Official Back To The Mac Event Discussion Thread (10/20/10)

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    Not sure the Mac App Store will be as huge a hit as some predict. I do think it will help get some smaller developers in the house, but larger corporations (hello Adobe) already offer their software available in downloadable form and they don't have to give Apple a 30% cut of the sales either.


    Never have been a fan of the MBA, but I might have to bite with the better battery life and extra USB port. I love my 15-inch MBP and wouldn't get rid of it, but after carrying one back and forth to the office every day for years, it gets to be a bit of a drag. The only apps I use that require a lot of horsepower are Aperture and Photoshop. If I could get around that fact that I don't need those apps with me at all times (although it is damned convenient) then I could see myself using an MBA daily.
     
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A good thing about the Mac AppStore is it can fix the mess that is OS X installation and uninstall. The process to install and uninstall programs on the Mac is a mess; decidedly worse in my opinion that on Windows.


    This looks to simplify it: click download and it's installed. Click delete and the app is gone. Even my mom could do it.
     
  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Here's what I don't get about the MacBook Air: it's the uber-portable, the Mobile Warrior's ultimate travel companion...and it has the worst battery life of all of Apple's laptops. The MBP 13" claims *10* hours! The 15" and 17" claim 8-9 hours. And the MacBook Air gets, in comparison, a paltry 7 hours. Still impressive stacked up against most laptops. But I expected it to be the first 12 hr portable.
     
  4. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    An extra 1.6 pounds gets you a lot larger battery on a 13-inch MBP, I guess. Have to make sacrifices somewhere to get down to thin and light.
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    http://www.marco.org/1361316116

    Nails why I'll wait for the next mbp
     
  6. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I do really dislike that Marco, and others (outside of those who have done the look through the specs) keep saying SSD. When this is -NOT- an SSD, it is surface mounted Flash Ram. This is a BIG difference. Yes, it's the same technology. But one can be changed as a SATA type device, the other can never be changed (as it's mounted to the board).
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Would you stop calling a RAM chip a RAM chip if it were hardwired? I don't understand your argument.
     
  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Cult of Mac staff is surprisingly unanimous that they will not be buying an Air:

    http://www.cultofmac.com/cult-of-mac-writers-react-to-the-new-macbook-air/64833
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Granted, I'm not the target user for the MBA...my initial reaction was, "ooh, shiny!", and instant-on is very intriguing. But practically, if I were to buy a new laptop and wanted something extra portable, I think I'd be more likely to spend my money on the 13" MBP with its 10 hr battery and better overall performance. I'm not a mobile worker, and don't worry about a pound or two of hardware.


    As for the mobile work force, the gaping hole I see is the lack of a Docking Station.


    I've gone laptop at work, expecting a bit of travel. So, not much travel in the end. But it's handy to carry it to a meeting, take notes, maybe do some work in a 4-hr telecon. And then return to my office, snap into its dock, and have 2-20" monitors, power, keyboard, mouse, ethernet, speakers, and three hardware dongles (for pro software) all connected in one simple action. Not having to plug / unplug seven USB connectors, two monitors, and etc. everytime is a big boon.
     
  10. Keith Plucker

    Keith Plucker Screenwriter
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    I believe Apple agrees with mattCR, there is a difference. Look at Apple's MacBook Air pages. They repeatedly refer to it as just "storage" or "flash storage". From their web site:


    MacBook Air continues its legacy of firsts with something entirely new for any Mac: flash storage. Standard. In fact, the new MacBook Air is designed completely around flash storage. But in a totally different way. Typically, flash storage is housed in a package that’s the same size as a conventional hard drive. Yet the flash chips themselves occupy a very small portion of that housing. Getting rid of the hard drive enclosure and using only the parts that matter — the actual flash chips — frees up about 90 percent more space.


    In fact, quickly looking around Apple's site, I can't find a single instance of Apple referring to it as an SSD. A solid state drive is a known, physical thing. The MacBook Air doesn't have one.


    -KeithP
     
  11. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    That's not accurate. Would I stop calling a RAM chip a RAM chip if it were used as Video Ram or System Ram? Or would I say they are the same thing? Would I argue that the RAM in a USB pen drive is the same as the RAM in your PC? Both are chip technologies.


    The difference is very significant.

    Flash based ram in the form apple is using is built into the board, cannot be changed, modified or upgraded, and exists as a southbridge native (ACPI) device.

    SSD - or Solid State Drive - is a DRIVE technology, using SATA as the transfer method, which means outside of the fact it can be changed, it has it's own controller.


    But it's one of those things were the difference means a lot because those who keep comparing to SSD imply SSD technology.. of which a big part is a controller support. Air doesn't have that. So, the difference there is an important one. It's why Apple goes out of it's way to never mention SSD. And they certainly won't. Imagine if someone had told you the first Apple Ipod Touch 16GB were "SSD". ...


    There are significant pros (space wise) to not doing SSD. There are also some downfalls (like the fact that a single ACPI onboard device means data here is more fragile then SSD, and when that unit is bricked it's really bricked). But it is just apples/oranges.
     
  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    /shrug they are functionally equivalent regardless of form factor or what part of the motherboard accesses them in my mind.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid-state_drive

    "A solid-state drive (SSD) is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data."


    /wikipediaisnotanauthority blah blah blah.
     
  13. Christian Behrens

    Christian Behrens Supporting Actor

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    Only that it's not hardwired to the mainboard:




    -Christian
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Ars has some prelim performance numbers on the drive whose technology shall not be named



    Using X-Bench, we saw the 128GB model—the APPLE SSD TS128C—give the following numbers:

    Code:
     [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]Seq Uncached Write: 134MB/sec (4k blocks) Seq Uncached Write: 158MB/sec (256k blocks) Seq Uncached Read: 68.5MB/sec (4k blocks) Seq Uncached Read: 165.8 MB/sec (256k blocks) Random Uncached Write: 32.18MB/sec (4k) Random Uncached Write: 116.5 (256k) Random Uncached Read: 8.27 (4k) Random Uncached Read: 108.56 (256k) [/COLOR]
    Comparing this to my 15" unibody MacBook Pro, which has a 320GB 5400RPM Hitachi hard disk, the difference is significant:

    Code:
     [COLOR= rgb(51, 51, 51)]Seq Uncached Write: 8 MB/sec (4k blocks) Seq Uncached Write: 39.5 MB/sec (256k blocks) Seq Uncached Read: 5.4 MB/sec (4k blocks) Seq Uncached Read: 18 MB/sec (256k blocks) Random Uncached Write: 0.7 MB/sec (4k) Random Uncached Write: 15.14 MB/sec (256k) Random Uncached Read: 0.25 MB/sec (4k) Random Uncached Read: 12.51 MB/sec (256k)[/COLOR]
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    And Page 3 has video of it returning from sleep mode and the shut down and boot process.

    http://arstechnica.com/apple/guides/2010/10/116-macbook-air-ars-answers-your-burning-questions.ars/3


    I wouldn't call it "instant on" but it's quite fast.
     
  16. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    Ah! This is what I was wanting to see. So, it's PCI-E removable. This IS a different story from the way early concepts thought it was. PCI-E Removables are a big difference then FlashRom built in.. you can get those seperate:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227438


    as an example, and there are a few manufacturers who get them. Many had assumed, based on comments in NYT and the conference, that this would be surface mount (ala iPad/iPod). The fact that it's a PCI-E Bridge device using a standardized controller is a significant boon. A very significant one, IMHO.

     
  17. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Given todays announcement on the Speed comparision between the Macbook Air 13" and the Pro 13" I ordered myself a Maxed out 13" today. It will be my first Mac Laptop, to complement my Mac mini and Ipad. Now if I find that I like it I'll have to figure out what to do with my HP Win 7 Behemoth.
     
  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I don't have the link but there's already a third party firm out there that has said they will begin providing MBA "SSD" (whatever it's called) upgrades and promising to deliver faster memory performance in those chips (250MB/s vs the claimed 160MB/s for Apple's built-in). Wonder if that's going to be a warranty breaker. This company also said that when their drive goes on sale, they'll also sell some type of enclosure that will let you use the "SSD" you just swapped out of your MBA as an external drive.


    The fact that the 13" MBA is benchmarking 80-85% of a current 13" MBP makes it very enticing for me. I've used it in the store and it seems to be faster than my 4 year old 2.33 C2D MBP. Granted it's 4 years old, but I have it maxed out at 4GB RAM and have upgraded the hard drive to a 500GB 7200RPM Hitachi Drive. And I keep it very clean (defrag by cloning out and back using CCC twice a year). I can confidently say my MBP runs like the day it was purchased, except for the DVD-drive which is giving up the ghost. So this MBA will seemingly give me better performance than my current machine at half the weight. Until Apple puts blu on their desktops, this might be the near-term upgrade plan for me. Just have to keep an eye out on more benchmarks and feedback. Love that I will still get the same 1440x900 resolution but on a smaller screen with the MBA (hence higher pixel density).
     
  19. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    I was just given a 2.13GHz MBA yesterday for testing purposes. Never have been a fan of the previous generation MBA's because the performance was deplorable. This new model, paired up with 4GB RAM and the 256GB SSD has won me over. In various application tests, its speeds appear equal to the 13-inch MBP. Of course, I haven't used an SSD equipped MBP, which I suppose would make a better comparison. What shocked me about this new MBA was that I was able to run both Aperture and Photoshop simultaneously on it and not feel bogged down. Sure they don't run as fast as my 15-inch MBP, but I didn't feel that the performance hit was a big negative. If I didn't miss the extra screen real estate that my 15-inch machine provides me with, I could see myself using this particular MBA as my everyday laptop.
     
  20. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Yup, like I said I think a lot of folks who jump on the 13" air are going to be kicking tlhemselves when the 15 gets refreshed with the new hotness that the 13s got.
     

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