The 'Book Review

Burned by MacBook, Highest Performance Mobile CPU, 'Santa Rosa' MacBook Pro Firmware Update, and More

This Week's Mac Notebook News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.07.20

This Week's MacBook, PowerBook, and iBook News

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

General Apple and Mac desktop news is covered in The Mac News Review.

News & Opinion

Products and Services

Bargain 'Books

News & Opinion

Burned by a MacBook, Apple Customer Service

The Register's Emily Turner reports:

"Can you run a business using a MacBook? No, is my answer. My experience with a new MacBook, which turned out to be a complete and utter lemon, and my battle with Apple's derisory customer service nearly sent me bananas, lost me thousands of pounds worth of freelance journalism and consultancy work, and left me with a burn mark on my arm. This camel's back was truly broken.

"The problems began in March when I was trying to burn my accounts onto a disc. The MacBook refused to burn despite trying various types of CD. I tried DVD movies to see if they worked and even the system discs but it spat them out. Then I noticed they were all scratched. I took it into the Bluewater Apple store the next day on 16 March and they told me it wouldn't take long to get things sorted. A week later I still hadn't heard anything. The Genius bar told me it hadn't even been looked at and could be another two weeks."

Intel Announces 'World's Highest-Performing Mobile Processor'

PR: Addressing demand for even faster laptop computers for hard-core gamers, artists, and media enthusiasts, Intel Corporation today introduced its first Intel Core 2 Extreme mobile dual-core processor - the world's highest-performing mobile processor1 - adopting the brand from the company's flagship desktop offerings. The company also introduced new desktop processors and said it expects to announce battery-friendly quad-core processors for laptop computers next year.

The new products come on the heels of the company's 1-year anniversary of introducing server, desktop and laptop processors based on the innovative Intel Core microarchitecture.

"Laptops are the fastest-growing computing market segment, and there is increasing demand from those who crave the ultimate in video, gaming and design computing performance yet want the freedom and flexibility that a laptop brings," said Mooly Eden, Intel vice president and general manager, Mobile Platforms Group. "Due to our innovative technology and design capabilities, we can offer world-class, power-smart performance for the most demanding mobile users, and are proud to offer it under our Intel Core 2 Extreme brand - a name that has become synonymous with ultimate performance."

The Intel Core 2 Extreme X7800 mobile dual-core processor, with both cores running at a brisk 2.6 GHz, also features mobile-specific power-saving features that help Intel's computer-maker customers deliver more energy-efficient and higher-performing designs. For example, the Intel Core 2 Extreme mobile processor X7800 offers up to 28 percent more performance2 than our previous-generation mobile processor. In addition, for experienced enthusiasts who desire more capability, the Intel Core 2 Extreme mobile processor bus ratio locks (overspeed protection) have been removed.3 This offers added technical flexibility in customizing the system so OEMs can unleash even more performance.

Flagship Desktop Processor Introduced

For desktop PCs, Intel is announcing a robust set of new processors, including the flagship Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 quad-core processor. Clocked at 3.0 GHz with a new, faster 1333 MHz system bus speed, the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 will be welcomed by game developers looking to deliver new features and performance levels. Intel also announced new Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors.

"Thanks to the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad core processor, the PC version of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter5 2 raises gaming to new heights," said Bo Anderson, CEO, GRIN Development Studio5. "Developed by GRIN and published by Ubisoft5, the game draws upon the power of Intel's next-generation multithreaded engine to provide amazingly realistic game play. Intel's quad-core processor uses one core for physics, one for rendering, one for game logic and one for miscellaneous tasks, which can provide consistently higher and more stable frame rates."

Intel Core Microarchitecture - One Year Later

A year ago this month the company began introducing these innovative and energy-efficient products, and in that year Intel Core microarchitecture and its processors have achieved a number of milestones, including:

Delivering the world's first x86 software-compatible quad-core processor line for servers and PCs, as well as storage and embedded systems. To date, Intel has introduced 14 quad-core processor versions.

Receiving more than 75 independent awards and other accolades from online publications and magazine editors around the world. The full list can be reviewed at www.intel.com/pressroom/kits/core2duo/awards.htm.

Securing nearly half (224) of the 500 top-ranked high-performance computers as measured by the recently announced Top 500 Supercomputers List (www.top500.org).

Doubling the performance of laptops with Intel Core 2 Duo processors while maintaining impressive battery life.4

Paving the way for the biggest change to transistor design in 40 years that will combine the company's 45-nanometer manufacturing process and the next-generation Intel Core 2 and Intel Xeon processors.

New Processor Pricing and Availability

The Intel Core 2 Extreme X7800 mobile processor, running at 2.6 GHz with 4 MB of L2 cache, is available to OEMs now at a cost of $851. Notebook systems will appear on the market within the next two weeks. The new Intel desktop processors are also shipping to OEMs now, with product available to end users within the next two weeks. Pricing and specifications for the new desktop processors are as follows: Processor - Number of Cores - Frequency - Front Side Bus (FSB) - L2 Cache, Price in 1,000-Unit Quantities

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 - 4 3.0 GHz - 1333 MHz - 8 MB, $999
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 - 4 2.66 GHz - 1066 MHz - 8 MB, $530
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 - 2 3.0 GHz - 1333 MHz - 4 MB, $266
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 - 2 2.66 GHz - 1333 MHz - 4 MB, $183
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 - 2 2.33 GHz - 1333 MHz - 4 MB, $163
  1. Performance measured on Intel Core 2 Extreme mobile processor X7800 running SPECint_base2006. Actual performance may vary. See www.intel.com/performance for more information. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp, and SPECrate are trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. For more information about SPEC benchmarks see: www.spec.org
  2. As measured comparing the Intel Core 2 Extreme Mobile processor X7800 with the Intel Core Duo processor T2600 on the 3DMark06 CPU test. Details and system specs at www.intel.com/performance/mobile/extreme
  3. Altering clock frequency and/or voltage may (i) reduce system stability and useful life of the system and processor; (ii) cause the processor and other system components to fail; (iii) cause reductions in system performance; (iv) cause additional damage; and (v) affect system data integrity. Intel has not tested, and does not warranty, the operation of the processor beyond its specifications.
  4. As measured by SPEC CPU2006 comparing the Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T7700 and T7100 with a comparable frequency single core Intel Pentium M Processor. Actual performance may vary. See www.intel.com/performance/mobile/benchmarks.htm for important additional information. SPEC, SPECint, SPECfp, SPECrate, SPECweb, SPECjbb are trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. See: www.spec.org for more information on the benchmarks.

'Santa Rosa' MacBook Pro Firmware Update

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"This EFI Firmware update fixes a display issue on 2.2/2.4 GHz 15-inch MacBook Pro models.

"This update requires MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0."

"System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later
  • MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz
  • MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0"

Products and Services

ExpressCard to PCMCIA/CardBus Adapter

DuelAdapter Cradle ExpressCard to PCMCIA and CardBus AdapterPR: Duel Systems, a business unit of Methode Electronics, Inc., announces a new addition to its DuelAdapter product line with the DuelAdapter Cradle™, the ExpressCard to PCMCIA and CardBus adapter. The DuelAdapter Cradle enables users of computers that only have PCMCIA or CardBus slots to use a new ExpressCard device (for memory, audio, video, broadband, etc.) without any need to upgrade their computers.

The DuelAdapter Cradle mechanically and electrically bridges the two formats with no compromise in speed and with "plug-and-play" ease of use. The Cradle seamlessly converts information and transfers data at the full PCMCIA and CardBus transfer rates supported by the computer. Moreover, the Cradle is hot pluggable, and requires no software driver. It is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X 10.3.9 and higher operating systems. The Cradle is FCC, CE, and RoHS compliant.

The DuelAdapter Cradle can be preordered now at the DuelAdapter ecommerce website. Standard retail price for the Cradle will be $49.95, but for a limited time, the DuelAdapter Cradle will be offered at $45.95 for advance orders received before July 31, 2007. The DuelAdapter Cradle will also be available through select resellers in North America, Europe, and the Far East.

For more information on the DuelAdapter Cradle, visit the product website. For more information on any of Duel Systems' products including PCMCIA, Compact Flash, ExpressCard packages, or any other metal/plastic packaging design, contact: Duel Systems, 1750 Junction Ave., San Jose, CA 95112. Phone: 408-436-4931. Fax: 408-436-6063. Email: info@duel-systems.com

High Sierra Groove Backpack has Built-in iPod Control

PR: Guaranteed to rock. Designed specifically to work with iPod, the integrated BackBeat control switch gives you full control of your iPod from the backpack strap of the pack. With its multi-compartment design and deluxe organizer pocket, our Groove pack lets you stay organized and connected to your music wherever you go.

Features:

  • Wired for iPod compatibility.
  • Large, front-load main compartment, and easy-access top-load center compartment.
  • Convenient, easy-access zippered shoulder strap pocket has a 30-pin connector that is compatible with any iPod (with dock connector); integrated headphone access port.
  • Integrated, backlit switch controls volume, play, pause and track advance.
  • Deluxe, multi-pocket organizer with removable key fob.
  • Webbing daisy chain to attach accessories.
  • Side mesh pocket holds a 500ml water bottle.
  • S-shaped Vapel mesh Airflow padded backpack straps with thumb-ring pulls for easy adjustments.
  • Padded back for added comfort.
  • This product has been designed specifically to work with iPod and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.

Groove BackpackSize: 17.5" x 12.75" x 8.75"

Capacity: 2190.0 cubic inches

Materials: Grid-Weave Duralite

Colors:

  • 422: Pacific Blue, Charcoal
  • 202: Charcoal, Black
  • 801: Chipotle, Charcoal

Suggested Retail: $125

High Sierra Audible Computer Bag has Built-in iPod Control

High Sierra Audible Computer BagPR: Guaranteed to rock. Designed specifically to work with iPod, the integrated BackBeat control switch gives you full control of your iPod from the side pocket of the messenger pack. With its large capacity main compartment and deluxe multi-pocket organizer, our Audible messenger bag lets you stay organized and connected to your music wherever you go.

Features:

  • Wired for iPod compatibility.
  • Large capacity zippered main compartment.
  • Convenient, easy-access zippered shoulder strap pocket has a 30-pin connector that is compatible with any iPod (with dock connector); integrated headphone access port.
  • Integrated, backlit switch controls volume, play, pause and track advance.
  • Protective lid, with adjustable straps and hook and loop closure points, has an easy-access zippered slash pocket.
  • Deluxe, multi-pocket organizer with removable key fob.
  • Side mesh pocket holds a 1000ml water bottle.
  • Reflective safety strip on the lid.
  • Adjustable shoulder strap with Vapel mesh shoulder pad.
  • LED blinker loop.
  • Contoured grab handle.
  • This product has been designed specifically to work with iPod and has been certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.

Size: 18.5" x 12.0" x 7.5"

Capacity: 1386.0 cubic inches

Materials: Shiny Mini-Waffle Weave, Reflective Ribbon

Colors:

  • 0: Black
  • 202: Charcoal
  • 804: Lava

Suggested Retail: $125

Bargain 'Books

Bargain 'Books are used unless otherwise indicated. New and refurbished units have a one-year Apple warranty and are eligible for AppleCare.

There are two different versions of WallStreet running at 233 MHz, the cacheless MainStreet version and the later Series II with a level 2 cache. It's not always possible to determine from the vendor's listing which is being offered, so we've included links within this paragraph to the two models. The same goes for the PowerBook G4/667 (VGA) and G4/667 (DVI), the titanium vs. aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 at 1 GHz, and 1.25 GHz to 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBooks.

PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook profiles linked in our Portable Mac Index.

Apple Store

  • refurb 1.83 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 512/60/Combo, $849
  • refurb 2.0 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/80/Combo, $999
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, white, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,099
  • refurb 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook, black, 1 GB/160/SD, $1,299
  • refurb 15" 2.16 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,499
  • refurb 15" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/120/SD, $1,899
  • refurb 17" 2.16 GHz Core Duo MacBook Pro, 1 GB/120/SD, $1,999
  • refurb 17" 2.33 GHz Core 2 MacBook Pro, 2 GB/160/SD, $2,199

TechRestore

TechRestore is offering a $25 discount to 'Book Review readers off any PowerBook or iBook in stock. Just enter the code CWM during checkout when ordering online. The coupon code is valid from now through 2007.12.31.

  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/Combo, $469.99 less $25 = $444.99
  • 12" iBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/40/Combo, $699.99 less $25 = $674.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/400, 256/20/DVD, $549.99 less $25 = $524.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 1 GB/6/SD, one RAM slot, $699.99 less $25 = $674.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 512/60/SD, $999.99 less $25 = $974.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.33 GHz, 512/80/SD, $1,099.99 less $25 = $1,074.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1.5 GHz, 512/80/SD, $1,149.99 less $25 = $1,124.99

Wegener Media

  • 12" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/40/Combo, $769.99
  • 15" PowerBook G4/867 MHz, 256/30/Combo, $719.99
  • 15" titanium PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/60/Combo, $699.99
  • 17" PowerBook G4/1 GHz, 256/80/SD, $559.99

ExperCom

  • 12" iBook G4/800, 256/40/Combo, $499
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 768/30/Combo, $549
  • 12" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AirPort, $599
  • 14" iBook G4/1.2 GHz, 768/60/Combo, AirPort, $649
  • 14" iBook G4/1.42 GHz, 512/60/SD, AirPort, $749
  • 15" PowerBook G4/1.25 GHz, 512/80/SD, APX, BT, $849

Baucom Computers

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/1/CD, $199
  • 15" PowerBook G4/867, 512/40/SD, $579
  • Add Airport for $70

The PowerBook Guy

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, blueberry, 64/3/CD, $169.95
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/366, Key lime, 128/10/CD, $289.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, $219.95
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/40/CD-RW, $279.95
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/20/CD, $239.95
  • 12" iBook G3/800, 256/30/Combo, $379.95
  • 12" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/30/Combo, AP, $549.95
  • 14" Pismo PowerBook G3/400, 256/20/DVD, $349.95
  • 14" iBook G4/1 GHz, 512/40/Combo, AP, $629.95
  • 15" PowerBook G4/500, 256/20/DVD, $449.99

We Love Macs

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 192/10/CD, $284.95
  • 12" iBook G3/700, 256/20/CD, $379.95

Custom Macs

  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 64/3/CD, OS 9, $129.99
  • 12" clamshell iBook G3/300, 256/3/CD, OS X 10.3, $189.99

BetaMacs

  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/10/CD, OS X, $209
  • 12" iBook G3/500, 128/30/CD, OS X, $279
  • 12" iBook G3/600, 128/30/CD, OS X, $329

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

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