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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Upgrade Advice, Shutdown Freezes, & Using PC Parts
February 18th, 2000

Good day, everyone! Today we're going to answer some reader questions about the new G4s, discuss the troubleshooting process to solve iMac freezes with Mac OS 9, and talk about using PC hardware inside your Mac. If you have a burning question you'd like to get off your chest, feel free to e-mail me or ask everyone in the forums. And without further ado, we move on to the questions of the day!

Raymond Rehayem writes, "Someone recommended I contact you with this inquiry. I'm getting a G4 and Final Cut Pro for video editing. I'll be doing this through Apple using a higher education loan. When I read the Apple specs for the hardware and for Final Cut Pro it indicates that an internal SCSI drive is the way to go. However, here at work people keep telling me there are great problems using the machines we ordered with the built-in SCSI drives and in fact we're replacing them with IDE drives here. We do Photoshop and other desktop apps here, not video, but the machines with the SCSI drives have system problems. Do you have any insight into this? It would be greatly appreciated. Also, are the 500 MHZ G4s coming to market any time soon? Should I hold off my purchase in hopes of this?"

Hmm... While there's not a WHOLE lot of empirical evidence about the G4s with SCSI out there, I haven't read or heard about any particular problems. I can't imagine there would be, although that doesn't mean much based on what we've all seen in the past with computer-related things that "should" work. With that, though, I wouldn't hesitate from putting a SCSI card in the machine, especially since Apple offers it with one for an extra US$49.00. For what you're talking about doing with video editing, you'll thank yourself for getting a SCSI drive!

As far as your 500MHz machine, I'll assume that you saw the results of Apple's Tokyo announcement, correct?

Warren Chaplin writes, "Greetings from sunny South Africa. I have a 233MHz iMac with 160MB RAM on which I recently installed Mac OS 9. Everything runs fine, except about 2 weeks ago it started to freeze when I chose shutdown, either from the "special" menu or via the keyboard power key. This problem has become progressively more frequent and now occurs with every shutdown. It seems like the normal shutdown procedure starts and the finder quits but it just stops and I'm left watching that mindless little wristwatch rotating endlessly. I tried leaving it in the hope that it would eventually work but after 3 hours, had to resort to the "Command+alt+shift+powerkey" combination to turn off. I also thought it might be Norton AntiVirus v6.01, as I had it set to do a scan on shutdown, but the problem still occurs with all extensions off. Any help you could provide me with would be greatly appreciated as I try to keep my Mac in peak condition at all times, and hate it when things aren't running smoothly."

This is certainly a strange one, Warren. My initial thoughts were that you had an errant extension that was causing the pause (like the problem with the old MS Office Manager), but with extensions off that's probably not the case. First I would make sure that the iMac has all its firmware up to date. The iMac Firmware updaters are available from Apple. A zap of the PRAM with Techtool would be a good thing to do after that. The next thing I would look at would be peripheral drivers -- do you have anything other than the keyboard and mouse connected to the machine? Try it with extensions off and everything but those disconnected. Next I would boot from the Mac OS 9 CD and try it that way. Assuming that a few boots from the CD shutdown properly, that would lead us back to a problem with the OS on your machine. A clean reinstall would then be in order. If it crashes on shutdown after booting from the CD, though, then I would say you've got a hardware issue.

Rémi Payette writes, "I have this PC Zip drive and PC video card and I would like to know if I could use them on my Mac. I have a PM7200/90 and the Zip is a PC 100MB SCSI drive. The video card is an ATI RAGE IIc PCI 4MB. Maybe the video card could be used as a second video?"

Rémi -- good news and bad news. The good news is that your "PC" Zip drive will work just fine. SCSI is SCSI, no matter which platform it's used with, so all you need is the proper drivers. IomegaWare is available for download, and will allow you to use your SCSI Zip drive with your Mac. For your video card, however, there's not a whole lot we can do. Because of the differences between Macs and PCs, video cards (despite some of them being PCI) are not all cross-platform. You could plug it in, but it wouldn't work. To make it work would require a combination of ROM and driver upgrades, neither of which are provided by ATI.

That's it for this week, folks! Thanks for reading! Feel free to e-mail your questions to [email protected], or check out the Ask Dave Forums for interactive help from everyone!

P.S. Have a Nice Day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....

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