Apple shows signs of implementing TRIM features in latest 13″ MacBook Pro notebook

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Date: Monday, June 14th, 2010, 04:12
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro, News

This is sort of unexpected but interesting.

Per AnandTech, the current-run 13″ MacBook Pro notebook may be showing that Apple is implementing TRIM support for solid-state drives in Mac OS X. Attaching an SSD to the 2010 system will show an entry for “TRIM support” that doesn’t exist on the Core i5 or i7 MacBook Pros or earlier models. The support appears very rough and incorrectly flags TRIM-capable drives as lacking support.

TRIM is considered important to the future of SSDs, as it will keep them running at peak speed for most of their useful lifespan. Older SSDs often slow down over time as more of the drive space is used and the system has to erase more and more junk data, such as deleted but not missing files, before it can write new information. TRIM aggressively erases these areas so that they’re truly empty in advance of when new content needs to be written.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems currently support TRIM, but Apple so far hasn’t had native support and has seen less benefit from faster SSDs as a result. Adding the feature would let Macs use the full features of modern SSDs and could lead to significant storage updates for the for any Mac offering SSDs as a build-to-order option.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Strange Knowledge Base article points to potential Boot Camp update for mid-April MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

This is interesting.

Per CNET, Apple has released a knowledge base article outlining a Boot Camp update for the 2010 13″ MacBook Pro notebook. The update is for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of windows, and addresses a problem where the Boot Camp Control Panel would display warnings when changing the display brightness, as well as problems with no audio for headphones.

The 2010 MacBook Pro models were released in mid-April, and since then there have not been any Boot Camp updates so this is the first mention of one for these machines and perhaps a sign of fixes to come.

The update should be available through Apple’s software update utility in Windows, and is currently unavailable as a standalone download. When you install the update it should show the Boot Camp build number as 2354 when you select “About Boot Camp” when clicking the Boot Camp tool in the Windows task bar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

gfxCardStatus utility allows dynamic switching between MacBook Pro graphics cards

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 06:33
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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Although Apple’s current MacBook Pro notebooks allow you to switch between graphics processing units in order to optimize performance and battery life, Apple doesn’t really provide an easy way to manage the different GPUs on the system, and if you like to tinker you may find the utility gfxCardStatus useful, both for newer and older machines.

Per CNET, Cody Krieger’s gfxCardStatus is a small shareware application that displays which graphics card is the active one. When the system’s computing demands change and the GPU is switched, the utility shows the switches in real-time, either by displaying an “n” (GeForce 330M) or a “i” (Intel HD) in the menu. If you have the Growl notification system installed, gfxCardStatus will inform you in real-time whenever the graphics processor is changed.

In addition to notifications and alerts, gfxCardStatus will list any processes that are using the current graphics processor, and allow you to manually switch the active GPUs on the system.

Despite this, the program does offer a unique advantage to users of the older MacBook Pro models, in that the GPU switching feature does allow for you to switch GPUs without logging out and closing down your applications. The screen will go blue and then black, but will then reappear and the secondary GPU will be used. This may be convenient for some users; however, it is still an experimental feature so try or use it with caution.

gfxCardStatus 1.6.1 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Core i7-based MacBook Pro boasts speedy SATA benchmarks

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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.

Israel lifts ban, allows iPads into the country

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Date: Monday, April 26th, 2010, 05:26
Category: iPad, News

On Sunday, the nation of Israel lifted a customs ban and began accepting imports of Apple’s iPad into the country. Per Reuters, the country noted that it had confiscated 20 iPads since the ban went into place that would be returned to their owners.

The tablet was put on hold for import into the country pending concerns that its wireless communication protocol would interfere with other wireless devices.

“Following the completion of intensive technical scrutiny, Israel Minister of Communications Moshe Kakhlon approved the import of (the) iPad to Israel,” the Communications Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said its technical team in the past week consulted with Apple Inc, a recognized international laboratory and European counterparts and determined the device could be operated in Israel according to locally followed standards.

The tests proved the device identifies the Wi-fi access point in its surroundings and adjusts itself automatically, enabling the iPad to be operated without interfering with other wireless devices, the ministry said.

Last year, Israel’s security practices came under scrutiny when an American traveling to Jerusalem had three bullets shot through her MacBook. The woman was reportedly compensated for the loss.

It’s unknown as to whether the nation’s security forces will be scared of your iPad and attempt to shoot it, so it’s better to be polite to them at the airport.

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

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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

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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.

Mid-2010 MacBook Pros selling well, 13″ model becoming harder to find

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Date: Thursday, April 15th, 2010, 05:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The new MacBook Pro notebooks are out.

And if you can find a 13″ one, you’re in luck.

Per AppleInsider, demand for Apple’s newly upgraded line of MacBook Pro notebooks was strong on the first day, with scattered reports of the low-end 13″ model selling out in some retail locations.

Analyst Maynard Um with UBS Investment research said checks with various Apple stores indicated that the Mac maker is sold out of the new 13″ MacBook Pro model, introduced Tuesday. The Core 2 Duo-equipped machine has the Nvidia GeForce 320M, a graphics processor created especially for Apple’s new low-end MacBook Pro machine.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 250GB hard drive priced at US$1,199; and one with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 320GB hard drive priced at US$1,499. It has graphics 80 percent faster than its predecessor, and offers an Apple-estimated 10 hours of battery life.

Customers ordering the new 13″ MacBook Pro from Apple’s online store have also reported that shipping times have lagged to between one and three business days, instead of a standard 24 hours according to MacNN. The 24-hour cap still applies to Apple’s more powerful and expensive 15- and 17-inch systems.

Um said he has also found that some stores are out of stock of iPads, supporting the announcement made earlier Wednesday by Apple, that a hardware shortage would delay the device’s international launch until late May. The analyst said this news means it is likely his estimate of 1.2 million iPads sold in the June quarter will likely prove conservative, depending on manufacturing constraints.

Apple releases MacBook Pro Software Update 1.3 for mid-2010 models

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 14th, 2010, 03:41
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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On Tuesday (literally the same day the company released its updated MacBook Pro notebooks), Apple released Software Update 1.3 for the mid-2010 MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, a 258.3 megabyte download, is recommended for all 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro mid 2010 models and contains improvements for graphics stability for high-performance video and gaming applications as well as various bug fixes.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.3 or later to install and run and is available for free.

If you’ve tried the fix and noticed any changes, please let us know.

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.