Achieving 2010 performance with a 2006 Mac for Under $700.00?

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– Part 1. “The Plan”

The new hexacore Mac Pro’s are coming, the screaming performance and egg frying potential of those new machines are making my previously five thousand dollar 2006 model look positively dated.

To be sure, I’m in the midst of a computational mid-life crisis. Follow me after the jump for the cure…

Thank You, Bo Hume of American Airlines

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This article was supposed to be about my first real road trip with the iPad, and how it fared being unplugged and disconnected for a three-day journey. Instead that report goes on the back burner while I tell you another story.

Since 9/11 the airline industry has taken a lot of flack for things outside their control: long security lines, additional passenger screening, and any number of other complaints. In fact you usually only ever hear about an airline when something goes either absurdly or disastrously wrong.

Today was another day of travel for me, upgraded to first class, I enjoyed my lunch and marveled at how enjoyable a traveling companion my iPad is, though I was a bit frustrated by a few games that required network connections to work (the AppStore needs to force apps to note that if it’s the case).

Everything went smoothly, no complaints. Got home, unpacked, changed into beer drinkin’ clothes, and got a phone call from some guy named Bo Hume. Figuring it to be a telemarketer or something, I answered gruffly, “Yes.”

“Is this Leigh McMullen.” Bo asked. Sure sign of someone who doesn’t know me, calling to sell me something, I nearly hung up on him

“Yes.” I said flatly.

“Sir, this is Bo Hume from American Airlines, are you still in the airport?”

I answered that I wasn’t, now a little curious, I travel a lot (executive platinum), maybe they wanted to give me a voucher or something for making me sit in the middle seat in the back of the bus on my way out.

“Well, Sir, the reason I ask is that I found a notebook, or pad or something I think belongs to you.”

My iPad. I hadn’t even realized I’d lost it.

Now stop. How the hell often does it happen that someone calls you to report that you lost something you hadn’t even realized was gone.

We make arrangements to meet, I rush back to the airport, Bo meets me outside, he’s exactly the kind of fella you’d want to have a beer with, even wearing a Dallas Cowboys hat, how could you not like the guy?

He gives me back my iPad, I say to him, “Bo, I really appreciate you getting this back to me, would you accept a small reward for your trouble.”

He smiles back, “No trouble, Sir, just thank you for flying American.”

No, Bo, thank you. Hopefully someone at American will see this, find some creative way to thank you and your whole team. You men and women keep the airplanes I rely on in the air and you do it 30,000 times a day, flawlessly.

Seriously, Thank you.

Hands On: 17″ i7 MacBook Pro

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After one of the longest waits in the Intel era, the MacBook Pros were updated Tuesday complete with a migration to the new Intel i5 and i7 architecture. In addition to the CPU update these new top-end notebooks feature better battery life, and the ability to switch from integrated to high performance graphics on the fly. We here at the Cult managed to get our hands on one of the top-dog 17 inch i7 models on Wednesday have have been putting it though it’s paces.

Follow us after the jump for out first impressions and a detailed rundown of the King of the Hill’s real world performance.

i7 Mac Pros Coming?

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‘Conventional Wisdom’ (and the rumor mill) suggest that Apple will remain on the Xenon platform for it’s Mac Pro line. Yet, while browsing Geekbench results, I came across this result indicating an i7 powered Mac Pro 4,1, published less than a Half Hour Ago on Geekbench (which also if we remember broke the existence of i7 powered Mac Book Pro’s a couple of months back).

It’s not too far fetched that Apple might use i7’s in its entry-level Mac Pro. While previously the single and dual processor versions of Apples top box were effectively the same, with the only difference being the number of processors installed, the current version changed that. The current Mac Pro’s have already segmented the line with the entry level being powered by Intel Xeon X3540 processors (which can not be deployed in a dual processor configuration), and the top model being powered by the Intel Xeon X5570.

This split is important because for the first time it require Mac Pro’s to have different motherboards, EFI, etc depending on the variant of the pro machine. Since they’ve already segmented the line based upon architecture, it’s all the more reasonable that they might use the i7 in the low-end Mac Pro.

The only argument against this is performance. As bench-marked, the alleged i7 pro-box scores lower than the current entry model. Turning lemons into lemon-aid however, perhaps this is the mid-level (ie between the Mini and the Mac Pro) tower many of us have been waiting for forever.