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News Archive for Wednesday, Nov. 12th, 2003Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of Nov 12th, 2003: (later posted items first)
Yet Another Java 1.4.1 Update Appears (for Panther)
Update: the reason that the panther Java 1.4.1 update didn't appear on some macs may be due to the fact that some Panther installs had incorrect Java installs, mentioned in this late October 2003 Apple tech note (Yet the update appeared on my PB G4/800 and the install was still not correct after applying the Software Update via the SU control panel. (running 'java -version' from the terminal shows a hotspot problem.) I used the tips on deleting the version.plist file in the Java frameworks resources directory and then installed the update from the download version - rebooting and running the terminal version check again showed all was ok.
(original news post follows)
I think this makes the 3rd release (w/changes) of the "Java 1.4.1 update" this year (there were two releases under Jaguar/10.2). Tonight running software update on the Powerbook G4 (10.3.1) shows yet another Java 1.4.1 update (42.5MB). Here's copy of the info from the SU control panel but not really any specific details on what's changed from the previous 1.4.1.

" The Java Update delivers functional enhancements and improved stability for running Java applications and applets. It contains support for both Java 1.4.1 and Java 1.3.1. It is strongly recommended that all users install this update. "

This update doesn't show up on the Dual G5 however, which also has 10.3.1 (w/all previous updates). A reader suggested trashing the java package receipt but I have not tried that yet. (Another reader said he also saw it appear on one machine but not another.)

Note: I went to Apple's OS X downloads page and found a page with 41MB download link for the Java 1.4.1 update for Panther dated today.

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Photoshop CS vs 7.0.1/G5 - Individual Filter/Action Tests
As promised, today I ran the PSBench advanced tests I used in past CPU upgrade tests (revised for 108.3MB image vs 50MB) to see how individual filters/actions compared, since the OWC action script (which has similar tests as PSBench, just no saves/restores or repeats) previously used allows only a total time to be recorded - and a very few filters/actions in that script account for a huge portion of the total time. Testing individual filter/actions allows you to see where the real performance differences are. (Note: as mentioned previously, a bug in the PS 7 Radial Blur filter (fixed in PS CS) results in 'out of RAM' error messages if used w/large images, so for that filter, an appx 50MB image was used for comparison.)
As you can see in the table below, Photoshop CS's slower total time is primarily due to much poorer performance on a very few filters - notice the huge delta on the Color Halftone and Pointillize tests for instance. (Note: some think this may be bug fixes/improvements in some past filters, making them take much longer, but having better results.) Other than those standouts, CS is a bit faster than PS7 on some functions, a bit slower at others and some are a draw. Even though Adobe didn't hype any optimizations in CS, the comments on the Apple CS page had many of us (especially G5 owners) expecting that literally all functions would be faster. That's marketing I guess and like many first releases of a new version, later updates may change that.

Pshop CS vs 7.0.1

(FYI - you can't compare total times above to those from the OWC action script since each Filter/Action above was run on the exact same image (restored before each filter/test) - not an image modified by the previous filter/action as with the OWC script. I first started using the OWC script for tests tests on the effect of 512MB to 8GB of installed RAM in a G5 using PS 7, where memory was the only variable. For comparing different Photoshop versions, tests of each filter/action is preferred.)

I'm not a pro graphics person and those functions where CS is much slower than PS 7 may not be important or commonly used by you (they're not by me). The new features in CS for example were important factors for several readers in their upgrade decision.
FYI - If you're seeing consistently slow PS CS performance (not just on some filters), I'm told that some OS X addons like Font Agent Pro and some OS X Haxies can have a performance impact . Try removing/uninstalling them as a test.

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FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) Performance Comparisons (G4, G5, AMD Opteron, P4)
" Hi, you might be interested in the benchmarks at: http://www.fftw.org/speed
These benchmark the performance of a large number (~50) of real-world scientific code for computing the fast Fourier transform (FFT), an important and non-trivial algorithm for scientific computation. There are numbers for a 2GHz G5, a 2GHz Opteron, and a 2.8GHz Pentium IV, including codes that exploit SSE/3dNow/Altivec.
Steven J. "

I'm rushed here (working on other tests) but they have detailed results pages of test results for each CPU type there. The G5 (PowerPC 970) page noted an anomoly in one of the tests (size 1024 single-precision complex transforms which sometimes returned lower than normal results) but the 2GHz G5 delivered the best performance of any CPU listed there to date.

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Sonnet shipping Presto Gigabit Ethernet PCI card
Sonnet sent press release regarding their new Presto Gigabit Ethernet PCI card now shipping with an estimated retail pricing of USD $89.95. See their product page for OS and hardware comptibility info. (Keep in mind that older legacy PCI mac's have PCI bus and memory performance that is lower than Gigabit Enet speeds. The stated 10.2 and later OS support means you'll need Xpostfacto to install OS X on a legacy Mac also.)
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GameRanger Adds Unicode/multilingual Support
(clip from the PR sent earlier today)

" November 12, 2003 -- Scott Kevill, president, GameRanger Technologies, today announced the addition Unicode support to GameRanger, the leading Macintosh multiplayer online gaming service. Full Unicode support means that chat rooms, game rooms, private messages, and more are now multilingual, allowing members around the world to use their native alphabets in addition to Roman alphabets.

"I'm excited to add Unicode support to GameRanger," stated Scott Kevill, "as this will allow GameRanger's Japanese, Chinese and other members to chat in their native languages, enhancing GameRanger's truly global multiplayer experience." "

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More feedback on Photoshop CS vs Photoshop 7 Performance
(Update - see the later news item above for more detailed tests by filter between PS CS and 7.0.1)
Yesterday's news had results of total time tests using OWC's filter/action script with Photoshop CS vs Photoshop 7.0.1(G5) that showed CS was significantly slower to complete the 20 filter/action script with both a 108MB and 192MB image, despite the comments on Apple's Creative Suite page regarding Photoshop CS having "integrated" G5 optimizations.
Photoshop CS adds some new features (and bug fixes) that are attractive to many users - one reader said despite the lower performance the new features like RAW file support and color matching made it a worthwhile upgrade for him.
Also since the script ran a long series of filters/actions (with a few uncommonly used filters taking most of the total time), I wondered if the difference would be noticeable in actual use by professional users of PS CS that also had used PS 7.

" Just wanted to let you know I am seeing the same thing with almost the same 4GB setup as you. Cleaning dust with the healing brush on only a 250MB file was so slow updating that it was unusable with CS setup the same as (Photoshop) 7.

I opened the same file in (Photoshop) 7 to finish cleaning dust and had no sluggishness at all. I am really disappointed to the speed of CS.

Although when I took the image down to 8-bit in CS things speed along ok with the healing brush of course it became a much smaller file then.
Doyle Y "

Another reader sent (3rd hand) these comments on Pshop CS vs 7:

"Kevin emailed me regarding the speed btw PS 7 and CS on the Dual G5 w/8GB RAM-
I ran a dust and scratches and no difference (600MB). I have not seen any other issues and the added features are a big help."

With a 600MB file and PShop's memory usage limits, performance may be similar. In some specific filters it's clearly showing slower performance than PS 7, but this may be due to fixing/improving accuracy of that function perhaps. (As I mentioned last night - I'm going to compare individual filter tests as I used to do with PSBench, since the OWC script used recently doesn't allow timing of each filter, and a small number of the filter/actions in the script make up a huge portion of the total time, so it's not evenly weighted by filter/function.)
Here's a reader's comments on the new features being worth the upgrade:

" Yeah, it's pokey. The payback comes in the form of the "Match Color" functionality and the raw file converter. I'm already addicted to both, can't go back now.

Ya know, for all the bitching about Panther's failure to support every third party device in the known universe, Adobe is getting off pretty clean. Mac users have been their bread-and-butter customers for years, and yet CS is (apparently) not optimised for our machines. Gotta wonder whether this foreshadows a troublesome future for design software on the Mac...
LC "

One thing I have noticed is that for restoring/undoing an image CS does seem faster than PS 7. Another reader said that Illustrator CS did seem faster than older versions but no formal tests were run.

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Illustrator CS Notes/Tips on Saved File backward compatibility
(Updated with notes on export setting, etc.)
I don't own Illustrator CS but here's a reader comment on file compatibility:

" Hi Mike, Thanks for posting your speed tests of the new Photoshop CS vs PS7. We've been testing both the new Photoshop CS and Illustrator CS on a dual 2Ghz G5 with 8GB RAM here (Zipatoni Company).

Anyway, Kevin Ridgeway pointed this out to us and it's something many of your readers may be interested in -
Here's a fun fact with Illustrator 11. You can't save down! That's right. A conversion takes place when opening older Legacy files (Ill. 10 for example) and when you save, the default naming includes the word "converted" like the old Freehand used to do. No going back. Illustrator 10 will not open an eleven document.
Justin "

I assume there's no prefs setting to affect that but asked to make sure.
(Update - a different reader replied there is an export setting to address this)

" Go to the "export menu" (File>Export>Legacy format.)
You will find Illustrator (ai) and eps formats in all the old file versions.
As for the "default" ("Converted", not default) being added to the name, you CAN turn that off in a preference setting.
(prepress) "

Justin (reader that originally wrote with the note) replied to my email with more info:

" Hi Mike,
Here's the Adobe support page regarding the change of format for Illust 11 documents
http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/3222a.htm
Here's the key part-
    If a project requires you to save artwork in a Legacy Illustrator format, be sure that you create and complete the file in Illustrator 10.x or earlier.

(he later wrote)
Yeah, you can do the export, but according to the techdoc all the text is converted to either individual point text or outlines. That's why it says to use Illust 10 or earlier if a project requires you to save for Legacy Illustrator.
-Justin"

Here's a full copy of the Adobe support page note (for clarity):

" Text is converted when exporting artwork to a Legacy Illustrator format (Illustrator CS)

Issue
When you export artwork to a Legacy Illustrator format in Adobe Illustrator CS, the text is converted to either individual point text or outlines.

Solution
If a project requires you to save artwork in a Legacy Illustrator format, be sure that you create and complete the file in Illustrator 10.x or earlier.

Background information
Illustrator CS introduces a redesigned type technology. Because previous versions of Illustrator aren't compatible with most of the technology's features, Illustrator converts the text when exporting artwork to a Legacy Illustrator format. Illustrator converts the text depending on the selection you make in the Type panel of the Document Setup dialog. Select Preserve Text Appearance to convert text to outlines, or Preserve Text Editability to convert text to individual points. "

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Recent Apple Kbase Docs on 10.3.1, Final Cut Pro/Compressor/Soundtrack
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Roxio article on Toast 6 Plug and Burn Video Capture
" Mike,
Not sure if your readers are interested in this type of thing... but we posted a new customer support article that describes how to use the Plug & Burn features in Toast 6 Titanium to capture video from an analog device, such as a Dazzle Bridge. We had received a few questions in our customer support department about this, so thought it would be useful.
http://www.roxio.com/en/support/kb/toast/ET60000059.jhtml
Regards,
Adam
(Roxio) "

You can also use the Dazzle Bridge (and many other Analog to DV converters) to capture directly into iMovie and other Apple Apps like FCE and FCP. (Although the Dazzle doesn't seem to have as good an A/D converter quality as some other brands/models.)

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Pioneer announces DVR-A07/107 with 8x DVD-R and 8x DVD+R write speeds
Pioneer has a page announcing their latest multi-format DVD burner, the DVR-A07, which is the first 8x rated DVD-R drive (as well as 8x DVD+R). Plextor's PX-708A was the first 8x rated DVD+R drive but is only rated for 4x DVD-R speeds. The linked page notes the DVR-A07 is rated for 4x DVD-RW/DVD+RW speeds (the Plextor PX-708A is rated for 4x DVD+RW, but only 2x DVD-RW speeds, granted I still can't find anything faster than 2x DVD-RW discs currently and 8x DVD+Rs are rare, but the PX-708A often allows 8x DVD+R speed selections with some brands of 4x DVD+R media, although the actual burn rates were less than 8x with them in tests I did with pre 1.01 firmware. I have not retested it with the 1.03 firmware update.)

The DVR-A07 is rated for 24x CDR and CDRW speeds (the PX-708A is rated at 40x for CDRs and 24x for CDRWs). I think Sony also has a faster model of their mult-format DVD burner but I don't have the specs on it handy. (And not sure if it's shipping yet.)

Of course none of these drives are natively burn supported in OS X (with 10.2.8 and previous X versions, you could mod the brand device plugin files - I did for my PX-708A in 10.2.8 and 10.2.6, but Patchburn and individual brand device-plugin files from 10.2.x don't work with 10.3.) As noted here before - there's 2 basic mods for panther burn support to date - replacing the entire frameworks from an earlier panther build (w/mods for the unsupported drive noted in this previous article here) and a mod that is reported to enable discburner/disk copy support (but not iTunes) originally posted at Macbidouille and repeated later at macosxhints. (Also linked in the article here.)
I wish the Plextor PX-708A was natively supported in 10.3, since with both high DVD and CDR/CDRW write speeds, it's one of the most attractive single drive options to date. (Especially for mac models that can have only on internal optical drive.)

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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 2 new reports this morning (reader entries from Yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 8,883. Here's a summary of the update added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • PowerLogix G4/1.2GHz in (sawtooth) G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G4/450 (in CarrierZIF card) in Umax S900 (rated 9)
    (My reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked here. 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 12 new reports added (reader entries from Yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday 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 11,715 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

    CDRW Drives:
  • USB (IDE drive in USB case) LG CED-8120B (12x8x32x) used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X 10.3) (no itunes/discburner burn support)
  • IDE Liteon LTR-52327S 52x32x52 in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (using toast for burning - FAQ has OS 9 modified liteonCDR file for this drive however)

    DVD-ROM Drives:
  • IDE Liteon XJ-HD166S 16x/48x in B&W G3 (OS X)
  • IDE Sony DDU1621 16x/40x in B&W G3 (OS X 10.3)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
  • Expansion Bay Liteon LSC-24081M in Powerbook G3 2000 (OS 9.2)
    (no OS 9.x native burn support - problems noted)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-106 in Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT, B&W G3 and 8600/9600 Macs)

    DVD-R Drives:
  • Expansion Bay Matshita UJ-815 in PowerBook G3 2000 (OS X 10.3)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Maxtor 40GB in iMac slot loading (OS 9)
  • IDE Maxtor L01P080 80GB in Beige G3 (OS X and OS 9 reports)
    (Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)
  • IDE Maxtor Diamond Max Plus9 200GB in iMac G4 (OS X 10.3)
    (iMac G4 take-apart 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.)
(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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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago
(These older pages in some cases have off-site links that may no longer work. Remember comments were accurate only on the date posted regarding producs/availability/pricing, etc.)

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