News Archive for: Friday November 10th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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DirectX to OpenGL Shader Language Converter available
Macworld has an article on ATI offering DirectX - OpenGL converter called HLSL2GLSL ((MS) High Level Shader Language to GL Shader Language) now available at sourceforge.net. (Thanks Lukasha). I can't remember the name now but there was some commercial product (not open source) a year or so ago (IIRC) that promised to ease DirectX to OpenGL game code conversion.
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More feedback on Accelero X2 Quieter Cooler for ATI X1900
I've added another X1900/Mac Pro owner's comments to the previous page on the Accelero X2 Quieter Cooler for X1900's.
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More on 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle Fully Charging
(Followup to yesterday's news user notes about the 2nd gen iPod Shuffle not fully charging.)

" Hi Mike, Apple has a support document about this problem:
iPod shuffle (Second Generation): LED behavior after charging
I tested two new iPod shuffle(s) myself - at least their LED turned green just fine :)
regards, Leo "

Yesterday's post had a link to another 2G Shuffle Apple kbase doc titled Understanding status light behavior.

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New OWC Mercury On-The-Go Portable FW800/400+USB2 HD pricing (up to 200GB)
(from site sponsor OWC)
" Solutions weigh under 11 ounces, fit in the palm of your hand, and include: All FireWire 800 Cable, FireWire 800 to FW400 Cable (for connecting to systems equipped with FW400, USB Cable, EMC/Dantz Retrospect, Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, Carrying Case, and a 1 Year OWC Warranty. This solution will bus power via FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and most USB2 Ports. An AC Adapter, for optional use, is provided where use of such is preferred or needed if Bus Power is not available.
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New OWC Mercury 2.5" FireWire 800+USB2.0 Portable Solution pricing is as follows:
40GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $137.99, now $134.99
60GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer remains $145.99
60GB 7200RPM w/ 8MB Buffer remains $179.99
80GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $159.99, now $154.99
80GB 7200RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $207.99, now $199.99
100GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $197.99, now $179.99 **$20 Drop**
100GB 7200RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $239.99, now $229.99 **$10 Drop**
120GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $199.99, now $189.99 **$10 Top Value Drop**
160GB 5400RPM w/ 8MB Buffer was $279.99, now $259.99 **$20 Drop**
**NEW** 200GB 4200RPM 8MB Buffer SATA HD Model In Stock! $379.99
See all models: http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go
UPS Ground Delivery from only $2.95; 2nd Day Air within the US $7.95 or less. "
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Mac Pro owner notes on After Effects 7 (render OK) Memory/Cache settings
(Updated for AE 7 vs AE 6.5 timed render tests on Dual 2.5GHz G5 vs Mac Pro/Rosetta)
Earlier this week a Mac Pro owner wrote about render problems with After Effects 7 under Rosetta. He eventually bought GridIron Nucleo Pro as a workaround but I had a gut feeling that (although tedious to repeatedly test), there was some memory/cache setting that would have worked. A reader replied earlier with his memory/cache settings he used to run AE 6.5 on a MacBook Pro and today a Mac Pro wrote he found a combination that worked with his Mac Pro and After Effects v7:

" Hi Mike, Though officially unsupported, I had no problems running After Effects 6.5 on my Mac Pro (Quad 2.66, 3GB RAM)-- as a matter of fact, it is virtually identical in performance to the Dual G5/2.5 I use at work (4.5GB RAM), which is better than I would have expected for a machine running in an emulation environment.

So... After this success I thought I would try upgrading to AE7 -- same export problems as the other users have noted. I've heard that GridIron Nucleo fixes the problem, but did not feel like dropping $150 on it if I could find a workaround. (the Pro version costs $450 Brian said. That addon is said to improve performance also (native/Univ code?).-Mike)

Various notes:
- Mac Pro 2 x Dual-core Xeon 2.66, MacOS 10.4.8
- Final Cut Studio 5.1 on same machine
- 3GB RAM, all Apple - 2x512 on one riser, 2x1GB on the other
- Did NOT use Migration Assistant (no one who uses pro apps should)
- trashed prefs and workspaces, repaired permissions
- tried lowering AE's memory settings to 50%
- all of this didn't work, until...

Then SUCCESS:
- Closed all other Rosetta apps and processes, lowered the memory settings WAY down (max memory to 30%, Max RAM Cache to 15%) -- and this thing renders like smoke! On the latest render, I accidentally left the preview window open (which slows down renders) -- yet because of the ultra-low memory settings, it rendered more than TWICE as fast as the G5 or Mac Pro in AE 6.5! If I get a chance, I will try rendering the same file in AE 7 on the Dual G5, to see if the AE7 upgrade also increases the G5's render speed.

My theory: it has been reported that Rosetta apps together can run into problems if they collectively want more than 1.5GB of RAM... They hit some kind of memory limit, though the system won't tell you anything. It seems that as long as it doesn't hit the limit, it is very fast and works great!

This project's render times: (updated w/AE 7 on G5 results)
AE 6.5, Dual G5 2.5GHz/4.5GB RAM: 53 min, 34 sec.
AE 7.0, Dual G5 2.5GHz/4.5GB RAM: 39 min, 36 sec.
AE 6.5, Mac Pro Quad 2.66GHz/3GB RAM: 54 min, 44 sec.
AE 7.0, Mac Pro Quad 2.66GHz/3GB RAM: 24 min, 21 sec.

WOW!!!! My Mac Pro renders almost 40% faster than the Dual G5 in AE 7, even running Rosetta and with the memory limited! (And AE 7 is significantly faster than v6.5 on either system.)

(I asked if he used the "Purge Frames" setting Brian said Adobe support mentioned when he called them. That didn't solve the problem for him although it did help the render get farther along. Brian didn't mention his specific memory/cache settings though, although he said he and tried changing them he may not have gone that low.)

No, I didn't use the "purge memory" settings. Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I rendered again with the Preview window off, and rendered a totally different (more complicated) comp, and these rendered perfectly (the other comp was also about twice as fast as the Dual G5/2.5 running AE 6.5).

PLEASE NOTE: Please make sure you mention that AE 6.5 and AE 7 are NOT supported on Intel Macs, and this is not a guarantee that this will work for everyone. But hopefully it helps.
I just don't want anyone to go out and buy it saying "you told me it would work" -- it is an unsupported solution that should be at people's own risk.
-Graham J. "

Brian had mentioned in one of this later posts that "Adobe Support's official stance on intel macs is: they will not trouble shoot, they will only offer support if the same problem exists on PPC".
BTW - Another Mac Pro owner with AE 7 later wrote this Memory/Cache settings tip helped with problems he'd had also.

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BootCamp Feedback/Tips page updated
I've updated the BootCamp Feedback/Tips page with an all-ok from a 24in iMac owner. (I had heard earlier (before Bootcamp 1.1.2 was released) that some 24in iMac owners had some problems with no video at WinXP install CD boot (like the X1900/23in Cinema Display users).)
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Intel CPU iMac and Linux
" Just a note that I installed from a live cd Elive (Enlightenment 16/17) on my Intel iMac and bluetooth keyboard and mouse works through the install and startup no problem.
Also, using the fglrx drivers video displays properly with 3d and sound works as well.
I could not get this far with Ubuntu.
The system is now dual boot.
-Pete. "

(The Nov. 2nd news page had a reader's Triple Boot (OS X/Linux/WinXP) iMac Lectern build guide that links to an article on setting up the triple boot OSs.)

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More on Dnetc (Intel vs PPC Macs)
"Get more recruits for the XLR8YOURMAC dnetc Team! (And, encourage all those members who aren't contributing to get back on that horse) Go on over here to check out how to get started:
http://gmmug.org/dnetc_primer.shtml

I've got a bunch of PPC Macs contributing to dnetc and team Accelerate Your Mac - and not too long ago, I got a couple new Intel iMacs & decided to see what kind of numbers the Intel processors would put up.

The beefiest Mac I have contributing is a Dual 2 GHz G5 - it cranks out 28 million keys/second (or about 14 M keys/sec per CPU).

The original 1.83 GHz Core Duo iMac managed 8.8 million keys/second (or ~4.4 M keys/sec per core). This is using the latest x86 OS X client available.

My 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo iMac returned 13.25 million keys/second (or ~6.6 M keys/sec per core). That's a decent increase over the Core Duo - 34% more keys/second for an 8.5% increase in clock speed.

My friend Jesse recently got a 3 GHz Mac Pro, so I asked him to do some blocks & see what it could do - The results were 36.61 million keys/second (or ~9.2 M keys/sec per core).

All 3 Intel Macs used the latest dnetc client - it was put up on the download page in March 2006. Both the Core 2 Duo Mac and the Xeon Mac were reported like this when the client started:

Automatic processor type detection did recognize the processor (tag: "6547:06F6") <- this was for the Xeons; it was different on the Core2 Duo

RC5-72: Running micro-bench to select fastest core...
Perhaps the clients will do better when there's a reworked client which can take full advantage of the new cores. At any rate, it appears the G5 is still the granddaddy on this type of computational task.
Cheers, Andrew"

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Mac Drive Compatibility Database Updated
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added this morning. Current total - 15,940 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE LG GSA-H22N in (QS) G4/AGP tower (OS X 10.3.9)
    (Use Patchburn 3 for 10.3.x iApps burn support. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio model. See FAQ's Apple G4 section for other model guides)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-108 in Emac (OS X 10.4.8)
    (Noted a cable problem with eMac 700Mhz's original cable. native apple burn support for the 108 in later OS's. FAQ's iMac section has a PDF guide to superdrive upgrades in eMacs.)

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). The database includes reports on DVD +/-R, CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, 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).
If you've added a IDE, SATA, Firewire, USB, or SCSI, hard drive, Optical drive/burner, NAS, tape drive, etc., send me the details (drive info/mac model/OS used, etc.) for adding to the database.

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Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates
(Updated 6:30PM eastern, later added items first)

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