News Archive for: 10/21/2004 Thursday's News
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October 2004 ATI Retail RADEON Universal ROM Update
Today ATI has posted an October 2004 ATI RADEON Universal ROM Update for ATI Retail Mac Cards. I compared all the card model firmware fixes/changes listings in the Oct. 2004 update release notes to the Sept. 2004 update release notes and found there are two new items in the Oct. 2004 release notes:

  • The clock speed for the 64MB Radeon 9000 has been restored back to its original speed. (The Sept. update set it to the same clock speed of the later 128MB 9000 model - 250MHz instead of the original 275MHz.)
  • The 'hotfix' (released after the Sept. ROM update) for display corruption with the 9200 PCI card has now been included in the univ. updater.

Here's a copy of the 2 new items in the Oct. 2004 update release notes (see the linked page for a full list by card including the fixes/changes from Sept.):

RADEON 9000 Pro
Custom ROM to restore clock speeds back to original settings on 64 MB version.

RADEON 9200
Fixed a bug where possible desktop corruption may occur.

Tomorrow's news page will have reader feedback on this update.

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Apple 30in Cinema Display owner's mini-review
A reader that recently got his 30in Cinema Display (and 6800Ultra card to drive it) is going to send a full review later but here's his initial impressions:

" Hey Mike,
I haven't had the time yet to write a review yet, but I decided to take a few snapshots, and do have a few initial comments...

1. Display is very bright. 1/4 brightness is an accurate representation of the output

2. Color accuracy is pretty good out of the box, but I would definitely recommend a color calibration device such as the Monaco Optix XR (http://www.monacosys.com).

3. This display is incredibly sharp and it handles the entire contrast range with ease. It is much sharper than any display I've seen, including the original Apple 23" HD and the Sony Artisan monitors.

4. Not a single dead pixel (!)

5. HD streaming from my firewire cable box looks great. However, the G5 can't upscale DVDs to fill the screen very well. The resulting image is pixelized and lacks sharpness (although understandable with the number of pixels that the DVD now has to fill). Response rate is not an issue - no ghosting nor other visual artifacts.

6. I love the size of the 30". It beats two-23" HDs hands down. From the standpoint of a photographer, an actual size 16x20 photo can be previewed (not at full pixel view, however) on the screen.

7. Games such as Homeworld 2 can actually play at full 2560x1600 resolution, which makes for a very impressive gameplay and graphical experience. Every single ship and part of the GUI is sharp. I haven't had the time to try it with any FPSs, but games that do not support such mammoth resolutions, such as Myst IV, suffer pixelation and blur.

I am extremely impressed with this screen, as are all my friends, especially those working with large dual monitor configurations right now, in the advertising and graphic arts areas. My only complaint at the moment is that I sometimes lose the cursor at some location on the screen. It's also on the pricey end, but a very valuable purchase.
Doug "

If you missed yesterday's news, I posted a review of the Mac Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL Graphics card which included a full list of resolutions/refresh rates supported with a wide-screen Sony FW900 CRT. (Not fortunate enough to have a 30in Cinema to test with it.)
BTW - I've always preferred to buy a monitor (especially an LCD) from a retail store that would let you try it before buying (i.e. look for any bad/stuck pixels - although most stores won't let you run software like an LCD pixel test utility on their computers). IIRC many years ago the policy on mac displays was 5 bad pixels/several touching, etc. to qualify for an exchange but that was changed several years back as I remember and the later doc on criteria I saw was not very definitive. Just a reminder that a) not all LCDs (especially this size) are going to be 'perfect' (and the old massaging a bad pixel trick rarely worked for me) and b) I'd want to see/check an expensive LCD if at all possible before buying it.

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OWC Clearance page Updated (RAM, Drives, CPU Upgrades, Video cards)
(from site sponsor OWC)

New clearance goodies
New blow outs on discontinued memory, open box firewire enclosures, refurb hard drives, processors, open box video cards - and a lot more - while they last. :)
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"
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Ampede Introduces LayerLink Plugin for Apple Motion
Ampede sent a copy of their online press release on their LayerLink Plugin for Apple's Motion. (Although the date in the PR was Oct. 31st):

" ...Ampede released LayerLink today, a software plugin for Apple Motion that brings native multi-layer Adobe Illustrator support to Motion that is on par with Adobe After Effects, the gold standard for Illustrator integration. With LayerLink, motion graphics professional can now take advantage of Motion's real time tools when using Illustrator artwork...

LayerLink provides a new command in Motion's File menu: "Import Illustrator as Project...". LayerLink imports an Illustrator file as a Motion project, keeping layer settings, names, and visibility intact. You can scale, rotate, move, apply filters and animate each layer separately using all of the tools Motion has to offer. As you update the original Illustrator file, LayerLink updates the layers in your Motion project.

Since LayerLink is a native plugin, not a third-party After Effects plugin, you can continue to take advantage of all of the real-time capabilities of Motion.

Pricing & Availability
LayerLink is available through the end of October for $99 ($119 thereafter) and can be downloaded and purchased at http://www.ampede.com/layerlink/. "

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Guide to Updating NEC ND-2500 Firmware using Uniflash OS X flasher
As promised, the reader that recent reported using uniflash to update his NEC ND-2500 (dual layer DVD burner) sent a guide:

" A quick how-to, assuming that we start with Necflash on the desktop. The "%" character is a prompt and should not be typed in. Also, my NEC drive is in a Firewire enclosure - your results may vary with another configuration. Also, use this, or any other flasher, at your own risk. (Download uniflash at http://uniflash.cdfreaks.com/
*Note* - as of Nov. 2004, Uniflash has been renamed BinFlash.-Mike
))

1) Double-clicking will bring up a terminal window with the command structure and syntax. Like this:

% /Users/xxxx/Desktop/necflash; exit
Binflash - NEC version - (C) by Herrie and Liggy
Visit http://binflash.cdfreaks.com - http://www.herrie.org

Usage:
necflash {-scan} [-v]
necflash {-dump} [-v] [-s] {filename} {device}
necflash {-flash} [-v] [-s] {filename} {device}
necflash {-querybt} {device}
necflash {-setbt} {Mediatype} {Booktype} {Temp|Perm} {device}
necflash {-setbtrw} {Booktype} {Device}
necflash {-clearbt} {device}
necflash {-version}

-scan    - Scan for supported devices
-dump    - Dump firmware and write to file
-flash   - Flash firmware and write to file
-querybt - Query booktype information
-setbt   - Change booktype settings
-setbtrw - Change booktype on current DVD+RW disc
-clearbt - Clear booktype settings and counter
-version - Display version information

-v     - Verbose mode
-s     - Skip disclaimer

2) Proceed with the first three commands in order. First, open up a new terminal window (i.e., shell) and do the -scan command, making sure to include the path (/Users/xxxx/Desktop, where xxxx is what ever your user name is). For example, this:
% /Users/xxxx/Desktop/necflash -scan

generates this:

Binflash - NEC version - (C) by Herrie and Liggy
Visit http://binflash.cdfreaks.com - http://www.herrie.org

List of supported devices:

Device   : B:
Vendor   : _NEC    
Model    : DVD_RW ND-2500A
Firmware : 1.07

3) Back up your old firmware using -dump. Take note of the device listed after the -scan command (in my case B: ). Neither dumping or flashing worked for me without the "B:" in the command string. For example, this:

% /Users/xxxx/Desktop/necflash -dump -s /Users/xxxx/Desktop/oldfirm.bin B:

put a backup file called "oldfirm.bin" on my desktop (or wherever you choose depending on the path before the backup file name). The -s option just skips the porgram's disclaimer.

4) If all has gone OK so far, you are ready to flash with new firmware. You can look here for newer firmware for your drive:
http://tdb.rpc1.org/ or
http://forum.rpc1.org/dl_firmware.php?category=4&manufactor=23

Flash the drive with a command similar to this (where xxxxx.bin is the new firmware filename, also assumed here to be on the desktop):

% /Users/xxxx/Desktop/necflash -flash -v -s /Users/xxxx/Desktop/xxxxx.bin B:
Flashing will take several seconds; be patient. Although it will work without the -v (verbose) option, using it will let you see the progress, generating something like this:

Identified drive: 2
Detected drive from Firmware: 2

Sending firmware to drive at 0x000000
Sending firmware to drive at 0x008000
...
Sending firmware to drive at 0x0f8000
Sending checksum 1 to drive
Sending checksum 2 to drive
Erasing flash block 2
Erasing flash block 3
...
Erasing flash block 18
Writing flash block 2
Writing flash block 3
...
Writing flash block 18

5) That should be all there is to it. Use the -scan command or Toast to verify that the drive has the new firmware version. (Apple system profiler will also usually report it as the drive's 'revision'.)
Cheers, Alan"


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Problems with Western Digital single HD in Blue and White G3s
Tuesday two B&W G3 owners posted drive db reports on problems with IDE Western Digital WD1200JB 120GB drives running in 'single drive' mode in B&W G3s (revision 2's with 'fixed' IDE chip). Both said the drive worked fine if used in a dual drive (master/slave) setup but not if used alone (as mentioned in my related drive upgrade/install guide, WD drives used alone on the cable use 'single drive' setting, not master. one owner also said he tried the alternate single drive setting also to no avail.) One user said it seemed ok in OS 9.2 but not in OS X 10.3.2 (not sure why he hadn't updated to 10.3.5). This makes 3 reports like this and therefore I'm posting this to see if anyone with a B&W G3 rev 2 (see this article for how to check the IDE chip on the motherboard to verify) has run a recent Western Digital drive OK as a 'single drive'. If so post a drive db report or let me know via email. thanks.
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports this morning (entries from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,613. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Apple B&W G3/300 OC report
  • Other World Computing G4/1.3GHz (at 1.4GHz) in G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • Other World Computing G4/1.25GHz (at 1.33GHz) in (QS) G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix G3/1.1GHz in B&W G3 (rated 10)

    (For full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. - see 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). 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 4 new reports added today. (Entries from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning. 9 were also added late last night from Tuesday's entries) The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, 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, USB, adapters). Current total 13,768 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)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Liteon SOHR-5238S (52x32x52x) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (using Patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.x iApps burn support.
    Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R1102 in B&W G3 (OS X 10.4)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE LG GSA-4160B in (MDD) Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    (no native iApps burn support so use Patchburn 3.)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE (using SerialATA PCI card) Hitachi 7k250 80GB in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here in B&W G3 rev2 and G4 towers up to the QuickSilver models.
    IDE articles page RAID section has an illustrated guide for adding 2 more drives in the side bays.)

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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