Mac News Review

iPhone Reflections, EPA Contradicts Greenpeace on Apple, New PCI Express Cards, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.01.10

Special Macworld Expo Report

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Software

Hardware

News & Opinion

Don't Have an iPhone Yet? Chances Are You Will

ITBusiness.ca's Shane Schick says:

"There has been enough speculation in the last three months from magazines like The Economist, the blog site Engadget and other pundits to believe that Apple's evolving mobile strategy, whatever it is, will have to incorporate some form of telecommunications. With the iPod having recently marked its fifth anniversary, the company seems to have the installed base necessary to extend its reach into other areas. There are people who could go ga-ga imaging how Apple might reinvent the user interface for mobile phones, and certainly it would open up development opportunities for the Mac platform that ISVs haven't had before.

"Even if it waited a year or two before it launched an iPhone, Apple would still be coming at its target audience from a more favourite position. Look at Research In Motion, which is deviating from its longstanding focus on the enterprise segment by releasing a product, the BlackBerry Pearl, which is obviously designed to appeal to the kind of user Apple sucked in years ago.

"Although access to Mac applications could be the iPhone's stick, music would have to remain the carrot. That means consumers, who would be primarily in charge of managing what is in fact their own device, will probably put the storage and performance needs of their iTunes content in higher priority to their work content, which has all kinds of storage and security implications. You could ask Apple what it's going to do to make the iPhone acceptable in the enterprise, but I think you'll be waiting a long time for them to call back."

Apple Rolls Out the iPhone

eWeek's Daniel Drew Turner and Scott Ferguson report:

"Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs has rarely failed to dazzle loyal customers during a keynote address.

"And, at the 2007 MacWorld Expo, Jobs even managed to go one better.

"During his nearly two-hour address in San Francisco on Jan. 9, Jobs finally pulled back the curtain on the much-rumored, long-awaited iPhone. Rumors had been of a full-screen iPod, an Apple-branded phone, or some other Internet-aware mobile device. Instead, Jobs revealed a single device that subsumed all three descriptions."

iPhone: Apple's Revolution for the Few

PC Magazine's Sascha Segan says:

"Yes, it's a revolution. Apple shot for the ultimate high end with its iPhone announcement today, loading in radical new features that other phone manufacturers will be racing to catch up with.

"And they'll have room to race, because the iPhone is priced so high that only true fans will be able to afford one, and only Cingular customers will be able to buy it. That will prevent Apple from dominating the smart phone market the way they have the MP3 player market."

EPA Info Should Make Greenpeace Red-faced over Targeting Apple

Ars Technica's Mary E. Tyler says:

"If you've been following the Green My Apple movement courtesy of GreenPeace, you'll remember our recent coverage of GreenPeace's latest stunt: turning the NYC Apple store green courtesy of some tinted floodlights. In that article, yours truly took a lot of heat for assuming - for the sake of argument - that GreenPeace's word that Apple was a bad corporate citizen was accurate and that Apple had room to improve. Well... you know what they say about assumptions. GreenPeace has reason to be red-faced - at least if you believe the EPA.

"A recent New York Times article on buying refurnished and environmentally friendly computers (free registration required) led to a nifty list called EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) made up by the EPA. Computers that meet 23 required environmental criteria get a bronze medal. If a computer meets 50% of an additional 28 criteria, it gets a silver medal. If it meets all 23 required and all 28 option criteria, it gets a gold. None of the 300 pieces of computer equipment rated got gold medals.

"How did Apple do?"

Software

CrossOver Mac 6.0 Runs Windows Apps on Intel Macs without Windows

PR: CodeWeavers, Inc. are providing a free time-limited beta version of CrossOver Mac to anyone that is willing to test CrossOver.

CrossOver Mac allows you to install many popular Windows applications and games on Mac OS X. CrossOver includes an easy to use, single click interface, which makes installing Windows software simple and fast. Once installed, your application integrates seamlessly in OS X. Just click and run your application directly from the OS X Finder. Clicking a Windows file or document - including email attachments - will launch the appropriate Windows program, allowing you to work on the files. Best of all, you do it all easily and affordably, without needing a Microsoft operating system license.

Adding new Windows software is easy. Just place your install CD in your Mac, and CrossOver will recognize it and offer to begin the installation process. CrossOver then completes the installation and configures your application to run on your Mac. That's all there is to it.

New in version 6.0:

CrossOver Mac specific changes:

  • Modified handling of Mac Suitcase fonts so that they are avalable to more Windows applications. In particular, fonts should now work properly in Visio 2003.
  • Altered menu generation so that Managed bottles produce usable menus.
  • Extensively revised the documentation and online help.
  • Cut/Copy/Paste keyboard shortcuts (Command-X,C,V) work better.
  • Added several general printing fixes.
  • Fixed several Half-Life 2 crashes.
  • Improved support for non-American keyboards.
  • Improved support for non-English versions of some applications.
  • Adjusted the GUI in numerous small ways.
  • After this version, it will no longer be necessary to quit the CrossOver CD Helper in order to overwrite CrossOver.
  • Macs with integrated Intel graphics chips (MacBook, Mini) can run DirectX 8.x graphics.
  • Fixed crashes and install failures due to libraries in /usr/local.
  • Fixed crashes due to certain font files.
  • Tool palette windows are now movable.
  • Improved scroll-wheel responsiveness.
  • Fixed Create Icon to preserve working directory and command arguments more reliably.
  • Fixed handling of Caps Lock.
  • General CrossOver fixes and improvements:
  • Fixed the IE screen-flicker that appeared for pages with Flash content
  • Many other improvements to IE behavior
  • Improved handling of CD detection and ejection. Installers that require multiple CDs should now install more graciously.
  • Some fixes to Outlook 2003 behavior, including printing fixes.
  • Improved support for Equation Editor
  • Corrected display of fonts in DirectX 8.x games, like Half-Life 2.
  • Changes resolution in full-screen games should work better.
  • Numerous other Direct3D improvements.

System support: CrossOver Mac requires an Intel based CPU in your Mac. PowerPC (G3,G4,G5) based Mac systems are not supported.

For more information, visit:

http://www.codeweavers.com/

VMware Demonstrates Fusion Software for Mac at Macworld

PR: At Macworld 2007, VMware, Inc., the global leader in software for industry-standard virtualized desktops and servers, will demonstrate the public beta of its new desktop product that enables Intel-based Macs to run x86 operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, NetWare, and Solaris, in virtual machines at the same time as Mac OS X.

The new desktop product for the Apple Mac was introduced during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in August 2006, and the public beta became available free of charge in December 2006 and can be downloaded at http://www.vmware.com/products/beta/fusion/ . The new product for the Mac is expected to be generally available by this summer; pricing will be announced at the time of general availability.

"With our new desktop product for the Mac, we've combined VMware's advanced virtualization platform with an easy-to-use, native Mac interface, and we have seen tremendous interest in the product since its introduction at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference," said Srinivas Krishnamurti, director of product and market development at VMware. "Beta customers have been very excited about this product's ability to fully leverage the Mac's hardware capabilities - running 64-bit PC applications on Mac OS X, gaining additional performance by allocating a second CPU to virtual machines and accessing all devices, including iSight cameras and any Bluetooth device."

"My team maintains a vast library of VMware virtual machine images for developing and testing our software products, and because many of the engineers involved are Mac users, the ability to leverage our existing library was a compelling reason to evaluate the product," said Blake Garner, lab systems engineer at Adobe Systems. "I like the product's 64-bit support, its simple and clean user interface and its compatibility with our existing virtual machine library. It should allow a lot of our Mac users to make the Mac the only desktop they need because they can now run Windows in a virtual machine. It's clear after using the public beta that a first-class VMware product for Mac OS X is on the way."

The new desktop product for the Mac is based on VMware's robust and advanced virtualization technology, shipping for more than eight years and used by more than four million people today. With the new product, users can:

  • Create and run a wide variety of 32- and 64-bit x86 operating systems on Mac OS X without rebooting and simultaneously run PC applications next to Mac OS X applications
  • Leverage Virtual SMP capabilities to gain additional performance improvements so that on any Mac with dual-core processors, users can assign multiple CPUs to a virtual machine to gain additional performance for CPU-intensive workloads
  • Access physical devices from the virtual machine to read and burn CDs and DVDs, access Bluetooth and USB 2.0 devices such as video cameras, iPods, printers and disks at full speed, view live battery status within the virtual machine by leveraging the Virtual Battery technology and even use devices that do not have drivers for Mac OS X
  • Drag and drop files and folders between Mac OS X and any virtual machine to easily share data between the two environments
  • Leverage compatibility across VMware virtual machines so that existing VMware virtual machines created with the most current VMware products are all cross-compatible, including virtual machines created by VMware Workstation, VMware Server and VMware Infrastructure 3
  • Run any of the 380 virtual appliances for solutions such as security, load balancing, collaboration, databases, development, communications and business applications available from the Virtual Appliance Marketplace (http://vam.vmware.com ); virtual appliances are pre-built, pre-configured and ready-to-run software applications, all packaged within virtual machines that can be run using VMware virtualization products including VMware Player and VMware Server, which are both available for free download at http://www.vmware.com/download .

Mac BU Announces Intent to Deliver Office 2008 for Mac

PR: Microsoft Corp.'s Macintosh Business Unit (Mac BU) today revealed at Macworld Conference & Expo 2007 the news Mac fans have been waiting to hear: A new version of Office for Mac is on its way. The Mac BU announced its intent to deliver the first Universal version of Office for Mac for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs - Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. Scheduled to be available in the second half of 2007, Office 2008 for Mac will allow Mac users to work smarter and more efficiently with new and enhanced tools that are simple, intuitive and easily discovered.

"For more than two decades, Microsoft has been committed to delivering quality and innovation on the Macintosh platform while retaining unparalleled compatibility with PCs," said Roz Ho, general manager of the Mac BU at Microsoft. "Office 2008 is, by far, the most comprehensive, Mac-complementary productivity suite we've developed to date. I've witnessed firsthand the progression of this product, and am excited to think about the possibilities that soon will be available to our customers when Office 2008 launches later this year."

Microsoft conducted extensive customer research to determine which enhancements to make to its Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Entourage applications. As a result, Office 2008 for Mac is packed with new tools to help Mac users better manage the business of life.

Shared Technologies with Office for Windows

Office 2008 for Mac shares a new graphics engine with Office for Windows. Office Art 2.0 provides users with the ability to add professionally designed graphics with a simple click of a button. Like the 2007 Microsoft Office system and its new user interface (UI) with the Ribbon, Office 2008 has its own new UI that introduces Elements Gallery, a feature that emphasizes discoverability and gives users quick access to tools and Mac- specific features within applications in a visually appealing, simple way. Both features leverage Mac OS capabilities to retain a Mac-like look and feel users are familiar with while taking advantage of new technologies.

Part of the Elements Gallery is a tool called Document Parts. Documents Parts simplify and automate some of the most common, but often difficult and tedious, document tasks - such as adding a table of contents or headers and footers - so users can produce manuscripts and papers that look professional.

New Mac-First, Mac-Only Features

Microsoft continues to deliver new Mac-first, Mac-only features aimed at providing customers with a unique, engaging and definitively Mac experience. Office 2008 for Mac will carry on the tradition of Mac BU's productivity software, helping users get organized and work smarter through these features:

  • Publishing Layout View lets users create incredibly layout-rich documents such as newsletters, fliers and brochures by uncovering desktop publishing layout tools and providing text box entry.
  • Ledger Sheets enable anyone to use Excel to handle common financial management tasks. Home and small-business users can balance checkbooks, track accounts or manage investment portfolios more easily than ever.
  • My Day allows users to track priorities and stay on top of daily activities no matter what application they're currently working in. My Day is a stand-alone application that doesn't take up much screen space, offers at-a-glance schedule and task viewing without launching Entourage, and lets users color-code everything for visualizing daily priorities.

Commitment to Compatibility

To improve collaboration between Mac customers and their Windows-based PC counterparts, the Mac BU has continued to make compatibility with Office for Windows a key priority. Like the 2007 Office release, Office 2008 for Mac will use the Office Open XML Formats, which were just approved in December by standards body Ecma International as an international standard. In spring 2007, Microsoft plans to release a public beta of the file format converters for the current version, Office 2004 for Mac, so users can read and write the new Office Open XML Formats. Six to eight weeks after Office 2008 for Mac is launched, the Mac BU intends to ship final versions of the converters.

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry

PR: The Missing Sync for BlackBerry is built on the same technology that has garnered 4.5-mice ratings from Macworld magazine. It's built to be reliable, so that you can count on your information successfully making the round trip between your Mac and BlackBerry handset.

Keep in touch with people

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry ensures that all of your important contacts are kept in sync between Apple's Address Book and your BlackBerry handset. Phone numbers, email and postal addresses, groups/categories and birthdays are kept updated in both locations. Address Book contact photos sync to the BlackBerry Pearl.

Manage your time more effectively

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry also synchronizes calendar events and tasks from iCal to your BlackBerry device. If you set a calendar reminder on the Mac, your BlackBerry will notify you. Check off tasks as you complete them throughout the day, then sync those changes when you get back to your desk.

The most important information, when you need it

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry comes with a Mac application called Mark/Space Notebook, which allows you to create, edit, categorize, sort and search notes on your Mac, then sync them via The Missing Sync with your BlackBerry handset. With support for Sync Services, Mark/Space Notebook keeps your notes current across multiple computers with Mark/Space's own SyncTogether product or via dot Mac syncing. You can also choose to synchronize your BlackBerry's notes with Microsoft Entourage or Yojimbo, the awesome information organizer from Bare Bones, makers of BBEdit.

Put some photos on your Pearl

The Missing Sync will download selected iPhoto albums to the BlackBerry Pearl's microSD card, automatically resizing each photo to fit the screen. Photos taken with the Pearl can be imported to a folder of your choosing on the Mac or right into an iPhoto album.

Use your Pearl to tune in

The Missing Sync for BlackBerry will also synchronize selected iTunes playlists to the BlackBerry Pearl's microSD card for mobile listening. While the Pearl can't play protected music from the iTunes music store, it's great for listening to the tunes you own or podcasts you've downloaded.

Use your favorite desktop apps

The Missing Sync uses Apple's Sync Services technology, allowing information from other Sync Services-savvy applications, such as Chronos SOHO Organizer, Microsoft Entourage 2004 and soon, Market Circle Daylite, to sync between your Mac and your BlackBerry handset. As more applications use this technology, The Missing Sync will be able to pass their data to your BlackBerry, increasing its flexibility and usefulness.

Made by Mac users for Mac users

Mark/Space has been making Mac communication software since 1990. We love Macs and gadgets, and it shows in our work. The Missing Sync is elegant, easy to use and works like Mac software should. We're committed to supporting new technologies from Apple, so you can always get the most from your devices. The Missing Sync is the right choice today, and it will continue to be the right choice tomorrow.

Don't miss out!

If you have a BlackBerry device and a Mac, then you should definitely get The Missing Sync for BlackBerry today. Whether you're a new BlackBerry user, or if you've used some other software to connect it with your Mac, you're going to like The Missing Sync's reliability and user experience.

Available Q1, 2007 for $39.95

Mac System Requirements:

  • PowerPC G4, PowerPC G5, or Intel processor
  • Mac OS X, 10.4.8 or higher (Tiger)
  • Internet connection for product registration

BlackBerry Requirements:

The following devices running version 4.0 and later of the BlackBerry operating system have been tested:

  • 7100 series
  • 7290 (Cingular/T-Mobile)
  • 7250 (Verizon)
  • 7520 (Nextel)
  • 7130 series
  • 8700 series
  • 8707 series
  • 8703 series (Sprint)
  • 8705
  • 8100 series, aka "Pearl"

Other devices may work, but have not been tested.

Upgrade from a qualifying Missing Sync product

Customers who own one of the Missing Sync products listed below will qualify for a special discounted upgrade to the new Missing Sync for BlackBerry, version 1.0.

  • Missing Sync for Palm OS
  • Missing Sync for Windows Mobile

For more information, visit:

Hardware

Small Tree 4-port and 6-port PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Cards

PR: Small Tree Communications, the high-speed interconnect leader for Apple Mac OS X, introduces three new PCI Express (PCIe) Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) cards for G5 Power Mac, Mac Pro and the new Intel-based Xserve systems at Macworld Expo (Booth N4014). The four-port copper PEG4 card, the six-port copper PEG6 card, and the six-port copper or optical PEG6SFP card are available for sale and delivery today.

The PEG4, PEG6 and PEG6SFP offer the highest port density and extract the maximum network throughput from today's high-end server motherboards. They are ideally suited for file servers that require high bandwidth connection to a Gigabit Ethernet switch using features such as Jumbo frames and 802.3ad link aggregation. Additionally, Small Tree's multi-port PCIe GbE solutions enable near wire-speed performance with low CPU utilization. Based on current Intel GbE controllers, the PEG4, PEG6 and PEG6SFP come with native driver support for all popular operating systems, including Mac OS X, Linux and Windows.

"With the introduction of these cards, we believe that Small Tree is offering the most complete portfolio of multi-port Gigabit Ethernet cards for Mac OS X systems available in the market today," stated Derek Robb, Vice-President of Sales and Business Development at Small Tree Communications. "Customers can choose either PCI-X or PCIe cards with 1, 2, 4, or 6 ports and either copper, optical or SFP connectors. Plus we provide them with our highly optimized Mac OS X drivers and a level of support not found from other networking solution suppliers."

The PEG4 adapter includes four independent copper 10/100/1000Base-T GbE channels in a single PCIe slot, while the PEG6 includes six such channels. The PEG6SFP GbE adapter provides greater flexibility with six independent Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) channels that can be customized to simultaneously meet optical and copper networking requirements. Customers can specify which sockets should be dedicated for optical or copper use. Additionally, users have the option of populating only those sockets necessary for current needs, leaving open the opportunity of tailoring remaining ports for future specifications.

Sonnet Tempo SATA E2P Serial ATA Host Adapter Supports Up to 10 Drives

PR: Sonnet Technologies, announces Tempo SATA E2P, the latest addition to its line of Serial ATA host adapters. This card for Mac Pro, Dual Core Power Mac G5, Xserve, and Windows computers offers two external 300 MB/s Serial ATA ports and supports SATA drive enclosures with port multipliers (like Sonnet's Fusion 500P), enabling users to connect up to 10 disk drives.

Tempo SATA E2P is an affordable solution for adding external SATA connections and enabling users to easily add high-capacity data storage. SATA drive enclosures offer flexibility not found in fixed installations inside the computer. Users can add or swap drives on the fly to maximize storage capacity, and the entire enclosure can be moved from one location to another.

This card is simple to install, supports hot-swap functionality and Mac OS X and Windows XP Professional RAID features.

Tempo SATA E2P Key Features

  • Two eSATA ports
  • 3 Gb/s per port SATA II controller
  • FIS-based port multiplier-aware to support up to 10 hard disk drives*
  • Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC) support for compatibility with all SATA hard drives
  • Hot-swap drive support
  • Native PCI Express (PCIe) x1 host bus interface

(*)When using port multiplier enclosures like Sonnet's Fusion 500P.

Compatibility

  • Mac Pro
  • Power Mac G5 (with PCI Express slots)
  • Xserve (with PCI Express slots)
  • PC with PCI Express slot
  • Mac OS X Version 10.3+
  • Windows XP with SP2
  • Windows Vista

Pricing and Availability

  • Tempo SATA E2P (part number TSATAII-E2P) will be available in early February 2007 for the suggested retail price of USD $79.95.

Sonnet FireWire and USB Adapter Cards for PCI Express

PR: Sonnet Technologies announces three PCI Express (PCIe) adapter cards for Mac Pro, Dual Core Power Mac G5, Xserve, and Windows computers. Allegro Express FW400-a FireWire 400 card, Allegro Express USB-a USB 2.0 card, and Tango Express-a combo FireWire 400/USB 2.0 card. These cards add full-bandwidth, powered USB and/or FireWire ports without the need for an external box or power adapter. Each card features a native PCI Express x1 host bus interface, offers easy plug and play installation, and is Mac OS X, and Windows XP and Vista compatible.

Allegro Express FW400 offers two external (or one external plus one internal) FireWire 400 ports and supports all industry standard FireWire 400 (a.k.a. 1394a, iLINK) peripherals. Allegro Express FW400 supports hot-swappable device connection, and its independently powered ports provide reliable power to bus-powered peripherals.

Allegro Express USB offers four external plus one internal USB 2.0 ports and supports all industry standard USB 1.1 and 2.0 peripherals. In addition to hot-swappable device connection, Allegro Express USB supports simultaneous low-, full-, and hi-speed device connections.

Tango Express offers two FireWire 400 ports plus three USB 2.0 ports (all external) and supports all industry standard FireWire 400 and USB 1.1 and 2.0 peripherals. Tango Express provides support for hot-swappable device connection and simultaneous low-, full-, and hi-speed device connections.

Compatibility

  • Mac Pro
  • Power Mac G5 (with PCI Express slots)
  • Xserve (with PCI Express slots)
  • PC with PCI Express slot
  • Mac OS X Version 10.3+
  • Windows XP with SP2
  • Windows Vista

All three cards will be available in early February 2007 for the following suggested retail prices:

  • Allegro Express FW400 (part number FW400-E) - USD $69.95
  • Allegro Express USB (part number USB2-E) - USD $69.95
  • Tango Express (part number FWUSB2-E) - USD $89.95

FirmTek SeriTek/2SE4 PCI-X Serial ATA Adapter for Power Mac G5

SeriTek/2SE4PR: FirmTek, LLC, a pioneer and leader in Serial ATA (SATA) storage solutions for the Macintosh platform, has announced the SeriTek/2SE4 PCI-X adapter. Announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, this breakthrough solution provides high-performance Serial ATA connections for up to 20 drives, each with transfer rates as high as 3 gigabits per second, delivering potential aggregate speeds beyond 700 megabytes per second. This remarkable speed and capacity allows streaming of multiple uncompressed high definition video streams, enabling numerous applications in video production, photography, and archiving, as well as other activities involving large media or image files. In addition, FirmTek's established hot-swap compatibility makes it easy for users to move entire drives and arrays between any FirmTek-equipped systems, or into secure storage, in seconds.

Uniquely Bootable on PCI-X G5s

The SeriTek/2SE4 is compatible with both PCI-X and PCI bus architecture systems, and optimal performance will be delivered on PCI-X systems like Apple's Macintosh G5. Further, it is the only SATA controller card that offers full boot capability, allowing the fastest RAID configurations to include system operations. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software. The card is NOT compatible with PCI-Express slots like those found in Quad- or Dual-Core G5s or in the Intel-based Mac Pro. See FirmTek's separate announcement of the SeriTek/SME4-E for support of these systems.

Four External Ports Supporting up to 20 External Drives

The remarkable new technology included in the SeriTek/2SE4 is support for port multiplication. This innovation allows each physical SATA port to access multiple devices at full speed and performance via port multiplier enclosures like FirmTek's new SeriTek/5PM. "Today FirmTek is announcing support for Port Multiplication across a wide range of platforms and solutions," reports Chi Kim Stanford, VP of Business Development for FirmTek. "We are pleased to offer this bootable PCI-X solution along-side products for PCIe and ExpressCard systems. We recognize that many professionals are still working on original G5s, and we are dedicated to supporting the platforms our customers are using."

The port multiplier technology in the SeriTek/2SE4 optimizes up to 5 drives per port by utilizing multiple lanes of the advanced PCI-Express bus architecture. When 20 high performance drives are configured in a RAID array, throughput can reach beyond 700Mb/sec, enabling up to four simultaneous HD video streams to be streamed directly to disk. Port multiplication also delivers much greater simplicity for standard applications, as a single cable connects the computer with up to five drives (previous technology required a separate cable for each external SATA drive). For more advanced applications it dramatically increases on-hand high-performance storage. With up to 20 RAID-configured drives connected simultaneously, accessible storage limits can be effectively eliminated for all but the most demanding applications.

Optimizing Security and Flexibility

FirmTek has pioneered products supporting ATA standards on the Macintosh for many years, and offers a variety of enclosures and interface solutions for demanding users. Since the introduction of Serial ATA, the ability to hot-swap drives between enclosures has been a key feature across FirmTek's products. All FirmTek enclosures are designed to allow quick and easy removal and installation of drives, usually in about a minute, without shutting down or restarting the computer. This flexibility allows users to share important data quickly, transfer or duplicate files at the speed of SATA (instead of over sluggish networks, slow USB/FireWire, or Internet connections), and to keep more sensitive files locked up and secure with minimal effort.

Port Multiplication further enhances flexibility, as users are free to use multiple cards and multiple enclosures to create ideal RAID solutions in both size and performance. Depending on the application, users may opt for multiple cards, multiple enclosures or both to attain the solution that best meets their needs.

Hot-swappable external enclosures also provide effectively unlimited storage capacity, as users are not limited to the drive bays available. As volumes are filled to capacity, they are easily removed and replaced with new drives, ready to accept additional content. FirmTek's direct backplane design makes installation as easy as 1-2-3, with no cables, switches or other configuration involved.

To assist customers in maximizing their productivity and obtaining maximum benefit from their FirmTek solutions, FirmTek offers additional drive trays for $22.99 each, without any additional purchases required. This enables customers to keep an unlimited number of drives on hand and ready for action.

Price and Availability

The MSRP of the SeriTek/2SE4 will be $199.95, and it is expected to ship in late February, 2007.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Four eSATA external ports support hot-swapping of single and RAID volumes
  • Plug-and-Play ease of use for cards and drives
  • Completely self-contained booting functionality, no driver installation necessary
  • SATA II compliant, with auto-negotiation per-port data transfer of 1.5 Gbits/sec and 3.0 Gbits/sec
  • FIS-based native SATA I/O support; Connect up to 20 SATA hard drives*

Note: Support for up to 20 drives requires an external enclosure built with a 5-port Port Multiplier like the FirmTek SeriTek/5PM. Use of enclosures without port multiplication, like SeriTek/2eEN4, will support up to 4 drives, each directly connected to a SeriTek/2SE4 port.

  • Supports Mac OS X version 10.3.0 or later
  • Provides performance and data protection: Supports native OS X RAID 0/1
  • Support Windows OS RAID and Linux
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.
  • Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC) support
  • Compatible with native Apple SATA implementation, no SCSI emulation
  • Optimized support for Power Mac G5 PCI-X bus
  • Compatible with legacy PCI-based Power PC Macintosh computers
  • Backward-compatible with standard 32/64-bit PCI at 33MHz and 66MHz bus speeds (Best performance in 100 MHz or 133 MHz 64-bit PCI-X slot)
  • Flash-ROM; firmware user-upgradeable in minutes
  • 48-bit LBA support for drive sizes larger than 137GB
  • PCI-X 1.0a compliant 64-bit at 133/100 MHz bus speeds
  • Bus master operation enhances CPU efficiency: The CPU is free to handle other tasks during data transfers between the PCI Bus and system memory
  • Reduced setting requirements on storage devices (no master/slave) means easier and more efficient installation and replacement
  • Ideal for the most demanding applications: Publishing, Audio/Video production, storage and editing, photo/graphics storage and editing, servers, and gaming.

FirmTek SeriTek/2ME4-E PCI-Express Serial ATA Adapter for Power Mac G5 Dual and Quad

PR: FirmTek, LLC, a pioneer and leader in Serial ATA (SATA) storage solutions for the Macintosh platform, has announced the SeriTek/2ME4-E PCI-Express adapter with Port Multiplier technology. Announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, this breakthrough solution provides high-performance Serial ATA connections for up to 20 drives, each with transfer rates as high as 3 gigabits per second, delivering potential aggregate speeds beyond 700 megabytes per second. This remarkable speed and capacity allows streaming of multiple uncompressed high definition video streams, enabling numerous applications in video production, photography, and archiving, as well as other activities involving large media or image files. In addition, FirmTek's established hot-swap compatibility makes it easy for users to move entire drives and arrays between any FirmTek-equipped systems, or into secure storage, in seconds.

Uniquely bootable on Late-Model G5s

The SeriTek/2ME4-E is compatible with PCIe (PCI Express) bus architecture systems, including the Dual- and Quad-Core G5 Macintosh and the new Mac Pro. It is the only controller that allows volumes to boot on a Dual- or Quad-Core G5s, delivering optimal performance on all system operations. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software. The card is NOT compatible with standard PCI or PCI-X slots like those found in G4s or earlier G5s. See FirmTek's separate announcement of the SeriTek/2SE4 for Port Multiplication support on these systems.

Four External Ports Supporting up to 20 External Drives

The remarkable new technology included in the SeriTek/2ME4-E is support for port multiplication. This innovation allows each physical SATA port to access multiple devices at full speed and performance via port multiplier enclosures like FirmTek's new SeriTek/5PM. "FirmTek is excited to deliver a full range of solutions with Port Multiplication," reports Chi Kim Stanford, VP of Business Development for FirmTek. "With a full host of PM-equipped adapter cards and a new enclosure supporting this technology, we are able to deliver the broadest array of PM solutions, complete with boot capability on many systems."

The port multiplier technology in the SeriTek/2ME4-E optimizes up to 5 drives per port by utilizing multiple lanes of the advanced PCI-Express bus architecture. When 20 high performance drives are configured in a RAID array, throughput can reach beyond 700Mb/sec, enabling up to four simultaneous HD video streams to be streamed directly to disk. Port multiplication also delivers much greater simplicity for standard applications, as a single cable connects the computer with up to five drives (previous technology required a separate cable for each external SATA drive). For more advanced applications, it dramatically increases on-hand high-performance storage. With up to 20 RAID-configured drives connected simultaneously, accessible storage limits can be effectively eliminated for all but the most demanding applications.

Optimizing Security and Flexibility

FirmTek has pioneered products supporting ATA standards on the Macintosh for many years, and offers a variety of enclosures and interface solutions for demanding users. Since the introduction of Serial ATA, the ability to hot-swap drives between enclosures has been a key feature across FirmTek's products. All FirmTek enclosures are designed to allow quick and easy removal and installation of drives, usually in about a minute, without shutting down or restarting the computer. This flexibility allows users to share important data quickly, transfer or duplicate files at the speed of SATA (instead of over sluggish networks, slow USB/FireWire, or Internet connections), and to keep more sensitive files locked up and secure with minimal effort.

Port Multiplication further enhances flexibility, as users are free to use multiple cards and multiple enclosures to create ideal RAID solutions in both size and performance. Depending on the application, users may opt for multiple cards, multiple enclosures or both to attain the solution that best meets their needs.

Hot-swappable external enclosures also provide effectively unlimited storage capacity, as users are not limited to the drive bays available. As volumes are filled to capacity, they are easily removed and replaced with new drives, ready to accept additional content. FirmTek's direct backplane design makes installation as easy as 1-2-3, with no cables, switches or other configuration involved.

To assist customers in maximizing their productivity and obtaining maximum benefit from their FirmTek solutions, FirmTek offers additional drive trays for $22.99 each, without any additional purchases required. This enables customers to keep an unlimited number of drives on hand and ready for action.

Price and Availability

The price of the SeriTek/2ME4-E will be announced soon, and it is expected to ship in late March, 2007.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Four eSATA external ports support hot-swapping of single and RAID volumes
  • Plug-and-Play ease-of-use for adapter cards and drives. Supports booting on Dual- and Quad-Core G5s (Mac Pro boot capability is under study)
  • Self-contained functionality, no driver installation necessary
  • SATA II compliant, with auto-negotiation per-port data transfer of 1.5 Gbits/sec and 3.0 Gbits/sec
  • FIS-based native SATA I/O support; Connect up to 20 SATA hard drives

NOTE: Support for up to 20 drives requires external enclosures with 5 drives and support Port Multiplication like the new FirmTek SeriTek/5PM. Use of enclosures without port multiplication, like SeriTek/2eEN4, will support up to 4 drives, each directly connected to a dedicated SeriTek/2ME4-E port.

  • Supports Mac OS X version 10.4.0 or later
  • Provides performance and data protection: Supports native OS X RAID 0/1
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.
  • Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC) support
  • Compatible with native Apple SATA implementation, no SCSI emulation
  • Supports Power Mac G5 PCIe bus systems and Mac Pro
  • Flash-ROM; firmware user-upgradeable in minutes
  • 48-bit LBA support for drive sizes larger than 137GB
  • Bus master operation enhances CPU efficiency: The CPU is free to handle other tasks during data transfers between the PCI Bus and system memory
  • Reduced setting requirements on storage devices (no master/slave) means easier and more efficient installation and replacement
  • Ideal for the most demanding applications: Publishing, Audio/Video production, storage and editing, photo/graphics storage and editing, servers, and gaming.

FirmTek SeriTek/5PM Port Multiplier SATA Enclosure Supports up to 5 High-Performance Drives

PR: FirmTek, LLC, a pioneer and leader in Serial ATA (SATA) storage solutions for the Macintosh platform, has announced the SeriTek/5PM SATA enclosure with Port Multiplier technology. Announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, this breakthrough solution houses up to 5 hot-swappable drives, each with transfer rates as high as 3 gigabits per second, delivering potential aggregate speed beyond 220 megabytes per second with just one cable. When configured with three other enclosures (for a total of 20 drives), this speed can reach beyond 700 megabytes per second. This remarkable speed and capacity allows streaming of uncompressed video streams, enabling numerous applications in video production, photography, storage and archiving, as well as other activities involving large media or image files. FirmTek's established hot-swap compatibility also makes it easy for users to move entire drives and arrays between any FirmTek-equipped systems, or into secure storage, in seconds.

In addition to its state-of-the-art support of Port Multiplication, the SeriTek/5PM delivers several exciting new features such as a front-panel power switch that carries a multi second delay to prevent accidental power-down. "While Port Multiplication is the centerpiece of our Macworld Expo product roll-out, we are very pleased to have engineered this latest SeriTek enclosure with several features requested by customers over the past years," reports Chi Kim Stanford, VP of Business Development for FirmTek. "We have dedicated our resources to SATA, and we are confident that users will find our latest products to deliver in all areas, from performance and reliability, to aesthetics and usability."

The SeriTek/5PM is made of attractive aluminum and features several other design elements to deliver security and reliability. It has a unique temperature management system featuring two ultra-quite fans that have three user-selectable speeds, a fault LED and a mutable temperature and fan failure alarm. For further protection, FirmTek employs a server-class power supply as standard equipment.

The SeriTek/5PM is compatible with most Port Multiplier capable eSATA controller cards, as well as all SATA drives. Port Multiplication is supported by most Macintosh systems running OS X 10.4.0 or later. The enclosure is system independent, and will work with any Macintosh or Windows PC with a controller that correctly follows the eSATA II specifications for Port Multiplication.

Five Drives Running on a Single Cable

The remarkable new technology included in the SeriTek/5PM is support for port multiplication. Driven by new controller cards supporting the eSATA II specification, this innovation allows each physical SATA port to drive multiple devices in enclosures like the SeriTek/5PM. Port multiplier technology optimizes up to 5 drives per enclosure, delivering much greater throughput without taxing the computer's processor. When 20 high performance drives are configured in a RAID array (utilizing four SeriTek/5PMs), throughput can exceed 700Mb/sec (depending on the controller card), enabling multiple HD video streams to be streamed directly to disk. Port multiplication also delivers much greater simplicity for standard applications, as a single cable connects the computer with up to five drives (previous technology required a separate cable for each external SATA drive). For more advanced applications it dramatically increases on-hand high-performance storage. With up to 20 RAID-configured drives connected simultaneously, accessible storage limits can be effectively eliminated for all but the most demanding applications.

Optimizing Security and Flexibility

FirmTek has pioneered products supporting ATA and SATA standards on the Macintosh for many years, and offers a variety of enclosures and interface solutions for demanding users. Since the introduction of Serial ATA, the ability to hot-swap drives between enclosures has been a key feature across FirmTek's products. All FirmTek enclosures are designed to allow quick and easy removal and installation of drives, usually in about a minute, without shutting down or restarting the computer. This flexibility allows users to share important data quickly, transfer or duplicate files at the speed of SATA (instead of over sluggish networks, slow USB/FireWire, or Internet connections), and to keep more sensitive files locked up and secure with minimal effort.

Port Multiplication further enhances flexibility, as users are free to use multiple cards and multiple enclosures to create ideal RAID solutions in both size and performance. Depending on the application, users may opt for multiple cards, multiple enclosures or both to attain the solution that best meets their needs.

Hot-swappable external enclosures also provide effectively unlimited storage capacity, as users are not limited to the drive bays available. As volumes are filled to capacity, they are easily removed and replaced with new drives, ready to accept additional content. FirmTek's direct backplane design makes installation as easy as 1-2-3, with no internal cabling, switches or other configuration involved.

To assist customers in maximizing their productivity and obtaining maximum benefit from their FirmTek solutions, FirmTek offers additional drive trays for $22.99 each, without any additional purchases required. This enables customers to keep an unlimited number of drives on hand and ready for action.

Price and Availability

The price of the SeriTek/5PM will be announced soon, and it is expected to ship in late March, 2007.

SeriTek/5PM Key Features and Benefits

  • Attractive anodized extruded aluminum design with a professional appearance with maximum rigidity and heat dissipation \- SATA II compliant; auto-negotiation between the latest 3Gb/s and legacy 1.5Gb/s Serial ATA drives
  • Built-in Port Multiplier supports up to five 3.5" SATA hard disk drives via one external data cable to host controller

Note: SeriTek/5PM requires a SATA host controller that supports Port Multiplication, such as SeriTek/2ME4-E (for systems with PCIe slots), SeriTek/2SE4 (for systems with PCI-X slots), or SeriTek/2SM2-E (for notebooks with ExpressCard/34 slots)

  • Supports most host adapter, operating system, and software-based RAID or JBOD configurations
  • Features eSATA external connectors
  • Front Power switching for easy access: Press and hold to power off
  • Enclosure Power Status LED: Power and Activity LEDs for each hard drive
  • Built-in server-class power supply for maximum reliability
  • Heat Management System: Two ultra-quiet fans with individual fan/temperature status, fault LEDs and mutable alarms
  • User-selectable fans speed settings: LO/MED/HIGH
  • Hot-swappable, plug-and-play flexibility in switching drives
  • Hot-swap drive trays are interchangeable with FirmTek's SeriTek/2eEN4, SeriTek/2EN2, SeriTek/1EN2 enclosure
  • Direct backplane, connectors, and provided shielded cables are designed to minimize electrostatic discharge and electromagnetic emissions, providing the most secure environment for your data
  • Platform and Operating system independent; compatible with all Macintosh and PC computers running Mac OS X, Windows and Linux
  • Designed as a native Serial ATA solution; no internal data cable, no Parallel ATA/USB/FireWire to Serial ATA bridge chips that might impact performance and reliability
  • Easy to set up: Only 3 steps to integrate each hard drive
  • Easy to transport: Compact and portable
  • Drive bays/trays lock for maximum physical security and to prevent accidental removal during operation
  • Features Kensington Security Slot
  • Includes one fully-shielded external eSATA cable
  • Ideal for multimedia-intensive applications: high-definition audio/video capture and editing, photography, graphics manipulation and high-end digital applications.

FirmTek Announces Broad Support of Port Multiplication at Macworld Expo

PR: FirmTek, LLC, a pioneer and leader in Serial ATA (SATA) storage solutions for the Macintosh platform, has announced several new products and capabilities supporting Port Multiplication for next-generation SATA and RAID applications. Announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, these breakthrough solutions provide high-performance Serial ATA connections for up to 20 drives on as few as four eSATA ports. With the latest drives providing transfer rates as high as 3 gigabits per second, potential aggregate speeds beyond 700 megabytes per second are now possible. This remarkable speed and capacity allows streaming of multiple uncompressed high definition video streams, and can support unprecedented applications in video production, photography, and archiving, as well as other activities involving large media or image files. In addition, FirmTek's established hot-swap compatibility makes it easy for users to move entire drives and arrays between any FirmTek-equipped systems, or into secure storage, in seconds.

"FirmTek is entirely dedicated to SATA solutions, and we are excited to bring this latest capability to so many Mac users at one event," says Chi Kim Stanford, VP of Business Development for FirmTek. "We have been hard at work finalizing solutions that deliver the most useful sets of benefits for our customers on many different platforms, and we're pleased with the results, and expect that our users will be too."

Bootable Port Multiplication RAID on PCI-X G5s

The SeriTek/2SE4 is compatible with both PCI-X and PCI bus architecture systems, and optimal performance will be delivered on PCI-X systems like Apple's Macintosh. Further, it is the only SATA controller card that offers full boot capability, allowing the fastest RAID configurations to include system operations. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software. See FirmTek's separate announcement of the SeriTek/2SE4 for full details.

Port Multiplication RAID for Late-Model G5s and Mac Pro

The SeriTek/2ME4-E is compatible with PCIe (PCI-Express) bus architecture systems, including the Dual- and Quad-Core G5 Macintosh and the new Mac Pro. It is the only controller that allows volumes to boot on a Dual- or Quad-Core G5s, delivering optimal performance during all system operations. While not bootable on Intel-based Mac Pros at this time, FirmTek continues to seek a solution. Four hot-swappable external SATA II ports enable individual drives or RAID arrays via built-in OS RAID 0/1 software. See FirmTek's separate announcement of the SeriTek/2ME4-E for complete details.

New Enclosure Supports Port Multiplication With Many New Features

The SeriTek/5PM has several new enhancements beyond its full support of Port Multiplication. Made of attractive aluminum, it offers several other design elements to deliver security and reliability. It features a front-panel power switch that carries a multi-second delay to prevent accidental power-down, a feature requested by many users. It has a unique temperature management system featuring two ultra-quiet fans that have three user-selectable speeds, a fault LED and a mutable temperature and fan failure alarm. While optimized for use with FirmTek controllers, the SeriTek/5PM will work with any controller that follows the eSATA II Port Multiplication design specification. FirmTek employs a server-class power supply as standard equipment. For more information, see FirmTek's separate release on the SeriTek/5PM.

Port Multiplication Support also Announced for Earlier FirmTek Controllers

FirmTek has also announced that two controllers already shipping, the SeriTek/2SM2-E for MacBook Pro models, and the SeriTek/2SE2-E for Dual-Core G5 models, already support Port Multiplication on enclosures like the SeriTek/5PM. Users need only connect these cards to compatible enclosures to enjoy the benefits of Port Multiplication.

Sonnet Rack Mount SATA Drive Enclosure: 4-Bays 1U Enclosure

PR: Sonnet Technologies announces Fusion R400Q, the latest addition to its line of acclaimed Serial ATA drive enclosures. This 13.5" deep, 4-bay rack mount drive enclosure provides unmatched flexibility-with four interface choices-FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, or for ultimate performance, SATA II. An integrated port multiplier supports up to four hard drives through any of the connections.

Fusion R400Q's hot-swappable 3.5" drive trays enable quick addition and swapping of storage on the fly. Users can install a single drive to start, add drives as needed, and purchase additional trays and drives to build a backup archive. Users can add the drives they want at a cost they can afford. With ever-increasing drive capacities and frequent drops in cost per gigabyte, Fusion R400Q is an intelligent alternative to populated enclosures.

This attractive enclosure's form factor allows it to be used in a wide range of applications. Its depth enables it to be used in the shortest portable racks, while its 1U height takes up minimal rack space. Four Fusion R400Qs can be handled with Sonnet's four-port SATA host bus adapters - the Tempo SATA E4P or Tempo SATA X4P. When configured in striped RAID 0 set, data transfer rates up to 200MB/s per 4-drive set are possible. "Fusion R400Q is an especially appealing choice for anybody who needs to increase storage capacity and deliver performance on a limited budget," states Robert Farnsworth, Sonnet CEO. "With the relatively low cost of deploying high capacity SATA drives, and the potential for high performance, Fusion R400Q offers superior availability to tape at a cost much less than SCSI or fibre channel." This enclosure is a perfect companion for Xserve, yet is platform-independent, making it compatible with most servers.

Fusion R400Q includes drive mounting hardware for each of its four included drive trays, and a cable for each interface. Its trays are interchangeable with Sonnet's Fusion 400 and Fusion 500P desktop SATA drive enclosures.

Key Features

  • 1U rack mount enclosure with 4 hot-swappable 3.5" drive trays
  • SATA II compliant; 3.0 Gb/s and 1.5 Gb/s auto-negotiation
  • Quad interface-eSATA, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0
  • Built-in SATA II port multiplier for one cable to host for all connection types
  • Universal 90-260V, 50-60Hz power supply
  • Drive Activity, Drive Presence, and Power LED indicators on front panel
  • Front panel power switch
  • Platform independent-works with Mac, Windows or Linux servers

Compatibility

  • Platform independent-Mac, Windows or Linux server

Pricing and Availability

  • Fusion R400Q (part number ENC-SATA-R4Q) will be available in March 2007 for the suggested retail price of USD $699.

For more information on Fusion R400Q and other Sonnet products announced at Macworld Conference and Expo, stop by the Sonnet booth or visit the Sonnet website.

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