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Hackintosh HTPC part 2

January 31, 2009 5 comments

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…

Macworld 09 Keynote predictions

January 5, 2009 Leave a comment

macworldexpo_logoAs I write there are less than 24 hours to the Macworld keynote, due to start at 9am in San Francisco (which should be 5pm in London). The usual speculation has been building for the past couple of months, so here is a round up of predictions and guesses along with a few of my own.

  • A Major Mac Mini update is pretty much certain, with every Mac news source predicting new models. Given the current financial slump it would come as no surprise if Apple shift focus to the cheaper end of the market. TUAW have some details of SATA optical drives (or second hard drives) and a new time capsule style case,  and Appleinsider is claiming dual display ports and Firewire 800. An Nvidia chipset is also expected, as is support for 4Gb of ram. That’s starting to sound like a great home/small business server, so I’m predicting some new software to allow easy configuration either now or in Snow Leopard.
  • The 17 inch Macbook Pro update was promised soon when the rest of the range went to the Unibody case, so this will likely be unveiled. 9to5mac claims the new model will feature a non-removable high capacity battery, and AppleInsider has confirmed this. That’s bound to cause a stir, given the fuss over the fixed battery in the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • iWork is rumoured to making the move online, possibly to become part of MobileMe’s online services. I don’t think the local versions will be abandoned, as internet access may be getting faster but it still slows down during peak hours and occasionally falls over.
  • iMovie is also predicted to move to an online app, offering video editing to those not using Macs. The biggest problem with this is the time taken to upload the raw footage for editing, and we ar all being pushed to go HD. My Canon HF100 needs a huge amount of space to store it’s AVCHD movies in Apple’s intermediate format, and who wants to wait a few hours before you can start editing? I would expect a new desktop version of iMovie with greater online integration and possibly an online version for Standard definition video. Maybe a new iPhone video recording app to tie in with this?
  • Macbook mini. Netbook. Applebook. Whatever it ends up being called, the netbook market is one of the few areas of IT growth at the moment, so Apple is likely to release a sub-compact portable at some time this year. TechRadar is predicting a 7-9 inch iPod Touch/iPhone style tablet for later this year and I suspect they are spot on. A nine inch Mac tablet with virtual keyboard running Snow Leopard from 64Gb of flash memory or a 1.8 inch hard drive sounds like an Apple product that would fly off the shelves. Apple would wait for dual core atom processors for better performance, and build in a 3G modem for mobile net access.
  • The iPhone mini is one product I can’t see being announced yet, due to the effect this could have on iPhone 3G sales. Much more likely to be saved for the WWDC if it arrives at all. I’m thinking this is a non- starter, Apple don’t make budget products, and why hamper the iPhone experience with a smaller screen?

That’s my predictions done, come back in 24 hours to see how close they are. Or even better, leave your own predictions in the comments.

1 Day savings at the Apple store

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment

Apple has reduced the price of a range of products for a one day sale running now. There are no massive reductions but if you intended to buy one of the products on offer it may be worth taking the plunge.

Intel Core i7 roundup

November 5, 2008 Leave a comment

intel_core_i7Intel 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

Techradar have gone mad on the i7, with features on game performance, benchmarks, real world tests and even an ultimate guide to the i7

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.

Categories: computer Tags: , , ,

Few surprises at the Apple live event

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Rumours are nice but the downside is a lack of surprises when the products are finally revealed. Apple today unveiled a range of new Macbook, Air and Pro laptops with glass trackpads, Nvidia chipsets and LED backlights that are pretty much as expected. The previous Macbook is still available in a white only entry level version for £719, the full range comprises:

  • White 13 inch Macbook with 2.1GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB DDR2 Memory, 120GB hard drive and Intel GMA X3100 graphics for £719
  • Aluminium 13 inch Macbook with 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 Memory, 160GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £949
  • Aluminium 13 inch Macbook with 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 Memory, 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,149
  • Macbook Air with 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (1066MHz FSB), 2GB Memory, 120GB SATA hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,299
  • Macbook Air with 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor (1066MHz FSB), 2GB Memory, 128GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics for £1,299
  • 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB Memory, 250GB hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB for £1,399
  • 15 inch Macbook Pro with 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB Memory, 320GB hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB for £1,749

The previous 17 inch Macbook Pro is still available for £1,949. The other new product announced was a 24 inch cinema display using LED backlighting and providing a Magsafe charging cable for your Macbook.

New Apple Macbooks imminent

October 14, 2008 Leave a comment

As I type there’s around 30 minutes until the special event starts, and there’s not much left that hasn’t been rumoured to death. All Macbooks will have aluminium cases, Nvidia chipsets are a definite possibility and LED backlights are probably a good bet as well. Here’s the latest rumours to keep use going until the boring truth is revealed.

New MacBook Pro to feature removable battery and hard drive

More Apple Notebook Details: Clickable Glass Trackpad, GPUs, Pricing

MacBook pricing and part numbers?

Yet even more “leaked” MacBook pics and prices hit the ‘Net

Apple’s New $899 Product is an LED Display and Not a MacBook? [Update]

Could this be the new MacBook Pro?

iLife and iWork ’09 announcements on 10/14?

New Apple laptop roundup

October 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Now that the special event on 14th October is official, speculation, rumours and leaked fuzzy photo’s are rampant. It’s pretty obvious that the event will focus on the Macbook, Air and Pro so here is a roundup of news published so far.

Apple “notebook” event is on, October 14th!

Sources: latest MacBook Pro photo is the real deal

Notes of interest on recent Apple MacBook case leaks

13″ Aluminum MacBook Pictured on Invitation?

Rumors of sub-$900 Apple notebook trickle in before event

NVIDIA platform claimed likely for new MacBook line

New MacBooks to be based on NVIDIA GeForce 9400 / 9300 chipsets?

Cheaper Macbooks in aluminium cases with Nvidia graphics? Time to start hinting to Mrs Basshead that the old Macbook is getting a bit slow and cranky. Roll on 6pm (Uk time) Tuesday 14th October.

Categories: apple, computer Tags: , , , ,

Asus Eee PC S101 reviewed

October 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Looking like the gorgeous offspring of an Apple and Sony Tryst, the latest in Asus’ Eee PC range is the S101. Aimed at the top end of the growing netbook market this should be considered a netbook for those who find the current mini-laptop offerings a bit on the cheap looking side.

Hardware wise there isn’t anything unusual inside. A 1024×600 resolution 10.2 inch screen sits atop a 1.6Ghz Intel atom with 1Gb of Ram and a 16 or 32Gb SSD. As has become the norm, Linux or Windows XP are the choice of OS. Tempted? Have a read of the review at Mobilecomputermag before parting with your estimated £450.

New Macbook rumour roundup

October 5, 2008 Leave a comment

From previous rumours and financial statements if a pretty good bet that new Macbooks are due any time now, and the 14th October is once again being mentioned as a likely date. TUAW is also reporting that the new Macbooks will include an Nvidia chipset to boost the graphical abilities of the new models.

The most interesting rumour at the moment is over at 9to5mac, who are claiming the ‘brick’ previously mentioned isn’t a specific model but a new manufacturing process that Apple has been working on. The site believes Apple will take over manufacture of its laptops using the new process, which is a revolutionary way of creating the cases. Worth a read, as this one will likely be the bigest Apple innovation in a long time or a spectacular dud.

Psystar Sues Apple, claims anticompetitive practices

August 27, 2008 Leave a comment

In an unexpected move, Mac clone maker Psystar has counter sued Apple, accusing the company of restraint of trade and other violations of antitrust law. Apple had originally filed a formal complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on July 3rd. Now that Psystar has responded, Apple has 30 days to reply to the allegations.

Psystar are looking to challenge the EULA of Mac OSX, which states that the operating system can only be used on Apple hardware. It’s starting to sound like a David and Goliath battle, but if the comment on Engadget that ‘EULAs have traditionally been upheld in California and Florida’ is any indication Psystar has a tough battle ahead.

This is one case that could have a huge impact on the future of Mac OS, especially the right to run it on non-Apple hardware. The chance to buy a legal copy of OSX for a hackintosh would be a big improvement, even though it’s looking like a very slim possibility at the moment.

Read more at

AppleinsiderMacworldEngadgetTechradar