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First OS X 10.6 (64-bit) feedback on Firmtek v5.4.0 Drivers (Seritek/2SE2-E in Mac Pro)
From a reader that sent a heads-up on the Firmtek driver update this morning:

" I have the Seritek/2SE2-E PCIe card installed in my Mac Pro 2.8GHz (8-core) with a SeriTek/2EN2 enclosure connected. The 5.3.2 driver worked with the 32 bit kernel but not the 64 bit. Now with the 64 bit kernel (and 5.4.0 drivers) loaded the drives in the enclosure appear.
An added bonus of the new driver is that the eSATA drives now show up in Temperature Monitor. I couldn't get the drive temperatures under Leopard or Snow Leopard using the 5.3.2 driver.

I can also report another nice Snow Leopard bonus. Under Leopard I could not get my Logitech Clear Chat PC Wireless headset to work with Speech Recognition. The Calibrate dialogue box in System Preferences>Speech>Speech Recognition just would not respond when I tried any of the commands listed. The headset microphone worked with internet telephony (Gizmo5) but not Speech Recognition. Under Snow Leopard Speech Recognition now works. The Calibrate dialogue box responds and I can use the headset to verbally launch apps or close windows among other things. I am very happy with Snow Leopard.

The only glitch I have seen so far is the video anomalies in Safari when using the Top Sites window to surf. Before most sites load (including xlr8yourmac.com) I briefly see a solid grey window with vertical stripes of different colours. For some reason this does not happen with macupdate.com. (I have an ATI 4870 in my Mac Pro btw.) -Steve"

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OS X 10.6 Tests w/$19.99 eSATA PCIe Card in 2009 Mac Pro w/1.1.9V2B drivers

Just a FYI on what I've seen today after finally getting some time to test the $19.99 (retail) Dynex Sil3132 2-port eSATA PCIe card in a 2009 Mac Pro running OS X 10.6. (Using the "sonnet" v1.1.9v2B driver install - but as I mentioned earlier in the post on using the same brand ExpressCard, the actual kext in the pkg still seems to be the Dec. 2006 SI3132 one). Due to the length, I've moved the comments to a separate page. (Of course since these Sil3132 drivers are 32bit, 10.6 was booted using the default 32bit Kernel.)

BTW: I'm not suggesting this 'cheap' card/driver option as a 'solution' for everyone. (Some users need higher performance cards, have higher end eSATA drive cases, etc.) But personally for my light needs - so far it seems to work fine for me. But there could be some issue later on that I have not seen yet and as always YMMV. For what I'm using it for (occasional use with single HD), I just can't justify a 'better' (more ports, higher performance) eSATA controller card that costs many times more than this one. (Although there's also some "mac" (rebranded) 2-port 3132 cards that sell for much more than this one.)

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Firmtek posts OS X 10.6 drivers for SeriTek eSATA Expresscard and 2 port PCIe SATA card
As promised last month (reply to my question to them), Firmtek has now posted Mac OS X 10.6 Drivers (v5.4.0) for their Sil3132 chip based SeriTek/2SM2-E (Express/34) and SeriTek/2SE2-E (PCIe) SATA cards at http://www.firmtek.com/download/.
I don't have one of these cards to test, but they had mentioned working on drivers with 64Bit (kernel) support. The readme (instructions) in the download mentions both 32bit and 64bit with some limitations. Here's a copy of the info from the Expresscard driver download:

SeriTek/2SM2-E 5.4.0 Driver Quick Install Instructions

Compatibility: The SeriTek/2SM2-E 5.4.0 driver is compatible with Mac OS X 10.6.x. "Snow Leopard" and Mac OS X 10.5.x "Leopard".

Features:

  • Supports Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard" 32-bit and 64-bit modes with direct connect enclosures like the SeriTek/2EN2. Supports port multiplier enclosures like the SeriTek/5PM with the default 32-bit Snow Leopard mode.
  • Hot swap support (without standard FirmTek "connection has changed" dialog box).
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T application utilities like Hardware Monitor.
  • The Apple System Profiler Serial-ATA tab will display information on all hard disks connected to the FirmTek ExpressCard.
  • The default FirmTek hard disk icon displays an image of the SeriTek/5PM.

    To Install this Driver

    1. To install this driver, double click on InstallSeriTek2SM2E. Enter the admin password and wait for the installation to be completed.
    2. Restart the Macintosh.
    3. Connect the external enclosure to the FirmTek ExpressCard and turn it on.
    4. The hard disk(s) should mount displaying an icon of the SeriTek/5PM.

    Note: MacBook Pro 2008 or 2009 models: Only connect direct connect enclosures like the SeriTek/2EN2 while booting or running in 64-bit mode. Use the default 32-bit Snow Leopard mode when connecting a port multiplier enclosure like the SeriTek/5PM.

    To Uninstall this Driver
    To uninstall the FirmTek 5.4.0 driver move the driver located at Macintosh HD/System/Library/Extension(s)/ FT_ATA_Sil3132EC.kext to the trash and restart the computer.
    Empty the trash.

    Support
    If you wish to report an issue you have discovered or require support for the FirmTek SeriTek/2SM2-E 5.4.0 driver please do so at http://www.firmtek.com/support/
    Please include a copy of the Apple System Profiler data, the name of the enclosure used, the hard disk manufacturer and model number plus how the hard disk(s) are configured (JBOD, Striped, Mirror) with any support request submitted...

  • (See later post above for a Mac Pro owner's feedback on using the new drivers with Snow Leopard.)

    BTW - I tried these drivers with another brand of Sil3132 based SATA Expresscard ($24 Dynex), but booting 10.6 with that card installed (and Firmtek driver) resulted in an immediate kernel panic. And restarting with the card removed, then inserting it also resulted in an immediate KP. (But my post below for better luck using the driver tip here from last Friday...)

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    My OS X 10.6 tests w/under $25 eSATA Expresscards
    Although I had posted tips on this (and some initial feedback) in last Friday's news, I had put off installing any Sil3132 drivers in Snow Leopard on a MacBook Pro (early 2009 17in/2.66GHz/4GB ram), as I had a (natively supported) JMicron chip-based eSATA Expresscard (single port $19.99 model) coming from OWC and for my needs, I didn't really need 2 ports anyway. But after trying the Firmtek 10.6 drivers (for their 3132 based cards) this morning which didn't work with a ($24) Dynex brand (Sil3132) Expresscard, I decided to try the "V2B" drivers. So far the results have been better than I expected. (See this page for more - long post moved off the front page.)
    BTW - Just as I mentioned back in early Dec 2008 here with the 1.19V2 download, digging into the "V2B" installer finds a Dec 2006 dated SiliconImage3132 kext.

    Update/FYI: (9/5/2009) Saturday morning I received my Jmicron 360 chip eSATA Expresscard (1 port/$19.99) from OWC and tested it in the MacBook Pro w/10.6. Glad to see it still has native support (no driver install required) - plus it works when booted w/64-Bit Kernel also. It mounted the HD in the connected eSATA HD Dock fine (with both 32bit and 64bit kernel boots). Since I don't need more than 1 port and prefer the native support, I'm removing the Sil3132 drivers from the MacBook Pro that were used for the 3132 expresscard.)

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    Report from 2006 MacBook owner on 128GB Crucial SSD upgrade (replaced 7200rpm HD)
    I've updated the page of Crucial SSDs in Macs with a 2006 MacBook (not Pro) owner's notes/impressions on the SSD that replaced his previous 200GB 7200rpm Seagate notebook HD. (Also added as a drive db SSD report.)
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    Notes on OS X 10.6.1 update (w/fixes) in beta testing
    I'm sure you've already seen this (original article posted Wednesday, updated with partial release notes) but since then it's being rehashed all over the web lately here's the boygenius page on Snow Leopard 10.6.1.
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    Updated Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Docs (Many OS X 10.6 related)
    (Later added first)
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    Other News/Articles/Reviews, Misc. Software Updates

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