The current generation of Thunderbolt ports on Apple's most recent MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro computers all rely on a first-generation copper-based Thunderbolt design. While certainly fast--offering 10Gbps data throughput both in-coming and outgoing simultaneously--copper-based Thunderbolt ports were more of a … Read more
Despite more than 250 new features, we aren't aware of any fundamental changes in Apple's new OS X Lion operating system that would affect performance after upgrading. It still offers 64-bit processing, and with Apple's tight control over Mac hardware components, there's no reason to anticipate a learning curve like Microsoft's partners had to deal with when Vista upended the Windows driver model.
Still, the version of iTunes that ships with Lion supports 64-bit processing for the first time. We also wonder about any performance impact from Lion's new auto-versioning feature. There's also the question of how well third-party programs will make the transition in these early days, since they might still be awaiting optimization.
With the 3.1GHz 27-inch iMac on hand from our review this past spring, we took the opportunity to see if Lion introduced any major performance variations compared with our Snow Leopard results on the same system.… Read more
With the arrival of Mac OS X Lion, a lot of folks are going to discover that Apple's latest operating system is more of a memory hog than Snow Leopard and that a little RAM boost may be required.
Regardless of whether you're upgrading to Lion or not, upgrading your RAM is good idea because it's one of the most affordable--and easiest--ways to speed up your machine. Also, for anybody looking to buy a new iMac, we strongly recommend upgrading the RAM yourself, because you can save a good bit of money by not ordering extra RAM … Read more
Given that no Windows all-in-one desktop manufacturer offers a model with a 27-inch display, Apple's highest-end iMac was unique and competitive even before yesterday's update. With the new, second-generation Core i5 CPU and a current, high-end AMD graphics chip, Apple has made the new iMac one of the fastest all-in-ones available.
If the all-in-one market was driven primarily by screen size and performance, the new iMac would be a clear winner, but Windows all-in-ones, especially at the high-end, have bigger ambitions. The glut of touch screens and accompanying touch software suites, Blu-ray players, and HDMI inputs, are designed to make HP's TouchSmart and Sony's Vaio all-in-ones full-fledged digital media command centers. Apple's iMac has none of those things.… Read more
The Apple rumor mill picked up this past weekend, with Apple Insider posting a rather confident sounding report about update to Apple's iMacs.
The update would introduce to Apple's all-in-one the same changes it made to the MacBook Pro earlier this spring, namely Intel's Sandy Bridge Core CPU family, and a move to Thunderbolt external data ports. Apple Insider also suggested iMacs were due for a new AMD Radeon 6000-series graphics chip.
Amid all the hoopla of Apple announcing the iPad 2, a small but potentially intriguing $49.99 accessory for owners of Apple's Magic Mouse hit the Apple Store: Mobee's Magic Charger.
You could call it a Powermat for your Magic Mouse, because this is a wireless inductive charger--you swap out the standard batteries for the Mobee rechargeable battery, then lay your mouse on the base station (which has to be plugged into a USB port) to charge the battery.
Mobee Technology says you'll get about six days of "autonomous power" before having to lay it … Read more
Notebooks, Netbooks, and tablets get all the hype these days; desktops just sit there and suck in dust bunnies. But, you know, we still buy them in huge numbers because portability always has its penalties. So here's to the midtower case, the full-size keyboard, and the ginormous monitor: five desktops that make you want to rediscover your desk.
Check the full list of CNET's desktop reviews for any kind of machine you're looking for.
Who knew -- Apple still makes computers, and today launched a bunch of new ones, plus a ginormous desktop trackpad to go with them. Also: The robot that will make you breakfast. Eventually. Guest: Darren Kitchen of Hak5.org!Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
Though perhaps not quite as ornate as that steampunk computer desk from last month, the handmade iPhone and iPad docking stations and iMac and MacBook case covers at Old Time Computers are more accessible, at least for the moment.
A side project of Etsy user and old-time hot rod restorer woodguy32, the Old Time Computer items are all limited edition. According to the Web site, "they all take a long time to build, so they will not be in production. This is just a hobby and something I enjoy and put my heart into."
Prices range from $42 … Read more
With four different Macs sitting in the CNET lab right now, Valve couldn't have picked a better time to release its Mac Steam client, at least from a testing perspective. We just spent the past few hours with Steam, as well as Portal and Torchlight, two of the more graphically demanding games available for Steam at launch. So far, we find Steam on the Mac just as seamless as the Windows version. The games are also mostly trouble-free.
First, to accompany this launch Valve is offering Portal as a free download until May 24. If you haven't played Portal, or even if you have, we recommend it. It's fun.
The Steam software itself should feel instantly familiar to anyone who's used the Windows version. Valve recently gave Steam a cosmetic overhaul, so even Steam veterans might need a minute to adjust, but overall it remains intuitive to navigate. One considerate touch: In the Steam store you'll see the full list of titles available for download, Windows titles included, but a mouse-over message will warn you if you hover over a game that's unavailable for the Mac. That will hopefully prevent any incompatible purchases. At launch, there were roughly 50 Mac titles available.
For the games themselves, we have few complaints about their performance on our various test systems. Granted, we'd expect neither the older Portal nor the purposefully lightweight Torchlight to challenge a halfway respectable computer. With more games coming to Steam for the Mac from Valve and (presumably) other game manufacturers, future titles may provide more of a challenge to the Macs we tested. For today at least, we find that Apple's higher-end Mac laptops and all-in-ones make capable gaming systems.
Our four test systems:27-inch iMac with 2.8GHz Core i7, 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 27-inch iMac with 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo, 256MB ATI Radeon HD 4670 15-inch MacBook Pro with 2.66GHz Core i7, Nvidia GeForce 330M 13-inch MacBook Pro with 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia GeForce 320M… Read more