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expansion slot utility confusion, Quartz Extreme - long post

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Dan Sparks
expansion slot utility confusion, Quartz Extreme - long post
on Sep 23, 2008 at 6:48:17 pm

First off - I'm between projects so no lectures please about updates ;-)
After the latest round of Apple updates all was fine with FCP, but I started to have problems with Apple's DVD player application. Essentially it was kaput, would not play DVDs or DVD files. In fact, it would lock up the computer. VLC player worked a little, but had problems as well. So I decided to do some digging around and verify my BMD hardware/software setup. One thing that has always bugged me is that profile #2 the Expansion Slot Utility shows that slot 4 - where my Decklink HD Extreme lives - indicates it's "running below maximum speed". BMD and others state Profile #2 is the correct profile to use. In profile #2 slot four is a 4x lane and from what I've read in forums and such that should be fine for uncompressed 8bit SD, which is what I edit and sometime ProRes HQ. Because it seemed wrong to be using a "below maximum speed" 4x lane for the BMD card I've been using profile #1 to get slot 4 up to 8x in the Slot Utility and I had a SATA card in slot 2 at 1x and my Nvidia stock 7300 graphics card at 16x in slot 1. Should I ignore the "Running below maximum speed" in Expansion Slot Utility and run profile# 2? Things seem to be working fine now using profile #2 so I'm tempted to do that. What about profile #4 for my setup?
Side note, after changing to profile 2 in Expansion Slot Utility I fixed the DVD player app problem by swapping my monitor cables on the graphics card and moving the SATA card to slot 3. I had been running the #1 profile in Expansion slot all this time thinking I needed to be doing that - but apparently not. All cards seem to be happy as clams and DVD player app and VLC are now running fine. Although the throughput rate to my SATA external RAID has dropped. Strange because it's now in a faster lane.
Second side note - I could never get "Quartz Extreme Supported" working on both my Apple displays when running profile #1 in the Expansion Slot utility. Only the second monitor which I use for bins and such in FCP had Quartz Extreme Supported indicated. After changing to profile #2 and disabling "extend desktop" in the Decklink preferences, Quartz Extreme is now running on both monitors. I'm not sure what that will do for improving FCP speed, but it can't be a bad thing. Any thoughts on benefits of that change?
Sorry for the long post, but I did search many forums and could not find a clear answer regarding the "Running below maximum speed" in Expansion Slot Utility. But according to BMD and others, the card only requires a 4x lane to function correctly so that's what I'm going to do. Can someone confirm that for me? And if Quartz extreme on both monitors matters?
System info below:

Mac Pro 2.66 - 1st gen
4 drive internal RAID - 1.8 TB
20" Apple Cinema display
23" Apple Cinema HD display
6GB RAM
OS X 10.5.5
FCP 6.04
QT 7.5.5
Decklink 6.8 drivers
FirmTek SeriTek/2SE2-E SATA card to external RAID storage - used for backup, not editing

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dan Sparks

Tricom Video

http://www.tricomvideo.com



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