Staffers reflect on the fifth anniversary of the iPad, ponder the Surface 3
Presenting episode nine of The MacNN Podcast, which this week features a hands-on report on the new 2015 MacBook Pro, along with some chatting about the recently-revealed new MacBook benchmarks, well ahead of its April 10 debut. We also celebrate the fifth anniversary of the iPad by talking about the many ways, big and small, it has changed our lives. We discuss the new Surface 3 from Microsoft, the Doctor Who BBC bundle on BitTorrent, and more.
Performance comparable to 2011 MacBook Air, but longer battery life
Despite the unit not being available for another couple of weeks yet, an enthusiast in Vietnam has gotten his hands on a retail version of Apple's forthcoming 12-inch MacBook and posted an "unboxing" video. Separately, new benchmarks (now removed) for the machine show that while the new model can boast performance on par with an Intel Core i7, it would be an older i7 as found in a 2011 11-inch MacBook Air.
Benchmarks show multi-core apps limited by dual-core processor
The new, lower-cost iMac introduced today is definitely aimed at "light-duty" desktop users rather than those looking for greater-than-notebook power from their desktop, a new teardown and benchmark analysis has shown. While hardly surprising, the newest iMac essentially uses MacBook Air internals in an iMac form factor, and consequently has similar benchmark scores (but with something of a twist). The teardown has revealed that the 8GB RAM on the new iMac model is un-upgradable, however.
Testing of the newest Galaxy phone shows strong graphic, everyday performance
In the review for the Samsung Galaxy S5, we covered the ins and outs of the phone as regards features. What wasn't done at the time was raw performance testing measured through benchmarks. Going through the phone as it was reviewed, we noticed that the Galaxy S5 was swift because of its Snapdragon processor, but just how fast was it? More than that, how does the phone stack up in areas of everyday use compared to other phones on the market?
Benchmark scores for new HTC One varies between benchmarks
Benchmark results for the new HTC One may not truly reflect the performance owners will see in daily use, it has been claimed. A report found the HTC flagship scored highly in one benchmark when compared to other recent releases, while a slightly different benchmarking app from the same developers scored considerably lower, suggesting there may be some benchmark-specific optimization occurring.
Code allowed for benchmark manipulation by removing CPU throttling limitation
Samsung may have learned its lesson from the benchmark inflation affair, with a report suggesting the latest software updates from the company gives a more accurate result of a device's capabilities. Code relating to optimizing the processor of the company's smartphones in earlier releases of Android customized for the devices appears to be missing in Android 4.4 updates, which could be a sign it has been removed completely.
Wide difference in specification suggests similar launch strategy to iPhone 5s, 5c
Samsung could be preparing two versions of the Galaxy S5 for launch, at its Unpacked Event at Mobile World Congress this month. Recent benchmarks appear to show two different sets of specifications being used for variants of the smartphone, and could potentially lead to a situation where Samsung will offer a high-end model and a further premium version of the same phone at the same time.
Shown with quad-core 1.2GHz processor, qHD screen
LG's flagship smartphone could have a smaller stablemate in the future, according to a leaked set of specifications. The LG-D410, allegedly thought to be the LG G2 mini, has apparently surfaced in a GFX benchmark test, with the results suggesting that it will follow the same pattern as "mini" versions of some other devices in offering relatively restrained internals.
Inflated scores removed from benchmark listings after cheating discovered
Benchmark scores for smartphones and tablets from Samsung and HTC have been removed from one ranking site, after it was discovered that they were manipulated for a higher mark. Futuremark has delisted smartphones caught cheating its benchmarking app, including the HTC One and One Mini, and both processor variants of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Galaxy Note III.
Phone artificially scores higher than competitors
Samsung has reportedly implemented software tricks to artificially inflate the benchmark scores for its Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. Ars Technica noticed that the Note 3 outperforms LG's G2 by a wide margin, despite both devices being powered by the same 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, suggesting the company is continuing the overclocking strategy first observed with the Galaxy S4.
GeekBench 3 benchmarking utility brings 15 new benchmark tests
GeekBench 3 has been released for all major platforms including Windows, OS X, and Linux on the desktop. A mobile version of the widely used benchmarking utility has also been released for Android and iOS. The new version is the first major revision to the app since version 2 was released six years ago. According to Primate Labs, the new suite of tests includes 15 new benchmark tests that have been designed to real-world processor intensive tasks.
Laptop Mag's Mark Spoonaur gives 13-inch MBA 4 out of 5 stars
Mark Spoonaur of Laptop Mag published his thoughts on the latest 13-inch MacBook Air model Tuesday, giving the product four out of five stars. Battery life topped the list of favorable attributes as the MacBook Air lasted 9 hours and 34 minutes in Laptop's tests, a full hour and a half longer than its predecessor. In spite of not having the coveted Retina screen resolution, its screen's clarity and brightness was still praised. The 13-inch Air is one of the first ultraportable laptops to include HD5000 graphics, allowing for a high enough performance that gaming is feasible. In benchmark tests, the Air proved to be faster than the previous model, though some Windows 8 notebooks remain faster.
Dual core A6 beats quad-core Galaxy S III, Nexus 7 tablet in tests
While not confirmed as being legitimate, an iPhone 5 with the proper specification credentials has been benchmarked on the indie site Geekbench. The results show it to be the fastest smartphone on the market, with Apple's dual-core A6 (running at roughly 1GHz) beating both the Asus Nexus 7 and Samsung's Galaxy S III overall with a final score of 1,601, the highest total seen in the smartphone wars thus far. If genuine, the rating more than doubles both the iPhone 4S' score of 631 and even the 2012 iPad's 794.
Bolsters rumors of a Retina display release in fall
Rumors that Apple may release a 13-inch MacBook Pro model with a Retina display got a boost when unverified benchmarks of an unreleased MacBook Pro model running an unreleased build of Mountain Lion turned up in logs for the benchmarking tool Geekbench. The unverified report follows another sighting of such a model on the Mini Battery Logger website with matching specs testing a new battery.
Noticeable improvements in photo, video, graphics
A pair of Asian websites that have gotten mysteriously early access to the as-yet-unavailable third-generation iPad have been busy testing the devices, reporting on the improved camera, graphics systems and RAM capacity of the new machine while also confirming that the A5X processor has the same clock speed as the previous model. The improved graphics processor, however, more than makes up for this, tests show.
4S not the only model to gain speed boost
Benchmarks show 1.5GHz processor
HTC's rumored Vigor device has reportedly resurfaced in a NenaMark benchmark, which may point to several features. The handset benchmark, which carries the same ADR6425 model number from earlier leaks, suggests the rumored device may integrate a display with 720p resolution. The results also list Verizon as the carrier, corroborating vague details from the initial rumors.
ShadesCases for iPhone
In brief: We have a review of iPlayMusic, ShadesCases for the iPhone have been released, the new iMacs have been benchmarked and a pink version of OtterBox is coming soon ... We have posted a review of iPlayMusic, which provides a Step-by-step Guide and QuickTime videos that show you the anatomy of a guitar, how to hold and tune it, plus many pages of chords and fingerings along with different music styles. Each section of the guide is matched with video, so that you can read and see exactly what you need to know. You can also export the videos to iTunes, to load onto your iPod. This is a handy feature so that you can review material on the go.
CW: SSD drives overrated
People contemplating SSD versions of computers like the MacBook Air -- which costs approximately $1,300 more than the HDD edition -- may not find the performance difference worthwhile, writes Computerworld. The magazine has conducted a test of 32GB SSDs by Crucial and Ridata, in comparison to two 7200rpm hard drives by Seagate. All four drives used cloned copies of Vista Home Premium, and were benchmarked by software called HD Tach.
Macs better at Vista
Popular Mechanics says that Macs run Windows Vista better than PCs designed to run the operating system. The magazine published an analysis based on user feedback and performance benchmarks for similarly equipped machines, using a number of 'real world' tests to evaluate the machines. Testers were asked to set up the computers right out of the box and "explore the machines through everyday tasks such as Web surfing, document creation, uploading photos, downloading Adobe Acrobat files and playing music and movies through Media Center and Front Row." The magazine said that in both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple's computers were the winners. Results found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than the PCs did.
Primate Labs has published new benchmarks for MacBooks and MacBook Pros released in early 2008. The models show marginal speed gains over their predecessors, in some cases exhibiting performance slower or roughly equal to previous models. The MacBook Pro Early 2008, for instance, shows a gain of just under three percent over the Mid 2007 MacBook Pro -- scores of 3323 and 3236 respectively. The Early 2008 model uses a Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 2.6 GHz, while the Mid 2007 model uses a Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 2.6 GHz (2 cores)
PC MacBook Pro Review
Apple's new 15" MacBook Pro, based on Intel's latest Penryn processor, earned high marks from PC Magazine. In a recently published review, Editor Cisco Cheng took the new model for a test drive, benchmarking performance and feature enhancements. His conclusion - MacBook Pro is a winner. Cheng called it "one of the fastest laptops I've tested". That's high praise indeed, coming from a publication devoted to Windows PCs.
Less than 24 hours after their introduction, Apple's new MacBook Pros based on Intel's Penryn Core 2 Duo architecture have been benchmarked using the venerable Geekbench utility. PrimateLabs tested the MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 @ 2.50GHz and MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz; comparing them to the MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 @ 2.60GHz and MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 @ 2.40GHz. The results show that the old 2.4GHz MacBook Pros are actually faster than the new 2.4GHz models -- a discrepancy explained by the smaller L2 cache on the new models. The 2008 2.5GHz MacBook Pro wasn't able to best the old 2.6GHz T7700-based model.
MacBook Air: impressions
Following our MacBook Air teardown, delivery/unboxing, accessory photos and benchmarks, we have our first impressions of the MacBook Air: Having had the pleasure of using the new MacBook Air (MBA) for the past two days, I can say that Apple has accomplished an amazing feat of engineering and delivered a truly impressive subnotebook computer, although not completely without compromise. The MacBook Air is shockingly thin and light - qualities that were readily apparent in Apple’s promotional material, but are even more so in person.
MacBook Air benchmark
The MacBook Air has caused quite a stir with its slender packaging and minimalist features, but many have wondered what they are giving up in terms of performance by trading in their MacBooks and MacBook Pros for the ultraportable. Primate Labs recently benchmarked the miniature laptop, and found that performance was around 80- to 85-percent of that of a 2GHz MacBook. While the Air pulled ahead slightly in memory and stream performance, it was lacking in other areas.
New Mac Pro benchmarks
Benchmarks of Apple's new Mac Pro systems -- which began shipping earlier this year -- show how the latest systems stack up against each other as well as the company's older workstations. Overall performance ratings placed the Mac Pro 3.2GHz at the top of the charts in both 64-bit and 32-bit tests. Tests show that the performance difference between Apple's 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz Mac Pros is not as great as the difference between running 32-bit code and 64-bit code, according to the Primate Labs Blog.
Primate Labs tests Mac Pro
Primate Labs today released figures regarding performance of the new Mac Pro versus the old eight-core model. The old model is configured with the eight-core Xeon X5365, running at 3GHz, while the newer model features the Xeon W5462 running at 2.8GHz per core. Both machines were tested using Mac OS X 10.5.1, with the new Mac Pro using 2GB of RAM, versus the former that uses 1GB. Primate Labs says that the tests that GeekBench 2 uses to calculate RAM scores relies more on the speed of the memory rather than the quantity, so it was deemed a fair test.