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.

Google Chrome updated to 28.0.1500.95

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 08:57
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

On Tuesday, Google released version 28.0.1500.95 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 51.5 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Medium CVE-2013-2881: Origin bypass in frame handling.

- High CVE-2013-2882: Type confusion in V8.

- High CVE-2013-2883: Use-after-free in MutationObserver.

- High CVE-2013-2884: Use-after-free in DOM.

- High CVE-2013-2885: Use-after-free in input handling.

- High CVE-2013-2886: Various fixes from internal audits, fuzzing and other initiatives.

Google Chrome 28.0.1500.95 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

VLC updated to 2.0.8

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 13:43
Category: News, Software

vlclogo.jpg

Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 2.0.8. The new version, a 41.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Fixes some regressions of the 2.0.x branch of VLC.

- Fixes numerous crashes and dangerous behaviors.

- Fixes ISDB-S tunning and some OS X issues.

VLC 2.0.8 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Opera web browser updated to 15.0.1147.147

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 08:09
Category: News, Software

operalogo

The Opera web browser project begins.

On Wednesday, Opera Software released version 15.0.1147.147 of its web browser. The new version, a 54.4 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:

General and User-Interface Changes:
- Opera 15 is a major reinvention for Opera. Going forward, the browser’s source code will be based on Chromium and Blink, a fork of the WebKit rendering engine.

- New rendering engine based on WebKit.

- New user interface.

- New capabilities.

New features:
- Improved site compatibility.

- Silent auto updates

New features:
- Combined address and search bar. Opera 15 combines the address and search bar, allowing for multiple predictive results that can be filtered by search engine. This bar includes options for adding current pages to Opera’s Speed Dial or Stash, and expandable page information.

- Enhanced Speed Dial. Opera 15 allows you to combine Speed Dial entries into groups, and introduces a search function that filters through entries.

- Stash. Opera 15 introduces Stash – a feature that records the location, meta data, and a screenshot of a page. It places this information into a collapsable list entry on the browser’s Start Page, that can be searched by keyword and/or scanned visually by screenshot.

- Discover. A recommender service is included with Opera 15. Discover displays news and topical content that can be filtered by category or location/language.

- Off-Road mode. Opera 15 adopts the server-side compression technology used by Opera Mobile.

Fixes:
- Chromium was updated to 1500.72.

- Fixes a minor issue in Opera installer, which deleted existing Opera shortcuts from desktop instead of changing them.

Opera 15.0.1147.147 is available for free and requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

Analyst sees late September launch date for iPhone 5S, earlier launch dates for next-gen iPads, Haswell-based Retina Display MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013, 06:06
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, Rumor

The guesses as to when the next-gen iOS devices are out.

Per AppleInsider, according to a research note obtained by the web site, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S” is seeing setbacks in the production of “numerous components,” as well as handset assembly, meaning the next-gen smartphone will be available in limited amounts following a late September launch.

“While shipments forecasts may still grow sharply in 4Q13, we are concerned iPhone 5S may face the same problem as its predecessor, namely that by the time supply matures, demand will already have waned, hurting shipments,” Kuo writes.

The analyst also sees shipments of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone being below expectations, though the device will be available sooner than the iPhone 5S due to a less complicated manufacturing process. Kuo sees the model being priced at US$450 to US$550, with shipments capped at 26 million units for 2013. Market consensus had shipments at 30 to 40 million units.

As for Apple’s tablet plans, Kuo notes a redesigned 9.7-inch version will be the “highlight of iPad in 2013,” as no new iPad mini model is set for release this year. The analyst says Apple is unlikely to debut an anticipated Retina display version of the 7.9-inch tablet with A7 SoC this year. Due to higher energy demands attached to the Retina panel, as well as the components required to improve power efficiency in such a small form factor, Apple will likely shoot for a launch in March or April 2014.

Interestingly, Kuo points to a possible cheaper iPad mini running a legacy A5 processor. That device could still see release by the end of 2013, December at the earliest, but given the model is unlikely to see a substantial price cut compared to the current iPad mini, Apple will most likely debut the tablet next year.

Finally, the Mac lineup will see continued upgrades to Intel’s Haswell silicon in the coming months. Apple’s Retina display MacBook Pro is looking at a mid-September refresh, while the iMac will get the chips in late August.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

CrossOver updated to 12.2.2

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 22nd, 2013, 11:22
Category: News, Software

Even a small update makes a difference.

CrossOver, the popular virtualization program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 12.2.2. The new version, a 75.4 megabyte download, is available as a demo, offers the following fix:

- CrossOver has been updated to allow Cube World, a popular indie computer game, to run.

CrossOver 12.2.2 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Adobe Flash Player updated to 11.8.800.115

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 10:48
Category: News, Software

It’s hard to ignore a Flash Player update.

On Friday, Adobe released Flash Player 11.8.800.115 for Mac OS X, an 18 megabyte download via MacUpdate. The new version adds the following fixes and changes:
- Sandboxing enhancements: This feature adds enhancements to the existing sandbox feature by better addressing application launches in protected mode.

- Recursive stop on MovieClip: For Flash Player, this feature allows a game developer to effectively pause/stop a running SWF without having to iterate through all of the objects on the DisplayList.

- Datagram Socket: DatagramSocket APIs are now supported for iOS and Android also. This will work only with swf-version 21 or later.

- Server Socket: ServerSocket APIs are now supported for iOS and Android also. This will work only with swf-version 21 or later.

- LZMA SWF support: LZMA compressed swfs can now be packaged for iOS and Android targets and are supported.

- 4096×4096 texture support: With this feature, a new profile, BASELINE_EXTENDED is introduced in the class flash.display3D.Context3DProfile, which will support a
maximum texture size of 4096X4096.

- Rectangle Texture Support: Rectangle Textures are now supported in BASELINE as well as BASELINE_EXTENDED profile. T e texture formats supported for Rectangle Textures are BGRA, BGR_PACKED and BGRA_PACKED. Details for usage can be found in the language reference.

Adobe Flash Player 11.8.800.115 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

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

Parallels Desktop updated to 8.0.18608

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 10:51
Category: News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

On Friday, Parallels released version 8.0.18608 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 336.7 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Install Windows 8.1 Preview using Express installation.

- Work with Ubuntu 13.04 in Coherence view mode.

- Resolves an issue with the Contact Card opening too slowly in Microsoft Outlook 2013.

- Resolves an issue with visual artifacts in Microsoft Outlook 2013.

- Smoother mouse scrolling in guest operating systems.

- Improved 3D graphics performance: playing World of Tanks, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and other games in a virtual machine became more stable.

- Resolves an issue with reverted colors on guest OS screenshots.

Parallels Desktop 8 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

OnyX updated to 2.7.2

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 18th, 2013, 11:49
Category: News, Software

onyxicon

An update’s an update.

OnyX, Titanium Software’s popular freeware multifunction utility for Mac OS X, has been updated to version 2.7.2. The new version, a 22.1 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Deleting the Fonts Cache improved.

- Deleting the Applications Cache improved.

- Deleting the temporary items improved.

- New option: Turn On/Turn Off the startup sound.

- New option: Show/hide Quartz Debug’s hidden options.

- New option: Show/hide the desktop icons.

- New option: Modify the default save location of new documents.

- Turn on Dashboard and its widgets option corrected.

- Turn on Mission Control option corrected.

- Bug when restoring default options corrected.

OnyX 2.7.2 requires an Intel-based processor and OS X 10.8 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Microsoft releases Office 2011 14.3.6 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 17th, 2013, 12:30
Category: News, security, Software

An update’s an update.

Microsoft on Wednesday released version 14.3.6 of its Microsoft Office 2011 suite for the Mac. The update, a 113 megabyte download, features the following changes:
- This update fixes an issue in which Outlook repeatedly tried to send messages that exceeded certain server-side size limits from the Outbox. Now, messages that exceed these size limits are put in the local Drafts folder after three unsuccessful attempts to send the messages.

- This update fixes an issue in which syncing a folder from which many messages were deleted on another client frequently caused Microsoft Outlook for Mac to freeze.

- This update fixes an issue that causes Word to be unable to save files to an SMB share.

- Full release notes can be found here.

The update can also be located and installed via the Microsoft AutoUpdate feature.

Microsoft Office 2011 14.3.6 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run.

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