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News Archive for Wednesday July 2nd, 2003Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

News stories of July 2nd, 2003:

First Tests of Hitachi 60GB 7200 RPM Notebook Drive
I've posted a page of performance tests (and more) of the Hitachi 60GB/7200 RPM notebook hard drive tested in a Firewire case using a PB G4/800 system. (Comparisons to the Travelstar 40GNX/5400 rpm drive, OEM 40GN/4200 rpm, Travelstar 80GB/4200rpm and Toshiba 4019GAX/5400 rpm drive are included.)
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TransIntl PR on Travelstar 60GB/7200 RPM notebook drive (limited supply)
Site sponsor has a press release today on the 7200 RPM Travelstar 60GB notebook drive. (See my review of this drive for performance tests, specs and more.) Both OWC and Transintl told me current supplies of these drives are very limited. Transintl has some stock on the bare drive ($349 at this Transintl page) and OWC (updated) has the drive in a portable Firewire and Firewire/USB2.0+1.1 cased versions for $419.97 and $429.99 respectively.
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ATTO Comments on PCI card Compatibility with G5 PCI-X models
I was out from about noon until late last night but had written ATTO yesterday to ask if they could clear up the confusion over compatibility with their PCI SCSI cards and the new G5 systems with PCI-X slots (the upper 2 models have PCI-X slots, the low-end version does not). Here's their reply on the 5V/3.3V confusion and notes on compatibility:

"Mike- We've also noticed that the number of questions regarding 3.3V versus 5V PCI signalling have increased dramatically over the past several months. Within the past 3 months, several Wintel machines have released that are 3.3V-only PCI-X. Now Apple has joined the 3.3V only fray with the introduction of the G5. (1.8GHz and dual 2GHz models, 1.6GHz model has only standard PCI 33MHz/64bit slots-Mike)

Two things need to be considered to determine compatibility: motherboard slot and adapter slot. Motherboard PCI slots will typically be either 5V or 3.3V and are keyed as such. Our adapters are keyed for 5V only or have Universal connectors. We do not have any cards that are keyed for 3.3V only, but in the future that may change. Currently, the ExpressPCI DC and PSC cards are keyed for 5V and will work in any 5V PCI slot. However, since the G5 is 3.3V only, these cards will not fit in that system.
Our Ultra3, Ultra320 and all Fibre Channel adapters use Universal PCI connectors. So, these will work in either 3.3V or 5V PCI slots (or PCI-X slots, too, which are typically 3.3V). All of these cards will work in the existing Mac systems or the new G5.
Peter J. Donnelly
Product Manager, Host Adapters
ATTO Technology, Inc.
(He later wrote)
I am planning on putting together a tech note and posting it to our web site to better explain what works with what, but hopefully my abridged answer below helps explain things. If not, please let me know and I'll try to clarify. Also, when we release the tech note, I'll let you know so that you can link to it, if you'd like."

As I posted in a forum thread - as with any new design system, there could be compatibility issues not related to voltage/PCI slot type also - remember the early B&W G3 days (some PCI cards needed firmware updates back then to be compatible) and the problems seen with some PCI Audio cards in the first rev. MDD G4 towers noted here last fall, although the revised motherboard was supposed to solve those issues. (The issue of the Cinewave card overheating and failing warned by Promax last fall with MDD systems was another issue, but a reader replied to this post to say that Pinnacle for several months now has been sending a cooling fan to attach to the Cinewave PCI bracket for MDD owners to prevent the overheating problem for those that request it.)

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Feedback on Panther (Graphics Performance improvement, Mod for PCI Radeon Quartz Extreme support)
I've had tons of mail on Panther in the last week but haven't had time yet to read more than a small fraction of them unfortunately. But several I have read noted improved speed over Jaguar (although one PB owner said battery life was shorter - reminded me of the same issue noted when Jaguar was first released.). Here' s a recent email that compared Jag vs Panther Dev. release in the very simple benchmark Let1k WindowsBloom (creates/closes 1000 windows):

"Panther should definitely make systems feel faster. I ran "Let 1K Windows Bloom" on my flat panel iMac (800 MHz G4) and had the following results (repeated three times)

10.2.6 (internal HD): 57, 57, 58 seconds
10.3 (external FW drive): 34, 35, 35 seconds

Nice increase for only $129. (Hopefully a lot less for Jaguar owners) Most of the finder operations, and launching of Safari and Mail, seemed noticeably quicker. This may be due to a clean install and fresh operating system; I don't have a feel for how OS X slows down over time and software is installed.
Still not up to OS 9 speed, though. Same computer booted into OS 9 gave completed the "Let 1K Windows Bloom" in 8, 9, and 9 seconds.
All tests were run first thing after start up before any other programs were launched (but the computer was not re-booted between tests)."

A powerbook G3 Pismo (onboard Rage128 mobility 8MB) owner said he also saw improved performance and said Xbench's "Quartz" test ran w/Panther where it did not in Jaguar on his system. (It should have completed that test in Jaguar, there must have been a driver or other problem with his Jaguar install.) He thought that meant Panther added Quartz Extreme support for the Rage128, but the Xbench Quartz test does not require Quartz Extreme to run. And as mentioned here last year when Jaguar was released, the Rage128 graphics chip does not support texture sizes that are not a power of 2 - which is required for Quartz Extreme. He also noted the "rotating cube" effect (which uses Quartz Extreme) didn't work on the Pismo.

Speaking of Q.E., I've had a least two reports that the mod for PCI Radeon Quartz Extreme support worked with Panther also. Here's the most recent one:

" I just got my hands on Panther and installed it on my B&W G3. This System is upgraded with a G4 400 (xlr8) and a Radeon (PCI, NOT the 7000). First thing i tried was to locate the plist file for the QE-Hack and found it in the usual place. (see original article here on the PCI Q.E. mod, which had all the editing info posted before the later utility to do this for you was made, just in case that util does not run under Panther) Even the structure (entries in the file) seemed to be the same as on 10.2. So i replaced ...AGP... with PCI and here i go. Expose is a bit faster and fast user switching shows this neat animation known from the keynote.
I just hope that they don't change it in the final release. "
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Price Cut on Mercury Extreme 1.4GHz CPU Upgrade
" OWC Mercury Extreme G4/1.4-1.467GHz 2MB DDR L2 was $619.99, now $589.99!
Best Regards,
Lawrence O'Connor
Other World Computing "
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InterView 2.2.4 Update promises improved performance/compatibility
"This latest release enhances performance and corrects a number of bugs. Version 2.2.4 offers full support for the Oculus webcam application. The CPU consumption of the digitizer has been lowered by up to 40%. Audio synchronization during Preview mode has been significantly improved, the preview frame rate is about 50% higher, and artifacts in the preview window are reduced. When InterView movies are played back, the alpha mask is no longer transparent - it is opaque. Additionally, an incompatibility with iChatAV has been resolved. (Note: the update no longer crashes with iChat - the device does not work with iChat AV)
The upgrade is available free of charge to all EchoFX and XLR8 InterView 2.1 customers via Customers with older XLR8 InterView devices can purchase the software via the EchoFX web site for $25 USD."

= 10 AM Update follows =
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Feedback on iChat AV/iSight with CPU Upgraded PB G3 Pismo
In yesterday's news I posted a reader request for feedback from any Pismo owner with either a G4/500 or G3/900 CPU upgrade (to see if they could use video conferencing with the iSight). Although the 750FX G3/800 was correctly reported (as far as CPU speed) in 10.1.5 on my B&W G3 - a Pismo owner noted the G3/900 was reported as a "G3/550" by 10.2.6's Apple System Profiler, and therefore Video conferencing could not be enabled. (reports from Bluechip G3/900 owners in the cpu review database also noted this, but I was not clear if they were talking about OS 9's ASP or OS X's.)
Apple notes a 600MHz CPU speed (or better) requirement for video w/iChat AV, although G4 400-500MHz system owners have noted using Video with iChat AV previously here. I had forgotten (as well as the reader that sent the request) that a Pismo owner w/G4 500 upgrade had reported success previously on the iChat AV feedback page, his report had notes on several systems.
So basically a G4/500 upgrade in a Pismo has been reported to work with iChat AV w/iSight for video conferencing, but due to incorrect (lower) CPU speeds reported by ASP apparently, no joy with the Powerlogix G3/900 upgrade yet. (The iBook G3/900 uses the same CPU, same bus speed/ratio and does accurately report CPU speeds).

Reader Feedback (most recent first)

Pismo w/Bluechip G3/900 CPU Upgrade:

" iSight does not seem to work with the upgraded G3/900 Pismo - I have one (PowerLogix), and the iSight says that I am not equipped to run the iSight. In the manual it says that third party CPU upgrades are not supported, but it also looks like it is hackable... (the problem with the G3 might have to do with System Profiler reporting it to be a G3/550). Hopefully someone in the community can find a way. I don't know about the G4 one though... (the G4/500 upgrade works - see below)
William S. "

The iBook G3/900 uses the same CPU and bus speed (100MHz) and does have accurately reported CPU speeds of course. I wonder if trying other CPU speeds via PL's utility would affect the ASP mis-reported speeds in any positive way (perhaps not). I also wonder why the G3/800 ZIF (same CPU type) was reported corrrectly (800MHz) in my B&W G3 under 10.1.5 in my older review (but was not reported accurately by OS 9.2's ASP - notes from Powerlogix on that in the review specs page I believe back then.) With some 7455A/7455B (G4) CPU upgrades, certain ratio settings (Bus/CPU ratio that determines CPU speed) are not accurately reported - but 9x isn't one of the 'reused' older ratios that are the reason for the misreported speeds with the 7455A/7455B G4/AGP upgrades. (See notes on the specs page of my G4 reviews of Giga Designs G4 CPU upgrades for more info/list of ratios affected, etc.)

Pismos with G4/500 Upgrade:

"I have a Pismo with a G4/500 upgrade (one of the early PowerLogix models), and it works fine with iChat AV and the iSight.
I've only tried one-way video conferences so far (both incoming and outgoing). I assume that two-way should work as well, but I can't confirm this yet.
-- monroe"

Another G4/500 upgraded Pismo owner wrote confirming success:

" Mike, I already sent you that long review on testing iChat AV with several machines, which included my experience using iChat AV with my Pismo laptop upgraded with the G4 500. In short, it worked issues. See the complete report for details. (past report on the iChat AV feedback page here)
Steve "
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports this morning (reader entries from yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 8,528. Here's a summary of the update added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Other World Computing G4/1.25GHz in QS G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • PowerLogix G4/1GHz in (DA 466) G4/AGP (rated 7)
  • Sonnet Crescendo/WS G4 500 in Powerbook G3 wallstreet2 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G4/550 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
    (My full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades are linked here.)

(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 Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 5 new reports added (reader entries from yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). 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 10,840 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

    DVD-ROM Drives:
  • IDE Matshita SR-8585 in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (some problems noted)

    DVD-R DVD Recorder Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-105 in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (FYI - Illustrated CD/DVD/CDRW drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT, B&W G3 and 8600/9600 Macs.)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • Firewire (IDE drive in FW case) NEC ND 1300 used w/G4 AGP (OS X server)
    (no itunes or iDVD burn support - problems noted even w/Toast5.2)

    CDRW Drives:
  • Expansion bay Ricoh RW-8080A 8x4x32x in PowerBook G3 2000 (OS X)
    (using edited plugin files for iTunes burn support)
  • Firewire (IDE drive in FW case) Traxdata CDR-6S52 52x24x52 used w/iBook 2001 (OS X) (listed under 'other' brand, noted rebadged Liteon drive, needing plugin file mods for iTunes burn support)

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, guides and reviews you may have missed.
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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 no longer work. Remember comments were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, pricing, etc.)

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