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News Archive for Thursday Sept. 11, 2003Return to Accelerate Your Mac!


News stories of Sept. 11, 2003:

MDD/FW800 USB2.0 and Future System Drivers
In reply to an earlier post regarding USB 2.0 drivers in future OS:

" Hi, First there are USB 2.0 (EHCI) drivers in Panther, they support any PCI EHCI device complying to PCI class 0x0c0320 (EHCI) to go along with the existing driver for OHCI cards (pci class 0c0310). There are still no known drivers for UHCI (VIA based USB cards etc, class 0c0300)

Second, those drivers do not make USB 2.0 work on the FW800 macs, the NEC chipset can be configured to present either 2 OHCI PCI interfaces, or 2 OHCI + 1 EHCI. It turns out that OpenFirmware disables the EHCI on those macs, so the EHCI driver doesn't even get a chance to load since the corresponding PCI device is not even present.

What linux does to make it work on those machines is explicitely reactivate the EHCI mode and allocates new addresses for the newly discovered PCI device, and after that it behaves as expected as a USB 2.0 device.

To get the EHCI to activate in OSX then, we need a 'fake' driver that loads before the true EHCI driver and reactivates it, allocates new addresses for it and then sabord itself to allow the driver scoring to continue. I pretty much know how to do the first part, but I still need to scavenge into Darwin's Cardbus support to know how to dynamicaly bootstrap the 'new' PCI device.

I've taken this as my 'pet project' so I'll try to get that working, despite the lack of a reset button on those machines, making driver development next to impossible (the kernel crash logs are not accessible, since you have to shutdown the machine when you crash!)
Michel P. "

Back when the USB 2.0 chip was first reported to be on some FW800/MDD systems, several readers tried the Orange Micro drivers with no luck, although I thought some other website forum reported someone used them ok back then. (Note - one DP 1.42GHz/FW800 MDD owner replied to this post saying he used the Orange Micro USB 2.0 drivers OK on that machine. I assume he tested for acutal USB 2.0 speeds with the onboard USB ports after the driver install.)

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Prosoft Updates Data Rescue
(Clip from their email on the update - I have not used this software but welcome reports from anyone that has.)

"Today, Prosoft Engineering is releasing an update to Data Rescue, its popular emergency file recovery program. Data Rescue X version 10.3.0 for Mac OS X and Data Rescue Classic version 4.3.0 for Mac OS 8.6 to 9.x are now available on the Prosoft website and on VersionTracker. This is a free update for current customers. New improvements include the support of long file names and re-designed algorithms make this version close to 300% faster than the previous speedy version."

There's no direct download link to the update, you have to fill out a form to get the URL emailed to you.
(Update - See Friday's news page for reader reports on using Data Rescue on badly damaged drives to recover data. I've created a page of reader reports on the software.)

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Next OS X Update to have native USB 2.0 Drivers?
I don't usually post rumors but in reply to the earlier news item on $9 USB 2.0 PCI Cards (he used Orange Micro's OS X USB 2.0 drivers), there are reports that future OS X updates will have native USB 2.0 drivers (at least for NEC chipset cards). I remember the reports earlier this year that some MDD G4 models (like the FW800 models) actually had a NEC USB 2.0 chip, just needing some drivers to enable USB 2.0 speeds. (Note - when I posted the note about the FW800 MDD/USB 2.0 chip earlier this year several readers replied they had problems after installing the Orange Micro USB 2.0 drivers - black screen, etc. - however one DP 1.42GHz/FW800 MDD owner replied to this post saying he used the OM USB 2.0 drivers OK on that machine. I assume he tested for acutal USB 2.0 speeds with the onboard USB ports after the driver install.)
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Water Cooled Digital Audio G4s (two articles)
Jamie sent a link to a (translated french page linked at french site MacBidouille he said) Water Cooled Digital Audio G4 article. Earlier this year I posted a link to a readers (english) Digital Audio Water Cooled article using a Powerlogix Dual G4 upgrade. Warning - the latter link has lots of large images on a single page.
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Latest comments on Panther/10.3 DVD+R/+RW Support
Over the last few months several Pioneer DVR-106 drive owners have commented that the Panther dev. versions have native support for the drive (also noted by a Dual G5 owner which had that model as the OEM Superdrive). One of today's drive db additions from a Pioneer DVR-106 owner commented on Panther/10.3 (beta) support for the drive and DVD+R/+RW media. (Without having to use Toast.)

" Just installed a Pioneer dvd+/-R/RW DVR-106D with firmware 1.05, in my dual 800 G4.
I am running 10.3 7B59, and its working as a charm. Native support in iTunes, iDVD and Toast. Bootable off course.

The coolest feature is that its supported without any hacks or workarounds, AND 10.3 supports DVD+RW discs! Just finished burning a DVD+RW disc with DiscBurner.
Recommed it to everybody. "

For those running 10.2.6, the FAQ's DVD and CDR section has a modified Pioneer device plugin file for this drive. (Some DVR-106 owners however have reported some problems such as lack of buffer underrun prevention in Toast 5 when burning DVD-Rs, buffer underrun errors burning at 4x with DVD-Rs, etc.)

Personally my dream "Super" drive (to date) is the Plextor PX-708A (8x DVD+R, 4x DVD+RW, 4x DVD-R, 2x DVD-RW and 40x CDR, 24x CDRW, 40x CD read speeds). It sells from $250 to $289 usually for the IDE retail box version (lots of software for PC but none for Mac in the internal drive box - FW/USB model has Toast 5 lite).
Toast 6 has the 8x DVD burn option and appears to fully support the drive - although no native iTunes, etc. support for it in 10.2.6. (I hope apple supports this drive eventually in Panther - otherwise I'll try editing the panther support files as noted in the Misc/OS topics page article from late June on Panther burn support/editing.)
DVD+R 8x media isn't easy to find currently (Ricoh is reportedly shipping now as of late August), but some have said that certain brands of DVD+R 4x rated media will burn at 8x in this drive. (This page commented that 4x media that can be written at 8x are manufactured by Mitsubishi Chemical (Verbatim), Ricoh and Taiyo Yuden but I have not personally verfied that.)
The PX-708A drive has a ton of nice features, and for once is a DVD burner with much higher rated CDR/CDRW speeds than previous "superdrives". (A nice bonus for those with only a single drive for DVD burning and CD burning.) I just wish there was native support for it on the mac by Apple (hoping it will be eventually). The Plextor PX-708 has the features for a really "Super" drive.

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USB 2.0 PCI card for $9.00
(Updated with more card info/deep sleep tests)

" Mike, I thought you might want to let your readers know that PC Micro is selling their "house brand" 5 port USB 2.0 PCI card for $9.00 again. I purchased one of these a couple of months ago and it has worked flawlessly with the Orange Micro (OS X) drivers.
Using an external FW/USB 2.0 HD I did a quick and dirty timing on a transfer of a 100MB directory on my G4 (digital audio with 1.2 GHz CPU upgrade). Firewire took around 10 seconds, USB 2.0 around 12 seconds. Not too shabby.
Cheers, Steven P."

I asked Steve if the card supports deep sleep and he said yes, but he had tested sleep only with all USB devices disconnected. He later wrote:

" Here are the remaining details on the USB 2.0 card. First of all, the one I've got is made by Cendyne. The model number is not apparent on the packaging. At any rate, the "house brand" designation implies they may substitute other brands.

With a drive attached the system will not go into deep sleep and in fact it locks up when attempting to. The monitor goes to sleep but the fans do not stop and the power button doesn't pulsate. A hard reset is required. This happens with an either an external HD or a floppy connected, even if no volume is mounted. With only non-storage devices connected the machine enters and wakes from deep sleep reliably.
Steve "

For previous reports on Firewire/USB cards and deep sleep - see this page. Disconnecting connected devices may help in sometimes - although some cards may not support it regardless.)

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SubRosaSoft Ships HomeGuardian Version 1.0
SubRosaSoft sent a press release noting they're shipping HomeGuardian 1.0 ($34.95 list) that "turns a Macintosh computer and a web camera into a security system by integrating motion detection with extremely flexible (email) reporting." HomeGuardian requires Max OS X, Power Macintosh G3 or above, 8 MB of available RAM, and a Mac-compatible webcam. (OS 9 version in the works they say.)
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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had new reports added (reader entries from yesterday; entries posted after midnight ET 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 11,294 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Liteon LTR-52327S (52x32x52x) in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
    (no itunes burn support, didn't test for booting from CD)

    Combo DVD+CDR Drives:
  • Exp. bay Matshita UJDA 710 in Powerbook G3 2000 (OS X)
    (noted sudden problem with DVDs - perhaps a drive failure but also seemed to think it could write DVDs, which it can't.)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-106 in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (noted native burn support in beta of Panther/10.3 as well as DVD+R/+RW support)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-106 in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (using modified burn support plugin in FAQ, noted drive sleep issue)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT, and B&W G3 Macs)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Hitachi Travelstar 5K80 40GB in PowerBook G3 lombard (OS X)
    (Systems page, PB section has links to my PB G3 2000 HD upgrade guide, lombard has similar case design.)

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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 5 new report this morning (reader entries from yesterday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 8,710. Here's a summary of the update added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Giga Designs G4 1.4GHz in (Quicksilver) G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • Giga Designs G4 1GHz in (G4/450DP) G4/AGP (rated 10)
  • Newer Tech G4/500 Pismo upgrade in Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 5)
  • Other Brand G4/500 in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • Apple G4 DDR (MDD G4/867DP) OC report
    (My full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked here.)

(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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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles, guides and reviews you may have missed.
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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 off-site links may no longer work. Remember comments were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, pricing, etc.)

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