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Emulation question


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The section on Q in this month's episode got me thinking-

What's you guys' opinion on some PowerPC emulators for my Intel Mac? It would be great to run Myst or Riven again.

My PC runs Win2k and the Ubisoft-published versions of the game won't run on it - and runs on XP, go figure - and also won't run on Intel Macs.

I know I could just google something like this, but having opinions on this and that will give me a somewhat objective (or at least unpretentious gonzo) viewpoint with which to sort out the ton of useless junk out there.

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The only PPC emulators I'm aware of are PearPC (only runs OSX 10.1 -> 10.4 IIRC) and SheepShaver (runs OS 8.5 through 9.x).

Both are available for Windows and Linux and I believe there may be BSD builds for one or both of them.


Having used PearPC I know it takes a lotta cycles to get it moving at any useful speed, though on my AthlonXP 1.73GHz w/512MB RAM on Windows Server 2003 it runs almost usable. It is very CPU intensive so you'll need a real kickass CPU to make it run like at what would seem normal speeds.

Booting's fairly quick considering it's emulated, it's great to see the grey Apple boot screen on my PC without needing OSX86 and it gets to the desktop fairly quickly. OSX's GUI gets a bit sluggish sometimes but that doesn't surprise me to be honest, I was able to open Word 2001 for Mac on it, it can run MSN Messenger and connect to IRC using XIRC. It does have internet access after a little tweaking, instructions are online but the only thing it's missing as of build 0.4 is that it has no sound.

Graphics aren't too bad either, all is as it should be there, it works great in full screen and looks/feels just like a low-spec PPC Mac. You'll find the desktop runs quicker and smoother in 16-bit mode as opposed to 32-bit and full screen also seems to help. I wouldn't expect to watch videos on this thing though, especially on my system. I'm confident that it would work but again, a rather extreme host system would be advised... however without sound playing videos would be kinda useless anyways...

It emulates a G3 Mac normally, G4 support is available with a tweak to the config file if it's an altivec build but it's not recommended (and I wouldn't recommend) that you turn it on, it slows everything right down and for some reason corrupts graphics within OSX.

Screenshot of my PearPC desktop


Ignore the CPU speed listed there, it would normally say around 800MHz on this machine but it's kinda irrelevant because the speed shown does not really relate to the speed of the emulated Mac. The speed calculated by MacOS depends on what Windows is doing in the background and when this shot was taken I had a virus scan running and a couple of other things so MacOS counted less available MHz if you will due to the emulated CPU not having as much time on my Athlon.

The RAM is configurable so 128MB shown here was chosen by me to see how it ran, I think the default is 256MB.


I haven't yet tried SheepShaver but I've heard good things, I hope to try it soon.

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