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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 1/19/2001 Friday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of Jan. 19th, 2001:

Detailed Review of G4/533 w/NVidia GeForce2MX!
I've created an HTML page with David Linder's Detailed review with performance tests and more of the new G4/533 with Nvidia GeForce2MX card. He also included an info on the RAM, memory performance, the CDRW drive, system software, running dual monitors and much more. (Note: Later system articles are on the Systems page).
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SuperCharged DSP Card for VST Mac Audio:
Gunnar Kristiansen sent a note about what claims to be a supercharged PCI DSP based accelerator card for VST Audio applications. Here's a clip from their "PowerCore" card info:

"TC POWERCOREís signal processing power transforms all VST-compatible recording environments into professional high performance audio workstations, freeing up precious CPU performance resources.

TC POWERCORE employs no less than 5 discrete processors: A PowerPC and 4 Motorola 56K DSPs for an unparalleled performance and flexibility providing up to 24/96 audio and double-precision processing! "

See TC Works PowerCore Page for more info. They're showing this at the NAMM show. (Today's Software Updates/TILs/Other Net News listing has other NAMM Show related articles.)

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More G4/533 Nvidia GeForce2MX OpenGL Gaming Reports:
Yesterday's news had a problem report from a new system owner. Several other owners replied to that post, some seeing the same problems, others not. Nick (the original reader reporting the problem), had allocated too much RAM to OpenGL games (and was also running Kaleidoscope). Disabling Kaleidoscope and reducing the memory allocation on OpenGL games helped he said. (A common problem/reason for freezes noted here in the last year and always remember to disable any addon/3rd party extensions when troubleshooting.) [Update: See the Systems page and Video topics page for later articles, reviews, etc. on G4 systems and graphics cards.]

(Replies from Nick, the original reader reporting problems)

" Hi Mike,
Thanks for your help and interest in this, surely as others start to get their G4s they might reply on your page.. I guess we'll see.

I've tried all of your suggestions, and yes all the games are at their latest versions and I know about being careful about memory assigning and leaving enough free of OpenGL. I disabled the OpenGL ATI Renderer and it made no obvious difference (neither did disabling *all* traces of ATI extensions).

I noted the 'OpenGL 1.2 or earlier' in the TIL article earlier on, when it was linked on your I didn't bother installing the 1.2.1 Update.

BUT, I may have found part of the problem.. I did another extension disabling spree, and found that when iControl and Kaleidoscope were BOTH disabled it eliminated the type 12 errors...

There a still a few crashes now and then (and 4x4 Evolution is pretty much screwed.. Pictures aren't draw correctly.. A jumble of lines and colour) but I suspect this could just be teething problems with new drivers and such.

So, now Quake 3 and Elite Force work properly now. Unreal Tournament with OpenGL support crashes with a type 2 error on start up, but using RAVE is fine.

(he later wrote) Ok I found another problem/fix! I have 256Mb of ram installed and I have VM turned on to 1Mb, so Mac OS doesn't chew up a huge amount of ram (I really wish they would fix that). As a habit, after installing a game I Get Info on the app and increase the preferred size to say.. About 190Mb leaving about a generous 30Mb for OpenGL. Taking down the preferred size to about 160Mb also eliminated some crashes... (type 2 and type 12 errors) could it be that the nVidia drivers require a little more ram for OpenGL?

[I commented:
Remember too the OS uses ram - I never like to allocate near the total installed ram to apps (I don't consider VM in the equation). With 256MB of ram I suspect the OS is using 40MB or so. VM has improved a lot since the early days, but still has its drawbacks. (but OS 9.04 at least eats more ram with VM off, esp, over time and with many apps open). Allocating too much ram to OpenGL games is a common reason for lockups.-Mike]

Nick "

Other Nvidia GeForce2MX owner comments:

" hi,
I read about the error 12 problem w/ opengl-games and want to share my experience:
I did some q3a benchmarks (V 1.17) on the new G4/533. q3a always crashed in the beforementioned way after finishing demo001. demo002 however worked fine. havn•t had the time to PLAY on the machine yet. BTW the benchmark results:

            Radeon    GeForce2 MX
640x480      68.1       74.1
800x600      62.8       66.6
1024x768     45.5       45.9
1280x1024    29.9       29
settings were HQ / Texture Detail Max / Trilinear Filtering / Marks on Wall+ Ejecting Brass Off. standard configuration w/9.1 + 128 MB

(he later wrote)

%-) forget what I just wrote... now I remember what REALLY happened: the screen was all garbled and frozen after going through demo001. However, I encountered the error 12 once while playing around with q3a, too, but I don•t remember the exact circumstances.
- tobias "

With DDR RAM, the Radeon should be faster than the GeForce2MX SDR card at higher resolutions. (The higher end GeForce cards use DDR and a faster chip, but they're not available on the Mac as of today [1/19/2001].) (Update See the tests/articles on the Video topics page, graphics card section for Radeon vs GeForce2MX tests and also tests of the faster GeForce3 Nvidia card.)

Another reader wrote:

" hey I see that you are interested in the new G4 533 performance/problems. I am going to be testiing Unreal Tournament sometime today and Quake 3 either tomorrow or next week. I just recieved this demo model 2 days ago.

So far, it seems to have a lot of trouble with the UT lighting (volumetric) but once I either set it to no lighting or turned on vertex lighting (and brightened my screen up), frames jumped MUCH higher. I guess this is due to UT having no transform/lighting card support???
[no, hardware lighting support is done in OpenGL as ATI did for the Radeon, although some games like Quake3 uses hardware Transform and Clipping, it has it's own lighting code and does not benefit from hardware lighting. (The Radeon Q&A commented on support for TCL).-Mike]

As far as UT Open GL goes, I followed the instructions that came with UT and when I try to open the "Open GL" UT game, it quits saying something like (I can't remember) "can't find class actor or actor class" or something like that, I'll have to try it again.

... I also only have 128 MB of ram and the 5400 rpm HD.
Shane D. "

128MB really isn't enough for OpenGL gaming in my opinion, and you'd need VM set to a high amount. With RAM so cheap, I'd want 256MB in any OpenGL gaming machine now. I also suggested he make sure that UT has the latest updates applied (436 is the latest version at Westlake's web site).

Another owner reported:

"I am having the same problems with my new 533 G4, just thought you might like to know.

I asked Jim for more details and suggested some of the tips noted above.

If any other new system owners are running a GeForce2MX, let me know if you have any tips or are seeing any problems.

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2nd Opinion on Snap Servers - Better Performance Noted:
Rick Pepper replied to the Appleshare vs Snap Server 1000 test report from a VAR in yesterday's news with comments about pricing differences and better performance with the higher end Snap Server Models as well as their ease of setup and ability to handle heavy loads better. See this page for his full report.
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OS 9.1 Tech Notes Posted:
Rod Paine of ASTEC sent an email noting that Apple has posted OS 9.1 Tech Notes (developer docs). I've added this to the TILs, software updates, etc. listings on the OS 9.1 Feedback page. (For later OS info/articles - see the Misc. articles page, MacOS section.)
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DVD Player 2.5 on New G4s w/Nvidia Cards:
Although with no DVD ROM drive it's impossible to tell how well it works, a reader noted the new Macs have DVD Player v2.5 [later iMacs had a DVD rom drive option. As of 2002, the latest OS 9 DVD player version is 2.7.]:

"Hi Mike,
The new DVD software player that is shipping with the new nVidia G4s is version 2.5. Since none of the new G4s in stores have DVD players in them who knows if it works, but it is there and it definitely is version 2.5. I was a bit surprised to see the DVD player installed under the Apple menu in Mac OS 9.1 when I played with a 533 G4 today at Fry's, and of course it would not launch when selected (just a "required hardware not found on this Mac" error since it had a Sony CRX 140E CDRW as the optical drive). No games on the demo Mac either, but the MX card looks great in 2D and the Graphing Calculator looked good and fast.
Joseph Snodgrass"

Since the announcement I have wondered how the initial driver release works in 2D, pro apps, (PShop, Final Cut Pro) as well as DVD. I've asked Nivida questions like this about a week ago, but never got a reply as of yet. (See the Video articles page for the latest info/tests/reviews of Mac graphics cards.)

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XLR8 CarrierZIF 2.0 MPe Cards Available, Now PowerBase Compatible:
Site sponsor OWC wrote they now have XLR8 CarrierZIF 2.0/MPe models for sale:

" Over a year later after it was first introduced at MacWorld 2000, the XLR8 Carrier 2.0 ZIF Card is FINALLY shipping. We just received our first retail stock of this product this week. The new 2.0 Carrier is available for $149 and we still have the original XLR8 Carrier available for $117. (often listed on the site specials page - listed as CarrierZIF MPe)>

What makes the new 2.0 different from the 1.0? Well, the 2.0 for one is G4 MultiProcessor Enabled. This means you will be able to put two XLR8 G4 ZIFs onto a single carrier making it the first G4 MP Upgrade for PCI Macs.

Also, while both upgrades work with Apple 73/75/76/85/86/95/9600, SuperMac J700/S900, and PowerComputing PowerCenter/PowerWave/PowerTower & Pro versions, the Carrier 2 is also 100% compatible with the PowerComputing PowerBase. The Carrier 1 is still a great product, but if you see a need for Dual G4 capability or you have a PowerBase, the Carrier 2 is the best way to use a ZIF with your Mac. And to be very, very clear.... Both Carriers will work with a single G4 ZIF Processor, but for Dual Processor use on the Carrier 2.0 both processors MUST be XLR8 MPe G4s."

As noted in the early CarrierZIF reviews and first look (see CPU Upgrades page), only the first revision of the CarrierZIF (1.0) was PowerBase compatible, later revs were not. Good to see the 2.0 version is Powerbase compatible.

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Before Buying a CDRW/DVD/CD/HD Drive, Check Here:
Since many seem to find out problems the hard way (buying first), always remember to search the Drive Compatibility Database here before buying - for instance if looking for a IDE CDRW drive, just select those two options and leave drive brand and mac model blank to see all IDE CDRW reports - or you can narrow searches to just your Mac model, a specific brand, etc. Firmware in drives can change of course, but there are often tips and compatibility notes in the reports that can save you some time, $$ and grief.
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Mac Drive Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 13 new entries added (current total 2,557). Entries from after midnight are added the following day. Note: I've added "Firewire to SCSI Adapter" as an interface type. I welcome reports on drives used with adapters. (Please note the adapter brand/model and if the drive was bootable in your comments.)

    DVD RAM Drives:
  • Apple OEM Matshita using IDE to SCSI adapter with 8500/8600

    Combo CDRW/DVD ROM Drives:
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R1002 in 7500 w/PCI IDE Card
    (problems noted playing DVDs, audio cds)

    CDROM Drives:
  • IDE Acer CD-950E 50X in Beige G3

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Sony CRX160E-A1 (12x8x32) in B&W G3
    (Bootable, works with iTunes and Disc Burner he said)
  • Firewire Que 8x4x32 w/Beige G3 (using Firewire PCI card)
    (noted problems with Jam and Toast)
  • Firewire Que 12/10/32 w/G4 AGP
  • USB HP 8220e/8230e in Beige G3
    (won't mount CDs, not recognized by Toast 4.x)

    Removable Media Drives
  • IBM PCMCIA 1GB Microdrive in PB G3 2000
    (updated report on performance, etc.)

    Tape Drives:
  • SCSI Seagate 20GB Travan in Beige G3

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE IBM Deskstar 40GV 40GB in iMac DV SE
  • IDE IBM 75GXP 30GB in Beige G3
  • IDE Maxtor 60GB in Performa 5215
  • Firewire Maxtor 80GB w/Umax S900 (w/Firewire PCI Card)

You can find these full reports by searching the database with the drive/brand/mac models listed above selected (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 Upgrade Reader Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 8 new reports (total to date: 5,105). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • MetaBox G3/260 in Starmax 3000/180 (rated 10)
  • MetaBox G3/400 in 9500/150 (rated 2)
    [problems enabling backside cache]
  • Powerlogix G3/375 in 8600/300 (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix G3/375 in Umax J700 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G3 466 ZIF in 8600/300 (rated 10)

  • B&W G3/300 OC report (failure)
  • B&W G3/300 OC report (still OK after 18 months)
  • 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:

  • Quake3 Demo (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768) results with new G4/533 w/ATI Radeon AGP
  • Quake3 Team Arena (1024x768) results with G4/500 Dual w/ATI Radeon AGP

Total entries in the database to date: 2,339. 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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Rate Your Mac Games (Reader Reviews Database) Updated:
Today's Reader's Rate Their Mac Games database updates included reviews of Majesty and Total Annihilation. Total reviews including all titles is 705. Since each review entry also notes system details like CPU type/speed, RAM and Video card type, these reviews are also good to see how well games play on various Mac models and video cards (important to know before you buy). If you've not already done so enter a game review.
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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy

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