Category Archives: MacBook Pro

Intel launches updated Haswell chips, likely to appear in upcoming MacBook Pro spec bump

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Intel has debuted the next generation of its Core i5 and i7 processors, according to a report from CPU World. Each of these updated chips sports a 200 MHz speed boost over its previous incarnation, which can currently be found in the MacBook Pro lineup. It’s likely that these processors will be found in a spec-bumped version of the MacBook Pro later this year.

The current series of MacBook Pro processors are available at clock speeds of 2.0 GHz (in the lowest-end 13-inch model) up to 2.6 GHz (in the top-of-the-line, built-to-order 15-inch model). The next-gen models released this week range from 2.2 to 3.0 GHz, which will provide a decent speed boost to each model.

Earlier this year Apple refreshed the MacBook Air with upgraded Haswell processors after Intel released new versions of the chips in those machines. It’s expected that Apple will do the same for the Pro line following the release of these newer i5 and i7 CPUs. Intel is currently working on its new Broadwell line of processors that will reportedly allow for the creation of a fanless MacBook Air, which will likely open the door a similar move for the MacBook Pro.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: Haswell, Intel, MacBook Pro, processors, refresh, Retina, update

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Analog photo technique brings Bambi to life

Splicing a cute little animal into a photograph doesn’t take more than a few seconds for anybody with a copy of Photoshop. But Colorado artist Janelle Pietrzak spends hours cutting light stencils with a razor blade, then uses a shoebox






Review: Kickflip is a cool, simple, and affordable stand for your MacBook

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For the past couple of weeks, I have been testing a new MacBook stand called the Kickflip. I’ve used some of the more high-end stands for my laptop in the past as it improves the ergonomics involved with keyboard typing and because it improves the cooling of the computer. This new Kickflip is not stationary like some other stands on the market, but it is an accessory that sticks to the bottom of your laptop. The stand can be closed for when you want to keep the laptop in a bag or carry it around, and you flip out the kickstand when you want to raise up your laptop. The experience is nice, the stand is sturdy, and I very much have enjoyed using the Kickflip…

When you get the Kickflip, you just peel off the tape and stick the unit on the bottom of your MacBook. These devices are sold in versions for both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros, but the creator says that they’ll work just fine on the MacBook Airs. The adhesive material actually does not decrease in stickiness in my testing, so you can peel it off and place it back on at your leisure. The accessory also does not seem to leave any sign of residue.

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One downside is that these stands are not offered in varieties that differ in terms of angle. I particularly like the angle that the Kickflip defaults the MacBook to, but some users may be looking for something slightly taller. Perhaps in a future version.

As for the price, the Kickflip is a pretty decent value. Unlike some of the higher-end stands that end up offering similar functionality, these accessories are fairly affordable: the 13-inch model costs $17.95 and the 15-inch version is $19.95. You can grab them on Amazon. These will likely show up at Apple Stores sometime in the near future as well.


Filed under: Reviews Tagged: accessory, Cheap, cool, Kickflip, kickstand, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Retina Display, review

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Review: Transcend’s JetDrives add whopping 240-960GB SSD to MacBook Air at a great price

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See that little $190 daughter card up there^? It houses 240GB of Transcend SSD and it could replace the 64GB or 128GB SSD that came in your MacBook Air in as little as 5 minutes. Even better, Transcend just released larger versions in 480GB and 960GB sizes to blow your SATA III MacBook Air or Pro into new worlds of space. Keep in mind these are SATA-based SSDs and Apple’s latest round of MacBook Pro/Airs came with speedier PCIe SSDs so you can’t use these on Apple’s late 2013/2014 models (see bottom of the article for compatibility list).

I got my hands on a demo unit and took it for a test drive…

My wife’s 128GB MacBook Air from 2011 has been “full” for about a year now and every few months I have to run Cocktail to remove some caches, etc. and keep it going for a few more months. Luckily, it is a Samsung drive and not the slower Toshiba drives that came with these MacBook Airs.

Spoiler alert: here’s Transcend’s video which makes it all look incredibly easy:

The Transcend packaging is extremely nice. The first level you’ll see your new SSD on top. Remove that and you’ll see the enclosure you’ll use to transfer data and which can eventually turn your old SSD into a big fast USB3 stick. One more level down, you’ll see the Torx screwdrivers you’ll need, the “paltry” instructions and cable for the enclosure.

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The first step is hooking up the Transcend SSD to the USB3 cable with the enclosed adapter.

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A quick BlackMagic speed test to set a baseline for the upgrade.

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Then reboot the computer from the recovery partition. From there, go into Disk Utility.

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The cloning of the drive actually takes some serious time because the 2011 MacBook Air is USB 2.  A very full 128GB SSD took about 1:45 to transfer to the new Transcend SSD with the USB 2 being the big bottleneck. USB 3 shouldn’t take much more than 10 minutes for the same amount of data.

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The instructions provided are pretty sparse (just the way I like them). These 2 pages of a small world language book are it!

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Now comes the hardware part of the journey. You’ll want to remove all of the screws on the bottom of the MacBook Air with the provided Torx screwdriver. Pro Tip – the longer screws are the ones in the top middle near the hinge. Don’t forget that like I did.
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The inside of the MBA was surprisingly dusty. I’ve heard that this is mostly dead skin which gives me the willies. Power through this and locate the SSD on the bottom. It will either be Samsung or Toshiba and will have a Black Torx Screw holding it in. Remove the screw and remove the card. Then pop in your new cloned Transcend SSD and replace that screw.

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Compare the two SSDs, Samsung above, Transcend below:

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At this point, you might as well pop your old SSD into the enclosure and secure it with the enclosed 3 screws. Then put the back of your MacBook Air back on and power it up!

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The first boot up will take a few minutes longer than you are used to. The EFI Firmware has to find the new drive and all kinds of other small things are happening. Also it will be slow at first while spotlight indexes itself again. From there, everything should behave like normal. My wife’s reaction was that the MacBook was much much faster.  However that speed was likely due to having some free space rather than actually read/write speed.  A BlackMagic test shows that its raw speeds were actually significantly slower than the default Samsung.

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However, if you download Transcend Toolbox you’ll get speeds much closer to the theoretical limit of SATA3. JetDrive Toolbox monitoring software leverages S.M.A.R.T. technology to analyze its health status. Additionally, it can enable TRIM support for your JetDrive in OS X, maintaining optimum write speeds and maximizing the lifetime of your SSD.

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Obviously this is a great update for those running out of space in MacBook Airs and almost a no-brainer recommendation for those running out of SSD space in our Apple laptops. OWC and others have offered this kind of update for quite some time but the price points never seemed quite so competitive.

 

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Everything you need.

The package includes all the tools you need:

  • MacBook-compliant SSD
  • Enclosure Case with USB 3.0 to SATA Adapter
  • Screwdrivers (T5 & P5)
  • Screws for Enclosure Case x3
  • USB Cable
  • Rubber Feet
  • Travel Pouch
  • Quick Installation Guide & Warranty Card

Match it up.

Find the right model for your Mac below1.

Model Mac Identifier JetDrive Model
MacBook Air 11″ & 13″ Late 2010
Mid 2011
MacBook Air 3,1 / 3,2 / 4,1 / 4,2
*480/960GB JDM500 does not support 3,1
JetDrive 500
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)2
MacBook Air 11″ & 13″ Mid 2012 MacBook Air 5,1 / 5,2 JetDrive 520
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro (Retina®) 13″ Late 2012
Early 2013
MacBook Pro 10,2 JetDrive 720
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro (Retina®) 15″ Mid 2012
Early 2013
MacBook Pro 10,1 JetDrive 725
(240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Pro Late 2008 – Mid 2012 MacBook Pro 5,1 / 5,2 / 5,3 / 5,5 / 6,1 / 6,2 / 7,1 / 8,1 / 8,2 / 8,3 / 9,1 / 9,2 JetDrive 420
(120GB / 240GB / 480GB / 960GB)
MacBook Late 2008 – Mid 2010 MacBook 4,1 / 5,1 / 5,2 / 6,1 / 7,1
Mac mini Mid 2010 – Late 2012 Mac mini 4,1 / 5,1 / 5,2 / 6,1 / 6,2
  • The JetDrive series is specific for certain Mac computer models. Please identify your Mac model here.
  • 480GB / 960GB JetDrive 500 does not support 11-inch MacBook Air Late 2010 due to a mechanical limitation.
  • MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Retina, Mac, Time Machine, and Aperture are trademarks of Apple Inc.

Specifications

JetDrive™ 500

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 130mm x 28.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 60g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 520

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 130mm x 28.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 60g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 720

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance
(Varies by capacity)
Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 110.9mm x 37.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 65g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

JetDrive™ 725

SSD
Interface SATA III 6Gb/s
Capacity 240GB/480GB/960GB
Flash Type Synchronous MLC
Max Performance (Varies by capacity) Max Seq. Read: 570MB/s
Max Seq. Write: 460MB/s
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
Warranty 5 years (The 5 years warranty does not apply when JetDrive Toolbox’s wear-out indicator shows 0% within 5 years)
Enclosure Case
External Dimension 110.9mm x 37.2mm x 10.8mm
Weight 65g
Operating Temperature 0°C (32°F) to 70°C (158°F)
LED Indicator Power, Data Transfer, USB 2.0/3.0
Connection Bandwidth USB 3.0: Up to 5Gb/s
USB 2.0: Up to 480Mb/s
Power Supply 5V DC from USB 2.0/3.0 port
Warranty 2 years

Filed under: Reviews, Tips and Tricks Tagged: Apple, BlackJack, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Serial ATA, Solid-state drive, Transcend, TRIM, USB 3.0

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5 handy shortcuts that will make using your Mac painless

Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they could be when you’re using your Mac to plow through the day’s tasks. Cluttered screens and excess clicking become irritating and tiresome. In today’s video, we take a look at five useful Mac shortcuts that






5 handy shortcuts that will make using your Mac painless

Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they could be when you’re using your Mac to plow through the day’s tasks. Cluttered screens and excess clicking become irritating and tiresome. In today’s video, we take a look at five useful Mac shortcuts that