News Archive for: Friday, Feb. 3rd, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Mac Unreal Tournament 2004 v3369.2 update (Univ. Binary w/Mega/ECE bonus pack)
3Dgamer's UT2004 downloads page has the new 3369.2 update (199 MB) with several mirrors (no bittorrent required). Info from the readme file there:

" Retail v3369.2 patch for Mac OSX (incl. Mega/ECE bonus pack)
The 3369.2 patch for Mac OS X is now available. There are some fixes, but the biggest changes are the presence of Universal Binaries and the inclusion of the Epic Mega Pack."

If readers with an Intel Core Duo Mac have UT2004, let me know what flyby and botmatch framerates you're getting with this update. (I'm assuming Santaduck's UT2004 benchmark utility works ok on Intel CPU Macs. Use Asbestos map if possible, to allow for comparisons to past reviews of systems/cpu upgrades/video cards - thanks.)

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Seagate vs Maxtor Serial ATA 300GB (16MB cache) Hard Drives Review
"AMUG has just posted a new review of the Seagate 300GB 7200.8 SATA hard drive. We wanted to know what the difference in performance would be between the new 16MB version and the 8MB version. The new Maxtor MaxLine III 7V300F0 300GB 3.0Gb/s SATA hard drive was also added to the comparison. The review discusses performance, format size, weight and power usage...
Thank you, Michael Bean

As a reminder, the Seagate 7200.9 drives reportedly have SSC (Spread Spectrum Clocking) which isn't compatible with the onboard G5 SATA. (Seagate has a disable SSC utility available but it's for PCs not Macs. OWC wrote last fall they disable SSC on their stock of 7200.9 drives.)

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Bug with DVD Player, SystemUIServer and Digital Optical Out?
(from a reader mail - I don't have a sound system with optical support to test this)

" Subject: Known Bug with DVD Player, SystemUIServer and Digital Optical Out?
Here is a bug that I just ran into and I wanted to relay the symptoms in case it will help any others out there who are having the same "Mystical" problem. I've reported it to Apple and been told this problem is being worked on so HOPE is still alive for a remedy.
I did not find a posting in the forums or archives with this problem and even when searching the internet for help but it might be related to other SystemUIServer crashes ("Beach Ball of Death" I read about) and worth relaying because it's just another way to make the SystemUIServer fail.

My system is a DP G5 2.0, OS 10.4.4 and DVD Player 4.6.5.

I recently upgrade my home theater to include a Surround A/V Receiver with Optical in. Of course this gave me the opportunity to use my G5 as an input with it's built in Digital Optical out. I set up the DVD player software for Digital Passthrough and started watching some DVDs. Soon I realized anytime I watch in Full Screen then reduce the picture to do some work on the side I would get a spinning beach ball and nothing would work (Menu bar, Finder etc). However, Running programs were still responsive and even the DVD Player was fully functional. With some research, I found the following process would hang (not responding). SystemUIServer, loginwindow ... and sometimes the Finder itself. I opened a bug with Apple and sent several samples to them in which time they finally reported back they know of the issue and are working on it.

The work around I've been using is to leave activity monitor running in the background and force quit the SystemUIServer after a hang-up this will at least let me re-boot the computer or work with current running programs to save data before needing to reboot. If the loginwindow process is hung up, one is pretty much dead in the water because a force reboot of this process is just like logging out and back in. If the Finder and SystemUIServer stop responding I find killing SystemUIServer then the Finder is the way to go.

This problem is not seen with regular Analog out and the DVD player not set to Digital Passthorugh.

Hope this helps put some other minds at ease if they are having the same problem. OR if others have a better short term solution until a fix is found that would be great to hear too!
Thanks - Matt "

Several other readers replied this post today saying they'd seen this problem.
(Note: According to later reader reports in April, the OS X 10.4.6 update seems to have fixed this.)

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M-Audio USB Transit reports page updated (G4 Cube owner w/problems)
I've updated the page of M-Audio (USB) Transit Owner Reports with another Cube owner's comments on audio/dropout problems. (System error messages included in report - including the 'dead controller' error message seen in the past from some other Cube owners.)
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Another report on low-cost USB Audio cards (Soundblaster MP3)
(in reply to recent posts on $12 USB audio cards)

" I also wanted to mention the Creative Soundblaster MP3 as an option. I bought mine used off ebay for $3. I am not sure how much they are new, but there are always a lot of used Soundblasters floating around ebay.
It has mic, headphones, optical in, optical out, as well as Red & White in and out. I bought it to replace my Onkyo USB audio device because the Onkyo did not have optical connections. One interesting quirk on both of my USB devices is that whenever I restart the computer or wake from sleep, the sound always come from the internal speaker.
Even when I manually switch to USB audio in the sound pane, no sound comes from my USB connected speakers. The only way I have found to resolve this is to click the mute button in sound, then raise or lower the volume from my keyboard. Since this bug can be duplicated on my creative and onkyo, I wonder if this is not an OS X USB audio issue. I wonder if other users with different brands have had this problem as well. Overall, I am extremely pleased with the Soundblaster.

(Just for the record I asked what OS version he's using.-Mike)
I use 10 4.4 on an upgraded Quicksilver with a dual 1.2. In my case I had no choice since the sound port on my Mac doesn't work. The audio from this Soundblaster MP3+ is far superior to the internal sound. Since I only have Klipsch 2.1 speakers, I didn't bother with the extigy or other Creative USB that provide surround sound. All the ports including the mic port work. It is a 16 bit and not 24 bit card though, not that I can tell the difference. The Audio Midi Setup Utility in the utility folder also recognizes it.
-Alan W. "

Back when 10.3.x was first released I think there were some reader reports on using USB Soundblaster's (Creative Labs) with basic Core Audio support but I can't remember if there's been any since Tiger was released last spring.

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Hawking Technologies HWC54DA PCMCIA Wireless-G Card w/Mac Support
(In reply to recent posts on OS X 10.4.4/RAlink Wireless drivers/chipset adapters)

"Apparently, Hawking Technology has a Mac version of their HWC54D Wireless-G Laptop Card called HWC54DA. It seems that Hawking Technology is using the same RA2500 driver from RaLink. Check it out at
to see the wireless card specs and driver.
-Michael "

I knew regular readers are tired of me repeating this but I've always preferred the Broadcom chip based cards (which have native support in Airport 3.x/10.2.8 and later). The FAQ's Networking section has many of the past reports on compatible models (PCI, PCMCIA and USB) from news posts here, but remember vendors often change chipsets used over time. (Buffalo's mac compatible cards are often a safe bet but if in doubt, buy the card from a brick and mortar store with a return policy.)

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Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates
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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 5 new reports added this morning. (Entries later today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 15,531 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) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110D in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-110 in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
    (110 model has DVD-RAM support, 110D doesn't. Some readers flashed 110D's to 110s. See FAQ's DVD section item on Pioneer drive updaters.)
  • Firewire Sony DRX-810UL used w/iBook G4 (OS X 10.4)
    (although Tiger has basic iApps burn support for most drives without it, he noted using Patchburn 4. Some problems seen with FW use but not USB. Case has FW and USB ports.)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE (SerialATA onboard) Maxtor 6L300S0 300GB in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
  • USB (cased) Hitachi 80GB used w/Mac Mini (OS X 10.4)
    (problems noted but no details on USB case/bridge, etc.)

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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,179. Here's a summary of the report added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Sonnet G4 1.4GHz (7455) in (Sawtooth) G4/AGP tower (rated 10)

    (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).

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