of VRAM a card has. It's not so much the VRAM as it is the functionality of the video card (well, more VRAM does help, of course. But it's not the limiting reagent).


      • Thanks.

        I was aware of most of the info you posted, but when I read that some people had gained quasi-functionality with PCI-based cards I wanted to see if anybody'd tried it on an AGP card.

        I was gonna upgrade my display card but got confused and gave up after reading conflicting reports on xlr8yourmac about using AGP 4x cards in 2x machines.

        Does anybody know if a GeForce 4MX from a dual-gig G4 will work in my computer? We are going to upgrade the card in a cmptr at work (for dual displays) and won't have a use for the old one.
  • Running on a Beige G3/333 that I've overclocked to:
    375Mhz cpu, 75Mhz system bus, 30Mhz PCI. I'm using an ATI 7000 PCI, along with an OrangeLink USB/FW and Apple SCSI card(that drives the boot disk) on PCI. The ATI PCI is driving two displays, so each only has 16MB of video RAM availalbe and I drive them at 1600x1200 each.

    The system runs at, but is slightly unstable at the 385/70/35 jumper settings so I'll have to try that to see if the extra 5Mhz of bandwidth on the PCI bus helps at all.

    As for performance with the hack: windows sometimes scroll and relocate faster, but I also get random hesitations while dragging windows that I didn't get with QE off. The windows look better when dragged, there's no "tearing" and they seem to float obove the desktop better than with QE off. The genie effect is smoother. The OpenGL screensavers are no faster or smoother than before, not that this should affect them as I understand.

    While I'll be the first to say I'd prefer a new G4, I'll also say that this old system is stil quite viable for running OS X on a daily basis. Not for heavy lifting (video clip renderind, 3D modeling/rendering, audio creation, etc). But for surfing, email, coding web apps and the like this is still a nice little box. Beige though it is.
    • Where can I get info regarding overclocking the beige G3? I've got the 300 MHz model. After the new RAM and HD I needed for 10.2, and then 10.2 itself, I figure my next upgrade will be a G4 ZIF. But if I can hold off for awhile by overclocking, that would be nice.

      I actually have a second video card, but it (Rage 128) is only a small step up from what came with it (Rage Pro?) so no QE hack for me. I still get a weird feeling knowing that today's video cards have over 5 times as much RAM as my first computer.

      • OCing the beige G3 is a simple matter of setting jumpers on the motherboard. Specifically the jumpers under the red "do not remove, you'll void your warranty" sticker near the front left of the mobo.
        I got most of my info from the site : I found the information disjointed and a bit confusing so I created my own chart to overclcok with.
        You can get my document as an excel worksheet by connecting to the idisk server (cmd-k in OS X 10.1+)
        the 'p' in public must be upper case.

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