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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 3/28/2001 NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of 3/28/2001:

OWC Has Firewire External Drives with Faster Bridge Chips:
Site sponsor Other World Computing sent a note they have external Firewire drives with the new faster bridge chips:
"Hi Mike,
If you have not seen, we have a new line of FireWire drives utilizing the Oxford 911 chipset and IBM 75GXP Drive Mechanisms;
Mercury Elite 60GB
Mercury Elite 75GB
I have been getting read speeds in the 28's with them- pretty darn good for FireWire ;>) My benchmarks are in each description.
Thought you and the readers would like to know-
Thanks!
Jamie"

See the Firewire page for previous reviews and articles on firewire drives, case kits and controllers.

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ATI Programmer Comments on OpenGL Driver Updates and Support:
ATI Mac programmer Chris Bentley sent me an email to clear the air on some misinformation he said was posted elsewhere.

"Hi Mike,
I just wanted to respond to some of the misinformation that was posted on www.macgamersledge.com:

1) ATI is actively working on the Mac OpenGL drivers. We will continue improving the ATI Mac drivers for a long time to come. I think people noticed that the Radeon 1.1.1 drivers included a roughly 15% speedup at high resolutions. [I updated my Radeon AGP Retail review game tests page with 1.1.1 driver tests that shows a benefit at higher resoltutions-Mike] The drivers we are just finalizing with Apple should contain an approximately 8% speedup at lower resolutions.

2) We work very closely with Apple's OpenGL team, as well as with numerous Mac game developers to make sure that games run well on our hardware when they ship. We will continue to build close relationships with these developers. Of course we're never perfect in this regard, but we do take this seriously. Most developers contact us to work on issues that they run into. I suggest that if the Warbird III developers want to work with us, all they need to do is send us mail.

3) regarding the Warbirds III beta, last I checked the posts on www.xlr8yourmac.com, the only Mac hardware that was actually up and running were all ATI cards. We downloaded the Warbirds III beta and it ran fine on our machines with Radeon and Rage128 cards. I won't comment on what happened when we ran it on our NV11 card.

4) regarding OpenGL extensions, the ATI Mac 3D drivers have supported hardware TCL on the Radeon for the past 6 months. Vertex and pixel shader extensions will be supported when our next hardware ships, and we are currently working closely with Apple to make sure these extensions are supported.
Cheers,
Chris Bentley
ATI Research Inc."

Chris later called me and said that they have made contact with the Warbirds III developers and will be assisting them in optimizing performance on the ATI cards.

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My OS X Experiences and Tests with PowerBook G4
I realize it's a new Mac and less likely to have problems with the first release of OS X, but I wanted to summarize my experiences with OS X on a PowerBook G4. I installed it Saturday and have used it for about 20 hours total (buried in email and work here so I can't use it as much as I'd like.)

I'm using Airport to connect to the internet via a cable modem so I can't comment on the PPP/internal modem issues many have reported. I partitioned the drive into two volumes, the first with OS 9.1 and the second for OS X (HFS+ format). My two 256MB SODIMMs had no problems with the firmware update (they were an exact pair of 222 speed modules.) I have had no kernel panics and no system crashes. Internet Explorer has crashed once, and has been sluggish at times (as has iDisk), but otherwise it's been pretty trouble-free. Here are some notes on my compatibility and performance tests (including Classic vs OS 9.1 and Game tests) so far. Due to the length I've posted the comments and test results on this page.

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More Info on IBM's New 48GB Notebook Hard Drive:
For those that missed yesterday's news, I posted info on IBM's new Travelstar 48GB drive that not only is their largest, but also should be the quietest 2.5" drive to date. (It features liquid bearings and sound absorbing padding.) One reader thought it was too tall for PowerBook G4s, but the drive is 12.5mm high - the same as the 32GB model which I have personally installed in a PB G4. (It's also a 5400 RPM drive, like the 32GB model. Most notebook drives are 4200 RPM, although in my tests of the 32GB model, except for random access it was really no faster than the 20GB model.) The drive is too tall to fit in an iBook however. I heard a rumor that the drive may retail for just under $500 - which if true means the current 32GB drive should drop in price. I've asked sponsors to let me know when they have the 48GB model available for sale.
For more details on the Travelstar drive, see the IBM Travelstar 48GH product page. (If you missed my illustrated install guides for PowerBook hard drive upgrades, see the Systems or IDE articles pages.)
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Reader Comments on PhotoShop 6 under Classic:
Yesterday's news noted that Adobe has posted a page titled Adobe software and Mac OS X product pages with info on specific problems running current versions of their applications in Classic mode under OS X. One reader noted he's not had any problems with Photoshop 6.0 under Classic, despite the list of issues listed on this Adobe PS6/OS X page.

"Mike -
I have Photoshop 6 running on my 500DP in Classic Mode under OS X. I have no problem acquiring images from my CanonScan N1220U USB Scanner. I'm not sure if Adobe's info about what doesn't work under classic is completely accurate. Possibly they are just covering all their bases so there are no support issues.
Dan Hines"

As a FYI, running Photoshop 5.5 under Classic on my PB G4 seems fine so far. I ran the 21 filter PSBench tests with no apparent problems. Classic was a few seconds slower to complete the 21 filter series than when running in OS 9.1, but performed faster in Classic than I expected.

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Reader Tip for Airport on UFS Disk Format OS X Install:
"I have a PowerBook/G4 with an AirPort card. I have no need of Classic, so when I installed my copy of MacOS X, I opted for the Unix Filesystem (UFS). Nothing I did seemed to make it pick up my AirPort card.

Playing around with it a bit, it seems that UFS is case sensitive, and HFS+ is not. My guess was there may be some sort of absolute filename (capitalization) problem loading the AirPort kernel extension, but who knows.

Good guess! That's exactly what it was! I fixed it by editing
/System/Library/Extensions/AppleAirPort.kext/Contents/Info.plist ...
and changing all of the instances of "Airport" to "AirPort" ... and after a reboot, it's totally happy. My airport card shows up in the network control panel, and all is good.
- Jason Allum"

My Airport works fine but my OS X install was on a 2nd partition already formatted as HFS+.

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Why Appleworks 6.1 Preview was Pulled (Updated):
A reader reported the Appleworks 6.1 preview for OS X has been pulled. Visiting Apple's download page today shows a "coming soon" note now. A contact at Apple sent the reason why:

"The updater was removed to resolve a minor issue with the Spreadsheet module. A new AppleWorks 6.1 updater will be made available when the issue has been resolved. Users who have already updated to AppleWorks 6.1 should refer to the following Knowledge Base articles:

AppleWorks 6.1: May Quit Unexpectedly, Losing Unsaved Changes
http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n106245

AppleWorks 6.1: Spreadsheet File May Become Unusable
http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n106246


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More OS X 1.0 Install Reports on Pre-G3 Macs and Clones:
Our OS X on pre-Beige G3 Macs and Clones forum has more reports on installing OS X on "unsupported" Macs. One of the most active threads is this one. An 8500 w/G4 CPU upgrade report is in another thread here. Remember that many 3rd party video cards, 3rd party hard disk drivers/cdrom drivers, etc. are not supported, and if you're a gamer, OS X Classic doesn't run many games well or at all in my tests. (Just a note that you'll be losing a lot of functionality in many cases.)
As noted in the weekend news, Ryan Rempel has a page on installing OS X 1.0 on 7300 to 9600 PowerMacs.
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More OS X PPP/Modem Reports:
So far the feedback on yesterday's news tip/question for OS X PPP/modem problems hasn't been a solution. Many readers noted their modem had the 2.0 firmware update (or was a new model that didn't need it) and disabling Echo didn't help (Although one reader noted disabling Echo seemed to help speeds however.) Dual processor owners seem most prone to the problem.
There's a thread in the forums here where one reader noted a phone line splitter was a cause of his problem but that does not seem to be a factor in most reports. If anyone does not have PPP/internal modem problems or have found a solution, let me know your configuration and system details.
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iTunes for OS X Doesn't Recognize Nomad II MP3 Player:
(Note - the unofficial OS X 10.0.1 update is said to restore support for the Nomad II, but I'd suggest waiting for the official apple release - remember OS X is unix under the aqua interface and 'leaked' updates from unknown sources could contain trojan horses or worms.)
Several readers have noted this and I verified it personally last night. Although iTunes works plug-n-play with my Nomad II MP3 player in OS 9.1, the first release of iTunes for Mac OS X doesn't work with the player. Hopfully when the update for CDRW burning is released this issue will be addressed also.
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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 2 new reports (total to date: 5,451). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • Powerlogix G3/350 in PowerBase 240 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF (MAChCarrier) G3/466 in 9600/233 (rated 10)

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 9 new entries added this morning including Combo DVD-CDRWs, CD-ROM, CDRWs, and Hard Drives. (Current total 3,397 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 linked above 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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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy

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