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8/31/01 Friday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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More Powerlogix Firewire/USB Combo Card Reports:
Published: 8/31/00

Earlier this week the news page had a report from an owner of the Powerlogix RapidFire USB/Firewire combo card. I've received other owner comments on the card since then that may be of interest.

(latest reports first)

" The Powerlogix FireWire/USB combo card is called "RapidFire." I have one in my Power Computing PowerBase 240MT upgraded with a Powerlogix G4/450 card, 160MB RAM, 13GB 7200 RPM IDE drive (motherboard IDE bus), 10/100BT Ethernet Card, 16MB ATI Xclaim VR 128, and SCSI CD-R drive (motherboard SCSI bus) - yes, this puppy is loaded up.

My experiences with this card have been very good. USB devices work perfectly, although I am sure the USB hub I have hooked up to it helps a lot. It reads my Belkin Regulator Pro UPS signals just fine through the USB port and has shut down the computer perfectly during some power outages recently.

The FireWire port has only been tested with an external Maxtor 40GB drive. While I've had trouble with the drive I believe it mostly to be due to software issues. Right now it works perfectly if the Maxtor software is not active, leaving only the Apple FireWire extensions. Funny enough the more recent Maxtor software update caused the troubles, where the previous version was fine under the same OS (9.1). I have used the external FireWire drive to copy over the entire contents of my internal drive on several occasions for testing and reformatting purposes, and the restores have all worked great. I can transfer about 10GB of information in about 40 minutes over this bus.

I hope this helps with your search for info on this card.

Unrelated additional note:
What I do have trouble with is my ATI Xclaim VR 128 card - if Graphics Acceleration is turned on (and why in God's name would anyone not want it on if they bought this card?!) all my QuickTime generated sounds are garbled if there is any screen updating. This means an MP3 or a video will be all garbly unless I either a) hold down the mouse button to prevent any text from scrolling or video from playing or b) windowshade the window so there's no screen to update.

This problem permeates all the way to my system beep sounds being garbled, and that's regardless of the Graphics Acceleration setting. I don't have VM on, I've tried various levels of disk cache to no avail (I always used default settings for that anyway), and I've reinstalled the entire OS from scratch with no third party extensions at all on a freshly reformatted partition and I still get the garble.

The problem originally started when I switched to the Powerlogix G4 from a Powerlogix G3. After noticing this in a bad G4 upgrade (which I sent back) I returned to the G3 and the garble went away, but since switching to the replacement G4 upgrade (which works well although I have to have 3:1 bus ratio) the garble returned and now the old G3 card has garble, too! This is after CUDA resets, PRAM zaps, etc. and there's no motherboard cache. Any ideas?

I think it may be a compounded problem with the 9.1 updated disk drivers, since under 9.0.4 the G3 was fine, but since 9.1 it's not (the G4 never was, regardless of bus or speed setting), even if I revert to a fresh install of 9.0.4 on a 9.1 formatted clean partition.

Sorry for all the babble but this is the only problem in my Mac career I haven't been able to fix! I also realize I may just be at end of life on this machine and will buy a new one when I have the money!
Thanks for listening
Luis "

I've not used the VR128 for over a year. OS 9.1 may update other files (ATI related) that could be a factor perhaps. I'm hoping that ATI will release another driver update eventually for it. The Video articles page, Graphics card section has an old page on VR128 Feedback that has some early reports/tips and issues noted, but it's not been updated for some time.

" I have been running the Powerlogix Firewire/USB Combo Card since the last MacWorld SF without problems. The only Firewire device I have is a Yamaha external CDROM burner. I have yet to make a coaster. I never could get the Firewire side of my Evergreen combo card to work.

PowerComputing Powercenter Pro W/ Powerlogix Powerforce 220/110 clocked to 315/126.
Powerlogix Firewire/USB Combo Card.
System 9.0.4. Gary "

" Hey Mike, I use that card on my 8600/300 and it works great. I run an IBM 30 GB laptop hard drive in a Sarotech 2.5" FW/USB enclosure. The drive came IBM-formatted (FAT32), and it worked as soon as I plugged it into the Mac (9.1 and OS X 10.0.4). I eventually HFS-Plus formatted it with the Maxtor drivers. That works too.
Tyler P. "

" Hi Mike,
I received the same card when I bought my processor up-grade from powerlogix which is now in my Power Center Pro 180 which is running at 550/275mz with no trouble and has been since my review which I posted on your site.

My card has also worked well (I don't have any USB items) so I won't claim it works, but the firewire drive from OWC (external 40gig) (transfer rate are not as fast as advertised) and my video camera (sony with ilink) work great. I am running 9.0.4 system software and it was recommended that you run the latest firewire software that supports your Mac. My Mac would not start up with the 9.1 update so I have staid with what works. The firewire card works when plugged into my power book 500 G3 as well. (also running 9.0.4)
I hope that is of some help,
Eric D. "

(Comment below is in reference to the first reader report - see bottom of page)

" Tell Eric to try moving the cards around...on my S900 three of the 6 slots are somewhat flaky due to the PCI bridge chip.
Kyung C. "

Another reader asked if the card had the power cable connected (I've not seen the Rapidfire, but some cards have a connection for PS power vs using PCI bus power, which I think is for bus-powered devices. These types of cards are preferred for some older macs (performa series I think) that may not supply enough PCI slot power otherwise

(the previous RapidFire owner report follows)

" Hi Mike,
I haven't seen any mention of this card here or on any other forum. It has 2 external FW and USB ports respectively along with one internal FW port. I got this as part of a bundle along with a Powerlogix G3 upgrade. I installed the two cards in my S900 and everything seemed fine until I tried to use an external FW Drive (Sarotech Flex-HDD w/Maxtor 30GB 5400).

I was running OS8.6 at the time and with the Apple USB card support extensions. That part of the card worked flawlessly. I was able to format and successfully write to and read from the disk albeit rather slowly. When I ran the same tests using the FW port, the results were very disappointing. The performance was inconsisent but generally poor. When the system didn't hang, it would only write about 1.5megs/sec! Sometimes the files wouldn't be written correctly so that working with them was hit or miss with Error -39 showing up frequently.

The first thing I thought was that it was probably the beta Radialogic drivers that Sarotech provided with the enclosure or that OS8.6 was too old to handle FW, so I installed OS9.1 on another partition and tried again with a VST FW driver from a friend. Same results.

Just to make sure it wasn't my trusty old S900 showing its age, I plugged the card into Beige G3 300MT running OS9.1 (anything newer and there would be no reason to have this card). No Luck! In case you're pointing your finger at the drive/case, they worked brilliantly on an iMac DV as well as a Quicksilver G4 800DP.

Question: Has anyone had any luck with this card?
Eric Kirchhoff
Internet Programmer / Mac Geek

(I asked what chipset is on the card.) The Firewire Combo card feedback page here has no previous reports on the Powerlogix card. If any owners have any suggestions for Eric, let me know.

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