News Archive for: 9/9/2004 Thursday's News
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UniFlash NEC DVD drive firmware flasher for OS X
This appears to work on NEC /HP /Lacie DVD drives (some Lacie "brand" DVD burners use OEM NEC drives, although they've also used Pioneer drives.-Mike) and is supposed to work with external USB 2 and firewire drives.
I believe the programer could use some mac feedback as I have found nothing to indicate the Mac community is aware of it.
At present it is command line and needs someone to work up a GUI interface.
Regards, Ian "

See the linked page for command line paramaters for UniFlash. DVRflash used for flashing Pioneer drives in OS X (see FAQ's DVD section) has no GUI either (just a command script run from the terminal with prompts) but as long as it works that's the main thing.
If anyone uses UniFlash for OS X to flash an NEC drive successfully, let me know. Thanks

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Apple CHUD Tools v4.0b8
MU lists the latest Apple CHUD Tools 4.0b8, see the page for a list of changes. As mentioned last month when 4.0b6 was released, they removed the ability to enable/disable NAP mode, which was an option in older versions.
However a reader replied to this post saying that the NAP mode is available but now is in a "Processor" prefpane vs the previous "Hardware" prefpane. I asked if this was a new feature of 4.0beta8 or if those that tried 4.0b6 just missed it. (I'm still using v3.5.2, since NAP works fine with it and after the 4.0b6 report I didn't want to update that beta)

The Apple FTP Developer Tools directory linked in the past here still showed several older versions (including 3.5.2, 3.0.4 and 2.5.3) - but no older 4.0 betas (pre-beta6) that had NAP mode options intact.
(For those new to the site, CHUD's Hardware preference panel was popular with G5 owners to disable CPU Nap mode as a common tip for G5 Power Supply Chirping Noises. And some used it to enable Nap mode to lower Dual G4 MDD CPU temperatures. It's enabled by default on single G4 MDD models and some Dual G4 MDD owners reported problems with NAP mode enabled.)

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iMac G5 Developer Docs (includes info on EDU model)
" Hi Mike, just saw your note (earlier today) about the iMac G5 EDU version. The Apple Developer Notes for the new iMac state that the EDU model indeed comes with a GeForce4MX chip (32 MB). They don't say that it's a separate module.
It also says that the 40 GB hard disc is NOT SerialATA and only runs at 5400 rpm (also of course no optical drive and no modem in the EDU config). Makes me wonder if you could use an existing parallel ATA drive in a retail iMac G5 instead of the SATA drive...
Cheers, Klaus "

The developer doc mentions the EDU model has an ATA/100 bus with 5400rpm drive where the retail models have a serialATA interface with 7200rpm drives (of various sizes).
I had always assumed the iMac G5's graphics were soldered on the motherboard, but I now wonder if it may be on a removable module (like used in some PC notebooks). I wonder if there are separate motherboards for the EDU and Retail versions.
If any readers examine the internals/logic board of the EDU iMac G5 can you check to see:

  • Does the EDU hard drive connect to the (retail model's) Optical drive interface? (would make sense)
  • Does the EDU model still have the SATA (serialATA) connector?
  • Is the graphic chip soldered on the logic board or on a module?


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iMac G5 model without Optical Drive (and downgraded graphics chip)
(from a reader mail)

" Apple has two part numbers for the display/bezel assembly on the imac G5 (17in). One has no optical slot. I cannot log into Apple's Education store, so I can't check, but I suspect they either have or will have a cheaper iMac G5 for education that will have no optical drive. "

Within a few minutes of posting this another reader sent a note there is an EDU iMac G5 w/o optical drive:

"At the University of Hawaii bookstore, they are offering a Optical Drive-less iMac G5.
According to the bookstore website, the specs:
  • 1.6Ghz G5
  • 17" LCD
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 40 GB hard drive (not SATA)
  • GeForce4 MX (32MB VRAM)
    Price $1,150 (which may vary from school to school)
    I believe this is only available for education purchases only.

Another reader sent screenshots showing prices for K12 instutitions at $1099 and $1150 for students, so pricing can vary. Marvin later wrote to verify the Hawaii EDU bootstore page shows the graphics chip as the 4MX not the FX5200. (No 56K modem either on that model.) Another reader also sent an (Apple) PDF file that listed the Geforce4MX for the model w/o optical drive, so that's not a typo. (See the later news item above for links to iMac G5 developer doc which also mentions the EDU model with 32MB Geforce4MX vs the retail model's FX5200 64MB graphics. Also note the EDU hard drive interface is ATA/100 vs SerialATA in the retail model.)

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World of Warcraft Stress Test Extended
The World of Warcraft site has word that the Stress Test for WOW has been extended to Sunday with more testers being selected from the waiting list. (Thanks Bluesnews.)
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Comments on Performance/Beta Testing Java Update from Apple
" Yet more feedback about the security update and workarounds. Apple is beta testing to anybody on the developer list (including the free "student" accounts) a new Java OS X implementation that not only fixes every java related glitch I had since the update, but also REALLY speeds up sites (especially secure banking and public utility sites that use a lot of java and javascript for account access).
Apple knows that the java update in the SU this week broke more than a few banking sites (my own 401-K site, for example). The beta is a FC and they want all feedback within a week, so they appear to be hurrying this one out the door.
It will help all browsers that use the OSX Java kernel.
Don't know about MSIE, but Safari and virtually everything else should get a NICE boost from this update with those java sites that were always dog slow from a Mac.
Joseph S. "
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Latest G5 owner feedback on SerialATA/Parallel ATA adapters
Last year Apple posted a PowerMac G5 kbase doc saying there's no support for parallel-> SerialATA adapters, although several readers w/G5s last year tried them and they worked, most noted problems after waking from sleep with drive performance for instance. (see first report in Sept. 29th, 2003 news page.) Here's the latest G5 owner report on a SATA/PATA adapter in a new 'rev B' G5:

" Hi Mike, I can report success with using a Parallel to Serial ATA adaptor in my dual 2.5GHz G5 with OS X 10.3.5. The adaptor is a "SERILLEL2" made by ABIT Computer Corporation . I'm using it with an 80 GB Western Digital drive, model number WDC WD800JB-00DUA3 according to System Profiler.
It works fine and I can even boot from it, no issues noticed when waking from sleep either. (I asked to verify he's seen no performance issues-Mike) The documentation lists the core logic as being a "Silicon Image Sil3611 Parallel ATA to Serial ATA Bridge." It also claims to support hot-plugging, but I haven't tried it.
I used a Y-adaptor to get power to the hard drive from the optical drive's connector. The power cable runs through the PCI card space and up at the back of the case. It was a little bit of a stretch to get the stock SATA cable connected, but once it's in it isn't being strained.
Cheers, Josh "
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Apple Xserve G5 Firmware Updater 5.1.7f1
MU lists the Apple Xserve G5 Firmware Updater 5.1.7f1 (dated yesterday).

"About Xserve G5 Firware Update (Version 5.1.7f1)
The update includes changes for initializing and running your Xserve G5. It provides enhanced reliability during reboot sequences as well as support for the Xserve G5 PCI Hardware RAID Card. This firmware update is required for Xserve G5 customers who wish to install the Xserve G5 PCI Hardware RAID Card kit and is strongly recommended for all Xserve G5 systems with earlier firmware versions. "
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Alpine KCA-420i iPod Control Interface
I'm not sure when this product was announced but a reader mentioned that he's ordered the Alpine KCA-420i iPod Control Interface from Crutchfield ($99.99 there, est. ship date 10/10/2004).
The July 9th news page had a Reader Report on Dension's ICELINK Car Adapter for the iPod/iPod Mini, which supports more auto models than the Apple/BMW adapter.
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Airport Express Tips/Reports page updated
I've updated the Airport Express and AirTunes reports/tips page again with another reader report with tips on audio dropout problems (in windows XP).
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Mac OS X 10.2/10.3 drivers for Highpoint RocketRAID 1820A 8-channel SerialATA 64Bit PCI-X card
(from a reader mail)

"Hey Mike, Good news! Highpoint (famous for their PC products) now has mac drivers for OS X for their RocketRAID 1820A 8-channel SerialATA 64Bit PCI-X card. Look way down their drivers page to download the mac driver 1.0:

    " Device Driver supports MacOS X 10.2, 10.3
    The zip file include :
    Driver version: v1.0
    HighPoint RAID Management Software (H.R.M. ) version: v4.0

I don't know if it's bootable but I don't care! (I'd use it for capture and work storage and boot from the internal drive)

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Dragthing 5.3.1 Update
(from their PR)

" TLA Systems is pleased to announce the immediate availability of DragThing 5.3.1, the popular alternative dock application for Mac OS X. It is ready to download now from
This is primarily a maintenance release to fix problems displaying the number of unread mail messages on the dock icons of certain mail applications, but it also adds support for IMAP, Hotmail, and Exchange accounts in Entourage, and IMAP accounts in PowerMail. A full list of all the changes can be found here
This is a free upgrade for registered users of DragThing 5. DragThing 5 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later. "
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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 4 new reports added this morning. (Entries from Wednesday, 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 13,567 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:
  • Exp. Bay Panasonic UJDA750 (24x24x24x + 8x DVD-ROM) in (Pismo) PB G3 2000 (OS X 9.1) (Systems page, Powerbook section has articles from 2001 on expansion bay combo drive installs/swaps.)

    DVD-R Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-104 in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers Beige G3 MiniTower model)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • Firewire (cased) LG GSA-4081B used w/iBook 2002 (OS X 10.3)
    (no native iApps burn support so using Patchburn II for Panther. reported problems burning CDs)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-108 in Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    (no native iApps burn support so using Patchburn II for Panther.
    Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio model, plus Beige G3/MT and B&W G3)

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 this morning (entries from Wednesday, entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,540. Here's a summary of the report added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Other World Computing G4/1.3GHz (at 1.4GHz) in (sawtooth) G4/AGP (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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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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