Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MacBook Pro Retina Display Analysis

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 6/12/2012 3:15 AM EST 
Posted in Mac , Apple , MacBook Pro , notebook , laptops

I'm in San Francisco until tomorrow morning, but aside from dinner I've been spending as much time with the next-gen MacBook Pro as possible. Apple, as always, has done an excellent job of giving users enough reasons to want this thing. There's the display for those who stare at their computers all day, there's the significant reduction in thickness and weight for those who want portability in a quad-core machine, and there's the significant GPU/SSD spec bump for those who crave performance.

MacBook Pro with Retina Display Comparison
 15-inch Mid 2012 MacBook ProMacBook Pro with Retina Display
Dimensions0.95 H x 14.35 W x 9.82" D0.71 H x 14.13 W x 9.73" D
Weight5.6 lbs (2.54 kg)4.46 lbs (2.02 kg)
CPUCore i7-3615QMCore i7-3720QMCore i7-3615QM
L3 Cache6MB6MB6MB
Base CPU Clock2.3GHz2.6GHz2.3GHz
Max CPU Turbo3.3GHz3.6GHz3.3GHz
GPUIntel HD 4000 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M
System Memory4GB DDR3-16008GB DDR3-16008GB DDR3L-1600
Primary Storage500GB 5400RPM HDD750GB 5400RPM HDD256GB SSD
Optical DriveYYN
Display Size15.4-inches
Display Resolution1440 x 9002880 x 1800
Thunderbolt Ports12
USB Ports2 x USB 3.0
Other Ports1 x Firewire 800, 1 x Audio Line in, 1 x Audio Line out, SDXC reader, Kensington Lock slotSDXC reader, HDMI out, headphone out
Battery Capacity77.5 Wh95 Wh

Although Haswell will likely be a great fit for the next-gen MacBook Pro, anyone who travels a lot and does a good amount of work with their machine will be seriously tempted to upgrade now.

I've touched on the SSD speed bump already, and I've talked about how Apple is handling DPI scaling in Lion. To recap, Retina Display MBP owners now get a slider under OS X's Display Preferences that allow you to specify desktop resolutions other than 1440 x 900. At 1440 x 900 you don't get any increase in usable desktop resolution compared to a standard 15-inch MacBook Pro, but everything is ridiculously crisp. If you're like me however and opted for the 1680 x 1050 "high-res" upgrade last generation, this won't do. Thankfully Apple offers 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 scaling options that trade a bit of image quality and performance for added real estate. The gallery below gives you a look at the five settings.

Gallery: Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display: Scaling

Even at the non-integer scaled 1680 x 1050 setting, the Retina Display looks a lot better than last year's high-res panel. It looks like Apple actually renders the screen at twice the selected resolution before scaling it to fit the 2880 x 1800 panel (in other words, at 1920 x 1200 Apple is rendering everything at 3840 x 2400 (!) before scaling - this is likely where the perf impact is seen, but I'm trying to find a way to quantify that now). Everything just looks better. I also appreciate how quick it is to switch between resolutions on OS X. When I'm doing a lot of work I prefer the 1920 x 1200 setting, but if I'm in content consumption mode I find myself happier at 1440 x 900 or 1680 x 1050.

Fewer Reflections, Hugely Improved Contrast
In the standard (glossy) MacBook Pro, Apple had a standard LCD arrangement with two sheets of glass plus a third piece of cover glass that gave it the seamless edge-to-edge glass appearance. The MacBook Air and the high-res/matte display on the other hand did not have any cover glass and instead hid the LCD panel behind a bezel. The MacBook Pro with Retina Display uses a similar LCD construction to the MacBook Air/matte-MBP, without a cover glass. Instead the Retina Display's two glass layers are different sizes, which you can sort of see in the cross section below:

By removing the cover glass Apple reduces the number of reflections and thus glare, however it's important to point out that this still isn't a matte display. I've never been particularly bothered by glossy screens so I'm really the wrong person to ask whether or not the reduction in reflections makes it usable. Compared to my matte MacBook Pro, the Retina Display is obviously more glossy but at the same time remarkably close. I'll reserve my final judgement until I've used the display in more varied conditions however.

As always, Apple chose to deal with the issues of glare and reflections by integrating an extremely bright panel with great black levels. The MacBook Pro's Retina Display is the first IPS based panel Apple has ever used in a MacBook. Viewing angles are much improved, as are black levels:

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - White

Brightness appears to be down a bit compared to last year's high-res model, but the improvement in black levels more than makes up for the loss. Contrast ratio takes a huge step forward:

LCD Analysis - Contrast

When I'm back in the office I'll take some good shots of the wide viewing angles afforded by the new IPS Retina Display. The old MacBook Pro had a really good display but this just takes it to the next level. The improvement in contrast ratio is the most tangible for me however, aside from the increase in resolution of course.

Application Support for Retina Display
A tremendous benefit of being a provider of both software and hardware for the Mac platform is Apple can obviously sync the introduction of new features in both. Mail, Safari, iPhoto, iMovie and of course, OS X have all been updated to support the new MacBook Pro Retina Display. These applications all look absolutely gorgeous on the new Pro.

Third party applications will have to be updated however. What happens if you run an app that hasn't been updated to support the Retina Display? This screenshot comparing Google Chrome (left) to Safari (right) provides the best (worst case?) example:

Here Google uses Apple's text rendering API however Chrome renders to an offscreen canvas. Chrome's offscreen render doesn't appear to be Retina Display aware, and thus you get the mess you see above. It's usable, but it's a significant enough difference for me to drop Chrome and use Safari until it gets worked out. And I really like Chrome. Update: Chrome Canary appears to fix this.

Most developers will simply need to ensure they supply @2x image assets similar to the situation under iOS in order to properly support the Retina Display.

Gaming at 2880 x 1800
You'll notice that OS X doesn't, by default, expose the Retina Display's native 2880 x 1800 resolution anywhere in the standard, user-facing elements of the OS. In fact, 1920 x 1200 is the highest screen "resolution" you can select - a way of appeasing displaced 17-inch MacBook Pro owners. What about 3D games however?

The good news is the Retina MBP does nothing to hide its true nature from games. The screenshot above Diablo III was taken at 2880 x 1800. The setting page below shows the full list of resolutions enumerated:

Diablo III is actually quite playable at 2880 x 1800, at least in the earlier levels (I haven't had time to make it far enough in the game to tell how bad it can get). I managed to average 20 fps at 2880 x 1800 in the most stressful scene I have presently unlocked. Obviously things are smoother at lower resolutions. Diablo III exhibited some graphical anomalies at 1920 x 1200, but was fine at other 16:10 resolutions.

Not all games will let you do this however. The Unigine Heaven benchmark for example wouldn't expose any resolutions higher than 1920 x 1200. Portal 2, on the other hand, did:

The console text in Portal 2 illustrates why even games need to be updated for proper Retina Display support:

This is also a great example of why Apple didn't directly expose a 2880 x 1800 display resolution in OS X.

I was pleased when ASUS introduced a 1080p IPS panel in the new Zenbook Prime. I am even happier with the Retina Display in the next-generation MacBook Pro. I still need to clock in more hours on the new panel but it's been amazing thus far. I like it even better than the display on the new iPad, likely because I can appreciate it more in my line of work (I'm not typing 15K word articles on the iPad).

Other Notes
Although I'm still saving a bit for the full review, here are some other thoughts I had during my time with the next-gen MacBook Pro:

- The SD card reader works a lot better than its predecessor. In my early 2011 15-inch MacBook Pro there are a number of cards that won't read properly without repeated insertion and/or without applying pressure to the card once it's in the system. The next-gen Pro appears to have fixed this problem for me, at least based on the two cards I'm traveling with now. I have a particularly problematic card back home that I will try as soon as I can.

- Key travel appears to have been reduced a bit, either that or the keys are less springy than on my Sandy Bridge MBP. It's not bad, just different.

- The next-gen Pro chassis is definitely easier to carry around than the old unibody, but it doesn't exactly feel small. I lug around my 15-inch Pro enough that I'd appreciate the difference but don't expect this to feel like a slightly larger MacBook Air. Looking at it another way, the next-gen Pro feels right and makes the old unibody design feel big.

- I really wish the $2199 SKU had the 512GB SSD, or at least offered it as an option - otherwise the spec is near perfect in my mind. Without a standard 2.5" SSD it's going to be difficult to just swap in a larger drive. Other companies may make replacement drives down the road, but if Apple is using Samsung's PM830 controller in here I don't know that I'd want something else.

That's all for now. I've got a lot more testing ahead of me. My flights tomorrow (technically, today) should prove for some good use case testing in an evironment I'm all too familiar with.


Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X

As we've already alluded to, Sapphire's Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X sticks rigidly to AMD's reference clock speeds for this level of board, leaving us to focus instead on the use of a Vapor-X vapour chamber cooling solution on the card as its major selling point.  If you're looking for a more in-depth explanation of vapour chamber cooling and how it works, then you can find it here.

Click for full-size image
At first glance, the Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X looks like it packs quite a big, bulky and hefty cooler (complete with 75mm fan), but this is actually belied by its relatively light weight.  That aside, what we have here is a pretty standard Radeon HD 4850 board design.

Click for full-size image
Taking a look at this board from the side, we can see that the actual mainstay of the cooler is reasonably small, with the rest of the body of the cooler designed to help exhaust hot air out of the rear of the chassis.  We can also see from here that the cooler is a dual-slot affair, meaning that it takes up a little more chassis real estate than AMD's reference offering.

Click for full-size image
Power is provided via a single six-pin PCI Express power connector, as per usual.

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CrossFireX support is also provided via the normal pair of inter-GPU connectors.

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Not a lot to talk about on the rear of the PCB, but here it is anyhow.

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In profile, we can see the Radeon HD 4850 Vapor-X's dual-slot nature once again, while the board sticks with what is becoming a standard output configuration for recent Sapphire boards of a single dual-link DVI, VGA and HDMI connector.  Personally, I miss seeing two dual-link DVI connectors on the board, but the addition of HDMI as standard is certainly no bad thing.

Click for full-size image
The 512MB of GDDR3 memory provided to this board comes courtesy of Samsung's K4J52324QH modules, which I believe are rated at 1GHz.

Packaging and bundle

So, we've seen the actual board now, but how does it appear on retail shelves?  Let's take a peek.

Click for full-size image
There is only one thing I can say about the box art for this Vapor-X board, and that's "Awwwwww, penguins!!".  Really, is any more commentary required?  Okay, maybe just a little - The front of the box makes heavy mention of this board's cooling technology, as well as some other pertinent points from its feature set.

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The rear of the box trumps even this - "Awwwwww, a baby penguin!".  It certainly makes for a fluffy change to sword-wielding women, that's for sure.

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Bundled with the graphics board itself is a Molex to six-pin PCI Express power connector, paper manual, driver CD, Cyberlink applications discs and a "Ruby ROM" demo CD - Keeping things simple yet providing everything you should need to use the card.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIMM # 1

SMBus address 0x50

Memory type DDR3

Module format UDIMM

Manufacturer (ID) Corsair (7F7F9E0000000000)

Size 2048 MBytes

Max bandwidth PC3-10700H (667 MHz)

Part number CMXG2GX3M1A1333C9

Number of banks 8

Nominal Voltage 1.50 Volts

EPP no

XMP no

JEDEC timings table CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency

JEDEC #1 6.0-6-6-16-23 @ 444 MHz

JEDEC #2 8.0-8-8-22-30 @ 592 MHz

JEDEC #3 9.0-9-9-24-34 @ 666 MHz

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How to Fix File Folders Become Shortcuts in Removable Media

How to Fix File Folders Become Shortcuts in Removable Media

Have you ever met this kind of wired situation? Your file folders suddenly became shortcuts when you connect the removable media (USB pen drive, external hard drive and sd memory card etc.) to your computer and try access data in it. You have sizable files say a couple GB in the drive, but it just shows 1KB or 2KB and so on. You also tried the removable media in a different PC, still the same problem occurred. How to make the file folders accessible again or how to recover lost files first of all?

What Caused to Your Folders?

Yes, you may already guess it - probably the virus or Trojans (like BUOUFO, QWERT etc) or autorun.inf worm. Your pen drive or memory card may be suffered or infected. As a result, the files or folders become "hidden". Sometimes you can make them visible again by switching to non-hidden mode, while most of the times you have to kill those virus or Trojans.

How to Fix Folder Shortcuts Problem?
To start with, do not format the removable media immediately as formatting will make the data insides much harder to be recovered, and format won't be necessary to kill the virus. Sometimes it won't let you format the device. For example autorun.inf worm will stop a flash drive from being formatted. So follow the steps below and see if you can make things right.
#1 Check whether the files are not in hidden mode.

Click on "Start" -->Run-->type cmd and click on OK.

Here I assume your removable drive as G:

Enter this command: attrib -h -r -s /s /d g:\*.* (replace the letter g with your usb or memory card "removable drive" letter showed under "My Computer").

Then check if your real files will be showed.

Note: if you have formatted the drive, simply bypass this step and go to #2 directly.
#2 If your files won't show. You have to use some strong anti-virus or anti-malware programs to eliminate the virus or trojans. Download freeware Malwarebytes Anti-Malware from CNET and install it on your computer. You may also find more free anti-virus programs from this post. Then connect your removable media. Run the software to perform a "Full Scan" of the drive which may contain those virus or trojans. '); Default selected option is "Quick Scan". This way should kill those problem makers. After that see if the file folders will be accessed normally.
#3 If you find your folder files missing, do not worry. Take a try of this data recovery tool (take the free trial) and see if you can recover the deleted files or folders. This way should be your final solution.
Are the solutions helpful for fixing your folder shortcuts problem in your usb or memory card etc? Making your voice heard in comments is always great.
Note: folders shortcuts problems vary a lot here and there, I am unable to solve every trouble my readers asked in the comments. As a result, I am listing several articles I found helpful on the Internet that is similar to the topic in the following. Hope they will also help you. Best regards!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

The windows installer service cannot update one or more protected windows

Did you guys have this kind of problem? There is a simple solution for this. I've try using Windows XP with MS office 2007. Step for solution is as per below


1.) Extract fp4autl.dll from 1386 [folder] -> FP40EXT.CAB [archive] inside your Windows XP disk. Copy it

2.) Put it in this directory:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\40\bin
3.) Install your Microsoft Office program

4.) Be Happy

Please comment your experience when dealing with other OS and other version of MS Office

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Install Windows XP Home SP2 into Netbook

Before you start, some checklist that you need to do:
1. Working PC / Laptop
2. Target Netbook
3. USB Thumb Drive >1Gb
4. Original Windows XP installer CD
5. Download PEtoUSB from internet. Download

For the details on how you can do it, you can go to this site. A lot of picture will ease your job to install the XP into your netbook.Go there

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Skype on, But cannot browse internet

1) Go to start, run, cmd, OK 
2) After Cmd opens type this:- 
netsh winsock reset catalog 
--press enter 

3) and again after pressing enter 

netsh intip reset reset.log 

4) Reboot!!!!