"BARE facts on Mac speed FEATS"
Rob-ART, main mad scientist

MacWorld SF 2006
Report on
HOT Products

Saturday, January 14th, 2005
MACWORLD SF 2006 IS OVER, BUT THERE's MORE

Let's talk about the new ExpressCard/34 slot in the MacBook Pro. The PowerBook has a PC card (CardBus) slot. Companies have created cards for that slot that add such functions as external video, 802.11g (AirPort/WiFi), flash card reading, FireWire 800 (1394b), and Serial ATA. The ExpressCard uses a serial data interface rather than the PCI parallel bus interface of CardBus, improving bus speed in data transfer while reducing the number of signals needed in the interface. Expect third parties to offer ExpressCards with 2Gbits/s of raw throughput that add missing features to the MacBook Pro including FireWire 800 ports and eSATA II ports.

New Kits Add Drives Inside Dual-Core and Quad-Core Power Macs. Internal drive mounting kits are nothing new but, as many found out, they don't work in the newest Power Macs.
a)
MaxUpgrades is offering their MaxConnect II kits that enable users to mount hard drives inside the CPU bay, PCI bay, and/or Optical bay of Dual/Quad-Core systems.
b) TransIntl has modified the SwiftData200 CPU bay kit to work in the newest Power Macs.
c) Wiebetech announced the G5Jam Express CPU bay kit for the Dual/Quad-Core Power Mac.
d) Sonnet Tech's G5 Jive works in both PCI-X and PCI Express Power Macs.

DAY FOUR -- 11:15AM Pacific Time

Aaxeon has three PCI Express (1 lane) cards you should know about: FireWire 400/800, FireWire 800/USB 2.0 Combo, and USB 2.0. We've tested the first two in our lab on our Quad-Core. They work flawlessly. However, the FireWire 800 WRITE speed was half of what we measured on our built-in FW800 port (24MB/s vs 50MB/s). Texas Intruments has admitted the problem lies with their bridge chip but it's not clear when they will release a fix. On the bright side, the USB 2.0 card does hard drive READS 50% faster than the built-in USB ports on the Quad-Core.

I wonder if Apple held something back on the MacBook Pro intro. Where's the 17" version? Where's the 2.0GHz Core Duo CPU to match the speed of the iMac? Where's the FW800 or SATA external port? Maybe we'll see a "higher end" model released in March or April or May.

DAY TWO -- 4PM Pacific Time

The Core Duo iMac impressed me even more when I realized the Radeon X1600 GPU is included. And with the option of up to 256MB of GDDR3 memory, it's no wonder Apple claims it runs Doom 3 is 2.3 times faster than the previous G5 based model. Finally an all-in-one with decent performance.

DAY ONE -- 1PM Pacific Time

The "Core Duo" Intel MacBook Pro is official. The top model features 1.83GHz processor (2MB total L2 cache), 667MHz Frontside Bus, X1600 ATI GPU (256MB GDDR3), 1GB 667MHz DDR2 memory, and 100GB 5400rpm SATA drive. Surprise! No FireWire 800 port. And no external SATA port. (If you order one, please use OUR TEXT LINK.)

Of course, the 2GHz Dual-Core Intel iMac should be impressive as well. Since Apple is ahead of schedule, it will be interesting to see if Intel versions of the Power Mac are announced at the June Developer's Conference -- preferably a Quad-Core.

A FEW THINGS MISSING FROM THE KEYNOTE
(based on our Missing Pieces Page):
1. G5 Power Mac Variant with both PCI-X and PCI Express slots.
2. GeForce 7800 GT PCI Express in aftermarket retail kit
3. Implementation of scalable resolution code in OS X, thereby restoring true WYSIWYG to Mac displays
4. External eSATA port (and FireWire 800 port) on MacBook Pro and new iMac Intel.

DAY ONE -- 5AM Pacific Time

ATI RADEON X1800 XT PCI Express graphics card
We've confirmed that ATI Will Be Giving A Sneak Peek at a Radeon X1800 XT PCI Express card running on a Dual Core Power Mac at MacWorld.
They won't have a conventional booth this year but you can visit them in Rooms 254 & 258 on the West Mezzanine level of the Moscone Conference Center where you can try playing the latest games with the X1800 card. As an added bonus, if you find a special ATI key card during the conference, you can enter a daily drawing for an ATI Radeon 9600 PC and Mac Edition.

Don't forget ATI's hot graphics cards for G4 and G5 Power Macs with AGP graphics slot: Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition (256MB, 2X/4X AGP) and Radeon X800 XT Mac Edition (256MB, 8X).

ADOBE LIGHTROOM
If you want to play with Lightroom, Adobe's answer to Apple's Aperture, visit the Adobe Labs site (formerly Macromedia).
You can download a beta copy. Hopefully it takes full advantage of the Quad-Core's speed, unlike Aperture.

SONNET TECHNOLOGY PCI EXPRESS SATA II CARDS and ENCLOSURE
Sonnet will be showing two PCI Express SATA II cards: one with 4 internal ports (E4i), one with four external ports (E4P). The card with external ports includes Port Multiplication support which enables you to feed data to five drives with one cable. Yes, they have their own five drive PM enclosure (Fusion 500P), too. (Visit Booth 2528)

HIGHPOINT RocketRAID 2320 PCI Express SATA II RAID adapter (internal ports) and RocketRAID 2322 PCI Express SATA II adapter (external ports). These are significant in that they support RAID 5 as well as RAID 0 and 1. Read our review of the 2320 which includes details on the "soon-to-be-shipping" 2322.

FIRMTEK CARDBUS SATA II CARD
SATA has come to the PowerBook. Read our review of FirmTek's Cardbus SATA SeriTek/1SM2. Another company with two Cardbus SATA cards is FWDepot.

POWERLOGIX ANNOUNCES FIRST POWERPC 7448 BASED G4 CPU UPGRADE WITH 1MB L2 CACHE
We will be testing PowerLogix's new 7448 upgrade in a Digital Audio G4 Power Mac this week, so stay tuned.

DAYSTAR SURPRISED US IN LATE 2005 WITH UPGRADES FOR THE iMAC G4 FLAT PANEL AND ALUMINUM G4 POWERBOOK.
We reviewed the G4/1.9GHz Upgrade for iMac G4 Flat Panel and will be testing the G4/1.9GHz upgade for the PowerBook this week.

NEEDLESS TO SAY, APPLE'S DUAL-CORE G5 POWER MACS ARE STILL HOT NEWS
See our review of the Quad-Core G5/2.5 Power Mac vs Single-Core Dual G5/2.5 including the Core Image and 3D OpenGL page. We also have a shootout between the Dual-Core G5/2.0GHz Power Mac and Single-Core G5/2.0GHz Power Mac

NOT NEW BUT STILL HOT: The Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 versus Seagate Momentus 7200.1 notebook drives and the various fast 3.5 inch desktop SATA drives which we covered in our Best Boot Drive article.

1995-2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
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