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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/23/2001 Friday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

 
Top stories of the day:

News on SoundBlaster Live Shipping Date:
From a post from a Creative labs contact in our forums:

"Good news folks! You heard it here first.

It appears that, BARRING ANY UNFORSEEN, LAST MINUTE DISASTERS, we'll be packing boxes late next week and shipping shortly thereafter!

It's sounding *really* good, and I'm quite pleased with its audio enhancements on both my G4-350 and my old PM9600. This thing with a set of Cambridge FPS2000 digital speakers sounds awesome.

Thanks for all of your support. I still think this is the best thing to happen to Macintosh audio in a long time. Certainly at the price point. Enjoy, and TELL YOUR FRIENDS!"

Update - right after I posted this, the forum post was deleted by the author. (Perhaps the news was premature or a bit too optimistic...)

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Carmack Comments on G4/733 vs 1GHz PIII Game Performance:
A reader sent a link to forum post at Slashdot from John Carmack (supposedly) that indicates the G4/733 is not as fast as his Pentium III 1GHz in the "trouble areas" of the new Doom game. After the comments in the past on the benefits of Altivec code, I was disappointed to see his statement that "We did a couple functions with AltiVec, but they didn't make much difference" (unless I misunderstood the meaning or context of that comment). He noted that Video encoding and large image processing are two areas where Altivec can pay off, but said the G4 had lower memory bandwidth than a high end X86 system. [Note - It was ID's Graeme Devine that originally commented on the benefits of Altivec enhanced Quake3. "I think this safely puts the G4 ahead of the PC" was the quote as I remember. Since Graeme is working on the Altivec code for Mac Q3, I'd tend to put more weight in his comments, but the proof will be in the Altivec update's performance. ]

A programmer friend noted that Altivec sped up a transformation routine by 50%, but that routine was only 5% of the game cycles, so the net gain was only 2.5%. It will be interesting to see what effect Altivec support has on Quake3 when that update is released. I wonder if Altivec could be used to help in some way for game audio, which takes a large amount of CPU time on the Mac. For simple audio it may not be useful, although for effects it might perhaps.

It would be interesting to know exactly how much difference there was in Doom3 performance between a G4/733 vs PIII 1GHz with both running a GeForce3 card. Hopefully it's not significant. If the rates are high, I wouldn't care about the G4 being a bit slower as the FPS wars can get blown out of porportion at some point. As long as the framerates are playable with the kind of image quality shown in the Doom3 demo, I'll be a happy camper.

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Conference Call/Q&A with Nvidia on the GeForce3:
Yesterday afternoon I had a conference call with Nvidia on the Mac GeForce3. As you saw from the Doom3 screenshots linked in yesterday's news, this card is one incredible graphics engine. I asked several questions such as how likely the programmable features of the GPU would be used on the mac, if the GPU and memory are the same speed as the retail PC GeForce3 cards and how performance compared on a G4/733 w/GeForce3 to a fast PC. I've also included a summary of some of its impressive features. See Details.
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More iTunes 1.1 Feedback and Drive Compatibility Reports:
I've updated the iTunes 1.1 Feedback page for more reader reports including one from a Toshiba Combo DVD/CDRW drive owner. A Rio500 MP Player owner noted the device is not recognized and asked if any Rio owners could suggest anything.
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MacAmp Add-Ons Site:
Subband Software, Inc today announced the opening of its brand new MacAmp Add-ons section which is currently serving up sections for Entheogen plugins, MacAmp Embedded Eyecandy Plugins(MEEPs), and Audio plugins. When MacAmp supports it, they'll be adding a Skins section for altering the interface of MacAmp. In addition to download sections, the Add-ons section also includes a developers' area. For information on MacAmp, please visit the MacAmp site here: www.subband.com/macamp/.
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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 3 new reports (total to date: 5,290). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • PowerLogix BlueChip G3/500 in PB G3 Wallstreet2 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G4/500 in Beige G3/333 (rated 10)
  • G4/400 AGP upgraded with a Dual G4/450 module.
    (see the G4 section of the Systems page for a photo illustrated guide on swaps like this - and note the OS 9.1 problems reported after the swap as did this owner.)

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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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

  • CineBench 2000 results from Beige G3/500 w/Radeon PCI card
  • CineBench 2000 results from PowerBook G3 2000 (G3/500 )
  • CineBench 2000 results from G4/400 AGP with Radeon AGP card
  • Quake3 (640x480) from G4/400 AGP with Radeon AGP card

Total entries in the database to date: 2,478. 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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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy

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Recent Reviews and Articles:
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