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News Archive for: 4/2/2002 Tuesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of April 2nd, 2002:

Review and Photos of GVS9000 Rack Mount Dual 1GHz G4 System
Vladimir Mikle sent photos, comments and tests of his new GVS 9000 rack mount system based on the Dual 1GHz G4 PowerMac motherboard.
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ATI Radeon 8500 Drivers Posted, Radeon PCI Owner Comments:
Ben Boffey noted he tried the 1.0.0 Radeon 8500 driver release (the same version as in the retail 8500 box I assume) with his Radeon PCI card just to see if there were any benefits. (The 8500's drivers are not really for the original Radeon cards, but some included common extensions may be later versions however.)

    "Hi Mike, not sure if you've been told or heard this yet, but version 1.0.0 of the Radeon 8500 Drivers have been posted by ATI today:
    http://www.ati.com/support/products/
    mac/radeon8500/radeon8500maceditiondrivers.html

    Here's the release notes:
    http://download.ati.com/drivers/osx-radeon8500-100.html

    Here's the separate OS 9 release notes, including support (at least in terms of Mac2TV etc) for previous cards (doesn't seem to be this support in th OS X drivers). I'l do some extra checking up ASAP.
    http://download.ati.com/drivers/os9-radeon8500-100.html

    I've installed both the OS 9 and OS X Radeon 8500 drivers on my Beige G3 with Radeon PCI.

    OS X:
    No additional capabilities AFAIK, I expected this as the installed items seem to be based around kernel extensions specific to the Radeon 8500. I did this more for fun rather than the chance of any functionality ;) You do get some items installed in '/Applications/Utilities/ATI Utilities' including an app called ATI Displays, there is no current support for either my Radeon PCI or on-board RagePro 6Mb...
    (See my previous Radeon 8500 review OS 9 software and OS X software pages for screenshots of the control panels, etc.-Mike)

    OS 9:
    Extensions updated as follows
    3D Accelerator 5.0.4 (unchanged)
    Displays 2.8.4 -> 2.8.5
    Extension 2.8.4 -> 2.8.5
    Graphics Accelerator 5.5.1 -> 5.5.5
    Mac2TV Monitor 2.8.3 -> 2.8.5
    Radeon 3D Accelerator 6.3.5-> 6.3.8
    Rage 128 3D Accelerator 6.3.5 -> 6.3.8
    Resource Manager 3.0.5-> 3.0.8
    ROM Xtender 1.0.9 -> 1.1
    Video Accelerator 4.8.5 -> 4.8.6
    OpenGL RendererATI 1.2.8 -> 1.3.1
    (Addition) ATI 8500 3D Accelerator 7.0.1
    All the best,
    Ben Boffey"

As I noted last month, there's said to be a driver update (hopefully soon) for the previous Radeon cards to add FSAA support, etc. I noted here last week that I was also told there's going to be a driver update for 7500/8500 cards that improves performance.

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Q&A with Intech on SpeedTools 3.5 Update Large Drive Support
I had some questions for Intech regarding their 3.5 driver update noted earlier today:
    Q: Is your large drive (>128GB) support available under OS X?

    If only this were true...We still have a long way to go before we can release OS X native ATA drivers that support extended capacities. However, we have formally requested extended ATA support for OS X from Apple (on behalf of Maxtor, of course).

    Q: Are you saying that the driver alone (used with ATA/66, etc. onboard IDE interfaces) will enable full use of 160GB drives for instance?

    Yes, that is exactly what we are saying. We currently support up to 2048 GB ATA drives connected to the Mac native IDE bus. Furthermore, the ATA-6 specification also dramatically increases the number of blocks per transfer, improving throughput dramatically

    Q: I saw that improvement noted in the Maxtor ATA/133 white paper last year - but doesn't that require an ATA/133 interface? (or do the drivers only enable this?)

    Actually it's a bit more complicated than this. The ATA/133 spec is part of the speed spec for ATA-6: essentially it's a double clocked ATA/66. Currently, the built-in Apple IDE controllers do not support any speed above ATA/66. There is nothing any driver can do about this. However, the ATA-6 spec also supports a new command spec to allow for extended capacities and transfer sizes. This is what we are supporting, and it is specifically this new command spec which allows us to support drives over 128 GB in capacity under the classic versions of MacOS. Hope that helps clarify. If not, let me know.

    Q: Also are the v3.5 drivers OS X compatible at all?
    (even for <128GB drives)

    Nope. Because of this dilemma we devoted a big chunk of a web page just to handling this issue. Please see http://www.IntechUSA.com/XNews.html to see exactly what we are telling our customers to do. If you have any suggestions, we're all ears.
    Chris
    www.intechusa.com

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Revised Pricing on OWC Firewire Drives (up to 160GB)
Site sponsor Other World Computing sent a note on their latest FW drive models/pricing:

    New OWC Mercury Hard Drive Pricing:
    Mercury Elite Oxford911 7200RPM External Solutions
    20GB remains $159.99
    40GB now $179.99
    60GB now $199.99
    80GB now $239.99
    100GB now $295.99
    120GB now $309.99

    Mercury Oxford911 5400RPM External Solutions
    20GB now $149.95
    40GB now $169.95
    60GB now $189.95
    80GB now $215.95
    120GB now $295.95
    160GB **NEW for April** $379.95

    Mercury On-The-Go 2.5" Portable Oxford911 External Solutions
    20GB now $189.97
    30GB now $215.97
    40GB now $279.97
    48GB now $395.97
    60GB now $519.97
    Best Regards,
    Larry O'Connor
    Other World Computing, Inc. "

(Info/pricing accurate the date posted but may change over time. Check OWC's site for the current pricing.)

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Intech Speedtools 3.5 Update and OS X Benchmark Suite:
(Barney included a link in last night's SW updates listing but I didn't realize the whole story until getting this press release from Intech.)

    " Intech keeps the free updates rolling with its latest Hard Disk SpeedTools 3.5 product revision. The popular disk formatting and test utility software for Macintosh has become the worlds first driver and utility to support native ATA disk drive capacities beyond 128 GB. The latest revision also introduces two new members to the speedtools family which have been written specifically for MacOS X; QuickBench? X and Integrity? X. Additionally, with the overwhelming initial response for these new testing programs, Intech has package them together along with their industry-standard MacOS Classic counterparts as the new SpeedTools Test Suite for $19.95. Hard Disk SpeedTools is available for the companies web site for $59.95. And, of course, Intech backs all of its products with its revolutionary free update for life program.
    For more information:

    Intech Software Web Site: http://www.IntechUSA.com

    Hard Disk SpeedTools product page:
    http://www.IntechUSA.com/HDInfo.html

    Hard Disk SpeedTools 3.5 revision info:
    http://www.IntechUSA.com/HDrev.html

    SpeedTools Test Suite product page:
    http://www.IntechUSA.com/TestSuite.html
    General Questions: Sales@IntechUSA.com"

(See the later news post above for my Q&A with Intech on large drive support, OS X compatbility, etc..)

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Reader Reports Apple Bluetooth drivers work with TDK USB Bluetooth Adapter
Reader Tim Chong sent a link to his page noting that the Apple Bluetooth drivers (linked last night in the Software updates page here) worked with the TDK USB Bluetooth adapter. Tim's page includes a photo of the TDK adapter and a link to their product page for it.
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Voodoo5 5500 PCI UT tests in Dual 1GHz G4
A few readers had asked how the Voodoo5 5500 PCI graphics card would perform in Unreal Tournament installed in a Dual 1GHz G4. The graph below shows the results of some quick tests in Glide (16bit) mode with the V5 in a Dual G4 1Ghz. Since there's no OS X drivers the tests were run with UT v436 in OS 9.2.2. I used the results from my previous Radeon 8500 vs GeForce4MX in the same machine for comparison. (Rave mode ran best for those cards - 32bit Rave mode with medium detail settings was used. In my opinion it takes 32bit mode on other cards to look as good as UT does in Glide's 16bit mode.) I used the last beta update for the Voodoo5 (linked in the sidebar at my mac3dfx.com site).

Graph of scores

Although only 16Bit mode, Glide looks great in UT and many have always felt UT ran best in Glide mode. FPS rates during actual gameplay are almost always higher than the average rates seen with benchmarks. With the Voodoo5 playing at 1024x768 mode (medium detail settings), rates during play (against bots) were generally in the 50-60FPS range (no FSAA), 29-59 FPS with 2x FSAA and 16-30FPS with 4xFSAA. (4xFSAA showed some sluggish reponse even in the game's menu screen). However 2xFSAA was playable at 1024x768 mode. Occasionally I'd see the FPS rates drop severely during some intense close-up battles with 2XFSAA enabled though.

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ATI's Trade-Up Promotion ($150 credit) on Radeon 8500 Mac Edition
ATI has a Radeon 8500 Trade-Up promotion press release today. According to the press release - if you buy the Radeon 8500 ($299) direct from ATI, fill out the form and return your existing ATI Radeon 7500 or Nvidia GeForce4MX card, you'll get a credit of $150 (US) back. (Offer limited to USA and Canadan customers only; offer ends May 31, 2002. See the linked page for terms/conditions.) Here's a clip from their FAQ.

    " What is the "Supercharge your Power Mac G4" program all about?
    "Supercharge your Power Mac G4" allows Apple Power Mac G4 owners to upgrade their existing systems that were supplied by Apple with an ATI RADEON 7500 MAC EDITION or an nVIDIA GeForce 4 MX graphics card to the new high performance RADEON 8500 MAC EDITION.

    Who can participate in this program?
    Any current owner of an Apple supplied Power Mac G4 computer system equipped with either an ATI RADEON 7500 MAC EDITION or a nVIDIA GeForce 4 MX graphics card who reside in the United States of America or Canada and who have a valid credit card number. "

(Note: I originally assumed the first Radeon AGP card would qualify but it looks like only the Radeon 7500 (or GeForce4MX) OEM cards qualify, not the earlier Radeons.)

The Radeon 8500 Mac Edition features 64MB of DDR video ram, video/TV out (in OS 9 and OS X), dual monitor support (DVI+VGA, or two VGA Monitors with the included DVI-I ->VGA adapter. Use of Apple ADC LCD displays requires an adapter such as Dr.Botts. There are no adapters for Apple's discontinued 17" CRT ADC display.) See the ATI web site links for more details.

I recently tested an earlier driver set with the Radeon 8500. (A driver update is due soon with performance enhancements I'm told for the 8500 and 7500 cards.) See the article for performance tests, pages on the 8500's software controls/features (OS X and OS 9) and more.

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive /Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 8 new reports added today. The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 7,017 reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports:

    DVD-R DVD Recorder Drive Reports:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-A04 in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (noted the infamous "not supported" error in DVD Player - more than a few readers noted this after the 10.1.3 update)

    Combo DVD-CDRW Drive Reports:
  • IDE LG GCC-4120B (12x8x32x +8x DVD ROM) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (not bootable he said, locks system if CD in drive at boot)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lite-On LTR-24102B (24x10x40) in Beige G3 (OS X)
  • Matshita UJDA330 8x4x24x in iBook (OS X)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lite-On 40x12x48 [IDE drive in Firewire case] used w/Dual G4 (OS X)
    (problems noted in Toast at end of burns)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM 60GXP 60GB in iMac (OS 9.1)
  • IBM 75GXP 75GB in B&W G3 using IDE PCI card (OS X)
    (noted 3.1.2 firmware update for Acard/Tempo ATA66 fixed video capture problems.)
  • Maxtor 40GB in G4/AGP (OS 9.1)
    (FYI - see our Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD in G4/AGP and B&W G3 rev 2 or later.)

You can find full owner reports (latest shown first) by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches).
For guides to installing CD/CDRW/DVD drives or Hard drives in many mac models, see the IDE Articles page. The Firewire articles page also has guides on case kits, installing drives, etc.
If you've added a IDE, SCSI, Firewire or USB hard drive, CDRW, tape drive, etc. make sure you add a report to the database. [If you post an updated entry - make sure you use the same name, etc. as you did before so I can find your past entry. Thanks.]

(Entries today will be added the following newsday. Incomplete entries are deleted. Do not post questions in the database, it's for drive reports not questions on what drive to buy - for that try searching the database for reports from owners of your mac model on the drive type/brand/interface, etc. you're interested in.)

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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports. (Total to date: 6,931). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning. Incomplete entries, those with not comments, missing info, etc. are deleted]

  • Newer Tech G4/350 in 9600 (rated 7)
  • Sonnet G4/500 Duet in G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • Apple G4/350 ZIF in B&W G3 (rated 9)

(Warning - Overclocking may not be reliable and could lead to hardware failure or corrupted data.) You can find the full reports by searching the database selecting the indicated Mac model and upgrade card brand/type. If you've upgraded the CPU on your Mac, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago:
(Sometimes these old pages are a bit embarrassing - and in many cases the offsite links may not work and comments there were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, etc.)

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