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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/6/2001 Tuesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of Feb. 6th, 2001:

Info on Starband 2-Way Satellite Modem Ethernet Hack for Macs:
(Note - a later reader report says that the Ethernet port may not be in future modem models.) Over a dozen readers replied to the earlier post (below) on Starband 2-way Satellite internet access saying that with some hardware hacks it's possible to use the Ethernet port on the modem with a Mac. See this Slashdot story and it's also noted in this Cringely column on Starband. (Note the comments on latency, making it not a good option for internet multiplayer 3d gaming.)
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2-Way Satellite Internet Access Provider Notes Mac Drivers In Development:
Although promises of future support that didn't appear is something we Mac owners have heard many times, I thought this might be of interest to readers.

"Hi Mike
We are looking into 2 Way Satellite Internet, as we are about to move rurally. Starband is a new (to consumers) Sat service. I inquired if they suported Macs, and this was the reply:
--------------------------
Dear Tomas,
Thank you for your interest in our StarBand Satellite Internet service. We recognize that non-Microsoft platform users represent a large portion of potential customers. Unfortunately, our product is not yet Macintosh-compatible. A MAC-friendly USB driver is currently in development.
However, we do not have a time frame for when it will be available. As soon as it is ready for market, the news will be posted on our website.

Thanks again for your inquiry. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact us or check out our website at
http://www.starband.com
Regards,
Rhonda
StarBand Support"

Last February here there were some reports on DirectPC USB owners using Virtual PC 3.0 for access. (One example report is on this 2/7/00 news page) Checking today, the DirectPC FAQ notes there is Mac support in some cases via 3rd party proxy server packages but their link to that info is bad (404 file not found error).

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Rebuttal to Wired's Comments on OS X PCI Video Card Support:
A reader replied to the post in yesterday's news on Wired4DVD OS X compatibility. (I've also asked for a better/more complete explanation from the company.)

"Mike,
the statement from the 'Wired Inc Sales' you are reporting is blatantly incorrect:

[comments in italics are from the prev. post.]
"Currently, OSX will not support any PCI video cards (not talking about graphics cards). And since all our products are professional video cards, they cannot be operated on OSX. Apple is fully aware of this limitation and is working to correct it, but the timeframe is still up in the air."

OSX easily supports any PCI card driver trough the IOKit ( see developer.apple.com/techpubs/macosx/Kernel/IOKitLib/index.html ) which is open-sourced since at least one year.

The IOKit SDK ( http://anoncvs.publicsource.apple.com/cvs/IO/ ) contains several working examples of PCI card drivers (scsi, ethernet - there is even a driver for 'WinTV' cards which works pretty well on my machine using a $50 card from CircuitCity).

Godfrey van der Linden, one of the leading Darwin kernel designers, wrote a complete intro called 'Designing a MacOSX PCI device driver' back in october, you can take a look at it on http://www.darwinfo.org/howto/iokit-1.shtml .

Adaptec released drivers for some of their SCSI cards last november.

If Wired Inc. has no intentions to write MacOSX drivers in the near future they should better release the specs of their macintosh products, so that at least some kind programmer soul will be able to write software for it; the same applies to other vendors, of course...
Regards,
Heliodoro T.
System Administrator"

The original reader's email including a comment there were no current plans for migrating to OSX, but then a 2nd mail was sent which was listed in the posting yesterday. Regardless of the reasons why - there currently is a *huge list* of PCI cards that do not have OS X drivers. (Very few do in fact as of this date. )

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Info on ATI's Radeon Mobility Notebook Graphics Chip:
[Update - in fall 2001, the Radeon Mobility chip was added to the PowerBook G4/550 and /667mhz models - see the Systems page, PowerBook section for a PB G4/667 tests page.]
With the announcement of the ATI Radeon Mobility chip (more info in this article) yesterday which has a 200mhz clock rate, support for DDR RAM and very low power use (from 2W on AC to 1/2W on battery power), it almost makes me want to wait for a rev 2 PowerBook G4 that might have this graphics chip (as well as I hope future DVD/CDRW combo drive options). [Note - the 2002 PB G4s are now shipping with a slotted DVD/CDRW drive - 8x8x8x24 rated.]
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More PowerBook G4 Availability Info, One Report of DVD Drive Failure:
[Update - for later articles and tests of the PowerBook G4 - see the Systems page, PowerBook section.]
As noted yesterday, it looks like PowerBook G4s are trickling in to at least some dealers. One reader noted Mac Center in Ft. Lauderdale Florida has stock of the G4 powerbooks for instance.

One PB G4 owner reported he had a DVD ROM drive failure, but so far this is the only report I've had of any problems with the new model. I suspect this is just a random infant failure. This is one area where the expansion bays would be a plus, allowing easy replacement of drives. As with any new Mac model, I always wonder about any issues that may be seen with a first revision but I hope these new models are problem free. I welcome other PB G4 owner feedback.

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More Epson Stylus 2000P/OS 9.1 Tips/Comments:
In reply to a post in yesterday's news from a 2001 G4 owner (running OS 9.1) who noted a printing problem with an Epson 2000P, several readers replied with suggestions. One Epson 740i printer owner reported the same problems printing in OS 9.1 also. One Dual G4 owner said he was printing fine in OS 9.1 with his Epson 2000 and I've listed his system/printer details as well as some suggestions/comments from readers - one tip includes a image size/bug tip that might help. See the OS 9.1 Feedback page for details.
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iMac Internal DVD ROM Drive Upgrade:
Last week I posted a note that OWC has slotted iMac DVD ROM ($69) and CDROM drives for slotted iMac models (1999 and up). One reader noted he got two of the CDROM drives instead of a DVD model and didn't realize it until he'd installed them. Another reader did get the DVD ROM drive model and posted a drive database entry on it which I'm listing below. I asked and he said the drive didn't appear to have any identfying info. I was sure there would be some model number marking somewhere on the drive, but so far no confirmation on that. The ID he listed for the DVD was from Apple System profiler after he installed the drive. His report included a URL to Apple's page with instructions (for qualified persons only.)

" Just an FYI. I ordered one of Other Worlds Computing Slot Loading DVD drives for my Indigo 350mhz iMac. I replaced the original CD drive with it and it works like a charm. I tested it out with a Bugs Life DVD and Apple DVD Player 2.5 - no problems but it is a tricky install. Apple TIL docs helped with the replacement.

See this page for install instructions:
http://til.info.apple.com/techinfo.nsf/artnum/n95074
Daniel Hines"

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Plextor CDRW Tweak Utility:
MacPlexTool is a user written utility to alter sleep settings, rotational speeds, etc. for SCSI Plextor CDRW drives. The author notes he doesn't have an IDE based mac to test but asks if IDE drive owners email him he will try to add support if they can test it.
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CDRW/CD/DVD/HD Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 14 new entries including IDE DVD ROMs, Hard drives and removables.(Current total 2,785 reports).
Entries from after midnight are added the following day. [BTW - the drive database is not a place to post questions, it's for reports on drives you've used. For guides to drive installs, see the IDE, SCI or Firewire articles here and/or the FAQ. Thanks.]

    DVD ROM Drives:
  • IDE Hitachi GD 7500 in 2001 G4
  • IDE Matshita SR-8186 in iMac (slotted)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Panasonic CW-7586 in G4/AGP
  • IDE Sony CRX140 in G4/AGP (iTunes/Disc Burn compatible)
    (using the CDROM install guide here)
  • IDE Sony CRX140 in G4/AGP (2nd report)
  • Firewire Que 8x4x32x in Beige G3 (updated report)
  • Firewire (IDE in Firewire case) Iomega 12x10x32x (w/firmware change) w/PB G3 2000
  • USB to SCSI Adapter with Yamaha CRW4416S w/G4 AGP
    (problems noted)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE IBM 20GB Travelstar in PB G3 2000
  • IDE IBM 75GXP 45GB in G4/AGP
  • IDE Maxtor 40GB in B&W G3 w/PCI IDE card
  • IDE Maxtor 30GB in Beige G3
    (used my 1998 Beige G3 HD upgrade guide)
  • IDE Maxtor 13GB in B&W G3
  • IDE Western Digital 40GB in G4/AGP

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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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports (total to date: 5,191). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • Newer Tech G4/400 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • PowerLogix G3/400 in 8600/300 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G3/250 in Umax C600 (rated 9)

  • B&W G3/300 OC report

You can find these 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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Video Card/System Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
Updates to the Mac Game/Video Card Performance database included:

  • CineBench 2000 (1024x768) from Dual G4/533 w/Radeon AGP
  • CineBench 2000 (1024x768) from Dual G4/533 w/Geforce2MX AGP
  • Throughput results from Dual G4/533 w/Geforce2MX AGP
  • Unreal (800x600) from PowerCurve w/Voodoo5 (16bit/4xFSAA)

Total entries in the database to date: 2,407. 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:
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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy

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