Charles Moore's Mailbag

Dueling Pismo CPU Upgrades, 'Book vs. Windows Laptop Prices, Blue and White G3 Upgrade Tips, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.09.07 - Tip Jar

Dueling PowerBook G3 CPU Upgrades

From Herwin Coghe

Hello Mr Moore,

I am looking to upgrade my PowerBook G3 (320 MB/400 MHz, Pismo) to G4, and I found your article on Low End Mac very useful.

However, after searching a bit further, I found this on FastMac.com:

They sell 'almost' the same thing as Daystar does, but for less money (a lot less, if you also take the shipment costs to Belgium into account).

G4/550 "Pismo" Specs: http://www.everymac.com/upgrade_cards/fastmac/g4_pb/g4_550_pismo.htm

I would like to ask you for your opinion on this upgrade.

As far as I can tell, FastMac is not using the same 'low power' components as Daystar does.

Am I correct in assuming that:

  1. with either upgrade (Daystar/FastMac) my PowerBook will run equally faster; but
  2. the upgrade from FastMac will not solve the problem of my PB running hot (after a couple of hours rendering)?

Thank you in advance for any information you can give me.

Kind regards,
hrwn/

Hi Herwin,

I have no firsthand experience with the FastMac upgrade, but as you note, they are using a different chip than the one used by Daystar. I can't comment on relative heat characteristics, as I have no data.

I have tested a FastMac 4x SuperDrive module for the Pismo and can say that it is an excellent product.

Both FastMac and Daystar are run by extremely nice people who I have found it a pleasure to deal with.

Mike Lowdermilk at FastMac tells me they have done over 2,000 Pismo CPU upgrades, so they must be doing something right, and I continue to be extremely pleased with the performance of my Daystar-upgraded 550 MHz Pismo.

Also according to Lowdermilk, the FastMac 550 is a 533 MHz G4 7410 chip running at 550 MHz, while the Daystar unit is a 500 MHz up-clocked to 550 MHz.

Mike, gentleman that he is, emphasizes that he has the highest respect for DayStar and is not implying anything negative about them. I'm confident that Gary Dailey of Daystar would reciprocate the sentiment.

Bottom line: I think both companies make topnotch products.

Charles

Pismo CPU Upgrade

From John Helms

Hi Charles,

I just wanted to say thank you for all of your informative columns regarding the Pismo. I have just today installed a FastMac.com G4 550 upgrade, and it rocks!. I benchmarked it against a G3 500 and a G3 400 processor card using Xbench. The overall score improved 35% vs. the 500 and 93% vs. the 400! This is roughly what I would expect given the subjectively speedier "feel" of the user interface.

My only complaint is that FastMac did not ship any instructions with the upgrade - none. I purchased their combo drive as well. I'm quite happy with it, but I was a little disappointed to find that it did not come preinstalled on a sled. I could have bought exactly the same thing (a bare drive) at another on-line store for $80, but didn't b/c I though I wouldn't have to take apart my original drive. Oh well.

Take Care,
John

Hi John,

Thanks for the report. Your benchmarks square with my gut evaluation of my own Pismo's Daystar 550 MHz G4 upgrade. The improvement over the stock 500 MHz G3 has been substantial, and 35% sounds about right.

I don't know what the deal is with the lack of instructions. The procedure with the Daystar upgrade is different in that you ship the Pismo to them for installation.

Charles

OWC G4 Upgrade

From Peter da Silva

I upgraded from a G3/300 to the OWC G4 and the performance improvement is out of sight.

Hi Peter,

Having been mightily impressed by the performance improvement going from a 500 MHz G3 to a 550 MHz G4 in my Pismo PowerBook, I can imagine!

Charles

'Book Price Comparison?

From Peter da Silva

You have always been able to come up with a metric that makes Macs seem inexpensive, but you have to ignore what I find are really huge and obvious shortcomings of the low-end models. The problem is staring you right in the face: the screen:

iBook, 12" or 14": 1024 x 768 resolution: $1,100 or $1,300 PowerBook 15" or 17": 1280 x 854: $1,800, 1440 x 900: $2800 Inspiron 5150 15": 1024 x 768: $1,035, 1400 x 1050: $1,085

To get comparable resolution to the middle-of-the-line Inspiron 5150, I'd have to pay more than 2.5 times as much. It doesn't matter that it also gives me a bigger and brighter screen - I can't afford it.

If you want to compare apples to apples and look at computers with comparable resolution to the 12" iBook, you're going to be looking at systems that start out $300 cheaper. Yes, they're not as small, and they may end up costing more if you try and meet the exact same feature set, but since you have the option of just paying for what you actually need, you're going to get out cheaper.

Then there's the desktops. Yes, you can get an eMac for $800. But the last time this came up I was able to come up with a name-brand minitower with a 15" LCD that was better than the one on the iMac for under $800. For a comparable box with an equally horrible 17" CRT, the eMac was significantly more expensive. And the eMac hasn't gotten any cheaper, but PC prices continue to go down.

Basically, if your requirements are exactly in Apple's sweet spot, then you can actually win on price with a Mac, but how many people fit that profile?

I guess the 2.5% market share Apple has is probably a good guess. Yes, there's people buying PCs who could have bought a Mac with the same specs for the same price. But there's also people buying Macs and accepting the extra cost as part of the deal... because they want a Mac more than they want a computer that more precisely meets their needs. That's where I am: I've built a low end Mac that's got worse specs than a PC I just gave away - that is, the cost of a comparable PC was zero for me, and the cheapest new Mac that fits my requirements is a G5 minitower.

Is it worth the extra money? For this Mac, for me, yes. Macs give you more. But they do cost more than the PCs they need to replace.

Hi Peter,

These comparisons are always inexact. Screen resolution is a major issue for some - less so for others. For me it's certainly not a deal-breaker.

But then, I'm a low-end guy. The three computers I use every day are 233 MHz G3, 700 MHz G3, and 550 MHz G4 - all laptops. In terms of speed, I find them all satisfactory (the 233 MHz G3 is running OS 9.2.2; the other two Panther).

I'm happy with the 1024 x 728 screen resolution. I wouldn't find more a hardship, but it would be difficult to squeeze more into the iBook's 12" screen bay and keep standard sized text readable. The size of the iBook is more important to many than greater screen resolution, and it's a feature that 5150 doesn't match.

Charles

Re: 'Book Price Comparison?

From Peter da Silva

"I'm happy with the 1024 x 728 screen resolution. I wouldn't find more a hardship, but it would be difficult to squeeze more into the iBook's 12" screen bay and keep standard sized text readable."

My ThinkPad has the same pixel density, and it's fine. The larger iBook has the same number of pixels, and that's clearly not enough.

"The size of the iBook is more important to many than greater screen resolution, and it's a feature that 5150 doesn't match."

True, but there are laptops that small that cost less. For that matter, my laptop for many years was a Toshiba Libretto. I was traveling a lot and small size was much more important than power or screen area. Anything larger than a hardback book was out - and that includes the 12" 'Books - and it was cheaper, at the time, than any Apple laptop.

Pick your key features, I can come up with a PC that has them. It'll be cheaper or more powerful or have more features than the Mac. The only reason to buy the Mac is for the software, and that's a pretty good reason... but buying a Mac to run Linux is just daft. The only way you can come to the conclusion that Macs aren't a lot more expensive than comparable Wintel boxes is to start out with that assumption and design the analysis to match.

Which makes the analysis as meaningless as the ones that "prove" Windows has a lower TCO than Linux.

Hi again Peter,

Not as cost-effective perhaps (provided the PC alternative holds up durability-wise - Apple still leads the pack in that department according to PC Mag's latest survey), but cost is not the only factor.

I'm reminded a wee bit of Oscar Wilde's epigram about knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. ;-) Not true of you, of course, because you affirm the desirability of the Apple operating system.

Nothing else is an Apple 'Book, even to run Linux on, although I agree with David Coursey that OS X is the sensible "desktop Linux."

Charles

Spymac

From Farid

Hi Charles,

I'm a regular reader of your site and columns, and I would like to clear a point about the POP3 mail service from Spymac. Actually it does work from Mail (Panther 10.3.4). I didn't test it with other OSes or mail clients. You just need to tell it that the mail server is mail.spymac.com, and there it goes.

The thing that doesn't seem to work is that I thought that you could read POP3 mail from other servers to your Spymac account. But I couldn't figure it how.

Well I hope my 2 cents help.

Farid from Paris, France

Hi Farid,

Thanks so much for your 2 cents.

Happy days! It works!

I had followed the instructions for POP3 setup on the Spymac site, which said:

 • POP3 Server: spymac.com
 • SMTP Server: spymac.com

Which didn't work.

Now if I could just get the SMTP server to work through my ISP (not a problem unique to Spymac).

Thanks again!

Charles

Installing 0S 9

From Mel Nowell

Hi:

I have a [SuperMac] S900. currently running OS 8.6. I've tried to load OS 9 and 9.1 but get the message that it can't load on this machine. What can I do. Thanks for any help.

Mel

Hi Mel,

What are you using for OS 9/9.1 install CDs?

System restore CDs that ship with other Macs are unlikely to work. I've had almost every version of the Mac OS from System 7.5.3 to OS 9.1 installed on my S900 and have never encountered any install problems.

Incidentally, my son is running OS X 10.3 Panther on his S900 which has a Sonnet 500 MHz G3 upgrade installed.

Charles

Re: Installing 0S 9

From: Mel Nowell

Hi Charles:

You're right. I've been trying to load OS 9 from an iMac disk from a friend. Can you tell me where to obtain a system disk that will load OS 9 and maybe 9.1 on my S900?

Thanks again for your help.

Mel

Hi Mel,

Apple Rescue has a selection of OS 9.x CDs available. You can find details and prices online.

Charles

The DVD-ROM M7931 Blues

From PEA

Dear Mr. Moore:

The Pismo's M7931 DVD/CD-ROM module has been acting strangely lately, so it's been set aside in favor of an M7398 24x CD-ROM module for the moment. Basically, M7931's tray opens when the Pismo is started up, and it works for a short time after bootup, but is on strike thereafter. Curious about what would happen, I removed it when Panther was running, generating an error message: "You need to restart your computer. Hold down the Power button for several seconds or press the Restart button." It was after I restarted the Pismo that the tray began opening as OS X started up.

I've searched eBay for possible solutions, and it boils down to used M5505 and M7931 modules or buying a bare drive, unfastening six screws, and replacing the malfunctioning drive. Used modules can be found in the $55-120 range, while bare drives from Combo to "all writeable DVD and CD formats "Super Drive" run in the $114-$200 range. (I replaced M7398 with an M7931 module before it left for a computer-less home.)

A friend has suggested that I use a FireWire Combo drive, but the OS X DVD Player refuses to run, generating error message -70012 and saying that there is no valid DVD drive present. This EIDE Samsung DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive burns CD-Rs just fine with Toast 6.x Ti, but that's all. Attempts to find out what "error message -70012" is have yielded many Apple Knowledge Base documents about everything else. MacFixIt and xlr8yourmac searches have been just as interesting, but unenlightening.

This wouldn't be such a big thing but for the fact that Panther was installed with the DVD-ROM drive to cut down on disk swapping and to play the odd DVD movie disk now and then. (Tiger may also appear in DVD-ROM form, though this old Pismo might be out of luck on the upgrade trail.) I'll have to flip a coin over a "used but nearly new" M7931 or Combo bare drive soon. Any suggestions?

PEA

Hi PEA,

My DVD-ROM drive tray began popping open on startup after I upgraded the Pismo firmware to whatever the latest version is. However, the drive still works fine. The popping open may be coincidental to the drive crapping out. Some of those Pismo DVD drives had a very spotty reputation for reliability.

FastMac offers a very cool Pismo 4x SuperDrive module (Matsushita UJ-8255 mechanism) for $299, and 1x and 2x SuperDrive modules that both sell for $40 less, and if you don't need DVD-burning capability, there is also a 24x CD-R/ CD-RW combo drive module available for $199, or you can do it yourself with a bare drive.

That "You need to restart your computer" message is an OS X kernel panic, most often precipitated by hardware issues.

Charles

Roamabout Card and Pismo with OS X 10.2.8

PowerBook 1400From Ken Payson

Question, Mr. Moore,

Through your columns and advice, I have been able to make my PowerBook 1400 into a wireless computer. (it has a G3/250 processor upgrade and a Roamabout card)

I have also installed the Roamabout software into my G4 TiBook (Panther 10.3.5), and this helps boost my wireless reception (the TiBooks are notorious for their short attention span when it comes to wireless reception)

However, I'm having a hell of a time with the Pismo G3/500. I cannot get the Roamabout software to install in that computer. It is running 10.2.8.

Do you know of any issues regarding this situation. I'm dying to make the Pismo a wireless Internet surfing machine for my son.

Do I need to install Panther? I'm afraid to do this since the G3500 Pismo works so well right now with the 10.2.8. Is there another cheap card that you know of ?

Thanks in advance.

Ken (I've never thrown a Mac away) Payson

Hi Ken,

I don't know of any particular issues with the Roamabout card and the Pismo, but my knowledge is far from being encyclopedic.

I suppose that OS 10.3 might be the key, since it's working on your TiBook.

Offhand, I don't know of any particular deals on Mac-compatible wireless cards other than the Roamabout.

Charles

VST Modification Article

From Stan

Hi,

I have been searching your site for an article that I thought I saw about hacking/converting a VST expansion drive for the WallStreet into an extra hard disk drive. The article had pics and step by step instructions on the process.

Perhaps this was on a different site. I'm not sure.

Any info would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Stan

Hi Stan,

I don't recall seeing such an article. Perhaps someone in readerland will be able to help.

Charles

Wireless iTunes for US$25-45

From Bob Friede

Howdy Charles,

I've been successfully using Belkin's TuneCast II (87.5-107.9) for the better part of a year now, not in my car or for an iPod, but to broadcast from my TiBook to a stereo set up across the room. It sells for US$45 (list) down to US$25. I have mine plugged into AC power via a Radio Shack 12V maximum 1000mA adapter. I'm tuned to 88.1.

I chose the Belkin after trying all of of these justifiably notorious gadgets, and the Belkin had the best and strongest signal of the lot at 20-30 feet.

Belkin says,

Advantages
• Transmits on FM channels 88.1 MHz - 107.9 MHz
• Memorize up to 4 FM frequencies
• Powers on and off automatically
• Features low-battery LED indicator
• Includes DC cable for optional battery-free operation - Only works with the Belkin Mobile Power Cord for 3G iPod (part # F8V7067-APL)
• Operating Range: 10-30 feet (a distance of 10 feet or less will minimize interference and provide the strongest signal)
• Includes 2 AAA batteries so you can play your music anywhere
• Audio Frequency Range: 50 Hz to 15 KHz
• note: The Mobile FM Transmitter is only available for use and sale in North America.

Color: White

UPC: 722868490334

So if you aren't interested in iPodding, the Belkin is a more effective, way less expensive, and attractive alternative to Griffin's.

Cheers,
Bob Friede

Thanks for the report, Bob.

Charles

B&W G3 Upgrade Questions

From Andrew Main

Re: B&W G3 Upgrade Questions
A good place to research upgrades is Accelerate Your Mac, which offers a huge database of user reports on upgrades of all kinds.

Andrew Main

Re: B&W G3 Upgrade Questions

From Gene Osburn

Charles,

As a budget-conscious user of a much-upgraded B&W myself, I have several comments/tips for Nicholas - feel free to pass them on.

1) Either of the G4 ZIFs mentioned will give a significant performance boost, especially in OS X, and he'll be very happy indeed. But if he's using Classic Mac OS, he'll get the same boost from a G3 ZIF. In that case, I'd tell him to save some cash by picking up a used G3 ZIF (500 MHz would be sweet) on eBay or the LEM swap list. I'm running OS X Panther on an OWC Mercury ZIF G4/550, but I wouldn't mind using either of those FastMac upgrades in my next "budget G4" project.

2) If Nicholas bought his Yosemite G3 as a 300 MHz model, he was very lucky to get a Rev 2 board. All the original 300's were Rev 1; evidently someone swapped ZIFs before unloading that particular B&W.

3) You're right - Combo drives are fairly generic, but AFAIK not all of them are Mac OS bootable. One can either comb all the manufacturers' specs to find out which is which or pick up a used or discontinued Pioneer DVR-model SuperDrive. My experience is that watching DVDs on my Mac just makes me wish I could record them as well, and you don't have to spend a lot more for that capability. There are a lot of 106 and 107's available right now, such as the SuperDrive Bundles at OWC (no, I don't work for them - just a very satisfied customer).

4) The decision to add a ATA/133 controller depends on whether you expect to use audio and/or video apps a lot. For general purposes, installing a 7200 RPM drive will speed things up enough to keep most folks happy. If you find that increased data throughput is needed for your uses, you can always add the controller card.

Hope someone finds this helpful. Feel free to give Nick my address if he wants to hear more from another B&W owner.

Gene, a.k.a. G-Man
Friends don't let friends do Windows

Thanks Gene.

Charles

RE: B&W G3 Upgrade Questions

From John M. Leggett

I noted the discussion about installing a different optical drive in a B&W G3.

I thought a PC drive would work fine as the internal CD drive in my B&W G3 350, but my experience shows otherwise.

The problem I encountered in doing so with a Sony CD-R/RW CRX195A1) is that it is impossible to boot from the drive. The same was true for a LiteOn 52x32x52x purchased from MacSales (OWC). Other than that they work fine.

As there are times when it becomes necessary to boot from the internal CD drive I put my original Apple CD drive back into my G3 and installed the Sony and LiteOn in external enclosures where they work fine. Of course that means I had to spend an additional $60 each to use them but I can use them with either my G3 or iBook.

John M. Leggett

Thanks for the report, John.

Charles

Info about Upgrading a B&W G3

From Dr. Anthony G. Rich

Hi, Nicolas.

I saw your questions on lowendmac.com about upgrading a Blue and White G3. I just upgraded a B&W G3 recently in a similar way, so I thought you might be interested in my experience.

I installed the Mercury G4/450-500 upgrade from OWC because I wanted to also install a Pioneer DVR-107D DVD burner (a SuperDrive, also from OWC) in it and run iDVD. iDVD requires a G4 processor.

I didn't want to spend the extra money to upgrade it to a G4/700 or G4/800; at their price points, I think it's more cost-effective to buy a used G4/933 Quicksilver Mac on eBay for about $900. The Quicksilvers already have a SuperDrive installed and have a generally faster architecture.

So I bought a G4/500 processor, a Pioneer DVR-107D, and an iLife '04 CD, and installed them all in a G3 B&W Mac.

The OWC G4 processor comes with a two-page instruction sheet that describes how to install the processor on page 1. But on page 2, there's a little note that essentially says, "By the way, if you're installing this on a blue-and-white G3 Mac, you needed to upgrade your firmware before installing the G4 CPU". Sheesh.

Of course I had already installed the CPU before I'd read that far. So I had to uninstall the G4 CPU, then download and install the firmware upgrade, then reinstall the G4 CPU.

Also, the firmware updater needs to be run while booted in Mac OS 9 - not in X and not in Classic under X. That little detail isn't written anywhere; the firmware flasher doesn't come with a "Read Me Before Installing" file, unfortunately.

So here's the step-by-step procedure for installing the G4 CPU upgrade on a blue-and-white G3:

1. Go to the OWC website and download the firmware flasher. It's hard to find - it's not on the page where the OWC instruction sheet says it is. There's a link to the updater on the sales page that describes the G4/500 upgrade card.

Scroll down near the bottom of that page to find the OWC note about upgrading Blue & White G3 systems, and the download link is there. The file downloads under the name "BWG4Enabler.hqx".

2. While booted in Mac OS 9 on the B&W G3, decompress that .hqx file using Stuffit Expander, but don't run it yet. Use the Extensions Manager control panel to change the extension set to "Mac OS 9.2.2 Base" for safety, so that no third-party extensions can interrupt the firmware update that you're about to run.

3. Reboot the G3 and run the firmware updater, which will tell you to reboot AGAIN while holding in the programmer's switch on the front panel until a long tone sounds and stops. Do that, then let the Mac continue booting normally. (That process "unlocks" the firmware so that it can be modified, evidently.)

4. Run the firmware flasher again by double-clicking it and letting it do its thing.

If you have trouble rebooting the Mac afterwards (I did), try rebooting and holding down Command-Option-P-R to "zap the PRAM", which resets some saved boot parameters. Let the Mac chime only once, then let it continue rebooting; I found that if it chimed more than once, the Mac still had trouble booting.

If you still have trouble booting, insert a Mac OS 9.1 or Mac OS X CD and try booting from that, by holding down the C key while booting, as usual. You may need to zap the PRAM again. (I had both Mac OS 9 and X installed on the internal hard drive, which seems to confuse the booting process at times, for some reason.)

Once I got it booted the first time after doing the firmware update, I didn't have any trouble booting the Mac after that. After the firmware is updated, you can then boot with either a G3 or G4 CPU installed; that is, the update doesn't limit you to booting only with a G4 CPU - booting with the original G3 CPU installed will still work.

5. Now open the case and install the G4 CPU as per OWC's instructions. Before you remove the heat sink clip, make sure you notice which way it's oriented; there are two holes on one end of the clip, and one on the other. OWC says it needs to be oriented the same way when you reinstall it for a proper fit and good thermal contact. Also, be sure that you remove the heat sink before you lift the arm that holds the CPU in place! If you don't, the heat sink will scrape across the top of the CPU chip as you lift the arm, which will likely damage the old CPU.

While you're in there, it's a good time to install a fresh clock/calendar/PRAM battery in the Mac, too. It's also a good idea to mark the month and year on the battery, if it isn't already there, so that you'll know to replace it again in another five years.

I found out that for Toast or iDVD to recognize a DVD burner such as the Pioneer DVR-107D as a native SuperDrive, the burner needs to be installed as an *internal* drive, replacing the stock CDROM drive - not as an external FireWire drive, for example. So I did that.

To my surprise, I found out that after doing so, Toast found the drive just fine, but iDVD still said that no DVD burner was installed!

Well, it turns out that THAT was because I'd also installed a SIIG ATA/133 card (also from OWC) and connected the DVD burner and the internal Zip drive to it, as well as connecting the internal ATA hard drive to it. iDVD couldn't find the DVD burner when it was plugged into the SIIG card, which pretends that all attached ATA devices are really SCSI devices.

So I disconnected the DVD burner from the SIIG ATA card and hooked it back up to the G3's internal ATA connector instead. That did the trick. Toast and iDVD found it just fine and considered it to be a normal Mac SuperDrive, it showed up in Apple System Profiler, and it all worked. I left the internal ATA hard drive connected to the SIIG card.

By the way, iDVD's requirements list also says that it needs a 733 MHz processor or faster. If you try to install iDVD on a Mac with a slower CPU like the G4/500, the iLife installer will simply NOT install iDVD, although it will install the other iLife applications.

But with a little Internet research, I found out you can STILL install iDVD if you want to, if you don't mind running iDVD on a slower Mac. On the iLife CD, you need to control-click the iLife installer, choose the popup menu item that lets you open up the installer "package", and navigate to the standalone iDVD installer on the CD. Then run that iDVD standalone installer. That'll install iDVD with no complaints.

You asked if you could install *any* CD drive, such as a PC's CDROM drive. My experience is that the CD drives that were never shipped as original Apple drives will sometimes work for *reading* CDs, but they usually have other problems. You may not be able to boot the Mac from one of those drives, or in some cases, they'll cause the Mac to freeze whenever you put the Mac to sleep. (I tried installing several of those inexpensive non-Mac CDROM drives a while back, as an experiment. Some didn't work at all, some wouldn't allow booting from a CD, and some caused freeze-on-sleep.)

So it's best to install a drive that's exactly the same make and model as one that originally shipped in a Mac, so that the Mac recognizes it as a native Mac drive and the Apple software drivers work properly for it. Apple uses various drive suppliers, such as Panasonic, Sony, Matshita, and Pioneer, so you need to find a brand AND model of drive that shipped in some existing Mac - *any* Mac, as far as I can tell - and install one of those. That's why I picked the Pioneer DVR-107D - it's one of the Pioneer models that Apple ships as a standard SuperDrive in some of the newer Macs.

I hope this info helps you with your upgrading! Good luck!

- Tony

P.S. I installed the SIIG ATA/133 card not because I wanted faster HD performance, but because, from what I read on the Internet, it would remove an 8 GB partition limitation imposed by some old ATA drive controllers when running Mac OS X. I'm not sure the B&W G3's ATA controller has that limitation, but I didn't want to take any chances.

I had created an 8 GB Mac OS X partition and installed all the Mac OS X software that I needed, which almost filled the whole 8 GB. When I tried to also install iDVD, the iDVD installer then complained there wasn't enough HD space left to do the install! Grrrrr.

So I needed to create a larger-than-8-GB Mac OS X partition. The SIIG card simulates a SCSI card, so when you plug an ATA drive into it, no 8 GB ATA limitation applies, evidently.

I'd guess that a new Sonnet ATA/133 card would also remove any 8 GB limitation, too, but I've never owned one of them, so I can't say for sure. Sonnet provides good tech support, so you can probably find out from them, if you prefer installing a Sonnet ATA card. I've used several Sonnet Tango FireWire/USB cards, and they all work great, so I know Sonnet makes good cards.

The two SIIG ATA/133 cards that I've installed have worked fine, so I've been buying those.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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