We previously noted some stability issues with M-Audio's Revolution 7.1 audio card (the only PCI-X compatible card currently offered by the company). Now MacFixIt reader Jeff Johnson reports that the latest beta version of the Revolution software - available from M-Audio's Web site - resolves most of the issues.
"I recently purchased a Dual G5 2.0GHz system from CompUSA along with an M-Audio Revolution 7.1 card. I installed the card in the PCI slow right above the AGP slot, that is, closest to the video card. I also installed a Maxtor 250GB SATA drive in the lower slot.
"The system is rather fresh, SN# XB3440WBNVS, and included the latest 5.07f0 Boot ROM version. ASP sees the Revo as a PCI Audio Device installed in SLOT-2, Revision ID 0x001. The audio drivers included on the CD did not work, but 1.2.7 had me working just fine, but with some bugs and 1 kernel panic.
"All of the instability went away when installing the beta 1.2.8 drivers that were recently made available on their site. I've had no problems since then, and I use the sound card extensively in a few different applications. I've even created a modified version of eSound's esd that works with the Revo's full 8 channels, and use a modified version of cplay 1.49 to do playback using madplay for MP3's and mppdec for MPC's/MusePack. It works flawlessly and it's usually playing back audio 18 hours a day or more without any issues."
Johnson also as an interesting note about why he chose the G5 over a competing SGI system:
"I purchased the Mac rather than an SGI system for the same price, and the Mac allowed me to use a Revolution 7.1 rather than a standard 2 channel audio system, has more than twice the CPU power, and has great software including a development environment, all of which is extra cost in the workstation world; otherwise you'll have to try messing around with installing a GCC binary package usually built for an older OS version and then using that to bootstrap a new compiler. It isn't fun."
On a related note, M-Audio is offering an upgrade program for its Delta series of PCI cards, which were not previously compatible with the G5's PCI-X slots.
The original versions of M-Audio Delta cards operated on 5 volts as supplied by the original PCI bus standard. The newly revised cards are PCI 2.2 compliant (3.3 volts) and universally keyed, allowing compatibility with 64-bit PCI-X standards on all Power Mac G5s. If you purchased your Delta card on or after August 1, 2003, there is no charge to upgrade your card. For users who purchased their Delta cards prior to August 1, there is a fee starting at US$50.