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News Archive for Tuesday, May 25th, 2004Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of May 25th, 2004: (later posted items first)
Retrospect 6.0 Updater 5.4.104
MU lists the Retrospect 6 Updater 5.4.104. The change listing there still notes the previous 5.3.102 version from last month though (a typo I assume).

  • Resolved a freeze seen when using a standalone tape drive and a tape library on the same computer
  • AIT tapes created with Retrospect 4.3 and earlier can now be erased and reused

The MU page includes a long list of supported drives (Many are the same as listed in the previous update though.)

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EyeTV 1.3.6 Software Update
MU lists the (non-beta) EyeTV Updater 1.3.6:

    "EyeTV 1.3.6:
  • Playback stability has been improved and certain severely damaged streams will no longer crash the player.
  • A bug in the motion adaptive deinterlacer that could produce random artefacts has been corrected.
  • A crash while editing recordings has been fixed.
  • Various minor MPEG decoder problems have been fixed.
  • EyeTV 200: Overall stability and reliability improvements.
  • EyeTV 200: A bug which could cause loss of communication with the device and result in random "No Signal" situations has been fixed.
  • EyeTV 200: Wake from sleep is now fully supported.
  • EyeTV 200: Improved playback of SVCD quality recordings.
  • EyeTV 300: This release contains firmware 1.1.0 for the EyeTV 300 which fixes a DiSEqC issue and other tuning problems. After installing the firmware update you may want to perform an autotune to pick up additional channels.
  • EyeTV 400: DVB channels with AC-3 audio (mostly in Australia) are now detected. Please note that EyeTV does not contain a Dolby AC-3 decoder at this point, so these channels will play without audio unless they also contain MPEG audio. A dual G5 PowerMac may be required for playback of certain HD channels at full frame rate.
  • EyeTV 400: A reception problem with BBC1 and BBC2 in the UK has been fixed.
  • EyeTV 400: DVB-T tuning problem in Australia has been fixed."

I've added a note/link on this to the previous page of EyeTV owner reports which had install tips on the previous 1.36beta4 version released last month.

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Follow-up on PCMCIA slot Cooling Fan for PowerBooks
Last fall a reader posted a report here on using a PCMCIA slot cooler with his Powerbook (which helped cool CPU upgrade Pismos, etc.) - but the source for the Cooler sold out literally the same day and no longer lists it. Today he sent an email with info on other sources for the cooler as well as info on fan and filtering mods.

" Hey Mike, ... I Posted to XLR8YourMac last September regarding a PCMCIA slot cooling fan for Powerbooks. These were originally designed for PC Notebooks but I found that these work well both in OS9 & X. Unfortunately, these are getting harder to source as they fail to work on PC OS's above Windows 98, and since they are intended for PC's I think they have been discontinued.....only back stock exists. The original site I listed (Who were selling them for $12) sold out in a few hours after being listed at XLR8YourMac, so I'm sure there are a few who missed out on these. They now only seem to be available outside the U.S, here are a few sources I found;

In Canada;
http://www.otapc.com/comp.php?type=FAN
http://www.mitcomputers.ca/product/cooling_fans/

In Australia;
http://www.wyntec.com.au/notebkcooler.htm

In Singapore;
http://www.videopro.com.sg/pricelst/CAT01602.PHP

I also modified my unit in two ways;

  • Replaced stock cooling fan with a higher CFM rated fan. The purpose of this was to increase airflow without increasing noise. I also found that the original fan would sometimes start "buzzing" after a while. This was caused by it coming loose from the two plastic extrusions which hold the fan inside the case. By getting a slightly bigger fan (2mm larger), the fan now never comes loose from the housing. I got the replacement fan from Mouser for $12.67. Specs:: 5VDC, 0.7watts, 4600RPM, 10.5 CFM's, 24Db

    Replacing the fan is easy. Open the case of the PCMCIA cooler, pull out the old fan, cut the red & black wires (half way down the right side of the fan is good). Cut the red and black wires of the new fan to the same length as what remaining on the removed unit (leave a tad extra), strip and solder all wires back together (use electrical tape for any exposed wiring). Now push fan (face down) onto the plastic posts, might need a little force.

  • Second change I made to the fan was better filtration. Since the fan is sucking cool air into the case, it is important that dust is entering the case is minimized. The Filter they include with the PCMCIA is not that good at all, too much dust will enter with it. I found that using Dryer Lint sheets work great for filtering without reducing airflow much at all. Just remove the original filter and use it as a template to cut the shape out of the dryer lint sheet. Now use them both in series in the PCMCIA cooler. Replace every month or so.

    From my experiences and what I read from others using this fan, it is the most effective way of cooling down Powerbooks and extremely helpful for reliability in CPU Upgraded Powerbooks (Ie. Powerlogix's BlueChip). My initial tests showed that it directly lowered my Powerbook Pismo CPU temperatures from 60 degrees to 44 degrees (Celsius) when doing and hour long video compression. Very effective. Sorry I got no pictures (No Digital Camera), but it should be straight forward enough i hope.
    Anyways, hope this helps
    Ryan "

  • I've updated the previous post in the FAQ's Cooling section for Ryan's comments above.

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    Mac UT2004 Benchmark/Utilities
    A reader sent a long email with details/link/info on his Benchmark/Tools utility for UT2004.

    " Two news items:
    1) Postal 2 for Mac, based on UT technology, began beta testing this week, with Ryan Gordon/Icculus heading the team of course.

    2) The Santaduck Toolpak for Mac UT 2004 has been released, which includes a benchmark utility.
    http://www.santaduck.com/ut2k4/Santaduck_Toolpak_pub.sit (700K)

    (I assume the benchmark utility is of most interest to xlr8yourmac readers, so I provide extra details.)
    The benchmarker is based exactly on the benchmarks that shipped from Epic for UT2003. In other words, both seconds and botcount have been preserved exactly from these, with two convenience changes: In the botmatch benchmarks, the difficulty of the bots have been set to 7 (Godlike), to produce more action, otherwise the bots just stand still and shoot their default assault gun. The other exception is that both flyby and botmatch have "stat fps" in the exec to view the FPS score developing in real time. Of course mindesiredframerate is set to 0, and -nosound is used for the flyby, and customized and standardized INI files (both for ut2004.ini and user.ini) are used so that you can be sure the benchmark is running exactly the same on all computers. A range of resolutions from 640x480 to 1600x1200 are possible, with both minimum and maximum detail settings.

    There are two benchmark bonuses. First, there is a "LCD version" of the benchmark utility, that covers all of the current apple hardware LCD native resolutions, for iBook, Powerbook, iMac, and Studio/Cinema Displays. Second, there is a window .bat version of the benchmarks, with the exact same settings including within windows versions of the INI files.

    The Santaduck Toolpak contains more than Benchmarks, it has 7 fully standalone components:

    1) DropUZ2 -- Compresses any files to .uz2 format. This is for game server admins who are setting up compressed redirected downloads.

    2) DropUZ2Expander -- Expands .uz2 files.

    3) CacheOut -- View or clean your Cache folder. You can install files to your game (.app bundle or home directory), or simply extract files to an outside folder. Will also repair bad or outdated cache.ini files. Installations to the .app bundle can be color-labeled by the finder. There are two modes, Automatic or Manual. In manual mode, you can confirm or decline the extraction of each file one at at time.

    4) DropInstaller -- Will install files as well as folder sets (either to .app bundle or home directory). You can install entire folders from unzipped custom maps or even full conversion mods. For example, it will search through a main folder which has UT folders within it (e.g. Maps, Music, Texturs), as well as a "Mod" group folder with a full set of UT folders with that. Finally, DropInstaller will even make a "Dependencies" file, so you'll always know which files are necessary for each set, whether it's a map or a mod. No more wondering which textures go with that map!

    5) DropUModOut -- Views, Extracts, or Installs .umod, .ut2mod, and .ut4mods to either an outside folder, or installs them. Will also read the .ut4mod files for the option of making changes to your INI file, and writes INI change suggestions for .ut2mod and .umod files to the log file for later viewing. Like DropInstaller, UmodExtractor also will make a "Dependencies" file, so you'll always know which files are necessary for each set, whether it's a map or a mod.

    6) UnInstallIt -- Reads "Dependencies" files created by either DropInstaller or UmodExtractor, to allow you to uninstall files from your game. You can simply use this to view the dependencies between files, or you can uninstall them as a set-- If so, you have the option of removing the files to an outside folder, or simply deleting them. Never forget which textures go with which map again!

    7) UT2K4 Santa Standard Bench -- Performance benchmarks in either "flyby" or "botmatch" mode. No mucking around in the commandline, just point and click. Uses standard INI files of both maximum and minimum video and audio settings, so you can be sure what your video settings were every time. Windows version also included for comparison.
    --Robert Uyeyama aka "Santaduck"
    http://www.santaduck.com/" "

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    PL Bluechip G3/1GHz Cancelled (now 900MHz as top speed)
    (Updated - see below with PL's reply on why the 1GHz 750GX model was cancelled )

    " Re: Pismo 1ghz upgrade cancellation
    Hi, just wanted to write in about major delays in the G3/1ghz upgrade for Powerbook G3s offered from Powerlogix.
    I placed my order on 4/6, finally realized I was not getting any kind of shipping container and sent it in 4/22 and now after various reports and call-ins I found out yesterday the 1ghz upgrade is no longer.
    It appears Powerlogix decided to announce & sell the product before doing much testing and has now found out the 1ghz gx chip is just too hot for the Pismo enclosure to run reliably.
    Basically, I've been without my notebook for over a month for absolutely nothing. I imagine others are in the same, if not possibly worse, spot. For quality control purposes, apparently few if any have shipped.
    Now I've been told Powerlogix will offer a 900mhz G3-GX upgrade (for $369 instead of $399 for the 1ghz) and they are just entering (what should be a smooth) testing phase for the 900mhz chip. This version should be ready in 2 weeks time. From product announcement to retraction to shipping will be two months.
    This is a horrific display of logistics and product management that reflects very poorly on Powerlogix' professionalism and capability.
    (name withheld by request)"

    I wrote the president of Powerlogix for comments on this but checking the current Powerlogix Bluechip G3 product page does show 900MHz as the top speed available now. The 1GHz G3 Pismo upgrade was originally mentioned in this April 5th, 2004 PL press release.
    Update - here's PL's comments on why the 1GHz 750GX Bluechip model was cancelled:

    " Based on new information from IBM, published 5/20/04, concerning the power demands of the GX vs the FX.
    Essentially they revised their power figures, and we performed tests that confirmed things.
    The increase from 900 to 1 GHz on a 750GX results in about a 25% increase in power draw, taking things to a level beyond what the Pismo can adequately handle.
    www-306.ibm.com/chips/techlib/techlib.nsf/techdocs/1C29A8A2ACA1BC4187256E99006EC8D4
    (I asked if they boosted the voltage on the 1GHz part - looking at the specs doc above shows the 933MHz and 1GHz GX CPUs are now a 1.5v part, where the lower speed (800MHz) and FX CPUs are listed as 1.45V nominal.)
    None of our test CPUs exhibited this, we have had 1gig Pismos for several months, but the production chips had to have a core voltage boost to hit 1gig, which results in the increased power demands.
    Essentially IBM's yield on the 1gig part has been lower than they expected. I suspect they have initiated this core voltage bump to get chips up to 1gig, but they had to warn customers about the additional power demands.

    These will ship at 900 MHz, and at a price only $20 higher than the FX 900 with half the L2. (750GX has 1MB L2, FX has 512KB)
    If you have any other questions let me know.
    Robert Jagitsch
    Powerlogix.com "

    He also mentioned that OWC is testing a CPU Card slot version of the 1GHz 750GX upgrade for legacy PCI Macs. He also commented that quality has been improved since they brought production control back in-house.

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    PowerBook G3 Pismo owner report on Bluechip G3/900 (750FX) heatsink/heatpipe mods
    (Updated - see below for another Bluechip 900 owner's comments)
    Speaking of the Bluechip G3/900 - a reader sent a note he's posted a page on the Bluechip G3/900 upgrade (750FX CPU, not the 1MB Cache 750GX) with heatsink/heatpipe cooling mods at http://www.sterpin.net/pismologixuk.htm and a lighter (smaller images) version at http://www.sterpin.net/pismologixukp.htm.
    Note: There are other PB G3 2000 (aka Pismo)/PowerLogix Bluechip G3/900 owner reports in the searchable database here of CPU Upgrade reports that didn't do any heatsink mods. And another Bluechip 900 owner replied to the article linked above saying he's seen no problems with the stock PL heatsink setup.

    " Mike, The posted link (reader article above) regarding using the original heatsink with the PL (Bluechip) 900 Pismo upgrade concludes that the PL design is essentially useless for heat dissipation and implies that without the heatsink being retrofitted, the 900 upgrade will fail.
    I find no such issues with my 900 upgrade, stock installed except to have substituted Ceramique thermal compound for the stock paste (also highly recommended opposed to using ArtIc Silver which is electrically conductive (slightly capacitive) and could destroy the processor if excess contacted CPU traces). (you should never slop it on heavily - a thin layer is all that is needed - it's for filling in minor imperfections, not for use as thick gasket. See this Artic Silver page which notes it's not electrically conductive unless in a thin layer under extreme pressure, but is slightly capacitive and should be kept away from traces.)

    Mine runs never higher than 125°F without active cooling and at 105°F with a PCMCIA slot cooler fan, far far lower than the modified heatsink temp reports. Also, I have never experienced a single freeze or kernel panic running my 900 upgrade, on it's sixth month of continuous, daily use.

    I suggest that the modified heat pipe assembly is in fact causing poor, incomplete or warped contact of the copper plate with the CPU's face, causing all the issues reported. This isn't fair to Powerlogix, implying that their design doesn't work, which is not true.
    Bruce "

    I think as with any PB G3 CPU upgrade, there's some variation possible in the heatsink contact/pressure, etc. during assembly that may also be a factor in how well the CPU is cooled. I had a friend in CA that used a Bluechip G3/900 without any problems (although he often ran it at lower clock speeds to save battery life).
    Remember like anything (even a software update) - not everyone is going to have the same results or experience and problems reported are often not common. (The old rule of thumb is you're 10x more likely to hear about problems than from someone without any.)

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    Update from Mac owner on using Sony DRU-700A Dual-Layer Burner w/iDVD
    Last week a reader with a new Sony DRU-700A posted a report on using the dual-layer drive in a Mac. Today I received an email update from him with comments on problems with the drive:

    "Hi mike! Thank you very much for some advise on the DVD media. I have tested DVD burning on the sony's DRU-700A patchburn II tuned, the result was no so far. Although the drive is noticed and accepts DVD-R and DVD-RW disks, the drive ejects right after it gets to stage 4 in iDVD. Error found during burning process in stage 4. DVD reported illegal request. Invalid field in cdb (0x24, 0x00). I will try and reinstall iDVD4 (appy iDVD 4.01 update also) tomorrow, and try again, but if you have any information about this error, please advise! Thank you very much for great site!
    Tom S."

    If even a DVD-R disc is failing to burn in the drive with iDVD, there may be some incompat. with the dual layer burner. But with patchburn II working I'd have assumed it would work with a DVD-R disc (unless the drive is picky about brands of discs). iDVD won't accept DVD+R/+RW or even DVD-RW media - old trick in the past was to mount a DVD-RW disc in the finder, before launching iDVD to allow one burn to DVD-RW, but that may not work anymore with iDVD4.
    Unless the drive is going to sleep during the encoding phase of iDVD? (not always a fix for that issue with some drives but I assume he set energy saver to never allow drive sleep FAQ's DVD section has some other tips for that issue but that might not be the problem.)
    Toast 6 next month is supposed to be updated to support dual layer burners (assuming this one included) - I asked he gets that update to let me know how tests with updated toast 6 go.
    I asked if he gets the Toast6 update (due in June) for dual-layer burner support to report back if that works with the drive.
    If any other Mac owner tries this drive post a report in the drive db.

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    Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
    The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports this morning (entries from Monday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,386. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Giga Designs G4/1.3GHz in G4 Cube (rated 10)
    • Powerlogix G41.4GHz (7457) in (QS) G4/AGP (rated 3)
    • Powerlogix G3 1GHz in B&W G3 (rated 10)
    • Powerlogix G3/350 in PowerCenter132 (rated 8)

      (My reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked on 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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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    CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
    The Drive Compatibility Database had 8 new reports added (reader entries from Monday), entries today are added the next newsday morning. Entries with no comments are not posted). The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD+R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total 13,093 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)

      CDRW Drives:
    • IDE LG 8523b (52x24x52x) in B&W G3 (OS X 10.3) (using Patchburn II for Panther burn support.
      Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)

      DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in B&W G3 (OS X 10.3)
      (noted flashing 1.13 firmware using OS X flasher mentioned in yesterday's news page)
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in B&W G3 (OS X 10.3)
      (not clear on his DVD movie problem - i.e. is DVD player installed - if not use Pacifist utility to install pkg from OS X CD)
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    • IDE Sony DRU-530A in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
      (no native iApps burn support, problems noted burning DVDs - not clear if he used Patchburn II and used DVD-Rs for iDVD tests.)

      Hard Drives:
    • IDE (serialATA onboard) Maxtor SATA 120GB in G5 Tower (OS X 10.3)
    • IDE Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9 120GB in B&W G3 (OS X 10.3)
      (Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here in B&W G3 rev2 and G4 towers up to the QuickSilver models.
      IDE articles page RAID section has an illustrated guide for adding 2 more drives in the side bays.)

    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.)

    Return to Accelerate Your Mac!Top
    Reader Game Reviews Database Updated
    The Rate Your Mac Games database update this morning included a reviews of Mac Call of Duty and NeverWinter Nights. (Looking for reviews from owners of new games like Call of Duty for the Mac.) Total Reviews (all titles): 1146. To read game reviews use the search page.
    If you've not already done so - Enter a Game review. Please include as much detail as possible in your review comments. (If your game title is not in the long listing, select "other game" and note the title in the comments)
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    Recent Reviews and Articles:
    Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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