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#1 2016-09-25 03:54:16

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 102

Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Years ago I bought a bulk lot of Powermac motherboards off a guy on eBay.  Two of them were Sawtooth boards, and I installed one of them in a B&W case with an adapter for the front panel board to hook up.  For years it has worked fine, only it never had the backplate around the ports because I didn't have the correct one.  (If anyone has one they can spare, let me know!)

  Right now I decided to look into the possibility of upgrading the firmware to the final 4.2.8 version (as is in another complete Sawtooth I acquired much later).  The firmware updater says it won't run on this machine.  When I looked in system profiler there were some very odd differences between it and the other Sawtooth:

Newer machine:

Boot ROM version: 4.28f1
Serial number: XA02312U-HSE-ffff
Sales order number: M7641LL/A

Odd machine:

Boot ROM version: 3.20b6
Serial number: (blank)-(blank)-0000
Sales order number: (blank)

  So what gives?  Is it a prototype or sample?  The second loose motherboard I've never tried has label tape on it saying "1.2f4".  Even more odd.  Should I just leave well-enough alone and not mess with the firmware on these other boards?  It kinda sucks if I can't because the 3.20b6 board is dreadfully picky about RAM, and I know the update was supposed to allow a wider range of third-party RAM.

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#2 2016-09-25 20:43:44

max1zzz
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Registered: 2014-05-18
Posts: 207
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Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

might be a unused apple service part, apple replacement logicboards have the s/n programmed into them by the technician when they are replaced. My ibook g3 dosen't show a s/n in system profiler for this reason.

That said, I don't see why this would stop the firmware updater running. Got any pics of the boards?

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#3 2016-10-16 08:06:38

Schmoburger
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From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
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Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Ar you entirely sure it is a Sawtooth board? The Saw and the Gigabit are very similar in the same way that the Yosemite G3 and Yikes G4 are, however they arent exactly the same (obviously)... For one, the Saw will still run a specific variant of 8.6, the Gigabit however, you can forget even trying. I am not entirely sure whether the Sawtooth and Gigabit ran common firmware or not, but if they didnt, and you have a Gigabit board you wont be able to do it.


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#4 2016-10-16 08:10:21

Schmoburger
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From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
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Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

I had similar issues getting a practically brand new Kansas 9600 board to work for similar reasons... whilst architecturally, the orginal 9600 and Kansas boards are very similar to one another, the Kansas machines do not support most earlier OEM edge slot daughtercards, meaning that it was useless with my dual-200 604e card as the 200MP used the earlier board.


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#5 2016-10-16 18:08:40

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 102

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Schmoburger wrote:

Are you entirely sure it is a Sawtooth board?

  The Gigabit board uses a different power supply with two additional pins.  I also have one of those boards loose here but can't test it due to not owning one of those power supplies.  They are still outrageously expensive on eBay.

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#6 2016-10-16 19:16:55

Schmoburger
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From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
Website

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Ah yes I forgot about the PSU differences. Probably unlikely to be that getting in your way then... I'm at a loss as to why it wont allow updating. The serial shouldnt make a difference I wouldnt think, unless it uses some kind of identifier from a serial number to ascertain whether it is installing to the intended machine... that seems a very ass about way of doing it though.


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#7 2016-10-17 18:47:46

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 102

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Photos now posted for visual comparison:

Stock G4 Sawtooth, ROM 4.28f1:
CAM00550.jpg

Odd G4 Sawtooth #1, ROM 3.20b6 (mounted in modified G3 B&W case):
CAM00556.jpg

Odd G4 Sawtooth #2, ROM 1.2f4 if I can trust the label on it:
CAM00557.jpg

G4 Gigabit Ethernet board for comparison, note longer power supply header to accommodate the addition of ADC power at the AGP slot:
CAM00558.jpg

  The true odd-one-out is the "Odd Sawtooth #2".  It has a slightly different layout, yellow silk-screen print instead of white, and for some strange reason has BOTH the older G3-type modem header AND the newer G4-type modem header.  I really hope I can get this board booting so I can test the older modem port.  Unfortunately there is a crushed pin in the last PCI slot header, so I'm not expecting this motherboard to function.

  The Gigabit board is nearly identical to a standard Sawtooth board, despite the upgrades made to it.  The silk-screening even features a mistake, with "10/100 Ethernet" still present beside the network port.  The 'redundant' internal firewire port was not installed, although all the component landing points for it still exist.

Update:

  "Odd Sawtooth #2" is actually booting.  For testing it is just using a 400MHz CPU, Rage Pro video, 128MB RAM, and the OS 8.6 disk I've been successfully using on "Odd Sawtooth #1".  Open Firmware reports the ROM revision to be 2.4f1, not quite what it said on the sticker, but still older than the others and still strange.  USB keyboard works, but for some reason I can't get it to recognize a mouse.  While that forced me to remember some keyboard commands I'd forgotten, it is somewhat limiting.  Yet another occasion where I'm thankful for having a shortcut to shutdown via the QuicKeys utility.  Any suggestions for getting the USB controller reset completely?  I had a situation like that on my Xserve before and the only thing that finally worked was to briefly start it with the video card removed which forced the hardware resources to completely re-scan.

Update 2:

  Mouse issue turned out to be some non-sensical problem with the Rage Pro video card, even another similiar one swapped in.  The mouse was present and the button worked but the pointer wouldn't move.  Switching to a Radeon 9200LE PCI card solved that problem.  I don't get why it only acted like this on this particular motherboard.
  Also, the old-style modem board header fit a G3 Stealth Serial Port but the motherboard won't chime with it connected.  Perhaps it is only supposed to be a dianostic port as configured on this motherboard.  I don't think there's any way I can test this theory.

Last edited by MacOS Plus (2016-10-17 20:36:46)

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#8 2016-10-17 21:37:43

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 102

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Two more observations from comparing the Sawtooth boards.  I went into Open Firmware on the newer board with ROM 4.28f1 and also the visibly different older board with ROM 2.4f1.  I found a couple of minor differences in the dev lists:

older board:
/psudo-hid
  /keyboard
  /mouse

newer board - additional child device under /psudo-hid, additional parent device /psudo-sound:
/psudo-hid
  /keyboard
  /mouse
  /eject-button
/psudo-sound

older board:
/pci@f2000000
  /pci-bridge@d
  /ethernet@b

newer board - ethernet child device moved to different parent device:
/pci@f4000000
  /ethernet@f
  /ethernet-phy

  The first stuff in the 'psudo' section is probably just additions to the later ROM.  The ethernet device however looks like a physical architecture change.  This makes me wonder if the older board would work in OS 8.6 without the need for the machine-specific ethernet extension update provided on the special OS restore CD for the Sawtooths.  The updated Mac OS ROM file is probably still needed though.

  The second thing I've found is that "Odd Sawtooth #1" has a row of LEDS near the rear of the board which is not populated on the newest board.  They never light up so I figure they must have been for developmental diagnostic testing purposes only.

Last edited by MacOS Plus (2016-10-18 03:56:24)

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#9 2016-10-25 16:19:49

Schmoburger
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From: Australia
Registered: 2015-04-21
Posts: 281
Website

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

This all has me quite fascinated now... I will possibly open up my Sawtooth and see what it looks like compared to your ones here.

Last edited by Schmoburger (2016-10-25 16:20:37)


Stay hungry... Stay foolish.
G5 2.0DC, Yikes G4/500 Sonnet-Enhanced, B+W G3/450, 9600/200MP, 7600/200, iMacs DVSE Graphite and 600 Snow, 7220/200, WGS 7350/180, 6360/160, 5500/250 DE, Pismo, 2x Lombards, 6100/66DOS, 2x CC's, 3x Pluses, 512K, SE/30, SE Superdrive, 2x Classics, IIvx, IIci, IIsi, 3x LC520, 4x LC575, 5x P580, LC, LCIII, //gs LE, 2x ROM 02 //gs', IIe... and I'm outta characters!

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#10 2017-05-10 18:21:09

MJ313
Member
Registered: 2014-09-23
Posts: 498

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

I'm curious what the serial number on the board is, for Odd Board 2. I have a prototype Gigabit Ethernet, and it actually says EVT in the serial right there on the board... I would assume if yours is a proto it will have something similar.

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#11 2017-05-11 04:12:55

MacOS Plus
Member
Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 102

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

MJ313 wrote:

I'm curious what the serial number on the board is, for Odd Board 2. I have a prototype Gigabit Ethernet, and it actually says EVT in the serial right there on the board... I would assume if yours is a proto it will have something similar.

  As best I can read the printing, the following is what appeared on the sticker on each board:

Stock Sawtooth - "KD0220B5HHQTD INDONESIA P10 MLB"
Odd Board 1 - "MH001326HK9 P10 DVT2"
Odd Board 2 - "MH931736 DVTB"

  You gave me the hint I needed to figure this out.  They are essentially late-stage prototypes.  Here is a quote I found from an admin by the handle "DieHard" at the MacOS9Lives forums who used to be an avid Apple prototype collector:

"The progression of Apple's product development goes through several distinct phases. Following the development phases, products go into EVT (Engineering Verification Testing) and then DVT (Device Verification Testing) stages before they reach the production stage."

  He said he also owned a prototype with the letters "PVT" on it.   He noted, "I was told, but cannot verify, that PVT stands for "Performance Validation Test."

  So, yes, my boards are pre-production test units.  I don't think the guy who sold them to me had any idea that was the case.  I can't imagine how he ended up with them up here in Canada given that he was a small-time surplus dealer with no particular interest in oddities.

  It's probably extremely risky to try updating the firmware on these DVT boards even if it would physically flash because the production firmware may not work properly in the pre-production boards.  Now that I know they are pre-production I'm not going to mess with them.  Not that there's likely much collectable value in them, but they'd certainly be virtually worthless if they were rendered non-functional!  Too bad the fastest upgrade CPUs are not an option then since you likely can't run any firmware patchers either.

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#12 2017-05-11 11:09:09

MJ313
Member
Registered: 2014-09-23
Posts: 498

Re: Weird Sawtooth motherboards

Odd Board 1 looks like a prototype Sawtooth board,  but Oddboard 2 looks like a prototype Gigabit Ethernet board to me. That PS connector throws me off just a bit. Mine has the full complement connector. Sweet finds!

Here's a pic of mine if you are interested.
https://thinkclassic.org/viewtopic.php?pid=5527#p5527

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