Davao Mac User


OWC videos on how to upgrade your Mac’s RAM, HDD

Been looking into getting the new 13″ MacBook Pro soon and instead of paying Apple more to get a memory and hard drive upgrade, I’ll save a lot if I do it myself.

I’ve already done memory module upgrades on a Powerbook, an iBook, an Intel iMac, and a MacBook before, and fairly recently, replaced a MacBook’s dead hard drive for a new one. In all instances I used the web to find tutorials on how to do the job.

With the 13″ MacBook Pro purchase looking, I was glad to find Other World Computing’s large library of tutorials on how to upgrade a memory module or hard drives on a Mac. They also have tutorials on replacing optical drives on some Macs and replacing iPod batteries.

Other World Computing, by the way, is one of the best online resources for computer hardware accessories. Their e-commerce site, macsales.com, has one of the largest catalog for Mac, iPod and iPhone upgrades and expansion products.

OWC makes the 13″ MacBook Pro RAM and HDD upgrades look pretty straightforward. Each video begins with a skill level rating and the average time it should take for the upgrade to complete. The video also shows a list of necessary tools and also some reminders (like anti-static precaution and all that). There are three video qualities you can choose from, choice would probably depend on how fast your internet connection is.

Skill level rating for both RAM and HDD upgrade are “easy” and time required is only take 10 minutes. If the memory module and HDD upgrades are done in just one sitting, it probably just take 15 minutes.

Removing the memory module

HDD brace

Some notes on removing the bottom cover of the 13″ MacBook Pro:

  • A #00 Phillips screwdriver is required.
  • Ten screws need to be removed from the bottom of the 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Three screws are longer than the res. These are located near the hinge.
  • The screws go in at angle and not straight down.

Screw at an angle

I’ve read complaints about how the RAM and HDD upgrades are not very user-friendly on the new MacBook Pros. However, based on these two videos I think they’re wrong. It would be interesting to see if someone with little or no experience when it comes to tinkering with computers can at least do the RAM upgrade just by watching OWC’s video.

Finally. A Mac-related post.


Filed under: iMac, Mac, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Pro, , , , ,

AnandTech: “The best battery life I’ve ever seen”

One of the sites that I trust* when it comes to hardware reviews gave its wholehearted approval for the new 15″ MacBook Pro when it came to battery life.

There’s no other way to say this. If you care about battery life and portability at all, buy the new MacBook Pro.

AnandTech’s review of the new 15″ MacBook Pro only covered the hardware and battery changes as most of the internal and external components remained the same when compared to the one it replaces.

Noted hardware changes were the processor speed bump, the new built-in lithium polymer battery, the replacement of the ExpressCard slot with an SD card slot, and the exclusion of the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M in the low end 15″ MacBook Pro. The hard drive and RAM are still user replaceable but requires more use of the screw driver.

What got Anand Lal Shimpi’s attention was the battery life of the new MacBook. His initial test involved browsing a series of 20 webpages, spending 20 seconds on each page, while iTunes is playing in the background. He describes this as an extremely light test. He was amazed to find he got 8.13 hours on that test.

Eight, freakin, hours. I couldn’t believe it. In my lightest test, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro lasted eight hours and eight minutes. That’s with the screen at half brightness (completely usable) and no funny optimizations. The notebook is just playing music and surfing through a lot of my old reviews. There’s no way this could be right.

A little dubious, he performed to two more tests that added more workload. Even though battery life took a hit, it still surpassed his expectations. With these results in hand, he says:

Either way, Apple’s 7 hour claim is well within reason. For light workloads, even on WiFi, you can easily expect 6.5 – 8 hours out of the new 15-inch MBP… If you do a lot of writing on your notebook, the new MBP is exactly what you’ll want; it will easily last you on a cross-country flight if you need to get work done.

My heaviest workload delivered just under 5 hours of battery life, a figure that the old MBP could only attain while running my lightest workload. This thing rocks.

However, the same can’t be said for Windows running on the MacBook Pro.

On a follow-up review, Anand Lal Shimpi reported that running Windows Vista or Windows 7 on the same 15″ MacBook Pro resulted in awful battery life.

When the new 15″ MacBook Pro was running under Mac OS X 10.5.7 it managed to last 8 hours. Under the same testing conditions, running the MacBook Pro under Vista resulted in a drop of 26% in battery life (6.o2 hours). Worse was the battery life under Windows 7 RC 1 which only lasted 5.48 hours.

Five and a half hours of battery life may not sound so bad but you have to consider the fact that this was tested using a notebook that lasted 8.13 hours running a different OS.

The review also tackled the issue of Apple ‘crippling’ SATA by cutting the speed from 3.0Gbps to 1.5Gbps.  As AnandTech pointed out, the reduction in speed may not matter for those who are using 5400 rpm hard disk drives but it might affect those who are going to use SSDs. He also noted that in the real world, the speed reduction might not even be noticeable but he does take Apple to task for limiting performance.

* I don’t trust AnandTech just because of this glowing review of the 15″ MacBook Pro. I’ve used the site before when I was looking for reviews on different PC components. I don’t visit the site often anymore because I’ve stopped building my own PCs. But if anyone would ask me where he can find good hardware reviews or if I wanted information about a hard drive or RAM, AnandTech would be my first choice.

Filed under: MacBook Pro, OS X, , , ,

Updates: iTunes 8.2, Quicktime 7.6.2, iPod shuffle, etc

Apple released an update to iTunes and Quicktime today.

AppleInsider reported that iTunes 8.2 will support iPhones and iPod touches running the iPhone OS 3.0 which is scheduled to be released this month. It also includes “everal accessibility improvements and bug fixes.”

Meanwhile, Quicktime 7.6.2 include changes to “increase reliability, improve compatibility and enhance security”. Also included are some security updates.

Apple, by the way, posted a few updates last week:

  • Third generation iPod shuffle addresses a playback issues and a few bugs plus new VoiceOver Kit languages
  • Garageband 5.0.2 “addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and fixes a number of other minor issues.  The issues addressed include: improved purchasing experience for Artist Lessons in the GarageBand Lesson Store, and accessing installed Jam Packs in the loop browser.”
  • iWork 9.0.2 ” improves reliability when saving some iWork documents and when playing some presentations more than once per Keynote session.”
  • MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3 “adjusts the fan behavior in MacBook Pro systems (15-inch and 17-inch) when running under high workload conditions.”

You can fire up Software Update utility or download the updates manually from the links I’ve provided below. (Except for the third generation iPod shuffle. The update is available in iTunes.)

  1. iTunes 8.2
  2. Quicktime 7.6.2 for Mac or Windows
  3. GarageBand 5.0.2
  4. iWork 9.0.2
  5. MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3

Filed under: iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook Pro, Quicktime,

MWSF 09: the new 17-inch unibody MacBook Pro

Last January 6, 2009, Apple held its Macworld San Francisco keynote with Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing, taking the stage.

During Apple’s last Macworld keynote, the company introduced new versions of their multimedia suite, iLife, and office suite, iWork. Apple also released the new 17-inch MacBook Pro, which completes the lineup of Apple’s portable into the unibody design. Last but not the least, Apple announced DRM-free songs at the iTunes store.

This post will give a rundown on what’s new with the 17-inch MacBook Pro.

Apple unveiled the new aluminium unibody design last October, giving the 13-inch MacBook and the 15-inch MacBook Pro a more durable enclosure. The unibody design not only made the portables sturdier but also made it more lighter, thinner and more resistant to flexing.

On January 6, 2009, Apple introduced the unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro, thus completing the transition of the entire MacBook family to the new design.

Apple also revealed that the 17-inch MacBook Pro has a built-in battery which last longer and has more charging cycles compared to conventional notebook batteries.

Through advanced chemistry, intelligent monitoring of the system and battery, and what Apple calls Adaptive Charging technology, the new MacBook Pro has up to 8 hours of battery life and 1,000 charging cycles, lasting three times longer than the conventional. All this without adding to the thickness, weight or the cost of portable.

Apple’s most powerful notebook has a thickness of 0.98 inches and weighs in at 6.6 pounds. Base unit costs $2,799 with options to upgrade to a faster processor, a bigger hard drive or to a solid state drive, more RAM, and an anti-glare screen ($50).

The new 17-inch MacBook Pro will be available at the end of January.

[source: AppleInsider]

Filed under: MacBook Pro, ,


On July 21, I moved my blog to its own server.

So www.davaomacuser.com no longer points to davaomacuser.wordpress.com.

I've already got a few new posts over there so please join me at www.davaomacuser.com.

See you there. Thanks!

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