Mac News Review

Apple II Greatest PC Ever, Core 2 in a Mac mini, iMac Core 2 Duo 'Ultimate Mac Value', and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.09.22

Introduced 29 years ago, the Apple II had it all over the competition: lots of expansion slots, color video output, and the first affordable floppy drive. More than any other model of the pre-IBM PC era, it paved the way for personal computers to move beyond the hobbyist stage and into the workplace.

PC World recognized this by calling the Apple II "the greatest PC of all time" - and Apple's Mac Plus fell just a few spots behind. Why the Plus instead of the original Macintosh? Because, like the Apple II, it was expandable.

Another site handing out kudos this week was Mac 360, which calls the iMac Core 2 Duo, especially the 24" version, "the ultimate Mac value". And for those on the low end of Macintel computing, there's now a tutorial on putting a Core 2 Duo processor in the Mac mini.

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


Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple II 'Greatest PC of All Time' (Mac Plus #4)

PC World has posted a list of its picks for greatest PC of all time, with a couple of pioneering Apple products ranking highly.

1. Apple II (1977)

The Apple II wasn't the first personal computer, or the most advanced one, or even the best-selling model of its age. But, in many ways, it was The Machine That Changed Everything. On all four of our criteria - innovation, impact, industrial design and intangibles - it was such a huge winner that it ended up as our Greatest PC of All Time....

4. Apple Macintosh Plus (1986)

In 1984, Apple released the original Macintosh, which, while heavily influenced by the Xerox Star, was a breakthrough personal computer. But, its 128 KB of memory was so skimpy that the machine was virtually unusable. The company really hit the ball out of the park in 1986 with the Macintosh Plus.

Jealous of the New iMacs? Upgrade that mini!

MacUser's Derik DeLong says:

"Those new Core 2 Duo processors look really great. What if you bought an original [Intel] Mac mini and think you deserve the benefit of the new CPUs? Well, you open her up and slap in the new one of course. .Mac user macaholicg5 has put up a photo set showing the steps."

24" iMac Core 2 Duo 'the Ultimate Mac Value'

Mac 360's Carol Mary Miller reports:

"What's the ultimate new Mac? A MacBook or Pro, a Mac Pro with 30-inch display, an iMac or a Mac mini? Here's the new Mac 360 Value King.

"...What's the best value in a new Intel Mac?

"Value carries a healthy list of definitions and a longer list of application in day-to-day use....

"Add it all up and the new Mac Value King would have to be affordable, but powerful. Attractive yet efficient in design....

"...the Mac 360 Value King is the new Core 2 Duo iMacs; specifically, we're dubbing the 24-inch iMac as the cat's pajamas."


Apple Firmware Restoration CD to Restore Firmware of Intel-based Mac

This update is used to restore the firmware of an Intel-based iMac (early & mid 2006), Mac mini (early 2006), MacBook Pro (early 2006), Mac Book (early 2006), or Mac Pro (mid 2006) to original factory condition.

It can only be used to restore the Firmware after an interrupted or failed update.

To restore your computer's firmware, first create a CD using the disk image named "FirmwareRestorationCD.dmg":

  1. Launch Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).
  2. Click on the Burn icon or select the "Burn..." menu from the Images menu.
  3. Navigate to where FirmwareRestorationCD.dmg is located and click the Burn button.
  4. Insert a blank recordable CD or DVD.
  5. Click the Burn button to create the Firmware Restoration CD.
      The files are burned to the disc.
      Using the Firmware Restoration CD, restore your Firmware back to factory condition:
  6. Insure that the machine you are trying to restore is plugged into an AC outlet.
  7. Power on the computer and hold down the power button until the LED blinks rapidly followed immediately by a successive series of blinks (3 quick blinks, 3 slow blinks, 3 quick blinks), then release the Power button.
  8. Insert the Firmware Restoration CD into the optical drive.
      After 30-60 seconds, the startup beep sound is played and a progress bar appears beneath the Apple logo on a gray screen.
      The progress bar indicates the firmware is being updated.
      DO NOT unplug, shut down, or restart the computer during the update or you will need to restart the restoration process beginning with step 6.
  9. The computer will restart automatically after the firmware is updated.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X
  • iMac (early & mid 2006)
  • Mac mini (early 2006)
  • MacBook Pro (early 2006)
  • MacBook (early 2006)
  • Mac Pro (mid 2006)

System Support: Intel

Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update Adjusts Fan Behavior

The SMC Firmware Update adjusts fan behavior in the Mac Pro. After this update has completed successfully, your SMC Version will be: 1.7f8. The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder and will launch automatically after restart. Please follow the instructions in the updater application to complete the process.

To update the SMC firmware on your Mac Pro your computer's power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source.

  • Quit all other open applications.
  • Click Restart in the Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update window and wait for your computer to restart.

The SMC firmware update starts automatically. A status bar indicates the progress of the update. During the update your computer fans will run at full speed, but will return to normal once the update completes. Important: Do not interrupt the update. Your computer restarts automatically when the update is completed and opens the Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X
  • Version 10.4.7
  • Mac Pro

System Support: Intel

Mac Pro (mid 2006) EFI Firmware Update 1.0

This EFI Firmware Update fixes several Boot Camp and start up issues on Mac Pro computers.

After this update has completed successfully, your Boot ROM Version will be: MP11.005C.B01

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X
  • Version 10.4.7
  • Mac Pro (mid 2006)

System Support: Intel


MaxSink Heatsink for Mac Pro Memory

PR: MaxUpgrades announces MaxSink, a heatsink designed to provide effective heat dissipation of fully buffered DIMM memory modules operating at high speed (533 or 667 MHz). MaxSink unique design allows heat generated from memory chips and Advance Memory Buffer on the Fully buffered Memory Modules to be effectively dissipated while keeping the temperature of the memory module under operating limits.

MaxSink Features:

  • Maximum Surface Area for Optimum Heat Dissipation.
  • Precision Machined Aluminum Heatsink.
  • Unique mounting for uniform pressure distribution.
  • Lowest Thermal resistance between DRAM Chips (FBGA) and Heatsink for optimized heat transfer with thermal conductive interface Pads
  • Designed for fluctuating Memory Module temperature variations. (Heat Load)
  • Step Heatsink design to incorporate thickness variation of AMB and FBGA (RAM Chips.
  • Heatsink Surface Treated to minimize Thermal Resistance between Heatsink surface and Ambient to maximize heat transfer.

MaxSink is available for $39.99

667 MHz DDR2 SODIMM for iMac Intel Core 2 Duo

PR: Trans International has announced the worldwide availability of 1 GB and 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) SODIMM for the newly released iMac Core 2 Duo (1.83 GHz, 2.0 GHz and 2.16 GHz).

More memory (RAM) increases overall performance and enables your computer to run more applications at the same time. iMac has two (2) memory upgrade slots. Main memory of the system (depending on the model) can be upgraded to 2 GB and 3 GB. is currently shipping the 2 GB Kit for $249.00 and 3 GB Kit for $ 789.00 memory modules conform to Apple's stringent electrical and mechanical design guide lines.

iPod Accessories

PodDress Iron On Cases for iPod nano

PR: PodDress is the first and only embroidered case for the iPod nano that can be attached easily and directly to any clothing or bags through iron on - or it can be used as a case on its own.

Attached to all textile structures it works like additional pockets on jackets and pants which is not just a nice accessory but also it's also functional for Sport.

Used as a case on it's own it's still a fashionable accessory - epecially the Swarovski Special Editon with elegant crystals.

Price: €29.95 (US$38.15)

ifrogz Offers More than 300,000 Ways to Customize iPods

PR: Millions of music lovers across the globe have embraced Apple Computer's popular iPod digital music player as a way to express their individuality through their unique and often eclectic song collections. Now ifrogz is giving them a new way to express themselves by the way they protect and display their iPods too. More than 300,000 new ways, to be exact.

ifrogz has innovated a patent-pending, three-piece silicone iPod case design that not only protects everyone?s favorite music player from the uncomplimentary dings and scratches incurred during everyday use, but also does so in an emotive way that will express the unique style and personality of its owner.

"iPod lovers come in every shade and color under the sun and with millions of tastes and preferences," said Scott Huskinson, president and CEO of ifrogz. "There's absolutely no reason why the look of their iPods shouldn't be as unique and customizable as their playlists. Most case makers give us only a few basic colors to choose from. ifrogz sees things differently."

Whereas many silicone iPod cases are flimsy, gummy and collect lint, ifrogz uses only 100 percent high-grade, polished silicone that has been specially treated to resist dust and dirt. This makes the case smooth and silky to the touch, in addition to being thick and durable.

ifrogz cases also differ from every other iPod case on the market by providing three distinct components for total protection - and complete color customization - of your iPod: Wrapz, Bandz, and Screenz.

Wrapz, the main case component of the ifrogz system, cover the entire player from top to bottom and expose only the screen (which is covered by a clear plastic protector), scroll wheel, headphone jack and other ports.

The thick, durable Bandz then stretch completely around the sides of the iPod, thus protecting exposed ports and adding a bonus element of style. Bandz feature only a single opening over the iPod?s headphone jack for optimum protection of the device?s connection ports.

Screenz, the final - and most customizable - element of the ifrogz system, are protective sheets of transparent plastic that lay over the player's Click Wheel. With more than 200 unique Screenz, used in tandem with the 38 colors of both Wrapz and Bandz to result in 300,000 possible combinations, it?s highly unlikely your ifrogz case could ever be mistaken for someone else's.

The excellent ifrogz Website is worth a visit just to check out the cool customization engine.

"ifrogz's focus on complete protection with complete customization puts us far ahead of every other maker of iPod cases," Huskinson said. "We're exceptionally proud of the design we've come up with, but the truth of the matter is that the real designer of each ifrogz case is the customer. We're committed to making sure no other case protects the iPod as well as an ifrogz case, and no other case maker?s customer is as satisfied as an ifrogz customer."


Apple Boot Camp 1.1.1 Beta

PR: More and more people are buying and loving Macs. To make this choice simply irresistible, Apple will include technology in the next major release of Mac OS X, Leopard, that lets you install and run the Windows XP operating system on your Mac. Called Boot Camp (for now), you can download a public beta today.

Boot Camp lets you install Windows XP without moving your Mac data, though you will need to bring your own copy to the table, as Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.(1) Boot Camp will burn a CD of all the required drivers for Windows so you don't have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them.

Once you've completed Boot Camp, simply hold down the option key at startup to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. (That's the "alt" key for you longtime Windows users.) After starting up, your Mac runs Windows completely natively. Simply restart to come back to Mac.

For your convenience, Boot Camp burns a CD with all the Mac-specific drivers for Windows:

  • Graphics
  • Networking
  • Audio
  • AirPort wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • The Eject key (on Apple keyboards)
  • Brightness control for built-in displays

This CD also installs a Startup Disk control panel for Windows. To find it, look for Startup Disk in the Performance and Maintenance section of the Windows XP Control Panel.

New in version 1.1.1:

  • Support for the latest Intel-based Macintosh computers
  • Easier partitioning using presets for popular sizes
  • Ability to install Windows XP on any internal disk
  • Support for built-in iSight cameras
  • Support for built-in microphones
  • Right-click when pressing the right-hand Apple key on Apple keyboards
  • Improved Apple keyboard support including Delete, PrintScreen, NumLock, and ScrollLock keys

Boot Camp Public Beta provides a straightforward means of letting your Mac run Windows. Here's how it works:

  • First, you need to make sure your Intel-based Mac has the latest version of Mac OS X and the latest firmware update. These provide technologies that make Boot Camp possible. It's also wise to print out the Installation & Setup Guide.
  • The Boot Camp burns a CD with the drivers Windows needs to recognize Mac-specific hardware. It is very important to do this before starting the Windows installation.
  • The software also helps you set aside hard drive space for the Windows installation, without moving any of your Mac files around. Just drag the intuitive slider to choose the size that's right for you. Boot Camp also helps you remove the Windows partition, should you so desire.
  • Next, insert your Windows installation disc, restart and follow the Windows installation process. The only tricky part is selecting the C: drive manually. Be sure to get this right, or you could erase your Mac files accidentally. Remember, Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.
  • After the installation process is complete and your Mac has booted Windows, you'll need the Macintosh Drivers CD you burned previously. When you insert the CD, it will automatically install the drivers. Follow the instructions in the Installation & Setup Guide for helpful hints.
  • Don't forget to follow best practices for updating and protecting your Windows system (see "Word to the wise" to right).

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later
  • Intel-based Mac
  • The latest firmware update for your Intel Mac
  • A genuine installation disc for Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, Home or Professional (no multi-disc, upgrade or Media Center versions)
  • A blank recordable CD

If you previously installed Boot Camp beta, you can easily update to Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta. You don't need to partition your hard drive again (unless you want to change its size) or reinstall your Macintosh and Windows software or documents, but it's very important to update the Boot Camp Assistant software, create a new Macintosh Drivers for Windows CD and install the updated software it contains on Windows XP. Complete instructions are provided in the Installation and Setup Guide included with the Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta software.

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