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News Archive for Wednesday June 10, 2009       Go to Current News Page

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Good and (very) Bad Refurb 2009 Mac Pro buyer reports
Over the last month I've twice posted FYI's on 2009 Mac Pro refubs at the Apple Store. (When they had a wide range of speeds listed.) I've had good luck with Mac refurbs several times (from 8600s, 9600s to a 2007 AL iMac) but some haven't. In the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to post the latest mails from buyers of recent refurb 2009 Mac Pros. (most recent first)

"I just saw your brief post regarding Mac Pro refurbs. I myself am a fan of Apple refurbs and I've never had a problem. After seeing your mention of the "Nehalem" Mac Pros available for purchase, I went for an 8-core 2.26 for $2799, saving $500.
I've had the machine for about a month now and everything is great. Just like any other brand new Mac. Quiet as a whisper, no kernel panics, fast shipping.
-Justin B."

" Hi Mike, A month ago I told you when the 2009 refurbished Mac Pro went on sale and you asked me to let you know what I thought of it. I will if I ever get one. The original computer they sent had a problem with the fans randomly running at full blast without ever shutting down. They sent a tech out who replaced the motherboard, power supply and all fans, but that did not fix the problem. I have been trying to get a new one sent out to me ever since... I have a three page letter that I would like to send to Steve Jobs but I know he is not around.
I have spoken to 19 people at Apple about my problem and still have no (working) computer even though it has been over a month since I ordered and paid for it.
(I think Apple should give him a new computer after enduring all that.-Mike)

PS: the (Refurb) LED 24in display has one dead pixel, but I am not complaining about that. Too bad I can not plug it into my PB G4.
-David L."

Although I wouldn't hesitate to buy a refurb Mac, I've always been a bit leery on the refurb displays (many years ago bought a refurb original Cinema display - it also had some bad pixels). The 24in iMac refurb display however was perfect.

(from June 5th)
"Well it arrived on Wednesday afternoon. After taking it out of the box and setting on my desk I was quite pleased to see that it was in perfect condition... The new Mac sits on top of my desk with an old G4 under it. The new one is so quiet that I can still hear birds chirping outside the window. The only time I have heard loud fan noise was when the CD/DVD drive was reading large files. (same here)
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Drive Genius 2 Feedback
(I've never used Drive Genius personally, but maybe I should get a copy)

"Hi Mike, I remember a few days back you were lamenting about CCC just not working right anymore. (Temporary brain failure/old habits of using CCC for cloning - I later used Restore in OS X Disk Utility which worked fine.-Mike) I've found the same thing. Over time, I'm less and less impressed with CCC. From it's lack of speed to removing some options, I was looking for an alternative.
When I bought some drives from OWC, they offered Drive Genius 2 for $25. (Their Drive Genius discount w/drive purchase). I decided to see what it was all about, and I'm glad I did.
Their Duplicate Volume function works fast and it works perfectly. I used it to move my MBP drive system to a larger drive before I installed it, and everything worked perfectly, including serial number authorizations, etc.

I have not tried to duplicate the boot drive though, as I had my MBP hooked up to my iMac via Target Disk mode and cloned to another SATA drive in theNewertech Voyager HD dock.
Anyway, that's only one of 10 tools in the suite, including defrag, format, benchtest, integrity check and others.
-Mike K."

A reader replied to this post regarding the DG 2 upgrade price:

"Following up on the report you published: I, too, am thrilled to have DG in my arsenal - especially after a decade of putting up with the badly-designed and user-hostile Tech Tool Pro (v2.5 - 4).

Unfortunately, the upgrade price from 1 to 2 (*required* for a Leopard boot disk, they say) is $99 - twice what I paid for it. I have the same issue with Roxio over Toast - and will not upgrade either of these programs as long as their publishers maintain such a predatory attitude toward their user bases.
-Charlie M"

$99 for 1.0 owners to upgrade? Yikes... For $99, you can get both Drive Genius 2 and Data Rescue (bundle linked in the sidebar for several months).
(I too have not upgraded Toast for a long time - I'm still a 2 or 3 versions back I think. And not used it for a year or three.)

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Using $15 MiniDisplayPort to (std) DisplayPort Monitor Cable w/30in Dell Display (avoiding $99 dual-link DVI adapter)
"Mike, A heads-up for users of Macs with a mini-DisplayPort video connector AND a (standard) DisplayPort Monitor. I'm using a 2.4GHz unibody MacBook to successfully drive a Dell 3008WFP 30" monitor at full 2560x1600 resolution via Circuit Assembly's mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable.
This monitor has a full-size DisplayPort input (along with 2 DVI ports, HDMI, VGA, and analog component/composite/s-video inputs). The cable has a standard full-sized DP connector at one end and Apple's mini connector at the other. The MacBook connects directly to the full-sized DP port of the monitor with this cable, running full resolution without the problematic $99 Apple dual-link DVI adapter.
I pre-ordered this $15 cable last month, and it was delivered last week. Works like a charm. I do not have any relationship with this company other than being a happy recipient of this cable from their first batch. I thought some readers might find this useful.
-Mike S."

Although there was a post here that 10.5.7 solved the MDP to Dual-Link DVI adapter "jerky cursor tracking" issue, previously many 30in/MDP mac owners had reported that problem. Although not a lot of displays have DP connectors, this definitely is a cheaper/preferred way to connect it.

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PCMag reviews the new 13in MacBook Pro
PC magazine has posted a Review of the MacBook Pro 13in, giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars/Editor's choice.
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Snow Leopard Requirements for H.264 hardware acceleration and OpenCL support
I missed his mail yesterday, but Eddie sent a FYI that Apple's Snow Leopard Specs Page notes QuickTime H.264 hardware acceleration requires a Mac with NVIDIA 9400M graphics processor.
The page also includes a list of GPUs required for OpenCL support.:

    OpenCL (Requirements):
  • NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130.
  • ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870

I assume the Quadro FX 5600 and GTX 285 should also, but they're listing GPUs from current/previous macs.

And even though it was originally mentioned last year IIRC, several websites have posted recent articles about Snow Leopard not supporting PPC Macs (as if it's a new statement).

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Analysis of the iPhone 3G S CPU/GPU (vs 3G model)
Anandtech has an article titled The iPhone 3GS Hardware Exposed & Analyzed - page 2 has a table comparing the previous 3G's ARM11 (412MHz/8-stage pipeline, 16KB Instr/16KB Data L1 cache) to the new 3G S ARM Cortex A8 processor (600MHz/13-stage pipeline, 32KB Instr/32KB Data cache, plus 256KB L2 cache and 2-issue front end). Also includes notes on wattage/potential battery runtime. Page 3 talks about the GPU (PowerVR SGX).
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Other News/Articles/Reviews, Misc. Software Updates

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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