Thursday, February 16, 2006

OS X's first Trojan in the wild

It's the start of a new era folks. Mac OS X's first real-world worm, OSX.Leap.A, is out in the wild.

Be careful what files you accept in iChat...

iMac Core Duo stutters on HD H.264 playback

I finally got the chance to test the iMac Core Duo 2.0 GHz myself with HD H.264 QuickTime playback. Contrary to numerous claims online, all was not perfect. The iMac exhibited significant stuttering between in a few spots in the 1080p The Macaulay Library clip between 1:03 - 1:15, with frame rates dropping to as low as 16 fps. Granted, this clip is especially hard to decode since it has a 30 fps frame rate and the full 1920x1080 resolution, but it was still a bit disappointing to see this.

However, CPU speed may not be the limiting factor. According to OS X's Activity Monitor, CPU usage for this clip never went above 145% (out of 200% for two cores). Indeed, when the same clip was played back on a Quad Power Mac in a window, once in a while there was very slight stuttering in the same spots, although it was inconsistent and there was never any stuttering when the clip was played back in full screen mode.

However, on both machines, other 24 fps HD clips I tried played back perfectly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

MacBook Pro now up to 2.16 GHz

Apple has not yet started shipping the MacBook Pro, but they have already quietly increased the maximum speed of the top end version to 2.16 GHz, as a $300 upgrade to the now standard 2.0 GHz model (up from 1.83). Both versions are listed with 3-4 week shipping times for new orders. The 1.67 GHz model has also been bumped to 1.83.

The good news is that those who ordered models with the slower speeds are getting free speed upgrades, but the bad news is that most of these orders have been delayed, despite Apple's statement that the MacBook Pro is shipping this week.

For most of you ordering now, I would recommend against the upgrade to 2.16 GHz. $300 is rather expensive for such a marginal (8%) CPU speed upgrade.