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$59.99 NewerTech Mac PCIe eSATA 6Gb/sec (driverless) Controller card
(Update - On Jan 29th I posted a Quick Review of NewerTech's $59.99 eSATA 6G PCIe card)
From their press release:

"NewerTech Introduces Driverless MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card As Easiest Solution Available For Adding eSATA Ports To Mac Pros
$59.99 card features two 6Gb/s eSATA ports for use with any eSATA equipped storage solution or device and driverless "install it and forget it" ease of use

Driverless Install With No Updating Needed:
High performance doesn't mean a thing if its highly complicated to use, install, or a hassle to keep maintained. Because the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card is fully compliant with the industry standard Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI), there are no drivers to install and no future driver downloading/updating required. Additionally, the card uses the same connecting cables utilized by earlier SATA 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s devices for straight from the box, "install it and forget it" highest levels of convenience and performance.
"This is the easiest, Plug and Play solution on the market today for adding eSATA ports to a Mac Pro," said Larry O'Connor, President, NewerTech. "Unlike other cards, our MAXPower card eliminates the hassle of drivers during initial card installation as well any future driver maintenance and uncertainty of compatibility. It truly is one of the most affordable 'install it and forget it' performance upgrades for Mac Pros and PCs."

Adds Faster Than Factory Interface To Mac Pros
From faster backups and file transfers to high-end Audio/Video editing, connecting an eSATA interface equipped device to the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card can take data transfer performance to an entirely new level. Optimally compatible with Mac Pro models and PCs with an available PCIe 2.0 slot, the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card works with ANY eSATA interfaced equipped external hard drive or optical drive to deliver significantly faster data transfer rates over the fastest factory equipped Mac Pro interface of FireWire 800.

Future Ready Yet Fully Backward Compatible
The NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card is like a "performance assurance policy" as conventional hard disk drives and SSDs migrate to the SATA 6Gb/s standard. Installing the card now offers immediate speeds gains while making a Mac Pro or PC future ready for even greater speed gains. Like all good upgrades, the card doesn't leave the past behind. The NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card is fully backward compatible with PCIe 1.0 slots as well as previous generations of SATA 1.5Gb/s and 3Gb/s drives.

The NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card is available immediately for $59.99 MSRP from NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing as well as through the retail channel. It offers out-of-the-box ready driverless install for Mac OS X 10.5 & 10.6, Windows Vista & Windows 7, and any Linux version with built-in AHCI support. For more information, visit: http://www.newertech.com/products/pcieesata.php
OWC also offers several performance package deals based on the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card:

  • Buy any OWC or NewerTech brand preconfigured storage solution featuring an eSATA interface and get an instant $10 rebate on the NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card when purchased at the same time.
  • To get maximum data transfer speeds, an eSATA "pass thru" interface designed storage solution is a must. Get a complete package with an OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro eSATA RAID Ready Solution and NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card bundle starting at $187.99.

    For more details on either of these special NewerTech MAXPower eSATA 6G PCIe 2.0 Controller Card promotional offers, visit: http://eshop.macsales.com/search/esata+6g."

  • I didn't see any mention of PM (Port Multiplier) support - so assume it doesn't support it but wrote to ask about that. OWC later confirmed it doesn't. (I ordered one of these cards + an OWC eSATA only (pass-thru) Dual Drive Enclosure ($59.99) for some personal testing. Assuming good results, it will replace the $20 Dynex Sil3132 based card I mentioned in the early Sept 2009 article on cheap eSATA cards with SL.)

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    BumpTop for Mac - 'Your Desktop Reinvented'
    "BumpTop for Mac
    Thought you might want to check this out. I haven't installed it myself, but I am going to give it a whirl (need to set up a partition and clone first). Looks very interesting indeed!
    This is the counterpart to the Windows version.
    Best Regards, Chris"

    I stay so busy I don't get enough free time to play with things like this (and usually avoid these sorts of things in general). But if any readers have used it, let me know what you think of it.
    (FYI - several readers replied to this post - see Reader feedback on BumpTop for Mac OS X)

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    Playing Blu-Ray Movies in Mac OS X (using VLC and MakeMKV)
    I suspect this isn't news to many readers, but posting as a FYI (from a drive db report today)

    "Hey Mike, I recently purchased the LG Blu-Ray internal unit ($189 at OWC) (This 8x one. Discounted to $184.99 currently as of Jan 22nd, 2010) for my Mac Pro 8-Core and I have to say I love it. (Reader FYI - don't forget to remove tray edge bezel before installing optical drives. Usually just retained by plastic clips on the bezel edge)
    This unit hooks up as a SATA drive onto the main Motherboard (then I assume a 2008 or earlier Mac Pro. 2009's have SATA optical drives std) and it makes it a pretty fast storage unit for HFS+ files and Video/Graphics files you need to store. (IIRC since OS X 10.5 Finder burning of BR Data discs supported.) I was able to purchase 25 Blu-Ray Discs (25Gig) for $70.00 (625 Gigs of storage), and that's about .11 cents a Gig. I think it gets up to about 18MB per sec. on transfer speed. I will be doing more testing in that area. Regardless, it sure beats my FW or USB (Optical drive) transfer rates. eSATA may be another story, though.

    Yesterday, I downloaded "MakeMKV" (Here's MakeMKV 1.4.11 Beta for OS X d/l page) to see how that worked at ripping Blu-Ray discs. I was amazed!! I ripped a 23Gig movie (UP!) in about 30 mins. Then, I was able to play the Blu-Ray ripped movie with VLC. "MakeMKV" allows you to take just the movie itself and transfer it to your HD. Disney is usually very hard to rip from, but this worked on Blu-Ray. I wonder how long that will last?
    (MakeMKV's beta currently has a 60 day timeout. (See notes on the download page link above) but they say a you can then you just download the current version and reinstall - at least while it's still a beta. At some point it sounds like it'll turn into shareware or a non-free utility. I mentioned MakeMKV to Eddie as a way to get better A/V sync and Chapter support with his WD TV Live. (As his MP4 videos from Handbrake (appletv preset) would not keep A/V sync if paused/FF'd, etc and had no chapter support either. MKVs do. I know he'd converted one of his MP4/M4V's to MKV via HandBrake, which worked also (chapter support FF/Rev, etc.) but thought there was a way to batch convert.)
    MakeMKV appears to not use very much CPU/cores (compared to handbrake) and the 09 Mac Pro CPU temps stay low.-Mike
    )

    So, with VLC media player, YOU CAN watch Blu-Ray videos on a Mac when you transfer the disc to an MKV file on your HD. Beautiful picture. Supposedly, you can then burn the MKV file onto another Blu-Ray Disc and watch it on any Blu-Ray player, except that Apple doesn't support Blu-Ray. On anything else it works. Pretty amazing.
    That's it for now,
    -JMAN"

    I wrote to confirm it was a 2008 or earlier Mac Pro - he replied it is.
    (2009 models have SATA optical drives standard w/SATA cables already in the Optical bay. For pre-2009 Mac Pros the 2 spare motherboard SATA ports are often used for SATA drives in the Optical bay (or with cable kit/bracket - eSATA drives - covered in this previous article here on Using the Mac Pro's 2 spare onboard SATA Ports.)

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    = From my Site Sponsor (Jan 22, 2010) =
    Price cuts on Elite-AL Pro Firewire + USB2 External Drives up to 2TB. Includes all cables, Software bundle (Intech HD Speedtools utility suite, Prosoft Data Backup 3 for OS X and NovaBackup for Windows) and 3 Year Warranty.
    See Elite-AL Pro solutions line with current pricing.
    Also available are Elite-AL Pro Enclosure Kits now from $49.99.
    Elite-AL solutions also qualify for our Prosoft Drive Genius II special offer (full retail/latest ver) - as low as $25 ($99 list) with purchase of a qualifying storage product.
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    Adobe TechNote on InDesign/Illustrator CS/CS2 fail to launch after OS X Acrobat 8.2 update
    Late posting this from a reader mail yesterday. (See updated post for link to Adobe TechNote on the problem - related to the recent Acrobat 8.2 security update apparently. Technote includes a download/temporary fix.)

    "Adobe CS2 Issues
    Ref: Macuser UK forum thread InDesign CS2 Serial No. error
    If you use Adobe CS2, a problem has arisen. The link above indicates that it is a recent issue (some of the posts are dated 1/21/10). CS2 is no longer supported, and Adobe was no help last week when this problem first appeared. After what seems to have been a few calls, they are no accepting responsibility, and working on a fix.

    The symptoms are that InDesign asks to re-enter the serial number, and that then fails. Also, Illustrator will not open (Photoshop seems unaffected). You can, if desperate, remove ALL Adobe files and reinstall. It will work for maybe 24 hours, and then the symptoms recur.

    I have no idea how long this is going to take for the permanent fix. Call 800-833-6687 opt 3 to get on a list so Adobe can email you when the fix is available.
    -Bob M.
    Mac OS Consultant"

    I don't use any CS2 apps (I do have PShop CS3 on the 10.5.8 iMac. But I avoid using Acrobat/reader for years - another security update for it recently.)
    Update: Reply from a reader to this post:

    "Ref: Post on CS2 Issues
    Mike, I wonder if it was the Acrobat update like several have had problems with. See apple forums thread: Can't open (CS2) Illustrator & InDesign after Security Update
    -Bruce"

    That apple forum thread includes a link to an Adobe TechNote: InDesign and Illustrator CS or CS2 fail to launch after applying the Mac OS X Acrobat 8.2 update with a download/tip (temporary) for that problem. See TechNote for details. (BTW - later posts in the MacUser UK forum thread also include notes/links to that Adobe TechNote.)

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