Having decided to build a hackintosh HTPC in part 1, the next step is picking hardware. This would normally include a display and this project is no different. The display this time though is an LCD television instead of the usual LCD monitor.
I had a short list of potential TV’s and the top was occupied by a couple of Sony models, the 40V4000 and 40W4000. The decision on which to go for would depend on what deals were available as the spec is similar, with the 40W4000 being a 10 bit panel (instead of 8 bit) and adding some multimedia features. Next on the list were Samsung’s 6 series models. A local retailer had an older Samsung 46″ 5 series and a Sony 40L4000 (a cut down 40V4000) hooked up to a Vista PC through a KVM switch, running at something like 1366×768 resolution. I increased the resolution to 1920×1080 and to my surprise the Sony showed an unsupported display mode message while the Samsung looked fantastic. Read more…
Intel has a new processor family on the horizon, and it’s looking like a big performance jump over the current Core 2 range. Integrating new features such as an integrated memory controller, monolithic design and turbo mode. There are many articles already published on the performance of the new silicon, so here is a brief list of where to find the details.
Engadget has a summary of articles
Bit-tech have a very in depth benchmarking review
The general opinion seems to be that the i7 offers a big step up in multi-threaded performance and an improvement for single threaded apps. Looks like AMD is going to have to try even garder to keep up.
Is Apple’s new MacBook Pro a gaming machine?
If the hardware is available will the games come? Unfortunately the Mac will not be considered a serious gaming platform until games are simultaneously released with the Windows version.
A closer look at Apple’s move to NVIDIA chipsets, DisplayPort
Design choices in the latest laptops indicate Apple’s future direction.
Apple’s U.S. Market Share Approaches 10%
The economy may be screwed but Apple continues to defy the global slowdown.
Intel Update: MacBook Airs Get Penryn, MacBooks and Pros Get Montevina Benefits
MacRumors looks at the processors inside Apple’s new range of laptops. Now that Nvidia chipsets are used will this mean a wider range of compatible motherboards for hackintosh builders?
Just when the GPU war looks like continuing indefinitely as a two horse race, Intel comes along to stir up the market. It’s Larrabee processor is due in 2009/10, and if initial speculation is anything to go by this could change the way GPU’s are used. There’s already been much talk about the use of the parallel processing power of current GPU’s for non-graphical tasks. Physics simulation is an emerging role, and Apple’s next OS, Snow Leopard, will include the ability to easily harness all that GPU power for programmers.
Larrabee is different to GPU’s currently available due to its use of multiple Pentium cores. They’re much improved over the original pentium cores, running a lot faster and incorporating newer technologies. The difference between Larrabee cores and a CPU like the Core 2 Duo is complexity. Larrabee is a simpler design that occupies a much smaller space, making a large number of cores in as small package possible.
Just how much the Larrabee chip can do is still a little fuzzy, and some sites are suggesting it will run applications as well as perform GPU and large number crunching duties. Does this mean current systems using a Core 2 Duo/Quad and Graphics card will be replaced by a Larrabee processor? From Dailytech.com,
Larry Seiler from Intel says, “What the graphics and general data parallel application market needs is an architecture that provides the full programming abilities of a CPU, the full capabilities of a CPU together with the parallelism that is inherent in graphics processors. Larrabee provides [that] and it’s a practical solution to the limitations of current graphics processors.”
If Larrabee performs as well as suggested this could be the biggest shake-up in system architecture for a long time. Convincing users that putting all your processing into one package is a good idea would be another matter.
Read more at
The rumour mill is once again moving into top gear with speculation on what Apple will release by the end of September. It all started with the suggestion at the recent Q3 financial results announcement that profits for the next quarter would be down due to a ‘future product transition’. Here’s some of the speculation that’s surfaced so far:
- The product transition will cover the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and Macbook, possibly the Macbook Pro.
- The Macbook will be a new design, slimmer and more rounded than the current model.
- The Macbook case will be aluminium.
- The Macbook will be a multi-touch model, most likely a multi-touch mouse pad rather than a multi-touch screen.
- The mouse pad may be glass.
- The new laptops will move away from an Intel motherboard chipset, with Apple returning to using its own design or one from a third party. Processors will still be Intel, and the move is believed to me aimed at producing a more power efficient design to improve battery life.
- The iPod Nano will take on a taller appearance with a screen of the same aspect ration as the iPod Touch. This will improve video viewing.
My guess is that the Macbooks will have an Aluminium case, multi-touch mouse pad and be priced lower than the current models to grab a bigger market share. The Macbook Pro’s will have to drop in price or look overpriced, and the two product ranges may even be rolled into one. If both use aluminium cases the differences between them get even smaller.
I also expect the iPod Touch to get a capacity boost and price drop, and wouldn’t be surprised if a smaller version of the Touch replaced the iPod Nano.
Firefox has been updated to 3.0.1, a security and bugfix release. I’ve been using the Minefield optimised Intel build from beatnikpad which unfortunately doesn’t see any updates. The Intel and G5 versions of firefox 3.0.1 can be downloaded from here. Worth a download as it’s worked perfectly for me since I first started using the optimised builds, and as I have said before a bit more speed and less size is always good when it comes to software.
The world record attempt may have got off to a bit of a shaky start but it certainly went on to hot some impressive numbers. SpreadFirefox.com is reporting over 8 milion downloads in the first 24 hours of availability. The attempt at setting a world record is currently under review and a decision should be made in the next few days.
Firefox 3 is looking good so far and it’s now on all my computers. The only real limitation of installing the software was if Foxmarks was compatible, and it worked without issue. I no longer need session manager to save my open tabs at shutdown since Firefox does this itself. So is session manager redundant? That will have to wait until Firefox’s session restoring abilities have been proven.
In the past my browser of choice was Bon Echo, an Intel optimised build of firefox available from Beatnikpad.com. Once again thanks to the work of Mr Neil Bruce Lee we have Firefox 3 builds optimised for Intel and PPC G5, with G4 promised soon. I’m testing the Intel build at the moment, as there’s nothing wrong with a smaller footprint and more speed. And for anyone wondering, the optimised build of firefox is called Minefield, I changed the name in the screenshot to Firefox 3 Intel to make it easier to group them all together.