News Archive for: Wednesday, April 5th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Cinebench 9.5 scores with Win XP (via BootCamp) vs. OS X on MacBook Pro and Intel CPU iMac
Two submissions - MacBook Pro and Core Duo iMac.
(UPDATE: The graphs below were before the CineBench 9.5 April 7, 2006 update which notes "CINEBENCH 9.5 adapted to the latest Mac OSX OpenGL implementation."
the revised Cinebench show significantly higher OS X OpenGL Scores than those from before the update - on par with XP's OpenGL scores on the same system - see updated graph below.
For more info on Cinbench or to download it, see www.cinebench.com. It's been around for many years, but one reader didn't know that higher scores are better for instance.)

"Boot Camp - Cinebench testing (Before April 7th Cinebench update for OS X so OpenGL scores are low)
Machine: MacBook Pro 1.83GHz factory stock everything. (I graphed the results - higher scores are better.-Mike)

(19% lower total score)
Sincerely,
Jamie Dresser
Product Manager & New Product Development
Other World Computing, Inc."

An iMac user's results (added graph w/April 7th update to Cinebench results)


" Mike, I got around to running cinebench on my intel imac 1.83ghz with OS X and windows XP. Here are the results:
(Before April 7th Cinebench update for OS X)

(John's later results with April 7th update to Cinebench for OS X)

Thanks, John W. "

BTW - On new macs w/Tiger if Spotlight is still indexing the drive that takes a hit on performance. You can temporarily disable it using the System Prefs/Privacy option for Spotlight.

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Feedback/Tips on Apple BootCamp
(Updated reports again at 3PM )
Here's the first reader reports Apple BootCamp (anyone know the trial period length?) for Intel CPU Macs (see earlier posts below for links). I originally wondered if the firmware update and BootCamp help with the problem seen by MacBook Pro owners using the onmac.net XP bootloader (no graphics driver/acceleration - many tweaks tried w/o success last I heard.) - it does MBP users said, although there's still some missing driver support for some features.

" I've already downloaded Boot Camp and used it to install Windows XP Professional SP2. I thought it may be nice to share the experience for those who are less aggressive about adopting new technology than I am. The experience can be summed up as such: "Wow, that was easy."

I'm a nut about playing video games. I've got an Xbox 360. I've also got several late model PCs that help satisfy my obsession. One is a Dell, and the other two are DIY boxes that I hand-built. Install XP on my MacBook was way easier than doing so on the other PCs. It's not even close. Apple's got a clear guide on their site, but here's an overview of the process (do firmware upate first-Mike)

  • Download Boot Camp.
  • Install Boot Camp.
  • Run Boot Camp Assistant.
  • Follow the onscreen instructions.
  • Insert a blank CD when promoted to create a driver CD.
  • Insert an XP CD when requested.
  • Install XP. You'll have to decide between NTFS and FAT32.
  • After XP is installed, insert the driver CD to load all the needed drivers.
  • Dual-boot to your heart's content.

So far, the only major problem I've seen is that the MacBook has no right-click functionality. (an earlier MBP report links to an "apple mouse" (one button) utility and also said there was no iSight support yet, or keyboard backlight. -Mike) That's a bigger problem than you'd think. Contrary to what Apple claims, Bluetooth works fine, at least for me. (others mentioned it did also-Mike)

Performance is quite good. I ran Second Life and Half Life 2 via Steam. Both run well enough, factoring in that this is a mobile GPU. Of course, CPU performance is great. I'm thrilled because I was thinking about getting a Wintel notebook to game on the go. Now, I don't have to.
Mike McHargue
http://mikemchargue.com "

" Installed Windows XP Pro XP2 on my MBP 2GHZ. It works without major problem, most important is the Video driver WORKS GREAT. Testing 3DMARK 05 now, I am 100% sure it is working at natvie speed. However there is still some problems. For example, you can't right click with the trackpad - install the "Apple mouse utility" (http://www.geocities.com/pronto4u/applemouse.html) or use an external USB mouse, no scroll on the track pad, no keyboard back light, no iSight.
BTW, it's a lot better solution than XOM.
-K. Cheung "

That's good news on the video driver. Another note on using XP SP2 (service pack 2)

" Folks with Windows XP "SP0" CDs are not out of luck. For those without Windows XP SP2 CDs, they can use the "slipstream" procedure to legally create an XP SP2 CD from their old XP SP0 CD.

After testing, Boot Camp does work with slipstream CDs.

Several step-by-step tutorials for creating a slipstreamed CD can be found via Google
(http://www.google.com/search?q=xp%20sp2%20slipstream)
-Jacob "

Another BootCamp success story on a MBP and Mini:

" Mike, I've installed XP Pro on my MacBook, as well as a Core Solo Mac Mini.
No problems on the firmware update process. Partitioning the hard drive was easy (nice to be able to do that without a full reformat.)

The ATI driver install (as well as a couple of others) said it wasn't Windows tested, and gave the option of installing anyway (or not.) (I've seen that before - not WHQL) The machine booted at 800x600, but after installing the drivers, it's now running at 1440x900 native resolution.

Unlike the onmac.net XP solution, the eject key works, sound works.
BTW I didn't try the install over the onmac.net solution; I reformatted first, and had no issues (this was on the Mini.) The Macbook never had the previous XP hack.

Bluetooth is working, as is wireless networking (had to install the WEP password in hex for it to finally connect to my Airport Base.)

Just heard a top of the hour AM radio update (Fox News) with a news story about running Windows on Macs.
IMHO, it's time to buy more Apple stock. :) Running Windows seamlessly opens up a lot of opportunities for the corporate world that never existed for Apple before...
-Robert "

A friend said Apple stock was on the rise today.

"Mike,
I saw BootCamp in today's news and had to try it. I instaled the firmware update on my 1.83ghz iMac. No issues there. I then started up bootcamp. It asked me to make a macintosh driver CD for XP, so I did that.

Then, without damaging my OSX partition (which was all of the drive) it made a 5GB partition for XP. I don't use XP much so I thought that was fine.

It asked me to insert my XP CD and once I did that I clicked restart. The installation was painless. It took about a half an hour. Once XP booted the first time i inserted the macintosh driver CD BootCamp made for me and once that was done bluetooth, wireless, ethernet, and even graphics drivers were installed. It functions perfectly!
Take care, John W."

Earlier MBP owner comments but hadn't installed XP yet:

" I applied the firmware update and have noticed no changes in system behavior. I also completed the initial stages of BootCamp including creating the driver CD and partitioning 15GB of my MBP's 80GB hard drive. No problems. I have not yet attempted to install WinXP as I do not have a disk at my office. I'll write in when I do.
-Scott S. "

I had mentioned earlier to Scott that I thought SP2 was required. An Intel Mini owner mentioned he had problems with BootCamp at first:

" I tried to install Windows XP on my Mac Mini but so far it does not complete the install. It stops at loading FAT.... I'll try again.
(I asked him if he'd applied the Mini firmware update first - required for BootCamp per Apple, and was running 10.4.6 - he said yes and sent a update with more info-Mike)
it looks like the problem was I didn't have enough free space on my HD. I did free 12GB and I was able to resume installation. Now, I am not able to complete installation. I get the Windows color bar, and the remaining time for installation 36 minutes... then error message (CRC error), etc. I'll try one more time.
I do have 10.4.6 and I did apply the firmware update.
-Christian H."
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Apple Intel CPU Mac Firmware Updater won't work if onmac.net Bootloader was installed
Several Intel CPU Mini owners reported problems applying the Apple firmware update earlier today (see news item below) and it turns out a common thread was a previous install of the onmac.net bootloader, which a reader said prevents the firmware update install:

" Just a heads-up for anyone who has installed Windows XP via the onmac.net bootloader that was posted a few weeks ago - you will need to completely *format* the drive to get the new firmware to install. Deleting the partitions isn't enough - you need to blow away the entire drive to get rid of the custom partition mumbo-jumbo that the onmac.net solution sets up.

What I did was do a complete backup of my main drive to my backup firewire drive. (SuperDuper is awesome for this, by the way.) I then used Apple's disk utility to format my main drive.

I was then able to run the firmware upgrade for my system (a 20" imac) from the firewire drive and after rebooting while holding down the power button the firmware upgrade was successfully applied.

I'm now in the process of using SuperDuper to move my files back to my main drive. Once that's done I'm going to run through the Bootcamp process - I'll let you know how it goes.
-Neil"

Although some didn't mention they had installed it until I asked, it turns out to be a common thread for those with problems applying the firmware update.

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Feedback on Intel CPU Mac Firmware Updates
Here's the first reader reports the new firmware updates for Intel CPU Macs (see earlier posts below for download links and above for BootCamp reports.)

" Hi Mike, Installed the firmware on my 20" iMac.
Everything seemed to go OK. Don't know if it fixed any "issues" because I didn't have any (I love this machine). As far as improvements, can't tell really especially on the heels of the 10.4.6 upgrade, but things "seem" better. Probably the placebo effect.

The firmware upgrade was a little slow. It probably took 3 to 4 minutes with the status bar running (I'm used to seeing the status bar zip along on this machine). After that, the screen went black for 30 seconds or more. I don't think the instructions mentioned that. I got a little nervous but everything worked out fine.
-John M. "

Here's a couple of Mini owner's reporting problems applying the firmware update (apparently due to the onmac.net bootloader install previously).

" Hi Mike, No joy here on the mini duo firmware update. Yes, running 10.3.6.
Pressing reset gets the flashing LED, followed by a BeeeeeeeeeP, then normal boot, & the firmware dialogue box appears, indicating failure :-(

(Update - it turns out he had installed the onmac.net bootloader - see later news item above saying that causes the firmware update to fail.-Mike)

BTW, Because of 10.4.6 + firmware, etc. I'll leave my findings on EyeTV for a few days, to give me chance to spot any problems. There *might* be a wake-from-sleep problem, unsure yet.
There are lots of other folk reporting on EyeTV, but no recent ones I could find. In general so far, it's a very nice app'.
- John "

For that EyeTV problem, I'd try disconnecting/reconnecting the device (sometimes helps with problems after an update) - if not I'd check with ElGato to see if they have seen that problem.

" I just tried updating my intel mac mini with the new firmware update, but running into some difficulity. I followed the instructions where it saids to hold and press the power button until the power indicator light flashes."
That happens, but soon after the flashing lights I hear a Beeeeep sound and the machine reboots itself. Is that supposed to happen? Do I need to disconnect every device attached to the mini?
I also have the system set to automatically boot in Verbose mode, can that cause the firmware update to go bad?
Also I have a dual boot system running windows xp which I get to via the xom.efi boot manager. - can that cause issues also?
-Bernard "

Originally I didn't think that would matter but a reader later sent a Note that bootloader prevented a firmware update. It clearly is a common thread in problem reports.

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Apple releases firmware updates for All Intel CPU Macs
While checking the Apple support/downloads page this morning I saw new firmware updates for Intel CPU Macs and a firmware restore utility also.
(NOTE: If you have previously installed the onmac.net boot loader, see the note that it prevents the firmware update from applying.)

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Apple releases 'Boot Camp' for Win XP installs on Intel CPU Macs
Several readers sent a note that Apple has released a beta/trial version of "Boot Camp" for installing/running Windows XP on Intel CPU Macs. (There previously was a free 3rd party boot loader for this (onmac.net) - if you already installed that one see the note above.) Here's a clip from the press release:

" Apple(r) today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac(r), and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS(r) X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in "Leopard," Apple's next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in August....

The public beta of Boot Camp is available immediately as a download at www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp, and is preview software licensed for use on a trial basis for a limited time. The final version of Boot Camp will be available as a feature in the upcoming Mac OS X version 10.5 "Leopard." Apple does not provide support for installing or running Boot Camp and does not sell or support Microsoft Windows software. Apple welcomes user feedback on Boot Camp at bootcamp@apple.com "

The BootCamp page links to a Installation and Setup Guide PDF (for printing a hard copy as a reference). The new Intel CPU Mac firmware updates (see news item above for links) are listed as required . I welcome feedback on BootCamp from readers with Intel CPU Macs.
(See later news item above for initial feedback on Boot Camp and firmware updates.)

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New Pricing on OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 800 Raid Drives and Enclosure Kits
(from site sponsor OWC)

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Ground delivery within the 48 Continental states is $2.95 for any of the above solutions. 2nd Day Air delivery anywhere within the USA offered for $7.95 or less.

Also available, Elite-AL Pro 800 RAID Dual Drive Enclosure Kits for $119.99
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing "

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Any Mac Quake 4 owners see Graphics glitches?
This game apparently is shipping now for the Mac. I don't own it yet, but a reader with a G5 tower w/9800 Pro SE card and 24in LCD said he saw large amounts of "sparkle white snow" when running Mac Quake 4 (retail release) that he hadn't seen with other games (Doom 3, UT2004, etc.) on the same system. I asked what OS version he was using and he said 10.4.5 - he later wrote that 10.4.6 didn't help. (He later wrote the problem was not seen with other Macs and is now going to try replacing the card, although since Quake4 is based on the Doom3 engine, not sure why it didn't show the same thing if it was card related.)
Update - On Thursday he wrote replacing the video cable solved the problem.
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Flashed PC 9800 Pro card user notes on 10.4.6 Update quirks
(updated) This is the 2nd report from a flashed (PC to Mac) 9800 Pro card user that mentioned strange behavior with the 10.4.6 update. (Unfortunately the first report noted he hadn't solved the problem.)

"I got the double boot on a PPC G4 733 MHz DA PowerMac reboot BUT after the first auto-restart, I got a black firmware screen with a red icon showing my 9800Pro graphics card with a flashing Amphenol connector which seemed to be indicating a power problem at the card.
(that appears if the Pwr Supply connector for the card isn't connected or there's insufficient power. Maybe the power warning was due to a temporary dropout from the double restart? I wondered if that double-restart on Powerpc macs was some sort of firmware check - one reader said it's an Airport firmware check/update.-Mike)

It did not progress beyond there and I had to power-off and then checked the card seating and Amp connector. At the next power-on, it went thru the double reboot again and got back to the normal desktop OK. This is on a very assiduously maintained system that had permissions repaired before the 10.4.6 combo update.
The 9800Pro is a hardware-modded PC card (new large EEPROM) with the latest ATi bios for Macs and has been working well for 18 months since the mod was made. Very odd but now working fine again.
-Robert H. "

An earlier report from another Flashed PC 9800 Pro card user (G5 tower) said he had no video after the update.
I've added this and 8 other new comments on the page of reader feedback on OS X 10.4.6. (Also updated a previous report on iSync problems with some phones with links he sent to Apple forum threads from others.)
If you've updated to 10.4.6 and it fixed or broke something, let me know the details. Thanks.
Update - a couple of other flashed 9800 Pro card users wrote they had not seen any problems with the 10.4.6 update - one questioned the quality of the eprom mod

" Hi Mike,
I have a flashed PC (new EPROM) 9800 in my DA (OWC Mercury 1.33Ghz G4, 1.5 GB RAM) and updated to 10.4.6 without issue (got the double boot as well).
I'd question the quality of the EPROM replacement as I know some are more "shoddy" than others.
Just some FYI
Dimitrios "

Another OK report:

" Mike, I also have a ATI Radeon 9800 Pro that was flashed from a PC card; however, mine has 256 MB of RAM and a 128K EEPROM.
Now, I had already connected the power supply connector when I first installed it.
No problems that I'm aware of since installing 10.4.6.

According to System Profiler my ROM version is 113-A07525-130 and I've got ATI Displays 4.5.7 (0002).
My Mac G4 is a Digital Audio with a FastMac 1.47 GHz accelerator and 1.5 GB RAM.
-Fabian "

Another 9800 owner mentioned he'd seen the power problem before at times due to the PS connector becoming unseated.

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Comments on Griffin iMic and USB Headsets
(I had some readers comment on the iMic way back when it was first released, but here's a recent one)

" It all starts about two weeks back when I received a phone call from Mr Tom. He said, "Hey Ben, I'm talking to you thru Skype (VOIP), how does it sound?" - I said it sounds good!
Mr.Tom lives in Thailand and everytime I call him I get an extra $20 charge on my phone bill.
Next, I ran down to Fry's to buy a USB headset. I got the Plantronics DSP400. I than drove home and tried them out. They where quite yucky! The next day I returned them and got the DSP500's, got home, tried them and they were better but still bad!

I look around my room and in line of sight I can pick out 4 sets of headphones. I give my G5 a dirty look and ask it why it has no mic input? it does not reply. I do a search online and find the Griffin iMic! I order one and give it a try. Works great!
Now here's the funny part! When I read the Plantronics box it claimed they used a state-of-the-art DSP chip to give the end user audio bliss? Now I will give this to the plantronic DSP500, they are clean and clear, but use cheap drivers that give a muddy bass and lousy treble.
I now open up the Plantronics little black box and find a Micronas USB to Audio chip model UAC 3556b. Than the iMic, Same chip! after some research into this I find that most USB~Audio products use this chip.
My Point? Buy the iMic and use your own good quality headphones and a cheap desktop Mic and you'll have better sound for less money. Plantronics DSP500 costs $79.99 MSRP. The same Headphones without the DSP will run $24.99 MSRP. Model is the Audio 90 or GamePro 1.
As far as the iMic, it works great and has free software to do the RIAA for Phono so you can burn LP's without a preAmp or stereo of any kind (neat!).
-PoorBen "

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MacBook Pro reports page updated
I've updated the MacBook Pro user reports page again with more reports on 3rd party RAM, performance, heat and one user mention of a sound quirk. (Where even when muted he said at times some sounds played at higher volume but mentioned he's not noticed that since the 10.4.6 update.)
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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