News Archive for: 10/29/2004 Friday's News (later posted items first)
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Mac Splinter Cell Benchmark download revised (w/click to run scripts)
I've revised the Splinter Cell benchmark entry page and download (shortly after midnight Friday) to include double-clickable scripts to make it easier to run (RunAllDemos command file runs 640x480 to 1600x1200 demos in series, and individual command files for each resolution are included. No typing in the terminal required. Thanks to AJ for sending the combo script.)
If you own Splinter Cell, please post a report on your benchmark results using the entry page. Thanks. (Reviews of Splinter Cell also welcome in the game reviews database.)
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Review of iPod Photo 60GB
(from a reader mail today)

" I posted a quick and dirty review of my 60gb iPod Photo, with photos and a capture of the TV slideshow output at
Thanks, Mark "
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Mac Geforce 6800 Ultra review updated (Splinter Cell benchmarks, Marine Aquarium FPS tests)
Sorry updates have been light today but I've been working on updates to the Mac 6800 Ultra graphics card review and have updated the 3D apps page to include 6800 vs 9800 Pro results with Marine Aquarium 2.0 (full screen FPS tests) and the Game tests page has been updated with 640x480 to 1600x1200 test results in Splinter Cell.
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Mac Splinter Cell benchmark download and How-To
The other reason I've been offline much of today is that I've added Splinter Cell as an option in the FPS database (mac system/video card benchmarks/game tests database) search page here and created a separate Splinter Cell benchmark entry page with a download link for the timedemo and a readme file/guide I wrote on how to run it.
(Note: Shortly after midnight Friday I revised the download to include double-clickable scripts to make it easier to run w/o the user having to enter any terminal commands.)
FYI: As mentioned in the readme file, if you have changed the game's control keys, restore them to the defaults, otherwise the demo will not play back correctly.
If you own Splinter Cell, please post a report on your benchmark results. (Selecting video card, mac model, CPU type, speed, and resolution used on the entry page.) Thanks in advance.
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Discussion w/Author of Hardware Monitor on G5 PCI bay Fan control, XRG's GPU Temperature reporting w/6800
I've updated the Mac Geforce 6800 Card Owner Feedback page to include a discussion with the Author of "Hardware Monitor", a utility for reporting sensor information (temperatures, fan speed/duty cycle, etc.) on PCI bay fan control and the fan control firmware update changes. Included are results of my tests with it early this morning in a 6800 equipped G5. Hardware monitor's PCI slot fan duty cycle reporting never seems to vary from the (idle) 49.8% duty cycle reading - even when stressing the 6800's GPU to where it's reading 75C per XRG's GPU Diode temperature reporting after running Marine Aquarium 2 fullscreen at 1600x1200.
Note: Later tests today with the OEM 9800 running Marine Aquarium 2 fullscreen for several minutes sped the PCI bay fan up to a reported 56.9%. Now if the PCI fan was controlled by power load/wattage (and not temperature) then why is the fan running faster with the 9800 than the 6800 on this test. (The 6800Ultra uses more power than the OEM 9800 Pro.) With the 9800 Pro installed, the fan duty cycle does drop below the 49.8% seen even at idle with the 6800 however. Within minutes of quitting Aquarium the duty cycle had dropped to 37.6%.
I've also included notes/links on using XResource Graph, which shows GPU case and GPU Diode temperature readings of the 6800 Ultra.
I welcome other Mac 6800 owner comments - please include your system/OS version and details on apps/games, etc. you used in reports.
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Pioneer DVR-117D in recent G5 (firmware modified DVR-108AA)
(update - the owner of this G5 later sent an update - the drive label shows "DVR-108AA", so the drive must be a modified firmware 108 model made for Apple on contract. See the updated comments below)

Pioneer reportedly stopped making the DVR-107D some time back and searching google didn't find any real useful info on a "DVR-117D" model a reader said was installed in his Dual 2GHz G5:

" Hi, Mike.
Yesterday I took delivery of a PowerMac G5 2.0 to replace my defective PowerMac G5 2.5 (long story, but they didn't want to replace it and was taking it back and crediting my credit card. Ordering one myself took another 3-5 weeks so I had to get what was available for delivery). Anyway, I was curious to see the attached SuperDrive was a Pioneer DVR-117D model which I have no clue as to what model this is and modifications to the DVR-117, if any.
If your readers have any info on this drive. It would be nice to have some.
Raymond O. "

He later sent a screenshot of the ASP report showing the drive is a DVR-117D, firmware "B705" (apple's oem firmware typically has a letter suffix, no the 1.xx numbering of standard firmware.)

Raymond later wrote:

" It's a DVR-108AA model when I looked inside. I didn't manage to check the drive itself because I couldn't imagine a re-branded 108 down to a 117 model. Well that was normal back with Intel limiting their chips in order to meet demand.
... Now my quest to enable the DL mode...
Raymond "

I had asked him last night if he had Toast 6.0.7 to see if it would allow dual layer burning but he said he didn't have it to try. (I doubt it would with the firmware/ID of the drive). I wonder if someone eventually will find a way to force flash a DVR-108 kernel/firmware into the drive to enable DL burning and 16x max SL burning features of the standard DVR-108 model using Flashit 2.0. (If anyone that owns one of these does, let me know. thanks.)
Another DVR-117 owner wrote:

" Hi Mike,
I just got a Dual 2.0Ghz G5 yesterday and it has the same drive installed. I was wondering also about the drive so I opened up the terminal and ran drutil info and here is the the report:


    Interconnect: ATAPI
    SupportLevel: Apple Shipping
           Cache: 2000k
        CD-Write: -R, -RW, BUFE, CDText, Test, IndexPts, ISRC
       DVD-Write: -R, -RW, +R, +RW, BUFE, Test
      Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO

Included the more detailed report below. (not mirrored here to save space/bandwidth) basically the same info just a lot more detailed

There's also a page from the 26th at macbidouille with a pix of the drive's label showing it's a DVR-108AA. I guess these are firmware modified 108's made under contract for apple. Wouldn't it be nice if Apple later released a firmware update for them to enable full DVR-108 features as a bonus for buying a new G5? (I know - I'm dreaming ;-)

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A Tale in the Desert II Demo
MU lists the (246MB) A Tale in the Desert II Demo today. Requirements listed there are "Mac OS X 10.3 or later, 750MHz PowerPC G4 processor (1GHz G5 recommended), 384MB of RAM (768MB recommended), GeForce 4 MX video card (GeForce FX, Radeon 9500, or higher recommended)."
For more info on the game, see
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Another AL 23in Cinema Display owner report on Color Consistency Problems
Wednesday's news page had an reader's comments on color consistency problems he (and others) had seen with new Aluminum 23in Cinema Displays (several samples) and a link to an article with screenshots at Here's another mail from an owner of the display on the problem:

" Mike, First, a big thanks for the incredible site.
This problem is weird because it gets worse with time....
I bought two 23" when they came out . After a week, one started the pink problem. the other one stayed perfect.
A month later, they both have the same pink problem. I've had to recalibrate to fix the problem many times. It's all over the Apple discussion site and there's no official word on this (yet). I'm just waiting for a new production batch to try and replace mine...
regards, Chris "
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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 (entries from Thursday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,625. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Apple Beige G3/266 OC report (at 300MHz)
  • Newer Tech G3/250 in 8500 (rated 10)
  • Other World Computing G4/1.25GHz in (Digital Audio) G4/AGP (rated 5)

    (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 3 new reports added today. (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 13,797 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)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
  • IDE GCC-4521B (52x32x52x +16x DVD-ROM) in eMac (OS X 10.3)
    (Using Patchburn3 for OS X iApps burn support.)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-108 in (MDD) Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    (no native iApps support yet so use Patchburn3 for OS X iApps burn support. No iApps Dual layer burn support yet so you'd need toast 6.0.7 for that. See previous DVR-108/Toast 6.0.7 DL burning reports page. )

    Hard Drives:
  • SCSI Seagate (hawk) ST32430N 2GB in 8500 (OS 9)
    (noted not bootable with 2 samples.)

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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