The Mac mini’s Intel GPU won’t cut it as a 4K media center

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 07:18
Category: 4K, Apple, Hardware, Mac mini, Television, UHD, Yosmite

Yosemite's 4K support is pretty poor - Jason O'Grady

I purchased a Samsung 4K television (a UN65F9000) for our family room and was super-excited to buy a late-2014 Mac mini (Macmini7,1, model A1347) to complete our entertainment center. The problem is that the Mac mini’s anemic GPU can’t drive a 4K display at a fast enough refresh rate to play smooth video, which is a bummer.

I’ve used a Mac mini connected to a 1080p panel in my living room for years, and it’s always worked great. A Mac mini is great in a media center computer, there’s nothing like having a real web browser for watching live streams and video podcasts and VLC media player is the de facto standard for playing every video CODEC known to mankind. (Tons of people also swear by Plex but I haven’t taken the time to set it up.)

I was optimistic that Apple would properly support 4K (UHD, 2160p) after early Yosemite rumors claimed that it would. When connected to my 65-inch Sammy 4K TV, the 2014 Mac mini can only muster a paltry 30 Hertz refresh rate, which is unacceptable for video. It results in choppy, unwatchable playback. The mini’s poor video performance is a result of its underpowered Intel Iris Graphics.

If you’re thinking of connecting a Mac to a 4K panel, beware. The only Macs that will do 4K justice are those that have a discrete graphics card – and you’ll probably need a $3K Mac Pro to do it right.

I connected my MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch to the Samsung F900 panel and it too only supports 30 Hz output, which won’t fly for video playback. The 13-inch rMBP only has Intel Iris 5100 Graphics which isn’t enough to drive a 4K panel at 60 Hz. According to the Apple Discussion Forums:

  • the 15″ rMBP w/NVidia does support 60Hz
  • the 13″ rMBP w/Iris does not support 60 Hz

If you want to drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz from a Mac you’ll need one with a discrete GPU. Boom. Sounds like the best justification I’ve heard to purchase a Mac Pro yet.

What’s your Mac media center setup?

Apple replies to negative commentary over iPad sales, states that market “isn’t saturated”

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, 11:09
Category: Finance, iPad, News

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Apple posted great numbers across the board in yesterday’s fourth quarter financial statement, but there may be concerns about the iPad’s growth.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook explained why he remains “very bullish” about iPads de spite the tablet’s sales not maintaining the growth rates of iPhones or Macs in every region.

In the September quarter, Apple sold 12.3M iPads, versus 14.1M in the year ago quarter. While lower than last year, iPad sales were slightly above Wall Street’s expectations. Apple continues to sell more iPads each month than the combined tablet sales of the rest of the top five tablet vendors, globally: Samsung, Asus, Lenovo and Acer

Addressing iPad sales in response to an analyst’s question, Cook stated, “I know that there’s a lot of negative commentary in the market but I have a little different perspective on it.

“Instead of looking at it every 90 days, if you back up and look at it, we’ve sold 237 million in just over four years. That’s about twice the number of iPhones we sold in the first four years.

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Apple releases iTunes 12.0.1 update

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Date: Friday, October 17th, 2014, 11:13
Category: iTunes, News, Software

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Along with the release of its OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating system yesterday, Apple also turned loose iTunes 12.0.1 to the public.

The new version, a 212 megabyte download, now features a red icon, is “designed for OS X Yosemite” and according to AppleInsider, along with the usual performance boosts and bug fixes, brings a redesigned interface with translucent elements borrowed from Yosemite.

In addition, users can now activate Family Sharing, a feature that lets customers share music, e-book and app purchases with up to five family members. Family Sharing was introduced with iOS 8 and is now available through Yosemite.

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Apple posts full video of October 16th iPad, Mac media event

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 15:22
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

It’s the last thing of the day.

Per MacRumors, following a veritable cornucopia of announcements, Apple has posted the full video of today’s iPad and Mac event on its website.

The video should also be made available later this afternoon on the Apple Keynotes podcast, which can be found on the iTunes Store.

As always, let us know what you make of the new stuff in the comments.

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Apple confirms October 16th media event, is expected to outline next-gen iPads, OS X Yosemite

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 9th, 2014, 11:24
Category: iPad, News, Software, Yosemite

Apple will be showing the forthcoming goods in a week’s time.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple sent out invitations to a media event for October 16th Wednesday as expected, an event that is expected to focus on new iPads, new Macs, and the release of OS X Yosemite. Apple could launch Apple Pay at the event, as that service was scheduled to go live in “mid-October.”

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The invitations are titled “It’s been way too long,” which is sort of anyone’s guess as to the theme of the event.

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Rumor: Apple working on 12.9-inch iPad, will incorporate OS X/iOS operating system for device

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Date: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, 11:08
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor, Software, Uncategorized

Apple could be coming out with a nigh-on-jumbo-sized iPad.

And it could run its own unique operating system.

Per MacRumors and DigiTimes, sources have indicated that Apple has two 12.9-inch iPad prototypes in development, with one model being a “2-in-1 device” that utilizes elements from both operating systems while the other resembles previous iPads. The report also notes that the 12.9-inch iPad isn’t expected to go into mass production until 2015.

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The idea of Apple combining both OS X and iOS into one platform has been a popular subject for quite some time, as both have begun to share design principles and features. Notably, J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz predicted earlier this year that the company is working on a combo operating system which would utilize an iOS device docked to a secondary display for a full computer experience.

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Shellshock fix posted for Mac OS X 10.4 to Mac OS X 10.6.8 operating systems

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 6th, 2014, 10:35
Category: News, security, Software

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This suggestion came in over the weekend from one Larry Macy, Ph.D over at the University of Pennsylvania and it’s pretty interesting.

For those of you still running Mac OS X 10.4 to Mac OS X 10.6.8, a workaround has been discovered for the recently discovered Shellshock bash vulnerabilities. Per Macy, the process replaces bash and sh with a new version of bash.

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Apple announces updated iCloud pricing tiers, offers 1TB of space for $19.99 per month

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Date: Thursday, September 11th, 2014, 14:18
Category: iCloud

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The new iCloud pricing tiers have arrived.

On Wednesday, Apple put its new iCloud pricing tiers into effect, announcing the changes on its web site and offering users up to one terabyte of space for US$19.99 per month.

The new tiers range from 5GB to 1TB of online storage space and can be purchased now via the iCloud settings menu on any connected iOS device.

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Apple releases iTunes 11.4 update, includes support for iOS 8

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Date: Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, 15:28
Category: iTunes, News, Software

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Like most major Apple announcements, this one came with a new iTunes update.

On Tuesday, Apple released version 11.4 of its iTunes media suite. The new version, a 249.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Sync your favorite music, movies, and more to devices with iOS 8.

iTunes 11.4 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or later.

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

Microsoft ends Skype support for users running Mac OS X 10.5.8 and earlier

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 8th, 2014, 11:35
Category: News, Software

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If you love older versions of the Mac OS X operating systems and Skype, you’re out of luck.

Per AppleInsider and The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Microsoft on Thursday announced that it has ended support for Macs running OS X 10.5.8 Leopard or earlier.

Starting last week, Skype users began to complain on the company’s forum that they were being locked out from accessing the popular voice over IP service. As complaints mounted, it was guessed that Skype was no longer operational on Macs running older versions of OS X.

Microsoft today confirmed the change in service in an answer to a question regarding Skype compatibility with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, which will for now remain unaffected.

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