Mac News Review

iMac G5 Repair Extension, 3.5" Drive on mini's Bus, FastMac G4 Upgrade Price Drop, Radeon 9600 Pro, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.08.26

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Advice

Products and Services

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Advice

iMac G5 Repair Extension Program for Video and Power Issues

The iMac G5 Repair Extension Program for Video and Power Issues applies to first generation iMac G5 computers that have video or power-related issues as a result of a specific component failure. If your iMac G5 is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below and your computer's serial number is within the noted ranges, your computer may be eligible for repair, free of charge. If Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) determines that your iMac G5 computer is eligible as part of the program, the repair will be covered by Apple for up to two years from the original date of purchase even if your iMac G5 is out of warranty. This is a worldwide Apple program.

These issues have been extensively documented on MacFixIt:

  • iMac G5: White streaks appearing on bottom of display - possibly related to power supply issues
  • More on iMac G5 power supply burnout: Bad capacitors seem to be at fault
  • iMac G5 power supply burnout: New (Ambient Light Sensor) models less affected
  • iMac G5: Power Supply Burnout/Component failure due to overheating

Affected systems will exhibit one of the following video- or power-related symptoms:

  • Scrambled or distorted video
  • No video
  • No power

Note: If your iMac G5 is not experiencing any of these symptoms, you do not have to contact Apple or any Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The program is available for certain iMac G5 models that were sold between approximately September 2004 and June 2005 featuring 17- and 20-inch displays with 1.6 GHz and 1.8 GHz G5 processors.

The affected iMac G5 computers have serial numbers where the first 5 digits fall into the ranges noted below.

Serial Number ranges:

  • W8435xxxxxx - W8522xxxxxx
  • QP435xxxxxx - QP522xxxxxx
  • CK435xxxxxx - CK522xxxxxx
  • YD435xxxxxx - YD522xxxxxx

The 11-digit serial number is located on a label under the foot of the iMac G5. There is a bar code underneath the serial number. To view the label, hold the sides of the iMac and gently lay the computer face down on a soft, clean towel or cloth.

This program applies only to the systems noted above. Other versions of the iMac G5 line are not part of this program.

An Apple technical support representative or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) will need to physically examine your computer to determine if the component failure identified for the iMac G5 Repair Extension Program affects your computer and, if so, arrange for the repair.

To participate in the program, bring your iMac G5 to the Mac Genius Bar at your local Apple Retail store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), or call your local Apple contact center. The U.S. support number is 1-800-275-2273. If you are located outside the U.S., please see Apple's international contact list for your local Apple Technical Support phone number.

It is possible that your iMac G5 may exhibit video or power issues that are unrelated to the component failure identified by Apple as part of this program and are not covered under this program. Apple or an AASP can help you troubleshoot these issues. If your iMac G5 is not covered under warranty or an extended service agreement, such as the AppleCare Protection Plan, repairs for other issues will be made at your expense if you request that they be made.

The program covers affected iMac G5 computers for up to two years from the original date of purchase. Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.

Using a 3.5" Drive with the Mac mini's Internal IDE Bus

Arizona Macintosh Users Group, Inc. (AMUG)'s Arthur Whalem reports:

"The Apple Computer Mac mini is a cute little box with a fast processor and a slow performing hard drive. I thought it would be interesting to see how performance might be improved if I installed a 3.5" 7200 RPM hard drive on the ATA100 IDE bus of a Mac mini 1.42 GHz. The Mac mini in these tests has 512 MB of memory installed and I have removed the internal DVD and 2.5 inch hard drive in order to attach an adapter that allows the Mac mini to accept one or two 3.5 inch IDE hard drive(s) instead.

"Adam Eberbach produces adapters for $23 that allowed me to convert the Mac mini 2.5" IDE port into a 3.5" IDE port that an IDE cable can attach to. The Mac mini cannot supply power to my 3.5" drives so I will use an external enclosure or an extra power supply. These adapters are sold 'as is' and Adam Eberbach, myself and AMUG cannot be responsible for any consequences arising from the sale or use of these adapters. Understand that while the adapter worked for me any modification you make to your own Mac mini as a result of reading this article is your sole responsibility not mine. Neither I nor AMUG get any compensation from the sale of these adapters. I want to make sure you understand that making these alterations can easily result in damage to your Mac mini if not done properly. In that event, I would not expect Apple to honor your warranty either. Now that you know that you are totally on your own if you should try to duplicate this setup and that there are risks, lets dig into the results."

Terra Soft Partners Yellow Dog Linux with PPC-based Mercury Computers

CNET News.com's Ina Fried reports:

"When Apple Computer announced in June that it planned to move to Intel chips, one of the companies left in the lurch was Terra Soft Solutions.

"The small Colorado company had carved out a nice niche specializing in selling Linux for Macs and other machines that use IBM's PowerPC chips. In the days following Apple's bombshell, Terra Soft quickly announced plans to seek out alternative hardware on which its Yellow Dog Linux could run.

"This week, Terra Soft is announcing it has filled some of the void created by Apple's move. Under a new deal, Terra Soft will resell PowerPC-based servers from Mercury Computer Systems. Mercury's XR9 systems use the same G5 chip as Apple's Xserve, but at 2.4 GHz, the chips are slightly faster than those used in Apple's top-of-the-line servers."

Products and Services

Iomega MiniMax for Mac mini

123macmini.com reports:

"Iomega International S.A has launched the Iomega MiniMax Desktop Hard Drive, a Hi-Speed Dual connectivity (USB 2.0 and FireWire) external device designed to compliment the form factor of the Mac mini and boost its storage capacity by up to 250 GB.

"Despite its Mac mini styling the new HDD has been designed with flexibility in mind. It is not only a perfect companion to the Mac mini but with three USB and three FireWire ports can function as a complete Mac hub. The unique design of the drive means that it is equally at home stacked with the Mac mini or functioning independently as a stylish desktop HDD for Mac or PC users."

Radeon 9600 Pro Supports Apple 30" Display on Mac and Windows

[PR] As the world leader in discrete graphics for both the Mac and PC platforms, ATI Technologies Inc. , is introducing the Radeon 9600 Pro PC and Mac Edition, the first graphics card to support both platforms. While maintaining all the key software features for Mac OS X and Windows XP that users of ATI products for the Mac and PC have come to rely on, the Radeon 9600 Pro PC and Mac Edition offers dual-link capabilities to support ultra high-resolution flat panel monitors like the Apple 30-inch Cinema Display. The AGP based Radeon 9600 Pro PC and Mac Edition is available for $199 MSRP.

This new card features one of ATI's most popular graphics processors for AGP systems - the Radeon 9600 Pro - and includes 256 MB of dedicated high-speed memory, has 128-bit memory interface and advanced DirectX 9.0 shader support with floating point precision. Users will experience tremendous graphics performance, plus the ability to drive ultra high-resolution monitors up to 2560x1600 resolution or better thanks to the card's dual-link DVI display support.

"By providing one card as a solution for two distinct platforms, ATI is making purchasing decisions easy for the computer user. There is no confusion as to whether the card will work in a Mac or a PC, because the Radeon 9600 Pro PC and Mac Edition will provide incredible performance and image quality in both," said Rich Heye, Vice President, Desktop Discrete Graphics, ATI. "As ultra-high resolution monitors have become increasingly popular for mainstream users, the dual-link functionality has become an important feature of graphics cards and ATI is unmatched in the consumer space at this price."

The dual platform Radeon 9600 Pro PC and Mac Edition is AGP 2.0 compliant, compatible with both AGP 4X and 8X systems, including Apple's Power Mac G4 series, Power Mac G5 and tens of millions of PC's sold over the last few years. The card can be booted in either platform and software drivers are included for both. ATI Displays, the fully optimized Mac OS X OpenGL driver, features advanced capabilities such as Versavision, enabling screen rotation from Landscape to Portrait mode. For PC users, the Radeon 9600 PC and Mac Edition will feature ATI's award-winning Catalyst Control Center, where users can personally tweak settings to fit their needs.

FastMac Reduces Price on G4 Upgrades by 25%

[PR] FastMac has announced it has lowered prices on its top-rated G4 AGP processor upgrades by as much as 25%. Upgrades from 1.1 GHz to 1.5 GHz now start at just $229.95, providing the best pricing for upgrades that exceed 1 GHz. The new, reduced pricing makes upgrading to Mac OS X and using its advanced features such as multiway video conferencing even more affordable.

"Tests have shown that our Motorola 7455-based G4 upgrades are just as fast, if not faster, than higher I am working on a "who's who" for Ace of Clubs Euchre. Page will include Yahoo ID, Yahoo Messenger ID (if different), real name, and common nicknames. Let me know if/how you would like to be listed. offerings from other companies," said Michael Lowdermilk, Business Development Manager for FastMac Performance Upgrades, Inc. "Not only can you save money with our products, you don't sacrifice in performance."

"The Megahertz myth applies to CPU upgrades too," said Edward Savio, President of FastMac Performance Upgrades, Inc. "The inclusion of Level 3 cache in our CPU design speeds up certain graphic-intensive actions within Photoshop, and in games such as Quake & Halo, even when compared to CPU's that use higher clock frequencies but forego inclusion of Level 3 cache."

The updated pricing, effective immediately, is:

  • G4 1.1 GHz $229.95 (exclusively available from website) G4 1.2 GHz $249.95
  • G4 1.4 GHz $289.95 (G4 1.467 GHz upgrade available for $10 more)
  • G4 1.5 GHz $349.95

Each G4 AGP processor upgrade from FastMac carries a 3 year warranty and includes 256 Kb of 1:1 L2 cache on chip and 2 Mb of high speed L3 cache, along with an integrated heat sink that stays cool-to-the-touch even under extreme operating conditions. FastMac's G4 AGP upgrades are designed to work inside Apple PowerMac G4 AGP Graphics (Sawtooth), Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio and Quicksilver models. They are compatible with Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, including Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.

DVI/USB 2.0 KVM Switch from Gefen

[PR] The new Gefen 2x1 DVI KVM Switcher easily connects two cross-platform computers to one keyboard, video display and mouse (KVM) workstation.

Gefen 2x1 DVI KVM SwitcherIt is especially useful for users of Mac mini low-cost computers when combined with another PC or Macintosh computer at the same workstation. This digital KVM solution also allows users to share peripherals between their laptops and desktop computers.

Stereo audio, high speed USB 2.0 and DVI video in resolutions up to 1920x1200 are output for each computer.

Users can select whatever type of USB compatible keyboard and mouse they want for either PC or Macintosh peripherals. All DVI equipped computers and displays can be connected to the 2x1 DVI KVM Switcher.

The 2x1 DVI KVM Switcher, measuring just seven inches wide, two and a half tall and four deep, provides a switch button on the front of the unit that gives access to computer data in just seconds.

One five-volt power supply drives the system and an optional RMT remote can access computers from a distance if needed.

Additional information on the Gefen 2x1 DVI KVM Switcher (MSRP $199) is available online.

Difusi Introduces First in Series of Mac mini Accessories

[PR] Difusi Corporation, known for its Apple Macintosh accessories, is introducing the new miniCase, a high-end, top-grain leather and Jacquard-nylon carrying case. The case has been designed exclusively for Apple Computer's new Mac mini and 12" PowerBook platforms.

Difusi case"Difusi, has held a long tradition of introducing high-quality and functional devices and accessories for the Mac platform," said Mike Wright, Difusi CEO, founder and director of product development. "This next phase of Difusi products takes our experience of bringing exceptional quality into the Mac market and truly integrates some amazing technologies to help differentiate our offerings from all of the other vendors in an increasingly crowded market segment."

The new miniCase comes with several very important features that will set this product line apart from its competitors.

Built-in protection, value added functionality, high quality -luxurious design.

Simply stated, people are getting tired of cheap and bland carrying cases. Difusi, when developing the ideas that would end-up in its miniCase design, kept this in mind when choosing the materials, features and form factor for this design. The miniCase was developed to provide extra levels of impact protection by incorporating a hi-tech gel form that has been proven to provide protection from mishaps such as accidentally dropping the case with the computer inside. Call it "Functional Luxury."

Features

The miniCase is jam-packed with features, it comes with over padded top-grain glove leather on all handles and carrying straps, main body of the carrying case, rugged zippers with padded leather pulls, as well as Jacquard nylon as a secondary material that has been chosen because of its durability and great looks. The case has six main compartments for carrying your mini or PowerBook, cables, accessories, documents, CDs, DVD movies, digital cameras and much more.

The cases were designed with Apple's look and feel in mind, from Black leather and Jacquard nylon exterior with reflective light-grey nylon interior, an internal lighting array with 12-Volt, eight (8) super bright white LED's in a custom, removable fixture, finished with a clear anodized aluminum housing to provide lighting for items in the case, items that may have fallen on the floor or items that need a lot of illumination.

Interior Illumination (Bright)

When is a light, not just a light? When difusi, breaks all convention to offer one of the most hi-tech lighting solutions in the industry. We call our core lighting technology "Bright", Wright says. Bright goes beyond standard light design to incorporate power maximizing circuit design and material selection of components that last indefinitely. Convention tells us that lights should be designed with the body comprising of a power source, with a grouping of lights usually hanging at either end.

"We threw all convention out the window and embarked on designing a new 'Illuminating Fixture' from end-to-end," said Wright. "We accomplished this by asking ourselves, how do we maximize the light output, minimize the power consumption, what materials are going to provide the most stability, and most importantly, make it sleek and easy to use."

Every product that you will see from difusi over this next year will be incorporating features that take full advantage of the promise of technological possibilities to introduce features that you would expect to an integral part of any high-end product design.

Lifetime Warranty

The miniCase by Difusi comes with a limited Lifetime Warranty. We believe in the quality of our products, Wright say's, and back our belief with a limited Lifetime Warranty. He goes on to state, Difusi wants our customers to be satisfied with our products through and through, so we have built our products to last from the day they are purchased onward.

Pricing and Availability

The miniCase will be available through select retailers, online distributors and from the http://www.difusi.tv online store this fall. All parties pre-ordering the miniCase will get a 40% discount off the suggested retail price. Visit http://www.difusi.tv for details.

(Product Specification) Case mini

Model Number DIFUSICM-02

MSRP $129.00

Dimensions:

  • 260mm (10.5" inches) width
  • 320mm (13.5" inches) height
  • 130mm ( 5" inches)Depth

Weight / Volume - 3.9 lbs / Approximately 700 cubic inches

Material - Soft Black Napa Leather and Black Jacquard Nylon with Silver Nylon Interior.

Computer Compartment Description

  • Perfect fit for the Apple PowerBook 12"
  • Perfect fit for the Apple Mac mini
  • Extreme Protection: Reinforced Frame
  • Shock Absorbing internal Gel
  • Form
  • File Storage Pocket
  • Zippered Mesh Pocket for Cables, Etc.

Organizer Compartment Description

  • Large Front Drop Pocket for Accessories and Personal/Business items
  • 2 Zippered Pockets
  • Cell Phone and la bled iPod™ Pockets
  • Business and Credit Card Pockets
  • Files (letter-Size Holder)
  • Key and Pen Holders

Storage/File Compartment Description

  • 3 Section Expandable File
  • 2 Accessory Pockets
  • 1 Large Zippered Pocket
  • Large General Storage
  • Extra Zippered Stash Pocket on Back

Additional Features

  • Ergonomic Padded Carry Handle
  • Extra Soft Shoulder Pad
  • Luggage Strap
  • Aluminum Lighting array featuring Eight (8) Ultra-White SMD LED displays to illuminate the interior of the Case mini. Runs on a single 21/23, 12-Volt Battery(Included) with click on/off control.

Warranty

  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers every two weeks:

For deals on laptops, see our Week's Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Week's Best iBook G4 Deals, and Week's Best iBook G3 Deals. For deals on iPods, see our Best iPod Deals.

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