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Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Performance benchmarks for Intel Penryn mobile processor


core2duo-image.jpgAs some of you know, Intel has just released their next mobile processor – Penryn. In a nutshell, the Penryn processor is similar to the current Core 2 Duo (aka Merom) processor – the biggest change was the size reduction from 65nm –> 45nm and the increase in L2 cache from 4MB –> 6MB. This yields better battery life, less heat emitted from the CPU, and a slight improvement in performance.

Anwyays, check out the great performance review from AnandTech’s Intel mobile Penryn benchmarks.

Some findings worth highlighting:

  • Increase of 23 – 55 minutes in battery life (depending on the load on the CPU)
  • Battery life increased 18 minutes during DVD playback
  • Overall performance increase was around 4.5%

Personally, with all of the rumors of an updated MacBook Pro coming soon, it’s worth the wait. Although, I almost cracked since I’ve been waiting to buy a MBP since Jan/Feb 2007.

For you PC-buyers, fret not, Dell/HP/Sony have already announced release dates for Penryn-based laptops (shipping in February 2008).

[via AnandTech]

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Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing

Another PC user switches to the Mac


macbook.jpgWow, this week was an incredible week…my girlfriend (a PC user all her life) just decided to replace her Dell Latitude D620 (Core 2 Duo – 2.16Ghz) machine with the black MacBook (Core 2 Duo – 2.2Ghz). I think her experience speaks volumes about Mac OS X as well as the dedicated Mac applications…because it was a combination of the two that convinced her to switch.

Here’s the net of it, she needed to build a simple yoga website – Om Circle Yoga – (she’s a certified yoga instructor). I told her that I got this great web design software (RapidWeaver) from a MacUpdate promotional bundle back in December and that it would suite her needs perfectly. So, she gave it a shot and within a couple of hours, she learned how to use RapidWeaver, built her website, and launched it. Here’s the best part: after she launched her site, she commented on:

  1. How easy it was to learn and use RapidWeaver
  2. How easy and fun it was using Mac OS X (I’m running Tiger)

The interesting thing is that my girlfriend has used my Powerbook in the past for browsing the web and her impression was that it’s just another computer and does the same thing as a PC. The minute she did something on the Mac that was more than surfing the web or checking email she realized how much more productive she was on the Mac and began to appreciate what us Mac-heads/geeks have been raving about all these years.

So, big props goes to the folks at Realmac Software for making RapidWeaver such a great app and to the RapidWeaver community for building various add-ons…and, of course, to Apple, for making Mac OS X such a great operating system.

Filed under: Apple, Computers, Laptop, MacBook, MacOSX, Mobile Computing, Notebook, Software, Windows

Apple updates MacBook & MacBook Pro notebooks


macbook-pro.jpgApple quietly updated the MacBook and the MacBook Pro today. Here are the deets:

MacBook

  • The clock speed of the Intel Core 2 Duo processors got a small bump: 2.0 -> 2.0Ghz and 2.16 -> 2.2Ghz
  • The architecture has been upgraded to Santa Rosa (finally!), which provides an 800Mhz front side bus (compared to the older 667Mhz front side bus)
  • Upgraded the Intel graphics card to the Intel GMA X3100 w/144MB of DDR2 SDRAM

MacBook Pro

  • Option to upgrade the 2.4Ghz processor –> 2.6Ghz
  • Option to upgrade the hard drive to 250GB SATA drive @ 5400 rpm
  • Option to upgrade from 160GB (5400 rpm) to 200GB SATA drive @ 7200 rpm (previously, 160GB was the only option if you wanted a 7200 rpm SATA drive)

One thing to keep in mind: this is NOT the MacBook Pro processor upgrade that we are hoping to see in January 2008 – i.e., the upgrade to Intel’s Penryn processor.

The Penryn processor will provide 6MB of L2 cache vs. 4MB L2 cache and reduced from 65nm –> 45nm (this means a bit faster and will run a bit cooler). So, if you were waiting for that, keep waiting…like me.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, Computers, Laptop, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Notebook

Intel confirms ‘Santa Rosa’ shipping in May


Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum held here this week, David Perlmutter, Intel’s senior vice president and general manager for mobility

David Perlmutter – Intel’s Sr. Vice President & General Manager for Mobility – confirmed at last week’s Intel Developer Forum that the Santa Rosa platform will begin shipping in notebooks next month:

The Intel executive also noted that Intel’s Santa Rosa platform will start shipping in notebooks from next month. The mobile platform will comprise an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, the mobile Intel 965 Express chipset family, 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and optional Intel Turbo memory that has been touted to improve application performance.

In a nutshell, Santa Rosa is a mobile platform with a Core 2 Duo processor, 800Mhz front side bus, better graphics chipset, and Intel’s flash-based caching technology (Robson).

[BusinessWeek via MacRumors]

Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing, Technology

Deal: Western Digital Passport 160GB for $120


western-digital-passport.jpgIf you’re in the market for an external hard disk drive, you should take a look at the slick looking Western Digital Passport portable drives. They come in 60, 80, 120, and 160GB versions. Costco is selling the 160GB version for $120 (in-store) and $130 on their website, which is $60 cheaper than MSRP and cheaper than you can find on the web (e.g., NewEgg.com).

I just bought the 160GB version for $120 at the Everett, MA location.

It’s a very sweet portable drive that does not require a separate power adapter (it’s usb-powered)…assuming your USB ports are 1000 mAH.  Some USB ports top out at 500 mAH, which isn’t enough juice to power this drive (more on that in a future post).

Filed under: Bargains, Computers, Deals, Hard Drive, Storage, Technology

New Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processors coming soon


Intel will be releasing an update to the Core 2 Duo mobile processor platform sometime this quarter (Q2). Rumors are saying May 8 is the date. The next set of Core 2 Duo mobile processors are:

  • T7700 (Core 2 Duo – 2.4Ghz)
  • T7500 (Core 2 Duo – 2.2Ghz)
  • T7300 (Core 2 Duo – 2.0Ghz)
  • T7100 (Core 2 Duo – 1.8Ghz)

Instead of the current ‘Merom’ platform, these processors will be using the ‘Santa Rosa’ platform, which has:

  • 800MHz front side bus (the current Merom platform tops out at 667MHz FSB)
  • 64-bit support (same as Merom)
  • 4MB L2 cache (same as Merom)
  • GM965/PM965 chipsets (Crestline for improved graphics)
  • 82566MM Gigabit Network chip
  • 4965AGN wireless chip (Kedron) with 802.11n support
  • Wi-Max and HSPDA integration (rumored)

All of the above isn’t ‘new’ news but something to consider if you’re in the market for a new laptop. For example, there are rumors that Dell will be using one of these new Core 2 Duo processors and Santa Rosa on their Latitude D630/830 at the end of April/early May.

So, the real question is: when will the computer companies update their laptops to use these new processors and platform? In my case and, more importantly, when will Apple update the MacBook Pro? I’ve been waiting for 4 months to replace my PowerBook G4 with a MacBook Pro and my patience is wearing thin…

[the following articles were referenced for this post: Wikipedia, The Inquirer, Notebookreview.com]

Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing, Rumors, Technology