Intel Mac Mini Graphics Surprise

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 15:04
Category: Uncategorized

The change from ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card to integrated Intel Graphics is more than a bit puzzling to me.

Ok, so the integrated Intel has 64MB as opposed to the Radeon’s 32MB. But Apple has thrown us a curve. Not only is the Intel Graphics “shared”, Apple states “1. Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.”.

Am I reading this right? Minimum graphics usage requires more than Apple has provided for with their Intel integrated graphics? So, the most system memory you will ever have available is 432MB instead of the 512MB advertised.

Can someone explain to me how this is an improvement and why the same Mac OS X that worked with a 32MB graphics card now requires at least 80MB?


The Apple Core: Apple revs Mac mini; announces iPod HiFi

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 14:44
Category: The Apple Core

ipod-hifi.jpgIn an event today in Cupertino, Steve Jobs announced two Intel-based Mac minis (US$599, $799), the iPod HiFi boombox (US$349) and leather cases for the iPod video (US$99). The hardware items are available today and the cases will be available in March.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Response to PowerPage Counterpoint

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 13:49
Category: Uncategorized

Scott raises some interesting points. By Apple continuing to control all Mac hardware unilaterally, one weakness in the Mac platform is that all CPUs come from one source: Apple. Unlike the Windows domain, if Apple doesn’t see fit to produce it, it likely will not be made.
Case in point: look at all the funky tablet-style laptops with twist-around LCDs. While one could argue this is an unproven niche market (or worse, quite possibly a fad), the fact that all Mac hardware comes from one source means if Apple doesn’t devote the resources to entering such a niche/fad, Mac users will never see it. Of course, there are some really weird niche products in the Windows domain that Mac users can live without: notebooks that still weigh over 8 pounds come to mind.
Perhaps Apple would argue that cloning didn’t work in the mid-1990’s. Maybe it simply wasn’t in Apple’s best interest to allow cloning to continue. As for the notion of a laptop “nano”, I could see Apple entering that market IF flash memory catches up with hard disks to the point where laptops don’t need HDDs anymore. I’m still dubious about a computer without an optical drive, though.
One point where I will disagree with Jason is on FireWire. I do not see any evidence of that technology’s “death”, immediate or pending. I would think the evidence Jason points to (iPods going USB-only, MacBook Pro with only one FireWire 400 port and no FW800 to be found) can be interpreted very differently. iPods and FireWire are nice, but Apple’s key to wooing users of cheap, crappy PCs to buying the little music players was the advent of USB 2.0. As for the MacBook Pro, I can tell you that those who use multiple FireWire peripherals have discovered the hard way that it is best to “split the bus”, in other words, if a notebook user has a digital camcorder and a FireWire hard disk that (s)he wants to use at the same time, the card slot on the MacBook is a welcome means of having an extra FireWire input that isn’t competing for bandwidth on the same bus as the MacBook’s built-in FireWire port.
On Scott Shephard’s “Inside Mac TV” video podcasts for Jan. 5, 2006 (“Getting the Mac Ready for Video Editing”) and Dec. 23, 2005 (“Gary Adcock’s Dual FireWire Bus Tip”), Scott discusses ways to use either separate FireWire buses or both FireWire and USB to improve performance during video editing. This makes both FireWire and USB indispensable to amateur video editors.
So what does all this suggest about FireWire vs. USB, and why is there no FireWire 800 on the MacBook Pro? Simply put, Jason is right and wrong at the same time. The absence of FireWire 800 on the MacBook Pro is a statement about FireWire. Apple is just not saying what Jason concluded. The lack of additional FireWire ports (or FireWire 800) was Apple’s way of saying “if you need more ports or if you need FireWire 800, buy a card and use it on the card’s bus.”
I am doubtful that FireWire 400 will die any time soon. Too many camcorders, hard disks, and high-end peripherals use it, some of them exclusively. If FireWire is to be replaced with a new standard, you will hear plenty of noise being made by a broad coalition of big-name players in the camcorder and computer peripheral manufacturing industries.
Just my 2 cents. You can wake up now.


MacBooks on Steroids

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 13:41
Category: MacBook Pro

Scott Culley raises a good point.
As a business traveler, I can understand the appeal of a very slim MacBook, something like the long-ago PowerBook Duo. What’s crazy is the push to shave a quarter-inch and a few ounces off the laptop’s specs.
The MacBook Pro contains a slower DVD-RW drive (4x, single layer) so it would fit in a slightly-smaller enclosure — a difference so small that I doubt most PowerBook users can tell the difference.
I love Macs because they combine a brilliant interface with powerful, reliable hardware. The handsome enclosures are a nice aesthetic fringe benefit, but no more than that. I think it’s foolish to compromise performance for imperceptible changes in style.


MacBook Pro Heat Generation (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 10:00
Category: MacBook Pro

With the disclaimer that this isn’t at all scientific, I wanted to comment on the heat generated by the MacBook Pro, a frequent question. I tested the PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz, 2GB, 120GB) and a MacBook Pro (2.0GHz, 2GB, 120GB) running all night while sitting on a Podium Coolpad from RoadTools. The ambient temperature on the bottom rear middle of the PBG4 was about 112 degrees and the MBP was about 104 degrees Fahrenheit (as measured by a digital thermometer).
In practice the MBP seems to get about as hot as my PowerBook G4,15-inch when used extensively on “Normal” power conservation, especially when plugged into AC power.
UPDATE: 2006-0228:
After running the MBP for about six hours straight last night the surface temperature at the top of the keyboard (above F2 and F4) was as high as 126 degrees Fahrenheit (as measured by a digital thermometer). The bottom temperature was about 106 degrees at the hottest location (running on a Podium Coolpad). It appears that the MBP is no cooler than the PowerBook G4 and may, in fact, run hotter.
What is your experience with the temperature on the MBP?


PowerPage Counterpoint

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 09:27
Category: Uncategorized

I’ve been a loyal reader of PowerPage since I was hammering away on my PowerBook Duo 210 (running a 14.4k modem – with the “do not load images” option on) back in 1995. I don’t think that I disagreed with our illustrious host’s columns or comments much until the past couple of years.
The first time that I can really remember feeling strongly enough to write in (even though I didn’t) was when the iPod shuffle arrived on the scene. I couldn’t have disagreed more with Jason’s initial assessment of it – even though as I recall he recounted enjoying it in the gym sometime later. The Shuffle was the first iPod that I bought (a 512Mb) because I just didn’t want to blow dough on something more that I really didn’t need at the time. I like technology just as much as any other reader of “the Page”, yet I prefer to hold off as long as possible until I actually feel that I need something.
I don’t own a cell phone, and my Palm from 2000 has been gathering dust for a few years now. I suppose that I represent a tech-savvy guy with some Luddite tendencies as I sit here typing on my PowerBook G4 though my wireless network. Anyways, I am interested in this new PP feature, since I often have found that since the “shuffle incident” I feel that my ideas are running counterpoint to Jason’s.
Jason would love to see a PowerBook… er… MacBook nano (man, do I dislike that new name!), and while I think this is a good idea, I would quite likely be more interested in a MacBook BIGGER than 17″. I am an artist and I want/need portability and a big screen. Get a 19″ MacBook Pro into my lap and I may change my mind! This is just one example, but it does demonstrate the differences between us. I look forward to continued jousting.
Contributed by: Scott Culley
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REVIEW : Motorola PEBL V6

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 09:18
Category: Mobile Phone

motorola-PEBL.jpgThe Motorola PEBL is a killer flip phone with a beautiful black matte finish and a unique dual hinge design that allows it to be opened with one hand. The PEBL looks more like a stone that you found in a riverbed and I bet it would make a pretty impressive skip rock.
Two different triband GSM versions are available, depending on your area and carrier and both support high-speed EDGE data connections. The model I tested was on T-Mobile.
Read More…


Get Published!

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 00:09
Category: Announcement

Do you have a story idea for the PowerPage? Get Published! The new PowerPage Get Published page is up and running. Submit a story and if it passes muster, we’ll publish it on the PowerPage. Fame and fortune await 😉