Intel demonstrates Light Peak port technology for HD video streams

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 6th, 2010, 04:48
Category: News

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PC Pro is reporting that Intel has been demoing a laptop running the company’s “Light Peak” connectivity standard initially offering transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps in both directions. The company previously demonstrated the technology using a prototype Mac Pro motherboard last year, but has now reduced the required hardware to fit inside a laptop enclosure.

The demonstration laptop was sending two separate HD video streams to a nearby television screen, without any visible lag. The laptop includes a 12mm square chip that converts the optical light into electrical data that the computer understands.

Intel’s chief technology officer, Justin Rattner, claimed that the bandwidth afforded by the optical technology is practically unlimited. “Light Peak begins at 10Gbits/sec, simultaneously in both directions,” he said. “We expect to increase that speed dramatically. You’ll see multiple displays being served by a single Light Peak connection. There’s almost no limit to the bandwidth – fibers can carry trillions of bits per second”.

Intel has touted Light Peak as a possible replacement to USB, Firewire, and display connectors in the future, and notes that the hardware should become available to computer manufacturers by the end of this year.

Core i7-based MacBook Pro boasts speedy SATA benchmarks

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 09:01
Category: MacBook Pro, News

In as much as the new Core i7-based MacBook Pro has been described as being toasty, an article over on DIGILLOYD offers benchmarks citing strong SATA write performance on the new model.

Per the article, the April 2010 MacBook Pro has top-flight performance on both internal SATA ports via the following benchmarks:

DIGLLOYD tracked these benchmarks courtesy of its diglloydTools 2.0 package, which is currently available for US$40.

If you’ve snagged the new Core i7 MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer on it, let us know.

Benchmark test finds Core i7-based MacBook Pro reaches over 100 degrees celcius

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 05:57
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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As nifty as the new Intel Core i7-based MacBook Pro notebook is, the days of the toasty lap may have returned. According to a series of tests run by PC Authority, Apple’s new notebook was found to climb over 100 degrees Celsius when running the Cinebench application.

In the tests, the notebook’s metal shell proved ineffective at dissipating the heat as well as the similarly-equipped Fujitsu Lifebook SH760, which finished the same test at 81 degrees, and actually required PC Authority to run the MacBook Pro on its side to complete certain tests. The site thinks that Apple’s cooling solution may be inadequate for a Core i7.

If you’ve snagged the new MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer on its operating temperatures (or heat dissipation tips), please let us know.

iFixit tears into 15″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010, 03:04
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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Once again, the cool cats at iFixit have torn into an Apple device, this time shredding the new 15″ mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebook. Per Engadget, the teardown didn’t reveal anything too stunning and aside from the obvious processor upgrade, not much has changed since 2009 model except the odd antenna mounted on the optical drive frame and tri-wing screws in place of the Torx 5, but it appears that the AirPort/Bluetooth assembly now resembles that of the 13″ unibody MacBook.

Among the more interesting finds was the Intel BD82HM55 S LGZS Platform Controller Hub, which seems to function as an intermediary chip between the Intel and NVIDIA graphics cards.

Beyond this, it seems to be business as usual with the new notebook.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on a new mid-2010 MacBook Pro and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know.

Intel: Light Peak could succeed, replace USB 3.0 ports in several years

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 11:14
Category: News

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Representatives from Intel went on record to state that the company’s upcoming Light Peak technology could eventually succeed and replace USB 3.0 in several years. Intel, which announced Light Peak last year, hopes it will be broadly used by devices ranging from PCs to consumer electronics and other gadgets, said Kevin Kahn, an Intel senior fellow, in a speech at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in Beijing. Per Macworld, Intel will make the technology available late this year and expects partners to start shipping devices with it next year, Kahn said.

“We view this as a logical future successor to USB 3.0,” Kahn said. “In some sense we’d… like to build the last cable you’ll ever need.”

A trend toward optical instead of electrical links raises the risk that separate optical cables could appear for many protocols, such as USB and serial ATA, said Justin Rattner, the head of Intel Labs, on the sidelines of IDF. Light Peak can run multiple protocols at the same time over one line, so all the data meant for the separate cables could run through one Light Peak cable instead.

Intel insists there is no conflict between Light Peak and USB 3.0 and views the technologies as complementary, as Light Peak enables USB and other protocols to run together on a single, longer cable and at higher speeds in the future, according to a slide in Kahn’s IDF presentation. “We expect both to exist together in the market and perhaps on the same platform at the same time,” the slide said.

A laptop with Light Peak built in was on show during Kahn’s speech. A long, thin Light Peak cable, which linked the laptop to a docking station and a monitor, was used simultaneously to transmit Blu-ray video, a feed from a high-definition camera and a duplication of the notebook’s display onto the other screen. Light Peak can currently transfer data at a speed of 10G bps (bits per second), or fast enough to send a full Blu-Ray movie in less than half a minute, according to Intel. But the technology could be scaled up to 10 times that speed in the next decade according to company representatives.

USB 3.0, the latest version of USB, is far slower than Light Peak with a signalling rate of 5G bps, though it remains much faster than the current version of USB. Still, USB 3.0 is not yet widespread in devices. That is partly because many PC manufacturers will wait on USB 3.0 until support is built directly into the chipsets they buy, which is only expected to happen in late 2011, according to a research note from In-Stat.

Intel, which is a major vendor of PC chipsets, did not immediately reply to a question about whether it will launch chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0. A spokesman for rival chip maker Advanced Micro Devices said the company will have chipsets with built-in support for USB 3.0 but declined to say when.

When asked if Intel would build Light Peak support into its chipsets, Kahn said the company could do so if Light Peak spreads quickly, but declined to comment further.

Intel expects an industry group promoting Light Peak to launch next year, Kahn said. The company has said it will work with the industry to make Light Peak a standard and speed its adoption.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated MacBook Pros featuring Core i5, i7 processors, boosted graphics cards

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 13th, 2010, 07:31
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The rumors were true and Apple released its long-awaited MacBook Pro notebooks on Tuesday. Per Macworld UK, the new notebooks boast faster processors, NVIDIA graphics and longer battery life.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro now features the new NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor for up to 80% faster graphics and 10-hour built-in battery. The GeForce 320 features 48 processing cores and is billed as the fastest integrated graphics processor on the market.

New 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models meanwhile, feature Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and Apple’s new automatic graphics switching technology that toggles between powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M and energy efficient Intel HD Graphics processors.

Apple claims the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro laptops are up to 50% faster. Using Intel’s 32 nanometer process, Intel Core i5 and i7 processors integrate the memory controller and Level 3 cache for faster access to system memory.

Hyper-Threading technology improves data throughput by creating virtual processing cores, while Turbo Boost optimises performance between the two processor cores, accelerating the system from 2.66 GHz to 3.06 GHz for intensive dual core tasks, and up to 3.33 GHz for single core tasks.

Apple notes, all 15-inch and 17-inch models include two graphics processors, the new NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M for peak performance and Intel HD Graphics for better energy efficient operation.

Apple adds, the MacBook Pro glass Multi-Touch trackpad now supports inertial scrolling, an intuitive way to scroll through large photo libraries, lengthy documents and long web sites. All MacBook Pros feature LED-backlit wide-angle displays with a broad color gamut.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro includes a high resolution 1920 x 1200 display, while the 15-inch MacBook Pro is now available with an optional high resolution 1680 x 1050 display.

Customers can also upgrade their MacBook Pro with new 128GB, 256GB and 512GB solid state drives.

Apple has released the following MacBook Pro specs and pricing details:

The 2.4 GHz, 13-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$1,199, includes:
• 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
• 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
• 1066 MHz front-side bus;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
• 250GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme® 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight® video camera;
• two USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire® 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
• SD card slot;
• combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 60 Watt MagSafe® Power Adapter.

The 2.66 GHz, 13-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$1,499, includes:
• 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1280 x 800 glossy display;
• 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 3MB shared L2 cache;
• 1066 MHz front-side bus;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• NVIDIA GeForce 320M integrated graphics;
• 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight video camera;
• two USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
• SD card slot;
• combined headphone/line in (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 63.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 60 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 13-inch MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a 320GB 5400 rpm or a 500GB 5400 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

The 2.4 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$1,799, includes:
• 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
• 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
• 320GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight video camera;
• two USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire 800 port;
• SD card slot;
• audio line in (analog/digital);
• audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.53 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$1,999, includes:
• 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
• 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 256MB of VRAM;
• 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight video camera;
• two USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire 800 port;
• SD card slot;
• audio line in (analog/digital);
• audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

The 2.66 GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$2,199, includes:
• 15.4-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1440 x 900 glossy display;
• 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 4MB shared L3 cache;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
• 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight video camera;
• two USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire 800 port;
• SD card slot;
• audio line in (analog/digital);
• audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 77.5WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 15-inch MacBook Pro include the ability to upgrade to 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a high resolution 15-inch 1680 x 1050 display in glossy and antiglare, a 500GB 5400 rpm or 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

The 2.53 GHz, 17-inch MacBook Pro, for a suggested retail price of US$2,299, includes:
• 17-inch widescreen LED-backlit 1920 x 1200, glossy display;
• 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache;
• 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, expandable to 8GB;
• integrated Intel HD Graphics + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with 512MB of VRAM;
• 500GB serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm, with Sudden Motion Sensor;
• a slot-load 8X SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) optical drive;
• Mini DisplayPort (VGA, DVI and HDMI adapters sold separately);
• AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
• Gigabit Ethernet port;
• iSight video camera;
• three USB 2.0 ports;
• one FireWire 800 port (FireWire 400 compatible);
• ExpressCard/34 expansion card slot;
• audio line in (analog/digital);
• audio line out/headphone (analog/digital);
• glass Multi-Touch trackpad and illuminated keyboard;
• built-in, 95WHr lithium polymer battery; and
• 85 Watt MagSafe Power Adapter.

Build-to-order options for the 17-inch MacBook Pro include a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 500GB 7200 rpm hard drive, a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, antiglare display, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, Apple MagSafe Airline Adapter and the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Full details can be found on the Apple Store web site.

If you have two cents to hurl in on the new machines, please let us know in the comments.

Elgato releases EyeTV 3.3.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 13th, 2010, 04:32
Category: News

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Late Monday, Elgato Systems released version 3.3.3 of its EyeTV software application, which finds and tracks all television programming you want to see and allows users to pause live television and save content to file.

The new version, a 112 megabyte update which can be found here via VersionTracker (and can also be found through EyeTV 3.0′s update feature), adds the following fixes and features:

- EyeTV 3.3.3 contains several additional components that are running in Intel 64-bit mode. In addition to the H.264 video decoder, MPEG-2 video is decoded in 64-bit mode for both playback and export.
- Improved quality of analog recordings with EyeTV Hybrid (North America 2010) on Macs with Intel Core Duo processors 2.26 GHz and faster.
- Improved stability for the EyeTV Netstream DTT, EyeTV Hybrid 2010 (North America), and EyeTV Sat.
- Improved CAM reliability and support for EyeTV Sat.
- EyeTV Sat no longer accepts remote commands from unsupported remote controls.
- Fixed a problem where analog channel names were not displayed when tuning with EyeTV Hybrid.
- Improved performance when loading large libraries.
- Fixed crashes related to memory usage.
- Fix a problem where an incorrect audio track was exported to program or elementary streams.
- Improved sort speed in Programs window.
- Fixed a problem where shows longer than 3 hours would not show a title or episode title in the EPG.
- Improved details view for EPG.
- Fixed a crash when clearing the EPG.
- Program Guide searches are no longer case sensitive.
- Improved resiliency during EPG server outages.
- EyeTV 3.3.3 fixes video playback problems with EyeTV 3.3.2 in certain countries.
- Fixed a crash when displaying Picture-in-Picture.
- Fixed a problem during analog input capture where certain VHS players would show “No Signal” after a few seconds of fast forward or reverse.
- Improved picture quality of DV exports.
- EyeConnect now recognizes when the local IP Address has changed, and resumes working.
- Fixed a problem where large channels list were deleted.

EyeTV 3.3.3 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run. The program retails for US$79.95.

Micro Center stock post adds new strength to updated MacBook, MacBook Pro rumors

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 12th, 2010, 04:19
Category: News

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The new Apple notebook rumors continue as a Micro Center employee recently posted new Apple model numbers that seem to indicate at MacBook Pro updates. Per Electronista, while just listed as “Mac systems” with Good, Better and Best trim levels, they have completely new model numbers and roughly correlate to the three 15″ and single 17″ MacBook Pros that currently exist. They also hint at price changes with the base MacBook Pro price rising US$100 to US$1,799, the top-end 15-inch model would drop to US$2,199 and the 17″ would fall US$200 to US$2,299.

A mid-range MacBook Pro would stay in place at US$1,999.

The MacBook Pro line is expected to receive Intel’s Core i5 and i7 processors that may sport similar stock clock speeds but should be substantially faster than the outgoing Core 2 Duo models. Also likely on top of these is the use of NVIDIA Optimus graphics switching to save energy; the higher-priced entry model may reflect this as Apple would have to use a discrete graphics chip instead of the integrated GeForce 9400M used today.

A MacBook Pro update could come as soon as Tuesday and may also include a refresh of the white plastic MacBook and MacBook Air.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve heard anything on your end, please let us know.

Rumor: Updated MacBook Pro could surface as early as April 13th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 9th, 2010, 03:22
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Following the iPad coverage and hype, you’re still hankering for updated MacBook Pro news. Per Australian Macworld, a source has stated that updated MacBook Pro units featuring Intel’s new Core i5 and i7 processors could be seen as early as Tuesday, April 13th.

There’s no word as to exact specifics but the Best Buy web site seems to be adding some fuel to the fire, first by showing a proverbial mark of death in its database last month, and now by making the 15-inch model unavailable on BestBuy.com.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve heard anything on your end, please let us know.

Rumor: Upcoming MacBook, MacBook Pro notebooks to feature updated Intel processors, other improvements

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 6th, 2010, 03:45
Category: News

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You love your MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks but in the recent months of coverage surrounding the iPad (which also makes thousands of delicious julienne-style fries), you’ve wondered if it was due for anything new?

Per Taiwanese blog Apple Daily, sources close to the story say the only reason the MacBook lines haven’t already been updated is because of chip shortages from Intel. The same report claims that all MacBooks will be available with not only the newest Intel processors, but also up to 640 GB hard drives and 8-hour battery performance throughout the line.

The MacBook Pro line’s last significant update was last June — and I know of several people who have been holding off on a new purchase until the line is updated. With Apple the lone remaining major manufacturer yet to integrate Intel’s newest i5 and i7 processors into their portables.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you’d like to see in Apple’s next generation of notebook computers.