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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 12/03/2001 Monday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

Click for Mini Pro Dual Drive!
Click for Mini Pro Dual Drive!

Top stories of Dec. 3rd, 2001:

iDVD2 'No SuperDrive' Patches:
One of Barney's OS X software related links tonight included this iDVD2 No Superdrive patch page which is in French. (The download includes 3 iDVD2 patches, but no readme file, etc.)
(revised for better translation by Mike Sprecher)
    " How to use iDVD2 without an internal Apple SuperDrive :

    I am unaware how many different version of iDVD2 are circulating, but I have already listed 3 versions. This is why I have provided three different patches to cover at least these 3 versions of iDVD2.

    A quick reminder on how to apply one of those patches to iDVD2:

    - download the patch file
    - Make a copy of the iDVD.app package and open it within MacOS 9.
    - Move the file "iDVD" to the desktop. The file can be found in Contents/MacOS
    - Doubleclick the patch application and patch that iDVD App.
    - Once applied, you'll find the file patched and the original file renamed to "iDVDOld"
    - Move the file "iDVD" back into the folder "Contents/MacOS"
    - close the (MacOS X) Package again and reboot into MacOS X to try it out "

If anyone tries these patches let me know
(I'm assuming it removes the requirement to have an internal Superdrive, but will it allow iDVD2 to work with Superdrives in a Firewire case?)

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OWC's 'Garage Sale/Clearance' page lists Systems, CPU upgrades, Drives, RAM and More:
Sponsor Other World Computing sent a note they've posted a "Garage Sale"/Clearance page that lists G3/G4/604e CPU upgrades, drives (SCSI/IDE/CD/CDRW/DVD), systems, RAM, logic boards, component parts (logic boards, power supplies, floppies, adapters) and more. (There's a 6100 system and also a Dual G4/450 mac listed there as I'm typing this - but they were both later sold.) Limited supplies on these items.
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My Tests of CompUSA $20 FW/USB card in B&W G3 w/OS 9.2 and OS X:
(Updated for more comments - including notes on losing bus power in OS 9.2.1. I later tested with an AC powered FW drive - it too had problems even in OS 9 with this card in the B&W G3. The drives work for a bit, but with any heavy I/O use the firewire bus just goes south... I'll try to test in another mac tomorrow.)
I bought one of the last two $19.88 cards at CompUSA in Richmond for testing here. (The card has Lucent FW and USB chips, a TI bridge chip and the power connector.) Although one B&W G3 owner (at least) reported problems with this card in his system, I've seen mixed results with my B&W G3 rev 2. That system has no other PCI cards installed however (if that matters).
I installed it in the middle PCI slot, connected a power cable (HD to floppy connector type - about $5 at most computer stores) and it mounted a VST portable FW drive and I copied about 50MB of files to one of the internal HDs fine in OS 9.2.1.

I then updated my B&W G3 OS X drive with the latest OS X 10.1.1 updates and tried to use my VST portable FW drive with OS X. The VST drive mounted fine at first but after about a minute I noticed a "spinning beachball" cursor. I looked at the VST drive and the LED was off - indicating there was no power on the Firewire bus. I opened the case and verified the card/power cable, etc. were fine. I unplugged and reconnected the drive (getting a warning from OS X) and the drive mounted again. But within a minute the power LED on the drive went off again. I again unplugged/reconnected the drive and it flickered (access light), then the LED went out and the drive never mounted this time. ( I tried again and the same thing happened - no power on the drive and it would not mount of course without power.) I then selected the OS 9.2.1 drive to boot from and selected Restart - and the Mac never restarted (spinning beachball at a blank blue screen.)

What is really bizarre is I can no longer restart/boot from the OS 9.2.1 disk (a slave drive that working fine before this episode). I've twice selected it as the startup disk in OS X, tried restarting and even a cold boot - and still it boots from the OS X drive every time. I ran OS X's disk first aid and the 9.2.1 drive was reported has OK. (I booted from a Diskwarrior CD, ran DW and then was able to restart from the OS 9.2.1 disk. ) After booting into OS 9.2.1, I ran the entire Macbench 5.0 disk test suite (to exercise the drive) and during the testing the VST drive power LED again went out. So the issue is not just with OS X but OS 9.2.1. Again I may have a bad card, etc. but I'll do further testing to try and isolate the fault. Until seeing the loss of FW bus power, this card was showing promise in OS 9.2 and OS X (it mounted drives, etc.) but right now I'm not happy with the card as you can imagine. (I tried using a different Firewire cable, a different port on the card and enabling the FW cardbus enabler extension - same problem, even in OS 9.2.1 the FW bus power/LED on the VST drive eventually turns off. This VST drive is used daily with other macs with onboard FW ports with no problems and checks OK in disk first aid and Diskwarrior.)

I later tried an AC powered (rather than bus powered) Firewire drive and it also worked for a minute or so, but then had the same problems (apparently loss of Firewire bus IO). Perhaps I have a suspect card - but just a FYI on what I have seen with the CompUSA card in this B&W G3 so far.
(I've not tested the USB, since I have onboard USB in the B&W G3.)
My card is identical to the middle one in the photo on the CompUSA combo card feedback page. Perhaps I have a suspect card, I can't say but will test further in OS 9.2. to see if any problems arise and if the OS X problems continue to happen.
A reader with a Dual G4/800 said the card was working fine in his system in OS 9 and OS X, but I've asked if he had used it extensively.

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OS X Version of Blender 3D Creator (freeware) Available:
A reader sent a note that there's an OS X version (alpha) of the freeware 3D application Blender now available for download. More info on the OS X version is here and includes these comments:
    "Blender Creator and Blender Publisher NOW available for Mac OS X (alpha version)

    Blender Creator is the first and only fully integrated 3D creation suite allowing modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback with cross-platform compatibility - all in one tidy, easily downloadable package!

    Incredibly, Blender Creator is available to anyone and everyone as a free download. Whoa! People giving away all this technology? Why? Simple. Its all part of NaN's mission: to enable creativity through the democratization of 3D technology. This means that anybody can unleash their creative urges in 3D.

    As part of the continual evolution of Blender, we are proud to introduce Blender Publisher for Mac OS X, which provides all the tools and licenses needed for 3D publishing, including a stand-alone player. Also new is the Blender 3D Plug-in which allows playback of Blender produced content by non-Blender users. The 3D Plug-in will be available in January 2002 for Mac OS 8/9/X.

    Now it's possible for anybody to create and market his or her own 3D interactive creations, without the usual financial restrictions. It's 3D by the people, for the people!

    Still not convinced? Then check out the demo's and movies that you can find in 3D in Action. "

(I did not see a download for an OS X version of Publisher yet, only Creator. Creator is freeware but Publisher notes a licensing fee.) The Creator download (1.7MB) includes a read-me file, FAQ and list of helpful reference links. Here are some reference links you may also find helpful:

There's also a 250 page "Official Blender 2.0 guide" book with tutorials, examples and the interface. The shop page of the Blender site for more info on the book

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Mark James Comments on OS X's RAID and SoftRAID Updates:
I recently wrote Mark James of SoftRAID asking if he'd comment on updates to Softraid for OS X compatibility and how OS X's RAID compares to SoftRAID:

" SoftRAID, LLC is working hard on the OS X compatible version of SoftRAID. We expect a January release date, hopefully in time for MacWorld. SoftRAID for OS X will have all the features of the current SoftRAID, and then some.

The RAID capability that is built into OS X is very basic. Think of it as a "checkbox" item, for System Solution providers and in situations where competing bids for multiple OS's or hardware platforms are being pitched. Bidders need to show various features and capabilities are being met when offering a competing technology. When comparing OS X feature by feature to any other solution, the RAID option is included .... One of the original reasons Apple bundled SoftRAID was that when pitching AppleShare Servers against competing NT solutions, there had to be a "RAID" feature. Everyone knew how lame NT RAID was, and serious installations used alternate solutions, but you could at stripe disks with NT. Apple's Servers, on the other hand, had a serious RAID software application that worked, provided performance increases, and mirroring was done to a professional specification.

The current RAID with Apple's OS X is very basic, and my guess is that it is intended to be that way. By bundling RAID with the OS, Apple adds a "checkbox" feature for educational institutions who may not have the money to buy a third party solution, or having to invest in hardware RAID. But don't expect Apple's RAID to offer a lot of features. Apple engineering has a lot more important things to worry about than adding more features to RAID for Mac OS X.

SoftRAID, LLC and other driver developers, on the other hand, need to add benefits and additional performance beyond what is included in Apple's Disk Utility. That is the only way a third party can succeed with a RAID product. A third party driver needs to be superior in ease of use, more flexible, every bit as reliable, if not more so, and hopefully, faster. Our traditional customer base, Servers and high end desktop users, need this and will want to take advantage of the additional features and performance in SoftRAID. Having a free RAID in the OS will certainly increase the risk for developers, as developers will be charging for a product you get for free. However, we expect the high end market will embrace SoftRAID (and any other quality RAID application for OS X), as more customers will test the RAID available within OS X, find it wanting for features, and turn to a product like SoftRAID for "professional use".

If a user has specific future feature requests, please send them to support@softraid.com. Chances are we already have already considered it, but we welcome feedback and fresh ideas, especially if well thought out.
thanks
Mark James
SoftRAID, LLC

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Adding a Cooling Fan to the Cube:
In reply to the article on I've the Dual G4/450 Cube modification a reader sent a note (and URL) about adding a cooling fan to the Cube. I'd forgotten about the reports of mounting a 80mm fan in the bottom of the Cube noted about a year ago.

" One thing that the dual g4 cube owner may want to consider is installing an 80mm fan in the bottom of the cube case (there are mounts and space for an 80mm IIRC). A 19.5 CFM @ 15 dBa 80mm is $20 from Plycon.com. Since the heatsink setup is optimized for passive cooling, I believe that forcing air over it should only improve it's cooling ability. (also the air coming out of the vent should keep papers from resting on it).

Just a possible future upgrade, to lengthen the life of a really awesome cube.
-Chris"

Chris later sent a link to an article on Adding a Fan to the Cube [Modem users take note - many images on one page].

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Real World Tests with Sonnet vs Orange Micro Firewire/USB Cards in 9500:
" Mike,
Thanks for a great site.
I recently purchased both the OrangeMicro FW/USB 2.0 combo card and the Sonnet Tango combo card. I had two machines to upgrade and decided to try one in each. I'm keeping them both. Tested were an Oxford 911 chip 7200 RPM 80g firewire drive and a QPS Plextor 16x CDRW drive. I'm not doing anything with USB at the moment but I tested keyboard and mouse function, and they were fine on both cards.

I'm using OS 9.1 but loaded the Firewire support and enabler extensions from 9.2.1. Test system was a 9500/Newer G3 400, ProTools mix plus system (slots 1-3), FW card in slot 4, ATTO SCSI dual-channel UW in 5, ATI video in 6. I didn't load any 3rd-party drivers for either card and I initialized the FW disk in the Finder. I had no crashes or Finder copy freezes with either card.

The OrangeMicro card uses the NEC chip (yes, still does, although I don't know if it's the same chip as earlier) and the Sonnet uses Lucent. I ran ATTO's benchmark test and came up with interesting results. The Lucent chip outperformed the NEC chip in write speed (peak & sustained around 19mb/sec vs 15mb/sec) but the reverse was true in read speed (peak up to 25mb/sec NEC, 17mb/sec Lucent; sustained was a few mb lower for both). These speeds were reflected in real-world Finder copies of 8g of mixed audio and smaller files from an Ultra-SCSI 10k drive on the ATTO UW: 7.3 mb/sec using Lucent, 6.3mb/sec using NEC in SCSI to FW copies, and 6.3mb/sec using Lucent, 7.3mb/sec using NEC going from FW to SCSI.

Both cards were happy using Toast to burn audio CDs to firewire at 16x, but I had to disable Apple's Firewire Authoring Support in favor of Toast Firewire Support to get Toast to recognize the burner.

The most interesting results were obtained with ProTools hardware. The OrangeMicro card proved unacceptable for playing back audio files in that loud ticks and pops were present all over the place in some sessions. This was not true for every session and I have no explanation as to the cause or lack of consistency. Now, remember that this is the _faster_ read-speed card. The Sonnet card played back the same sessions just fine. Perhaps the OrangeMicro card is too fast for its own good... Both cards handled recording fine, but the OrangeMicro card could record _more_ tracks - and this is the _slower_ card for write speed. And the final curiosity: I created a torture-test stretch of 13 edits across all audio tracks with crossfades in the span of 1 second. The "slower" Sonnet card performed _better_ (i.e. higher track count before "disk too slow" error message). Track count in general was about what I would expect given the benchmarks; not up to UW SCSI by a long shot, but definitely usable. The Sonnet card handles up to 20 tracks of reliable playback and can simultaneously record another 20 tracks, which is quite decent. For comparison, using a 10k unfragmented drive on UW SCSI, I can get 64 tracks in any combination of record and playback. What I have not yet tested is ProTools performance with multiple FW drives playing audio files.

Anyway, due to the OrangeMicro playback problem, I'm keeping the Sonnet card in the 9500 and I put the OrangeMicro card in a PowerBase/PowerLogix 350 G3 tower which we use as our AIT tape backup station, where we can now do Retrospect backups of Firewire drives as well. I just finished the first major test of a backup and restore of 28g of audio data and everything is working fine.
--Emmett"

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Tips for Firewire/USB Combo Card Owners having Problems:
(Note - see my later news post above for my tests of the CompUSA $19.xx card in my B&W G3 with OS 9.2.1 and OS X 10.1.1.)
One of the Beige G3 owner reports from August on the Compusa combo card feedback page noted having to enable the "FireWire Card Bus Enabler" extension. I thought this odd since the enabler is normally for PCCard controllers, not PCI slot cards. (A B&W G3 owner having problems with getting the card's Firewire working noted it didn't help however.) I wonder if the Cardbus enabler is used for the PCI Bridge chip on the combo card. (I know the older Powerbooks used a TI PCI/cardbus bridge chip - and the CompUSA #280284 card has a TI bridge chip on it.) For those having problems with a Combo card, verify this extension is enabled to see if that helps. (It may not.) If this helps anyone that had problems with a combo FW/USB card let me know.
Other troubleshooting tips would be to remove any other PCI cards (if possible) and Zapping the PRAM. One Beige G3 owner also noted having to disconnect his Ethernet cable to prevent audio stuttering during exports.

Friday night I updated the CompUSA FW/USB card reports page with more reader comments on the $19.xx card (SKU #280284). As of Sunday, the Richmond VA CompUSA had one of these cards left in stock. As mentioned in last week's news - you can use the store search page at CompUSA's web site to check stock status - but check the feedback page first to see if there are any owner comments from your Mac model, etc..

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Dazzle DV Bridge Now Includes Firewire PCI card:
While Christmas shopping this weekend at the Richmond Best Buy store I noticed the $299.xx (list) Dazzle DV Bridge was bundled with a Firewire PCI card. Their product page does not list this as included however, so I'm not sure if this is a new bundle (standard feature) or a limited time offer. In the 2nd box with the FW PCI card there is also a 6pin/4pin Firewire cable, as well as the 6pin/6pin cable that's included with the original package. The Firewire PCI card in the box was tiny and made by IDT (Lucent controller chip).
The DV Bridge works with Macs without any 3rd party software (supported by iMovie and Final Cut Pro they say.) Readers in the past noted it also worked in OS X iMovie2.

If any readers have used the DV Bridge with an older Mac with PCI Firewire card, let me know how well it works.

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 23 new reports added this morning. 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, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 5,666 reports. [Entries after Midnight are added the following newsday morning.]
(Note - ** Please include your CD/CDRW drive speed in the entry **. And Please do not post questions in the database, use email for that and check the database and articles here for answers/tips/guides first. Incomplete entries, those with no comments, etc. are deleted.)

    Combo DVD-CDRW Drive Reports
  • LG GCC-4120B in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (Didn't note drive speed rating. LG listed under "other brands")

    DVD ROM Drive Reports
  • IDE Pioneer DVD-115 (16x DVD - 40x CD) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
  • IDE Toshiba SD-M1612 16X/40X in B&W G3 (OS X)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports
  • Lite-On LTR-16102B (16x10x40) [Digital Research Retail box] in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
  • Lite-On LTR-16101B (16x10x40) in G4/AGP (OS 9.2)
  • LG GCE-8160B (16x/10x/40x) in B&W G3 (OS 8.6)
    (listed under "other brands")
  • Matshita ujda330 8X/4X/32X in iMac (OS 8.6)
  • Que 24x10x40x in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
  • TDK velocd 24/10/40 in G4 no AGP [Yikes G4/PCI ] (OS 8.6)
    (problems noted but very strange comments on master/slave issue.]

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports
  • EZQuest 24x10x40 used w/8500 (OS 9.1)
  • Sony CRX1650L-A2 (16/10/40 ) used w/8500 (OS 9.1)
    (no itunes support)

    SCSI CDRW Drive Reports
  • Lacie 4x8x (Sony CDU948S mechanism) used w/G4 AGP (OS X)
    (using El Gato SCSI CDRW helper driver - didn't help)

    USB CDRW Drive Reports
  • Lacie 4x4x24 (Mitsumi Mechanism) used w/G4 AGP (OS X)
    (noted not working with iTunes/DB)

    Firewire Hard Drive Reports
  • EZquest 60GB used w/UMax S900 (OS 9.1)
    (some problems noted)
  • IBM 60GB in OWC elite case used w/B&W G3 (OS X)
    (B&W G3 firewire not bootable)
  • Toshiba MK4018GAP 40GB (2.5" drive) in FW case used w/Dual G4 (OS 9.2)
    (Noted Granite digital portable FW case not working with Dual G4/9.2 but did work with B&W G3 running 9.1)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports
  • IBM 75GXP 75GB in Dual G4 w/IDE RAID card (OS 9.2)
  • IBM 60GXP 60GB (x2) in Beige G3 w/IDE RAID card (OS 9.2)
    (boot problems noted - even from CD)
  • IBM Travelstar 48GB in PowerBook G3/2000 (OS 9.2)
    (used the illustrated install guide here)
  • Maxtor Diamond Max Plus D740X 60GB in Dual G4 (OS 9.2)
  • Maxtor 80GB in iMac (OS X)
  • Maxtor Diamondmax D540X 60GB in iMac slot loading (OS 9.1)
  • Samsung SV8004H 80GB in Beige G3 (OS X)

You can find full owner reports 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.]

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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 7 new reports this morning. (total to date: 6,468). [Entries after midnight are posted the next newsday morning.]

  • Other World Computing G3/500 in Beige G3 DT (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix Bluechip G3/466 in PowerBook G3 wallstreet2 (rated 9)
    (noted 512MB RAM, running two OWC low-profile 256MB dimms fine)
  • Sonnet G3/375 in PowerCenter (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G4/450 in 9600/300 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G3/220 in 9600 (rated 8)
  • B&W G3/300 OC report

(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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Software Updates and Other Net News Links

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