.mac SMTP Server, iMac G5 Memory/Partitions, Mac OS 9

Tuesday, 2005-10-04; 23:55:00

Just a few, quick notes tonight:

1. I just found out recently that you can evade annoying restrictions on SMTP servers on draconian networks like Stanford that restrict access to the standard SMTP port (25) other than their own e-mail server. The effect that this has is that you cannot send e-mail through Apple's .mac servers while on the Stanford campus.

There is a workaround, however. In the account settings, change the outgoing mail server port to 587 instead of 25. Apple allows .mac e-mail to be sent over that port as well, and Stanford doesn't block activity on that port. So for those .mac/Stanford users in a similar situation, this little tip should help you.

2. Thanks to comments from Ryan on my previous entry, it seems that for the highest performance, you need to install RAM in pairs even on the iMac G5. That puts me in a bit of a bind: to get best performance, I need to choose between an upgrade kit that contains two 512 MB DIMMs, or a kit that contains two 1 GB DIMMs. That'll run me about $120 or so for the former and $250 or so for the latter. (Even though I already have 512 MB, from comments on the issue it seems that it's really hard to get identical DIMMs without buying them in pairs.) For the same amount of money as the 2x512 MB upgrade kit, though, I could go to 1.5 GB of memory instead of just 1 GB. (I'm currently looking at prices from OWC and Boundless Technology, two memory suppliers that I've dealt with before and I consider to be reputable ones.)

If I decide to simply buy a 1 GB module anyway and forego the better performance, it would still suck because if I later want to upgrade to 2 GB, I'd still have to buy a complete upgrade kit that contains two 1 GB DIMMs because of the aforementioned problem of it being close to impossible to get identical DIMMs without buying them together. I suppose if I buy it from the same supplier later, I have a better chance of getting an identical DIMM, but I think I should contact the supplier to make sure of that before I do any buying.

Barefeats adds to the confusion by saying that although the faster memory bus can give theoretical performance improvements of up to 30%, real-world tests show nil improvement. They also say that some PC3200 RAM doesn't work in the iMac G5, either, so I need to make sure I buy from a supplier that knows this.

For reference, here's the Apple technote on the iMac G5, and here's some more information from Canada RAM. (Both links come from Ryan Gray's comments from the previous entry. Thanks Ryan!)

I do have one last question, though... is there any way to test whether you have the 128-bit memory pathway or not? I mean, for all I know, the memory supplier can "guarantee" that they'll give me identical matched pairs, but there'd be no way for me to verify whether they're telling the truth or not. Not to be cynical or anything, but it'd be nice to know if there was a way to verify the wider memory bus.

Currently I'm leaning towards just getting a 2x1 GB upgrade kit and be done with the whole issue. This issue is still annoying, though.

3. I decided with my iMac G5 not to partition my hard drive this time. That means I'll only be able to do development for Mac OS X Tiger, but I think that'll be OK since I have my iMac G4 (which is now at school) for testing under Panther. I've been thinking about dropping Jaguar and lower support, but I probably should check with my existing customers first.

The only real question was whether to partition it into two partitions or leave the hard drive as it came. The reason I did three partitions on my iMac G4 was to allow for a dedicated partition for Mac OS 9 (although it occurs to me now that that wasn't really necessary since Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X can be installed on the same partition). My iMac G5 supports Classic, but doesn't support Mac OS 9 booting anymore.

4. Incidentally, one of the more minor factors influencing my decision to get an iMac G5 now instead of waiting for the Intel transition was the fact that the Intel Macs won't support Classic AT ALL. I'd be the first to erase Mac OS 9 off my hard drive as soon as I REALLY didn't need it, but I often like to play old computer games under Classic, and there's no good Mac OS 9 emulator yet. I also have a bit of an emotional attachment to the beloved PPC platform. :) Give me a few more years before I turn over to the dark side.

I'm curious, though -- will emulators like Mini vMac suffer any performance hits from the Intel transition? I mean, it does have a Windows port which means that it will already run on the Intel architecture. But would a Mac OS 9 emulator be more feasible on a PPC Mac rather than an Intel Mac? (The issue is kind of moot for System 6 and 7 since Intel processors would probably be fast enough to make the performance hit seem negligible.)

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