Posts tagged with macbook - page 3

Windows Experience Index on MacBook Pro 2GHz compared

I just got the opportunity to try out the latest version of VMware and thought I’d do a quick Windows Experience Index on Boot Camp, Parallels and VMware to see what the performance is like before my new MacBook Pro 17″ arrives (hopefully on Friday!)

When I installed Leopard on my machine I took the opportunity to carve out a dedicated 20GB partition again to put a fresh install of Vista on. As well as being able to boot natively this also now means I can run my single Windows partition switching between native, Parallels or VMware at will which admittedly drives Windows Activation crazy.

Host machine

Hardware MacBook Pro 2GHz “MacBookPro1,1”
Memory 2048MB DDR2 667MHz
Processor 2.0GHz Core Duo
Graphics ATI Radeon X1600 256MB
Disk 100GB 5400RPM
Operating system Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.1


Memory 848MB (Virtual machines only)
Disk 20GB Boot Camp partition
Operating system Microsoft Vista Ultimate Edition 32-bit

Testing notes

  • No other applications running in OS X or Vista
  • Full-screen mode
  • Vendors guest OS tools & drivers installed


1.1 62573
3.0 5570 beta
Boot Camp
2.0 drivers
Processor 4.7 4.7 4.7
Memory (RAM) 3.9 3.9 4.9
Graphics 1.9 1.9 4.1
Gaming graphics 1.0 1.0 4.4
Primary hard disk 5.9 5.9 5.9
Overall 1.0 1.0 4.1


  • Processor: A little surprising given that VMware supports multiple cores but that Parallels doesn’t.
  • Memory: To be expected given that the VM was only running with less RAM.
  • Graphics: Disappointing and likely caused by the VM vendors graphics drivers not being WDM which based.
  • Gaming graphics: Very disappointing and caused by lack of DirectX 9 graphics support.
  • Hard disk: Like processor this is a pleasant surprise.

After my new 17″ MacBook Pro arrives (hopefully this Friday) I will produce another set of scores which should show how much faster the 2.6GHz is with all the options and let me compare like-for-like on the memory front.

I also want to run some Visual Studio 2008 build time comparisons (probably of SubSonic) because compilations are what really counts ;-) If you have any further suggestions for benchmarks, leave a comment!


MacBook Pro 17″ 2.6GHz ordered

Since moving house I have been using my MacBook Pro 15″ 2.0GHz at home, for contracting and even for the odd diagnostics and organization in the office.

The last 20 months have been a bumpy ride with the logic board being replaced twice once for whining and the second time when the inner memory slot went dead. The battery has been recalled and the power supply cable started melting and the paint started flaking off the enclosure but thankfully Apple sorted out all these problems rather swiftly with advanced replacement parts and speedy repairs through local service centers iQ Guernsey and Guernsey Computers.

Every company has problems with products, especially first revisions, but how they deal with them is important and one of my logic board failures was a couple of months out of warranty but their customer services department authorized the replacement anyway. Such service counts for a lot in my book and so now I have outgrown my notebook another MacBook Pro will be it’s replacement…

My paltry 100GB disk space got eaten up with an extensive music library and plenty of 10 megapixel RAW digital camera images. Subtract a 15GB Boot Camp and I was soon looking at external storage. Parallels and Visual Studio 2008 meant I needed to up from 2GB to 4GB of RAM and I found myself constantly missing my 24″ Dell monitor. I also need to be able to test 64-bit applications now that I am developing Cocoa apps.

The Apple Store UK just added the 2.6GHz processor and 200GB 7200RPM drive options this week and although Guernsey is barred from The Apple Store UK local re-seller iQ matches their ex-VAT prices on Pro gear so on Saturday I ordered my new dream machine complete with the high-resolution 1920×1200 anti-glare LCD (no glossy mirror for me thanks).

They also have friendly shop staff unlike Guernsey Computers (although Vernon in their service department is helpful if you can get to him). One thing I really can’t stand though is Apple’s pricing policy on RAM.

To upgrade from 2GB to 4GB they want £450 extra! Crucial UK will do a 4GB kit of the same spec for just £98. I’m not alone in this observation.

It’s just insanely ludicrous.


New iMac available only with glossy display

Showing the glossy MacBook screen</a> When I use a computer I want to view my email, pages and work and not watch a light-show of what’s going on behind me. Glossy displays are therefore rather unappealing and Apple’s latest iMac update has me suitably worried.

First it was the cheap-end MacBooks available only with a glossy display, then it was an option on the MacBook Pro and now the iMac is blemished with its mirror-like display (and downgraded video card from Nvidia 7300 GT to ATI HD2400 XT).

John Siracusa published a great article on Ars Technica last year called And we all shine on that covered the subject in some detail including his take on the reasons why they are popular.

John believes it comes down to shopping being an emotional experience and not a logical one with shoppers easily distracted by shiny things, loud things and bright things all of which they irrationally consider ‘better’ without a thought. This translates to purchases of reflective laptops, deafening speakers and glaring TV screens being purchased over devices that deliver solid, accurate and balanced results.

It is a sad state of affairs if we consumers are nothing more than magpies with wallets.

Do the purchasers of these devices not find their eyes and ears fatigued by the strain of dealing with displays that glare and require the brightness whacked up or speakers that sound so muddy you can’t make out detail?

The only hope is the mention of “glass cover” and “SiO2” on the iMac page. Perhaps Apple has worked out how to increase contrast without introducing copious amounts of glare by using glass rather than plastics but I doubt it.

Still iWork 08 and iLife 08 look great and the keyboard will be worth trying although I doubt it feels as good as the DAS 2.

Shame Apple are still locking out Channel Islanders from their on-line store, even when it is just to purchase a serial number. Guess I’ll have to wait a couple of days for iQ Guernsey to get some in.


Apple’s next enclosure material?

Olivier wonders about Apple’s next enclosure material and that got me pondering. Jobs has already utilized:

  • magnesium (NeXT stations/cubes)
  • titanium (PowerBook)
  • aluminum alloy (MacBook)
  • polycarbonate (iMac, iPod, iBook)

The current Intel machines reused the existing PowerPC enclosure designs – at least superficially – for the iMac, MacBook Pro and Mac Pro machines. Only the MacBook got to knock the older iBook design away.

What material could be next?

Carbon fiber has already been partially used by the likes of Acer and Sony on laptops. Whilst it might be light and strong it is brittle and the thermal conductivity is opposite to what you’re looking for in a laptop.

Jobs also loves metal enclosures at least at the high-end of the market where the price can cover the cost – although apparently not enough to absorb commercial-grade titanium any more hence the PowerBook switch to aluminum.

There are plenty of metals and alloys out there but besides cost they need to be tooled into the designs Apple want, finished to a high standard that won’t corrode or easily mark, strong and inflexible, lightweight and ideally possess good thermal conductivity.


MacBook Pro berylliumBeryllium is cheaper than titanium and has all the important characteristics described above plus a few extra bonuses that make it a primary candidate:

  • easily x-ray’ed through (think laptops at airports)
  • tarnish resistant to high skin acidity (a problem with existing painted aluminum enclosures)
  • available in a variety of colors (why not have a selection… the iMac, iBook and iPod Nano have)

Bear in mind that most of Apple’s equipment (and indeed the majority of the worlds laptops) are manufactured at only a handful of companies out in the far east (Quanta, Compal, Foxconn) they would need to be heavily involved in the process.

But then pushing for breakaway designs that require advanced tooling and alternative manufacturing approaches is one of Job’s passions and what keeps Apple’s hardware looking that one step ahead.


There are two potential problems with beryllium.

  1. in gas or dust forms it is dangerous to humans (as a gas this is Berlyium Oxide BeO …. spookly almost BeOS ;-)
  2. it reacts with lithium – as used in the current Lithium Ion batteries

Given that Apple use batteries by Sony and there are a couple of stories about the laptops catching fire this could be a problem – especially given that your laptop catching fire is bad enough when it isn’t violently reacting with the battery and producing carcinogenic gases.