The 'Book Review

OS X on Netbook Guide, Fast Intel X25-M SSD Benchmarked, Woz Joins Axiotron Board, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.12.24

Low End Mac will be closed for the holidays from Christmas through New Year's Day. Site updates will resume on Friday, January 2, 2009.

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

Apple Updates

Tech Trends

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Mac OS X on Netbook Chart Mac OS X on Netbooks: What Works, What Doesn't

Wired's Brian X. Chen reports:

"Netbook hacking is becoming increasingly trendy - especially installing Mac OS X on the dinky things since Apple refuses to offer its own Mac netbook. Our friend Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing Gadgets slapped together a pretty useful chart . . . rounding up all the netbooks that can be hacked to run OS X - and which features work fine and which don't."

Fast Intel X25-M SSD Benchmarked in a MacBook Pro

Hardmac's Lionel reports:

"Hereafter are the benchmarks performed with the Intel X25-M. As a reminder, this 80 GB SSD is still expensive, with a retail price around 650€.

"If you want to compare it to the 128 GB Samsung SSD installed by Apple as a BTO, the corresponding benchmarks are below."

"...if both SSDs obtain similar results in writing mode, the Samsung SSD is almost 2.5 times slower than the Intel model in reading mode."

Steve Wozniak Joins Axiotron's Board of Advisors

PR: Modbook manufacturer Axiotron has announced that Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Computer and designer of the pioneering Apple I and Apple II personal computers, has joined Axiotron's Board of Advisors.

A trailblazer at the dawn of the personal computing revolution, Mr. Wozniak is widely admired for the ingenuity of his designs for the home-built Apple I machine and its enormously popular successor, Apple II. As an engineer, inventor and entrepreneur, Mr. Wozniak gave shape and form to the notion of personal computing - making the power of the computer accessible to millions and helping to launch an entire industry.

"We're thrilled to bring Steve onto our Board of Advisors. His deep knowledge and experience are an invaluable resource for Axiotron," said Andreas E. Haas, CEO of Axiotron. "Steve's forward-thinking and nonconformist approach, his incredibly creative engineering designs and his emphasis on the human aspects of technology have always been an inspiration to me."

Mr. Wozniak, the son of a Lockheed engineer, started his career designing scientific calculators at Hewlett-Packard. While there, he was able to design and build the ingenious Apple I computer during his spare time. After first offering his invention to Hewlett-Packard, he cofounded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs in 1976 and designed the hardware and software for the Apple II. With its elegant internal architecture and high-resolution color graphics, the Apple II became a massive commercial success that established the template for the company's subsequent smartly designed and user-friendly products.

In 1985, Mr. Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology (now the National Medal of Technology and Innovation), the highest honor for achievement in technology bestowed by the president of the United States. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, the Economy and Employment, and a 2000 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Mr. Wozniak in recent years has devoted himself to various business and philanthropic ventures, as well as pursuing his passionate lifelong interest in education with a particular focus on educational technology.

"Axiotron is designing user-focused innovations such as the Modbook that improve and advance our digital lives," said Mr. Wozniak. "I look forward to working with Andreas and his team to further this vision."

In his capacity on Axiotron's Board of Advisors, Mr. Wozniak brings a network of personal and professional contacts and offers his insights into market trends and Axiotron's product initiatives, such as the award-winning Modbook, Axiotron's pen-based tablet Mac solution, and Modservice™, the new service enabling customers to transform their existing Apple MacBook computer into an Axiotron Modbook.

Apple Updates

Multi-Touch Trackpad Update for Windows & Vista

This update improves the performance of the Apple Multi-Touch trackpad when running Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista on an October 2008 MacBook using Boot Camp.

For additional information about this update, visit this website:

For more information about bootcamp, visit this website:

Trackpad patch v will be installed as a result of applying this update.

File Size: 3.7MB

System Requirements: OS X 10.5.5

Tech Trends

Nvidia Offers Intel-thrashing Netbook GPU Tech

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"Nvidia is clearly in with Intel: it's announced a netbook integrated-graphics chipset designed to work with the Atom CPU.

"Enter the GeForce 9400 - codenamed 'Ion' - which essentially knocks the socks off the Intel integrated graphics Atom-based netbooks have thus far shipped with."

Editor's note: The GeForce 9400M is already being used in the October 2008 MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. dk

Nvidia Offers the First Netbook GPU

Internetnews' Andy Patrizio reports:

"The company manages to get the same Graphics Processing Unit used in the MacBook to run in low-power netbooks, giving them some needed graphics performance.

"Nvidia has launched its GeForce 9400M 'Ion' graphics chipset for Netbooks and small desktop designs, putting the same graphics chip used in the current generation of Apple MacBooks into the fast-growing netbook market."

Intel Ships 160 GB Solid State Disk Drives

Computerworld's Lucas Mearian reports:

"Intel on Monday announced it is expanding its X25-M 2.5-inch and X18-M 1.8-inch SATA solid-state drive (SSD) family with a 160 GB drive in a 2.5-inch form factor.

"The X25-M product is shipping now, and the 1.8-inch 160 GB version will be available next month."

Toshiba Launches Industry's First 512 GB Solid State Drive

PR: Toshiba Corp. (Toshiba) and Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC)*, its subsidiary in the Americas, have announced the expansion of their line up of NAND-flash-based solid state drives (SSD) with the industry's first 2.5" 512-gigabyte (GB)1 SSD and a broad family of fast read/write SSDs based on 43 nanometer (nm) Multi-Level Cell NAND. The new drives provide a high level of performance and endurance for use in notebook computers, gaming and home entertainment systems, and will be showcased at International CES 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 8 - 11, 2009.

In addition to the 2.5", 512 GB drive, the 43nm NAND SSD family also includes capacities of 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB, offered in 1.8" or 2.5" drive enclosures or as SSD Flash Modules. Samples of the new drives will be available in the first quarter (January to March) of 2009, with mass production in the second (April to June) quarter.

Toshiba's second-generation SSDs bring increased capacity and performance for notebook computers. They utilize an advanced MLC controller, which is also compatible with further advanced processes, that achieves higher read/write speeds, parallel data transfers and wear leveling to optimize performance, reliability and endurance. The drives enable improved system responsiveness with a maximum sequential read speed of 240 MB per second (MBps)2 and maximum sequential write speed of 200 Mbps enabling an improvement in overall computing experience, and faster boot and application loading times. The drives also offer AES data encryption to prevent unauthorized data access.

"The solid state drive market is evolving rapidly, with higher performance drives to meet market requirements, and differentiated product families targeted for appropriate applications," said Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Vice President of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company. "This new 43nm SSD family balances value/performance characteristics for its targeted consumer applications, through use of MLC NAND and an advanced controller architecture."

Toshiba and many market analysts expect SSDs to begin to gain significant traction in the market in 2009, growing to approximately 10% of the notebook market by 2010, and 25% of the notebook market by 2012. Toshiba expects the value/performance of its MLC NAND-based SSD lineup to help speed the acceptance of solid state storage.

Toshiba will continue to promote innovations that widen the horizons of the NAND Flash market and support its continued leadership in that market. The company will spur demand for SSDs in notebook PCs, netbooks, laptops and digital consumer products by enhancing its lineup, offering products with different densities and interfaces in a range of packages, while advancing device performance. For more information on Toshiba SSDs, please visit

Outline of the new products

Form Factor / Capacity / Product Number / Samples /Start of Mass Production

  • 2.5" Serial ATA-2 / 512 GB / THNS512GG8BB / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 2.5" Serial ATA-2 / 256 GB / THNS256GG8BB / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 2.5" Serial ATA-2 / 128 GB / THNS128GG4BB / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 2.5" Serial ATA-2 / 64 GB / THNS064GG2BB / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 1.8" Serial ATA-2 / 256 GB / THNS256GG8BA / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 1.8" Serial ATA-2 / 128 GB / THNS128GG4BA / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 1.8" Serial ATA-2 / 64 GB / THNS064GG2BA / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009
  • 1.8" Flash Module 256 GB / THNS256GG8BM / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009

Serial ATA-2

  • 1.8" Flash Module 128 GB / THNS128GG4BM / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009

Serial ATA-2

  • 1.8" Flash Module 64 GB / THNS064GG2BM / Q1 2009 / Q2 2009

Product specification

  • 2.5" Serial 1.8" Serial 1.8" Flash
  • ATA-2 ATA-2 Module Serial ATA-2
  • Size 69.9 (W) x 9.5(H) 54.0(W) x 5.0(H) 53.6(W) x 3.0(H) x x100(D) mm x78.5(D) mm 70.6(D) mm
  • Mass 66g (Typ.) 44g (Typ.) 15g (Typ.)
  • Interface Serial ATA-2/(3 Gbps)3
  • Voltage 3.3V (Module, 1.8" type), 5V (2.5" type)
  • Reading speed Maximum speed 240 Mbps (sequential mode)
  • Writing speed Maximum speed at 200 Mbps (sequential mode)
  • Temperature 0 to 70 degrees Celsius
  • MTTF4 1 million hours
  1. When used herein in relation to memory density, gigabyte and/or GB means 1,024 x 1,024 x 1,024 = 1,073,741,824 bytes. Usable capacity may be less. For details, please refer to specifications.
  2. For purposes of measuring read and write speed in this context, 1 Megabyte or MB = 1,000,000 bytes. Read and write speed may vary depending on the controller, read and write conditions, such as file sizes you read and/or write.
  3. For purposes of measuring read and write speed in this context, 1 Gigabit or Gb = 1,000,000,000 bits. Read and write speed may vary depending on the controller, read and write conditions, such as file sizes you read and/or write.
  4. The MTTF (Mean Time to Failure) is not a guarantee or estimate of product life; it is a statistical value related to mean failure rates for a large number of products which may not accurately reflect actual operation. Actual operating life of the product may not resemble the MTTF.

Bargain 'Books

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

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

Apple Store

New this week: first unibody MacBooks in the refurb channel!

  • refurb 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,149
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,399
  • refurb 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 SSD, $1,699
  • refurb 2.1 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook, black, 2 GB/160/SD, $949
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, black, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,049
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,399
  • refurb 15" 2.5 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.4 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,799
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Santa Rosa MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 17" 2.5 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $2,199
  • refurb 17" 2.6 GHz hi-res Penryn MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200 @ 7200 rpm/SD, $2,299


  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80, $1,199.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $699.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 1 GB/80/SD, $749.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $949.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $989.99


  • 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,199.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,299.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/200/SD, $1,443.99
  • 15" 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 2 GB/250/SD, $1,768.97
  • 15'' 2.5 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/250/SD, $1,549.99
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $2,248.99

Mac Connection

  • 2.1 GHz MacBook White, 1 GB/120/SD, $999.99 less $50 mail-in rebate = $949.99 shipped

Wegener Media - G3 iBooks - 15" Titanium PowerBook - 15" Aluminum PowerBook - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro

  • 12" iBook G3/500 MHz, 128/10/CD, $169.99
  • 12" iBook G3/600 MHz, 128/15/CD, $249.99
  • 12" iBook G3/700 MHz, 128/20/Combo, $329.99
  • 12" iBook G3/800 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $399.99
  • 12" iBook G3/900 MHz, 256/40/Combo, $489.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $594.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, 60 day warranty, $659.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, black, 512/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $719.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, 60 day warranty, $769.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/120/SD, 60 day warranty, $799.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $549.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $699.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $599.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $639.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $679.99
  • 15" aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, APX, $729.99
  • 15" hi-res aluminum PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, $799.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, 90 day warranty, $899.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD 90 day warranty, $979.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD 90 day warranty, $1,099.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, 90 day warranty, $1,179.99


  • 2.4 GHz Penryn MacBook, white, 4 GB/160/SD, $1,049

Baucom Computers

  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, $640
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1 GB/80/SD, $715
  • 15" hi-res PowerBook G4/1.67 GHz, 1.5 GB/100/SD, $805

PowerBook Guy

  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, $499.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, AppleCare, $599.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 1 GB/80/Combo, APX, $799.95

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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