News Archive for: Friday November 24th, 2006
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Reader Request: Intel-CPU iMac CPU Upgrade Guide/Article
There's Mac Mini take-apart guides and CPU Upgrade (chip swap) articles/guides on the net but I've had several owners of Intel CPU iMacs (which also have a socketed CPU chip like the Mini) ask if anyone has done a guide to take-apart/swapping in a faster CPU. iFixit, OWC and others have take-apart guides for the Mac Mini, MacBook and others but not the iMac. (I know there's been service manuals (PDF) for the iMac floating around the net, but the sources for them often disappear if they are made public, at least if apple finds out...)
If you've upgraded your iMac's Intel CPU and/or have an intel CPU iMac take-apart guide (or are working on one and need a host), let me know. (I've linked to pages with pix of internals (often japanese sites) but those asking are looking for more of a step-by-step guide.)
Update: On Dec. 8th, a reader sent Notes on Intel-CPU iMac Take-Apart.
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Apple Nov. 24th Sale items
Earlier this week Apple mentioned there would be "Friday only" (Nov. 24th) sale but didn't list specific items - checking the (US) Apple store today shows some examples such as:

  • Pod nano - Save up to $21 plus free laser engraving (Starting at $149.00)
  • iPod - Save up to $31 plus free laser engraving (Starting at $249.00)
  • MacBook and iMac - save $101.00
  • AirPort Express Base Station - save $41.00 ($88.00)
  • iPod Hi-Fi - save $51.00 ($298)

Other items (accessories, software) were on sale also.

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Elgato EyeTV Hybrid Review
"AMUG has posted a review of the Elgato EyeTV Hybrid. The review discusses setup, broadcast sources, energy usage, recording capability, image quality, automatic video iPod encoding, CPU usage with various Apple computers, multiple TV recorder capability and the EyeTV integration with Front Row.
Have a great weekend,
Michael Bean
TEAM AMUG "
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Mac HDTV Development News (iTele v0.6.4)
(late posting this, from a reader mail earlier this week)

"Hi, Mike, There has been a recent important development in the hackers version of HDTV on the Mac. John at www.defyne.org has added informal support for unencrypted QAM channels in his iTele app and MMINPUT drivers for the DVICO Fusion ATSC cards. I have tested it on the DVICO Fusion HDTV Gold T3 PCI card in a PowerMac G5, but it should also work for the newer Gold T5 PCI and USB 2.0 cards/boxes. This new hardware is available for about $150 at www.snapstream.com or at www.digitalconnection.com.
Without John's Mac software, these are strictly for PC (though the PC software is a buggy mess last time I looked). The procedure for QAM is still somewhat "hacky". Instructions at http://www.defyne.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=7132#7132 (my post is "phyicsguy").

Also in iTele v 0.6.4, he has added a preference check box to sync the video to the hardware raster to avoid the tearing and judder I had written to you about a couple of years ago due to the video overlay interfering with the hardware raster. I suppose this will work best when the video and monitor are set to the same resolution (e.g. an HDTV 1080i hooked up to the DVI output of the Mac set to 1920x1080i). I haven't had a chance to test that setup, but I have confirmed that it actually makes things worse when you play a 1080i video on a non-1080i setup (makes sense). So it is doing something!

You still need to dial in a gamma correction on the Mac because the Mac's DVI output is PC-standard (crushed black levels). This was also covered before.

Too bad Apple won't put in a concerted effort to wrap up these idiosyncracies that prevent a Mac or Mac Mini from being the ideal HDTV tuner/PVR! Thanks.
- Paul "

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First Feedback on Pioneer Blu-Ray drive with a Mac
(Updated 11:30PM, see replies below from mac owners that tried a Pioneer BDR-101A drive)

" Please forgive me if I missed this or overlooked it in you database... I was just wondering if anyone had gotten a Blu-Ray drive to work on a Mac yet?
(The July 26th news page had a note about Toast with Blu-Ray Support to be Bundled with some New Drives , but I don't recall any readers reporting on one yet. I can't say as I've seen a drive with the Toast bundle yet personally either but I could have missed it.-Mike)
There is a Blu-Ray version of Toast, which is not yet available to the public... Logitec months ago was supposed to have released a Mac-compatible Toast-equipped Firewire Blu-Ray drive called the LBD-A2FU2, but I have not been able to find this for purchase anywhere.

I find it odd that many PC-based blu-ray solutions are out there, and both Toast and DVD Studio Pro have had what it takes to use them since June-July, (NOTE: Standard versions of Toast to date do not support Blu-Ray, other than the "bundled" version included with some drives (see above link). DVD Studio Pro -does not- have Blu-Ray burn support to date - see Blu-Ray user report below, and comments following this one on limited HD DVD support.-Mike) but there is a void of info out there on anyone actually trying one on a Mac.
Thanks, Graham J "

A reader replied to Graham's comments on DVD Studio Pro:

" There is no blu ray support in DVD SP and limited HD DVD support for set top HD DVD players.
DVD SP does not yet support blu ray authoring or burning.
Currently, DVD SP 4 can author HD DVDs using mpeg2 HD and aiff presets. No h.264 or Dolby2 for intended use on first generation Toshiba HD DVDs burners. No menus, just tracks as first plays.
Also, updated Toshiba HD DVDs set tops with newer firmware do not play HD DVDs authored in DVDSP.
Remember too that these discs are red laser discs, not HD DVD discs. (the PCworld article linked below mentions the 2 lasers - red laser for Blu-Ray, blue for DVDs-Mike)
Ulead Movie Factory v.5 appears to author HD DVDs for use with the Toshiba complete with menus, but only on red laser dye discs.
-David S.
2-pop Moderator
http://www.2-pop.com/ "

If any readers with a Mac have a Blu-Ray drive, let me know.
Here's a couple reader replies - one with the bundle version of Toast w/Blu-Ray support, one without.

" two months ago I had the Pioneer BDR-101A for a review in a G5 (Dual 2 GHz) with 10.4.7, no 10.4.8. available at that time.
No problems with DVD writing or reading. No support for CDs, which means no writing and no reading.
(FYI - PCworld's first look at the BDR-101A earlier this year mentioned the drive could read/write DVD and Blu-Ray media but did not support reading (or writing) CDs.-Mike)

Single (write-once) Blu-Ray (BD-R) worked like expected with the OEM (bundle/Blu-Ray supported) version of Toast 7.1.1 I got from Roxio. But rewriteable discs (BD-RE) were written very slow (five and a half hours, instead of 45 minutes). Not sure if it was the OS, Toast or the drive. DVD Studio Pro 4 recognized the drive for DVD writing, but no support for Blu-Ray.
(the bundle version of) Toast installed an extension for writing to the Blu-Ray disc in the Finder which worked with the same limitations.
(name withheld by request) "

This reader tried a Pioneer Blu-Ray drive, but didn't have any software that supported Blu-Ray Discs:

"Hi Mike, I was able to test a Pioneer Blu-Ray Drive (model number?) in a Power Mac G5 Dual 1.8GHz. The quick story is that the drive would read already burned CDs and DVDs but would not recognise blank media. (I asked what drive model he tried, as the Pioneer BDR-101A per above does not support CD media. He later said it was a BDR-101A and the comment on reading CDs was a mistake.-Mike)
A blank Blu-Ray BD-RW disc that I had was also not recognised. Testing was done very quickly (the drive was available to me for about an hour only). System was at 10.4.7 and burning was tested with Finder and Toast 7.0.1. (latest public release of toast is v7.1.2, but even that does not support Blu-Ray discs)
Unfortunately I did not even think to check System profiler.
(You'd really need some software that supported Blu-Ray discs (like the "bundled" Toast versions said to be included with -some- Blu-Ray drives) as OS X to date doesn't. (Nor does the public/standard releases of Toast 7.x as far as I know.) Jeremy later wrote:)
Yes, that was my suspicion even before doing the testing. I tried to contact Sonic to see if I could try out their bundled version of Toast that does support Blu-Ray but I didn't get a response. From my research it seems that the version of Toast that does support Blu-Ray is localised for Japan only and the company, Logitec, that sells these drives has apparently sold very few units. Finding this Blu-Ray supported version of Toast in the wild seems nearly impossible at this time!
Yep, it was the BDR-101A and yes, no CD support at all! Mine was loaned to me by a supplier here in Australia. At the moment the RRP is AUS$1699 (US list was said to be about $1000 originally) and the wholesale price is well over a grand! (AU) As you can imagine sales have been non-existent for this supplier.
The one comment that sticks in my mind from this supplier was that erasing the one and only BD-RE disc they had would often hang the PC or take over an hour to complete... -Jeremy "

Update - A reader (Michael W.) later replied that Logitec (Japan) now sells a FW/USB 2.0 cased dual-layer Blu-Ray drive bundled with Blu-Ray Toast that also supports CDR/RW Burning per the specs page. That means it's -not- based on the Pioneer BDR-101A (which doesn't support Dual Layer Blu-Ray or CDROM/CDR/CDRW.)

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Mac Pro owner notes on problems with Motu 828
(from a recent reader mail - updated with 2 other Mac Pro/Motu 828 owner replies)

" I got the new machine two weeks ago and I have a strange problem with my MOTU 828mkII firewire audio interface.
Often after closing an application which uses MOTU sound output (Logic Pro, Games, Quicktime etc.) the Interface stops working.

You can still select it in the audio control panel and configure it via the MOTU control panels (change sample rate etc) but it's not possible to get sound back until I reboot the machine. (FYI - A reader below said when this happened, he cycled power on the Motu.-Mike)

I tried everything! New OS, other cable, other interface (828mkII with newer firmware), removed other firewire devices, tried unloading/loading the kernel extension (succeeds, if I remove the interface, but still no sound after reloading / reconnecting). I even booted the MacPro via firewire from a MacBook Pro with an older MOTU driver installed. Nothing helped.

The internal sound output works fine even if the MOTU interface stops working and there are no messages in the system log. In Audio-Midi control panel the MIDI interface of the 828 is greyed out when it stops working.

The MOTU support put me through some standard troubleshooting and then told me that I have to contact Apple.

With an intel MacMini, a MacBook Pro and a Powerbook G4, the interface is working fine.
Is there anyone else with such a problem?

configuration: MacPro 2,66GHz, 5GB Ram, X1900XT, 1,75TB HD (internal + some firewire drives), LogicPro 7.2.3, Waves 5.9.1 with iLok, Midisport 2x2 USB
(He later wrote regarding cycling power on the Motu)
I tried power cycling. Even with unloading/loading the motu firewire kernel extension... no success. The only way to get the interface back is (as far as i know) a restart. And you even don't have to switch the interface off and on. Very stange.
First I falsely thought parallels may cause the trouble, but with a complete fresh 10.4.8 install, only logic and motu drivers installed and nothing else attached to the computer, it happens, too - and... same failure with an other interface (same model)
At the Apple forums, someone blames the ram causing trouble with sound if second bank is equipped. Maybe tomorrow I have time to experiment with different ram-configurations.
Best regards,
Matthias M. "

If any other Mac Pro owner can comment on this let me know.
Update - two other Mac Pro/Motu 828 owners replied to this saying they've seen the problem:

" I have been having a similar problem using the MOTU 828 on my Mac Pro with 2GB of Apple RAM, Nvidia 7300GT and OS 10.4.8. Every once in a while, I lose the audio output (the 828 is the system output device). Even weirder, once when I was playing back multiple tracks in Logic Express, one track stopped playing but the other continued!
Unlike some people, I have always been able to fix the problem by power cycling the 828, even when the application generating the audio is running. When the 828 comes back up, the sound is back on.

After a brief email conversation with MOTU tech support, they wanted me to send my unit in for repair. Sounds like that would be a mistake.
-Alan S. "

"Hi, I have exactly the same problem with my Mac Pro (2.66GHz, ATI, 3 GB RAM) and my MOTU 828 mkII.

I tried everything. At first, the MOTU was defined as main output for apps. After, I choose another output, and used the MOTU only with GarageBand and Logic.

After a couple hours, it's always the same thing : the sound is lost (the MOTU keeps on being recognized by the system and the apps, but no sound.

To get the sound again, I have to restart the Mac.

I tried another cable, to disconnect external drive and keep only the interface. Everything I did made no change.

I found a discussion here:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=3588173#3588173
And I participated, I hoped I should find an issue.

I tried to search on forums for MOTU users, UnicorNation:
http://www.unicornation.com/phpBB2/
But it's not possible to read the posts without being registered. And registering needs a confirmation by mail. And I never received the confirmation mail. Not very lucky :-)

I don't know if the problem is from Apple or from MOTU.
Someone told me that the same thing happened to a user with RME interface. And the problem happened only when his Mac Pro was updated with Mac Os X 10.4.8.

It seems that audio sync is lost on the firewire bus after a couple hours.
I phoned to Apple (my Mac Pro is recent) and told them about this (in France).
- Jean-Jacques A."

FYI - I've had other Motu 828 owners reply to this post that they had seen problems also (intel cpu iMac and MDD G4 Mac users). The MDD owner mentioned using OS X 10.4.8 but the iMac owner didn't note his OS used.
Update: The Jan 25th, 2007 news page also has More Moto Firewire Audio Interface Problem notes/tips, Notes/Warnings on FW Hubs and the Jan 26th, 2007 news page has More notes on Mac Pro Firewire and FW Audio interfaces with a developer note on Mac Pro FW changes.

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