OS X 10.9.3 update boosts maximum amount of VRAM recognized by recent Apple notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, May 21st, 2014, 15:39
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

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If you’re hesitant about updating to the recently-released OS X 10.9.3, there may be good news if you’re a recent Apple notebook owner.

Per French news site Mac4Ever and MacRumors, updating to 10.9.3 increases available VRAM from 1024MB to 1536MB, boosting the size of the shared memory, possibly to further improve 4K performance on the most recent Retina Display MacBook Pro and MacBook Air notebooks..

The change can be seen in the Graphics/Displays section of the System Report accessible via “About This Mac”. Apple has not yet updated its support page to reflect the new VRAM limits, continuing to list 1GB of system memory as the maximum. The update was also not mentioned in the 10.9.3 release notes.

The 10.9.3 update also included enhanced support for 4K displays and restored the ability to sync contacts and calendars between Macs and iOS devices over USB.

Finally, it’s been reported that some machines with HD 4000 graphics have seen a VRAM boost as well, namely the 2012 Mac Mini, which now has a maximum VRAM of 1024MB, up from 768MB.

If you’ve seen this improvement or any significant changes on your end since installing OS X 10.9.3, please let us know in the comments.

New MacBook Airs sport new processors and cheaper

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Date: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 09:05
Category: Apple, Hardware, Intel, MacBook Air, News, Processors

macbook-air-13-inchApple’s MacBook Air models were quietly updated on Monday, with the only major changes being a slight speed-bump and a lower price. Anyone hoping for Airs with Retina Displays will have to wait a bit longer. At $100 less than the previous models, the starting price for an 11″ Macbook Air is $899 which now uses a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache, and 128 GB of flash storage. Both the 11″ and 13″ models can be configured with the faster 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache.

 

Screenshot 2014-04-29 03.21.17

 

If you’re pinching pennies, now might be a great time to grab a discount on the old models.

 

 

Apple posts Christmas delivery order details

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, 09:39
Category: Apple, Consumer Electronics, Holiday, iMac, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Retail Store

Apple-Christmas-ListWith the next big shopping holiday just around the corner, shoppers have to think ahead if they want to beat the shipping avalanche before Christmas. To help its iShoppers this holiday season, Apple has posted a delivery guide to help make sure that everyone’s iGoodie is safely under the tree in time to give Santa the credit. By the way, Apple is offering free shipping on everything until Dec 22nd. A few examples of the big sellers are;

  • MacBook Pro – Standard config – Standard shipping order by Dec. 18, Next Day order by Dec. 22
  • MacBook Air – Custom config – Standard shipping order by Dec. 16, Next Day order N/A
  • iMac – Standard config – Standard shipping order by Dec. 18, Next Day order by Dec. 22
  • iPad mini with Retina display – Engraved or no engraving – Standard shipping order by Dec. 5, Next Day order N/A
  • iPad Air – Engraved or no engraving – Standard shipping order by Dec. 9, Next Day order N/A
  • iPhone 5S – All config – Standard shipping order by Dec. 12, Next Day order N/A

Those deadlines are creeping up fast, so better head over to the Online Store or your nearest retail location before the elves beat you to it!

Black Friday sales for Mac users

Posted by:
Date: Friday, November 29th, 2013, 18:16
Category: Accessory, Apple, battery, Cases, Consumer Electronics, Gadget, iMac, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPod, iPod Touch, Mac Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Peripheral, retail, Websites

Qustodio-Blog-Black-friday-Tech-gift-what-you-need-to-know-before-buyingHopefully the tryptophan has worn off and you are ready to rush madly to your computer and start fighting for those Black Friday sales! I just thought I’d put up a few of the online stores and items that are on sale to get you started. Many of these sales didn’t post their sales until today.

Of course there is Apple’s one day event which is in full swing until 11:59 pm PST tonight.

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Apple releases MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 to check for faulty SSDs in mid-2012 MacBook Air models

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s kind of a weird firmware update they sent out, but it might be useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released an update for its MacBook Air lineup meant to test the thin-and-light laptop’s solid-state drive for a data loss issue and, if no fault is found, install a fresh firmware version.

Apple’s MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1, a 2.3 megabyte download, specifically targets mid-2012 models, a “small percentage” of which was found to have flash drives containing an unspecified issue that erases data. As noted below, if a problem is discovered and the drive cannot be update, Apple will replace the affected SSD at no cost.

From the release notes:
“Apple has discovered that a small percentage of flash storage drives in these MacBook Air models have an issue that may result in data loss. This update tests your drive and, in the majority of cases, installs new firmware to resolve the issue. If your drive cannot be updated, Apple will replace it, free of charge.”

It is unknown how widespread the issue may be, though a quick search of Apple’s Support Communities forum reveals multiple threads pertaining to SSD failures and data loss.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7 update for mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 20:49
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

This might come in handy.

On Friday, Apple released MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7, a 4.6 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes for the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebook:
– MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a mid-2013 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases SMC firmware updates for 2012, 2013 notebooks

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Date: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013, 07:35
Category: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Software

The firmware fixes for your recent Apple notebook arrived yesterday.

Per Macworld, Apple released SMC Updatesfor the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Retina MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air SMC Update v1.9 is available as a 1.09 megabyte download for MacBook Air notebooks released in 2012 and 2013. It fixes a “rare” problem where the battery stops working, the battery is no longer recognized, or the system hangs when the battery has a charge that’s less than one percent.

The MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.7 is available as a 1 megabyte download for non-Retina MacBook Pro laptops released since 2012. Apple says that the update fixes a “rare” problem where a battery that has over 1,000 charge cycles shuts down or stops working.

The MacBook Pro Retina SMC Update v1.1 is available as a 504 kilobyte download that fixes a few problems, including Power Nap bug fixes, and a “rare” issue with slow frame rates in games on the 15-inch model. This update is for Retina MacBook Pros only.

All of the updates can be obtained using the links above or by running Software Update.

If you’ve tried the firmware updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Hack: 2013 11-inch MacBook Air owner deciphers means of using adapters to access external graphics card, improve performance sevenfold

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, 06:34
Category: Hacks, Hardware, MacBook Air, News, Software

It ain’t pretty, but it apparently works really well.

Per MacRumors and Mac|Life, TechInferno contributor Larry Gadea was able to hook up a powerful graphics processor to his 11-inch MacBook Air with the help of several adapters.

Gadea first used a Thunderbolt to Express Card adapter which was then connected an Express Card to PCI-Express adapter. Once that was done, he plugged the whole thing into a Windows-compatible video card–specifically, a GeForce GTX 570.

In his words, “It has become very clear that gaming is not only high-performance, but super practical on an 11″ Macbook Air. There’s so much going against it: this hodgepodge of adapters, it has a low voltage CPU, disaster of wiring and exposed sensitive parts, crazy boot-time chainloading software, Intel killing companies producing adapters and products left right and center via legal threats, etc. but somehow, with the right parts and some patience, it works spectacularly. And is quite cheap too!”

The TechInferno forum link can be found here, but Gadea’s unique solution to the limitations of Mac gaming has proven so popular that it’s apparently crashed the TechInferno forums. The post includes important specifics about the setup, including the understandable limitation that Boot Camp needs to be installed on your Mac in order to run many of the games themselves due to Windows-only restrictions. Gadea has stated that his graphics performance has improved roughly sevenfold since installing the hack.

The current rundown of Gadea’s setup includes the following:
– An 11-inch Macbook Air (2013 model

– A copy of Windows 7

– A Sonnet Echo ExpressCard

– A BPlus PE4L ExpressCard to PCI-Express adapter

– A copy of DIY eGPU Setup 1.X

– A 4GB USB thumb drive (to install Windows)

– A 400w PC power supply

– A video card of your choosing.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, check out Gadea’s rig (which retails for about $250) in action as it tears through Borderlands 2 in resolutions you’d otherwise never see on an 11-inch MacBook Air:



If you’ve come up with a killer hack/rig of your own like this, please let us know in the comments.

Assorted mid-2013 MacBook Air owners cite “blackout bug”, point out screen flicker issue

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

This is what they created firmware updates for…

Per CNET, Apple’s mid-2013 MacBook Air appears to be suffering from a bug that results in intermittent loss of video output. When using an affected system, the screen may randomly blink to black for a brief second, or go to sleep and require a button be pressed for the system to wake again.

There is no indication on how widespread this bug is, but a number of affected users have noted the problem in a lengthy and growing Apple support discussion thread.

When the screen flashes intermittently, the system does not appear to shut down or sleep, since audio and other activity may continue; however, this does not occur at the times where the systems do go to sleep. This bug appears to affect both the 11-inch and 13-inch models, though the problem seems to happen more with the 13-inch MacBook Air. Additionally, it appears to happen more when on battery power than when plugged into its AC adapter; however, some have reported it happening on AC power as well.

The random nature of the problem suggests it is likely not software-based, so it may revolve around a physical sensor such as a magnetic switch in the lid or chassis, that could be contributing to the problem. Recently, the following YouTube video of the issue surfaced, showing an extreme condition of the bug, and its apparent tie to physical movement of the systems:



If you are experiencing this problem with your MacBook Air, then you can try some hardware resets to see if they can help the situation. The first is to perform a PRAM reset, by rebooting the system and immediately holding the Option-Command-P-R keys all at once. Continue to hold them until the system automatically resets and sounds the boot chimes again, and then release the keys to allow the system to boot normally.
The next reset you can do is for the system management controller (SMC), which governs how power and sensors are handled in the system. To reset this controller on the MacBook Air, first shut down the system and plug it into the AC adapter. Then press and hold the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard, followed by depressing the power button. Release all keys at the same time, and then press the power button to start the computer again.

If these reset routines do not fix the issue, then the next step would be to contact Apple and have the system replaced or serviced, especially since at this time the systems should still be under warranty. Since this issue came to light, Apple has swapped out a number of these for affected customers, likely with the intent of investigating the problem.

Depending on what Apple’s engineers find, we may see a firmware or software update to address the problem in the near future. Apple recently issued a software update for the Mid 2013 MacBook Air; however, this was to address a flickering display problem specific with use of Adobe software, and does not appear to address the issue at hand. Meanwhile, even though the issue may still happen, consider using the systems with the AC adapter attached, to at least reduce its prevalence.

This issue follows a similar, though unrelated, bug seen in the Mid-2010 MacBook Pro, where a faulty series of graphics cards has plagued those systems with regular crashes and black screens. In that case, Apple addressed the issue with a software update, though subsequent OS updates and upgrades have brought the issue back or exacerbated it for some systems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end with a mid-2013 MacBook Air, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases MacBook Air Mid 2013 Software Update 1.0, homes in on reported bugs

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 05:28
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

If you bought a mid-2013 MacBook Air, the firmware update you’ve been waiting for has arrived.

Apple on Thursday released an update to its recently released MacBook Air models, addressing issues affecting Wi-Fi connectivity, screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop and volume fluctuation during video playback.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s “MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0″ is the first for the company’s thin-and-light lineup that was in June, and fixes a number of bugs users have complained about over the past few weeks.

Among the initial problems cited by users was intermittent loss of Wi-Fi signals, a problem Apple partially addressed in a separate AirPort Utility software update earlier this month.

Another problem cropped up last week when MacBook Air owners complained of uncontrollable volume fluctuations while playing video content in both first-party and third-party applications. This too has reportedly been solved with the latest Software Update 1.0.

Finally, the release fixes an issue that would occasionally cause screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop.

The MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update is available as a 3.55 megabyte download and can also be retrieved via the OS X Software Update feature on qualifying MacBook Air notebooks.

If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.