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News Archive for Thursday January 5, 2012           Go to Current News Page

Mac Upgrades/Mods/Repairs | Storage | Video | Audio/Home Theater | OS Updates/Tips/WiFi
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Reader Feedback on Sonnet Echo ThunderBolt/Expresscard Adapter
(Reply to Monday's link to a Review of Sonnet's Echo adapter, no longer online.)
(Updated Feb 1st for follow-up)
"Sonnet Echo ThunderBolt Adapter
I am currently using this with current generation 27" iMac running OS X 10.6.8 with mixed results - had it about 2 weeks now. (Also tried OS X 10.7 with same results).

First the referenced review is wrong - NO SOFTWARE DRIVER REQUIRED - native support. (That review now revised to note the driver was for the Expresscard)

Second using with (Sonnet) eSATA Card (which one?) and it only works with a limited number of external cases. No reply yet to questions to tech support on what bridges they support, which are better Sonnet eSATA Expresscard match etc. Several different OWC external cases are not recognized (which work fine with FirmTek cards on Mac Pro) while some are.
(As noted for years on other pages here, eSATA is not always troublefree with every card/ext. case/bridge combo, even when using native Expresscard slot/PCIe slots.)

Third it is NOT Bootable at least on my system (w/this expresscard) - they claim (card) boot ability with MacBook Pros so had hoped for same on iMac with the selected card - main reason I chose that card.

But on those cases it does recognize, it works OK and does offer expansion (via Expresscards) not available on an iMac or MacBook Pro without Expresscard slot.
(FYI: The Macs/Systems page here has some previous articles on eSATA Mods for Intel-based iMacs and some intel-based Mini models (2006-2007) by using the Airport card's mini-PCIe slot for an SATA card. Also (sponsor) OWC has a 'turnkey' upgrade program for 2010/2011 iMacs to use an onboard SATA port for eSATA (as well as adding SSD and other upgrade options).-Mike)

With Sonnet eSATA Express/34 Card (SATA 6G 2 port card) it gets quite warm.

Have no other Express/34 cards to try - I bought it with express intent to use it solely for HD expansion. May look at USB 3 instead of eSATA.

(On Feb 1st he sent an update:)
Update - Finally heard from Sonnet Tech Support and they acknowledged that there were problems with the particular Sonnet card I was using and it was no longer on the compatibility list (ExpressCard/34 SATA 6G 2 Port). Went with the older Tempo SATA ExpressCard/34 and it is working fine - however it is not bootable which is a pain. (Most are not bootable, especially if they require a driver install)
-Leonard C"

Here's the Sonnet Echo product page with Tech Specs and Compatible Products info. (The support/downloads page for Echo has a FAQ.)
IMHO unless there's some specific Expresscard you must have, I'd pass on this adapter. Hopefully later this year there will be more native Thunderbolt products. (And lower prices.)

SheepShaver in OS X Lion (for Classic apps w/Intel-based Macs):
(From a recent reader mail, in reply to an old article here from 2006 on Sheepshaver, used to run Classic/OS 9 or earlier apps on Intel-based Macs.)

"SheepShaver on Mac mini w/Lion
This may be useful to someone?
Just finished setting up Sheep shaver on a Mac mini 2.3GHz Core i5, Mac OS X 10.7.2. 32-bit mode.
Needed it to run an old Foxpro 2.6 database solution for my business. Installed Foxpro 2.6a with the 68K emulation option. Everything runs perfectly.
  (I still don't have Lion on anything yet but from the 32bit comment, I assumed he booted to a 32-bit kernel. (As with OS X 10.6, options to boot to 32-bit or 64-bit kernel.) There were also some freeware Pref panes for that.-Mike)
  If I hold down the 3 and 2 keys (i.e. "32" bit boot) on restart and the go to terminal it tells me I'm in 32-bit mode (i386). If I restart it (w/o keys down) tells me I'm in 64 bit mode (the default on for the i5). (Boot mode toggle via keys down method is not persistent.)

Also for what it's worth sheepshaver seems to be run OK in either mode, at least from some limited checking I've done using Foxpro as the application.
I had read on some site you needed to run Sheepshaver in 32-bit mode? But it looks like it is running OK in the default 64-bit mode.

I will share my experience with it after I have run more testing, printing etc.
Like I said I need to get this up and running for my business so I don't have to worry about my old emac G4's screen going blank (I bought two used ones last year to replace my originals.)

Thanks Dan.

Data Doubler/SSD Install in 2009 iMac:
(Late posting this from Dec 30th mail)
"Swapped optical for SSD in a late 2009 27" iMac
Over the holiday I finally got around to swapping out the optical drive in my iMac for an SSD (OCZ Vertex 2, 120GB). I used the OWC Data Doubler mounting kit (model for 2009-2011 iMac and 2009 mini's) and it worked as advertised. The whole process was really pretty easy. I used the ifixit guide to open the iMac, and the OWC kit just dropped right in.

I then used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone everything but /Users to the SSD, and then made a link (a Finder alias won't work, it has to be a unix (symbolic) link in the Terminal) for /Users back to my old disk.

When I rebooted it was all good to go, even the links in the dock and finder sidebar were correct. And it took less than two hours. OWC also sells a decent and cheap ($9! - garage sale item) External USB case for the optical drive, which works great in my limited testing, although it does use 2 USB ports. (To ensure enough pwr via USB bus only)

And the speed increase of having (almost) everything on the SSD is very noticeable, even with my user dir still on the HDD. Anyway, just letting you that OWC continues to make good product!
Mike C.
Systems Admin
(reading your site since 1997!)"

Thanks, appreciate the support especially during the tough times.

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