News Archive for: Thursday April 5, 2007 (later added items first)
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Apple Support Doc on 8-Core Mac Pro Memory and HD Kit compatibility
Apple has a couple new knowledge base docs on the new 8-core Mac Pro. With the same memory type/bus speed and drive interface I didn't think there would be anything new required as far as memory and drives, but there's a new doc on Mac Pro (8-Core): Memory and hard drive kit compatibility:

" Mac Pro (8-Core): Memory and hard drive kit compatibility
With the release of Mac Pro (8-Core) computers, Apple has qualified additional memory and hard drive options. Apple memory and hard drive kits designed for Mac Pro (8-Core) computers are compatible with all Mac Pro computers (quad-core or 8-core).

Important: Mac Pro memory and hard drive kits designed for quad-core Mac Pro computers only are not qualified for use with a Mac Pro (8-Core) computers.

Apple kits compatible with all Mac Pro computers (quad-core and 8-core)
Part Number and description

  • MA985, 1GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x512MB
  • MA986, 2GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x1GB
  • MA987, 4GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x2GB
  • MA988, 500GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive for Mac pro
  • MA989, 750GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive for Mac pro

    Apple kits compatible only with quad-core Mac Pro computers
    Part Number and description

  • MA684, 1GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x512MB
  • MA685, 2GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x1GB
  • MA833, 4GB 667MHz DDR2 FB DIMM ECC - 2x2GB
  • MA690, 500GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive for Mac pro
  • MA851, 750GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive for Mac pro"
  • There's an update to the Mac Pro Developer Doc dated yesterday that has added a mention on the 8-core option (and link to the Intel Xeon Processor 5300 Series support site) but I didn't see any memory (or drive) requirement differences noted there for the 8-core model. I also checked the Ram Expansion Developer note which was also revised to mention the 8-core model, but again no changes otherwise in requirements for it. And the Technical Note on Thermal considerations for Mac Pro FB-DIMMs is the same as before - it has not been revised since 2006.

    If anyone knows if the "8-Core" qualified memory has larger heatsinks than before (or some other difference) and any info on the hard drive kit changes, let me know.
    OWC today sent a press release on memory upgrades for 8-Core Mac Pros at, which now shows "Netlist" qualified memory and OWC qualified memory - with different heatsink designs although both say they're 8-core qualified. (The "Netlist" heatsinks look similar to the original OWC Mac Pro memory heatsinks and the OWC memory now have heatsinks that look like the original (ribbed) Mac Pro OEM types.) I wrote to ask Larry at OWC and Transintl if they knew the reasons for the Apple doc above. My guess was it's power/thermal related or some errata/quirk with the 8-Core CPU and some FB-Dimm's AMB chip or drive's firmware, but neither vendor had any concrete info yet on why Apple notes this, unless there was some issue with some of their kit stock and the AMB chip used on some of the older kits. (For the drives, that's a puzzle too - unless some previous kit drives were found to have some issue with the 8-core CPU.)
    Apple also has a new doc on How to identify a Mac Pro (8-Core) computer.

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    Free Motion Templates
    Mark sent a note that Peter Wiggins' website has several Free Apple Motion Templates. (Radar sweep template, Star Wars Template, Animating Dollar Element, Filmstrip Template and Broadcast Clock Template - click on the image of each to view a sample movie.) The "Glass Pane CSI Style" costs $25.
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    OS X 10.4.9 DVD Playback patch for ext. drives (w/o internal DVD drive)
    The Oct. 4th, 2006 news page had info on a 10.4.8 (Manual) Patch for external drive DVD Movie playback (w/no internal DVD drive) that one reader said no longer worked with 10.4.9 -but- a reply to this post said otherwise:

    " I did apply the same edits using a hex editor. I did not pay attention whether the offsets changed. It works fine on a B/W G4 500 MHz with a NVIDIA 6200. (No DVD compatible internal drive.)
    -RM "

    The reader that said the 10.4.8 offsets didn't work later wrote that the same edits did work when using different offsets for 10.4.9. I've updated that older page to note this but to save you a click here's a copy with the 10.4.9 offsets listed. (Edit using Hexedit or Resorcerer, etc.)

    "The file to be changed is: (backup before editing.)

    and the changes are (in red):

    Offset 674A0:
        4082 0020 80A1 0040 3860 0000 7CA4 F430
    -> 4082 0020 38A0 0000 3860 0000 7CA4 F430

    Offset 9E2C0:
        4E80 0020 7C48 02A6 429F 0005 BE01 FFC0 7FE8 02A6
    -> 4E80 0020 3860 0000 4E80 0020 BE01 FFC0 7FE8 02A6

    Editing the file needs naturally Admin rights."

    Sometimes running repair permissions after editing a standard OS X file is also worth doing.

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    Price cuts on Neptune Firewire Hard Drives w/Backup software bundle
    (from site sponsor OWC)

    "OWC Neptune FireWire Solutions now from $92.99; 250GB for $117.99!
    When looking for High Performance, Value, and Reliability - the OWC Neptune FireWire 400 storage solutions are the "Value Done Right" answer! Featuring the latest Oxford911+ chipset based custom bridge solution, Neptune FireWire solutions are great for Audio/Video, Music, Backup (Fully Dantz/EMC Backup Certified), Photography, general storage, and more. These solutions are also fully bootable on any system that supports external firewire startup too. Fast, Compact, excellent value for any application where FireWire 400 meets your data needs. These solutions are complete too and include FireWire cable, Intech HD Speedtools Utility Suite, fully pretested/preformatted, and backed by a full 1yr OWC solution warranty + up to an additional 4 years factory warranty on the hard drive mechanism inside!

    ALL OWC Neptune FireWire 400 Solutions now include the award winning Prosoft DataBackup™ III (Latest Version, full retail) for OS X (a $59.95 retail value) and the award wining NovaStor NovaBACKUP® for Windows (a $49.95 retail value). Not limited or lite versions, these are FULL RETAIL versions with the full support and version updates included are provided to customers buying these as standalone retail packages. Great software we're pleased to be bundling with our great solutions!
    80GB 7200RPM with 8MB Data Buffer - $92.99
    160GB 7200RPM with 8MB Data Buffer - $107.99
    250GB 7200RPM with 16MB Data Buffer - $117.99 ($10 Drop)
    320GB 7200RPM with 16MB Data Buffer - $149.99 $18 Drop)
    400GB 7200RPM with 16MB Data Buffer - $199.00 ($33 Drop)
    500GB 7200RPM with 16MB Data Buffer - $207.99 ($32 Drop)
    Neptune 'Value Done Right' solutions can be found here
    UPS Ground shipping available from $2.95 to $4.50; 2nd Day Air $7.95 Special "

    (The Other News/Software Updates listing below has been updated also. Also working on entering dozens of drive database reports today that I'd gotten behind on in the last month or two. Sorry...)

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    TechRestore Offers Pre-Upgraded (Hard Drive) Apple TV systems
    (from their email PR)

    "TechRestore, Inc. announced today that they have begun offering pre-upgraded Apple TV systems for sale. (Note: site requires cookies enabled in browser) These systems have been pre-configured with storage upgrades up to 160 Gigabyte. The 160 Gigabyte units allow for up to 200 hours of video storage, 36,000 songs, 100,000 photos. Prices start at $399 for an Apple TV with double the factory storage space. TechRestore includes a 1-year warranty on upgraded Apple TV systems.

    Complete pricing is as follows:
    Apple TV 80GB: $399
    Apple TV 100GB: $419
    Apple TV 120GB: $439
    Apple TV 160GB: $499
    The systems are shipping today."

    Techrestore was one of the three vendors that previously announced drive upgrade services for existing Apple TV owners that didn't want to do it themselves.

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    Latest feedback on iBook GPU contact Repair Services
    (late posting this from a reader mail last week)

    "I have a cousin who handed me an injured G3 iBook, the one with the video problem. (Graphics chip contact problem, where the BGA chip solder joints crack over time from board flex.-Mike) I was looking online for a fix and found some solutions (some users tried reflowing the solder joints although not recommended for home users. Some also just added more compression on the GPU to increase contact force, but that may not be a permanent fix-Mike), but didn't want to do any more damage to it. On the next day, I kept searching and searching and finally your site came up with the (Feb. 12th) story on iBook Video (GPU separation) Repair Service article. I was like "Wow, the article was just posted just for me and perfect timing, yay!!!" On Feb 27, 2007, I sent my G3 iBook's motherboard to the superiorreball guys...
    (he later wrote)
    I just wanna let you know that I picked up the board on March 26. On March 27, I was able to assemble the laptop together. After that, I turned it on and everything was working, I can hear it booting except the video had the pinkish stripes again. I even used the video out, but no picture.
    Today, after work, I turned it on again and this time it only took a second to be on and it would never turn on again. I triple checked my connections and they all looked good....
    Dale, from superiorreball, told me this via email:

    "Hello Charles,
    Please send the board back. I will look at it again free of charge of course. We have just purchase(d) an old ibook that we intend to use for a test bed for customers boards. We will now be able to power up the logic board and make sure it works. I apologize for the inconvenience. I really think that we can get your board working. If we have to, I will put a different GPU onto your board. We are all about customer service here. If we can't fix the board I will refund your money."

    A reader from Scotland replied:

    "Hi Mike, I felt i had to write to you to add to the posting about SuperiorReBall. After reading the initial post about this service I contacted them to enquire about International Customers. I quickly received a reply from Dale at SuperiorReBall to say that International work is welcomed by them. The only requirement is that the owner of the logicboard pays for the shipping. I am based in Scotland, and the favourable exchange rate makes their service a very good value. Even more so if you can lump several boards into one shipment. It is refreshing to see that SuperiorReBall pride themselves on customer service. It has certainly given me, and should give other potential international customers, the confidence to give them a try. They quoted me $60 (30) per GPU plus a fee of $20 (10) to cover the return postage back to Scotland. Even allowing 20 ($40) to cover posting and packaging from Scotland, the total repair bill should be less than 60 ($120).

    A new logicboard will cost several hundred , if you can source one. The service offered by SuperiorReBall is outstanding value for money. Ebay is littered with people selling iBooks with this problem. I now feel confident enough to offer a repair service for these people in conjunction with SuperiorReBall...

    I've seen some used iBook G3/500s sell for under $200 at times (depending on configuration), but then there's always the chance the problem could happen later even if buying one that's ok. (Last April there were posts here on end user iBook G3 Video Repairs but with a note they may not be a permanent fix.)

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    Other News/Misc. Software Updates/Updated Apple Support Docs
    (Includes listing of updated apple support docs)

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