News Archive for: Friday May 25, 2007 (Later added items first)
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Transintl weekend special (Ext. Drives and Memory)
"Here is the Weekend special (though 5/28/2007).

    Mahattan Silver Pro Firewire 800 External Drive
  • 750GB FW800 (7200RPM, 16MB Cache): $359
  • 500GB FW800 (7200RPM, 16MB Cache): $239
  • 250GB FW800 (7200RPM, 16MB Cache): $149

In the box:

  • ManhattanSilver Pro Drive
  • FW800, FW400, USB cables
  • Power Adapter
  • Backup & Disk utility software

    Memory Special
    Intel Core 2 Duo Based Machines:
    (MacBook Pro/iMac)
  • 1GB DDR2 667MHz PC5300 SO-DIMM: $42
  • 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB): $78
  • 2GB DDR2 667MHz PC5300 SO-DIMM: $112
  • 3GB Kit (1x2GB + 1x1GB) DDR2 667 MHz PC5300 SO-DIMM: $148

    Mac Pro Quad & 8-Core:
  • 4GB Kit (2 x 2GB) DDR2 667 FB Dimm $328

Have a wonderful Weekend,
Sid "

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32GB RAM in a Mac Pro
In another post on using more ram than Apple lists as the Max, Jason sent some screenshots from ASP and Activity monitor of his Mac Pro (8-core) with 32GB of RAM (8x4GB FB-Dimms), despite Apple's dev docs saying 2GB modules/16GB as the max supported. (Table 1 of that doc does show a 4GB FBDimm, although there's a typo on the device count...) These won't be cheap however, at estimated $750 each and I'd like to see some stress tests with a 32GB loaded system.
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Maya Personal Learning Edition 8.5
PCW has an article mentioning v8.5 of Maya Personal Learning edition is available (but zero links to info/download, etc. - I'm beginning to think that's some sort of policy?) Anyway, here's Autodesk's Maya Personal Learning Edition page. (Download/form link in the sidebar there.) The page also has links to Questions & Answers, Documentation, and Demonstration content as well as a list of features (down the page). Maya Personal Learning Edition (PLE) is a special version of Autodesk® Maya® 8.5 software for free access to Maya for non-commercial use. ("Maya PLE restricts users to non-commercial applications through the display of a watermark on images as well as through the use of a special non-commercial file format.")
It's available for OS X for Power PC or Intel-based Macs (and 32-bit Microsoft Windows XP Pro). For details on requirements (OS version, graphics cards, CPUs, etc.) see their Maya 8.5 Qualified hardware for OS X which recommends OS X 10.4.8 and mentions testing with 10.4.7, but notes due to graphics drivers issues, 10.4.5 or earlier is not recommended and it will not install of OS X 10.3.9 or earler.

I haven't downloaded this version yet although I did try the original PLE from several years ago. (The big screen overlay/watermark gave me a headache after using it for awhile.) If you try Maya PLE v8.5 let me know what you think of it (and the mac you're running it on). Thanks.
(I've added a note on 8.5 PLE to a previous page here with some Maya 7/8 feedback.)

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Info on MacBook Memory Limits (Notes/Benchmarks on 3GB and more)
(updated twice with later comments, including replies from OWC and Transintl.)
From a reader mail early this morning

" Last weekend you had a deal on your site I could not refuse. Upgrade my Macbook to 3GB ram for only $116 (I had 2GB). It works great, but I notice that when I have nothing going on, on my computer, activity monitor shows that I have only 800MB-1200MB of ram free. Strange because that would mean I was using around 2gb of ram. I opened calculator and added up the real memory value of every process running. It was only about 700mb total. Before, when I was running just safari, I would show the same free that I have now, but I have 1gb more ram. It just seems really strange to me. Anyone else ever have a similar problem?
(FYI - Brian sent a link to an apple doc on Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor)

(I asked him what model of Macbook he had (May 2007 (C2D), Nov 2006 (C2D) or May 2006 (CD) and if Apple System profiler and Activity Monitor showed a total of 3GB installed, although Apple still lists 2GB max for even the latest model.-Mike)
Nov 2006 Core 2 Duo. About, Activity Monitor, and system profiler all show 3GB. I noticed right now it shows 94mb free, but everything only adds up to about 2GB. (see doc linked above for more info)

(he later wrote)
I have installed all the updates that have come up. I was just reading a page from OWC ( They say that apple does not support the 3GB because it slows the graphics card down. (Macbooks use intel GMA950 graphics w/shared memory)
But they are using a late 2006 macbook to show that you can put 3gb in it as it was written in March of 2007. I will call Trans later today and ask.
I just ran a ram test. When it grabbed over 2gb of ram, the activity monitor reported it using 16TB of ram... but I see that same thing in the OWC screenshots.
(I sent Adam a link to Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor and asked if he'd check the totals of the 4 types to see if it was equal to the 3GB ram installed)
Wow. Thank you very much. I guess I just assumed that adding another GB of RAM would give me another GB free when doing the same things. Everything adds up properly when adding the 4 pieces.
Thanks for the replies.
-Adam "

Apple still lists 2GB as Max for Macbooks even for the latest model MacBook Specs page lists "two SO-DIMM slots support up to 2GB". Apple's latest (revised in May 2007) Developer Doc for the MacBook (and RAM Expansion doc) also still show 2GB Max (2x1GB). OWC's 2GB SODIMM says "for the iMac Intel "Core 2 Duo" Late 2006 Systems/MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" Late 2006 Systems", although a recent press release listed 3GB kits for the May 2007 MacBooks. Update: After writing Sid at Transintl about this, they've corrected their Macbook models memory section to list 2GB (2x1GB) max for all MacBooks, including the May 2007 models. (See below for OWC's and Transintl's replies.)
I also checked the latest info in the Apple Macbook developer note (revised May 17th, 2007):

" Memory
The computer provides two RAM slots that accommodate 200-pin DDR2 SDRAM SO-DIMMs up to 1.25 inches in height. The SO-DIMMs must be DDR2 PC2-5300-compliant and must be unbuffered, unregistered, 8-byte, nonparity, and non-ECC. The MacBook ships with two 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM SO-DIMMs for a total of 1 GB. Maximum capacity is 2 GB. For additional information, refer to RAM Expansion Developer Note"

The RAM Expansion Developer Note lists the same limits, with some additional info farther down:

" MacBook Computer (May 2007)
The MacBook computer introduced in May 2007, based on the Intel Core 2 Duo, provides two RAM slots that accommodate 200-pin DDR2 SDRAM SO-DIMMs up to 1.25" in height. The SO-DIMMs must be DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) compliant and must be unbuffered, unregistered, 8-byte, nonparity, and non-ECC.

The computer ships with two 512 MB DDR2 SDRAM SO-DIMMs for a total of 1 GB. The largest capacity SO-DIMM supported is 1 GB, so the maximum memory capacity is 2 GB. Available as a configure-to-order option are two 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM SO-DIMMs for a total of 2 GB.

The memory controller supports both 512 MB and 1GB SO-DIMMs. However, because the memory in the two slots is configured as a contiguous array of memory, both SO-DIMMs must be the same size and type for the interleaving function to be used to improve performance.

The MacBook supports a CAS latency of 5.
The width of each 667 MHz memory bus is 64 bits.
The EEPROM (SPD) pin is powered by 3.3 V.

The maximum number of devices per SO-DIMM is 16. See Table 3 for device and DIMM configurations... "

The OWC's 2GB SODIMM (listed for late 2006 iMacs/MacBook Pros) is a 16 chip module, so it's not exceeding that limit, but the Apple Macbook related docs still list a 2GB (2x1GB) max as if there's some addressing limit perhaps.
Update: Larry of OWC replied to on this topic:

" If you put 4.0GBs in - only 3.0GB is usable. We tested this... In PCs with the C2D, they report like 3.3GB usable... There isn't the address space to go beyond 3.3GB addressable, and I've covered it before that Apple took the high road with their 3.0GB firmware limit vs. trying to gouge people to go to 4GB when only less than 3.3GB total usable (referring to MacBook Pro Apple spec).

4.0GB will install - Rember (Memory tester) will even see 4.0GB, but only protects 3.0GB for testing since Apple firmware only supports up to 3.0GB addressed. Apple about this Mac never notes more than the 3.0GB - which is what is max usable.

3.0GB is A-OK in all core 2 duo MacBooks... In fact, we're about to publish updated performance test results using Adobe CS3 on the original 2.0GHz C2D as well as the new 2.16GHz C2D MacBooks... And it's a nice performance boost gained from 2.0GB to 3.0GBs there... A huge gain too when you share your memory with Parallels running at the same time.
(A future update to

3.0GB is correct for Max. I believe Apple might have kept the 2.0GB limit related to the thickness of the first 2.0GB modules vs. the much thinner ones we are able to offer today.

The only justification for 4.0GB is to have the pair... And in a test we did, which will be part of what we publish, the difference was 116 seconds vs. 113 seconds for a CS3 photoshop script to complete. You still only get the 3.0GB avail, but 128 bit addressing enables. (he means dual channel mode enabled when two identical dimms are installed)

Although less a premium today, it's still quite a premium to pay (4GB kit) to get no additional memory use and a relatively small performance bump. We do not plan to list 4.0GB kits... For some it's worth it I'd suspect, but we recommend a max of 3.0GB. And again... Sure Rember will note there is 4.0GB when you put in the 2 x 2GB... But it still only lets 3.0GB get tested as that is the Apple firmware addressable limit and no way around that (at least not thus far).
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"

Earlier today I had written Sid at Transintl about the 4GB max listing for the 2007 Macbooks at their site. As of this afternoon that's been changed to list 2GB (2x1GB) as Max for all MacBooks to agree with Apple's listings. Here's his reply:

" Hi Mike, I apologize for the confusion about the MacBook RAM issue. We are testing the 4GB and 3GB kit in the MacBook and will make a formal press release and post test results upon completion.
Trans International has been a memory developer and a manufacturer for Mac & PC platforms for Two Decades and known for its innovative memory enhancement products. We support and stand 100% behind the products we offer with total customer satisfaction.
Regards, Sid Raza "
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EnhanceBox E8-PM Enclosure Review
"Mike, AMUG has released a review of the EnhanceBox E8-PM SATA PM hot swap 8-bay hard drive enclosure. This enclosure supports dual port multipliers with four hard drives connected to each PM. Two eSATA connections are provided on the rear. The article provides performance results for the EnhanceBox E8-PM using the Tempo E4P, NORCO-4629, eSATA PCIe8 and the RR2314 SATA host adapters. Acoustics, energy usage and cooling are also discussed.
Have a great weekend,
Michael Bean
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Other News/Misc. Software Updates
(includes Apple support docs revised today)

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