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Derek

Apple Refreshes MacBook Pros: Goes Sandy Bridge, Adds Thunderbolt, AMD Graphics


Well everybody, Apple today did it’s routine upgrade of the popular MacBook Pro range. So, what’s new, you might ask? A slew of typical minor upgrades to keep up with the time across two 13″, two 15″, and one 17″ model, by and large. So, instead, we’ll look at what’s notably different.

Probably biggest is the new Thunderbolt port.

Thunderbolt is a newly announced Intel thinger (convenient, right, this same day announcement stuff?) that promises to deliver high-speed data transfer and HD video output over one cable. So, for you Mac fans, it’s basically like your DisplayPort and Firewire port got hopped up on steroids and had an awesome baby.

Or, in Intel’s less colorful words:

Intel Corporation today announced the availability of Thunderbolt™ technology, a new high-speed PC connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple’s new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers.

It’s using PCI-E for the data side, and DisplayPort for the video side, if you’re curious, and it’ll support daisy-chaining as well as optical or electrical connections.

Also new is the inclusion of Sandy Bridge series processors, but, really, what was Apple going to do, upgrade their laptops and not use Intel’s newest line of consumer cores?

Lastly in the possibly big news department is a switch from NVIDIA to AMD chipsets for graphics, which the gamers among you can now argue the merits of in long-winded detail. Those of you who just use the thing to watch slideshows, browse the web, and edit photos won’t notice a thing.

Lastly, the FaceTime brand shamelessly trots its way onto laptops, simply replacing that lid mounted iSight cam with an HD one.

So then, go forth to Apple’s page, spec out the machine you want, and then email us at info@robertsimaging.com with a screenshot of exactly the glorious config you’re after, and we’ll see what we can do for you, k?



Derek

Apple’s New Mac Pro Can Probably Eat Your Current Computer


Starting next month the Mac Pro range will get an update (though I see Apple has once again left the exterior pretty well unchanged, I don’t think this line has seen a face-lift since it was still the G5 tower and I was still in college), and there’ll now be an upgrade options for the dual-processor model that’ll push it up to 12 CPU cores. Yes, 12. One dozen.

In any configuration, you’ll be looking at a Xeon series processor, and the base graphics card has been updated to the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

They come with the usual thingers, you know, OSX, keyboard, Magic Mouse. Check out the table below for what the builds will look like, and what options there’ll be. Your base price points are going to be about $2,500 for the quad core, $3,500 for the 8 core, and we’re hearing around $5,000 to play in the 12 core club (but my, what a club to play in).

2010 Mac Pro Base Configurations
Quad-Core Mac Pro
  • One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
  • 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive® with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire® 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme® 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.
Upgrade Options
  • one 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor
  • one 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor
  • two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • one ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory
  • up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
  • up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
  • Mac Pro RAID card;
  • dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
  • up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.
8-Core Mac Pro
  • Two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 processors with 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
  • 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
  • ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
  • 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
  • 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
  • four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
  • five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
  • AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
  • Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.
Upgrade Options
  • two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores)
  • two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores)
  • two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • one ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
  • up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory
  • up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
  • up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
  • Mac Pro RAID card;
  • dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
  • up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.


Derek

Apple’s New iMac Range Adds IPS, Moves to i3, i5, and i7 Processors


Alright, let’s move on to the iMac refreshes. Presumably these specs are different than last year’s, but let’s be honest, it’s not like if they aren’t quite to your taste there’ll be more options until next year anyway, and if you don’t buy a new iMac every year they’ll assuredly be better than the last one you bought (and if you do buy a new iMac every year, will you be my sugar daddy/mommy?). So, we’re just going to tell you where the basic specs stand now, and mention and call-out changes, sound good? Great! Onwards, then!

Important all-around upgrades here are that the displays are now IPS, a la the iPad and the new Cinema Display, and the graphics cards have been upgraded to ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB memory on most models, and to the ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB memory on the quad-core 27″ config. They’re all i-series now, mostly Core i3 and Core i5, though the 27″ can get an upgrade to Core i7. There’re some new SSD options available for those of you who favor stability over capacity, and it gets a bit complex so it’s worth just using Apple’s online Store to see what your options are now.

They all come with the Magic Mouse, if you want that awesome new Magic Trackpad (and you probably do), it’ll be extra (and worth it, I’m guessing). Whee!

2010 iMac Base Configs

21.5-inch: 3.06GHz
3.06GHz Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB memory, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, 21.5″ LED-backlit IPS LCD with 1920 x 1080px native resolution

21.5-inch: 3.2GHz
3.2GHz Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB memory, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, 21.5″ LED-backlit IPS LCD with 1920 x 1080px native resolution

27-inch: 3.2GHz
3.2GHz Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, 1TBB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB memory, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, 27″ LED-backlit IPS LCD with 2560 x 1440px native resolution

27-inch: 2.8GHz Quad Core
2.8GHz Intel Core i5 (2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 available as an upgrade), 4GB RAM, 1TBB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, 27″ LED-backlit IPS LCD with 2560 x 1440px native resolution


Derek

Apples New Cinema Display Is New, Adds IPS


The other low-hanging fruit of today’s announcements is the new 27″ Cinema Display, up from 24″. It’s 16×9 now, with a native resolution of 2560 x 1440px, and it adds that fancy IPS technology that Apple made such a fuss about with the iPad. It’s got a powered 3-port USB hub on the back, and features a cable that splits out into USB, MiniDisplay, and universal MagSafe, making it ridiculously geared towards being slaved to your MacBook Pro.

It coasts in under a grand or so. Did we mention 27″ of edge-to-edge glass-covered IPS LCD LED-backlit display framed in aluminum, though? Now that’s quality.



Derek

Apple Announces Magic Trackpad, Charge It With New Apple Battery Charger


Apple announced several things today, and while arguably the iMac refreshes and the new Mac Pro configs are the bigger news here, they involve things like comparing specs tables and reading through mind-numbing press releases. So, we’re going to start with the low hanging fruit and tackle the new Magic Trackpad.

I, for one, am excited by this Bluetooth-powered wireless trackpad. Why? Because I love the one on my Macbook Pro, and this is that, but bigger, and for desktops. It lets you use the same gestures the laptops support (two-finger scroll, four-finger exposé, etc), it’s all glass and aluminum, the whole thing clicks (death to buttons!), etc…

And, for those wondering how well a trackpad could perform to make it a better option than say, a Magic Mouse, well, I play Left 4 Dead 2 on my MBP with one. And survive. So, I figure if it’s well-dampened and big enough to safely play a first-person shooter with, it’ll probably do for any general purpose usage, and it’s not even too bad for casual Photoshopping, really.

And did we mention the gestures? C’mon, that’s worth the $69 bucks right there and you know it. Two-finger “right click” makes OSX considerably better than having to remember to hold down option. I promise.

Also announced is the new… battery charger? Yes, a battery charger. It’s white (natch), and uses the same slip of folding prong wall plug as the laptop bricks do (natch), charges two batteries at a time (NiMH), and is of course touted for being environmentally friendly and having one of the lowest vampire rates of any charger going. It’ll set you back 29 clam, but to be fair it does come with 6 of Apple’s NiMH batteries, promising a 10 year life span each.

Apple says they’re available the heck now, so the sooner you call your friendly neighborhood Roberts, the sooner we can have some heading to your door to power your wireless life.



Derek

Apple Updates MacBook Pro Range (Mostly)


Well, in case you live under a rock, or otherwise hate the internet (which’d be somewhat ironic given that this is on the internet, but…), Apple finally announced some long-awaited upgrades to the MacBookPro range today.

Mostly.

I say mostly because the little brother, the 13″, saw only a meager handful of upgrades, mostly a new battery now promising up to 10 hours of battery life (versus the claimed 7 on the model I bought). It’s also been bumped to the NVIDIA GeForce 320M.

The bigger bros have new processor options, with Core i5 or Core i7 processors available for both models. The big boys also upgrade to NVIDIA GT 330M GPUs and will auto-switch between them and the integrated GPU as needed to performance and to save battery life, no longer do you need to pick one and reboot. Batteries are also beefed up on these, but don’t hit the magical 10 hours number of their little bro.

Oh, and there’s a new 1680×1050 screen resolution upgrade available on the 15″ model.

The rest of it’s mostly what it was last year. Aluminum unibodies, huge glass trackpads with 4-finger multi-gesture, LED illuminated keyboards, general all-around spiffiness. No, seriously, I’m enjoying my unibody. Never figured I’d be a Mac guy, but it’s a mighty fine laptop.

Of course, if you’re a Windows user, Bootcamp makes running Windows a mostly painless experience these days (though ym audio drivers do have the occasional problem). You won’t see those epic battery life numbers, from personal experience. Windows 7 just seems a bit more power hungry than Snow Leopard (I can only get about 2 hours in Windows on last year’s 13″ MBP, versus 5-6 on average in OSX).

Aaaaaanyway, those new Macs are available now. So, go over to Apple’s site, spec yours out, relishing the new options and such, and then get with us about what you want and watch us work that Roberts magic for you.



Derek

New Year’s Resolutions and Apple Computers


So, it’s no big secret that I’m not actually a legendary fan of Mac, despite being a visual artist, graphic designer, and web master. But, my last real impression with them was in college while OSX was still fledgling, and then later with my (admittedly) good friend who is one of the crazy fanatics who can really ruin anything for you (there are movies I still won’t watch just because of how he made a big deal about them).

But, it’s a new year now, a new decade really, and I’ve been playing around with the office’s 15″ MacBook Pro, and I have to admit, the fit and finish on these new aluminum unibodies is second to none. And, the new Snow Leopard build of OSX seems snappy and responsive, and the new multi-touch gestures with up to four finger swiping for things like the Exposé and minimize all makes multitasking on it a real pleasure finally.

So,I’m making a very strange resolution this year: I’m going to ditch my current laptop in favor of a 13″ MacBook Pro. Now, anyone who’s seen my laptop might think this is an extra strange resolve, because I currently own one of Toshiba’s high-end 17″ dual-core dual-GPU SLi gaming rigs, so a switch to the pared down 13″ Pro might seem an odd move, but let me explain.

The newest MacBook Pro, the little 13″, starts in a default config with a 2.26GHZ dual core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 160 GB HD (upgradable to 250 GB for a mere 50 bucks). My Toshiba has a 2.1 GHZ dual core (of an older generation, too), 2 GB of RAM, and dual 120 GB drives. So, really, other than the screen and the SLi, I’m upgrading even at the lowest Pro. And, I’m willing to live with the smaller screen because even 17″ isn’t really enough for Lightroom, and the cost difference between a 13″ MBP and the 17″ will buy me a 24″ widescreen display. Now that’s big enough for Lightroom.

And I know all of this because Roberts is a full Mac computer dealer. We know all this. We can tell you what your upgrade choices are, and we have fierce pricing. So, whether you want a tidy little 13″ Pro with a RAM and HD upgrade like me, or the 17″ Pro with Express Card slot and giant battery, or just a Mac Mini, one of the new, perfect for casual-use white MacBooks for kicking it about or for a son or daughter, or a Mighty Mouse or Cinedisplay, we’re the place to go. You can even check out all the base configs and other products here, but don’t forget to call us and ask about your customiation options.



Derek

Horn Tooting 101: Derek–And Thus Roberts–Now Apple Certified


apple-certWell y’all, I just got back from getting my first Apple certification. Roberts is now not just an Apple dealer, but we’re also packing a certification in Aperture (Apple’s pro photo workflow and raw editor solution, makes sense given what we do here, yeah?).

I’m still getting my head around the 18 jillion keyboard shortcuts, and there seem to be as many niggles as there are godsends with the workflow, but, that’s the same with any program (don’t even get me started on the different behaviors of keyboard shortcuts in Adobe’s Creative Suite, for example).

We carry Apple because it’s good for photographers (well, artists in general), and now we’re just that much more committed to it. Jody’s a Mac user, Phil downstairs is a Mac nut, and now I join the fold with the Aperture certification. Go team!