News Archive for: 5/12/2005 Thursday's News
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ATI releases Mac X800 XT ROM v108 Update
ATI has posted a new 108 ROM update for Mac X800 XT cards. (Although I didn't have a problem with the -107 ROM in my 2003 G5, many did as reported on the X800 feedback page here. Reflashing to -104 helped for some that had that problem.) As mentioned before, ATI's support site requires cookies enabled and direct links to pages don't seem to work (unless going to the root of the support page and then back) so I'm including a direct download link.
ATI's support site "Most recent topics" list (down the page) links to the "May 2005 ATI Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition ROM Update". (Here's a direct download link for the ROM updater but also read the release notes.) Here's a clip from the page (note the safe boot):

" Requirements
  • Bootable Mac OS X 10.3.5 or newer system
  • Safe Boot is required to use this ROM Update. Hold shift during boot to Safe Boot.
  • Retail RADEON X800 XT MAC EDITION
  • Firmware Update application file (included in download)
  • The computer MUST NOT be interrupted (shut down or power failure) during firmware update.

    Special notes
    Added ability to downgrade to original ROM version 104 (this was done previously-Mike)
    The May 2005 ROM installer provides the ability to revert to the original ROM for the RADEON X800 XT MAC EDITION. The ROM Update installer provides this downgrade option at setup (necessary to perform a Safe Boot).

    ROM Version 108 (this release) corrects a kernel panic at startup experienced by some users. There are no other changes from the previous April 2005 release (ROM Version 107).

    Added built-in Firmware Fan control
    (this was also in the -107 ROM-Mike)
    Fan control has been implemented within the card's firmware to maintain full fan control with or without the presence of the ATI ROM Xtender file. This update is recommended for all RADEON X800 XT MAC EDITION cards.

    Previous reports documented the loss of fan control after accidentally losing the ATI ROM Xtender in the System's Extension folder. With this update, fan control is enabled early in the boot process and maintained with or without this extension file present.
    To re-install the extension file, simply run the original RADEON X800 MAC EDITION installation CD, this update or a newer ATI web released driver update. "

  • Although I never had any problems (in 10.3.x or Tiger) with the 107 ROM so far, I may update my card later today. (One reader said this update fixed his wake from sleep corruption problems but a previous Hotfix addressed that.)

    I welcome feedback on this update, especially from those that had kernal panics/startup problems with ROM -107. (Please include your system/OS/ROM version, Display and details on apps/games, etc. you used in reports. Thanks.)

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    Article comparing H.264 to Sorenson 3
    Don sent a link to an article comparing H.264 to Sorenson 3 at http://www.shapeofdays.com/2005/05/a_demonstration.html.
    Another reader today sent a note he's posted a page with some lower bitrate H.264 movies vs a higher bitrate Sorenson 3 version.
    (BTW - I've gotten some reader mail complaining about the high CPU demands of H.264 playback, even from a Dual 2GHz G5 owner that expected smoother playback of HD samples. There's no free lunch apparently as already mentioned in previous articles. But for some, the long encoding times and higher CPU demands for playback are worth it.)
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    OWC updates clearance page and iPod battery/FM Transmitter bundles
    (from site sponsor OWC)

    " Just did our first major update to the clearance section this month... First come first served:
    OWC FireWire Enclosure kits from $29.00
    G3 Processors from $12.50
    G4 Processors from $15, a Dual 800MHZ G4 for $299!
    Apple 40GB and 80GB 2.5" notebook HDs from $59
    Apple 256MB and 512MB genuine PC3200 from $19
    ATI PCI and AGP video cards from $109
    And lots more...
    Bargains here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/bargains/

    RoadTrip/iPod Battery deal updated
    Our 'HIGHROAD' Coupon remains valid providing the following discounts when customers purchase one of NewerTech NuPower iPod Batteries along with any RoadTrip Model:
    - W/2100mAh 1st/2nd Gen, $10 discount
    - W/1800mAh 1st/2nd Gen, $ 5 discount
    - W/ 850mAh 3rd Generation, $5 discount
    Also - now included our are latest additions:
    -W/750mAh 4th Generation, $5 discount
    - W/600mah iPod 'mini', $5 discount
    All of our NewerTech iPod batteries, which all offer more run time vs. Apple's stock or any other internal replacement iPod battery, are found here: http://eshop.macsales.com/?mkt=1072
    All of the RoadTrip Models found here: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/roadtrip/
    ***Note - this coupon not only applies to our 87.9MHz and 107.7MHz RoadTrip FM Transmitter only models, but also to our brand new RoadTrip!+ FM Transmitter + iPod Auto Charger combo unit too! Both the RoadTrip!+ and the RoadTrip! FM Transmitter Only 87.9MHz models just recently received a iPodLounge Recommended rating.
    Best Regards,
    Lawrence R. O'Connor
    Other World Computing"

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    Problems creating Dual Layer Projects with iDVD 5.0.1
    (Update - see the May 26th, 2005 news page or FAQ's DVD section for a mod to enable this option in Tiger, although so far no reports it works in 10.3.x.)

    " According to Apple Article 301556 iDVD5.01 now supports DL burning, with the option available under Project>Project Info to alter the project size from 4 to 8GB. (see below for links and more info-Mike)
    This does not work (no option under Project Info to change size) with either my DVR-108 or my ND-3500AG, even though Tiger's VendorSupport.drprofile includes both (and many other previously unsupported drives) and indicates DL support. The DVR-109 is not in this file, so there must be another profile somewhere, that iDVD checks for.
    I checked at the Apple Store to confirm that iDVD5.01 includes the radio button in the Project pane regardless of the presence of DL media (AppleCare could not confirm this for me).

    There must be a file that iDVD5.01 update searches to determine the presence of a supported DL drive, which it seems is limited to the DVR-109.... Has anyone else contacted you with any more info on this? I have an open case w/AppleCare on this, but I'm going to assume that since I don't have an Apple-supplied drive they are not going to offer much help...
    -Hussein H. "

    Other DVR-108 and DVR-109 (non-apple shipped) iDVD 5 users wrote they also see no option for an 8GB iDVD 5.0.1 project size - neither do I with my DVR-108, although ASP in Tiger reports "+R DL" as supported. (I also checked in 10.3.9 w/iDVD 5.0.1 - no option to increase the project size.)
    Apple's iDVD 5.0.1: Burning Double-Layer DVDs (Doc 301577) and links to another doc titled New SuperDrives support Double-Layer DVD burning (referring to the new 2005 Macs w/DL burners) and shows an example ASP (apple system profiler) report with a red arrow pointing at the "+R DL" media support listing. The reader's that sent mails indicated their drives also show (DVD) +R DL support (I checked my OEM DVR-108 drive and it also reports +R DL support in Tiger's ASP.) I don't know if the problems are due to drive firmware/media bugs, an app/OS bug or what is the cause - but one reader believes that Apple checks for drives with their OEM firmware although this has not been a requirement in the past for other burn support. (Apple also notes you want 16GB or more free HD space for DL burning.)
    If any readers have burned a Dual Layer disc with iDVD 5.0.1, let me know the details.
    Toast 6.0.7 and later (as well as DVD Studio Pro 3.x and later, Popcorn, and also CaptyDVD 2 a reader said) have DL burn support. I thought another option was to save an image file from iDVD and burn it in Toast but the Apple iDVD 5.0.1 doc mentions that DL disc images may not burn properly outside of iDVD (thanks to Thomas for the reminder on this):

    " ...You should only create Double-Layer disc images for testing purposes (it is only an option if you have a new SuperDrive installed). Burning those disc images to a DVD using a utility outside of iDVD will not set the layer break according to the DVD specification and may result in playback issues "
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    Firefox 1.0.4 update (includes security fixes)
    MU today lists Firefox 1.0.4:

      Version 1.0.4:
    • Several security fixes.
    • Fix to DHTML errors encountered at some web sites...
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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 3 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 - 14,678 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+RW Drives:
    • Firewire (cased) Plextor PX-504UF used w/G4 AGP (OS X 10.3)
      (Using Patchburn 3 for iApps burn support. )

      DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-109 in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-109 in (MDD) Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
      (Using Patchburn 3 for iApps burn support. )

    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 1new report this morning (entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,917. Here's a summary of the report added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Giga Design G4 1.25GHz (at 1.3GHz) in (Sawtooth) G4/AGP (rated 9)

      (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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    Recent Reviews and Articles:
    Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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