The 'Book Review

i7 Mobile the Fastest Laptop CPU Ever, New MacBook Line Expected Soon, Check Warranty Status, and More

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.10.02

General Apple and Mac desktops is covered in The Mac News Review. iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in The iNews Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tech Trends

Products & Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Intel Unveils Core i7 Mobile Processor: Fastest Laptop Chips Ever

Intel Core i7 MobileAt the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Sept. 23, Intel unveiled what will probably be the future power for Apple's MacBook Pro line - the new Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor and Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor Extreme Edition, bringing Intel's super-fast Nehalem microarchitecture to the laptop market.

New Intel Core i7 mobile processors which include two-channel DDR3 1333 MHz memory support and full 1 x16 or 2 x8 PCI Express 2.0 graphics

With laptops becoming increasingly popular for tasks such as video editing, gaming, and immersive applications, more and more users want to be able to multitask without compromising performance. Now that the fastest processor on the planet has gone mobile, users will be able to benefit from unmatched processing technology for the most demanding tasks, including creating digital video and playing intense games. Intel Core i7 mobile processors adapt to provide the right processing power for the task, with more performance and flexibility to match users' on-the-go needs.

Intel says these processors, in addition to the new Intel PM55 Express Chipset, will provide the best laptop experience for intense gaming, digital media, photos, music, business applications, and other multithreaded software that hungers for faster processing speed, and also boost overall performance when using several of these applications simultaneously.

"With intelligent features like Intel Turbo Boost Technology, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and a host of others, Intel has revolutionized the laptop PC processor, delivering performance when you need it, energy efficiency when you don't," said Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "For the first time, mobile users can choose a laptop that delivers Internet-server like speed, right in their laps for the most demanding tasks, from intense gaming to digital video editing and social media applications."

Formerly codenamed "Clarksfield," Intel Core i7 mobile processors offer Intel Turbo Boost Technology, which can accelerate the processor clock speed up to 75 percent to match workloads, as well as better performance on highly threaded applications with the power of Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. The new Intel Core i7 mobile processors also include two-channel DDR3 1333 MHz memory support and full 1 x16 or 2 x8 PCI Express* 2.0 graphics. Whether users are editing a video, composing a song, playing a video game or updating their Facebook status with the latest YouTube video, Intel Core i7 mobile processors adapt to provide the right processing power for the task, with more performance and flexibility to match their on-the-go needs.

Laptops with Intel Core i7 mobile processor Extreme Edition support Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (Intel XMP) and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility, the ultimate tuning utility making it possible to overclock and fine tune your laptop for enhanced performance and battery life optimizations.

The Intel PM55 Express Chipset is touted as enabling high-end workstation and gaming laptops to support features such as Intel Matrix Storage Technology, Intel High-Definition Audio, and increased I/O interfaces.

PC laptop makers Asus, Dell, HP, and Toshiba all began shipping laptops based on Intel Core i7 mobile processors on Wednesday, and Intel says additional systems from other OEMs - hopefully including Apple - will become available in coming months.

1ku pricing to OEMs for the Intel Core i7-920XM, Intel Core i7-820QM and Intel Core i7-720QM mobile processors is $1,054, $546 and $364, respectively.

Explaining Intel's i7 Turbo Boost Technology

Cnet's Peter Glaskowsky says:

"Intel promotes the Turbo Boost technology in its new Core i7 Mobile processors as a way to adapt to the needs of the software and get more performance from the chip, but this isn't the real reason the technology exists....

"In his IDF session announcing these parts, Intel Vice President Mooly Eden said the best of these parts, the 2 GHz Core i7-920XM Extreme Edition, is 'the fastest quad-core processor, the fastest dual-core processor, and the fastest single-core processor' - all in one chip.

"The key to this dramatic claim is a feature called Turbo Boost technology...."

Low Cost MacBooks to Hit the Market Soon?

The Money Times' Vidya lakshmi thinks Apple's rumored plans to release low-cost polycarbonate MacBook laptop is a dream come true for customers who can't afford the more expensive MacBook Pro, and predicts that if the low-cost MacBooks are a reality, they are sure to capture a big market.

Iakshmi says formal announcements related to these new models are expected to be made by the middle of October, and that the new product lines were finalized during September and are currently under production, probably thinner than the model they will replace thanks to built-in battery technology. Something I haven't heard elsewhere in the rumor mill is the suggestion that the new Mac books might support Blu-ray.

Apple Close to Unveiling All-new MacBook Line

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade reports:

"An initiative on the part of Apple to retain and redesign its low-cost polycarbonate MacBook line due to ongoing economic uncertainties is now believed to be closer to fruition than once thought, AppleInsider has been told."

New MacBook White Could Have Built-in Battery, Debut with New iMacs

Macworld UK's Nick Spence says you can add built-in batteries to rumours of a new slimmer lighter entry-level white MacBook. Citing CNET, Spence suggests that low-cost Intel ultra-low-voltage "ULV" processors like the SU4100 or SU7300 are likely to be part of the new models as well, possibly allowing up to 10-hour battery life.

Analyst Sees $800 MacBook Before Christmas

Barrons' Tiernan Ray blogs that Thomas Weisel analyst Doug Reid yesterday raised his estimates for sales and profit for Apple's current fiscal year and next. and also mentions Apple's much-rumored tablet computer, which he doesn't expect to see until calendar Q2 2010, but also says:

"We instead focus on the prospects for Apple to launch lower price point ($800-900) MacBooks within the next 30-45 days. We believe there is a high likelihood Apple will fortify its entry into the holiday season and that such a move will be a positive for AAPL shares."

Why Apple Can't Sell Business Laptops

Forbes' Brian Caulfield says that Apple makes great laptops, but lags badly in corporate America, and Dell's Latitude Z shows why.

Caulfield contends that in many ways Dell is now the mirror image of Apple because Apple remains as clueless about big business as Dell is about digital music players.

Why Won't Apple Give Us a 12" MacBook Pro?

DPMac's George Mann notes that for the last three years now, Apple power users (who have to travel a lot) have been asking for a MacBook Pro version of the 12-inch PowerBook G4. Now that Apple has decided to discontinue future support of the older (pre-Intel) processors for their systems and software, it is again time to ask the question. When will there be a new power user version of a subnotebook computer available from Apple? Traveling power users can not survive on Air alone.

Cobbling Together an Almost Good-as-New MacBook

MacNewsWorld's Chris Maxcer says that when you've had your Mac long enough, it's only natural to start thinking about more speed and more memory. So, do you dig deep to buy a new Mac, or spend much less to upgrade a few select parts? An experienced user shouldn't have too much trouble with a home upgrade. Just have the right screwdrivers handy, and don't forget to back everything up.

One question that Chros says often plagues him is whether it's worth upgrading an existing Apple notebook with more RAM and a new hard drive - or whether it's a better option to simply buy a whole new one altogether.

He's in the habit of buying a new PowerBook, iBook, or MacBook usually around the 16-month point, but thinks the new MacBook Pro models are fantastic but don't seem quite worth the cost just yet.

OTOH, he's got a black 2.4 GHz MacBook that he likes, even with its lackluster Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics, and he decided to go the upgrade route.

MacBook Pro Battery Case Ruptures, Apple Refuses Replacement

MacNN reports that reader Robert-Anthony Bunoan has expressed frustration with Apple after the battery in his 17" MacBook Pro reportedly swelled to the point of rupturing the case. The notebook was approximately two years old, with a removable battery instead of the integrated lithium-polymer design featured in the latest aluminum-unibody models.

Bunoan claims he ran a Disk Utility scan as a potential remedy for a trackpad problem. Several hours after the scan was finished, the MacBook housing was still hot and the device appeared to be lifted in the front.

Dead MacBook Pro Display Saga Concludes with Happy Ending

LogicalVue's Paul Lefebvre finally has his repaired

"MacBook Pro back with a new Logic Board And Battery, and the the latch that had been giving him problems since he replaced the hard drive fixed as well - all for free even though his 'Book is off-warranty thanks to Apple's extended service program for MacBook Pros afflicted with the dreaded Nvidia chip defect.

"What more could you ask?"

Newton Designer Returns to Apple

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"One of the men directly responsible for Apple's ill-fated Newton Message Pad has been rehired by Apple.

"According to a blog post from The New York Times, Michael Tchao has rejoined the Cupertinians as VP of product marketing, reporting directly to the SVP for worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller."

Wireless Charging to Go Mainstream in 2010

Computerworld's Eric Lai reports:

"The company behind the new Dell Latitude Z laptop's wireless power charger predicts that its technology will go mainstream next year, with cell phones, MP3 players and Bluetooth headsets featuring the technology at the coming Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

"Inductive charging, which creates a small-area electro-magnetic field around devices to recharge their batteries, will be slower to emerge on other computers besides Dell Inc.'s new ultra-thin, ultra-premium business notebook, said Bret Lewis, director of Fulton Innovation LLC in Ada, Mich. He confirmed that the company is talking to a number of other PC manufacturers."

Editor's note: Let's hope Apple gets on board. This would be great for charging iPods, iPhones, and MacBooks. dk

How to Check Your Mac, iPod, or iPhone's Warranty Status

FairerPlatform.com says:

"So, you own one of Apple's trend setting computers, media players or handsets, and you don't remember exactly when you bought it. Did you get the extended warranty? The receipt is somewhere and you re worried that your baby is about to go off warranty. Here's what to do...."

Tech Trends

3 17" Laptops Provide Big Screens for Low Prices

Computerworld's Brian Nadel checks out three bargain basement 17" laptops (at least compared with Apple's $2,499 17" MacBook Pro): the Acer Aspire 7738, Dell's Inspiron 1750, and Toshiba's Satellite L555, all selling for $829 or less, noting that in the past, widescreen 17" notebooks sat near the top of the digital food chain, with high price tags, but now many are surprisingly affordable and are challenging budget machines on features and value.

Editor's note: All three of these PC notebooks have 17.3" displays with 1600 x 900 resolution, significantly less than the 1680 x 1050 resolution of the 17" MacBook Pro. This is, in fact, only a bit more screen space than the 15.4" MacBook Pro provides (1440 x 900). They also run 2.0 and 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo CPUs, a far cry from the 2.8 GHz CPU in the 17" MacBook Pro - or even the 2.53 GHz CPU found in the entry-level 15.4" MacBook Pro. Finally, battery life ranges from 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes, a far cry from the 7 hours that MacBook Pro users are used to. You get what you pay for. dk

Products & Services

NewerTech FireWire 800-400 Adapter: Plug & Play FireWire 400 Devices with Latest Macs

FireWire 800-400 AdapterPR: Newer Technology, Inc. (NewerTech) announced the NewerTech FireWire 800-400 Adapter to provide simple, Plug and Play connection of FireWire 400 devices to the latest Mac Pro, MacBook Pro 17", Mac mini, iMac, and other computers with FireWire 800 only support.

The NewerTech FireWire 800-400 Adapter solves the dilemma of how to use existing FireWire 400 devices with the latest Macs as well as eliminates the hassle of determining which cable type and length to buy. The NewerTech Adapter plugs into a computer's FireWire 800 port via a 9-pin male (FW800) connector. The other end of the Adapter features a 6-pin female FireWire 400 connector for use with any standard 6-pin male FireWire 400 cable to provide a fast data connection for FireWire 400 devices like printers, memory card readers, digital cameras, and iPods.

Features:

  • FireWire 800-400 AdapterProvides a simple way to connect FireWire 400 devices to the latest Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, iMac and all other computers with a FireWire 800 port
  • 9-pin male (FW800) to 6-pin female (FW400) connector adapter works with standard 6-pin male FW400 cables
  • IEEE 1394 compliant
  • 1 year warranty Register

The NewerTech FireWire 800-400 Adapter is available immediately for $12.99 MSRP from NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing (OWC ), as well as through the retail channel.

Lapworks Announces New Widescreen Notebook Stand

Widescreen Notebook StandPR: Lapworks announces the newest product in its lap desk and desk stand lineup, which already touts the popular Gamer's Desk and Wizard Desk Stand: The Widescreen Notebook Stand.

Widescreen Notebook StandDesigned specifically for widescreen media center notebooks, the Widescreen Notebook Stand leads the field in support and stability for the widest of notebooks. The desk is 15-3/8" long by 12" wide - the widest notebook stand currently available. The Widescreen Notebook Stand is optimized for maximum cooling with both a 1/8" thick, heat-absorbing Aluminum surface with twin cooling fans that circulate air to prevent overheating.

Widescreen Notebook StandThe Widescreen Notebook Stand's tilting base effortlessly adjusts allowing users to incline the stand into dozens of angles for maximum viewing comfort. The base tilts freely, with no releases or locking tabs necessary to hold position, making the Widescreen one of the least complicated and easiest to use desk stands on the market today.

Because Lapworks knows that connectivity is vital to laptop users, the new notebook stand also incorporates a 4-port USB 2.0 hub to connect cameras, mobile devices and more. Additional ports include a mini-USB for direct connection to the notebook, an a/c adapter port and a on-off power switch for the dual fans.

Look for the Lapworks Widescreen Notebook Stand exclusively on the LapWorks website.

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

Factory refurbished units with Apple's full one-year warranty.

  • 1.6 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/120 HD, $1,099
  • 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/80 HD, $1,099
  • 1.8 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/64 GB SSD, $1,199
  • 1.86 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/128 GB SSD, $1,249
  • 1.86 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/120 GB HD, $1,349
  • 2.13 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/120 GB HD, $1,549
  • 2.13 GHz MacBook White, 2 GB/160/SD, $849
  • 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 2 GB/160 GB HD/SD, $899
  • 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $899
  • 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/250/SD, $999
  • 2.4 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/128 GB SSD/SD, $1,299
  • 13" 2.26 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $999
  • 13" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/250/SD, $1,299
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,449
  • 15" 2.53 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/128 SSD/SD, $1,599
  • 15" 2.66 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,599
  • 15" 2.93 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,949
  • 17" 2.66 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, $1,949
  • 17" 2.66 GHz Unibody MacBook Pro, 4 GB/320/SD, antiglare, $1,999

MacMall

  • 1.86 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/120, $1,394
  • 2.13 GHz MacBook Air, 2 GB/128 SSD, $1,694 after rebate
  • 2.13 GHz Core 2 MacBook White, 2 GB/16/SD, $929 after rebate
  • 13" 2.26 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $1,114.00 after rebate
  • 15" 2.53 GHz June 09 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/250/SD, $1,594 after rebate
  • 17" 2.8 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB/500/SD, $2,294 after rebate

Mac Connection

  • 2.0 GHz Unibody MacBook, 2 GB/160/SD, $899.99 after rebate

TechRestore

  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $619.99
  • 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $719.99
  • 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/SD, $729.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $779.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $799.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/200/SD, $899.99
  • 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $949.99
  • 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, APX, $1,269
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,399

Beta Macs - G3 PowerBooks - G4 iBooks

  • Lombard PowerBook G3/400, 256/6/DVD, OS 9, $179
  • Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 512/10/no optical drive?, AP, $299
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 768/40/Combo, AP, OS X 10.6, $299

Wegener Media - Clamshell iBooks - MacBook - 15" MacBook Pro - 17" MacBook Pro

  • Clamshell iBook G3/300, 96/6/CD, blueberry or tangerine, $179.99
  • 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $499.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $549.99
  • 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white Core2 Duo, 1 GB/80/SD, $599.99
  • 15" 1.83 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $599.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/100/SD, $639.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 512/80/SD, $629.99
  • 15" 2.0 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/80/SD, $634.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/100/SD, $669.99
  • 15" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $694.99
  • 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $849.99
  • 15" 2.2 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/120/SD, $939.99
  • 17" 2.4 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 4 GB/160/SD, $1,169

ExperCom

  • 1.83 GHz MacBook, white, 2 GB/80/Combo, $549
  • 2.0 GHz MacBook White, 2 GB/100/SD, $599
  • 2.16 GHz MacBook White, 1 GB/100/SD, $649
  • 15" 1.83 GHz MacBook Pro, 2 GB/80/SD, $849

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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