News Archive for: 12/01/2004 Wednesday's News (later posted items first)
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Reader feedback on World of Warcraft Performance
Earlier today I asked for reader feedback on World of Warcraft performance after an Nvidia 6800 GT owner wrote noting poor performance on his dual 1.8GHz G5. (To see what other graphics card owners reported as in that past ATI cards were reported to have better warcraft performance than nvidia cards.) I was out since 11AM today and just got back in tonight to find several reader mails on the subject:

Dual 2.5GHz w/9600XT:

" I am seeing excellent performance on my system while playing World of Warcraft, which incidentally consumes vast amounts of my life now. ;-)

System Specs:
PowerMac G5 (Dual 2.5 GHz)
1.5 GB Ram
Stock ATI Radeon 9600 XT w/128 MB VRAM

I am away from my home machine so I can't say what all the settings are, but I know that I am running it at my display's native 1280X1024 resolution.
Again, the performance is excellent...but in light of what I shelled out for this system, it darned well better be! Regards, Troy M. "

Beta WoW w/Dual G4 1GHz/Geforce4 Ti:

" concerning the poor performance the person with the dual 1.8ghz g5, 1.5GB RAM, and geforce 6800GT card had I must say I am quite perplexed.
Granted, I only played in the stress test beta for the 5 days it went on (before the real public beta), but on my dual G4 1GHz with 512MB RAM and a Geforce4 Ti (mac edition) I was able to run at 1280x1024 and maintain stable FPS. I had to turn down some options whenever I rode a gryphon though, or the ride would be a slideshow.

In other words, how is it that better processors, faster processors, almost three times as much RAM (faster ram too), and a faster graphics card manages to get worse performance than I got?
Jamie B. "

Maybe it's the retail version - no idea if he ever used the same version you did, and maybe there's some NV40 driver issue.

PB G4 17in/1.33GHz w/Radeon Mobility 9600:

" I have a PowerBook G4/1.33 (17") with the Radeon Mobility 9600. I have acceptable WoW performance, running at 1024x800 (I think that's the res, it's the wide-aspect one). I run with all options on low, however, which isn't too desireable
I suspect that the CPU is the problem in performance, though, and not the graphics card.
I have the 5400rpm 80gb drive, and 512mb or memory. Alexander J. "

Dual 2GHz G5 w/6800GT

" Unfortunately, I can confirm that WoW on a Dual 2GHz G5, 1GB RAM, 6800GT plays about the same as it does on the same machine with an FX5200 (even with 10.3.6). I talked my friend (who had never even used a Mac) into dropping close to $5,000 on the above machine with the 23" Cinema Display. His SOLE request was that he be able to play WoW. I told him it wouldn't be a problem, since Blizzard has the (very nice!) habit of releasing games for Mac and PC at the same time. Guess who has egg on their face now?

The problem, as you mentioned, seems to be the drivers, which do not appear to be optimized (even a little bit) for the new card that Apple is selling for $500 (not to mention the Ultra for $100 more!)... Although I am the ORIGINAL Apple fan from the Classic and SE/30 days, it is rediculous that:

-Someone can spend $5k on an Apple setup, and get horrible performance from a game designed from the get-go for a Mac (not even a port like Halo)

-Apple's machines by default come with the lowest of the low video cards (such as the Radeon 9200 (eMac) FX5200 (iMac, G5's 1.8- 2GHz), or the Radeon 9600 for the THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR DP 2.5 G5). With the exception of the G5's, the video cards ( in the eMac, iMac, Notebooks) are not even upgradeable. Even worse, when they ARE upgradeable, the upgrade (as above) DOES NOTHING!

-Apple's touts its Quartz Extreme technology, but can't provide good video cards for it to run on (Microsoft's Longhorn will take FULL advantage of all the latest video cards)

-There is NO focus on gamers at Apple. Even though Gamers are the ones who will drop thousands and thousands of dollars on the latest and greatest machine, just to play a new game.
AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!! (I'll hop off the soapbox now...)
-Sean "

As it has been for many years, most people with gaming as their primary use will choose to build (or buy) a PC instead. (With a ton of choices on motherboards, graphics cards, CPUs and games - all dropping in price from month to month...)

beta WoW w/Radeon 9000 and GF4 Ti: (I asked for system/mac model details)

" Hey Mike,
I don't have the full retail version of the game, but I played the beta for a few months and played the version that was shipped on cds. I used a Radeon 9000 and a GeForce 4 Ti and there was not a noticeable difference except in viewing distance I could use before it got choppy. I do recall reading in the patch notes for the major patch before they went to retail (not the little one that they have notes for now) that the mac version had graphical issues due to driver problems and I do not recall them fixing it. They said it was an apple issue.
Unfortunately Blizzard does not retain older patch notes, so I can't point to anything to prove it, but I am pretty sure I remember that it disabled shaders if not more.
David D.
P.S. Great site, I read it every day. "

9600XT in Dual 2.5GHz G5:

" Just wanted to let you know that I have a 2.5Ghz dual G5, 1.5 GB RAM, 250 GB HD with 9600XT on moderate WoW settings and my framerate is just fine outside of town. In town, depending on the town and my perspective, it can slow down a bit (10-20 fps), but outside of town framerate is rarely a problem (30-50 fps usually, with 40 avg).
However, note that I do _not_ have the settings maxed, as that does lag my card.

Also, I've done some poking around with WoW in a window and, as expected, it's not even coming close to peaking my processors. The bottleneck is certainly the graphics card. Lag is also not an issue since Thanksgiving day when most of the servers were upgraded (or whatever they did).
-Tyler F. "

I've created a separate page of Mac WoW performance reports with all the mails on this to date as well as comments from Blizzard's Mac team (recd 3AM Thursday morning) on Mac WoW performance/graphics cards and future updates.

(I've gotten more Apple AL cinema display owner reports (including one reader that finally got one he's happy with), as well as dozens of mails on other topics (wireless adapters, popcorn app, G5 optical audio, EyeTV, etc.) today but I'm really beat right now and I'll post those later.)

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Review of Logio Pro 7
Erik sent a note he's posted a review of Logic Pro 7.
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iBook G3 owner report on Hauppage WinTV USB using iTele software
I've updated the previous page of reader reports on OS X TV Tuner/software with an iBook G3/600 owner's comments on using a Hauppage WinTV USB with iTele software.
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Tests of Highpoint RocketRAID 1820A (8CH SATA card) in a G5
(from a reader mail on the Highpoint RocketRAID 1820A 8-channel SerialATA 64Bit PCI-X card which has mac drivers, although some have reported problems with the card/drivers in the past.)

"I just put a RocketRAID 1820A in my G5 along with an external array of 7k SATA drives.
Initial testing results are here:
At $1100 for 1 TB, this is a great value for uncompressed SD editing
Speeds decline as the array fills up (outer tracks always fastest, often 2x or so faster than inner tracks on a single drive), but even at the last 100 GB, speeds seem sufficient for SD editing
Adam L."

I asked if he'd seen any problems and he said not so far during initial file copy/tests.

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Nvidia 6800GT owner comments on poor World of Warcraft performance
(from a reader mail - later reader reports on WoW performance are above and also on a separate page of Mac WoW performance reports - that page also has comments from Blizzard's Mac team on WoW and future updates, as well as a contact email for feedback.)

" I've got a Powermac G5 Dual 1.8GHz (pci-x ver)/1.5GB RAM/500GB RAID 0/nvidia 6800GT (just for the record I asked if he's running 10.3.6 which had later drivers, although they may not help with this they did address some performance problems like homeworld 2-Mike)

World of Warcraft runs like a dog, independant of settings i choose. This is a widespread problem for anyone with a 6800 series card. While Apple's 'Ultimate' gaming machine recommends the Ultra (to play WoW and others), I do not recommend it. It's no better than a 5200Ultra. (for most any game the 6800 should be far better than the FX5200 when the graphics card is the bottleneck, but if there's a driver or game problem that's another issue.-Mike)

I'm certain it's got alot to do with the drivers for these 6800's. But some people I know are also complaining about unacceptable framerates with their 9800 series cards.
I was wondering if you had any information on this,
Glen C. "

I don't have any warcraft games installed, but in the past ATI cards were a better performer in these games as I remember. And being an online game, network/server performance could also be a factor I guess. However I'd welcome other WoW users comments on performance with any card/setup. Thanks.
(BTW - I'm really behind on mails and for those that sent ATI 9200 (and other) reports recently, I'll try to have them posted on the feedback page by the weekend.)

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Another source for USB to Ethernet Adapter w/Mac drivers
Yesterday's news had a note/link on a source for a USB to Ethernet adapter w/OS 9 and OS X (10.1.x and 10.2.x) drivers. A reader sent a mail on another USB to Ethernet adapter w/Mac drivers (although it costs almost 3 times more).

" I tried to inform you about a usb to ethernet adapter that works with os 9 to 10.3x months ago and you never posted it. (I have over 11,000 emails in my inbox but searching for his email address shows none from him on this - unless it was filtered as spam. It's impossible for me to read every email sent (although I try), but I can find no record of any mail from him on this in the past.-Mike)
BUE1U is the product on this page that works like a charm. It even comes with all the drivers for mac OS 9 to 10.3 and up.
(Note - the only mac driver download I saw there unstuffs to a Mac folder with subfolders for OS 9, OS X 10.1.x and OS X 10.2.x - there is no 10.3.x folder/driver in the download. The 10.2.x driver may work fine in 10.3.x and that was my question on the lower-cost adapter drivers from yesterday also.-Mike)
I own a multimedia supply store in williamsburg-brooklyn ,New York that has tested these without fail. The only problem is you cannot buy these directly from the company. They only sell to internet cable providers. Internet cable suppliers such as Time Warner offer these adapters to custamers that have no choice but to use these to use there service. But my store "Mikey's Hook-Up" has them and sells them to the public if anybody needs one. They run $39.99 .
I hope this is useful information.
Williamsburg-Brooklyn , NY "

The under-$14 adapter mentioned yesterday (per the latest reader mail he got it from doesn't have OS X 10.3 drivers either but I asked if anyone tried it in panther to let me know. (I.E. does the 10.2.x driver work ok in 10.3.x)

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Airport Express owner report on sound volume fluctuations
(don't own an Airport Express but posting this as a FYI to see if anyone else has seen it or has a suggestion)

"Airport express volume modulation
I' m having a problem with my Airport Express. When I am playing music through it, the volume goes up and down. It is not instant, but slowly fades low to high volume back and forth. It happened before the latest firmware upgrade, and still does after.

The express is hooked up using the optical connector, and the problem exists when streaming music from 4 different computers. I have tried every setting I could find, on every setting. I was just wondering if anyone has had this same problem, and possibly found a fix for it.
Thanks, Adam "

If anyone else has seen this or has a suggestion, let me know. Thanks.
(A past report on the Airport Express feedback/tips page said that his energy saver settings (processor performance and HD sleep settings) were the cause of pausing and other performance problems.)

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Other Net News
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 3 new reports this morning (entry from Tuesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,674. Here's a summary of the reports added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Fastmac G4/550 in (pismo) PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 1)
    (listed under 'other brand')
  • Fastmac G4/550 in (pismo) PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 10)
    (listed under 'other brand')
  • Other World Computing G4/533 in Beige G3 (rated 8)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

(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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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 4 new reports added this morning. (Entries from Tuesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, 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, USB, adapters). Current total 13,911 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports)

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE LG GCE-8526B (52x32x52x) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (using modified authoring support file, but noted problems finishing burn in iTunes.
    Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MiniTower and B&W G3 Macs)
  • IDE Liteon LTR-52327S (52x32x52x) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (not bootable from CD he said. FAQ's CDROM/CDR section has a modified burn support file for this drive and OS 9.x)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
  • IDE Samsung SM-332B (32x10x40x + 12x DVD) in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (not bootable from CD he said. noted using modified burn support file and problems using the drive after a hard drive os x corruption problem.)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE LG GSA-4160B in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (using Patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.x iApps burn support .)

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