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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 3/5/2001 Monday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

 
Top stories of 3/5/2001:

Details on Apple's PowerBook 5300/PowerBook 190 Trade-In Offer:
I just received an email from Apple with details on their trade-in program for PowerBook 5300 or PowerBook 190 owners. They're offering a PowerBook G3/400 Firewire model (64MB RAM/10GB HD/DVD) for $1599 with one of these models in trade. That's $400 off the current Apple store price, but I don't know how it compares to current dealer pricing/specials on remaining PB G3 firewire models. The trade-in program ends "on or before March 23, 2001". See these Apple pages for details and terms and conditions
.
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Cube Owner Comments on GeForce2MX Card Swap in Extended Use:
A G4 Cube owner sent a report on performance and temperatures from using a OEM GeForce2MX card compared to the Radeon he originally had.

"FYI, I've been running a GeForce2MX card in my cube for a week now. I've played several DVD movies back-to-back as well as the fly through sequence of Unreal Tournament for 24 hours straight to test the card and system for thermal stress. The entire card gets quite hot when stressed, but no failures or anomalies occurred. Under normal, (i.e., non-3D & non-DVD) usage, the card doesn't get quite as hot (as would be expected) and everything appears to work normally.

I would also say, unscientifically, that while the GeForce card does get quite hot, the rest of the cube appears to maintain about the same equilibrium temperature as when the BTO Radeon was in place. A touch test of the case and the internals after usage appear about the same with either the GeForce or the Radeon.

In other observations, the GeForce is definitely slower in 2D than the Radeon. However, it appears to produce reasonable 3D performance. Sorry, I don't have any benchmarks to quantify this. Despite this, I am sticking with the card to get away from the extremely annoying fan on the Radeon. True silence is worth the speed drop!
Cheers,
Roland E. Miller, III
Manager, Computer Services"

Although I'm not sure it was related to using OpenGL 1.2.1 vs 1.2 that ships with the GeForce2MX card equipped systems, I saw some strange behavior in Lightwave 3D 6.5 noted in my comparison article of the Radeon vs GeForce2MX in my G4/400 dual processor system. For a first driver release however, overall the drivers are better than I expected otherwise.

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More G4/733 Low Applications Performance Reports:
Over the weekend there were several G4/733 owner reports in the Forums here that noted Photoshop, iMovie2 and Cinema 4D performance (not just benchmarks) were lower than expected. The Cinema 4D performance was noted as slower than a single G4/533. There's also some discussion on compiler optimizations and the 7450 CPU design in this forum thread which is several pages long now and growing. (There's also a thread asking for Quake3 results from the various speed G4/AGP systems to be posted here.)
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PPC Checker v2.2 Available - Adds Support for 750CX and 7410 CPUs:
Michiro Isobe wrote PPC Checker which was one of the first utilities to report if a G3 CPU was copper or aluminum and the CPU revision. PPC Checker will also report if your G3 has a 10x bus/cpu ratio capability. (A plus for older Macs with lower bus speeds.) This weekend he sent version 2.2 of PPC Checker that has added 750CX (G3) and 7410 (G4) CPU support. If PPC Checker does not recognize the revision of your CPU, the new version has an alert requesting info be sent to the author for adding to future versions of PPC Checker.
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Quake3 1.27h Beta - Faster with Virtual Memory On?
Two readers reported they had significant increases in Timedemo framerates with Virtual Memory enabled when using the latest Quake3 1.27 beta update. (One reader noted delayed sounds in the game with VM on however). I've only tested Quake 1.27h on the PowerBook G4 but did see a boost from VM enabled in 640x480 modes in 16bit color (higher qualiity settings didn't seem to get any benefit). Other things I've noticed about the beta:

  • Every time I exit and restart the game Audio quality is set back to High. (One reader also noted it seems to reset back to high when graphics modes are changed in the game)
  • The old command to turn off Gibs doesn't seem to work
  • On the PB G4, I almost always see pausing in the Timedemos (in two places), regardless of RAM allocated, etc. This I suspect is hurting the average score. (Make sure you set the Music volume to 0, esp. on a Powerbook, otherwise there will be severe pausing in the game in my experience.)

There's two game forum threads here on the Quake3 beta (here and a later one started here) which include other reader comments on the update and links to converted Timedemo files from the 117 version.

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Standard BTO GeForce2MX Fits Cube:
A reader posted in the forums here that the standard Mac GeForce2MX card fits in a Cube. (The Mac Geforce2MX is only available in new G4 Macs - not at retail.) The standard GeForce2MX card has no fan and I've asked him to report if there are any heat problems in extended use. I'm not sure if the GeForce2MX cards in new Cubes have a fan or not (the Radeon cube model does, but not the Radeon card for G4 towers.)
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Reader Comments on OS 9 tests with and w/o Altivec Extensions:
OS 9.-9.04 included 4 Altivec support extensions (noted in the G4 cpu upgrade reviews here). A reader sent a note on tests in Altivec aware apps with and without the extensions enabled.

" Dear Mike,
Thanks for your very informative site.
You noted in your OS9.1 feedback page that OS 9.1 installation removes the Altivec extensions.
[They are not a part of OS 9.1-Mike]

I have been carrying out some tests over the weekend on my Newer Tech. MaxPowr G4/450 upgraded B&W G3/350 Power Mac, and the conclusion I have reached is that neither OS 9.0.4 or OS 9.1 need the 9.0 Altivec extensions (vBasicOps, vBigNum, vectorOps etc) to have the velocity engine enabled, at least for PhotoShop 6, N2MP3 1.5b3 and for the Newer Technology's Guage Pro v1.2.

My configuration is a PowerMac G3/350 B&W (Yosemite rev 1) which has been upgraded with a Newer Tech. G4/450zif, and is running at 450/225 with 1Mb backside cache. 384Mb RAM, upgraded HD (16Gb Maxtor DiamonMax 40) with 2 additional internal IBM Ultrastar 9Gb scsi lvd drives on an Adaptec 29160N interface.

I ran tests with PhotoShop 6 (which had been allocated 293Mb memory) on a 99.6Mb RGB A4 size 600dpi photoshop file, timing a rotate canvas 90 degree CW operation using PhotoShop's internal timing display, ensuring that all disk activity after opening the file had completed before initiating the operation.

On both OS 9.0.4 and OS 9.1, I got the same timings with and without the Altivec system extensions (extracted using TomeViewer from MacOS 9.0). (rotate 90deg cw took approx 1.8/1.9sec).

Removing the PhotoShop Altivec core support plug in (v6.0 which ships with PhotoShop 6) _did_ make a difference (the rotate 90deg. cw took 3.8sec).

In all 4 combinations (OS 9.0.4 & 9.1, with & without 9.0 Altivec system extensions) Newer Tech's Gauge Pro v1.2 reported that Altivec was fully supported. (I have the MaxPowr extension and control panel always installed, but I think this only enables the 1Mb backside cache. The MaxPowr control panel appears defective/inoperable under OS 9.1-- I hope I don't need it in the future.)

And in all 4 combinations N2MP3 v1.5b3 took the same time to encode a 10minute AIFF file from disk to disk. (2'59" to encode the 1st movement of Bach's Brandenberg 4 Philips/English Chamber Orch (duration 9'59") at 128kbps fixed rate Better quality to MP3)

I tried the same operations on MacOS 9.1 with my cpu swapped back to the G3/350, and found speed differences which were more than could be accounted for by the change in CPU clock speed.

Incidentally, iTunes 1.1 seems to be Altivec aware -- under Edit>Preferences on the 'Importing' tab, the settings section displays 'using Velocity' as well as my MP3 encoding settings.
[Since SoundJam MP supported altivec it's not surprising that iTunes does -Mike]

In general, I have had good results on upgrading to OS 9.1. I'm trying to troubleshoot a problem where the machine does not wake up from sleep, but it might mean changing the hard disk driver, which I don't have time to do at the moment. I am using Hard Disk Speed Tools 3.1.1

I hope this will be useful to you and others.
best regards, Sayling Low"

Several readers replied with what I had always suspected - the OS 9.0x Altivec extensions are for OS support of Altivec - applications can have the support embedded via an Altivec aware compiler.

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More Reader Comments on GeeThree ADB to PS/2 Adapter:
Another reader replied to the owner post in Friday's news on Compatibilty with this adapter:

"Mike,
I've been using the GeeThree adapter for months. It works, but the driver is quirky. I have to disable the control panel to run Unreal Tournament. Diablo II worked fine until a few days ago. Now I have to disable "use multi-button mouse" in Diablo and set the GeeThree control panel to use cmd-click for the right mouse button (I'm not sure what that's about). Starcraft also works, but again, it requires the GeeThree control panel to be set to cmd-click. It's an inconvenience if you plan to use contextual menus in the Finder. I haven't run into conflicts with other applications.

On the other hand, I've tried several different PS/2 mice. All have worked as advertised, including scroll wheels. Because PS/2 mice are so inexpensive, the GeeThree adapter is a good value if you don't have a free PCI slot for a USB card.
Take care,
Rich Brude"

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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 18 new reports (total to date: 5,345). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • Formac G3/400 (carrier model) in 7600 (rated 8)
  • Metabox G3/400 in Umax S900 (rated 1)
  • Metabox G3/333 in 7500 (rated 10)
  • Metabox G3/00 in 7600 (rated 9)
  • Other World Computing G3/400 in Beige G3/233 (rated 7)
  • Other World Computing G3/333 in Beige G3/266 (rated 10)
  • PowerLogix G4/350 in Umax J700 (rated 7)
  • PowerLogix Bluechip G3/500 in PB G3 Wallstreet2 (rated 7)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G3/375 in 8600/200 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/266 in 7100/66 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/500 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G3/300 in 7500 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF (MAChCarrier) G4/450 in 7600 (rated 7)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G3 400 ZIF in PowerTower 180 (rated 10)

  • G4/400 AGP OC report
  • B&W G3/450 OC report
  • Beige G3233 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/HD Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 38 new entries added this morning including CDRWs, DVD ROM, Expansion Bay drives and Hard Drives. (Current total 3,133 reports). Entries from after midnight are added the following day. [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 here and/or the FAQ. 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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Video Card/System Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
Updates to the Mac Game/Video Card Performance database included:

  • Quake3 Retail (640x480 ) results from PowerBook G3 2000 (G3/400 Firewire)
  • Quake3 Retail (640x480 ) results from iBook G3/466
  • CineBench 2000 results from Dual G4/450 with Radeon PCI card
  • CineBench 2000 results from PowerBook G3 2000 (G3/400 Firewire)
  • CineBench 2000 results from B&W G3/450 w/Radeon PCI card
  • CineBench 2000 results from 73-7500 w/G3 300 CPU upgrade and Voodoo3 card
  • ThroughPut results from 73-7500 w/G3 300 CPU upgrade and Voodoo3 card
  • ThroughPut results from Dual G4/450 with Radeon PCI card

Total entries in the database to date: 2,536. 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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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy
    Software Updates:
  • MacVCD 2.0 (direct download link)
    (Shareware Mac Video CD player app)

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Recent Reviews and Articles:
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