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News Archive for Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of Dec. 3rd, 2003: (later posts first)
Xposfacto 3.0/Panther Install with PB G3 Wallstreet
(Update - see below for a later posted reader note/tip on the PCCard Eject issue)
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the 3.0 alpha version of XPostFacto utility was available. (v3.0 is to add Panther/10.3 support and booting from FW drives on unsupported Macs as mentioned in the previous Interview/Q&A with XPF Author Ryan Rempel. 10.3/Panther will not install on Beige G3 and older Macs without Xpostfacto.) Here's a recent reader report on using XPF to install 10.3 on an (unsupported) PB G3 wallstreet. (Sent Nov. 25th but it got lost in the shuffle here... sorry.)

" Hello Mike. For the benefit of your readers here are my notes of a Panther install: The machine specs:

  • 250 mhz Wallstreet (ASP reports ROM rev: $77D.41F5)
  • 256 MB RAM installed (2 x 128 MB DIMMS)
  • 20 GB IBM TravelStar 40GNX Hard drive (This is NOT the original drive)
  • NO Peripherals or devices connected during install other than the WS's OEM CD-ROM drive and the AC power adapter.

The WS's HD contains three HFS+ formatted 6.2 GB partitions. The 1st partition (i.e falls within the first 8 GB of the drive) was specified as the target volume in XPF. The partition was erased prior to installation and the drive was previously formatted with Drive Setup. XPF version = 3.0a9.

Successful installation of Panther required that XPF's 'Enable L2/L3' option be deselected (ie turned off). If the cache was enabled then the process would stall OWCCacheConfig test stage. This IS noted in XPF's html manual. Also covered in the manual are Panther's display anomalies. I experienced these. The full range of the color spectrum wasn't present and the screen wouldn't redraw properly. XPF's manual noted that removal of the extension (ATIRageProGA.plugin) could alleviate the problem. I did so and the problem disappeared.
(Update: see below for a better alternative later sent by a reader.-Mike)

As Ryan Kempel mentioned in XPF's literature there is an issue with ejection of PCMCIA cards. In short, they don't eject: either by selecting the menubar command or depressing the ejection buttons located to the left of the keyboard above the card slots.

With the exception of non ejection of the pcmcia cards, I've had no problems with the following: Apple ADB keboard, Belkin USB card, Firewire Card, Logitech cordless USB mouse, Global Village External modem (Using the WS's printer/modem port). Time willing, I'll update later with a report on external SCSI CDRW and zip drive.
A tip of the hat to Ryan. Good job.
luke "

" Mike:
A few days ago it was suggested to remove the ATIRageProGA.plugin file to solve the video problems on Wallstreet PowerBooks running Panther installed via XPostFacto. (That was part of a WS owner report here noting that suggestion was in the XPF 3.0 docs - see Wednesday's news page for the full report.)
I have a 292 MHz Wallstreet 1 and this works, but it really slows down the video performance. I especially noticed it in Classic when I run the irreplaceable and free MORE 3.1 outliner.

To really fix the problem, I replaced the following two files with the ones from 10.2.8:

    ATIRagePro.kext
    ATIRageProGA.plugin
This solves the video problem and it cut my scrolling speed in MORE from 12 seconds to 7 seconds for a section of an outline.

Make sure you also chown the files to root:wheel and remove the Extensions.mkext and Extensions.kextcache files when modifying the /System/Library/Extensions folder or your changes won't be noticed by the system.
BTW, my own tweaked compile of the sourceforge wireless driver works great in Panther and the PC Card eject suggestion (in Friday's news). (See below for a copy of that tip) solved the only other problem!
- Randall "

A reader replied to the comments on the PCcard/PCMCIA eject issue:

" Hi Mike, I saw your report on the Wallstreet with Panther, and thought your readers might like to know that the PC card ejection kext was not included in the Panther release, but the source is still in the tree. I recompiled it on my Wallstreet in Panther and put it on my web site for those who don't want to mess with that. It is at:
http://www.wwc.edu/~frohro/ApplePMUPCCardEject.dmg

You need to go to the terminal and do the following after putting it in the folder /System/Library/Extensions/ to complete the installation:

    sudo chown -R root /System/Library/Extensions/ApplePMUPCCardEject.kext
    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/ApplePMUPCCardEject.kext

Your site has been my favorite! Keep up the good work Mike!
Rob "

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New Giga Designs Dual G4 CPU Upgrades
(email from site sponsor OWC)

" New Giga Dual G4 CPU Upgrades
The Dual 1.25GHz guaranteed to 1.4GHz Dual operation will arrive tomorrow, the rest within a couple days following. :)
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing "

Note: If you have an early production first model G4/AGP Tower ('sawtooth' model made in late 1999 to early 2000 typically) remember the past notes in the FAQ's Apple G4 section here on the Uni-N rev 3 based motherboards not supporting dual CPUs with OS 9.1 and later. (First noted here in Apple dual G4 CPU module swap article in early 2001.) Apple seemed to jump from rev 3 to rev 7 of the UNI-N chip on Sawtooths, so some vendors (like Sonnet) note a rev 7 or later is required for dual CPU support. Later production Sawtooths and all Gigabit G4, Digital Audio and Quicksilver models are dual CPU compatible however. If you have an early production (first model) "Sawtooth" tower, how to check the UNI-N revision is noted in this Sonnet Duet (now discontinued) errata page.

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More Photos, Feedback on G5 Hard Drive Cooling Fan Temp. Sensor Relocation
I've updated the page on Powermac G5 Hard Drive Heat/Cooling Tips with more photos (of the relocated sensor), additional comments from Steve and the first reader feedback (positive) on moving the sensor for better hard drive cooling. (Due to more accurate temperature monitoring of the HD bay area.)
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Updates to ShapeShifter, SecuritySpy, ABSPlus Backup
I don't use things like this personally, but Unsanity sent a note they've updated Shapeshifter OS X themes customizer to v1.0.1 with a long list of fixes and changes.

Ben Bird has updated multi-camera video surveillance software Security Spy to v1.0b36. The update adds support for more cameras and some bug fixes/improvements.

CMS Products sent a press release regarding an update to their ABSplus backup software that adds 10.3/Panther compatibility. The update is available at: http://www.cmsproducts.com/support/index.htm.

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TechTool Pro 4 Reports page updated
Reported By:
I've updated the TechTool Pro 4 feedback page to include the latest reader report.
If you've used TechTool Pro 4, I welcome your comments. (Include mac model used/OS version and if you've tested booting from the TTPro 4 CD on the latest mac models in reports - thanks.)
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Reader Report on Logitech MX900 Bluetooth Mouse
" Mike, Have been seeking this product ever since its introduction in Europe. Now, with the Logitech MX900 available in the U.S., I had to try it. (Though it is listed and sold as Windows/PC compatible only, the MacBidouille site mentioned a while ago that the new Logitech mouse had full compatibility with Panther.)

Sure enough, I turned on the Bluetooth setting in my G5 (for the first time) and bingo, it saw the mouse and I was up and running in less than 30 seconds! I'm told that the base station, "a wireless Bluetooth hub" will be only good for recharging the mouse (again, per MacBidouille), but that's fine with me, considering that my G5 has Bluetooth built-in.

I'm still checking out the buttons and settings (there are 8 buttons!), but so far all is smooth sailing.
Bill K. "

There were some past problem reports from Panther users wit Logitech Cordless (non-Bluetooth) users with their latest drivers but I use an MX700 without any Logitech drivers OK. (Expose prefs can configure actions to the buttons also but I use just the basic button support in OS X.) Some readers didn't note a problem with the Logitec drivers and 10.3 however, but often were using older driver versions (not the latest Logitech version). The Shareware USB Overdrive was also a popular reader choice instead of the Logitech drivers.

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Notes on Verax G03 Cooler (Fan/HS) for 9800 Pro
Just an update on the Verax G03 (higher end model) 9800 Pro cooler I mentioned a week or so ago as a replacement for the noisy OEM 9800 Pro fan/HS. Their US dealer (veraxfans.com) had sent one for evaluation/purchase but I am considering sending it back due to the fact that even the bottom (mating surface) of the heatsink is sandblasted (then nickel plated). Here's a 2x zoomed scan of the sample G03 heatsink mating surface.
I'm not happy about putting that sort of finish (hard nickel plated sandblasted surface) against the GPU chip (ceramic/glass smooth). I have some high-efficiency thermal gaskets from GigaDesign that would be preferable to the included thermal paste in the kit but at $69 list, I really expected a better mating surface finish. (Every heatsink I've ever seen has a machined/flat finish on the mating contact area - some are not polished, but none have been sandblasted.) Why it was sandblasted and not surface ground or polished I don't know. I'm not saying it won't run cooler (and I know it's a LOT quieter) than the stock HS/Fan - but I 'd rather not have that sort of surface against the GPU chip personally. I'm sure it will be fine, but I'd really wish it had a standard/smooth finish considering what it costs.
I talked to Verax (germany) about this and they say it's OK and cools better than the stock heatsink fan (they sent a graph showing this and with the much larger fan, I don't doubt that). Their US dealer is going to let me know if the next sample he gets has a better finish, but at $69, I think I'm going to just return this one. Their fan design is very quiet however and it would have been really nice to get rid of the loud (almost dentist drill frequency) fan on this card. Even though the G03 height means the adjacent PCI slot can't be used, I'd have gladly given up access to one PCI slot to rid the G5 of the high pitched fan noise. I'm probably being too picky about the heatsink finish (primarily due to the price).

BTW: Someone wrote to say that with thermal paste a rough finish like this one is better as it has more surface area. Of course more surface area (all things being equal) is typically better, but a rough finish is not better in my opinion for a CPU/GPU mating surface. And sandblasting doesn't just create small pits, but also can result in raised areas. (It's far from the ideal flat surface.) I also called the principal mechanical engineer where I used to work to verify that for mating surfaces - a flat/smooth finish is better. The reason for paste is to fill in any minor imperfections, not to serve as a thick layer or filler for pitted surfaces. With a rough/pitted surface, tiny pockets of paste (and potential air pockets) would not be as thermally conductive as (the ideal) smooth/flat surface (which of course also has thermal paste applied, but there's far less surface irregularities/gaps/ridges, etc.). If sandblasted mating surfaces were better then every heatsink manufacturer would be doing it. (I have never seen a sandblasted mating surface on heatsinks from AAvid, Thermalloy and others, as well as other PC/Graphics card heatsink suppliers.)
And since flatness (not just surface finish) was brought up, the typical heatsink extrusion is flatter (across the surface) than a typical stamped/formed heatsink. Granted the contact patch of the 9800's GPU is only about 1/2 inch square, although there is a raised border around the chip as a strain relief basically.
( I'm *NOT* saying the G03 isn't going to work well to cool the 9800 - it does from all reports I've seen. These comments were just regarding the sandblasted vs flat/smooth being a better mating surface - here's an article on Heatsink fundamentals/contact resistance that also talks about finishes.)
Also as a FYI - nickel is about 4.5x less conductive than copper. (they used the plating for corrosion resistance I suspect and the plating is very thin.) I wish they had just surface ground the bottom of the copper heatsink and not nickel plated it though. ( I wasn't thrilled about having a sandblasted nickel plated surface (nickel is very hard) against the ceramic GPU chip with only thermal paste between the two.) I'm so eager to get rid of that noisy 9800 fan that I almost hate to return it as I know the G03 fan is literally silent. If the cost wasn't so high the decision would be a lot easier. I just expected better heatsink workmanship for the price.

Another option for G5 owners w/noisy fan 9800s (for under $35 typically) is the Zalman heatpipe ZM80C-HP assembled so that both heatsinks are on the GPU side of the graphics card (no room on the backside and the flow direction would not be correct even if there was room due to the orientation of the 9800 card in the G5) - but when assembled this way it blocks two of the adjacent PCI slots in the G5 and it weights 325 grams. See this previous Macsonly page for photos of that mod. BTW - Zalman's page on the ZM80C-HP (note 2 at the bootom) recommends adding their small "noiseless" cooling fan ZM-OPT1 for 9800 Pro card use, although in the G5 that may not be required.) After seeing a failed 9700 pro card in a local PC parts store (Sapphire model that shipped with a thermaltake heat pipe cooler standard), I'm almost leery of heatpipes though, but the owner could have been overclocking the card making matters worse.
And of course any fan/HS swap on the card voids the warranty should the card fail later. (But replacing the OEM fan/HS is an option - but if removed by the mfr it won't have the original applied yellow-ish thermal compond, so if they check that on a return they can tell the factory heatsink has been removed.)

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$19.99 Wireless Headphones Sale
They're not the best headphones (IR w/25ft max range and 40Hz-10KHz freq. response) but I picked up a pair of RCA wireless headphones (catalog no. 33-1174) for $19.95 at Radio Shack yesterday. They were normally $49.99, but I suspect they're discontined since RCA has a new model at that same price. Again they're not the best choice for music for instance, but w/rechargeable batteries included (base is recharger) they were worth the price for me to use during the wee hours when I'm testing things like game performance (or even watching TV) and don't want to wake the wife.
Although I just saw these in a sale flyer in the mail yesterday, one of the local stores had only the display model left (they sold quickly at under $20) and Radioshack.com shows them sold out. (They had better spec'd models for $49.xx - $69.xx.)
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 2 new reports this morning (reader entries Yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 8,932. Here's a summary of the update added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Apple B&W G3/300 OC report (at 400MHz)
  • Sonnet G4/1.2GHz in G4 Cube (rated 10)
    (My reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked here. 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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 6 new reports added (reader entries from Yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday 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, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 11,854 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Liteon LTR-52246s (52x24x52x) in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
  • IDE Liteon LTR-52327s (52x32x52x) (w/external cable mod) used w/iMac slot loding (OS X) (systems page, iMac section has past article on mod like this for imac 233-333mhz models - for slotted imacs w/FW port, I'd suggest FW case for IDE drives rather than a mod like this)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • Firewire Pioneer DVR-S606 used w/G4 AGP (OS 9.2)
    (I suspect this is a DVR-106 in a FW/USB case)
  • Firewire TDK indiDVD 440N used w/iMac slot loading (OS X 10.3)
    (native burn support in 10.3)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-106 in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (noted kernel panics in 10.2.8, perhaps drive sleep/spindown related)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Toshiba MK-6022GAX 60 GB in iBook 2001 (OS X 10.3)
    (FAQ's iBook section has off-site links to upgrade guides)

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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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago
(These older pages in some cases have off-site links that may no longer work. Remember comments were accurate only on the date posted regarding producs/availability/pricing, etc.)

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