Mac News Review

Macintel a Triple Threat?, Intel Macs May Go Dual Core, Pentium 4 Goes 64-Bit, Pentium Upgrade for Cube, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.06.17

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

News & Opinion

Switching to Intel

Products and Services

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Linux Developers Defecting to Mac OS X?

macsimumnews.com's Dennis Sellers reports:

"Lots of Java developers are eyeing the Mac and Mac OS X very favorably. However, there's an even more potent and contentious schism brewing in the computing universe, Roger Voss, a developer who uses Java for middle-ware and C# .NET for rich client enterprise distributed software.

"'Lots of folks that have been fairly bullish for Linux are defecting to Mac OS X,' he told Macsimum News. 'We still see Linux as quite good as a server operating system, but we've become completely disillusioned with Linux as ever becoming a viable desktop OS worthy of standing toe-to-toe with Windows. There's simply no disputing that Mac OS X is clearly the superior graphical user interface (GUI) OS that has some Unix-inspired heritage underneath the hood. The Linux GUIs are not even in the same league....

"'Frankly the Linux zealots are stewing from a bad case of jealousy and envy,' Voss says. 'The fact that a proprietary GUI OS is so vastly superior to any open-software/free-software GUI attempts is a reality they can't cope with very gracefully.'"

Mac Users Get New Storage Options

Storage Pipeline reports:

"IT professionals who rely on Apple Macintosh for any of their storage, backup or recovery got a few new options this week to improve speed and management.

"Maxtor Corp.'s newly unveiled OneTouch II drive has a FireWire 800 interface that delivers up to 800 megabits per second of data transfer. Users can can connect the drive to their systems using the FireWire 800, FireWire 400 or USB 2.0 interface to quickly transfer and store high-resolution graphics, digital audio and video and dense multimedia files."

Switching to Intel

Macintel Desktops a Triple Threat?

eWeek's John G. Spooner says:

"Apple won't stand in the way of people who want to run Windows on its forthcoming Intel-processor Macs. But whether or not users will be able to run Windows directly on the machines is still a mystery.

"While Apple developers initially looked upon Apple's choice to move to Intel processors with mixed feelings, the ability of the new Macs to also run Windows&emdash;a practice long since adopted by some Mac users who run virtualization software such as Microsoft Virtual PC&emdash;may be the fulcrum for the company to gain some new customers, ranging from computer enthusiasts to businesses.

"So far Apple hasn't discouraged the idea of running Windows on its forthcoming Intel gear. Meanwhile, Microsoft, sources familiar with the company's plans said, is considering how and whether to support Windows on the forthcoming Apple hardware as well....

"That raises the possibility of companies or individuals creating dual-boot Mac OS/Windows machines in the future. However, many of the details of what it will take to allow Windows to operate directly on "Mactel" hardware, including Apple's specific choices of Intel hardware and its software driver model, are still shrouded in secrecy."

First Intel Macs Likely to House Dual-Core Chip

Tom's Hardware's Wolfgang Gruener says:

"The decision to abandon the PowerPC architecture as the heart of Mac hardware does not sit well with many Apple users, even if Jobs delivered a somewhat convincing performance to justify the switch. According to Jobs, Apple intends to get the 'best' computers to their customers and IBM apparently was not able to offer the right mix out of speed and power consumption in its processor roadmap. While it has not been specified by Apple, which Intel chips will be used for the new 'Mactels', sources told Tom's Hardware Guide that it is most likely that the company will jump on the next generation Pentium M processor - the Yonah chip.

"Yonah is currently heavily promoted by Intel - for example during its recent Mobility Day or the Mobile and Wireless World Conference - as the company's first 65nm dual-core chip. The processor is planned to enter production in Q4 of this year and will become commercially available in Q1 of 2006. According to Intel, Yonah will bring significantly more performance, especially in multimedia and multitasking environments, and keep power consumption at the level of today's Pentium M processor. Clock speeds have not been revealed, however, demonstrated Yonah notebooks currently integrate a 2.0 GHz chip.

"The fact that Yonah is aiming primarily at notebooks will not keep Apple from using the chip across its product line, at least until the release of 'Conroe', a desktop processor that is expected to cut down power consumption from the current Pentium 4/Pentium D generation...."

Intel Shifts Pentium 4 to 64 Bits

ExtremeTech reports:

"Intel shifted the majority of its Pentium 4 processors to 64-bit capability over the weekend.

"Intel quietly introduced the Intel 5x1 series, which shifts the existing 775-pin, 32-bit Pentium 4 line - known as the 5xx series - to 64-bit memory addressing."

BuildYourOwnMac.com Launched

PR: "Now that Apple has announced that they are moving to Intel, it looks like we may finally have the possibility to do something we have only dreamed about up until now: putting together our own Macintosh computers, free from the constraints that Apple puts on their customers, while still be able to support the Mac platform and enjoy its unique benefits....

"The purpose of this web site is to be a central location for sharing information about putting together your own x86-based Macintosh. This includes both building a machine from the ground up (our preferred method), or buying an existing PC and installing Mac OS X on it."

Products and Services

Intel Pentium Upgrade for G4 Cube

theinquirer.net's Paul Hales reports:

"A KOREAN FIRM U-Power was reported to be offering an alternative upgrade path for Power Macintosh G4 Cube users. Instead of the usual G4 PowerPC Chip why not join with Jobs and share his penchant for all things Intel by slipping a Pentium M in your shiny Cube.

"The U-Power upgrade features 1.5 or 1.8 GHz versions of Intel's Pentium-M and is not designed for folk wanting to run Mac software. Instead, a spokesman told website Danaquarium, the product is aimed at PC users who may be wooed by the stylish G4 Cube and thus consumed with a desire to dump their beige PC box."

danaquarium.com reports:

"U-Power - a boutique PC manufacturer from Korea - is set to release an accelerator designed for the Power Macintosh G4 Cube. Unlike previous upgrades the PCube doesn't contain a G4 - or indeed any other PowerPC Chip - but brings Pentium-M power to Apple's venerable Cube.

"U-Power's US spokesman Rudy Keppelmeyer explains that the PCube upgrade is designed not for conventional Mac users, instead aims for those PC users who admire the G4 Cube's design but don't want to run PowerPC software such as Mac OS, Mac OS X or Linux....

"Both upgrades will be available early next month, priced at $US399 and $US449 respectively. A 2.13 GHz version is planned by late Summer."

OWC Announces Line of Aluminum FireWire/USB Solutions

PR: Other World Computing (OWC) has announced another addition to its popular line of Mercury Elite external storage solutions - the Elite-AL Pro series.

These new drives, in capacities of 80- to 800 GB and priced from $129.99, use the same Oxford-based bridge solutions as the existing Mercury Elite line, except in a new modern, all-aluminum case.

"You get a hot new look but with the same cool performance and reliability you've come to expect from our Elites; it doesn't get any better than that," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "We've seen a lot of requests for a design that matches up to Apple's aluminum style and our new Elite-AL Pro is our answer to that."

Four versions of the drives are immediately available:

  • Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 400 + USB2 Combo Solutions in capacities of 80- to 400GB with prices starting at $129.99
  • Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 800/400 Solutions in capacities of 80- to 400GB with prices starting at $149.99
  • Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 800/400 + USB2 Combo Solutions in capacities of 80- to 400GB with prices starting at $159.99
  • Mercury Elite-AL Pro FireWire 800/400 RAID Solutions in capacities of 160- to 800GB with prices starting at $249.99

"These drives are sleek, fast and totally plug-and-play," O'Connor said. "They are perfect for the most demanding audio/video work, music creation, data storage and more. These drives have also received Dantz/EMC Retrospect Backup Certification for our customers' full confidence when it comes to the safety of their stored data."

All Elite-AL Pro models are covered by a two-year warranty and include Dantz/EMC Retrospect Backup, Intech Hard Disk SpeedTools and all connecting cables. The drives also are compatible with Apple OS X 10.1 and later (including 'Tiger'), Windows 98SE and later, in addition to Linux. Apple OS X 10.2.8 or later or Windows 2000 or later are required for FireWire 800 performance.

Red Hat's Newest Fedora Supports Macs

CNET News.com's Stephen Shankland reports:

"Red Hat has released Fedora Core 4, a free version of Linux the company is using to advance virtualization, programming tools and other software at the frontier of open-source development....

"....the new Fedora works on machines with Power processors, such as the PowerPC G4 in Apple Computer's Mac Mini. In years ahead, those systems could become harder to find as Apple moves to Intel processors, though many IBM servers use chips in the Power family. Fedora Core 4 also runs on 32-bit and 64-bit chips, such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Athlon 64."

ConvertX PVR for Mac Enhanced with DivX Capture

PR: Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, has announced the availability of real-time hardware-based DivX video encoding on the ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for the Macintosh with Elgato's EyeTV 1.8.1 software.

Previously available to ConvertX PVR PC users only, hardware-based DivX video encoding is now available to Macintosh users using EyeTV 1.7.2 software. EyeTV 1.8.1 is a free comprehensive update for current ConvertX PVR for the Mac owners, and is available for download from Elgato. ConvertX PVR for the Macintosh hardware has always supported DivX capture, and now the EyeTV software upgrade makes this feature accessible to Macintosh users.

"Plextor's ConvertX PVR was the first high quality, low cost USB 2.0 solution for the Mac market when it was introduced in November of 2004," said Dirk Peters, director of marketing, Plextor. "Now we have made the product even more feature-rich by adding real-time DivX capture support through the award winning EyeTV Software package from Elgato."

"DivX video technology on the ConvertX PVR opens up new opportunities for Macintosh users by letting them record even more TV shows and movies on their Macs using DivX's high quality and low file size compression technology," said Bill Holmes, Vice President of Consumer Electronics at DivX, Inc. "Not only can users store more on their hard disk, but they can also fit more video on a CD or DVD and play back their videos on small handheld devices such as personal digital assistants, personal video players, or mobile phones."

Patent-pending DivX video technology offers DVD-quality at three times greater compression than MPEG-2 files, enabling full length films to easily fit on a CD or be delivered over broadband connections. With the Plextor ConvertX PVR and Elgato EyeTV software, users can also edit DivX files and timeshift in the DivX format. In 2004, DivXNetworks certified ConvertX PVRs. Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous quality and compatibility testing program to ensure interoperability, security, and visual quality. In addition to DivX technology, the ConvertX PVR for the Macintosh also supports hardware-based MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 video capture and compression.

System requirements:

Mac OS X Compatible Mac CPU; Mac OS X 10.1.5 or above operating system; 20 MB free space for software installation; QuickTime 6; USB connection. Roxio Toast 6 Titanium is recommended for CD or DVD creation.

Plextor's ConvertX Personal Video Recorder for Mac is shipping immediately with Elgato EyeTV 1.8.1 software. ConvertX PVR for Mac has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $229.00 USD. EyeTV 1.8.1 is a free update for current ConvertX PVR for the Mac owners, and is available for download from http://www.Elgato.com. Windows Compatibility Software CD is $49 and can be ordered from Plextor by calling 510-440-2000.

ThermographX CPU Temperature Monitoring Utility

PR: ThermographX monitors the internal temperature of your PowerBook or modern Macintosh, utilizing the thermal sensors built into the computer. It provides real-time measurementas as well as historical graphs for plotting long-term temperature trends. ThermographX also can display a customizable dock icon for easy monitoring of your system performance. ThermographX also incorporates user-submitted measurements, so you can compare your system's measurements against those of other users.

ThermographX:

  • Records maximum and minimum temperatures.
  • Shows temperature records over time, using a zoomable display so you can analyze short-term or long-term.
  • Shows individual sensor temperatures on models that have them.
  • Graphs customer-submitted temperature results for comparison with your own system.

ThermographX is compatible with many recent Macintosh models.  It is known to provide accurate sensor readings on these models:

  • 12" & 17" PowerBook G4.
  • "Aluminum" 15" PowerBook G4.
  • "Mirror Door" G4 (see note #2 below).
  • Power Macintosh G5.
  • iBook G4.
  • G4 Cube (see note #2 below).
  • iMac G4 & G5.

Note #1 : Motorola's MPC7450CE/D Rev 5 errata indicates "The thermal assist unit (TAU) is no longer supported on the MPC7450, MPC7451, or MPC7441.". Because of this, you will not be able to measure the junction temperature on any system with these processors. At current, this includes the "Gigabit" PowerBook G4 and the "2001 Quicksilver" G4's.

Note #2 : Mac OS X 10.3.5 eliminates compatibility with some older Mac's, like the G4 Cube.

New in this version:

  • Added measurements for 2GHz iMac G5.
  • Updated with latest user-submitted temperature measurements.

System requirements:

Mac OS X 10.2.4 or higher (Panther compatible); requires a Macintosh with compatible thermal sensors (so far, these have been found on the iBook G4, Aluminum 12", 15" and 17" PowerBooks, the "mirror-door" G4 and the G5, and some G3 PowerBooks and G4 Cube models).

ThermographX is $7 shareware.

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers every two weeks:

For deals on laptops, see our Week's Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Week's Best iBook G4 Deals, and Week's Best iBook G3 Deals. For deals on iPods, see our Week's Best iPod Deals.

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