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News Archive for: 8/3/2001 Friday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of 8/3/2001:

Reader Raves about LyX Word Processor on OS X:
" Mike,
I am an undergraduate physics major at UVA, as such until last I have been forced to work with LaTeX when writing all my paper. I found a wonderful word processor called LyX (www.lyx.org) which will run under OS X with xfree86 installed. The install took three days of compiling and installing(this was easy to do using fink) but the end results are amazing. This is the best word processor I have ever used and I will use it not just for my physics related papers but as a replacement for MS word. I encourage you and your readers to check out this amazing program. Install instructions for OS X can be found at: http://www.la.utexas.edu/~tnishino/osx_lyx/

I had some problems with the install so anyone who attempts to install this program can feel free to contact me if they encounter any problems,
Tison C.

For a screenshot of LyX on OS X, click here. As noted on the page linked above, this is probably more than the typical user will want to attempt, but if I could make time I'd love to try it. The page linked above also has info on running Rootless in OS X, MacGimp, etc..

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Another GeForce3 Problem Report w/Warbirds III:
On the way back from the hospital I stopped by a friend's house to try and help him get Warbirds III running on his GeForce 3 equipped system. Unfortunately in the 1/2 hour or so I was there, nothing helped with the problems seen. The system was a G4/733 (digital audio model), running OS 9.1, 512MB of RAM (the game default allocation is 176MB), GeForce3 with Nvidia 2.2 extensions and OpenGL 1.2.2. Major problems seen that made it unplayable.

The intro screen/wallpaper looks ok, but the dialog box that comes up is missing text and identifiers in all buttons, drop-down menus, and even the title bar of the widow. [There was a green 3d plane model rotating in one window of the dialog, with Air Force insignia, etc. - that looked ok except for perhaps the shading, which the readme notes there is some sort of green texture issue with nvidia cards they are trying to fix.]

640x480 and 1024x768/16 bit and 32bit settings were tried with the same results. Enabling Virtual memory (even though there was over 400MB free RAM) did not help at all. There are no other graphics cards in that system and it's running no 3rd party addon extensions, etc. (not even any PCI cards are installed.)

Removing OpenGL 1.2.2 and installing OpenGL 1.2.1 (included with the D/L) also had the same problems. (BTW: the GL 1.2.1 installer puts ATI card extensions back in, which were disabled again, including the "OpenGL ATI renderer".) Trying Nvidia drivers v2.1.1 did not help. I suggest checking the Warbirds III site or forums for tips (the readme/docs were no help on this problem), but the owner was too frustrated at this point to put anymore time into it.
I'll try WB III on my system with a Radeon card this weekend.

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WarBirds III White-Out Textures Tip:
I've not gotten an answer back to the question I had about RAM/VM allocation from the GeForce3 owner that reported problems below, but another reader just sent a reminder on the WBIII ReadMe note on this same issue I mentioned earlier today - too little RAM for OpenGL.

" Hi Mike,
From the READ ME in War Birds

On a Macintosh some textures show up as white. Whenever OpenGL doesn't have enough memory to load a texture, it comes out as white. Try increasing your virtual memory, and see if the white areas are still there. Then, if they aren't, you can lower the VRAM for performance reasons.
I assume they mean Virtual Memory since Video RAM (VRAM) is fixed on the graphics card and can't be adjusted. VRAM use can be reduced by lowering resolution modes or detail settings, but they are referring to OpenGL system main memory use I believe.-Mike]

It appears OpenGL is running out of memory to hold its texture cache in system memory. Memory is shared between OpenGL and the application so giving more to the application takes it away from OpenGL. OpenGL renders in white if the texture isn't loaded.

Appears each Macintosh graphics artifact can be traced back to a texture load fail due to memory so only one thing has to be fixed to correct them all, fortunately. We're working on reducing the memory requirements."
Jim Randall "

There have been many cases reported here in the past where OpenGL games have problems that is due to insufficient available Memory. As noted previously, even if you have 256MB of installed RAM, you often have to enable Virtual Memory for some OpenGL games to run properly. This may not be the solution to all problems, but if you see hangs at loading or texture problems (or lockups after some period of time), enabling Virtual memory may help. (Or increasing VM size - a reboot is required for any changes in VM). Even if you have more than 256MB of RAM and VM off, don't make the mistake of allocating too much RAM to the game either since the OS (especially with VM off) uses a lot of RAM and tends to grow in RAM usage over time.
I'm downloading the WBIII 82MB 080101 version to see if I can get time to do some personal tests on this with an Nvidia card.

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ATI Beta 3D Extensions for OpenGL 1.2.1/Warbirds III Posted:
A few days ago there were ATI beta drivers posted here for WarBirds III that were noted as requiring OpenGL 1.2.2. Yesterday's news had an ATI comment on those drivers with a promise that a version for OpenGL 1.2.1 would be posted. Although those never made it to ATI's drivers page, the WarBirds III site today a link to them here. According to the readme - this download only includes 3D related extensions and is only for OpenGL 1.2.1. If you are running OpenGL 1.2.2, use these beta drivers noted previously at the WBIII site (and again here yesterday).
(For comments on the ATI beta drivers and Warbirds III, see the previous day's news summary links for Wednesday and Thursday below, or use the archives page.)
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Photos from Apple Retail Store Opening in Plano Texas:
" Hi Mike,
I just got back from the grand opening of the Apple Store in Plano, TX and have posted some pix.
Feel free to use per your discretion.
Regular reader since 1999 and glad to finally be able to offer YOU something!"

I can't believe what started as a single CPU card upgrade review in April of 1997 has grown into something that has now taken over my entire life. (Or as my wife would say - "What Life?" ;-)

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First GeForce3 Owner Report on WarBirds III:
Earlier today I asked for Nvidia card owner experiences with the latest 080101 WarBirds III game. This is the first report from a GeForce3 owner that I've gotten to date:

" Yo Mike,
Downloaded the 080101 release of Warbirds III last night (first time I*ve tried the game) It does not like my Apple Geforce3 (G4 533DP, MacOS 9.1, Nvidia 2.1.1, OpenGL 1.2.2) Splash screen appears then some kind of window comes up with no text anywhere, what look to be a few buttons across the top (blank) and what looks like a spinning bright green Hellcat aircraft (From what I remember Hellcats never came in lurid bright green :-)

I asked Chris if he made sure that the "OpenGL ATI Renderer" extension was disabled (I assume so, but just checking). And if RAM allocation could be a factor (which can cause OpenGL problems - even with 256MB installed enabling Virtual Memory may be needed for some OpenGL games as noted here in the past.) Update - see the later post above, I saw this same issue with a GeForce3 and different driver versions, OpenGL versions, screen settings, adequate RAM, etc. did not help.
I welcome other reports on WBIII from GeForce3 owners or any MX card owners that have gotten the game to run without problems.

Another reader sent a note on problems running with a GeForce2MX card and Voodoo5 combo:

" Mike- tried to get it to run in a G4533DP w Gforce 2 in primary and Voodoo 5 in second monitor but kept getting an error message that "Draw sprocket could not be enabled" despite the fact that drawsprocket is alive and running well with other OpenGL games such as Elite Force.
Don S.
G4 533DP/ OS 9.1/QT4.12/512 MB/ 200GBs "

I asked Don if he could try creating a Voodoo5 only extensions set to see if it would run on the V5 alone. (Disabling all Nvidia extensions and setting the Voodoo5 to be the primary display w/menu bar).

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Quicksilver G4 Owner Comments on Problems with 3 RAM Dimms Installed:
This is the first report like this so not sure how common it is. (See the note below about 16 chips dimms - several readers have replied to this post but missed that comment/question. My first guess was that if all 3 dimms had 16 chips each that might be a factor.)

" Just a tip for those that are getting new QuickSilver G4's. We got 2 in yesterday, and ordered 256 MB DIMMS. I put 3 in today, and got an memory failure, three tones on boot - no memory banks passed test.

I tried different combinations to see if it may have been a bad slot. Turns out that if I have just 2 of the new dimms in, or the 2 new dimms in and the stock dimm from Apple, it works fine, but it will not boot if all three of the new dimms are in. When we called the vendor, it turns out that they didn't even have a QuickSilver machine to test ram in, they their page says that it should be compatible. They assumed like we did that the ram for the old G4's would work in the new one. Sounds like a timing issue.
Just a warning, be careful when ordering or swapping ram from an older G4, it may not work.
Mack W.
Macintosh Support Specialist
Apple Certified Technician
National Human Genome Research Institute "

I asked Mack for more info - especially if the dimms were 16 chip versions (just a wild guess that all 16 chip dimms might be a factor in bus loading). He reported the dimms that had the problem when all 3 were installed were PC133/222 rated with 16 chips each. (The Apple OEM PC133 256MB dimms I've seen have 8 chips.)
If any other Quicksilver G4 owners are running with all dimm slots populated, let me know if you've seen any problems. Note: Please note details on the dimm - such as if it has 8 chips or 16 chips, and the brand/timing (if known).

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Anyone Running Warbirds III OK with Nvidia Cards?
(See the two reports above noting problems with the game when run on Geforce3 or GeForce2MX cards.)
There continues to be problem reports with Warbirds III from Nvidia GeForce2MX card owners (none to date from the GeForce3). If anyone is running the latest 080101 Warbirds III game version OK (no image quality problems, etc.) with a GeForce2MX or GeForce3 card, please let me know your system specifics, card version (MX or GF3) and driver versions. Thanks.
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Reader Request: Anyone using a GeForce3 with Sony 24
(Update - one Geforce2MX/Quicksilver owner said he's running a F900 fine - I've asked for more details like the card's firmware version and driver versions.)
Although I tested the GeForce3 with a Sony F400 and noted the resolutions the card listed with my monitors in that article, I do not have one of the Sony wide-screen 24" (CRT) monitors to verify if the card supports the wide-screen modes. A reader asked about this since there were past reports in this article from GeForce2MX owners that noted it didn't.
If you're running a GeForce 3 card on a Mac with a Sony FW900/F900 24" display, let me know what resolutions are supported.
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Space Trippers Shareware Game:
A reader sent a note there's a surprisingly good shareware game ($12 to register) called Space Trippers with a downloadable demo at http://www.pompom.org.uk/. Applelinks recently posted a Space Trippers review that also rated it highly.
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More Rumors on ATI Radeon II Graphics Cards:
UK site The Register has several recent stories with rumors and reported leaks on the upcoming ATI Radeon II graphics card. Examples are their ATI Radeon 2: more specs leak, ATI Radeon 2, 3 details leak and ATI confirms Radeon 2 to ship late summer stories. There's conflicting reports on the chip's clock speed, some saying 350Mhz and others 250MHz. The Register also has a story about ATI entering the motherboard market to compete with Nvidia's nForce.

Yesterday's news linked to a photo of what is claimed to be the Radeon II card on an assembly line. (Due to the size of the chip in that photo, I do not think it's the Radeon VE card since that chip is based on the Radeon Mobility which has fewer transistors (smaller) than even the original Radeon chip.)

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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 5 new reports today (total to date: 6,009). [Entries after midnight eastern time are added the following day.]

  • Other World Computing G3/333 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • Powerlogix Bluechip G3/466 in PowerBook G3 wallstreet2 (rated 9)
  • Powerlogix Bluechip G3/466 in PowerBook G3 wallstreet2 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G4/500 (Dual CPU Duet Model) in G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • G4/AGP 2001 (Quicksilver) OC report (733 @867mhz)

(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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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 11 new reports added this morning. The database has reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 4,341 reports. [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.]
You can find full owner reports by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches).
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.
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