News Archive for: 11/9/2005 Wednesday's News
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Updated Compatibility info on Firmtek SATA PCI cards and SATA Drives
Earlier this year I posted info from Firmtek on their PCI SATA cards and compatibility problems with SATA (SerialATA) drives that had SSC enabled. (SSC is Spread Spectrum Clocking, used to reduce EMI. See this EETimes article.) Firmtek added this info at the bottom on some of their PCI SATA card product pages like the 4 port SeriTek/1VE4 and FirmTek SeriTek/1VE2+2. Jeff at FWdepot send a mail with an updated list of compatible drives (i.e. with SSC disabled)

" Mike, we have had some customers call regarding various drive issues they were experiencing with our SATA products and with the FirmTek/ SeriTek line of SATA PCI cards and enclosures.
We and Firmtek have found problems with certain SATA drives which have SSC turned on and therefore will NOT work - you need to use non-SSC drives At this time, the following Hitachi Deskstar hard drives have the SSC feature disabled, and are compatible with the SeriTek/1VE4 host adapter:

Model 7K500 (500GB) - Part Number HDS725050KLA360
Model 7K400 (400GB) - Part Numbers 0A30984 and 0A30985
Model 7K250 (250GB) - Part Number 0A30340
Model T7K250 (250GB) - Part Number HDT722525DLA380
Model 7K250 (160GB) - Part Number 0A30339
Model T7K250 (160GB) - Part Number HDT722516DLA380
Model 7K250 (120GB) - Part Number 0A30338
Model 7K250 (80GB) - Part Number 0A30337
Model 7K80 (80GB) - Part Number HDS728080PLA380
Model 7K80 (40GB) - Part Number HDS728040PLA320
Other Serial ATA hard drives from manufacturers such as Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital do not have the SSC feature enabled by default and are therefore compatible.
The new Seagate SATA 500G comes in 2 versions - one with SSC enabled, one without SSC. Users want to get the non-SSC version of the drive
regards, Jeff
FireWire Depot "

I asked Jeff if he had the model number of the Seagate 500GB drive with SSC disabled and he said he'd check and write back. He also said Firmtek will be updating their listing of drives soon for the above.
I checked Seagate's site and found only one 500GB SATA (7200rpm) drive model - the ST3500641AS. A recent drive db report from a G5 owner noted problems with this drive also, as did an email today from a G5 owner using the onboard SATA. He wasn't sure if he had a bad drive or if there was another issue, as has been reported with the WD400GB/16MB cache SATA drive and G5 onboard SATA. (A SIIG SATA PCI card worked with it however)

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More reports on 10.4.3 OpenGL problems with some Apps/Games
Yesterday's news had a post on 10.4.3 OpenGL front buffer, Menu problems w/some 3D apps/games. (Blender and Sims2 for instance). Several readers replied to that post .

" I've got an Nvidia FX 5200 card in a G5 1.6GHz (single cpu desktop) and speaking of 10.4.3, it broke folding@home screensaver (which is, you know more than screensaver) making it display a white screen.

My favorite game (ww2 online, new name: Battleground Europe) gets some bug reports at its forum talking about same symptoms (white screen): (URL doesn't connect for me.-Mike)
I also verified Sims 2 really have major problems (I couldn't quit without force quit), impossible to play or even quit cleanly. Whole screen messes up because of that bug including quit menu :)
-Ilgaz "

Yesterday's news had a reply from Aspyr tech support saying they're aware of the problem and are working on an update. (I'm hoping there's a general fix/update coming from Apple, rather than every developer having to change their apps or games.)

" There are a variety of problems from the 10.4.3 update for both ATI and nVidia cards with Sketchup a OpenGL based 3D modeling package. There are some work arounds for Sketchup, turning off "fast feedback" and for some using the ATI Displays downloads have allowed some users to regain functionality. There are several threads on the Sketchup forums about this issue.

So far I have chosen not to do the upgrade fearing problems.

The publishers of Sketchup, @Last, have posted an alert on their front page:
-Karl M.
(he sent a copy of the post/alert)

Dear SketchUp User: The release of Apple's update to OS X 10.4.3 has caused some problems for a number of OpenGL applications including SketchUp. If your video is driven by:

ATI video card: You may see extreme cases where dots follow your cursor when using tools like the Pencil tool in larger models. Or you may see things like lines that are drawn by the tool don't seem to be at the right depth. In both of these cases, the issue can be fixed by turning off fast feedback: SketchUp pulldown menu -> Preferences -> OpenGL -> uncheck "Use fast feedback"

nVidia video card: You may be unable to see geometry as it is drawn in large models until after the drawing action is complete - e.g., no rubber band stretching of an edge with the Pencil tool. This issue can be fixed by turning off fast feedback as mentioned above. You may also not be able to see the selection boxes when using the Select tool. Unfortunately, the only fix for this issue is to turn off your video card's hardware acceleration: SketchUp pulldown menu -> Preferences -> OpenGL -> uncheck "Use Hardware acceleration"

These are the issues which have come to our attention, but there may be other problems. Unfortunately, the Apple update has caused problems for a number of other applications that use OpenGL. @Last is working with Apple to hopefully have Apple issue a fix as soon as possible. In the meantime if you have not already updated to OS X 10.4.3, @Last recommends that you refrain from doing so temporarily.We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
@Last Software
"The SketchUp People"

One reader with an ATI 9800 Pro card wrote about a problem with addon maps for Call of Duty United Offensive after the 10.4.3 update. (Not sure this is related, but posting in case anyone as a tip or notes they don't see the problem)

" I dont know if this is a GL problem but it's bugging the heck out of me after the 10.4.3 update. When ever I start up Call of Duty UO and it's a third party map. I get errors max_patch_planes. any thoughts on this
G5 dual 2GHz (2004), ATI 9800 Pro mac 256MB. thanks
-MH "

If any reader has seen this (or not) in 10.4.3 or has a tip, let me know. (And if you've seen a problem with an app or game not already mentioned, send a note on the version and graphics card you're using.)

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Another report of onboard G5 SATA problems with WD 400GB Drive
I've updated the previous page on WD4000GB/16MB cache Onboard G5 SATA Problems (and tests with SIIG SATA PCI card) to include another G5 owner's report on problems with that Western Digital drive. (He also reported using a PCI SATA controller helped.)
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Good Guys Closes, 40% off sale on Mac software
(from a reader post - just a FYI to anyone that's near one of the stores)

" Good Guys closes, some great deals on Mac stuff!
Long time CA retailer the Good Guys has closed down. They are doing a 'store within a store' in CompUSA in Hawaii and CA. For mac users, there are some great deals.
40% off on software at their stores while supplies last. This means 40% off on things like Adobe Creative Suite and OSX and Toast. $400 off of $1000 software is nothing to sneeze at.
Most macs are pretty much sold out, but there are 25% off on some eMacs and minis at my store locally, and open box laptops and accessories. iPods all sold out in the first day according to the store guys.
There are also some okay (but not great) offers on flat tvs and projection tvs, but not any lower than you could get from Vanns or Tiger or JR without a clearance sale. And there are good deals on "high end" speakers that usually are not ever marked down (Bose, Monitor Audio) and lots of car audio deals...
-Michael K. "
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Other Net News
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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 4 new reports added. (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 - 15,249 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 Matshita UJ-825 in PowerBook G4 (OS X 10.4)
    (has notes on problems w/drive recognition after 10.4.3 update)
  • IDE NEC 3540A (ND-3540A) in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
    (although OS X tiger has basic iApps burn support for most drives without it, he mentioned using Patchburn 4. Includes notes/links on firmware updates. NECFlashX is linked in the FAQ here.)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE (SerialATA onboard) Hitachi 7K500 500GB in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
  • IDE (SerialATA onboard) Western Digital WD4000KD 400GB in G5 Tower (OS X 10.4)
    (another report of problems with this drive and the G5 onboard SATA. Also see a previous article here on WD4000GB/16MB cache Onboard G5 SATA Problems, Tests with SIIG SATA PCI card)

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 2 new reports (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,109. Here's a summary of the reports added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Giga Designs Dual G4 1.8 GHz in (QS) Dual G4 (rated 3)
    (not reliable at 1.8GHz or 1.6GHz)
  • Apple PowerBook G4/550 OC report (at 667MHz)
    (includes link to article on mods. noted ASP reports speed as 500MHz)

    (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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