News Archive for: Thursday April 26, 2007 (later added items first)
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Systems | CPU Upgrades | Video | IDE | Firewire | SCSI | Audio | Tips/Apps/Networking | FAQ
Looking for other user feedback on AVC decoder for Quicktime
(from a reader mail)

"Hi Mike, I've noticed something with my system that I'd love to get reader feedback on. A few weeks ago, I noticed an AVC decoder for QuickTime at http://www003.upp.so-net.ne.jp/mycometg3/ (avc1Decoder 0.6.5). I installed the component and was able to play some avc files downloaded from the Playstation 3. My problem is the frame rate only gets up to 20 fps at best.
I then went to Apple's movie trailer site and found that all the 1080 content dropped frames, in some cases all the way down to 2. My system is a 2.3 GHz Dual core G5 with 3.5 GB of RAM and 10.4.9 with QuickTime 7.1.5. It's an edit system and I work with HD file s all the time.
I removed the component, and everything went back to normal. In the preference pane, I turned off post process, but the decoder still can't seem to play 1080 content fast enough. I'd like to know if anyone else is experiencing this.
Thanks, Cucillo"

If you've used this (or know of an alternative) let me know the details. (Include your computer/system info also - thanks.)
Note: see Friday's news page for some later reader feedback and alternatives.

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iQuiz Maker (free)
Eddie sent a FYI to anyone that bought the 99 cent 'IQuiz' game from the iTunes store that there's a free iQuiz Maker available for creating your own trivia quizzes. (The site also has theme and quiz downloads.)
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Parallels Technology Network
Jan sent a link to the Parallels Technology Network site, "dedicated to consolidating the efforts and activities of 3rd-party developers who create Parallels Virtual Appliances." The site has a Parallels Virtual Appliances Directory, Knowledge Base, and Community Forum.
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OWC Clearance Page updated, Macbook/Pro/Mini/iMac memory price cuts
(from site sponsor OWC)

" On clearance, we have a substantial number of Apple 512MB PC5300 DDR2 667MHz SO-DIMMs suitable for MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac Intel, Mac mini Intel as well as any PC that uses PC5300 200 Pin DDR2 SO-DIMM 667MHz. These are rebate pulls from Apple Intel Macs, Fully Tested, and backed by an OWC Warranty:
- 512MB - now just $23.75 per module!
- 1.0GB Apple Kits for Mac Pro Quad Xeons available at $125.00 per kit.
- 1.0GB 'used' PC5300 DDR2 200 Pin 667MHz So-Dimms for $47.50 each
+ a whole heck of a lot more to be found currently posted on our clearance specials page Freight is from $4.50 or Less. "

As a FYI, last night I updated the sidebar for lower pricing on (new) 1GB PC-5300 SO-DIMMs ($62.50), 2GB PC-5300 SO-DIMM ($192.50), 2GB Pair (1.0GB x 2) PC5300 DDR2 kit ($125.00) and for PowerMac G5 Models, iMac G5, Mac mini 1.25GHz/1.42GHz and later eMacs - 1GB PC3200 DDR 400MHz Modules ($82.50 - $159 for a pair).

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Looking for Ralink 2800 chip based 802.11n PCI card (to test with OS X drivers)
(Updated) I've not had time to do a lot of searching for one, but if any reader knows of a PCI 802.11n card that uses the Ralink 2800 chipset, let me know.
Earlier this month a reader (Perry) was sent an OS X driver (cardbus/PCI/PCI-e) for Ralink 2800's but he's unable to find a PCI card based on that chip so far. (As of today that driver is still not linked at their US Ralink Mac drivers page.) Perry said he wrote Ralink support to ask what card uses their N chip and said they referrred him to http://planex.co.jp/product/wireless/gw-ds300n/ (japan) which has a pix of the card (with 3 antennas).

I searched for that card's model number and found another site that had an english page with the same card listed, but it's not a US dealer either. And clicking on the "GW-DS300N" card link there goes to a page that says:

"GW-DS300N : PCI Bus 11n
Sorry , data uploading soonest!
Any assist needed,
please contact 02-2479898 EXT 18"

Searches for 'ralink 2800' didn't find any useful results currently but if anyone else finds this card for sale in the USA (or any other Ralink 2800 series card), let me know. (Trying to find a US source, but a reader offered buy one in Akihabara (7560 yen) plus costs to ship to the US. Another reader found this card for sale on japan's amazon.com.jp.) I've added this to the previous page on Mac 802.11n networking.

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MacBook C2D owner notes on Power Fractal stress tests
(In reply to recent posts on Power Fractal tests on Mac Pros)

" Hey Mike. Just for the fun of it I thought I would try running Power Fractal on my stock MacBook 2GHz C2D w/1GB Ram, as Chibi suggested with the Maximum Count setting all the way up. What a hoot! The MacBook can also double as a blow dryer in emergencies (serious hot air coming from the vents)! It freaked me out a bit so I quit the program.
After a minute or so Power Fractal produced a message box saying one of the MP processes had shut down, also had a blue button with the word "OOPS" inside it. OOPS is right - never going to try that again.
-Norbert "

I asked if he ever tried that again to run Temperature Monitor (freeware) to see the CPU and system temperatures. (It will show current and max temps seen.) Another MacBook owner replied:

"To Norbert don't worry about your MacBook I run Folding@Home on my 2Ghz Core2Duo MacBook every night and it runs at 100% CPU capacity for the whole night.

I am currently running Power Fractal as I type this and while yes the MacBook does get warm and the fan is running at nearly 6200rpms it isn't hurting anything. I've even tried running Folding while the MacBook sat on a soft cushion so that the bottom is insulated and doesn't relieve heat and the CPU temp doesn't get any higher than if it is on a hard surface. The MacBook cools extremely well and does all it's ventilation out the back through the vents.
-Louis (aka MacBandit) "

The MacBook's SMC should never allow any damage to occur due to overheating (it controls fan speeds, can throttle down the CPU and even shut down the system if there was a thermal overload.) I used "Altivec Fractal Demo" (the previous name for Power Fractal) as part of a stress test for CPU Upgrade reviews here - running it in demo (constant) mode while also running iTunes large OpenGL visuals, playing audio, etc. for 24 hours straight - that stressed the system more than just running something like dnetc (which some others use for CPU stress tests).

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Rate Your Mac CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report added today. Total to date: 10,310. Here's a summary of the latest addition (search database by upgrade brand, mac model, etc. for a complete list/comments of all user reports on matching criteria - latest reports first).

  • Sonnet G4/500MHz in B&W G3 (rated 9)
    (long report, includes notes on OS 9.x boot hangs w/sonnet extension if ADB Wacom tablet connected. Suggested he try renaming extensions to change load order. If that doesn't help, try disabling the sonnet extension - L2 cache should still be enabled, but may be running at 5:2 ratio vs 1/2 CPU speed.
    (For a comprehensive comparison with apps tests, game tests, install info, benchmarks, etc. of the fastest CPU ZIF upgrades for Yikes G4/B&W G3/Beige G3s, see the review of G3 1GHz/1.1GHz vs G4/1GHz, G4/800MHz and G4/550MHz CPU ZIF Upgrades here.)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the G4 upgrade reviews and G3 upgrade reviews pages. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

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, send a review with your experience (performance/stability/installation, etc.), Mac Model/Upgrade brand info and overall rating (1= worst to 10=best). Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand).

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Other News/Misc. Software Updates
(Updated 5:20PM Thursday)

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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