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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/27/2002 Wednesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of Feb. 27th, 2002:

PowerBook G4 550/667 OS 9 DVD Player Update
There's an update to the DVD player for the PowerBook G4 550/667 models (only). It should appear in Software Updates for those machines or download it at this Versiontracker page. Changes per Apple's readme notes:

    " It fixes an issue issue that occurs when using the DVD Player for extended periods or while using it simultaneously with other applications that use the graphics processor"
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Final Cut Pro 3.01 Update:
    " Mike,
    Apple posted a Final Cut Pro 3.0.1 Updater today. Readme is:
      " Final Cut Pro 3.0.1 Updater for Mac OS X
      Use this Updater to prevent the following:
      Some dual processor computers may unexpectedly quit when Final Cut Pro 3.0 is installed on Mac OS X.

      Final Cut Pro 3.0 will unexpectedly quit when you open it if the Internet System Preference pane only contains partial information. This problem can occur on both single and dual processor computers. This Updater will prevent this problem from occurring, but it will not add information to the Internet System Preference pane.

    Perhaps this fixes the quits I had while testing FCP 3.0 on the Dual G4/1000.
    David Linder "

There was a past article here on Final Cut Pro 3 install tips that had owner comments on FCP 3 OS X install problems and tips. (I've updated that page to include the above FCP update info/link.)

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More info on Maya Free Edition PC vs Mac Benchmarking
I asked the reader that commented earlier today on his Beige G3 (w/G3 500 cpu) Maya performance for more info. Here's his reply:

    "The A|W site has sample files in the new Maya PLE format, and I ran the "Mousetrap" dynamic simulation file on both systems in PLE. I do not have the exact times available(I'm at work), but they were within a second of each other in wireframe view (the animation with the simulation is about 900 frames and both machines have the same RAM amounts (rough specs at bottom of note).). Please note that this is in preview OGL wireframe view, which Maya optimizes like crazy (from the bad old days of $3000 16mb video boards!). In textured, shaded OpenGL my Quadro2Pro smokes the ATI Nexus 128 in the Mac. Most of the slowness (and it is slow) is due to processor calculations of the various spring, gravity, and collision dynamics going on. No soft bodies.

    The renderer is the big test, since I believe OpenGL libraries are being used by Maya (Phong renderer), but the video card isn't throwing the balance. Again, my OC'd Beige G3/500 matched the P4 when rendering the starting frame of the "Mousetrap" scene. Maya's renderer is its Achilles Heel since it has so much added baggage (paint effects, fur, huge shader networks) and most pros use Renderman or Mental Ray anyway. Perhaps they optimized it when porting it to OSX(?). (Note that both PLE versions are stuck at version 3.5, while the current Windows version is 4) Also, Maya is not dual processor aware in OSX, per their website FAQ (which I can't figure out).

    This all comes with the usual grains of salt that your mileage may vary, and that my G3 is highly customised and OSX is a fresh install. (Beige G3 w/ OC'd OWC 450 @ 500, 512 Mb RAM, ATI Nexus 128 32mb PCI card) My workstation is a little Dell Precision 330 (P4 1.7, 400Mhz bus, 512 Mb Rambus RAM, Quadro2Pro AGP 4x card) I'm going to test it on a Dual 800 this afternoon, Ill keep you posted.

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More Comments on Free Maya Learning Edition Watermarks, Performance, File Format
(Updated with more reader comments below this first post)

    " Mike,
    As a follow up to the Maya Personal Learning Edition release, I thought I would share these insights. I was able to download the disk image and install it on 10.1.2 (The FAQ comments that they haven't "verified" it for 10.1.3) and it ran admirably on my OC'd Beige G3/500 FrankenMac (w/ 768 RAM).
    The down side is that not only does Maya PLE use a proprietary file format different from regular Maya, but the "watermark" that you expect to see on your rendered images has been imposed on ALL working viewports as well (persp. & ortho)! It is too big and bright white to ignore, so useability of this release drops to below a save-disabled demo. Hopefully Alias|Wavefront can rectify this issue that clouds their otherwise excellent interface.

    The nice thing to see is that rendering and dynamic simulation performance on my aging G3 is roughly equal to my Pentium4/1.7Ghz workstation. Bodes well for those that buy the full Mac version...

See Mark's later comments above for more info on performance tests.
Another reader replied to this post with complaints on the watermarking used in the free/learning edition.

    " I was really excited to finally be able to try Maya. I was able to download it right away from Alias Wavefront's site, and it installed fine.

    I can't say that I'm impressed with the product, though. I'll need to install more RAM in my QuickSilver G4 w/ 384 MB RAM to get up to Maya's system requirements (512 MB), but this alone can't justify why Maya keeps crashing OS X 10.1.3! [Note: As mentioned above - the FAQ at their site notes it's not been "verifed" for use with 10.1.3 yet.-Mike.] Every time I try Maya, it crashes after a few minutes of use with a glorious kernel panic. I'm barely trying to draw a few simple shapes, here!

    I can also confirm the full screen, unattractive warnings that appear in the background of every single view. How can we appreciate Maya's talents with this? Using a custom file format was enough to prevent licencing problems, IMHO.
    Keep up the good work! I visit your site daily.
    FranĦois T.

Another reader wrote

    " I also successfully downloaded Maya PLE (about 10min on a cable modem). ... I didn't have alot of time to mess with it, but it seemed to run quite well on my G4/450.
    I have to agree with Mark, the on-screen watermarks are damned annoying...they almost make it unusable. I know Alias put in a lot of time making Maya's on-screen diplay really interactive, and even with my crummy Rage 128 it still shows (I wish NewTek would follow this example). ..
    Cheers, Bryan W."
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Comments on Free Maya 3D Personal Learning Edition Installer
Yesterday's news had a note on the free personal learning edition version of Maya for OS X, but I was unable even after registering to find any way to down it from the Maya personal edition page. (The download link there noted due to server load you should come back later.) A reader replied to the post yesterday that he was able to get it, but that the installer required more RAM than he has in his system:

    " Hi Mike,
    One info about this news : "Free Maya 3D Personal Learning Edition -"
    I dowloaded it yesterday and it works (700kB/s with Interarchy on a LAN). So I have it now, but it won't install : the installer refuses to install with less than 256 MB of RAM. I have only 192 MB... too bad.I think I'm going to buy some more...
    Thanks from Paris,
    Bapts "

(Several readers later sent a link to as the download source. Others sent a direct FTP link, but that may move or the filename get revised (if it's updated).

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Notes on Adaptec Updated SCSI Card Drivers for OS X
    " Subject: Adaptec releases Mac OS X drivers version 1.1
    Date: Tue, 26 Feb 2002
    Since you have submitted feedback to Adaptec on our Mac OS X beta drivers I want to give you first shot at the second release of our completed drivers. These are fully supported by Adaptec Technical Support, but before you pick up the phone to give us a call please note a few things:

    - Deep Sleep on Power Macintosh G4s is supported in this release
    (there is an issue with Jaz drives, we are investigating)

    - Mac OS X 10.1, 10.1.2 and 10.1.3 shipped with early versions of these drivers, please update to the latest listed below.

    - Orb drives do not mount
    (we have determined the issue with this drive and are looking to create a work around)

    - Some MO drives currently do not mount, we are currently investigating this issue.

    - Some CD Recorders when used as readers do not mount media, we are currently investigating this issue.

    - A mirrored RAID configured using Apple's RAID utility that is built into Mac OS X will cause errors when copying to or from the RAID partitions.

    - Booting off of an IBM UltraStar 9.1 GB (DDYS-T09170) or Seagate Cheetah 18 GB (ST318404LW) into Mac OS X does not work; we are currently investigating this issue.

    - On QuickSilver G4s (733, 800, 867, 933, Dual Processor 800 and Dual Processor 1-GHz) if the PRAM is zapped you will not be able to boot off drives attached to the PowerDomain 29160, 29160N, 39160. To work around this issue please see Article #011220-000013 in the Adaptec Knowledgebase at

    - On a beige G3 Macintosh computer, you cannot currently boot into Mac OS X from a SCSI drive connected to a SCSI host bus adapter SCSI cards

    - If devices do not work when connected to out SCSI cards under Mac OS X but work fine under Mac OS 9 determine a few things

    • is the hard drive formatted using a Mac OS X compatible software check with software vendor for details
    • did the device require a driver to function under Mac OS 9, if it did require a driver (only hard drives didn't require an Extension or application based driver) check with device manufacture for Mac OS X compatible drivers and/or software

    Note: a restart is required (but not forced by the installer) after installation of these drivers for the new version to load. If you are not booted off of a drive attached to a SCSI card and don't want to reboot see instructions at the bottom of this email.

    For those interested on updates for the PowerDomain SlimSCSI 1480, we are currently preparing to begin testing on a beta for this. Testing may take any where from 3 weeks to 3 months depending on the issues that we encounter.

    [NOTE: Adaptec wrote asking that I remove the direct download links for each card that were listed in their own email. They sent the following URL "for public consumption".-Mike]

(Thanks to Robert M. for sending a copy of the Adaptec email.)
Note: One reader sent a note saying he had problems with the new drivers and had to revert to the previous 1.02 version. No other problem reports so far, so I'm not sure that's typical.

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Willow releases iMac G4 Flat Panel Carrying Case
(from the email press release on the Wedge shaped case)

    " Willow Releases Flat Panel iMac Case
    Willow Design has released their first case to conveniently stow and protect the Flat Panel iMac, keyboard, speakers and accessories. ( [$207 US] ). Everything including the iMac is separately compartmentalized and protected allowing for quick and easy moving of the desktop.

    With a line offering 25 different cases and slipcases specifically designed for Apple iBooks, Titaniums, Towers and everything else (, it was guaranteed that Willow would address the needs of those who wanted to haul around the G4 iMac. "In fact, we received our first email request for a new Flat Panel case within forty five minutes of Jobs announcing the new computer at MacWorld" commented president, Nigel Peck.

    The case is reasonably lightweight at eight pounds with rigid protective external walls, and dividers throughout to separate and protect the Flat Panel and other components. There are specific compartments for the iMac, speakers, keyboard, two separate accessory compartments and room for a multitude of cables underneath the back of the iMac.

    Loading and unloading of the entire system takes well under a minute making moving a breeze. The Flat Panel Wedge is (as is the iMac itself) too large for carry-on airline status, but will make carrying the iMac by car quick and convenient. As with all other Willow products, the Wedge will be covered by Willow's lifetime guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship. "

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Another Report of Epson Expression 636 SCSI scanner working in OS X 10.1.3
Yesterday's news had a reader's comments on this scanner working in 10.1.3 with his 8500 using an Adaptec 3940UW SCSI card. Another reader replied to that post saying he's also using a 636 scanner with his Initio Bluenote SCSI card in a Dual 1GHz Mac:

    " Mike
    I have a Expression 636 connected to a Miles BlueNote working fine with VueScan on my 1gHzDP with 10.1.3. What I can't get to work is my Nikon LS200. VueScan sees the scanner, even starts the scanner up but no image appears in the VueScan.
    The Miles came out of my old 9600.
    William "
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PowerBook G4 Combo DVD/CDRW Upgrade Comments
    "Combo Drive Upgrade Update
    I thought I'd let you know that the combo drive upgrades are finally starting to happen. I took my PBG4 down the the Apple Store here in San Diego and had them install it today (2/26). It only took 1 hour, as promised. So far so good, I've burned a data CDRW, erased and reburned it, and played audio cds. Burning audio cds and playing dvds will be tried later tonight.

    For those interested in seeing if the upgrades are the same model as the pre-installed, system profiler shows the following:

    DVD-ROM drive/CD-RW
    Apple disc burning:Supported
    unit number 0
    ata device type atapi
    device serial
    device revision AA12
    Product Identification CD-RW CW-8121
    Vendor Identification MATSHITA
    Mike in San Diego"

I asked Mike if he had seen any CD burning problems with 10.1.3 (I had one mail recently from a PB G4 owner saying he and some others had) - he later wrote back he had 10.1.3 installed before the drive swap - but has seen no problems burning CDs with the new Combo drive.
The info on the combo drive model was also noted here back in the December 20th, 2001 news page and was added to the FAQ's Powerbook section.
We were all hoping that some web dealer of drives would eventually offer this model for sale. Cube owners and slotted iMac owners often ask about it since the Apple $299 upgrade offer is only available to early buyers of the PB G4/550 and /667. One early PB G4 owner said he's looking at making a cable for the new drive - saying the cable in the older PowerBook G4s is too short to reach the new drive. (I've not verified that personally. I think Apple has said the drive won't fit the original PB G4/400 and 500 models.)

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive /Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 7 new reports added today. [entries today will be added the following newsday.] 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 6,672 reports. Here's an itemized summary of today's additions:

    DVD-R + DVD-RAM DVD Drive Reports:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-A03 in G4/AGP (OS 9.1)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports
  • Philips 3210 32x10x40 in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (no itunes/discburner support)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports
  • Plextor/OWC 16x10x40x used w/PowerBook G4 (OS 9.2)
  • Sony CRX-160E 12x/8x/32x in Firewire Case used w/iMac slot loading (OS X)
  • Sony CRX1611-82E 16x10x40x in Firewire Case used w/Dual G4 (OS X)

    USB CDRW Drive Reports
  • Sony CRX100E (4x4x) used w/G4 AGP (OS X)
    (noted still not working in OS X 10.1.3)

    SCSI Hard Drive Reports
  • IBM Ultrastar 18XP 18GB in Beige G3 (OS 9)

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 1 new report. (Total to date: 6,800). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning.]

  • XLR8 CarrierZIF MPe w/G3 500 Newer Tech ZIF in 8600 (rated 10)

(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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Software Updates and Other Net News Links

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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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