Mac News Review

8-core Mac Pro, Best Tech Products of All Time, Multisession Disc Burning Reinvented, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.04.05

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

It's been widely anticipated, and this week Apple released an 8-core Mac Pro using a pair of Intel quad-core "Clovertown" CPUs. We cover this new build-to-order option below and looked at its value in The 8-core Mac Pro Value Equation yesterday.

For those who want to make the most of their recordable CDs and DVDs, BurnAgain DVD looks like a clever rethinking of the entire process. Shareware.

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

iPod Accessories

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Releases 8-Core Mac Pro

In one of its somewhat puzzling "stealth" product releases, Apple quietly added an 8-core Xeon processor option to the Mac Pro.

Instead of the standard two multicore "Woodcrest" Intel Xeon processors running at 2.0 GHz, 2.66 GHz, or 3.0 GHz, Mac Pro purchasers can now go with two 3.0 GHz quad-core "Clovertown" processors - the fastest quad-core Intel Xeon available - for unprecedented 8-core power.

You can also install up to four 750 GB hard drives in four independent, 3 Gbps Serial ATA drive bays using a cable-free, direct-attach system.

Every Mac Pro graphics card supports dual displays and at least one 30" display. For added performance, you can choose upgraded, workstation-class graphics cards that can also power two 30" Apple Cinema HD Displays.

Install additional PCI Express cards into the three full-length PCI Express expansion slots, which feature a tool-less bracket for easy installation and removal of cards.

Add up to 16 GB of 667 MHz DDR2 ECC fully buffered memory - a memory architecture that's up to 256 bits wide and allows for greater memory capacity, faster speeds, and better reliability.

Mac Pro Configuration Options

  • Two 3.0 GHz quad-core processors or two dual-core processors up to 3.0 GHz
  • Memory up to 16 GB
  • Upgraded graphics cards
  • Hard drive storage up to 3 TB
  • Up to two SuperDrives
  • AirPort Extreme
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR

Apple Reduces Cinema Display Prices

Apple also dropped prices on its Cinema Display monitors

  • 20" Cinema Display was $699, now $599
  • 23" HD Cinema Display, was $999, now $899
  • 30" HD Cinema Display, was $1,999, now $1,799

Seven Apples in 50 Best Tech Products of All Time

PC World Christopher Null says:

"From breakthrough hardware to time-honored software, we salute those amazing products that changed technology - and our lives - forever."

2. Apple II (1977)
6. Apple iPod (2001)
14. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)
21. Apple iTunes 4 (2003)
30. Apple Mac OS X (2001)
34. Apple AirPort Base Station (1999)
41. Apple HyperCard (1987)

'Apple Has My Back'

ATPM's Mike Chamberlain says:

"Shh! Don't tell the PC people, but the truth is that sometimes our 'designed in Cupertino' but 'assembled in China' Macs have . . . how shall we put it? Problems. I had intended to say that thankfully these seem rather rare, but the truth is that depending on the model of Mac that you own, repair experience can be surprisingly high. A quick look at MacBook and MacBook Pro reliability statistics over at MacInTouch, for instance, reveals some surprisingly high percentages for laptop repairs. As you might imagine, user comments and experiences range from the sublime to the terminally aggravating. Will it not ever be so?

"I'm writing this month's column on my 'newly returned from AppleCare' MacBook Pro. I am, thankfully, one of the happy campers."

Why I Chose OS X over Linux

A processwrite.com blog says:

"I finally made a new computer purchase, the first time in almost seven years. Yes, even though I am a computing professional working in cutting edge grid computing, my personal boxes were from the days when Windows 2000 was new.

"I work on Linux for the grid, installed Linux desktops at home - this is being written on a 800 MHz desktop with a failing graphics card, in Firefox on Mepis, an Ubuntu variant. I have administered Solaris and Windows 2000, and run Windows XP Professional on my current old HP laptop.

"But after using an older Mac PowerBook G4 at the lab, I couldn't do anything but buy a Macintosh. They just work....

"I know, I know: Apple is the Fascist Party in OSes right now. They make unreasonable demands of their development community and often will pull stupid stunts. But things actually work."

Synchronize Your Mac's Clock with a Time Server

MacInstruct's Leonard says:

"It happens to the best of us: We purchase new Macs and everything is fine. But then, slowly and inevitably, our Macs' clocks start losing time - a minute here, a minute there, and before we know it our clocks are substantially slower than their accurate counterparts. How do you fix this? Synchronize your Mac's clock with a time server!

"Linking your Mac's clock to a time server will sync the time on your Mac with a server. If you are using Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, you're probably automatically synced to Apple's time server, which is time.apple.com. But you can also set up a time server so your clock will be set to your office's time, or maybe your college's time (many colleges have their own time servers). Time servers ensure that everyone has the right time, since your Mac will check the time server throughout the day.

"Here's how to synchronize your Mac...."

iPod Accessories

In-desk iPod Dock

In-desk Dock for iPodPR: The Belkin In-Desk Dock saves your valuable desk space with an easy install right into it, through a 3" circular hole. You can now seamlessly charge and play your iPod as you sync it to your computer. A stereo-output jack on the Dock lets you listen to your music through your stereo, powered speakers, or headphones.

Note: Requires a 3" opening in your desktop or other surface. If your desk does not have a pre-drilled hole in it, you can drill one yourself using a 3" hole saw (requires separate purchase, not from Belkin).

In-desk Dock for iPodPackage Includes:

  • In-Desk Dock for iPod
  • Mounting Ring
  • USB Device Cable
  • Quick Installation Guide

iPod and universal wells not included

Advantages

  • Charges and syncs your iPod as you listen
  • Includes a stereo-out jack
  • Mounts through a 3-inch circular hole

Color: Black

Lifetime Warranty

Belkin online price $39.99

Software

Multisession CD and DVD Burning Reinvented

PR: BurnAgain DVD will change the way you use burnable media - just add files to CD-R, CD-RW, and now also DVD+RW media several times (without creating multiple volumes and without erasing the disk).

With BurnAgain DVD you can add files to CD-R, CD-RW, and now also DVD+RW several times into the same volume (and without erasing it). If you burn items twice, BurnAgain will automatically compare them to the versions already burned and only new or changed files will be added, overwriting the previous versions if required. This makes BurnAgain a unique Mac-like burning tool and a great backup solution to recordable media.

Multisession Burning Reinvented

Using BurnAgain DVD you can also change the title of your disk at each burn. At any time you can decide to start over and hide the files of previous burns, making the disk look like you would have used an empty one. BurnAgain DVD can also be used to erase CD-RW or DVD+RW media. To simplify the use of BurnAgain DVD for backup purposes, each disk can optionally store its own source setup, and BurnAgain DVD loads this setup automatically when the disk is inserted.

Use Burnable Folders and Aliases

BurnAgain DVD is capable of resolving aliases and supports using Burnable Folders in Tiger.

Platform Independence That Just Works

BurnAgain DVD automatically preserves your special Mac file attributes (resource forks) and burns the disk in a platform independent format that can be used on Windows and Linux.

Ready for Intel-based Macs

BurnAgain DVD is a "universal binary" that runs natively on Intel based and PPC Macs.

BurnAgain DVD Features

  • add files to same volume
  • supports CD, CD-R, DVD+RW
  • change title at each burn
  • add only new or changed files
  • resolves aliases
  • supports burnable folders
  • hide previously burned files
  • preserves resource forks
  • platform independent format

New in version 1.1:

  • improved performance and usability
  • improved handling of aliases
  • German localisation
  • bug fixes and improvements

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.3 or later for CD-R/CD-RW, Mac OS X 10.4 or later for DVD+RW
  • CD-Writer (internal or FireWire)
  • DVD-Writer for DVD+RW burning

System support: PPC/Intel

$24.50 shareware

Upgrade from BurnAgain v2.x available for $9.50.

Make and Print Calendars with My Calendar

My CalendarPR: My Calendar is a calendar maker and printer. Full graphic controls. Include notes, graphics, banners. Full control of sizes, fonts, orientation, banners, notes, included images and more. Great for groups and individuals. Creates beautiful printed calendars with your customizing.

Now International Date format aware! Create calendars using many international date formats and names of months and weekdays.

It doesn't matter if your date convention is to display the month or day first, use a period instead of a slash to separate date elements, show or not show the century. My Calendar uses your International Settings control panel to display and edit your dates.

In additional to this great new feature is added network note sharing!. Now any computers running My Calendar on a LAN can use the same notes and be notified when anyone else changes a note.

Previous feature additions such as full background images keep My Calendar one of the few calendar programs for the Mac that can create and print beautiful calendars for your personal use, your church, school, university or other group.

My CalendarNew in version 12.5:

  • Starting with version 12.5 My Calendar can use and display many international date formats and display calendar months and weekdays in the language of your localized settings.
  • Added option to display dates in short, abbreviated or long versions.
  • Fixed repeating note bug when adding by frequency.
  • Added more calendars before and after current month on main calendar window scrolling month display.
  • Added more sizing abilities to the note and banner windows.
  • Fixed bug in updating notes in the Day View window.
  • Minor modifications to several window layouts.
  • Fixed bug in printing daily notes.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later.

System requirements: PPC

$40 shareware

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers monthly:

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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