News Archive for: 10/15/2004 Friday's News
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G4 to 20 Drive Server Cube Case Conversion
Doug Birling sent a writeup and photos of his "Son of FrankenMac", G4 to 20 Drive Server Cube Case Conversion. He includes comments on setting up a RAID 10 array in the system also.
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Reader reports on flashing DVR-108 drives w/DVRFlash2.0/Flashkit 2.0
This morning I posted notes/links for the long-awaited OS X flasher update w/support for the latest DVR-108 Pioneer drives and asked for DVR-108 feedback on using it (I have a 107 drive but not a 108 drive in a Mac.) Several readers sent notes they flashed their 108 drives successfully:

" Hi Mike, No trouble here using the new software to flash an Other World DVR-108-based drive from firmware rev. 1.10 to 1.14. I haven't done any real tests to see if the firmware improved drive speed (as is claimed), but the installation went fine and everything seems to work.
Regards, Jay "

" Hi Mike, Quick report on flashing a DVR-108 internal in a G4 AGP 450MHz. Flashing worked as per DVRFlash read me - increased (firmware rev) from 1.04 to 1.14.
Is now burning 16x DVD-R on 8x media instead of 12x on 8x before update with Toast 6.0.7
Early days yet, but everything is going as advertised so far.
Cheers, Richard R. "

" I used it to flash mine. No problems.
Gary B. "

" I just flashed (firmware) 1.14 to my external drive DVR-108, and used it to with Toast 6.0.7, It seemed to make the writing slower than before. The firmware update when flawlessly and is recognized in toast as 1.14.
Tedd "

I received many more mails on successful 108 flashing later in the day.

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New Apple/Pioneer Superdrives from $59
(from site sponsor OWC)

" Listed at a discount on the XLR8yourMac Reader Specials Page:
Apple Logo, Apple Rom - Plug and Play Apple/Pioneer DVR-105 4X DVD-R/RW, 16X CD-R, CDRW. New with 1 year OWC Warranty for $59.00

And for those just needing to burn CDs at a respectable rate and reading DVDs is enough, the Genuine Apple, Apple Logo & Firmware 32x10x40 CD-R/RW/Read + 12X DVD-Rom Combo drive are still an XLR8YourMac Special at $45.00. These are plug and play bootable drives and a nice upgrade for someone with a Read only or slower drive in general.

For those looking for more.... Our SuperDrive Value Bundles Pages have:
Apple Rom Pioneer DVR-106 DVD+/-R&RW; CDRWs from $79.99, including Value Bundles with Software and Media from $92.95 with 1yr OWC Warranty.

Pioneer DVR-108 (16x DVD+R/-R, 4x Dual Layer DVD+R,32x CDR/24x CDRW) with either Black or Beige Bezel are in stock from $107.99 including software and media. These DVR-108s have a 1 year Pioneer Warranty and are also found here.
We certainly have the options for those looking to start creating CDs and DVDs.
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"

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Nvidia notes slow FX5200/Homeworld 2 Performance to be fixed in 10.3.6
Nvidia replied to the notes in yesterday's news about very slow performance in Homeworld2 with Nvidia FX5200 graphics in OS X 10.3.5:

" Mike,
I noticed the news item on your front page about Homeworld 2 performance with the GeForceFX 5200 Ultra. I thought you might like to pass along the info to your readers that the problem has already been fixed for the next NVIDIA driver release, which will be included with Apple's 10.3.6 Software Update (coming soon to a Mac near you).
Stephen B.
Lead SQA Engineer, Macintosh
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Pioneer OS X DVRFlash 2.0 Utility (w/FlashIt 2.0) Released (w/DVR-108 Support, Improved Firmware File Handling)
(from a reader mail last night)
" Hey Mike,
I just wanted to let you know that the Pioneer DVRFlash 2.0 Utility has finally been released. No more popping drives in and out of PCs and back into Macs again to get the latest updates. Discussion on the specifics of what can/can't be done with DVRFlash 2.0 is here:
Most notably:
    "With this tool, PIONEER DVR-103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108 & K12 can have their firmware updated. No need to plug the drive into a PC! IDE/ATAPI, USB, USB2 and FireWire drives can be updated."

Also, the FlashIt Kit 2.0 has been released in conjunction with the new DVRFlash 2.0 utility. More info here.

FlashIt Kit 2.0 w/DVRFlash 2.0 is available here:
What's nice about this new script is that it can now intelligently analyze firmware folders placed within the FlashIt folder. No need to rewrite the shell script to accommodate new firmware! Just decompress the files into subfolders, launch FlashIt and just choose from the automatically created menu.
-Jack Szwergold "

Another reader mail this morning had feedback on using it:

" Mike There's a brand new "FlashIt Kit 2.0" for Pioneer DVRs, including the 108, get it from here (same link as above)
It works great, and you can easily have diffent firmware versions for (even) different Pioneer DVRs all together. Flashit will auto detect your drive and select ALL possible firmware file and give you a menu to choose one.

Following the instructions I used the option to create subfolders with descriptive names in the FlashIt Kit folder, here's a screen dump:

Putting kernel files at the main level and the various firmwares I collected into the feshly created subfolders, I was presented a nice menu. Please note that I put files for a DVR-1006 and a DVR-107XL in there.
Below is a dump of a terminal session of a 107 flash. (I didn't post the terminal dump for now) Please note how the "Please Select Firmware" menu reflected the names of my folders.
Best regards, Mike F. "

By the end of the day, many readers had used this to update their pioneer DVR-108 firmware successfully.

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Price Cuts on Mercury Express Portable FW400/USB 2.0 Drives
(from site sponsor OWC)

"New Mercury Express Portable pricing
Mercury Express 2.5" Portable FireWire 400+USB2.0/1.1 solutions all include Intech HD Speedtools, FireWire Cable, USB Cable, Carrying Case and a 1yr OWC Warranty. Drives may be bus powered or powered via optional AC Power Adapter.
20GB 4200RPM 2MB was $119.95, now $115.99
40GB 4200RPM 8MB was $129.95, now $125.99
60GB 4200RPM 8MB was $174.95, now $159.99
80GB 4200RPM 8MB was $229.95, now $209.99
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"
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Make Something Unreal Contest Onslaught Maps Phase 4 Finalists
The official UT website recently posted a list f the MSU Contest Phase 4 Finalists (Onslaught Maps).
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 10 new reports this morning (entry from Thursday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,596. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Apple eMac 1GHz OC report
  • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 8)
  • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 8) (different owner)
  • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 10)
  • Daystar G4/550 (at 600/240) in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/433 in Powerbook G3 lombard (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G3/500 in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/400 in 7500 (rated 10)

    (For full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. - see 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 5 new reports added this morning. (Entries from Thursday, 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 13,738 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)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE LG GSA-4120B in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
    (no native burn support so using Patchburn 3 but problems noted.
    Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)
  • IDE Mad Dog (unknown OEM) MD-12XDVDRW-SE in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (listed under "other brands" - no native burn support so using toast.)
  • IDE NEC ND 3500 in G5 tower (OS X 10.3)
    (using patchburn3. noted problem with a disc 'disappearing' from desktop after awhile so i suggested checking the energy saver drive sleep setting. old tip is to set to never allow drive sleep.)

    DVD+RW Drives:
  • IDE HP 300i in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (using Patchburn 1.1 for os x 10.2.x burn support. A DVD-R drive would have been a much better choice esp. for pre-10.3 use. iDVD won't burn to DVD+R discs.
    Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers Beige G3 MT Macs) )

    Hard Drives:
  • Firewire (cased) Western Digital 120GB used w/B&W G3 (OS X 10.3)

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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Video card/System performance database updated
The Video card/system performance database has been updated to include another UT2004 Botmatch Asbesto score (from 2GHz DP G5 system w/9800 Pro at 1600x1200). You can post your own system results of the various tests listed there or search to compare results from other systems/CPU/graphics cards combinations.
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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