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News Archive for Monday June 15, 2009       Goto Current News Page

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Total System Wattage tests of 8-Core Mac Pro 2.66 w/GTX-285 vs ATI 4870
I connected the Mac Pro w/GTX 285 card installed to my APC LCD UPS (no display or any other devices connected to UPS) to monitor wattage (per the UPS LCD) in use under various conditions/loads. (The system/CPUs also have power saving modes - the deltas under load are not just from the graphics card alone, although it is a significant contributor. The GTX 285 as mentioned previously has variable GPU, Shader and Memory speeds.) There was some question in my mind from day one if the card was fully clocking up out of lower power modes in some tests (reporting/monitoring utility for card is Windows only).
Based on some PC reports, the GTX 285 card has several modes/clock speeds which I've witnessed in Windows via EVGA's Precision utility, but I don't have an OS X utility for monitoring:
  • Standard 2D (GPU 300 MHz, Shader 600 MHz, Memory 100 MHz)
  • Low Power 3D (GPU 400 MHz, Shader 800 MHz, Memory 300 MHz)
  • Performance 3D (GPU 648 MHz, Shader 1476 MHz, Memory 1242 MHz)

I had also mentioned to EVGA that the GTX 285 never seems to increase the fan speed (from the default 40%) and they said the Mac Pro's case design (good airflow) was also a factor.
(Update:) I've now added Mac ATI 4870 results to the total system wattage info on page 1 of the GTX 285 review. (Updated 6/17 to include GT120 card results also.) The Mac 4870 actually had a bit higher idle watts as it doesn't clock down nearly as low as the 285 does at idle. And during 3D gaming, the difference in the two cards' effect on total watts was less than I expected. (Not really significant in those tests at least.) But as I mentioned back in March, with the Apple shipped ATI 4870 card, ATI's Overdrive (in Windows) reported idle speeds of 600Mhz core/850MHz Memory - i.e. only a downclock of 150MHz on the core. But I don't know if that's accurate. I saw a much lower idle core clock (240MHz) with an XFX Radeon 4890/1GB card in a PC.)
BTW - I've seen some insane discounts recently in BBuy stores on graphics cards (in-store 'clearance' only, not on the website). Most recently the (PC) BFG Geforce GTX 285 1GB OC card ($349.xx list) was put on 'clearance' at $300 last weekend, then marked down to $230 (in-store) Sunday, and today two went out the door there at $210.49. (But 2 feet away from the GTX 285 cards on their shelf was the BFG GTX 275 card for $275 Bizarre... made me wonder why they were clearing out the 285's for a lot less.) And BTW - the BFG OC 285's as some other buyers have mentioned are actually clocked higher than the OC on the box (694Mhz core vs std 648Mhz, as well as slightly higher shader and memory clocks (1584 and 1296 resp.) - box specs listed 666MHz core. Granted some have had problems with those OC'd speeds out of the box, but RivaTuner, Nvidia's system tools or EVGA's Precision utility can downclock the card to the (box noted) 666MHz (or base/ref design 648Mhz).
Update/FYI - I had a friend pick up the last one they had at a local BB on 6/28/2009 and it scanned at $179.49 (!) - apparently another auto-markdown due to in-store clearance. Yet their online store page for the card still shows the original $349.xx list price.

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Java Security Update for OS X (Tiger and Leopard)
I've been waiting for this update (ref: Warning on Critical Mac OS X Java Vulnerabilities still present in 10.5.7) and it's finally available via software update or these download pages. (I always use the download updaters.)

"Java for Mac OS X 10.5 Update 4 delivers improved reliability, security, and compatibility for Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0 and J2SE 1.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.5.7 and later. This release updates Java SE 6 to version 1.6.0_13, J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_19, and J2SE 1.4.2 to 1.4.2_21.
Please quit all web browsers before installing this update.
For more details on this update, please visit this website:"

And here's the download page for Java for Mac OS X 10.4, Release 9:

"Java for Mac OS X 10.4, Release 9 delivers improved reliability, security and compatibility for J2SE 5.0 and J2SE 1.4.2 on Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later.
This release updates J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_19 and J2SE 1.4.2 to version 1.4.2_21. Please quit all web browsers before installing this update.
For more details on this update, please visit this website: "

Here are the Apple docs listing the fixes:

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Reports on new 13in/15in MacBook Pros having SATA 1.5Gb/sec Interface
(Update: On June 22nd, Apple posted MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 that they say addresses this.)
(original post from June 15th follows)
Macrumors has a thread posted yesterday about the new Mid-2009 13" and 15" MacBook Pros Have a Slower SATA Interface (1.5Gb vs 3.0Gb, most likely to affect SSD performance). Not sure what the logic/reason was behind doing that (if the interface really was 'downgraded' and it's just not reporting the mode of the attached drive). The 13" MacBook (white), 17" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air reportedly still have 3.0Gbit SATA. A reader later said one website had some conflicting reports from owners that chose a (CTO) SSD drive. (And some comments that maybe a firmware update can address this.)
If you've bought one of the new (mid-2009) 13in or 15in MacBook Pros (especially with a SSD drive option), let me know if the HD interface is reported as SATA 3.0Gb/sec or 1.5.
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iPhone 3G S's shipping to customers
I'm sure others have reported this, but just a FYI from a reader mail this morning (out for a few hours replacing a server UPS)

"Mike, Don't know if you want to post it, but today I received an email from Apple saying that my iPhone 3Gs ordered last week has been shipped. The UPS tracking number shows that it was shipped from Shenzhen, China (see attached).
Regards, Don"

He attached a screenshot from UPS but not posting it here.

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