News Archive for: 6/14/2005 Tuesday's News
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More Details on X800 Hotfix for Tiger Pro Apps, Games
Although it's still not posted yet as of Tuesday afternoon (should be within 24hrs I'm told), I asked Chris Bentley (ATI Mac programmer) for specific details on the X800 Hotfix/update for Tiger Pro apps users (and some specific games) and why there was an impact on Doom3 performance.

" Hi Mike,
There are four 3D bugs fixed in the hot-fix:

1) multipaned z corruption in Pro apps (Motion, Maya, Modo, Lightwave, etc...) The fix for this had no performance impact

2) occasional checkerboard textures in X2: Threat The fix for this had no performance impact

3) wrong values returned from GetBeamPosition() The fix for this had no performance impact

4) blocky z corruption in Sims 2: Rush Hour The fix for this ended up causing a slow down in DOOM 3. (Mostly at high res.) We had to prioritize running correctly over performance. We'll work on regaining the DOOM 3 perf in an upcoming driver.
People who are just running DOOM 3 and haven't been effected by the other bugs, can stick with their current drivers and keep the slightly higher DOOM 3 perf.
-Chris "

(NOTE - on Wednesday the Hotfix was posted at http://www2.ati.com/drivers/ati_x800xt_hotfix_june05.dmg. I went to support.ati.com (cookies required) to get a link to the readme file/release notes which mirror the info posted here in Monday's news.

(FYI - I've updated the earlier post/request for PL Z-Force card switch settings to include a link to a scan of the setttings page from the manual. Also updated Other Net News listing for article links and a few software updates.)

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First Feedback on Mac X800 XT ROM 109 Update
(The first reader mails on the X800 XT 109 ROM update mentioned in yesterday's news.)

" Greetings, Mike. I installed the v109 firmware on my system (Dual 2GHz G5, 30" Cinema Display/23" Cinema Display ADC) in Safe Boot mode. On restart, random speckles appeared on the 30" display (none on the 23"). A lot. So I did a PMU reset (unplugging the power cord), waited a few minutes, then restarted zapping the PRAM and then doing the NVRAM reset in open firmware. (see FAQ's G5 section for how-to.) Now both screens are perfect. Not sure which step(s) did the trick.

First thing I noticed is that it cured the problem with Doom 3 where it wouldn't run in full screen. (30in Display used.) This developed with the 108 firmware update. (Odd - as I didn't see this problem here with my Sony CRT. Firmware 108 ran Doom3 full screen OK (tested at 1024x768 and 1600x1200-Mike) Now it plays fine in full screen, and frame rates seem to have improved, although I've only had a few minutes running time on it.
(he later wrote with more info on the doom3/full screen issue)
I forgot to specify that I'm running Tiger 10.4.1... Anyway, I run Doom 3 at 1600x1200 and full screen on the Apple 30" means having the black bars left and right.
With firmware 108, the Doom 3 screen was just that - 1600x1200, pixel for pixel, on the center of the screen, with black all around it. (i.e. not stretched to the full 30in display screen size.) I tried other resolutions, and the frame took on the corresponding one-to-one size on the monitor screen. Now with firmware 109, all resolutions run at full screen, and it's nice that I can play the game at a lower resolution, resulting in better frame rates, still at full screen.

The artifacts (speckles) on the screen never reappeared. Altogether, firmware rev. 109 is a totally positive update for me.

Apple System Profiler shows ROM revision as 113-A35801-109. I was also surprised to see that the DMG file of the installer was automatically moved to the trash after the restart.
Tony A.
TLC Graphics "

The notes on the Hotfix (separate update for Tiger Pro apps users) mentioned a performance impact for Doom3 at hi-res w/FSAA but as of this morning I still can find a page/download for it. (See yesterday's post for info on the hotfix to address issues some Pro Apps users reported in the past.)

" Updated my X800XT to firmware 108 to Firmware 109 Mac OS 10.3.9 Dual 2.0 G5 (2004) 2.5 gigs ram.

I had no problem with firmware 108 and the fans were quiet, now my fans are high pitched and spinning much faster, I am going to try to go back to 108. I don*t think it is just the fan on the ATI, I think both my front processor fans are spinning much faster now I used to be able to see them spinning now they are running too fast for me to se the blades.
Art B.
Canpro Inc. "

(Not sure why the update would have affected the system fans but I asked if he tried resetting the NVRAM, Toggling Energy Saver performance settings, etc..) Anyone else notice higher fan speeds after the update?
I welcome other X800 user feedback on the update. (Include your OS version, previous rom version, etc. in reports. Thanks.)

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Note to owners of older 22in Cinema Displays (check rear support leg)
I don't remember any other reports of this but posting as a FYI to anyone else that has a very old Cinema Display.

" hi mike,
i have some sad news. about 5+/- years ago i purchased a new 22" apple cinema display, from apple, took it out of the box, and put it on my workstation desk.
it has never been moved or touched, since then, except to gently wipe the screen with the supplied cloth.
about a half hour ago, i'm sitting here working, hear a cracking noise, and watch my cinema display fall over on it's back. the plastic 'fold out' (leg/stand) in the back absolutely broke off below the screws that hold it to the case and a jagged break on the plastic is present.
if you want pictures, let me know, and cinema display owners be aware. (sigh) i guess i will have to mount it on an artist easel.
best2u, curtis "

Since it sounds like the "leg" broke (i.e. no damage to the rear cover/mtg area) I asked if he'd tried calling an Apple parts dealer to see if he could order a replacement. I have an original Apple DVI 22in Cinema Display and haven't had a problem with the rear support stand yet. (But it's been packed up since the move last fall though so I'm going to dig it out to check to see if there are any evidence of cracks on the support "leg".)
UPDATE: Wednesday's news page had another reader report of the support foot/leg breaking and included a link to a source for the Cinema Display (DVI/ADC) Foot (P/N 922-394) that has a price of $40 listed (as of 6/15/2005).

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Switch Settings Info for old PL Z-Force ZIF Socketed CPU Card
A reader bought (used I assume) an old Powerlogix Z-Force CPU card (ZIF socketed CPU card for PCI macs) but it didn't have a manual included. I posted a request for any readers that may still have a copy of the manual w/switch settings info and Ken sent a scan of the settings table. (Thanks Ken.)
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Other Net News
(from PR emails - see Macupdate or Versiontracker for more complete listings of daily software updates.)

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 5 new reports added this morning. (Entries 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 - 14,806 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.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • USB (cased) Memorex Dual Layer 8x used w/G4 no AGP (OS X)
    (problems noted)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-106 in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (noted problems if disc left in drive for long idle periods)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-109 in Dual G4 (OS X 10.4)
    (Using Patchburn 4 for Tiger. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3.)

    Hard Drives:
  • SCSI Hitachi 10k300 73GB in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (noted 80MB/sec read speed but only 16MB/sec write speeds per Quickbench - using Adaptec 39160 SCSI card)
  • SCSI Seagate ST336753LW 34GB in G4/AGP (OS X 10.4)
    (noted problems booting from SCSI drive in Tiger. Using 39160 and 29160 cards)

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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report this morning (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,959. Here's a summary of the report added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Apple Powerbook G4/400 OC report (at 500MHz)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

(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).

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System/Video Card Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
The Mac Benchmark/Game Performance database has been updated with Cinebench 2003 results from a 1.8GHz G5 w/9800 Pro (SE) card running OS X 10.3.
If you haven't already, enter your results with any of the game titles or benchmarks listed on the entry page (details on how to test are there). If you're curious how a CPU upgrade or new Video card would help game performance, the search page options can help you find similar system/configurations to get an idea before you buy.
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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