Hackintosh, OSx86, PCs, Macs, Home Made Airport cards, Building your own Mac or PC from scratch, The Home Brew II computer club of the new millennium. Steve Jobs Apple Inc. eat your heart out. I will get a New Mac one day. Just not today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

PatchBurn Awesome SuperDrive Tool

As you know, Apple wants to you to buy new Mac to use it's built in DVD Burning Software for iTunes, iDVD 5, and Burn from the Finder.

5 years ago, I bought a new QuickSilver PowerMac G4 with a 2x DVD Burner. It is a genuine SuperDrive. This year, I swapped out the 2x with an Pioneer 16x DVD Burner. It the same make and model that comes with the G5's under Tiger.

Under Tiger, the drive was seen as an Apple SuperDrive. But due to some incompatiblities with my ACARD 6890M Raid (see Previous Blog), I was force to downgrade back the the Black Cat OS, Panther. Under Panther, the same drive was "unsupported."

It first I was bummed and didn't know what to do. I even tried taking the DVD Kernel Extensions from Tiger and moving them to Panther. Not a good idea and it does not work because the device information for both Panther and Tiger is stored somewhere else. Plus this will ruin the driver for Panther and the DVD drive not work at all.


I found a cool utility called, PatchBurn. It works great and it will take most unsupported DVD Burners at trick Jaguar, Panther or Tiger into thinking your Drive is a genuine SuperDrive.

PatchBurn is a tool to patch existing CD/DVD-drivers (under Mac-OS X 10.2.x) or to generate and install new device profiles (under Mac-OS 10.3.x and later). It allows many, otherwise unsupported burners to be used directly with Mac-OS X, iTunes and DiscBurner.

It's a great tool. 5 stars *****
I immediately sent the auther 5 euros after it saved my 16x DVD SuperDrive $80 eBay investment.


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Switch home System Back to Panther - ACARD Hardware Issue

After about a week of troubleshooting an SATA PCI Hardware RAID Controller on my QuickSilver G4, I switched my Mac back to Panther.

With a ACARD SATA 6890M PCI RAID and two 250GB SATA Drives in either Mirror, Striped or Normal modes installed and during a long file copy (200MB - 2GB), Tiger and the SATA would hold up all applications. The copy would eventually finish and the system would return to normal, but the experience was painful holding up every 200MBs for about 30 seconds. Safari, Finder, and Photoshop would become non functional even while no CPU Activity was taking place. The Beach ball of Death! I tried 4 different Mac OS X Drivers for the SATA Controller and swapped all 16 possible combinations of the 4 PCI Slots. Removed old legacy Hardware, etc. Did 3 firmware updates to the SATA Controller. Still no dice. Man, I felt like I was troubleshooting a PC running Mac OS 9 (impossible, it's just an analogy). This type of troubleshooting will become more common when Mac's switch to Intel with more unsupported hardware options.

A friend of mine was having trouble installing Panther on his Graphite G4. I told him that I had an extra 80 GB ATA Drive, and I would give it to him with his Panther discs pre-installed. While I had his system running on my QuickSilver, I noticed better response time with my SATA Drives and less latency holdups! Only the Finder would experience some latency. All the other Apps would still function was they should on a BSD UNIX Based Multitasking/Multiprocessor system. Next, I installed a fresh copy of Panther on my own SATA RAID and updated to the latest ACARD 1.5.6 drivers, and WOW it worked even better. 1000 times better than with Tiger. I then tried a Fresh copy of Tiger on a separate partition and tried upgrading using the same 1.5.6 drivere The Latency came right back. And it didn't matter if I used the default Mac OS X Drivers or ACARD latest incarnation. Looks like the ACARD SATA PCI Card is not currently compatible with Tiger 10.4.3 on a QuickSilver Dual Ghz G4 with 1.5GB RAM.

Oh well, I am glad I got this hardware working and plus its bootable with Panther. (BTW, Tiger would never boot from the the SATA RAID, only PANTHER would boot correctly.)

I have a 500 GB Partition for my System, Apps, Music and some Video. I have another 300 GB Partition running on Apple's internal ATA. Both Partitions are stripped over 2 drives each; one via ACARD's SATA PCI Hardware, the other is Apple's Software RAID from the Motherboard's internal ATA. But the speed is awesome. Feels like I'm on a G5. It's nice having 800 GB of internal storage space.

The 16x DVDRW is working flawlessly too. Still burning lots of weekly podcasts with it for the morning commute.

Happy Holidays,