News Archive for: Friday February 9th, 2007 (later added items first)
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Systems | CPU Upgrades | Video | IDE | Firewire | SCSI | Audio | Tips/Apps/Networking | FAQ
OWC has Mac Geforce 6800 Ultra AGP cards
Jamie of sponsor OWC sent a note they have some Mac Nvidia 6800 Ultra AGP cards for $339. I bought one of these from Apple back in 2004 (cost $599 then) for a review in my Dual 2GHz G5 tower. The 6800 Mac card can drive two 30in Cinema displays, for those lucky folks that can afford not just one - but two of them. I later compared performance in that system to an ATI X800 when it was first released in Jan 2005. (Neither card is made anymore as far as I know.) Granted there's been a lot of OS/driver updates since those reviews but just a FYI if you missed them when the cards were originally shipped.
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Problems with DasBoot utility (updated w/tips)
(Updated again- see below for some reader tips, although none help on my 10.3.9 system.)
I didn't get to try the free Subrosasoft DasBoot utility posted in Wednesday's news until last night, but haven't been able to get it to complete. I used a Firewire iPod 20GB (17GB free) using my DiskWarrior 3.0x boot CD and a PB G4 running OS X 10.3.9. After repeated attempts, I could never get it to complete. It seemed to stall after selecting the target/source, apps/utils to install and pressing start. The progress dialog box would appear but after the "preparing XXXXX items count" (which completed), it would show a string of numbers and slashes (one attempt actually showed a sudo ditto command) but it never progressed beyond that as far as I could tell, just the Spinning "barber pole" and no changes after 2 hours. Every time I had to force quit as the cancel button didn't stop it.
No help file or detailed docs so I wrote Subrosasoft to ask if it requires OS X 10.4.x (nothing I could find there to note any OS requirement). I know some others got farther than I did though. I even tried wiping/restoring the iPod - same thing. Subrosasoft support replied back to my mail that they had some other similar reports and were looking into the problem.
Note - a reader replied he saw the same problems and that using an external optical drive helped:

" I had the same problem with DasBoot that you did. After a couple of emails to SubRosaSoft we were still unsuccessful. I then decided to try using my external DVD drive to read the DiskWarrior CD rather than the internal drive on my G4 AGP, and it worked. I installed the software on a 5 GB external firewire drive and it boots and runs on my machine beautifully. Don't know why using the external vs. the internal drive worked. It's not the original internal drive as I've not had any problems with it before.
Hope this helps.
(I asked how long it took, as I'm still seeing the same behavior here even when using a FW DVD drive for my DW 3.0x disc and PB G4/10.3.9 system. Seems stalled again at the same (start) point.-Mike)
I have the DiskWarrior 4 CD. I am running 10.4.8 on my G4. Once it started, it only took a few minutes, and it gives a running list of files installed. I tested it also with my Drive Genius CD (OS 10.4.4) and it also worked.
-Wayne "

I gave up after about 1/2 hour with no progress (didn't even start to read the CD, after the start button and counting up the items to process, although the CD was read initially in the opening setup). I had to force quit it (again). I'll try it later with a 10.4.x system. Subrosasoft's TS said they had tested w/DW 4, not v3.0x like mine and I suspect they used OS X Tiger, not 10.3.9. (I checked the console and system logs this time to see if they had any related information - nothing that I could see after the sudo command authentication. (But it did have an entry before that when DasBoot was called - "Warning: ATSUSetFontFallbacks has been deprecated. Use ATSUFontFallbacks objects instead.")
BTW - the last 4 times I tried DasBoot it was run from the PB's hard drive (utilities folder) - although the first time I ran it from the downloaded disk image. Neither way helped. I'm beginning to wonder if it requires OS X tiger (although so far no reply from srs tech support that tiger was required.)

Another reader mail on DasBoot with some tips:

"I ran into the same problems mentioned, but when I copied the app from the disk image to my Application folder and re-ran, the problem went away. This was on my work PowerBook G4 1.67GHz. (This did not help here - I ran it several times from the PB's hard drive, but again I'm using 10.3.9 - I suspect 10.4.x users might have better luck. I asked him what OS was he using.-Mike)
10.4.6 at work. 10.4.6 or 10.4.7 at home. Definitely NOT 10.4.8 on either.
(But may question is has anyone else running 10.3.x had it work?-Mike)

Strange thing, I had no such issue on my home Intel Mini. It ran fine from the disk image.

Home attempt was to 30GB video iPod. Work attempt was to 20GB click wheel iPod (b/w screen).
Side oddities:
Both computers also had a problem where I couldn't eject the Diskwarrior CD after running DasBoot. When I tried to restart, both computers froze (spinning beachball on PowerBook, spinning clock hands on Mini). I had to press and hold POWER to shut down.

Also, the applications you want to run have to be in the Applications folder -- not in subfolders or in Utilities. DiskWarrior, for example, creates a Utilities folder in the Apps. You can either alias to it or just pull it out of the Utilities folder. (On my PB G4, Disk Warrior was installed in the Apps folder - not a subfolder, however DasBoot also shows Apple Disk Utility, Console, Terminal and System Profiler - all of which are by default in the Utilities folder. As a test I made an Alias of each of them in the Apps folder, but that didn't help here - it still stalls after the item count completes and it starts a sudo ditto. Same as before.-Mike)

Lastly, I've run into problems adding other disk utility apps to the iPod drive. Drive Genius, for example, has to install a few files into Library > Application Support, and it can't do so from the SubRosaSoft launcher. A workaround was to install DG on PowerBook or Mini, and then copy the App Support folder to the same location on iPod. (I didn't have DG installed although I did have TTool Pro 4.0x (not updated, not used in years.). I trashed the DasBoot prefs, then ran it again, unchecking the option to include TTPro - no help.-Mike)

My initial attempt to run Cocktail just by copying to Apps folder also resulted in a freeze. I suspect I have to do the same Install and Copy App Support trick.

With these learnings, I was able to produce two fast, usable repair iPods -- one USB for Intel Macs and one FW for PPC Macs. Cool, but more documentation would have made it easier.
- Michael C. "

He later mentioned he had restored the iPods after any failure (I tried that already, even though it never seemed to have touched the iPod here) and didn't have any other apps running by DasBoot (I also ran it alone w/o any other apps running.). I'm beginning to think that it requires OS X Tiger. If anyone has gotten DasBoot to work under OS X 10.3.x, let me know. (I suspect it was only tested under OS X Tiger.)

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OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 800/400 FireWire Drives
(from site sponsor OWC)

" The OWC Mercury Elite-AL FW800/400 is a high performance, highly reliable solution that utilizes a single drive for capacities from 80GB to 750GB. Like all the Elite-AL models, the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro 800/400 can stand vertically or be placed horizontally and has dimensions of only 9.0 x 2.1 x 5.8 Inches! High Performance, High Reliability - in an amazingly small physical space. Two FireWire 800 Ports + one FireWire 400 port provide easy connectivity and daisy-chaining with available FireWire port(s) and devices.
OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 800/40 models utilize the Oxford 912 Chipset and the best hard disk mechanisms to provide reliable, high performance storage. Elite-AL models are EMC/Dantz Backup Certified, Supported for High Demand Audio-Video, and include FireWire 800 Cable, FireWire 400 Cable, Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, a 2 Year OWC Warranty + up to 5yr total HD Mechanism Warranty Coverage.
**NEW** ALL OWC Mercury Elite-AL Single Drive Solutions now include the award willing Prosoft DataBackup II for OS X (a $59.95 retail value) and the award wining NovaStor NovaBACKUP for Windows (a $49.95 retail value). Further - these aren't just limited OEM versions, these are the full retail versions with full retail support including the same technical support and version update support provided to customers who purchase the retail stand alone version. Great software we're pleased to be bundling with our great solutions!
80GB w/ 2MB Data Buffer remains $129.99
160GB w/ 8MB Data Buffer was $149.99, now $139.99 $10 Drop
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320GB w/16MB Data Buffer was $209.99, now $189.99 $20 Drop
400GB w/16MB Data Buffer was $259.99, now $209.99 $50 Drop
500GB w/16MB Data Buffer was $289.99, now $249.99 $40 Drop
750GB w/16MB Data Buffer was $499.99, now $449.00 $51 Drop
UPS Ground is $2.95 (US) for any of the above solutions. 2nd Day Air is also available within the USA for $7.95 or less. "
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Transintl ClearLite Portable Drive Sale
(from site sponsor Transintl.com)

" Transintl.com drops price on ClearLite Portable drives
Trans Intl Ultra Compact Portable FireWire F400 hard drives are now offered with a new faster "Next Generation" FireWire Bridge controller (OXFW911 interface chip). This almost doubles the data transfer rate compared to earlier FireWire Portable drives. The new bridge controller delivers faster Data Xfer Rate (20-35 MB /s) making these drives more practical for data intensive applications. ClearlLite FireWire portable drives are offered in capacities from 40 to 160GB.
Utilizing the latest PATA to FireWire Hot pluggable technology feature allow the FireWire drives to be Plugged or Unplugged with out turning-off or restarting the computer. The drive mounts automatically when plugged into the FireWire Port of the computer.
160GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $209.00
120GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $147.00
100GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $189.00
100GB 5400RPM w/16MB Cache NOW $157.00
100GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $145.00
80GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $159.00
80GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $125.00
60GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $145.00
60GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $119.00
40GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $112.00 "

The product page shows these cases also have a USB interface in addition to Firewire.

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More feedback from Airport Extreme 802.11n Base users (RAID USB drives, WDS, Performance)
(Updated with more notes - if anyone tries an external drive with hardware raid support on the AE 802.11n's USB port, let me know. ** Update ** - Hardware RAID drives worked, see notes/benchmarks on the Mac user reports on 802.11n page here.
(Original news post follows)
A reader mentioned problems using a RAID'd drive (setup with Disk Utility) on the USB port:

" Got the new Airport base station, pulled out the old one, factory defaulted the three other Airport Express base stations, joined them as WDS extenders. All is good. Won't be testing throughput yet all I am still all PPC.

Bought the new base station for the USB disk sharing as I have computers all over the home and this was going to be great!
Before it arrived, I purchased a new USB eBOX-U Eight (8) drive enclosure from Firewire Depot (as reviewed by AMUG).
Very nice box for $265. Loaded six new 400GB and a couple of old misc. drives. Formated top two as raid 0, next two as raid 0 and then mirrored the two together. (I just went through the worst hard disk crash I've ever had with a stripped 0 volume, I never want to go through this again - 100% data loss.) Anyways, last 2 400GB drives as mirrored raid.

Fire the puppy up and for an overnight backup device, it's perfect. I couldn't use it for encoding video but for going to bed and letting my computer backup cheaply and safely, I am delighted!

So now I'm ready for the new Airport base station, I can share these massive, safe drives over the wireless network and get all of my computers backed-up. Nope.
The base station refuses to recognize the Macintosh-formated arrays, it only sees one drive and that unusable.
I will be logging a Applecare support question and will post any responses. Thanks for the best Mac coverage on the planet.

(Here's a link I posted awhile back to an apple kbase doc on AirPort Extreme (802.11n): USB storage device supported formats and protocols, although it doesn't mention RAID volumes specifically.
Note - I asked him if his case supported basic hardware RAID 0 or 1 for tests w/RAID not setup using Disk Utility. If anyone tries a case w/hardware RAID support with their Airport Extreme 802.11n USB port let me know. (They work.) He later said it supported Spanning and I asked if he'd test that mode.-Mike
)
Just got off the phone, 90 minutes on hold
No Raid Support, Request was noted, they said it was at the driver level and they don't know if they can get such a sophisticated driver on this box.

No throughput advantage/disadvantage of using the 2.4Ghz freq vs. 5Ghz freq. Even in N only mode, no difference in throughput for 5Ghz vs. 2.4Ghz. I asked because I've made the investment long ago into Uniden 5Ghz wireless phones to avoid interference with my Airport. Only advantage would be reduced interference from nearby networks.

No support for external antenna.

No way to configure the "automatic" firewall "at this time". Support will be provided in a future software update.

Regarding WDS, current gen. Airport Express and throughput. Should be no additional penalty when the new Airport Express (802.11n) base station comes out and you extend your network using 11n while continuing to support the 11g WDS repeaters. No more than any mixed mode use. (But performance drops with any sub-N device on the network) True, they said it would run slower than all N mode but the new N mode Airport Express WDS would be faster than the G WDS links.
-Jim "

BTW - I just noticed that Apple today revised their previous kbase doc on Using the AirPort Admin Utility to create a WDS network with multiple base stations. The bottom of the page has several notes including this one:
"When you use WDS, some of each base station's capacity is used as overhead for maintaining the network. This means that if you were to measure the maximum throughput speed of your network, it would be less than when using one base station by itself."

An earlier reader mail about WDS use with the original 802.11g Airport Express follows:

"Airport Extreme 802.11n WDS
I just wanted to shoot you a message with some info on the N Base Station. When connecting the base station to a WDS network, the highest data connection it will connect at is 54Mbps. I tried to set the Base Station to N only, but it would not connect to the other Base Station as it is not N compatible. I was really sad to find this out. The Base Station does power a USB powered hard drive (2.5in) with no problem though.
(Note - There's a note on the Apple N performance/range claims that performance is reduced if any sub-N device is on the network. Their "up to five times the performance and up to twice the range of networks created with the earlier 802.11g standard..." has a "1" footnote reference - referring to the footnote at the bottom of the Airport Extreme page and 802.11n page-Mike)

    "1) Based on a comparison with Apple's 802.11g products. Comparison assumes AirPort Extreme network with 802.11n-enabled computer. Speed and range will be less if an 802.11a/b/g product joins the network."

It's just sad that I cant use its raw speed until they have 802.11n Airport Expresses.

(he later wrote)
After rearranging the network, and making the N station the main one, I am able to get 130Mbps to my core2 macbook, and 54Mbps to a 12in powerbook. I am able to transfer to and from the usb hard drive at 4MB/s. I was surprised that I could actually get that kind of speed when it was configured as b/g/n.
-Adam "

Although I don't remember anyone else reporting any kernel panics with the new Airport Admin, this reader mentioned he has seen a couple:

" Airport 802.11n KERNEL PANICS
I love my new Airport 802.11n base station. It's cute. But in less than 24 hours of running it I've received 2 kernel panics. Both times I was quitting the new Airport Utility. Wow. Haven't seen those in a while. Fun.
Using Mac OS X 10.4.8 on an Intel Core Duo iMac 20" 2GHz. It's not a Core 2 Duo N enable model. I love the interface of the app. This N base station replaces two Airport Express units I was using to extend throughout the house. Now this one is all I need. Cool. The shared USB hard disk feature is awesome. :)
-Mat x"

As a FYI, a reader that reported good performance with his new base and Core2 Duo MacBook Pro (w/N enabler) wrote back with more details on how he measured performance and mentioned he had the base set for N only (max performance):

(in reply to question on performance tests/measurements)
" I just checked traffic statistics on my Linux server (it was idle except for when I tested), but I'm sure the transfer rates are correct.

By the way, I set my AP to use the 5GHz frequency and 802.11n enabled only. I think this improves speeds instead of being back-compatible with the earlier networks, but I did not test this.
Kind regards,
Kasper B. "

I added this into his previous comments on the Mac 802.11n Info/Reports page.

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7300GT Firmware Update problem solved
Just a FYI - the reader that mentioned (uncommon) problems updating his Mac Pro's 7300GT card firmware (from 3004 to the new 3008 update) wrote a reinstall of OS X solved it:

" Mike, I finally got it work after doing an Archive & Install. Something must've gotten in the OS somewhere...
Thanks for all your help.
-Ken "

I updated the archived news page item to include this note.
Several other readers w/3004 firmware 7300GT cards didn't have this problem, but something must have gotten corrupted on Ken's original OS X boot drive.

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Article on Airport Extreme 802.11n use with Gaming Consoles (XBox 360, PS3 and Wii)
Eddie sent a note that Yahoo has a story on Xbox 360 Customers Can't Connect To Apple AirPort Extreme, unless wireless security was disabled, although the article says PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii worked fine.
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Other News/Misc. Software Updates
(Updated - includes apple kbase docs revised today)

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