Samsung Picture by Picture (PBP) screen resolution support with MacOS

I recently just got a 4k Samsung monitor that supports Picture in Picture (PiP) and Picture By Picture (PBP) modes from multiple input sources, which is awesome because I tinker with a bunch of stuff on different machines at the same time. My 2015 MacBook Pro has no problem recognizing the unusual PBP resolution of half the width of a 4k display, but for my older 2008 Mac Pro that I use as my daily driver while I’m at my desk it stretches the resolution vertically which is not good. From this Samsung post here here it mentions the side by side resolution for 2 BPB inputs is 1920 x 2160. That’s definitely not a normal resolution, but the Nvidia web driver in my Mac Pro with a Nvidia 750ti doesn’t offer that resolution:

How to configure PIP/PBP size?

The way round this is to use SwitchResX to define a custom resolution. I’m running Mac OS X 10.11 on this Mac Pro, so I also need to follow these steps to temporarily disable SIP protection first in order to save the configs for the custom resolution.

To set a custom resolution of 1920 x 2160 – here I selected ‘Use simplified settings’ (which disabled a number of settings) and changed only the height/width and left all the other settings as default:

By default this set the vertical sync as 60hz and after rebooting the Display prefs didn’t pick this one up as a valid option. Dropping it to 30hz works through.

I also set a lower res to be more easily readable:

Save from menu bar, then it prompts to reboot to become active. After rebooting, open the Display settings in System Prefs, and now under the Scaled options for the monitor in PBP mode you’ll see the new custom resolutions available:

1920×2160 is almost too tiny to be readable for my eyes, but 1600×1800 is a comfortable resolution.

Mapping network drives across Mac OS 9, Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 and current MacOS versions

Having a NAS drive on your network is an easy and simple way of copying files to/from different machines on your network, even older machines. I have a small collection of older machines, mainly older Macs like a 2002 Powermac G4 and a 2005 Powermac G5. When working on blog posts like this one, it’s easier to drop screenshots in a central place where I can pick them up from my daily driver MacBook Pro to include them in a post.

I have a Netgear ReadyNAS drive which supports SMB as well as AFB drive shares which supports most clients. This post on the Netgear site says not to use both options at the same time, I’m not sure if this is still an issue, but in most cases SMB has worked well.

Recent Windows PCs and Macs are easily able to mount the SMB share, so no problems there.

OS X 10.5 on the G5 is able to mount either the SMB or AFP drive without any issue, the NAS shares for SMB and AFP both appear in the Finder under the network section.

OS X 10.4 on the Powermac G4 is able to natively mount the AFB share, but can’t see the SMB share.

Mac OS 9 on the same Powermac G4 though is a bit more tricky but still works natively. Go to the Apple menu and open the Network Browser, then press the Connect icon and then ‘Connect to Server’:

Enter the IP for the ReadyNAS:

Connect either as a Guest user or with specific credentials:

Done! Now you should be able to browser the shared drives and access like normal:

At some point I also looked at using a util called Dave to mount SMB shares on OS 9, but at least for OS 9 to the ReadyNAS using SFB this isn’t needed.

Mac Pro 2008: dead ATI 200 XT GPU replaced with not so dead Nvidia 120 GT

The ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT that came standard in the 2008 Mac Pro was a good looking card. I mean, chrome flames?! But unfortunately in this case, mine died:

I primarily used this card only to access the Mac boot screen to switch between MacOS and Windows 10, as my other card, an Nvidia 750ti doesn’t support the boot screen. Once the ATI card died, I was stuck in Windows 10 and couldn’t boot back into MacOS.

Not really needing an upgrade, just a replacement that supports the boot screen, I picked up a cheap Nvidia 120 GT on ebay for $30. Nowhere near as flashy looking as the ATI:

Got the card installed, and it works great:

Turns out the fan on that ATI card was also the noisiest fan in my Mac Pro. Now with the new Nvidia card, my Mac Pro is barely audible. I have 2 SSDs and one 2.5″ HDD, so other than the system fans, I guess with low usage it really shouldn’t be spinning up the fans that loud anyway. Turns out this new card is significantly quieter. Bonus!