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News Archive for Thursday, July 8th, 2004Return to Accelerate Your Mac!
News stories of July 8th, 2004: (later posted items first)
OS X Pioneer DVR-107 Flasher updated with Tweaked 1.16 Firmware
(Updated for added notes)
I'm late posting this as I wanted to try it first, but the french page with OS X Firmware Flashers for Pioneer DVR-104 to 107D drives recently updated their 107D flasher downloads to include a tweaked version of the 1.16 firmware. (Region-free, 12x DVD rips and allows selecting higher burn rates with 4x media.)
FYI - Owners of Apple firmware (A70x firmware versions) drives have reported this updater will not work for them.
I had already flashed my DVR-107D drive last month to the standard 1.16 firmware, but decided to give this tweaked version a try. The flash completed fine (remove any disc in the drive and I quit any other running apps first) and the drive now allows selecting 6x and 8x rates in Toast 6 with some 4x rated DVD-R media I have. A 4.1GB test burn at "best" speed setting with verbatim 4x discs verified OK. (There's no guarantee that all 4x media will burn flawlessly at 8x rates of course.) And with my Plextor PX-708A w/official firmware even though I can select 6x rates in Toast with some 4x media, actual timed burns show only about 4x rates as the drive can make adjustments during the burn depending on the media.
Many readers had used the previous tweaked 1.13 firmware with good results; only one reader that I remember reported problems (said it burned coasters repeatedly with his Apple media - fixed by flashing to the standard/official firmware).

Update: Another reader replied to this post today that he had two DVR-107D drives (both in MDD Dual G4 systems) that failed after 100 burns on one drive and 75 on another (8x burns with the tweaked 1.13 firmware). He blamed it on the firmware/burning 8x rates on 4x media, but since the drive is 8x burn rated, I don't see how the media alone is a factor in the drive failure. (Unless the tweaked firmware increases power levels.) Any drive can fail (at any time) and there's no guarantee that 4x media is going to burn flawlessly at higher rates, but the MDD towers have been reported to have higher than desired drive bay temperatures also. (I'd use the upper MDD bay for fanned drives like this, since the lower bay rear shield has no vent holes for the fan, although even the upper bay shield vents don't help a lot.)
But if you want to play it safe - use the official firmware (I posted an edited flasher script and standard/official 1.16 firmware file links in the June 11th news page here, also linked in the FAQ's DVD section item on Superdrive firmware.)

While on the subject of Superdrive failures, I've posted several reports here in the past from users that had the drives suddenly start burning coasters or failing to read discs that was fixed by manually cleaning the lens. (A cleaning disc didn't help they said.) The last report on this tip was posted in the June 11th news page. Of course if the drive has a laser or other component failure, that won't help but just posting as a reminder.

Note: If you're one of the (rare overall) DVR-107D owners with a "DVD RW" ID (vs the standard "DVD-RW" ID) that's not natively supported (due to the missing dash), as mentioned in the FAQ's DVD section and past news posts here, flashing the drive with this firmware will correct that and you'll have native burn support in 10.3.3 and later (without needing a patchburn II profile).

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Linksys announces High Gain Antennas for Wireless B/G products
(from a reader mail today)
" Linksys has released high gain antennas for a number of their bridges, wireless routers, and adapters. This is to combat deadzones as well as to enhance and extend the wireless signals.
-Iain B. "

Prices listed in the PR are $59.99 for the Antennas; $29.99 for Antenna stands.

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Mac owner report on Graphics card Compatibility with ViewSonic/IBM 9 Million Pixel LCD Display
Yesterday's news had a link to a review of Viewsonic's 22.2in 9MP LCD display (made by IBM reportedly) and commented on Viewsonic's VP2290b Display page listing of Compatible video cards which includes some older Mac graphics cards.
A user of this display wrote that it works with some older Mac AGP graphics cards like the 9000 and 8500 (at very low refresh rates), but complained that none of the currently available PowerMac G5 AGP cards are compatible with the display.

" The VP2290b is manufactured by IBM as the IBM T221, viewsonic just puts their sticker on it. The original version T221-DG3 did 3840x2400 @ 41Hz, the current version is the T221-DG5 will go up to 48Hz.

The monitor has 4 DVI ports, which allows it to be driven in different configurations. (4) 1920x1200 from a quad dvi card or (1) DualLink + (1) single link DVI form a Quadro3000 will let you drive it at the max frame rate. Using (2) dvi links at 1920x2400 (1920x1200?) each you do 25 Hz easy, 30 Hz is pushing the limits of the 165mhz DVI bandwidth.

The reason I writing is because of my ongoing saga with ATI... On the PC side most dual dvi cards will drive the monitor, Fire GL, etc. On the mac its another story. Only older cards work. The Radeon 9000 AGP and Radeon 8500 AGP cards in our G4s will drive the monitor at 3840x2400 @ 24hz using DVI and ADC to DVI adapter. It can even be pushed to 30Hz using DisplayConfigX. A flashed pci 9100 will drive it at 3840x2400 @ 15hz - only one DVI output. (I asked for more info on the single DVI port 8500 card comments)
My mistake, only the radeon 9000 drives it with two ports. The 8500 drives it, but only at 13Hz like the pci cards.

However, there is no AGP card that fits in the G5 that will work with this monitor AT ALL. When you connect the monitor to a Radeon 9800 you get no output at all, the display card does not detect a monitor. DisplayConifgX does not help, neither does manually adding the resolutions to system/library/overrides or frameworks/iokit/ioproperties. I can trick the display card, by grabbing an EDID from another monitor using Gefen's DVI Detective, but then I'm stuck with low resolutions.

This is also true with the 9600. I have been back and forth with ATI tech, Bruno, and Apple with no luck. Bruno promised that the 9800SE would work, it doesn't. I haven't tried an XT version yet but I'm not hopeful.

Its very frustrating. I can drive these monitors at full resolution with a $20 Radeon 7000 dual dvi card on the PC, but nothing on a G5.
(I could not find any dual dvi PC Radeons at ATI's site, so I asked for more info on this PC Radeon 7000.)
I think it may be oem only, it came in some of our dell servers. It has a non-standard multipin connector that breaks out into two dvi connectors.

(Although the ATI specs for the Mac Radeon 7000 card list 1024x768/60Hz as the max digital/DVI mode, I asked if he'd tried that card, which some G5 owners have used with standard displays)
I have not tried a 7000 pci since the flashed 9100 works well and runs at 66mhz, I believe the 7000 is 33mhz only. (No, it's 66MHz slot compatible, as was the previous/original Radeon PCI card. Many B&W G3 owners use them in the 66MHz PCI slot of that system. Although the G5 Dev. Docs don't mention 66MHz PCI cards, this G5 Tech Note linked in the PCI section of our G5 Tech Info/Compat. page last year says that if PCI 33MHz and 66MHz cards are installed in the same bus (i.e. slots 2 and 3) that both cards run at 33MHz. Otherwise a 66MHz compatible PCI (non PCI-X) card can run at 66Mhz in the G5. (ATTO's past comments on our G5 Tech Info page/PCI section also mention 66MHz PCI mode.) Chris wrote that his CinewaveHD card is reported as running at 66MHz and it's in the same PCI bus as the flashed ATI PCI card.) Since they are single dvi you get 13Hz as your standard refresh at full resolution, it can be pushed to 15 or 16 Hz. This is tolerable for viewing a still once in a while but its pretty much unusable at such a low refresh.

(Any drawbacks to such a low refresh rate?)
We mainly do HD/film work, so most of the time we work at 24 fps anyway. But moving your mouse around at 24Hz gets pretty annoying, 48Hz on the pc side is pretty usable. Unfortunately most of our work is done on Macs and the PCs are just render nodes. Until we can get a working agp card we have the 9800 in our G5s driving Sony SDM-P232 monitors @ 1920x1200/60Hz and PCI 9100 card driving T221 with a hot key to switch between 3840x2400/16Hz and 1920x1200/41Hz.

(I asked if he'd considered ordering the expensive ($599) 6800 Ultra card from Apple, but it's not shipping until late August they say)
On order...Crossing my fingers...
I have not tried the 5200, I'll have to look into getting an oem pull off ebay or something. -Chris "

Another reader sent a note about spotting the Display at Macworld

" For those sharp-eyed at MacWorld would have seen the IBM (ViewSonic OEM) version at this display hidden away at the ATi booth--was there in 2003 and 2004. They were running it with a Radeon of some kind, that at full resolution had a scan rate of 6-10Hz obviously not for gaming. I'm surprised no one had mentioned having seen it at MacWorld or other conference. When at full resolution you could barely make out the arrow--took a while to find it if you hadn't already moved the mouse. Certainly an impressive DPI count.
erik g. "
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M-Audio Transit (USB) Reports page updated
Although some users of the M-Audio Transit reported 10.3.4 solved the problems they had with the drivers in 10.3.3, the latest update to the M-Audio Transit owner reports is from a PB G3 Wallstreet owner using a USB PCcard that said he's still seeing problems in 10.3.4.
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Geethree Sweet Multiport (front bay FW/USB ports) now $49.95
Not sure when they cut the price (was over $100) but a reader report in the db yesterday on the Geethree Sweet Multiport mentioned it now sells for $49.95. It includes a PCI FW/USB card, lower bay FW/USB port/hub and bezel. (note: QuickSilver tower model supports only CF and Microdrive.)
Although at $50 with the nice front bezel, I'd prefer the Multiport, but there's an older article here on using generic FW/USB 3.5in Drive Bay hubs in Mac towers.
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