The 'Book Review

MacBook Air Overheating, MacBook Pro Vertical Striping, Flash vs. Hard Drive, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.05.02

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Reviews

Products

Software

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

MacBook Air Overheating Leads to Freezes

MacFixIt says:

"Though the MacBook Air is generally one of the coolest Apple notebooks shipped to date in terms of surface temperature, systems appear to be overheating under various circumstances for some users, resulting in freezes....

"Overheating issues were extant with early iterations of the MacBook Pro and MacBook as well. Some postulated the units contained too much thermal grease, though those theories were seemingly debunked for the most part, with most users reporting similar temperatures after re-applying a thinner layer of thermal grease.

"Still, some MacBook Air owners have resorted to scraping excess thermal grease from their systems' logic boards - a dangerous, warranty-voiding procedure. This Japanese site has one user's experience and some instructions for disassembling the MacBook Air....

"Again, we strongly recommend against attempting a thermal grease reduction procedure."

Excess Thermal Paste Causing High Temps in MacBook Air?

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady says:

"Remember the thermal paste problem with earlier MacBook Pros that was reported back in May 2006? Well, it's back.

excess thermal paste"Chief Japanese Mac disassembler Kodawarisan took apart his MacBook Air (of course) and discovered a metric-ass-load of thermal paste (also called 'thermal grease') on the top of the CPU and GPU....

"Temperature Monitor was reporting the temperature of his Core 2 Duo chip to be running between 50 and 70° (122 and 158 degrees Fahrenheit). Which is quite toasty...."

PowerBook G4 Econo-Mac Stimulus Plan '08

PBCentral's Joe Leo says:

"What to do with $600 Check from the Feds? Upgrade your Old Mac!

"A majority of you this week will be the first of many to receive their share of the government's economic stimulus package in order toboost the economy. We wouldn't suggest buying a new Mac with that money - which can range anywhere from $300 to $1200 - especially after yesterday's piece on 'why buy new?' We won't stop you from doing so either.

"But what if you have an old Mac that's relatively new, that you don't plan on giving up anytime soon, and just want to level the playing field a little? Here's a nice econo-Mac package for you...."

Ultra-thin MacBook Air Also Slim on Profits?

AppleInsider's Slash Lane says:

"In its determination to deliver the world's thinnest notebook, Apple admitted to sacrificing some speed and versatility, but a new analysis suggests that it may have given up some early profits as well.

"Though the Cupertino-based Mac maker largely beat estimates for its second fiscal quarter on Wednesday, one sore spot appeared to be gross margin, which came in at about 100 to 200 basis points below most analysts' expectations at 32.9 percent.

"...Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster offered his own explanation.

"'We believe the margin outlook may be viewed negatively by investors, who likely wanted to see more of Apple's significant revenue upside trickle down to earnings,' he wrote in a note to clients early Thursday morning. 'The bottom line, we believe the margin was negativity impacted by a higher mix of Mac Book Air, which we now believe carries a lower margin.'"

Some MacBook Pros Exhibiting Vertical Striping on Displays

Ars Technica's David Chartier reports:

"If you have one of the new MacBook Pros (early 2008) and noticed some vertical display striping and graphic glitches, evidence is mounting that you may not be crazy after all.

"After picking up one of these machines with the 512 MB Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT card, I began noticing these glitches myself...."

STEC Reportedly Wins MacBook Air Solid-State Drive Biz

Barrons' Eric Savitz says:

"STEC has reportedly won a contract to replace Samsung as a supplier of solid-state drives for Apple's MacBook Air, according to B. Riley analyst Salomon Kamalodine.

"Kamalodine writes in a research note that the finding is based on 'discussions with industry sources.'"

Reviews

MacBook Air 'the Most Attractive Laptop Ever'

The Boston Globe's Hiawatha Bray says:

"The one-month loan is nearly over, and I'll soon have to pack up a borrowed MacBook Air laptop and ship it back to Apple Inc. It will hurt. Apple's vaunted ultrathin computer is the most attractive laptop ever.

"Not the best, though. The Air's elegant form sacrifices a lot of functions found on even the cheapest laptops, not to mention its closest, thinnest rival, the ThinkPad X300 from Chinese laptop maker Lenovo. Instead, Apple offers gleaming aluminum, and assurances that nobody will mind the missing features.

"And for the most part, I didn't."

Does Low Latency Memory Really Make Your Mac Go Faster?

Bare Feats' rob-ART Morgan reports:

"Corsair's press release and 'white paper' made a big splash in the news. They claimed as much as a 19% gain in Photoshop performance when a 4 GB kit of CAS 5 memory was replaced with their 4 GB kit of CAS 4 memory. We were skeptical so we tested the Corsair modules against various brands of 'normal' latency SODIMM memory kits in our 'Penryn' MacBook Pro 2.6 GHz laptop....

"We saw nothing close to the 19% gain in Corsair's Photoshop test published in their 'White Paper' PDF when they compared a CAS 5 four gig kit with a CAS 4 four gig kit. I think somebody in their lab either goofed or moved a decimal point."

Performance Showdown: Flash Drives vs. Hard Disk Drives

Computerworld's Bill O'Brien reports:

"Solid-state disks (SSD) are probably some of the most talked-about new gadgets of late. They easily distinguish themselves from the mechanical hard drives of the Jurassic period because they have no moving parts. Like USB drives, they use nonvolatile flash memory to store data, but SSDs are wrapped in an enclosure the size of a 2.5-in. mechanical laptop drive and have a SATA interface for an easy connection to the internals of your portable....

"So have you ever wondered if it's really worth it to plunk down the extra $1,300 for an SSD-equipped MacBook Air? Or have you been tempted to swap the current mechanical hard drive out of your portable and slide one of these high tech bad boys inside? I did.

"And surprisingly....

"None of [the] results, in my opinion, show any clear and present advantage to these SSDs - at least not on a price/performance ratio."

Products

Fast Worldwide Mobile Internet Access for the MacBook Air

PR: GlobeSurfer ICON HSUPA is a USB-modem to establish mobile Internet connections with a Macintosh Computer running 10.4.3 or higher. The ICON supports HSUPA, 3G UTMS speeds as well as EDGE, GPRS connections around the globe. It connects via USB and includes an USB extension cord so not to block other ports.

GlobeSurfer ICON HSUPA"This small and lightweight modem is a perfect internet companion for the MacBook Air", states Jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media. "And since it features an advanced receiver technology, it is likely to work in places with suboptimal quality of reception as well."

GlobeSurfer HSUPA includes the internet connect wizard launch2net for Mac OS X which offers a one-click connection to the Internet without the need to enter cryptic connection details. launch2net already includes connection settings for most network operators around the globe.

GlobeSurfer ICON is available for 299,- Euro plus VAT at the company's website at http://www.novamedia.de

Neo-Flex Combo Lift Laptop and Monitor Stand

Neo-Flex Combo Lift StandPR: Simply combine your notebook with an LCD display, separate keyboard and a mouse to create a productive dual-display configuration. Save time by viewing multiple applications at once - eliminate toggling back and fourth on a single screen. With this stand's height adjustment, tilt and rotation, you'll get desktop computing comfort combined with the portability of a laptop.

Get desktop comfort with notebook portability - the perfect home base for the business traveler who is constantly on the go

Neo-Flex Combo Lift Stand

Adjust the height of your notebook and external LCD for maximum productivity and ergonomic comfort

Superior technical design enables use with or without a docking station

Create a productive dual-display configuration by placing your notebook's screen alongside an LCD

Integrated base rollers enable 360° pan rotation of the stand so you can share your views with others

Patented motion technology produces smooth adjustment

Its small footprint frees up your desktop to increase workspace, making the addition of a second display an easy fit.

Neo-Flex Combo Lift StandFive-inch (12.7 cm) height adjustment ergonomically accommodates average range of users

Neo-Flex Combo Lift Stand includes stand, laptop platform, one sliding monitor bracket, manual, VESA-monitor mounting kit, cable ties, Velcro kit, clips, non-slip pad

Designed for use with a separate, external keyboard for proper ergonomics

Combo Lift Stand

Simply combine your notebook with an LCD display and separate keyboard and mouse to create a productive dual-display configuration. Save time by viewing multiple applications at once - eliminate toggling back and forth on a single screen.

With this stand's height adjustment, tilt and rotation, you'll get desktop computing comfort combined with the portability of a laptop.

Dual LCD Lift Stand

Affordable, height-adjustable dual-monitor stand for maximum productivity and comfort. Save time by using multiple applications at once - eliminate toggling back and forth between documents and programs. Simultaneously lift LCD screens to proper height for unsurpassed ergonomic comfort.

Widescreen Lift Stand

Upgrade your widescreen display with five-inch (12.7 cm) height adjustment, tilt, pan, and portrait-to-landscape rotation for optimum viewing. Embedded with patented motion technology, this stand enables light-touch adjustments without any knobs or levers.

All-In-One Lift Stand

Add ergonomic adjustability, portability and save space with this unique all-in-one stand. The perfect accessory for space-constrained areas, it enables you to mount both a CPU and display while providing effortless height adjustment of the monitor

Neo-Flex Combo Lift StandHighlights

  • Position LCD screens for maximum ergonomic comfort - promotes wellness in any work area
  • Small footprint frees up your workspace and increases your efficiency
  • Integrated base rollers enable 360° rotation of the stand so you can share your views with others
  • Embedded with patented motion technology, this stand enables light touch adjustments without any knobs or levers
  • Five-inch (12.7 cm) height adjustment ergonomically accommodates average range of users
  • Easy to use - simple installation and effortless operation
  • Everything is included to neatly route cables behind the stand, out of the way
  • Patented Constant Force (CF) lift-and-pivot motion technology - no levers or buttons
  • Five-inch (12.7 cm) height adjustment ergonomically accommodates average range of users
  • Portrait to landscape screen rotation
  • Pans 360° side-to-side at base
  • VESA compliant
  • Three-year warranty
  • 8° inward offset angle for optimum parabolic viewing
  • Configured with notebook on right side and monitor on left side of the stand
  • Fits most large and small notebooks, with or without docking station
  • Compatible displays: almost any notebook computer, with or without port replicator, and VESA-compatible displays (up to 20. screen size)
  • Everything is included to neatly route cables behind the stand, out of the way

Weight Capacity: 12 - 30 lb. (5.4 - 13.6 kg) total; notebook = 6 - 12 lb. (2.7 - 5.4 kg); monitor = 6 - 18 lb. (2.7 - 8.2 kg)

ÝMonitor up/down tilt = +25°/-5°

Mounting Standards: VESA FDMI MIS-D, 100/75, C (hole pattern: 100 x 100 mm & 75 x 75 mm)

UL compliant: Meets UL Specification 1678 Tip Test

Shipping Dimensions: 28" x 23" x 15.6" (710 x 580 x 396 mm)

Shipping Weight: 25 lb. (11.3 kg)

Warranty: Three (3) years

$179

Software

CoolBook Helps Your MacBook Pro/MacBook Run Cooler

PR: Monitor the CPU frequency, voltage, and temperature of MacBooks

CoolBook is a tool for the MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. It lets you monitor the frequency, voltage and temperature of the Core Duo / Core 2 Duo CPU.

CoolBookRegistered users can also change the frequency and voltage of the processor. Download CoolBook to find out more.

The "Santa Rosa" / LED MacBook Pro is only partially supported. Read the manual for more info.

New in version 2.9: Improved support for new "Penryn" MacBooks.

System requirements: MacBook Pro or MacBook. Some support for iMac and Mac mini.

System Support: Intel

$10 Shareware

coconutBattery Updated

PR: The hottest battery information app out there . . . got even hotter . . . completely rewritten . . . preferences menu . . . more languages(coming soon). . . and it's still freeware(but donations are more than welcome)

coconutBatterycoconutBattery isn't just a tool which shows you only the current charge of your battery - it also shows you the current maximum capacity of it in relation to the original capacity your battery had as it left the factory.

You also get information about the battery-loadcycles (how often did you fully load your battery), the current charger (coconutBattery even warns you if you plugged in a wrong charger for your Notebook), and last but not least information about the age of your Mac.

coconutBattery gives you all this information in real time because of its live-feedback interface.

You are able to save the current maximum capacity of your battery - with just one click. coconutBattery uses Apple's new and really powerful technology named "CoreData" to realize this comfortable saving option.

coconutBatteryAnd last but not least: coconutBattery is Universal Binary (you can run it on Intel-Macs)

Many localizations are ready to start but still need some bugfixes.

If you want to help translating coconutBattery to your language, just write them an email.

New in version 2.6.3:

  • Fixes an issue that could cause a crash of the app on some machines.

Changes from 2.6.1 to 2.6.2 were:

  • Fixed a performance problem at startup
  • Fixed an issue which caused a high CPU load while running the app
  • Fixed a problem which caused that the values for "Charger connected" and "Battery is charging" aren't displayed correctly

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.5+)

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

New this week; just one MacBook Pro 15" model in stock. and the first refurb. Penryn 2.1 GHz MacBooks arrive. Each model comes with an Apple one-year warranty, and ground shipping is free. Changes this week are the addition of a 2.6 GHz 17" MacBook Pro with high-res display and a 2.2 GHz Black MacBook.

  • refurb 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $949
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $949
  • refurb 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $999
  • refurb 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,449
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz hi-res Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,299
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,499

TechRestore

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $419.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/20/Combo, $429.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (VGA), 256/30/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/667 (DVI), 256/30/Combo, $629.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $899

Wegener Media - Pismo - 15" PowerBook

  • 400 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 128/6/DVD, $299.99
  • 400 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 256/40, $399.99
  • 400 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 256/60, $419.99
  • 500 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 128/6/DVD, $349.99
  • 500 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 256/40, $439.99
  • 500 MHz Pismo PowerBook G3, 256/60, $449.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $629.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/Combo, $709.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $739.99
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67, 512/80/SD, APX, $799.99

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, $379
  • 12" iBook G4/800, 640/30/Combo, APX, $410

Power Max

  • open box 2.1 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $1,049
  • open box 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, warranty started, $1,099
  • 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1/120/SD, warranty started, $1,149
  • open box 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • open box 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,449
  • open box 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,749
  • open box 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2/120/SD, $1,599
  • open box 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2/160/SD, $1,799
  • open box 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,288
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,088
  • open box 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, warranty started, $2,399
  • open box 17" 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,688
  • 17" 2.6 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,699

PowerBook Guy

  • clamshell iBook G3/300, Blueberry, 64/3/CD, $149.95
  • clamshell iBook G3/300, Tangerine, 64/3/CD, $169.95
  • clamshell iBook G3/366 SE, Graphite, 128/10/CD, $199.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $199.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 256/10/Combo, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/CD, $289.95
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 192/6/Zip, $269.95

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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