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Archive for the ‘graphics’ Category

Hack Mini ITX 10.7 Server

December 10, 2011 6 comments

In July 2009 I built a small Intel Atom based file server that ran Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. It served as a NAS box and later ran 10.6 Snow Leopard with the Plex media server feeding my HTPC and a WDTV box through network shares. While there was enough processor power available for these simple tasks, new developments were beyond the limited power the Atom offers. The Plex Media Server can now stream and transcode to iOS clients, if your CPU is up to the task. Lion Server is available as a $50/£35 add-on for the Lion operating system, adding all the server functionality you could want. iTunes will act as a music server for all the computers in the house. With so many possibilities available, it was clearly time for an upgrade. Read more…

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Quicktime and the stuttering mouse

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment

A few weeks ago I noticed a problem with mouse movement on the hackintosh, where the cursor would jump across the screen as if pausing for a fraction of a second. This only happened when quicktime was active, for example when using iTunes or the Quicktime player. An initial workaround was found at PCwizcomputer and while this worked by replacing a quicktime file it wasn’t a perfect solution.

Browsing for a better fix last week I found the weaksauce12 blog, also at PCwizcomputer. This highlights a problem with AppleUpstreamuserclient.kext. The explanation is that this kernel extention is for DRM use with the Macintosh versions of Nvidia 9400 and 9600 GPU’s. Although I have a 9800GT this appeared to be causing the problem as removing this kext did the trick. Combining this fix with iTunes 8.1 has made music a much better experience on the hackintosh.

Hackintosh HTPC part 3

February 5, 2009 7 comments

In part 2 I detailed the motherboard, processor and ram picked for the HTPC. The plan was to initially use the spare Nvidia 7300GT card and replace this dependant on space available in the final case. I had a spare Tagan 480w PSU and a midi tower case as a temporary home, and the 500Gb hard drive from the hackintosh (replaced with a new 1Tb).

The build was straightforward so I won’t dwell on that. The first choice was how to install Leopard. The 500Gb hard drive had the hackintosh install on it so I chose to boot this first and see what happened. It wasn’t much of a surprise when this started up fine as it had previously been working on an intel chipset motherboard. The only thing that didn’t work was audio, so the next choice was do I keep the install and remove unnecessary software/files or do a fresh install? Read more…

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…

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.

Intel’s Larrabee and the future of GPU’s

August 4, 2008 Leave a comment

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

EngadgetMacworldMacrumorsDailytechWikipedia

A full introduction to Larrabee at TrustedReviews.com