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News Archive for Monday Nov. 18th, 2002Return to Accelerate Your Mac!


News stories of Nov. 18th, 2002:

PR, Previews, Demos, Videos, Photos of Nvidia NV30 aka GeForce FX Graphics Card
Here's a list of links to Press Releases, Demos, Previews and photos/movies on Nvidia's NV30 graphics card named the GeForce FX.

Although some sources say there may be a small amount of cards available by the end of the year, general retail shipments are said to be Q1 2003. I suspect Apple will be offering a Mac version in the future - since unfortunately there's no Mac retail sources of Nvidia cards to date.

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Reader Comments on 6-in-1 cardreader/USB Hard Drive Combo w/Macs
A reader replied to the Friday news item on a 6 in 1 cardreader + USB (1.1) notebook hard drive storage unit with some comments on using one with a Mac:

" Greetings...
I'm writing in response to the notice you had on the review of the X'S-Drive VP-2030 6-in-1 Card Reader + USB Hard Drive Combo Unit on Friday, 11/15/02.

I have one of these units (purchased in the U.S. through Computer Geeks) and have several comments. First, although the unit does work with OS X with no drivers, inserted media cards are all listed as untitled drive images, so if you have, for example, a smartmedia and a compact flash card in the unit at the same time it's difficult to tell which is which (not a big deal, really, just a minor annoyance).

Second, in order to transfer data from media cards to an installed hard drive you must format the hard drive in MS-DOS format using Apple's Disk Utility. This might limit the unit's usefulness as a general use external hard drive, although the MS-DOS formatted drive does mount in OS X just fine (I'm using 10.2.2). Use of hard drives formatted as Mac OS disks will result in an error LED upon attempts to transfer data from a media card to the hard drive. Mac OS formatted hard drives installed in the reader will, however, show up on the desktop as images when the unit is connected via USB, and data can be transferred to and from them, just not from a media card to the hard drive within the unit. There is no information about this on either Computer Geeks' or the maker's websites.

Third, the power button protrudes slightly from the top of the unit, so the unit can be mistakenly powered up during transport in the included soft case if pressure is inadvertently applied to the top (as might happen if the unit is in a bag or briefcase).

In short, it's an intriguing unit, and is fairly inexpensive (especially if you already have a hard drive to put into it), but it does have some flaws which should be taken into account before purchasing.
Julian W. "

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ATTO Mac OS X ExpressPCI Configuration Tool v2.10
" Mike,
ATTO has posted a native OS X configuration tool for their host adapters and a means to flash adapters from within OS X. Great news (and helped identify a problem with my rig that was not showing up using ExpressTools Pro).
Gregory "

Greg included a copy of the readme file - here's a clip from it. (See the full readme file for install info.)

" ATTO ExpressPCI Configuration Tool Read Me Notes 9/23/2002 ATTO ExpressPCI Configuration Tool helps you customize the settings of your ExpressPCI host adapter to maximize the performance of your storage connection. While the factory settings on your ExpressPCI host adapter should provide excellent performance for a wide range of applications, some specialized applications may benefit from modification of the adapter settings to tune the adapter for a specific performance range. The ExpressPCI Configuration Tool provides a tool to help you tune your host adapter. Additionally, this utility may also be used to verify the drivers and flash files currently in use and update the flash, as necessary.

Before installing and using this utility, please note that:
* ATTO recommends using Mac OS X version 10.1.5 (or later) and Mac OS X Java update v1.3.1 (or later) for proper operation. Please verify that you are using both of these components on your system. Use the Software Update application on your system to download and install the latest versions, if necessary.
* Remove any existing versions of the ATTOExpressPCIFC.kext, ATTOExpressPCI4.kext, or ATTOExpressPCIPlus.kext drivers from your system before running this installer.
* Online help text is included in the application. Refer to the ExpressPCI Utilities manual, available on the CD-ROM included with your host adapter (some models only) or directly from the ATTO web site, for additional information.
* This application currently supports the following ExpressPCI host adapters: FCSW, FC 2600, FC 3300, FC 3305, PSC, DC, UL3D, UL3S, UL4D and UL4S. "

No link to the tool was included but follow the support/download links at should find it. (Their main download page is

Note- see the Wednesday news page for a readers comment on this utility installing an updated atto driver that allowed deep sleep on his G4 server with OEM ATTO scsi card.

A reader had lamented the lack of support for UL2S/UL2D cards with the recently released ATTO ExpressPCI Configuration Utility (noted in Monday's news page). I wrote an ATTO contact to ask why:

" Hello Mike,
Thank you for contacting Peter Donnelly regarding your question above.

The ATTO ExpressPCI UL2D and UL2S host bus adapters have been discontinued for some time. Although we continue to provide these customers with technical support, we effectively stopped new development for these adapters when they became discontinued. The Mac OS X configuration utility was developed for currently-shipping adapters including Fibre Channel, Ultra3 and Ultra/WIDE HBAs.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need additional information.
Best Regards,
Dan F.
Product Marketing Manager
ATTO Technology, Inc."

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Reader Question on using PC Ghost Recon Mods with Mac Version
(from a reader email - Updated 5PM with reply)

" Mike,
Aspyr says that Ghost Recon PC mods will work perfectly on the mac side as long as users move files from the PC mod to their correct places in the Mac Ghost Recon folder (due to lack of ported PC installer).
Aspyr ported and bundled Desert Siege, a mission pack, with Ghost Recon. The Ghost Recon program, however, acknowledges that Desert Siege is simply a "mod". Could you ask your readers to check whether "Island Thunder", a similar mission pack, behaves exactly like "Desert Siege" and whether it can be installed on the Mac?
Peter Z. "

If any reader that owns this game can answer this let me know.
A reader replied to this post saying:

" Island Thunder will not currently work with the Mac version of Ghost Recon as with the release of Island Thunder the PC version was updated to 1.3. The currently released Mac version is 1.2. It is this same reason Macs and PCs cannot play networked games together. Until Aspyr decides to update the Mac version to the latest, which is 1.4, Island Thunder, and mods based off of it will not function. This includes any Desert Siege mods which are made with the tools from Island Thunder. The RSB format was updated between the two and is not backwards compatible.

Aspyr's Support/FAQ page for Ghost Recon says they are working on a v1.4 code based Mac update, but no estimate yet on when it will be released.

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Reader Page on Sony CRX-700 CDRW Drive Swap in PB G3 Pismo
Scott L. sent a link to a page he' s posted with some photos on installing a Sony CRX-700E 8x4x24x CDRW drive in a Powerbook G3 2000/Firewire (aka Pismo) at (the vendor linked page shows 32x read speed, but like most notebook drives the specs are 24x max read, not 32x).
The Systems page, PowerBook section has links to a past articles on swapping in a Combo DVD/CDRW drive in a Pismo also. (The drive database also has various reports on CDRW and Combo drive swaps in PowerBooks and iBooks.)
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Reader Comments on new PowerBook G4/867
(from a reader email over the weekend)

" Hey Mike- ordered my new TiBook 867 Thursday after they were announced and it came yesterday from Taiwan. The only real changes from the previous models is the new font on the "PowerBook G4" text under the screen. The radeon 9000 is really fast - Q3A 1.32 OS X gives around 60FPS 1024x768 high quality settings. not bad at all.
(Note: My PB G4/800 w/Radeon 7500 delivered high 60FPS w/HQ settings w/Q3 1.31 - see my PB G4/800 review page performance tests. The last Q3 1.32 version also defaults to s_chunksize 2048 vs 512 default previously - which boosts FPS rates a bit also. With Q3 1.32 on my PB G4/800 (1GB RAM) at 1024x768/HQ settings I get 74.1 FPS here in 10.2.2. I suspect both the 7500 and 9000 chips are not data saturated at 1024x768 with the PB G4s. The 9000 chip has shader support not in the 7500, which is a plus for the future when games like Doom III arrive. A friend said he had heard at another website that someone's initial tests of a PB G4/867 had performance like a PB G4/667 machine - which sounds odd unless energy saver settings are reducing processor speeds.-Mike)
This machine gets quite hot if you do anything more than web browsing. While installing all my software, it was too hot for my lap and the fan kicked into high a couple of times. The battery life seems pretty decent though.
The AirPort reception is also decent, but i don't know if its improved from the previous rev.

One thing... my machine has a small defect in the case. Just to the upper left of the trackpad below the keyboard, the metal has a small bulge. This is right over the battery compartment, and the casing around the battery isn't fully 'seated', so when the case got stamped , there is a little ridge and the whole left palm rest is slightly bulged. It is starting to leave a mark on the screen, so I'm going to call apple for a replacement if possible. I've also heard of a new 867 owner who's machine came without any memory!!

I was also hoping to get a program called FireNet to work on it so I can network between my G4 using firewire, but it doesn't seem to work. In fact, it killed all of my network ports until I un-installed it. bummer oh - were you aware that apple ships all the restore software for the machine on one DVD? 10.2 restore, 9.2.2 restore, applications, and dev. tools. That's a whole lot better than 5 CDs, and its faster too.
Adam G."

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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated today with 7 new reports this morning. Total to date: 7,750. (Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning.)
Here's a summary of the updates added today :

  • "Other" Brand (OEM) G4/400 ZIF in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • PowerLogix G4 800 Dual in G4/AGP (rated 10)
    (noted wake from sleep OK)
  • Sonnet G4 800 in 7500 (rated 9)
    (noted odd issue with iXmicro ult. rez card)
  • Sonnet G4 700 in 8500 (rated 8)
    (noted voodoo3 card issue after upgrade)
  • Sonnet G4 1GHz in G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF card MPe w/500Mhz ZIF in 7500 (rated 9)
    (didn't note if G4 or G3 CPU ZIF)
  • Dual G4 DDR 1GHz OC report

(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 searchable database had 27 new reports added this morning. The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, 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, adapters). Current total 9,047 reports.
(Too many reports since Friday to list here)
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.]
(Entries today will be added the following newsday. 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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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago:
(Sometimes these old pages are a bit embarrassing - and in many cases the offsite links may not work and comments there were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, etc.)

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