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News Archive for Friday Sept. 28th, 2002Return to Accelerate Your Mac!


News stories of Sept. 28th, 2002:

Beta Version of iSync Available
Apple has posted a Beta version of iSync at available for download at oad/. Apple has posted a Kbase doc on iSync Beta Release notes. For general info on iSync, see
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Insider's Story on the History and Demise of 3dfx
(A reader had sent this story link a few days ago, but it was lost in the shuffle here. A forum post today reminded me.) There's an interesting article at firingsquad with an insider's story on 3dfx from start to finish, including info on their graphics cards from the first Voodoo1 (I still have an Orchid Righteous 3D - the first shipping Voodoo1 card), up to future designs that never made it into production. (Including designs that were to include Gigapixel technology.) There's also info on why the Voodoo5 6000 (Quad chip) card was never released, how and why 3dfx lost ground to Nvidia and much more. Check out "Inside the Demise of 3dfx".
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WD and Seagate to Follow Maxtor's Lead on Reducing Some Drive Warranties
The September 5th news here noted Maxtor had a press release that noted starting Oct. 1st 2002, "desktop" drive warranties were 1 year, down from 3 years typically in the past. (However the new "Maxline" drives with up to 320GB capacity will still have a 3yr warranty per this Sept. 10th news item.)
According to a Cnet story today titled Hard-drive makers weaken warranties, Western Digital and Seagate are following suit on some of their drives to cut costs in the low-margin consumer drive business.
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Carbon Copy Cloner Updated for OS X 10.2
There's an 1.4 update today to Carbon Copy Cloner for OS X 10.2/Jaguar. (CCC is a very popular utility for backing up OS X drives.) The page has notes on OS X version compatibility.

    " CCC 1.3.1 is NOT compatible with Mac OS 10.2. There are fundamental changes to Mac OS 10.2 that are not accounted for in version 1.3.1 (and earlier) and any attempts to clone will yield an improper clone. Please use CCC 1.4 with Mac OS 10.2. Version 1.4 can, however, clone a volume that has any version of the Mac OS installed.

    Also, CCC 1.4 only runs on Mac OS 10.2 and above (again, though, v. 1.4 can clone older systems, just not while booted from the older systems). This was not an easy decision, but I don't think I've left 10.1.x users in the cold; v. 1.3.1 is really quite good, and as good as it could get given the OS limitations. Committing to 10.2 exclusively meant that I could drop a lot of hack code that existed to workaround problems solved many OS versions ago. I was able to reduce the amount of code used by about 15% and offer some really nice optimizations resulting in a faster and sturdier application. If you would like to clone your 10.1.5 system before upgrading to Jaguar, use CCC version 1.3.1 instead. "

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Running Repair Disk Permissions after Internet Explorer 5.2.2 Update
Matthew Culmore called today to say he noticed sluggish performance after the IE 5.2.2 update (security update noted yesterday) and that running Apple's Repair Disk Permissions showed a long list of repaired (changed/corrected) IE related files.
I didn't see any noticeable drop in performance after the IE 5.2.2 update yesterday, but I booted from the 10.2 CD and ran Repair Disk Permissions and sure enough, there was a very long list of items noted as having their owner/group/permissions corrected. I wish there was a way to save the results when run from CD, but there doesn't seem to be. If your boot disk is 10.2, you can run the repairs from Disk Utility on the boot drive and copy the results window text into an email or textedit, etc. (I've gotten in the habit even with a clean 10.2 install or after a 10.2.1 update to run this utility)

BTW - I seem to get the following repair note every time if the system has been restarted.

    " Group differs on ./private/var/run/utmp, should be 0, group is 1 Owner and group corrected on ./private/var/run/utmp Permissions corrected on ./private/var/run/utmp "

Searching google for info on utmp finds this page (among others) which says "The utmp database file contains user access and accounting information for commands such as who(1), write(1), and login(1). The wtmp file contains the history of user access and accounting information for the utmp database." and under Usage says "The utmp and wtmp files are obsolete. They have been replaced by the extended database contained in the utmpx and wtmpx files. See utmpx(4)". (Doesn't apply to OS X apparently, which must only use utmp. It's odd that after every restart the file permissions are not correct per the permissions utility check.)

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Sonnet Comments on G4/800 Card and Catalyst Motherboard based Macs
(reply from a Sonnet employee to an earlier post/question in today's news)

" Mike,
Regarding the support of Catalyst with the Sonnet G4-800, there is a long discussion on MacGurus about this subject, that finally hit upon the truth:
There is indeed some Sonnet "voodoo magic" that I designed into the card to support the missing signal, DRTRY. I had to overcome a huge number of technical hurtles with the product, and we thought, if we're doing all this other stuff, like taking on the six PCI slot problem, perhaps we can support the Catalyst based Power Computing machines as well. The problem is solved in a very clever way.

The installation instructions for this product are slightly different than for the Powersurge platforms, so your readers with these machines should carefully follow the installation procedure.

It works great though, and we even support OS X on these machines with our "PCI X install" product.
(Sonnet) "

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Sonnet G4/800 Owner Comments on PCI IDE card Audio Stuttering
(Update - see below for Troy's later email reply with his fix for this problem.)

(original email)
"Hey Mike,
I thought this pretty worthy of passing on. For those planning on going the OS X route with the Crescendo G4/800, keep in mind that if you have an ATA PCI card installed, the infamous audio stuttering is more than likely going to rear its ugly head -- even if you have never had problems in the past. (This issue is noted in the past here on the IDE articles page, FAQ, etc. - more common in the early days of IDE cards, but less common in the last year or so. And there are OS 8/9 AV utils to address the issue for most cards now, at the expense of performance typically. But I've seen no OS X version of the A/V utils to address this as of yet. Note that audio played back from the onboard SCSI or onboard IDE connected drives usually never have the problem.-Mike)

In the case of the various Sonnet Tempo cards, there's currently no AV optimizer tool available like there is for OS 9. Sonnet's support department has told me they're gathering information on whether they should allocate the resources to address this, but so far only a few people have contacted them, leading them to assume "demand just isn't there."

In my case, I was totally blindsided by this. I have a 9600/350 and Tempo 66. I've NEVER had audio stuttering, even after upgrading to a Crescendo G4/450. I've been running OS 9.1, OS X 10.1.5, and OS X 10.2. But as soon as I plugged in the G4/800 the problem arose. Sonnet says I apparently "upset the Apple cart."

Otherwise the G4/800 is pretty incredible. I intend to post a thorough review in your database soon.
Thanks for the great site!

I assume this is not the (common) audio stuttering heard in iTunes during heavy network access/downloading from the net, etc. (I and others have noted that issue here in the past several times with OS X 10.0-10.1.x at least, even on modern macs and onboard IDE. 10.2 seems better about that so far here.)
Even though he noted it didn't happen with a previous (G4/450) G4 upgrade card, I asked if he had tried moving the IDE card, etc. to another PCI bus of his 6 PCI slot mac. Since he noted it occurred only with the G4/800 card, that may not matter however. (Update - see below for his email reply - he noted moving the Radeon PCI card to an upper slot helped.)
I don't have a Sonnet card personally so I don't know how common this is, but for those Sonnet G4/800 CPU card owners using an IDE card connected source drive, let me know if you have seen this problem in OS 9 or OS X. Include as much detail on your system, IDE card (model, firmware, etc.), drives used, etc. as possible.
It may not matter, but I'd also like to know if your ram is interleaved (matching dimm sizes in Ax/Bx slots for macs that support interleaved ram.)
Update: Troy replied with more info and a fix for the problem:

" Mike,
Since my last e-mail, I've discovered all sorts of interesting little nuances about the Crescendo G4/800. I also think I've finally pinpointed the cause of the audio stuttering/dropouts. To clarify, the dropouts only occurred when playing a QuickTime movie.

First off, the QuickTime audio problem disappears entirely by moving the ATI Radeon 7000 into one of the top three slots. This isn't a huge deal to me, because it appears Sonnet has indeed addressed the six slot issue for the most part. I haven't done much testing yet with my FireWire and USB cards, but I can confirm they do work in the bottom three slots (at least for things like scanning and printing). The one thing I do worry about is how warm the underside of the Radeon gets, so I'm going to leave the PCI slot directly below it empty.

To address some of your questions: 1) RAM is interleaved. I've never had any problems either way, in 9.x, 10.1, and now 10.2. De-interleaving did not cure the stutter. 2) Yes, the stuttering occurred in OS 9, but it was more like little audio pops. Acard's AV Optimizer didn't stop it, which is one of the reasons I decided to start looking elsewhere. 3) I've never experienced the iTunes/network problem (audio dropouts in OS X when playing itunes songs and downloading files from the net at least with high speed connections) - very common as noted by me and many others in the last year even on modern macs. seems fixed in 10.2.x so far at least.-Mike) , and I listen to MP3s all day while I'm working. 4) If you move the Tempo 66 into one of the lower three slots, you can't boot up from it (at least I couldn't).

One last point which may be of interest to some: In my 9600, I could not install any flavor of OS X on a drive connected to the internal SCSI bus with the G4/800 present. (This was using both Sonnet's installer and XPostFacto.) If I switched over to the external bus, I could get it installed and booted, but if I switched back to the internal I was hosed. This DOES NOT happen with the G4/450 or any other upgrade I've tested.

Now, a word about general performance: This card absolutely flies. In OS X 10.2, it feels at least as responsive as an 800MHz iMac, if not a bit moreso. I'm incredibly impressed so far, and will post a full review after I've done some tests editing video and such. (BTW, if you have some established tests you'd like performed, let me know and I'll do my best to pass them on.)
Thanks again for all the valuable resources!

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Logic Audio Pops/Noise with G4 Upgrades in G3 or Older Macs
" Mike,
I recently posted a review of my upgrade (Beige G3 DT with OWC G4/450 report in the database here) and cited problems with Logic Audio. Well, by the suggestions of users in the Yahoo Logic Users Group I turned off the "Use Velocity Engine" setting within Logic and got rid of the pops and clicks. It's still very fast and I'm able to do much more with my upgrade. But I suppose if someone wants to upgrade their processor for use with Logic Audio I'd recomend sticking with a faster G3 rather than G4, especially if they don't plan on using much of OS X like myself.
Thanks for your very helpful site.
Dennis "

I seem to remember at least one other report like this before, but I'm not sure it's typical with all G4 upgraded Macs/OS versions. If any G4 Upgraded B&W G3, Beige G3 or older Mac owner (not G4 Yikes or later) is running Logic Audio can comment (tip/suggestion/seen the same thing or not) let me know.

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Questions on Sonnet G4/800 and Catalyst Motherboard Based Macs
(*Update* - see the later news item above with Sonnet's comments on compatibility.)

" Mike:
Just wanted to see if you could gather a bit of info from your readers regarding the use of the new Sonnet G4 800s (PCI) in the PowerComputing PowerTower which, according to Sonnet, isn't fully compatible though they have it listed in there install pdf (haven't heard back from them yet, though I might assume it just can't support altivec thereby making it a g3 800 in effect.) Even OWC has it listed under PowerTower upgrades. The 60mhz bus is the only reason I would even consider it and oddly enough this is one of few models that has it.

I realize you're probably as busy as a one armed paper hanger and I rely heavily on your site for great info, but any help would be appreciated because I was hoping to get some more use out of my PT 180e which now has a PowerLogix G3 375 running at 420/210 and I'm sure there are others like myself w/ just plain PowerTowers...... Thanks.
Matt J"

I written my Sonnet contact to ask for clarification/info, but I replied to Matt that I was surprised to see a Catalyst based motherboard model included on Sonnet's product page list (I.E. PowerCenter and PowerTower- still listed there today with an *) - past G4s (7400/7410s) would not work in them. As noted here before - the Catalyst based motherboards reportedly have a missing signal that the G4 needed on the motherboard. (At least the G4/7400-7410 models - I don't know about the 745x G4s since Sonnet has the only 7455 G4 CPU upgrade card to date for older Macs.)
There's a few Sonnet G4/800 reports in the database (PowerTower Pro (Tsunami based mb), 7500, PowerWave, 85/8600 owner reports) but I'd welcome more reports - esp. from Catalyst motherboard based mac owners. (Post an entry in the database - entry page linked on the search page.)

About the Bus Speed: Realize that Sonnet cards are not adjustable (for bus speed or bus/cpu ratio) - the Sonnet G4/800 card runs at 50MHz bus speed x16 ratio (for 800mhz CPU speed). The CPU card in older Macs always controls the bus speed, so unless you made mods to the Sonnet card, it would only run at its default 50mhz bus speed. And if the bus speed was boosted (by modifications), if the cpu ratio is not changed (modified to lower it), a 60MHz bus speed would be overclocking the CPU by 160MHz. (10MHz higher bus speed times 16x ratio.)
The japanese page on overclocking the Sonnet G4/800 card noted here in Wednesday's news said the 60Mhz mod (960MHz CPU speed) ran for them in a Umax machine, but it may not for other systems or card samples. (And would void the Sonnet warranty, and could have short or long term issues at that high an overclock.)

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Woz to Host TheScreensavers TV Show Tonight
Jamie Dresser sent a note that Steve Wozniak and Kevin Mitnick are guest hosting "The Screen Savers" TV show tonight according to this TechTV page, which lists times as "today at 7 p.m., tomorrow at 1:30 a.m., and Monday 9/30 at 8 a.m. Eastern".
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Roxio Comments on Toast 5.2 (GM)
Although some readers said they ran it fine, several readers have noted problems with the Toast 5.2 updater linked earlier today at VT/Macupdate (and below in the early news update). For those that had problems, the update leaves the previous version application intact. Roxio notes the link (which has "gm" in the path) that was posted prematurely (Oct. 2nd was the release date first noted) is not recommended for use:

    " The software is not officially released yet and still has a 'time out' function in certain features. It will be released next week. "

Officially they are not recommending this version be installed. I asked if the final 5.2 update would install over the 'gm' version and was told yes. If you've not already installd it, it's best to wait for the final/official 5.2 update due Oct. 2nd. (Again Although not everyone had problems (about 1/2 dozen readers noted 5.2 gm worked ok), several readers reported crashes using the updater linked earlier today. But they also noted that the previous version left intact (as is typical with recent Toast 5 updates) ran ok.

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Toast 'GM' (not final) 5.2 Updater (pulled from web)
This morning I received several emails from readers noting that the Toast 5.2 update scheduled for next week was available now at Macupdate, VT - first posted there last night. (Note the file has now been removed at Roxio - see above news item). I downloaded it this morning but have not installed it.
Note that the file path had a "gm" (Gold Master?) and Roxio notes it's not the final version of the 5.2 update (see news item above) and is not recommended for installing - but if you did, the previous version application should still be there and run ok and the final 5.2 update should install over the 5.2 'gm'. Several people reported problems running the "gm" 5.2 update (Forum threads and emails.) - but about 1/2 dozen reader reports this morning noted they were running 5.2 (gm) fine - yet others had crashes, etc. and had to use the previous version. (Thankfully still left intalled as is typical with Toast 5 updates.) Yesterday's news has a listing of what's new/improved in 5.2)
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More Comments from Overclocked Dual G4/867 Owner
The Dual G4/867 owner that noted in yesterday's news he had OC'd it to 1GHz sent a follow-up. (Of course as with any overclocking, your mileage may vary.)

" Just an update, I maxed it out with dnet for the last 20 or so hours straight. Looks like a keeper. No problems at all. What a nice surprise.
Lin P.

(his original comments from yesterday's news follow for those that missed it)

...I previously owned a QS867 that I attempted to OC and it was very flaky. I kept losing the L3 cache like everyone else did, so after a few hours I determined I wasn't in for a voltage tweak, so it remained an 867.

But, I recently purchased a new Dual 867, that after a couple days of fooling around with I decided to take a shot at overclocking it to 1GHz and see if any progress had been made. I dabbed some defroster repair paint on a couple places, restarted and lo and behold Dual 1GHz running reliably (so far 4-5 hours later).

During normal usage the fan stays somewhere between the lowest setting and the middle setting. It moves up and down fairly often. With dnet on it will move into the high sped setting every now and again. I'll leave dnet on for a few hours and see how it behaves.

Anyhow, thought I'd let you know that either I'm very lucky or the new models have a little more headroom than the older ones.
Lin P "

The Systems page, G4 Macs section here has Michiro Isobe's G4 MDD CPU Module speed settings article posted last month. (Of course mods like this void the warrany and may not be reliable short or long-term.)

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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. Total to date: 7,517. (Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning.)
Here's a summary of the updates:

  • Other World Computing G4/550 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix G4/800 in G4/Cube (rated 5)
  • Powerlogix G4/533 in G4 no AGP (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/466 in Powerbook 1400/166c (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G4/1GHz in G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF MPe w/ in Power Tower Pro (rated 8)
  • B&W G3/350 OC report (@400)

(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 Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 10 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 8,562 reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports. (Does not include updates to previous entries)

    DVD-R DVD Recorder Drive Reports:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-104 in G4/AGP (OS X)
  • Firewire Pioneer DVR-104 (OWC's Firewire model) used w/PowerTower/Pro (OS X)

    Combo DVD+CDR Drive Reports:
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R1202 (16x10x40 12x DVD-ROM) in B&W G3 (OS X)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lite-On LTR-40125S (40x12x48) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (some problems noted)
    (FYI - 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)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lite-On LTR-40125S 40x12x48x in FW case used w/Beige G3 (OS X)

    SCSI CDRW Drive Reports:
  • WAITEC Raptor (12x10x32x) used w/Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (listed under "other" brands - no iTunes support)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • Maxtor (5400 rpm) 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (problems noted)
    (Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)
  • Maxtor 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
  • IBM 120GXP 80GB in G4 no AGP (OS X)
  • Western Digital WD800JB (8MB cache) 80GB in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (FYI - Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here for G4 towers up to the Quicksilver model and B&W G3 rev 2.)

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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Reader Game Reviews Database Updated:
The Rate Your Mac Games database updates today included another review of Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Total Reviews (all titles): 981. To read game reviews use the search page.
If you've not already done so - Enter a Game review. (If your game title is not in the long listing, select "other game" and note the title in the comments)
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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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