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News Archive for: 7/19/2002 Friday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

News stories of July 19th, 2002:

EyeTV Owner Comments (Disappointed)
(from a reader email)

    " Hi Mike,
    About two weeks ago i received a flyer in the mail about a new DVR for the mac, EyeTV. [Comments here on EyeTV in the Monday and Tuesday's news, including a TIVO owner's comments comparing features, etc..-Mike] I was very impressed to say the least, EyeTV promised alot. Well, I went to MacWorld NY and I decided to buy one. The booth they had set up was packed, everyone was really impressed seeing it in action and I was as well and took one one home. The introductory cost $179, plus the $14 NY state tax brought the price back up to $193.00. I took it home, set it up and that's when the problems began. If you are looking for a replacement for TiVo or Replay you are going to be very disappointed. In fact I ended up returning it the very next day. Here are some of the problems I encountered during the short I had the device, or rather limitations I should say.

    • USB connection requires a powered slot, preferably one on the back of the computer. (I have numereous devices which require the same slot, two USB Apple Monitors, SoundSticks, plus seeven other USB devices. After plugging it in several of them were no longer recognized, I had to do some juggling to find the right combination.)
    • The unit is not self powered. ( this is definately a major limitation, the device draws too much power from the USB bus)
    • The site where you can program the device is dog slow, half the time Explorer stopped responding while trying to pick shows. Sometimes after picking shows and getting them to show up in your programming list, they disappeared after quitting the app. I had to do it all over again.
    • The playback controller has a bad design. It is very difficult to scrub though the recored playback and skip the commercials. It has a feature which is supposed to remember where the commercials are and skip over them after viewing the show for the first time. Maybe it works but it is too hard to get it to the correct place in the playback to do so, the progress bar is way too small.
    • Changing channels is very slow, it takes sometimes up to ten seconds. Sometimes not all, it just freezes the video. Other times the video froze but you could hear the audio for the next channel.
    • Overall slowness. If you are expecting to get appliance-like control you are going to be disappointed as well. This thing hogs 70% of the cpu all the time (while plugged into a USB port), so doing other things while you record a show is almost impossible, for instance adding a show to the program list with your browser.

    EyeTV does have one thing going for it. The fact that it converts live video to mpg 1, which makes transferring to video disc very easy, but that is the only thing I liked about it. Instead i went to the OWC booth and bought an InterView 2.1 for $59.95. While it doesn't do half of EyeTV portends to do, it can capture live TV with barely a noticeable slowdown, and combined with BTVpro and TVreminder I have almost the same functionality. I do have to program the recordings myself but it takes less time to do so than through TitanTV. com.
    I wish this had been a favorable review, I was really hoping it would live up to its hype. I don't have the fastest Mac, a BW G3 with an OWC G4 550, but the requirements say any Mac with a USB port. Maybe someone with a dual G4 would have better results.
    Derek Gordon "

I've not used one of these personally but welcome other EyeTV owner comments about their experience with it. (The EyeTV Review I read seemed pretty positive.)

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Reader Comments on OS X Server 10.2 Costs
I hadn't checked on the OS X server 10.2 upgrade costs, but a reader sent an email on the subject:

    " You might like to publish that in addition to the $129 upgrade from standard OS 10.1 to 10.2, upgrading from OSX Server 10.1 to 10.2 is much more expensive. There currently is NO upgrade path. If you spent $500 [$499 10-user license] or $1000 [$999 unlimited] (depending on number of user connections) before July 17th 2002 you have to spend the SAME amount all over again!

    I spoke with a rep at Apple that said it was considered a "new" OS. I'm not generally a whiner about paying for what you use, but this does not seem fair at all. No other software package that I have purchased and updated requires this expense. I understand if Apple needs the money, but get it fairly by getting rid of Motorola and getting a chip manufacturer that allows Apple to better compete with WinTel!
    Thanks
    Chris Tomberlin"

On the server side, Apple's Xserve actually outperformed a Dell server (PIII based) in some recent server benchmarks. However I know a lot of people are upset about the lack of reduced cost upgrades to 10.2 for existing owners. (Like OS X 10.2, Apple's OS X Server page notes that a $19.xx upgrade option is only for purchases from July 17th and later.)

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Apple's 'Upgrades for Gaming' Page
(from a reader email)

    "Apple has a upgrades for games page now at
    http://www.apple.com/games/articles/2002/07/upgrade/index.html. It has some screenshots and comments on game performance and recommended upgrades.
    Also notice on that page they now sell the ATI 8500 card (at list price though - $299) as well as the GeForce4 Ti ($399). I wonder if the 8500 will be replaced with the 9700 at the apple store when it ships.
    Jay"

The 8500 AGP is also an option on the Xserve but I had not seen it on the Accessories page before. The GF4 Ti card has been available for about a month. As noted here last month, the early shipments of the GF4Ti were a shorter card than the long one now shipping. (See photos of both in this past GF4 Ti Tests page.)

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Mac Radeon 9000 Pro listed for $149
It's not shown as available yet, but a reader (thanks RedHaz) sent a note that Macmall has a page showing the Mac Radeon 9000 Pro for $149. (Note: Same price as the PC version at ATI's online store.) This is the first retail Mac graphics card with an ADC port and is the 'mainstream' (i.e. lower cost) model of ATI's new line. The high end/faster 9700 model is expected to be available in about 30 days for the PC, and hopefully a simultaneous release for the Mac.
As mentioned in the previous press release on both cards, the 9000 Pro model has 64MB of video ram, ADC and DVI ports (dual display support) and includes a DVI-I to VGA adapter. (AGP only, no PCI versions have been announced.)
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IOzone Disk Benchmark Ported to OS X
(from a reader email - he ported the benchmark )

    " The IOzone disk benchmark application has been ported to Mac OS X 10.1.5. It's available here:
    http://www.hut.fi/~mweissen/iozone-macosx.html
    There's also a slightly older fink package available (though I don't own or maintain it).
    --Martin"

From the linked web page:

    About IOzone
    IOzone is a filesystem benchmark tool for measuring lots of file operations. It is useful for performing a broad filesystem analysis of a particular system setup. It can benchmark throughput, latency, memory mapped files, and single or multiple streams. It can generate Gnuplot, CSV and Excel files for plotting and further analysis. See www.iozone.org for the original source code and more information.
    I decided to port IOzone to Mac OS X because of the lack of suitable benchmarking applications. It turned out to be really easy; a patch has already been submitted to the authors. "

I've not tried this benchmark, but some benchmarks in OS X seem to be affected by the (large apparently) disk cache - one reader sent results from Intech's X Benchmarks showing a CDRW drive with appx 12MB/sec rates for instance (much higher than the rating of the drive, by about a factor of 3.)

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Legal Issues Force Zettabyte Solutions to Stop Selling SuperDrive eMacs
A week or so ago I posted a note about a company (Zettabyte Solutions) that was offering a custom eMac with Superdrive (and iDVD) installed for $1499. Chris Thompson of Zettabyte Solutions sent a note that due to legal issues they have stopped taking orders:

"Subject: SuperDrive eMacs

Due to legal entangelments provided by Apple and their legal partners, Zettabyte Solutions is no longer able to offer the SuperDrive equipped eMac in its current state. We will fill our existing orders and provide warranties for all eMacs sold under our name.

Zettabyte is a solutions provider and was trying to fill a need in the Macintosh community. We will continue, to the best of our ability, to furnish solutions wherever there is a need. Please look to us in the future for product upgrades, enhancements, and solutions for your Macintosh.
Thank You,
Chris Thompson
Owner
Zettabyte Solutions"

Some readers have swapped in a Pioneer DVR-104 (aka Superdrive) in their eMac themselves but that probably voids the warranty. (See eMac site link below for take-apart photos.) Maybe Apple will eventually offer a Superdrive equipped eMac...

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(PC) Benchmarks on ATI Radeon 9700 vs GeForce4 Ti 4600
Yesterday's news had a press release/links with info on ATI's newly announced 9000 Pro and 9700 Radeon cards for Macs. A reader replied to that post with a note about benchmarks on the web with the new cards (PC tests however):

    " Slashdot is reporting a link to anandtech.com that shows the ATI 9700 54% faster at UT 2003 and 37% faster Quake3 on pentium4 2.4Ghz than the GeForce4 Ti4600.
    Brian B. "

The 9000 is a 'mainstream' card (Pro model PC list price is $129 - targeted as a competitior to the GF4MX, but with shader support) - the 9700 is the high end model. No word that I have seen yet on Mac pricing however.

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Status on Independent Project to Develop OS X SoundBlaster Live Drivers
Two days ago Brian Sounder of Creative Labs posted a thread here on his independent (not supported by Creative) effort to develop OS X drivers for the Soundblaster Live. (I know that's a touchy subject to SBlive owners that bought the card after problems seen even with the OS 9 drivers ... but just posting it as a FYI that someone is trying to get OS X drivers done.)

    "I am starting this thread to keep you guys up to date on my SB Live for OS X driver status until I get the web site up. At the moment, this project is completely independent of Creative, but I hope to change this in the future. I have a small group of programers helping me with the coding. When I get the web site up, I will probably open up a BETA TESTERS registration form. If you are interested in looking at the accumulated documentation, you can find it on my mac.com account:
    (Link Posted Later When .MAC is rolled out)

    UPDATE 1:
    My latest info is that the inputs are now working on the drivers I am putting together with some other people. I have not run the driver myself yet, so don't get too excited yet. They are optimized for 10.2, and the first Beta may not be far off. Initially it will only give you basic I/O. They are going to be put together modularly so that we can re-use code to possibly do an Audigy card driver later on.

    UPDATE 2:
    I received additional information this morning that they have some of the PCM channels for sound output working, and they are currently trying to bind the volume sliders to their respective addresses on the card. One of the programmers is on vacation this week, but things should continue moving forward as planned.

    They also reported that the card has an extremely low latency. This may be because there is very little work being done by the card, but hopefully the trend will continue. The code is being optimized for OS X 10.2 (? - Jaguar), but apparently works on previous versions of the of the OS - I would imagine only back to 10.1.0 since Apple added a lot of the audio stuff in that release.

    NOTE TO PERSPECTIVE USERS:
    When we get the basic I/O working, you will be able to start using the card again. Many of the advanced features will be added over time. One of my goals is to add an auto update feature to the software like Apple's Software Update. Hopefully this will make it easier to pull in new features, as they become available.

    As with any BETA software, I would recommend that you have a separate OS X partition to test on. While I am a Creative employee, Creative does not have anything to do with these drivers and WILL NOT support them at this time. Remember you will be using these at your own risk, so I would seriously not have anything valuable on the same drive in case you have to reformat.
    Creative One (aka Brian)"

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Sonnet Updates: AV Tool, Tempo ATA/100 and ATA/133 Large Drive Support, Tempo Trio FW/USB 2.0 Drivers
(from a reader email)

    "Mike,
    I just noticed a bunch of new updates and fixes for Tempo ATA/100, ATA/133, and Trio cards at http://www.sonnettech.com/downloads/adapter_sw.html.

    There's a fix for deep sleep in OS X, large HD (>137 GB) support, a new Tempo AV Tool [v1.1], and 1394 and USB 2.0 drivers for the Trio card. All are dated July 18, 2002.
    Sincerely,
    Derrick Yamaura "

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eMac (Japanese) Site with Disassembly Photos and More
(from a reader email)

    "Hi Mike,
    First, what a great, great site you have! Thanks a whole lot more than this sounds. I thought you should make mention (maybe you have already and i missed it) of this Japanese Mac Fan site, where he completely takes his apart, compares it with other machines, measures the noise level, and so on. It's in Japanese, but there are so many good pictures that you get the whole point (exact ref. of internal fan, for instance).
    It's there:
    http://218.223.20.17/
    and this page and the following don't seem to be referenced on the above index:
    http://218.223.20.17/em01.html
    Cheers, and thanks again.
    Jim B."

Google and Altavista's Babelfish have web page language translators, but often the translation is not perfect.

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New iPods have 1 Year Warranty (90 days for previous models)
I've been meaning to mention this for 2 days now but several readers spotted that the apple store iPod warranty page and iPod specs page both note a 1 year warranty for the new iPods. (thanks to Dan Smith and RTMac for the reminders.)
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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated today with 4 new reports. (Total to date: 7,264). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning. Incomplete entries, those with no comments, missing info, etc. are deleted]
Here's a summary of the update (does not include update/added comments to previous reports):

  • PowerLogix G4/550 in B&W G3 (rated 8)
    (includes notes on switch settings, etc.)
  • Newer Tech G3/500 in 8600 (rated 9)
  • Newer Tech G4/500 Pismo Upgrade in PB G3 2000 (rated 1)
    (problems noted)
  • B&W G3/300 OC report

(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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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
(Note: the list below was before a disk crash this afternoon - 2 of the reports from yesterday were lost as were any entered today (19th) before 3:45PM Eastern Time. If you entered a report from 8:30 PM Eastern time last night (18th) until 3:45 Eastern Time today, it was lost and needs to be re-entered. Sorry...]
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 11 new reports added today. 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 7,920 reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports. (Does not include updates to previous entries)

    DVD-ROM Drive Reports:
  • IDE LG DRD-8160B, (16X/48X) in G4 no AGP [Yikes] (OS 9.2)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lite-On LTR 32123S (32x12x40x) in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
    (problems noted )
  • Lite-On 40125s (40x12x48x) in G4/AGP (OS X)
  • Mitsumi CR-4809TE (24x10x40x) in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (FYI illustrated CD drive install guide here covers 8600/9600/Beige G3 MT/B&W G3/G4s thru Digital audio)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Plextor 40x10x40x in FW Case used w/G4 AGP (OS 9.2)
  • Que Fire 40x12x48x used w/73-7600 (OS 9.2)
  • TDK Velocd 401248 (40x12x48x) in FW case used w/Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (problems noted with the drive in a ADS Pyro case)

    SCSI CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Philips Omniwriter26 in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (no itunes support)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM TravelStar 40GN 40GB in iBook 2001 (OS X)
  • Western Digital WDC WD600 60GB in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)

    Removable Media Drive Reports:
  • Floppy darwin 0.9 driver report from Beige G3 owner (OS X)
    (leave interface blank on the search page - listed under "other" brands)

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.]
(Entries today will be added the following newsday. 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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Reader Game Reviews Database Updated:
The Rate Your Mac Games database updates today included 2 more reviews of Warcraft III . Total Reviews (all titles): 931. To read game reviews use the search page.
If you've not already done so - Enter a Game review. (If your game title is not in the long listing, select "other game" and note the title in the comments)
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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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