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News Archive for: 6/11/2001 Monday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of 6/11/2001:

Apple DVD Player v2.7 Download:
One of Barney's Software Updates links today included Apple DVD Player v2.7, which is an even later version than what shipped on some recent Macs. (A G4/733 built a few weeks ago shipped with v2.6.) The DVD player 2.7 download page has a long list of notes, optimizing playback tips, etc. but doesn't say what's changed from previous versions.
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Reader Report on 48GB Travelstar Drive in PowerBook G4:
As noted last week, was the first vendor I've heard of with the 48GB Travelstar (2.5") notebook drives in stock. One of this weekend's Drive Compatibility Database reports was from a PB G4 owner that just installed one. As mentioned in news items here, the 48GB Travelstar has fluid bearings and a special sound-absorbing housing for quiet operation.

" Powerbook G4 500, purchased with 10 GB cause I didn't see Apples prices for more disk or ram as good.

Bought the Travelstar 48GB yesterday, it's fast, reports of it being quiet are WAY understated, it is excepting an occasional head click, INAUDIBLE.

Speed? I am upgrading from a Travelstar 20GB (which is fast) but its faster (and noticeably so)

ATTO tools:
Reads to 2 MB (cache limit) 66 MB/s
Reads past 2 MB (disk...) 19.52 MB/s

Writes to 2 MB (cache limit) 42 MB/s
Writes past 2 MB (disk...) 16.72 MB/s

done with 8 samples, 8 MB max.

Getting all four rubber grommets lined up for install was a pain, but well worth it.

BTW - To prevent the rubber grommets from falling out of the PB G4 housing when upgrading the hard drive, I applied a small amount of RTV (rubber-like) adhesive to the grommets. My 32GB Travelstar (5400 rpm/2MB cache like the 48GB, but without the fluid bearings and sound absorbing housing) in my PB G4/400 delivers close to those rates. With the disk about 1/2 full the sustained rates are about 16MB/sec (peaks are near your indicated rates also). Real world tests in a PB G3 firewire however showed performance was about the same as the 20GB model, except for random access. The 32GB drive makes a low volume fan-like noise as I noted in the PB G3 firewire install guide. However that noise was preferably to most other drive's whine at idle. (Even the originally silent 20GB travelstar after about 6 months of 16+ hour a day use developed a whine.) I'd love to have one of these 48GB drives.

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MCE Offers 48GB PowerBook Expansion Bay Drives (Build Guide to Case Kits Here):
Now that the 48GB Travestar drives are starting to ship (see report below), MCE has announced they have 48GB Expansion bay hard drives available for $799.
For previous owners of their Expansion bay drives/kits, Transintl has the bare 48GB drives available for $549 and my photo-illustrated install/build guide of their Expansion bay case kit from last year is shown in this article.
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Another Reader Reports Better Firewire Capture with QT 4.x than QT 5.01:
" Hi Mike -
Just wanted to add my two cents worth. After seeing this post on your page úReader Report - Quicktime 5.01/FCPro Capture to Firewire Drives [in Friday's news-Mike] it sparked some interest for me. I just recently purchased an iBOT Firewire webcam and hooked it up to my 8500 through a Ratoc USB/Firewire Combo PCI card. Picture capture was fine but trying to capture movies was another matter. With or without sound, while trying to capture movies to either of my hard drives, I would get intermittent skips and stops, crazy video window ghosting and the sound was never sych'd. At first I thought it was because I was trying to write to my IBM Barracuda (30gig) which is connected via a Tempo ATA/66 PCI card. But when I switched to writing the capture to the Seagate internal SCSI I had the same problems. Then I thought that maybe Virtual Memory was creating undue challenges so I ran with it off and still had the same trouble.

After reading the above article I wondered if maybe it maybe it was QuickTIme 5 (I had also upgraded to 5.0.1) that was the real problem. Luckily, the CD that came with the iBOT had a full copy of QT 4.1.2 and not just the web installer. After trashing QT 5 and reinstalling 4.1.2, my troubles seem to have disappeared - on either drive!

Just to fill in the blanks...I'm running OS 9.1 off the internal SCSI drive with 512mb of interleaved RAM and Virtual Memory set to 1 over. I have an XLR8 MACh G3 300/200/1MB card running overclocked to 330. The backside cache is running at 164. There is no L2 cache installed on the motherboard. The last PCI slot is an ATI Nexus128 with 32mb of RAM. This is running the primary monitor at 1152x870 and millions of colors. I√m also running a second monitor off the motherboard at 1024x768 and millions of colors.

I have to say that if I had known QT 5 was going to "break" something that works fine in 4.1.2, I would never have paid for the upgrade to 5. If I had had the camera while I was still using 4.1.2 I may have thought twice about going for the upgrade. Once again Mike, your site has come through for me!
Bill "

Hopefully a future update to QT 5 will resolve this, since QT5 was significantly faster for things like iMovie export (cutting times nearly in half).

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Reader Comments on Performance of IBM 60GXP vs 75GXP IDE Hard Drive:
A B&W G3/400 owner with an Acard ATA/66 IDE controller sent comments and ATTO benchmark results comparing a new IBM 60GXP 40GB drive to a IBM 75GXP 45GB and Seagate Barracuda II 30GB drive.
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Reader Article on Painting the 2001 iBook:
William Rivas sent a writeup and photos of how he painted his 2001 iBook's top cover. (There was another link last week to a series of pictures of a painted iBook that used textured paint, but I can't remember that URL now.)
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Despite Some Previous Reports - iDVD Won't Run on PowerBook G4 Here:
Despite some reports last week that iDVD worked on several models of Macs other than a G4/733 with Superdrive, I was not able to run it on my PowerBook G4. I used the iDVD 1.0 install CD from a G4/733 and got the same error message a reader originally reported last week:

" The application iDVD could not be opened because the required hardware could not be found "

After that reader's comments/error message was posted, several others wrote to say they were running it on DP G4/500s, a PowerBook, etc. but I wonder now if the software was installed from the original iDVD 1.0 CD or if it was some patched version.

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Reader Report on GIMP (image editor) on OS X:
" Hi Mike.
I decided to drop these few lines to let you know that i've successfully installed and fired up a version of GIMP on my 2001 iBook with OS X.

GIMP is the Gnu Image Manipulation Program and is a kind of "free" Photoshop. If one would try to do this (i recommend a minimum of experience with Linux) all the necessary info's and links to source files are available at:

It's a very good site and it contains detailed instructions on how to do it. I personally used the method wich involves Xtools rather than install and run XFree86. It could be fun to see your OS X compile perfectly common source code ! I think the great days of OS X are just ahead with this kind of implementation of all the X apps.:)

If you want to give a look at the result i give you this link: which contains the shot from my desktop running GIMP. The screen refresh is a bit buggy with Xtools but the app is perfectly usable.
I'm going to search something else to compile with Fink!
Bye, Luca Paltrinieri."

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CDRW Disc Tip for Que 16/10/40 Drive:
From one of the weekend's Drive Compat. Database entries:,

" After reading the comments from the person who mentioned problems with Toast 5 and CD-RW discs in his Que 16/10/40 Firewire, I thought I would suggest a solution.

The problem: Most of the time after burning a re-writable, when reinserting the disc into the burner, Mac OS wants to intialize it.

I had the same problem, and Roxio suggested that it was firmware related. Sure enough, after upgrading the QPS firmware to v1.0.2 (available from the QPS website) the problem was gone and the drive now works perfectly!

Note: You must connect the drive to a PC to run the firmware updater.

The Plextor 16/10/40 CDRW 1.02 firmware update (assuming that's the mechanism in the QUE drive) was noted awhile back in the news and is linked in the CDR section of the FAQ here.

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Reader Reports Solving OS X Boot Problem with ATA/66 IDE Card:
A reader with a B&W G3 and Sonnet Tempo ATA/66 card reported he could not boot from the OS X volume from the ATA/66 card. He later wrote with the solution.

" Hi Mike,
I emailed you a few days ago regarding my problem with the Sonnet Tempo ATA 66 PCI host adaptor. I was not able to boot OS X after installing. Well I've found the problem.

There are two possible connections for the hard drive and I used the last one on the PCI card instead of the first one. When I made the switch OS X booted just fine.

Thanks for responding to my email. And share this with anyone who may encounter the same problem.

I remember there were some reports last year on problems in some macs with IDE cards using the 2nd channel, but thought that was fixed with a later firmware update. I think the above reader tried several firmware versions including the latest 3.12 one however. I've added the above comments to the previous article on OS X and PCI IDE card reports.

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Reader Report on CompUSA Brand Firewire/USB PCI Card:
A reader sent this report via email:

" One failure and one success to report.
My hardware:
PowerCenter Pro 180
XLR8 G3 Carrier card at 400MHz
MacOS 9.1 (FireWire 2.7)
OWC Mercury Elite 75GB external FW drive (IBM Ultrastar 75GXP)

I've had an *OrangeMicro OrangeLink Combo card* for a while now, but only used it for USB. Recently, I bought an external Firewire card. Attempting to use it with the OrangeLink card (both with Apple-only drivers and with the Disk Control 1.1 "FireWire Disk Support" driver) was a disaster. The drive would mount OK, but any attempt to read or write from the disk would freeze up the computer after only a few seconds of disk activity.

In desperation, I went down to CompUSA and bought their *USB/1394 Combo card*. It cost $70, and uses the Lucent chipset.
Works like a charm.
I get 20.5MB/sec sustained reads and 10.25 MB/sec sustained writes with all kinds of stuff running in the background (a semi-real world test; I did not do a clean boot before running the benchmarks).
Jacques D.
(He later wrote)
It was the "Store Brand" :-) : CompUSA SKU #280284.
And a much nicer card, too. 3 firewire ports (2 ext, 1 int) instead of 2, and a separate power supply connector (no cable, though :-( ).
No software (not that you need any). Four slim pages of documentation (which, most amusingly, say "This Combo Card is made exclusively for the IBM-PC or compatible line of computers."). "

I've added this to the Firewire/USB Combo Card Feedback page.

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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 12 new reports today (total to date: 5,785). [Entries after midnight last night are added the following day.]

  • Metabox G4/450 in 9600/233 (rated 10)
  • Newer Tech G4/400 ZIF in Beige G3 (rated 7)
  • Newer Tech G3/466 in iMac (rated 10)
  • Newer Tech G3/466 in iMac (rated 9)
  • Other World Computing G3/500 ZIF in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • Newer Tech PB G3/500 upgrade in PB G3 wallstreet2 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/300 in Performa 6360 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/450MHz ZIF [didn't note G3 or G4] in Umax S900 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF card MPe w/ Newer Tech G3/366 (rated 1)
  • G4/400 AGP 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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 17 new entries added this morning. The database has reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 3,975 reports. [BTW - the drive database is not a place to post questions, it's for reports on drives you've used. For guides to drive installs, see the IDE, SCI or Firewire articles linked above and/or the FAQ. 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.]
You can find full owner reports by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (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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