News Archive for: Thursday, Feb. 16th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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New CineBench v9.5 (64-Bit and Universal Binary), results from 17in Intel CPU iMac
Cinebench.com now has a new Cinebench version 9.5 (64-Bit and Universal Binary). (Download FTP server is currently full as I'm typing this.) Minimum System Requirements are listed as Mac OS X 10.4 or Windows 2000 / XP, 512 MB RAM, 1GHz CPU.
Jamie of OWC sent notes on comparing it to Cinebench 2003 on an Intel Core Duo 17in iMac (CB2003 runs under Rosetta on Intel Macs, so there's a big performance hit)

"Tested on Intel iMac 17in (stock 1.8GHz/128MB VRAM)
previous score was 1008 (CB2003 under Rosetta), new score 3410 - a 238% improvement! (Score is a total of all tests)
(he later wrote)
Since I know you want to ask...
Full scores:
Rendering (1 CPU) 283
Rendering (x CPU) 518
C4D 328
OpenGL SW-L 867
OpenGL HW-L 1412
OpenGL 4.30x
Total = 3408 (my scoring)
Sincerely,
Jamie Dresser
Product Manager & New Product Development
Other World Computing, Inc. "
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OWC Clearance page updated, New High Capacity Battery for AL PB G4 15in
(from site sponsor OWC)

" A variety of new listings have just been added to the OWC Clearance/Bargains page. Items listed on this page are first come, first served as quantities are limited to stock on hand. The latest additions include a variety of different FireWire and/or USB enclosures, G3 & G4 Upgrades, 2.5" & 3.5" hard drives, some wireless networking goodies, SATA enclosure kits, SATA and ATA Mac Controllers cards, and plenty more!
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/bargains/

Also... We have G5 Dual 2.0GHz PowerMacs 512/160/16X SuperDrive for $1499 with 1yr OWC Warranty
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing "

They also have a press release today titled "Highest Capacity PowerBook G4 15in AL Battery Ever Introduced by NewerTech and OWC".

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WinTel now with Qemu Dynamic Translation (and free alternative)
(reader mail in reply to OpenOS X Wintel PR on using Open Source Qemu)

" Hello, please don't make publicity of this people. There is a completely free solution based in Qemu that works beautifully and much better than Wintel.... Yes, I have purchased his software (v2.0.1) and felt ripped off when I realized it was a stupid front- end with a PowerPC bochs embedded.
Q is available at http://www.kberg.ch/q/
Thanks, George "

A reader sent a note that before buying WinTel, you should read the user reports at VT on Wintel (and OpenOSX Office) and MU also has a page on WinTel with user ratings. There's also a old page here from 2001 (last updated in 2003) with WinTel/Boch X86 Emulator Feedback but it's not been updated since 2003. This also reminded me of a very old page here (from 1999) with feedback on the first "Blue Label" emulator. (And many feel it's also not kosher to charge for products that use open source software.)

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Another Intel Core Duo user report on World of Warcraft Performance
(late posting this mail from Tuesday)

" Hi Mike, I just unboxed my BTO Intel iMac 20" (256MB VRAM and 1Gig DDR2) and installed WoW and updated to the lastest Universal Binary (1.9.3 probably as 1.9.4 was released after this mail was sent. I asked if he'd tried 1.9.4 and update to OS X 10.4.5.-Mike) and I have to say I'm very impressed with the performance of the machine with what I've seen so far.
I configured the game settings to max texture details and max draw distance, turned on all graphical features aside from Full Screen Glow (Which Cripples the Game in OpenGL) and it ran pretty steadily between 60-100fps at 1680x1050 No AA/ 16x AF No Vsync (You can override OpenGL Settings with the Downloadable ATI Control Panel). (I wrote to ask him what version of ATI Displays he's using as the current public 4.5.7 version isn't compatible with his system as far as I know - but see below for his reply on that.-Mike)
The minimum framerate I saw was when I was in front of the Ironforge Auction House, at which time it hit into the 39-47 range.

The problems with Full Screen Glow, and to a lesser extent the Death Effect, seem to be more related to the Shader implementation used in Apple's version of OpenGL, or maybe even the ATI Drivers. Because when you run a PC with similarly powered hardware using DirectX, these crippling frame drops aren't seen when you turn on these effects. It may be just he nature of DirectX's shaders, but I'm no expert. I think it can only get better from here as the OS Progresses and ATI gets a chance to clean up a the drivers a bit. But, for now, you can't get much better bang for your buck on the Mac Side for gaming.

Overall I'm very pleased because the complaints I have really don't affect the way the game plays at all, just some whizbangs and eyecandy.
-Jake B "

I asked Jake for an update after installing WoW 1.9.4 and OS X 10.4.5 updates and about his ATI Displays version:

" Yes, I have both 1.9.4 and 10.4.5, and I have the extra command 'set M2Faster "1"' in my config.wts file, (see prev. post on this) and framerates have increased another 10% or so in the larger cities to about 45-50fps. Haven't noticed too much of a difference anywhere else. But all in all, performance has been great.

(in reply to the question on ATI displays version. Current public version is 4.5.7 and doesn't list this mac/graphics chip.-Mike)
The ATI Control panel works on my machine. It doesn't recognize the fact that I have an X1600, but I was able to create an application profile for World of Warcraft. I'll do some more homework after work and just play with the in game settings to see if it makes a difference.
-Jake B "

Note - a reader replied to this post on Friday (adding here as a FYI also)

"I read the post from Jake B. using ATI Displays with World of Warcraft. I highly recommend users to not use ATI Displays for WoW on any system (PPC or Intel) and to instead use the built-in functionality or at the very least, avoid using the ATI Displays FSAA override as it can lead to graphic corruption.
Using WoW's built-in FSAA does not have the same issues. There also seems to be an issue with some of the new Intel iMacs where enabling FSAA for WoW will eventually result in a system freeze. According to some posts in the WoW Mac tech support forum it's been investigated, or as they put it:
"Top men are working on it - top men." - Raiders of the Lost Ark
Ciao! -A.J. "

(FYI - The Feb. 8th news page had the first Intel Core Duo iMac report on Univ. Binary (1.9.3) WoW Performance.)

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iMac G5 2GHz Quake 3 FPS /Notes on Firewire Audio Interface performance hit
" I spotted the Quake3 results from the Core Duo MacTel iMac (Univ. app results in Tuesday's news-Mike) and decided to run a timedemo on my iMac G5 2GHz (X800) as comparison.
I ran Quake3 Altivec version 1.3.2. Settings are from a re-set preferences file, with these adjustments in Quake3's settings from the menu:
Sound Quality = High, all the graphics options set to maximum (including texture filtering set to Trilinear) and resolution at 1024x768. Results are 205 FPS. (the Intel CPU iMac 17in w/OS X 10.4.4 using the std HQ settings (and r_smp=1) was 257.7 FPS)

Curiously, if I send the audio to my Firewire mixer (a Mackie Onyx) the frame rate drops to 165 FPS, a massive drop of 40FPS! It would be interesting to see if anyone else is observing this huge drop in performance on any Macs with a Firewire audio interface. OS X 10.4.5.
Regards, Jose "

If anyone else has this game and a FW audio interface tests this let me know.

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More feedback on OS X 10.4.5 Update
" I am an owner of a new imac 2.0 Ghz core duo machine, (256MB Vram 1GB Ram) and I too was experiencing the video tearing issue in Front Row with OS 10.4.4.
Since installing the 10.4.5 Update, (using software update) I can't say if the video tearing issue has been corrected, as Front Row doesn't start up! I press the menu button on the remote, which worked perfectly before, to no avail. Is there another way to start Front Row?
(Can't you find the App and use the mouse to launch it? He later wrote)
I had restarted a few times with no luck, and it was only after I gave up and continued moving data from my old machine (and another few restarts) that suddenly the remote began working again. It seems odd that it would take 4-5 restarts, but that's what happened...
-Jeff
"

" I run X Server on a pair of Sawtooth G4s. I did the update on one and after restarting, it took me to the username/password box. I normally have it automatically log in so I wasn't keen on that. Even less so when it wouldn't take the password even though I typed the right one. But after pressing the doink button on the front, it restarted and went to the Finder like before.
The other G4 didn't have the problem, it updated and worked normally. The only difference between them is that the first one had Server 10.4.4 installed on its boot disk while installed in a B&W G3 and subsequently swapped into the G4 while the second one was installed from scratch. Not sure if that caused the problem, but they're both working great now in any event.
-Randy "

" I don't know if I'm the only one with this problem. I have a powermac g5 dual 2.5 with tiger on it.
I updated it with 10.4.4 and now it won't go to sleep. I called the apple protection plan and tried everything with unsatisfactory results. The told me just to do a archive install and not to update the g5 with this update. (??)
I did that and it worked ... but then 10.4.5 came out. updated it again and ... voila!!!!! here we go again, it's not going to sleep, it just shuts my monitor off but I can still hear the fans going. I appreciate any help and please let me know if I'm the only one with this problem.
Thanks, Miguel "

I asked if he had any 3rd party hardware installed/connected and if he'd tried resetting the NVRAM. (Assuming apple already had him try all the other usual tips. Also some G5 owners have said unplugging the AC cord for several minutes will reset the pwr mgmt.)

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Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates
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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added this morning. (Entries later today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 15,565 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110D in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio model and B&W G3 and Beige G3 MT Models)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Liteon SOHR-5239V in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (using Toast 5 for burning.)

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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,192. Here's a summary of the report added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • XLR8 G4 600 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
    (For a comprehensive comparison with apps tests, game tests, install info, benchmarks, etc. of the fastest CPU ZIF upgrades for Yikes G4/B&W G3/Beige G3s, see the review of G3 1GHz/1.1GHz vs G4/1GHz, G4/800MHz and G4/550MHz CPU ZIF Upgrades.)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

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).

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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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