News Archive for: 8/9/2005 Tuesday's News
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ATI 256MB 9600 Pro Mac/PC Model (dual ROM Mac/PC support)
A reader recently sent a link to a buy.com page that listed (not in stock) a Mac and PC (one model/product number) 9600 Pro 256MB AGP graphics card for just under $200. My first reaction was that it was a typo, since in the past Mac models have a different product/model number/packaging etc. and mistakes like that have happened in the past at some vendors. As of this morning there was no info at ATI's site yet on a Mac 256MB/9600 model (only the original G5 OEM 9600/64MB model) but watch ATI's Mac products page and/or Press releases page for future announcements. .
(Previous comments with details on this product were removed by request. I NEVER post comments that are sent with a note they are off the record or private and I assumed the info sent on this card was OK to post since nothing in the original mails said otherwise.)
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PowerLogix Announces 2GHz PowerForce G4 7447A CPU Upgrade
PL has a press release today on their 2GHz PowerForce G4 7447A CPU Upgrade for Power Mac G4 AGP Graphics (Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, Quicksilver and Quicksilver 2002 models. It's listed as compatible with Mac OS 9.x and Mac OS X 10.3.5 and higher (Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher is required for thermal monitoring and DFS features).
The 2GHz model is $399 per Other World Computing's page of PL CPU upgrades.
(I'm testing their dual 1.8GHz, Dual 1.7GHz and single 1.8GHz 7447A models now and will be adding the results to the previous QS/Dual 1.2GHz review when complete.)
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Reader reports on BTO Radeon X850 Graphics card
Yesterday's news had a reader post on his G5 tower order w/X850 option being delayed. Several readers replied to that saying they'd gotten their G5s w/X850 card and had some comments on it. One of the X850 owner's mentioned he'd seen some issues with it in Pro Apps like Motion 2, so I wrote a contact at ATI to ask if the X800's Hotfix for Tiger Pro apps (mentioned in the June 15th news page and X800 reports page here) was still needed with OS X 10.4.2 and the X850:

" Hi Mike,
One of the fixes that was part of the "hot-fix" patch didn't make it into 10.4.2. And the "hot-fix" patch won't work with 10.4.2, so we're working on a 10.4.2 based patch. I'm not sure exactly when it will be released. "

Here's the X850 owner report that mentioned some issues he'd seen:

" the statement (yesterday's reader comments on his X850 BTO system delay-Mike) seems to be likely. the x850 might indeed be the issue here! i received my order last week and had severe problems with this card. after using Motion 2 for some minutes it became unusable because of strange pixel-distortions in the interface.

next was x-plane that didn't work at all - it crashed and i had to hard reset my machine. i did some research and i realized that i am not the only one. it seems that the 850 has the same issues as the 800. ati brought out a firmwareupgrade that solved the problem. (although there have been several firmware updates for the X800 (see X800 Feedback page here), there was a "hotfix" (driver/patch) update for the Tiger Pro apps issue, although it's not 10.4.2 compatible as ATI said above. The X850 uses the same driver as the X800 as far as I know.-Mike) unfortunately there isn't any firmwareupgrade for the 850 yet.

it seems to be that probably Apple finally gets their act together - next time they should test their hardware with their own software, or they should just ask ati if they know about any issues about their cards...

i will return my G5 this week (had some HD issues too) and i will order a new machine with the geforce 6800. i just can't wait for a firmupgrade - i need a working machine NOW!
hope this helps!
cheers from germany. -Chris
(just for the record I asked what OS version he's using-Mike)
on 10.4. and on 10.4.2 the issues were the same... "

Other X850 reports follow:

" ...Took a solid 2 weeks but it came - the 2 weeks was originally quoted, it was not pushed back at all. =)

(I asked if he'd seen any issues with the X850-Mike)
It's actually been a delight to use - no squeaking/chirping whatsoever. My DP2.5GHz at work does this chirping (not uncommon in the past - Apple's CHUD tools was often used to disable CPU Nap mode to help with the PS chirping/squealing as mentioned in this previous article here.-Mike) and I was dreading that the new DP 2.7GHz would too, but it's completely silent.

I haven't had any issues yet - I have the full Final Cut Studio installed, and while I haven't gotten a chance to really work with it yet on the new machine, a little playing around yielded no issues.

Also, I play Unreal Tournament 2k4 a lot, and have noticed no real issues. I did spot some 'static' on a few textures though - I'll install the hotfix tonight to see if it makes that go away, and let you know!
Overall though, it's been pretty fantastic!
-Justin D. "

" I ordered a Dual 2.3 GHz G5 with an X850 on July 17 (a Sunday) from the online Apple Store, with overnight shipping it arrived on July 19. This was a BTO configuration, with other options (bluetooth, airport, modem).

It's worked fine on several games so far (Sim City Rush Hour, Railroad Tycoon 3, Neverwinter Nights) with all graphics options turned on at 1600x1200. I'm quite pleased.
-Ken "

" Just replying about that comment in the news. My bro in law a couple weeks back ordered a Dual 2.7Ghz w/ X850 and it arrived within a week. But he works for Symantec so he was able to get it with a company discount/etc. Maybe Apple ships faster to corporate people, not sure. Then of course there could be other supply problems right now but I wouldn't know.

The card is pretty nice. I ran the Halo bench while I was at his house and at 1024x768 with everything at max he was getting almost 60fps. Beat my 1.64Ghz Sempron PC with R9700 Pro (35-37fps). I didn't get a chance to test it with many other games but it did have problems with Knights of the Old Republic and refusing to play movies with FSAA enabled. As well as some resolution changing issues. ATI Displays also has not been patched for it yet (to recognize that model) so you are out of luck if you want to enable overrides.
-NC "

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ETCHaMac Service (custom laser etching of logos, etc. on Macs)
(from a reader mail)

" Hi Mike, Long time reader and supporter of your fabulous web site. Thought I'd pass along a neat find that "accelerates" the outside of your aluminum Powerbooks: www.etchamac.com. (they also do iPods), I just had them send me a new 15in with my business logo etched across and it looks AWESOME! You can send your Powerbook in and they'll etch it and send it back, but I couldn't be without the use of my computer for the few days it takes, and besides: they'll etch a brand new lid and mail it to you for an additional $39.
Given what people spend to clean their PBs, a new lid with a custom 'do is a great idea.
Install of a new PB lid (at least for the 15in 1.25GHz FW800 model I have) is do-able at home with a tiny hex wrench and some nimble fingers to re-attach the airport and bluetooth antennae cables. I just bought new lids for everyone at the office! Check out their website for ideas and pictures of what they are doing: very cool.
If you have any further interest (or think readers might), I can send in step by step photos of the lid replacement, too.
Best, John W.
Tamarack Capital "
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More iMac G5 owner reports on Temperatures
I've updated the reports section of the page on iMac G5 Cooling fan mod and temperatures with another reader report on temperatures (from an owner of a 1.8GHz model).
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Terratec Cinergy T2, DTT and EyeTV 1.8.2 software
" News: Terratec Cinergy T2 works with eyeTV
Elgato (www.elgato.com) has released a new version of its eyeTV Software (version 1.8.2) (v1.8.2 was noted here last month in the news page and EyeTV reports/updates page-Mike) that now supports the USB TV card (ext. module) Terratec Cinergy T2.
And Elgato has also come up with their own version of the Cinergy, called Cinergy DTT, which is bundled with eyeTV 1.8.2. The Cinergy T2 is available from 70 EUR up, the DTT costs about 150 EUR. The eyeTV software can be downloaded for $79 from the Elgato.com website (if you already own the Cinergy T2).
(he later wrote)
... I have used the card for app. 2 weeks now. It works great. And if you purchase the Apple MPEG-2 playback component for Quicktime, too, you can even watch your recordings right out of any Quicktime- based application. However, eyeTV is also capable of exporting recordins to other formats such as MOV, MPEG-4, DV and others.

(The EyeTV reports page here had some feedback from v1.8.2 users on sluggish menu performance with that version-Mike.)
I cannot say that it works sluggishly at all, at least not on my PowerMac G5 1.6. Maybe it doesn't work well on older machines. (BTW - those reports were from owners of dual 2GHz G5 models.-Mike)
For more info, turn to this page:
http://www.elgato.com/index.php? file=products_eyetvdtt
Best regards,
Chris B. "

Another reader replied:

" The EyeTV for DTT is NOT a USB card, (the reader above called it a USB "card" but we all know he means an external module-Mike) but a tiny box that connects to a USB (2.0) port. The box is called a Terratec Cinergy T2 - designed in Germany and made in Taiwan. It has CLEARLY been designed for the mac market as the top is in a white colour that matches the mac mini top. (I suspect they targeted more than just the small Mac market and copies of apple designs/styles have been popular with PC users too.-Mike) The sides are in metal - again same colour as mac mini with rounded edges. The only other input/output on the device is an antenna connection - can be used for a portbale antenna or use your coax. The product is ONLY useful for DVB-T broadcasts - terrestrial digital TV as used in several European countries. It also has no capability (unsurprisingly) for pay tv capability (unlike the EyeTV410). This box is TINY. I have posted a picture on my blog showing it in comparison to a mac mini and an iPod. http://hobcot.blogspot.com

I was very impressed with the installation and the way it all set up with the tvtv subscription (included). At about half the price of the EyeTV410 firewire device it seems a bargain in many ways especially given the portability (product + EyeTV software + antenna + remote control + 12 month tvtv subscription = 99 inc taxes). The picture quality is also very good (out via DVI on my mac mini to a HD- ready plasma).

However, I have noticed a few odd things which I haven't got to the bottom of yet.

1. I can't get the device to come back from sleep in many situations. I suspect it is when EyeTV is NOT running when I put the computer to sleep (and not running when it comes back from sleep obviously). Unplugging it and replugging it solves the problem.

2. I have also had problems with sound out - at least when switching between DVD player and EyeTV. This maybe a DVD player problem and would not happen with normal sound out. But I am using a Sonica Theater USB sound out to give Dolby Digital sound on DVD's (and digital sound out from EyeTV). Messing around with System prefs and/ or EyeTV sound out options does get the sound back usually. I haven't tried this enough to make the failure predictable or the fix reliable.

3. As I said the tvtv (equivalent to titan in the US) works well and is easy to setup. I successfully sent several events to the EyeTV application, which were shown by EyeTV. However, today, one event was missing. It was still showing in tvtv as setup to record. No matter what I did, I could not force this event to be re-set up via tvtv in the EyeTV app. But I am still able to add other events.

For all I know these could also exist with the Firewire device as well. The Cinergy T2 does not do Teletext, but that's not a big deal when you've got the internet there!

I'd like to get to the bottom of the problems mentioned, and also more experience of making recordings and doing more than one thing at a time. However, the device is impressive and a good new option for laptop owners (USB 2.0 only), or for mini owners who did not want their tv device bigger than the mini itself!
Regards, Ian "

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Other Net News

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added. (Entries later today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 14,973 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • Firewire (cased) HP dvd420e used w/Mac Mini (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE NEC ND-3540A in (MDD) Single G4 DDR (OS X 10.4)

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.)
(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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 3 new reports (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,023. Here's a summary of the reports added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Sonnet G4 1.4GHz in (Quicksilver) G4/AGP (rated 7)
  • Sonnet G4 1.4GHz in (Sawtooth) G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • Fastmac G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
    (Listed under "Other Brand")

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

(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).

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System/Video Card Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
The Mac System Benchmark/Game Performance database has been updated with Unreal Tournament 2004 Botmatch scores at 1280x1024 from a Dual 2GHz G5 w/X800 XT graphics card running OS X 10.3 and Unreal Tournament 2004 Botmatch and Flyby scores at 1280x1024 from a 1.4GHz G4/AGP (Quicksilver) w/Nvidia Geforce4 Ti graphics card running OS X 10.4.
If you haven't already, enter your results with any of the game titles or benchmarks listed on the entry page (details on how to test are there). If you're curious how a CPU upgrade or new Video card would help game performance, the search page options can help you find similar system/configurations to get an idea before you buy.
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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