News Archive for: 1/26/2006 Thursday's News (later posted items first)
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Questions on Intel CPU iMac Built-in Audio features
" In all the reports on the new Intel iMac I've read, none go into any real detail about the onboard audio in these new machines. I've become aware of two things, from Apple's specs and the system profile from someone who has bought one: it has optical audio out (but not in), and Intel High Definition Audio. But what does this mean?

Does the new iMac support full digital surround sound out of the box now, with no need for an add-on sound card (well, in the iMac's case, a USB sound card)? And how about higher-quality sound capabilities for audio editing apps? Or did Apple stick with its traditional not-as-good-as-PCs onboard sound? (Software support for any advanced features of the sound hardware would also be required) Inquiring minds want to know.
If you have info, I'd appreciate it, or if you could post the question to get more detailed feedback from users...
Thanks! -Chris "

If you own an Intel CPU iMac and can comment on this, let me know. Thanks.
Update - I've added to a separate page with reader replies to this post.

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iPod Battery Upgrade Swaps (done blindfolded)
I wasn't at MWSF to see this but site sponsor OWC sent a note that on a dare, their product manager (Jamie) was doing iPod Battery upgrades blindfolded.
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MacGlide 0.1.2 Released (Adds bug fixes, Better Glide game support)
" Hi Mike, Here's the latest release of MacGLide, version 0.12. (3Dfx Glide to OpenGL wrapper) Available at http://macglide.sourceforge.net/
It provides gamma correction, performance improvements and fully working map view / retro mirror for Carmageddon.

Adds FutureCop, Quake, Descent 1 & 2 to the list of fully supported games

    Features:
  • Gamma Correction (ColorSync has to be installed)
  • Better performance (Especially in Carmageddon)

    Bug fixes:
  • FutureCop radar and dispatcher window working, V1.02 not crashing anymore when pausing the game
  • Carmagddon retro mirror working
  • Carmageddon Map 3D-View working in all situations
  • Fixed crash when moving the cursor in Carmageddon Movie mode
  • Quake 3Dfx is working (actually it did all the time but it just wanted exactly 2M framebuffer/texture RAM)
  • Descent 1 & 2 display the cockpit and instruments
  • Switching between (emulated) Glide display and Mac-Passthrough display preserves the color depth
  • Full support for undocumented Delta0 mode
    (no more special cases for Tomb Raider and Carmageddon)

Download: http://macglide.sourceforge.net/
Cheers, Jens "

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Tip for Internal Drive Format Type problems with Intel CPU Macs
Yesterday's news had a follow-up from an Intel CPU iMac owner on problems he's had with a WD 4000KD (400GB) drive upgrade on the onboard SATA. The previous post on this mentioned the Intel CPU Macs needed a GPT format disk to boot from but he said he didn't see any option for this in Disk Utility for the internal drive, but did see the Options if the target was an external (Firewire, etc.) drive.
Two readers sent suggestions for John to try:

"I had a similar problem, and there are two ways to do it. You can try using Disk utility to create one big partition (even if "Current" is one partition) by selecting 1 Partition from the pull down.

You can also use the command line tool "gpt". The internal drive is / dev/disk0, so unmount it and do this (you probably have to unmount between commands):

    gpt create /dev/disk0
    (unmount again)
    gpt add /dev/disk0

The drive should now be available for Disk utility to format. You may still need to restart from the DVD before it can be formatted tho.
I do not believe there is a non-destructive way to convert from APM to GPT.

(he later wrote)
Here's a screen shot of how disk utility should look without going thru the command line method. (Note, this is a booted system, so the partition button is disabled. When booted from the restore DVD the partition button is active).
I've had varied luck using disk utility (it usually works if you're only doing one partition), the command line method seems to always work.
-Holland R."

" I saw the follow-on note. If his disk is partitioned with 1 partition, he should re-partition it with two partitions, and then re- partition back to one. If he has multiple partitions, then he should change the number, then change back.

The point is, I want to be sure that he is actually re-writing the disk's partition table, rather than just a single partition. Even if the option button isn't available, I assume that Disk Utility will choose the proper default.
-Richard "

Update - See Friday's news for John's , which said a) the WD 4000KD drive still didn't work properly even w/GPT format (there were also previous reports on onboard G5 SATA problems with it) and b) he had no problems with a Maxtor drive that replaced it. (The reason disk utility did not show the different format options for the internal drive is that it defaults to GPT on the internal drive in Intel Macs and does not allow a change.)

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Report on Linksys WMP54G v4 with Ralink Drivers in 10.4.4
" I am a little late with this but i was able to install Linksys WMP54G v4 on a 400MHz G4 with a driver that i downloaded from http://www.ralinktech.com/supp-1.htm and it seems to work just fine on Tiger (10.4.4)
-Igor P."

Good to hear it's working in 10.4.4.
(Ideally I'd want a Broadcom chipset adapter which usually have native Airport support with 10.2.8 and later but posting as a FYI.)
And remember vendors can change network adapter chipsets at any time unfortunately...

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Another G5/WD Raptor 150GB report (w/tests)
Yesterday's news had a G5 owner's follow-up on his WD Raptor 150GB drive upgrade where he mentioned problems seen after some use on the onboard SATA (He originally reported no problems with it.) He finally moved the drive to a PCI SATA card (the same thing several G5 owners with WD4000KD drives did due to problems with it and the onboard SATA.)
Another G5 owner w/Raptor 150GB wrote he's not seen any problems so far but I asked if he had tried repeated large file copies and to write back if he saw problems in the future:

" Powermac G5 dual 2GHz rev 2, 3.5 gig memory, OS X 10.4.4
I swapped my bootdisk from a Hitachi deskstar 500gig to a Western digital Raptor 150 So far, no problem.
I cloned the system and started some different programs as a benchmark
(the original drive likely has fragmentation that the cloned drive wouldn't initially so this could affect load times a bit)
Itunes 6.02 Hitachi 16s Western digital 12s
Final cut pro 5 Hitachi 40s Western digital 14s
DVD studio pro 4 Hitachi 35s Western digital 24s
Safari Hitachi 4s Western digital 2s
Photoshop CS2 Hitachi 20s Western digital 14s
Boot Hitachi 74s Western digital 66s

around 20-30% faster than one of the fastest drives.
-Kind regards
Mauritz
Stockholm Sweden "

If any other reader is using a WD Raptor 150GB in a G5, let me know if you've seen any problems after several weeks of use. (And test for any problems with large file copies if you can.)

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Reader report on 9800 Pro (retail) Heatsink Separation
" Just thought I might advise you that I've had trouble with 2 x 9800 Pro 128mb Mac Edition cards. I have made comments at this site before about a Giga 1.8Mhz DP upgrade to my old (Digital Audio) Dual 533Hz machine.
Amongst other things I did, I upgraded the Video Card in June last year and had to send it back in October to Canada, as the fan was making a horrible grinding noise at all different rpm.
They sent me a replacement card that October and this January one of the locating pins for the fan assembly popped out and made my 20in Apple display blink and die. (One of the retainer push-pins for the heatsink I assume. On some ATI GPU's I've had they used a thermal cement on the GPU vs thermal paste.-Mike)

The Fan/heatsink assembly seperated from the processor at a 5 degree angle and whatever conducting material between chip and fan assembly there was, was jagged. I'm assuming that the chip cooked.
I'm really non plused! Is this just a run of bad luck?
The only additional hardware is a 120Gb WD (7200rpm) hard drive and a PCI Digi001 in port 4, or as far away from the AGP as possible.
I don't think it's a heat problem as the Mac rarely crashes and when it does it's usually a weird command that I've done.
I also run a Viewsonic 17" CRT monitor of the VGA port of the video card, especially with Protools and FCP...
-Michael "

I've heard of some other failures (usually fan related) but can't recall if any others had a heatsink separate from the GPU but it's good to check the contact/retainer pins. (I've got an early model retail 9800 Pro 128MB that's still running OK, but its not used very much anymore - I replaced the fan on an OEM G5 9800 Pro due to fan noise.)

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Page on New PowerBooks Audio Echo, Stuttering
" Subject: Powerbook Audio Defect
Hey Mike,
I don't know if you have seen this and thought you might be interested.
http://powerbookdefect.info/
(page has sample/info)
Take Care, Timothy "

I don't have one of these later model Powerbooks but I can't say as I remember seeing any complaints before on this but I could have missed them. However the above page links to an Apple Kbase doc titled PowerBook G4 (Double-Layer SD) audio stutters or skips that says:

" When you are running two or more audio applications on your PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) or PowerBook G4 (17-inch Double-Layer SD), the audio may intermittently stutter, echo, or skip backwards. This can happen even if one audio application isn't playing or you have the sound muted in the application (such as when playing a game).

This can involve any application that uses audio, such as QuickTime, iTunes, iDVD, and many third-party applications like games and audio applications.

To avoid this, run only one audio application at a time. If it looks like you only have one audio application running but the sound is still skipping or stuttering, check for hidden login items or startup items."

If any reader that does own one can comment on this issue, let me know.
Update - here's the first reader reply:

" I have one of the 17" Dual Layer PowerBooks that supposedly has this problem. I ordered mine the day they were announced and got it shortly thereafter. I have yet to hear this problem, and I play video and audio files on it all the time.
I have 2 GB of memory and the slower, 120 GB hard drive, in case that makes any difference.
By the way, I use AirPort almost exclusively with my laptop - I hardly ever plug it into a LAN cable. I'm sure some systems, heavily loaded, or low on memory perhaps, see this happen. But I haven't - at least not yet.
-Jack "

(BTW - Later a couple of other readers sent a note they had seen the problem. I'll post their comments in tomorrow's news.)

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Other Net News
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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 6 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 - 15,495 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.

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