Tag Archives: macbook pro


For a long, long time, I’ve wanted to get my digital life in one place, while still having the power to do what I want.  Oh, and I wanted to be able to carry it everywhere — inside the house, to work, on vacation.

Yeah, I just want everything.  Doable, yes?  Well, not really… until now.

I’ve tried to put everything in one place, and force all my work into one device.  That was with an old MacBook Pro.  I was landlocked at 6GB of RAM, which wasn’t enough to handle my work, and once I started talking about 100,000 images, that pushed me to external drives, which killed my throughput.  Add to that a spinning harddrive inside the laptop, and it wasn’t quite as portable as I’d like.

For power, I moved through an eight-core MacPro, and eventually landed on an eight-core iMac.  That iMac has been great, although the speed for external drives hasn’t been terrific, with Firewire 800 being as fast as it goes.

When the MacBook Airs hit, I picked up one, and it’s been a great “on the go” machine, but definitely not the power nor speed for external storage that I’d like.  Still, it’s a nice machine.

Enter the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

This little box seems to have it all.  Internal solid state drive — quick boot, and safe to move the machine quickly, like the MacBook Air.  For external drives, there’s USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectors, which are both way faster than Firewire 800 or USB 2.0.  Processor-wise, it’s an eight-core beast with plenty of speed.  It can be custom-built with 16GB of RAM, which is as much as I had on the iMac and is more than enough for my needs.

And then there’s the screen.

I took a look at one at the Apple Store, and was just gobsmacked.  It’s the most amazing screen I’ve seen on a laptop.  The 15″ screen has more pixels than my 27″ iMac had.  And stunning, stunning color.

Notice all the past tense references?  Well, that’s ’cause I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, and have one of these beauties on order.  Unfortunately, delivery is gonna take a month.  Apparently, they’re flying off the shelves, and Apple can’t make them fast enough.  If you’re Apple, that’s a great problem to have.

Stay tuned… once the little guy shows up, I’m sure I’ll have some comments about it!!!!

Landlocked and Near Calamity

So, things have been pretty quiet from the Deauxmayne of late. Why? Read on…

Since December, I’ve been doing all my work on a “late 2008” vintage MacBook Pro. Nice machine, and while I knew it wasn’t gonna be the same kind of horsepower I was used to on my eight-core MacPro, but I figured I could make it work. And I did, for a while. However, with bigger images out of the 7D, and bigger memory footprints needed for bigger Lightroom catalogs, I found myself landlocked. It was obvious that I needed more memory to crank everything through, but my sad little MBP was maxed out at 4GB. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Some folks have had success putting 6GB in ’em, but it’s an unsupported configuration, and as hard as I was stressing the little machine, I figured I’d probably run into trouble.)

How bad was it? Well, for some images, I would try to do an edit in Lightroom or Photoshop, and have to wait minutes between edits. It was bad, bad, bad. And for Lightroom, I couldn’t run with everything in the same catalog, which was hampering my ability to find my images easily.

I’d been looking at the new quad i7-based iMacs, and figured I’d start saving my pennies to get one later this year. However, my laptop was really struggling, and it was taking the joy (and practicality) out of working with images from my camera. It was bad, bad, bad.

Darla came to my rescue on Wednesday, taking me to the Apple Store at West County Mall, and putting a new iMac i7 in my hands! Absolutely wonderful! Now, the default memory complement of the iMac is only 4GB — which is the same as the laptop — so I knew I needed to enhance that almost out of the box.

I spent a lot of Wednesday and Thursday getting the iMac up, and beginning to migrate applications and data from the laptop. I’d decided to install everything fresh, rather than migrating apps from the laptop. This would be the first clean install I’d had in years. Yeah, that’s one big task, but it was mostly done by Friday.

On Friday, OWC graced me with another 8GB of memory, taking me to 12GB overall. I could not believe how well Lightroom and Photoshop CS5 ran under those conditions. I was even able to re-combine my Lightroom annual catalogs together again, making searches across my whole catalog once again possible.


That brings us to the near calamity part of this story. Saturday, my external FW800 drive started failing. I tried different cables, and different power supplies, and nothing seemed to help. I extracted the drive from the enclosure, and dropped it in my Thermatake BlacX. And the drive just churned. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. I do have a backup strategy, but because of the fiasco with the performance of my laptop, I hadn’t been keeping it up to date over the last few weeks.

The drive eventually came to life, but of course, I didn’t trust it. Becky suggested that we go out this morning, and figure out a replacement strategy. Overnight, I researched the Drobo, thinking that’d be where I’d land. However, I saw some info that implied that there were some folks having problems with them staying mounted on iMacs, and that the performance might not be quite what I was hoping for.

I landed on a pair of 2TB My Book Studio FW800 enclosures, one as a work drive, and a second as a Chronosync’d clone. So today has been spent copying data from my original 2TB drive to the first of the new twins. In retrospect, I’m not as convinced that the old drive was in as much danger as I thought, but getting away from a cobbled-together solution will help me peace of mind.

So… New iMac, and new storage. It’s been a big week at the Deauxmayne!

The Leopard Has Arrived!

My copy of Snow Leopard has just landed on all fours on the doorstep. Less than five minutes after FexEx dropped it off, I have begun installing it on my MacBook Pro. There are rumors running rampant that it could do an upgrade in as little as 15 minutes. When I inserted the disc and began the installation (which had very few options), the installer said it had 45 minutes to go, and now it’s up to 54 minutes. I suspect the 15 minute upgrade will be nowhere to be found. 🙂

Stay tuned for more as I get through the upgrade, and start getting some first impressions.

Laptop Bag Conundrum

When I put the Little-MacBook-That-Could in my stable a couple of years ago, I pawed through every laptop bag I could find until I finally ended up with a Brenthaven. This has been pert near the best laptop bag I’ve ever owned — loads of space to stow cables, adapters, power options and all kinds of other stuff.

Well, the new MacBook Pro won’t fit in my small Brenthaven, so I’m on the prowl again for a new bag. Now BH does make a bag that’ll fit my shiny new beauty, but for some reason, I’m inclined to do something different this time.

So who’s leading the pack right now? Timbuk2 and Booq. They both have gazillions of potential choices, and no one seems to carry them locally, so it’d have to be a purchase based off internet sales sites and opinion sites. Given my last bag purchase experience, I’m not real keen on that, but I don’t think I’ll have much of a choice in the matter.

Any suggestions out there?

New Gear: MacBook Pro

With the Little-MacBook-That-Could getting long in the tooth, and my desire to help the economy, I have purchased a new 15″ MBP, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

So, if you haven’t heard about the construction, the main body is carved out of a single piece of aluminum, like some crazy person would do with a bar of Ivory soap and a whittlin’ knife. It’s soft on the hands, feels light, and has a crazy nice feel compared to the lil’ ol’ MacBook. However, it seems that it could be a bit more prone to having marrs from jewelry or other metal-to-metal impacts. Still, it’s a sweet, sweet feel.

Tonight I’ve been working on it for an hour or two, with it sitting in my lap, and it definitely feels cooler… generally. My iStat info indicates that the processor temperature is just a little higher than the BlackBook, but I noticed it more in my lap. There are points along the back part of the bottom of the base — near the hinge — that seem kinda warm. It’s not crazy hot, but there are definitely some places where the rig is warmer than others.

Now the screen. The glorious, glorious screen. It’s new tech — an LED screen — and it’s beautiful. The color is really brilliant, the surface is glossy, and I haven’t seen anything yet that wasn’t just flat amazing on-screen. This is the same tech that the new Apple 24″ monitor will have when it’s released in a week or so. It ain’t cheap, but man is it pretty.

From a speeds-n-feeds perspective, this box is 25% faster at the processor complex, 50% faster across the memory bus, and gazillions faster on the GPU side. The crazy thing about the GPU is that the new MBP has two video cards — one “high performance” NVidia GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB of discrete memory, and an NVidia GeForce 9400M with 256MB of shared memory, designed for lower power consumption. I don’t run on batteries a lot, so I’ve got it configured to use the 9600 — dunno that I’d notice the difference, but the battery’s rechargeable. 🙂

I also really like the backlit keyboard. What I didn’t like was the fact that it was somewhat uncontrollable — it lit up when ever the machine thought it needed to be lit. However, I found a little application out of Germany called Lab Tick that allows me to set the backlighting to the level I want, and leave it there. Way cool.

I’m real pleased with this little box, and it looks like a new love affair in progress. Stay tuned for more!

Of Lust and Disappointment

Today, Uncle Steve made good, and announced new goodies from the Mothership. In other words, new Apple products were released.

The lust? Well, that’d be the new MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. They’re just stinking beautiful, and loaded with the power to back up the beauty. I love the idea of using LED panels — I’ve heard a ton about their color correctness. Of course, how good that’ll be will depend on how the machine is designed. Faster processor, faster graphics, faster memory… what’s not to love?

And now my disappointment. I was following the announcements as they were being made this morning, and was thrilled to see a 24″ LED panel with a built-in iSight camera. The price isn’t crazy high, and is way more real estate than my 20″ Apple monitor. But…. (and there’s always a “but”)

It appears that the new monitor will only work with the new laptops — I can’t hang it off my octocore MacPro beauty sitting under my desk. What kinda design is that? And frankly, the troops are restless enough about the $900 price tag. Combine with no path to connect it to the MacPro line, and you’ve got some unhappy campers.

Count me in that number.

I would loooove to put an LED monitor on my desk, especially with more real estate, but the reality would seem to be that Apple has turned its back on the guy who’s invested a buncha scratch in a pro workstation, and instead focused on supplying a big ol’ monitor that has the same feature set as the only machines — the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros — that support it. (Yeah, yeah, there’s probably an adapter to hook it to the Little-Macbook-That-Could, but definitely not to Doc Oc.)

Apple has some of the sweetest panels out there, but the Cinema Displays have essentially been frozen in time for four years, and the Dell’s are starting to look pretty attractive. Essentially the same panel, but at about 60% of the cost. With that math, a 24″ really high contrast monitor (LCD, not LED) is sitting around $700.

Once last complaint… because I know The Steve reads this! 🙂

With the new announcements, the 17″ MacBook Pro will become defunct. No new 17″ MacBook. That also means no Apple laptop can use a 30″ Cinema Display at full resolution. Again, it almost seems like the pro user, power user or serious hobbyist has been left out in the cold with the new announcements.

The new laptops are sexy — no doot aboot it — but I’m really questioning where the product lines are headed, and am more than a little concerned for my little empire here at the Deauxmayne.

UPDATE: It looks like Apple has a cable (for a C-note) that will allow all the new laptops to drive the 30″ Cinema Display at full res. That’s cool. I’m still waiting for a way to connect the new 24″ monitor to my MacPro!!!