Installing OS X 10.1 on a PowerComputing 604/200

July 31, 2002

Even though I used a 604 processor, these instructions should be useful if you have a G3 upgrade or a lower MHz 604 PowerPC Clone.


I started hearing about the possibility to built a Mac running OS X without the stipulation that you have a Apple Computer. I think the original spark was a brief comment on Evan Williams’ site about building a Mac clone from parts and then the followup on Backup Brain . Last week I remembered this from a discussion on Flutterby where Dori mentions that she is having a class on building an “Ugly OS X Machine”.

One of my most favorite computers were the PowerComputing systems. I’ve owned three different systems and they’re all great. So, the victim subject for this project was a system I had in my “Sell on eBay” pile.


1.) Apple OS X 10.1 CD

2.) XPostFacto (XPF)

3.) PowerPC 604 and up….

4.) 2gb Free on destination disk

5.) Working computer with #3 & 4 running MacOS 8.5-9.1

6.) At least 256mb RAM

System Used:

PowerComputing PowerWave 604/120 upgraded to a 604/200.

256mb RAM

4gb Seagate SCSI Drive

5gb Western Digital IDE Drive

VST UltraTek ATA/66 IDE Controller

Toshiba 4x CD-ROM w/ Apple ROM

Stock ATI Mach64 Video Card

Stock IOMEGA Internal ZIP 100 SCSI

Stock built-in Network Card

Belkin USB Card


All I really did was to follow the directions for XPostFacto, and it works. But, I thought about upgrading the system to OS X with an IDE drive and found a VST that could be ROM upgraded to support OSX. The reason I was going to use IDE instead of the built-in SCSI drive and controller, was that many people have experienced problems installing OS X on the original internal SCSI.

I installed the IDE controller, IDE drive, and the USB card. Started the computer into OS 9.1, installed the RAID control software and installed the APple USB support. Quick Initialized the drive and rebooted. System sees everything. SGI USB Keyboard and 5gb IDE Drive. I then installed XPostFacto and inserted the OS X 10.1 Install CD.

You have two options in XPF, Reboot and Install. You select the OS X partition to install to and choose what OS X system folder to reboot to. It wouldn’t allow me to install to the IDE drive as I had planned. I didn’t format the drive in the HFS+ format. So I selected my SCSI drive. Rebooted

When OS X install came up, it allowed me to make a choice on where to install. Mistake #1….I chose to format the IDE drive and install there, instead of where I told XPF I was going to install OSX. It actually installed fine, rebooted and got a kernel panic. Had I actually read the XPF instructions, I wouldn’t do the next few things I did.

I rebooted into a 9.1 Install CD. Selected the System Folder for 9.1 on the SCSI drive and rebooted. Came up into OS 9.1 with no issues, except I couldn’t see the IDE drive. So, I went into the VST utilities and re-initialized the drive. I decided to install again, and this time…despite the problems others had, I installed it to my internal SCSI drive.

Install went fine, but I still got a kernel panic when I rebooted. So I had the same error on both the SCSI and IDE drives. So, I looked up the possible solution online. The ATi driver needed to be upgraded. Mistake #2. I really didn’t need to do this. I installed the ATI driver and then tried to reboot into OS X….yep you guessed it, kernel panic. I went back and rebooted into the 9.1 install disk again. And selected the system folder for 9.1 on the SCSI drive. rebooted and looked online for more solutions. I read the XPF instructions more than I initially did, and that is where I found that my kernel panic would be fixed if I booted into OS 9, open XPF and find the System Folder on the SCSI drive. Select that under reboot and it booted into OS X.

Now, if you’ve used an old 604-based system, you know what a G3 speed increase will do. OS X is usable, but slow on the 604 systems….even with 256mb of RAM. This isn’t my main machine, it’s going to be a backup for me and a system for my wife. My next step is to at least purchase a G3 266mhz upgrade. I currently run OS X 10.1.5 on a 250mhz Wallstreet Powerbook with 256mb of RAM. So I’m hoping that it will work as well as it does on the PowerBook.

What I would have done different:

Not install the IDE card and IDE drive

Not install the ATI drivers

Read the Manual before I did anything


It can be done and it can be done in about an hour. If I had read the instructions more in-depth and if I knew that there wasn’t a Mach64 for the Mac, then it would have gone smoother. I didn’t even need the IDE card and drive. To be honest, I thought I would have more problems and it would have taken longer. If you want to experiment like I did, then let me know.

I do have a few questions….is XPF a branch from BootX? Would BootX do the same thing? I know XPF installs a Mach Kernel like most PPC Linuxs do.