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  #1  
Old January 11th, 2007, 05:29 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Default My First Intel Mac: A 17" MacBook Pro!

Based on my friend Nicolas' experience, I decided to ignore the negatives and go with my gut feelings and splurged on a new 17" MacBook Pro.

I'm travelling to Houston Texas to get my friend Rodney to some top cancer specialists at MDAnderson cancer Center. So I needed a way of working on my images without packing up my tower and Eizo. I think the new PowerbookPro is going to be perfect!

I also got Parallels to allow me those few PC only progams that some people rave about. In additon I ordered an adapter for airline travel. It appears to also work as a car adapter too and is a bargain for about $57.

Today I bought a Tumi padded bullet proof computer case which has enough room to also carry my Macsales.com dual SATA enclosure, a slick black box I call the "Black Beauty", which it is, and inside it 2 500GB 5yr warrantied Seagate SATA drives.

The computer recognizes them for evaluating their health using S.M.A.R.T. So how does one do this with a laptop with only USB 2 and Firewire?

Introdicing the Temp SATA Express 34. This is a serial ATA host adapter for the MacBook Pro's Expresscard/34 slot. This smaller slot has rendered all my previous PCMCIA cards for firewire, USB etc all useless to me! Since I have migrated to SATA, this card opens the way to be able to take with a SATA drive to be able to do heavy work anywhere. One can even use the port multiplying ability to have via each SATA port in the Sonnet Tempo™ Express Card. This means one can have a 5 Bay enclosure with 5 SATA drives (say 750 GB each) from both ports, for a total of 10 x750 GB!

Now why would you need all this, I don't know, but one could make a very fast redundant raid for CS2, audio or HD video work!


For casual travel, I have for back up 1 Smartdisk 40GB compact flash storage unit, 1 60GB ipod with a color screen and 1 80 GB firewire drive. So for photoshoots I can be sure I have all the redundancy I need.

I was pleased with how MacConnection gives a $150 cashback coupon (yes that bloody coupon) and parallels is free after sending in two coupons.

The computer is powered by the usual small white power brick which auto senses voltage. The plug end can be switched for European style connectors and there's also a cable supplied if one needs further length.

The power cord is held snugly by a magnetic break away connector. This already proved useful as I picked up the computer to show something on the screen and the cord pulled off. I have twisted several cables of my Aluminum powerbooks, so this is a great idea!

The computer starts very fast and auto configures rapdly to my .mac account retrieving all the mail. I was so surprised to see myself in a picture at one point and then remembered that there's a built in camera in the bezel above the screen.

My impression is that this is the very best laptop I've owned. The keyboard has a wonderfull tactile feedaback and the screen, matte, is perfectly wonderful.

I've yet to load CS2, but after iViewMedia Pro, CS2, Lightroom etc are on board I'll really know how this puppy sings..or not!

Asher
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  #2  
Old January 11th, 2007, 06:16 PM
Nikolai Sklobovsky Nikolai Sklobovsky is offline
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Asher,
congrats on new toy!
You will be missed here :-(
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  #3  
Old January 11th, 2007, 08:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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I promise I'm not vanishing!

In fact now that I am getting Rodney to MDAnderson, he'll be in good hands and I'll be able to get back to my OPF work and distribute files, post articles and gallery images that have been bipassed.

I have never been so impressed as I am with this computer. Now I'm wondering how fast it is compared to my dual 2.3 GHZ G5? anyone know?

Should I be using this for CS2/3 with 3GB RAM or will the tower with 8GB RAM be faster?

Asher
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Old January 11th, 2007, 09:10 PM
Tim Smith Tim Smith is offline
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Outstanding. I'm envious. I've been waiting to see if another processor leap will happen this year before upgrading from my trusty G5 dualie and getting onboard the Intel train. The tower is next for me. I'll have to make do with my Powerbook for awhile. But that laptop of yours.... sweet.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:09 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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Your enjoyment of that 17" MacBook Pro will only grow with use. Mine certainly has. I didn't think I'd ever see a notebook that was more ideal than my previous 17" PowerBook. I was mistaken.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 09:29 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Ken,

How does it compare in speed with your tower or is this your one machine?

asher
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Old January 12th, 2007, 07:33 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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My desktop system is also an Intel Mac; a dual 2.3GHz dual-core with 4Gb of memory. The MacBook is not quite a peppy as the MacPro, certainly understandable since the latter has twice the essential resources of the former. But the MacBook doesn't exactly keep me waiting, either. It handles 10,000+ images in a Lightroom library with no sweat and the CS3 beta, a universal binary, runs quite swiftly.

So I've no complaints whatsoever.
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Old January 12th, 2007, 08:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Thanks Ken,

I wont let my wife see your post as it might give the idea of my next purchase!

Do you use Lightroom a part of your digital asset management or as an adjunct.

I use iView media Pro and wonder how the Intel Mac will handle catalogs with 30,000 images?

Asher
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Old January 12th, 2007, 10:59 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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I had been using iView Media Pro as my catalog/DAM system until approximately early October. It was at that time that I began to explore Lightroom in earnest and ultimately adopted it as my primary DAM system and basic image processor, abandoning my iView work. At this writing I have 10,015 images cataloged in Lightroom among 260 "shoots" and indexed with a system of 300 keywords. So Lightroom has become my "home" image management and processing application, with Photoshop, Bridge, and other applications serving as satellite tools. I've been able to operate quite smoothly between my MacBook and MacPro with the same Lightroom library.
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Old January 13th, 2007, 01:27 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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I'm wondering how Lightroom catalogs. Does it do so like iview or like iphoto? Can it do backups too?

Baack to the 17" MacBook Pro. This laptop is addictive, but in a very luxurious way. The keyboard is generous in width and the keys press down with a delicate cushioning that seems gentler to my fingers.

The screen is a pleasure to use especially with small type. I can see read typeface about 6 point in size with no problems!

I'm glad I chose the Matte screen as there is often light behond me and reflections would destroy my peaceful relationship with the world in front of me.

I'd say this computer, just in the user experience is the Nirvana enlightened level of working creatively. There is transparency between the writer and the written word!

In simple terms, I find this computer the most beautiful I have ever worked with.

I have only started looking at images, but i can say that looking at black and white photographs is superb.


Asher

Last edited by Asher Kelman; January 13th, 2007 at 10:23 AM.
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  #11  
Old January 14th, 2007, 04:16 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman
I have never been so impressed as I am with this computer. Now I'm wondering how fast it is compared to my dual 2.3 GHZ G5? anyone know?

Should I be using this for CS2/3 with 3GB RAM or will the tower with 8GB RAM be faster?
It depends :) CS3 on the MBP will be probably faster than CS3 or 2 on the G5. CS2 on the MBP will be slower. There is a lot of variables in this, so there isn't a simple answer as to what's faster. The G5 will have faster I/O, so if you are loading / saving a lot of 1GB files, that will matter. The G5 has a bit better memory bandwidth, and as you state, more total memory. The way memory is assigned to 32-bit applications in OSX there is a difference between 3 and 8 GB, esp. with fat pigs such as PS, Aperture or C1. But there isn't _that_ much difference between above 4.5GB RAM. Getting my MacPro from 4 to 6GB made a big difference; 6 to 8 would make much less of a dent, unless you start using 64-bit apps in Leopard (for those apps that will be 64 bit...)

Also, when you start using apps like Aperture, more things become relevant when comparing a tower to a MBP, such as the video card in the tower. The 6800DDL is pretty sweet, the high end ATI cards work okay, but there's a lot of crap there, too.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 09:34 PM
Erik DeBill Erik DeBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Jirman
It depends :) CS3 on the MBP will be probably faster than CS3 or 2 on the G5. CS2 on the MBP will be slower. There is a lot of variables in this, so there isn't a simple answer as to what's faster. The G5 will have faster I/O, so if you are loading / saving a lot of 1GB files, that will matter. The G5 has a bit better memory bandwidth, and as you state, more total memory. The way memory is assigned to 32-bit applications in OSX there is a difference between 3 and 8 GB, esp. with fat pigs such as PS, Aperture or C1. But there isn't _that_ much difference between above 4.5GB RAM. Getting my MacPro from 4 to 6GB made a big difference; 6 to 8 would make much less of a dent, unless you start using 64-bit apps in Leopard (for those apps that will be 64 bit...)

Also, when you start using apps like Aperture, more things become relevant when comparing a tower to a MBP, such as the video card in the tower. The 6800DDL is pretty sweet, the high end ATI cards work okay, but there's a lot of crap there, too.
Don't forget the size of the individual images that are being processed. If your working data won't fit in 3G the processor won't really matter...

I'm saving for a Mac Pro, personally :)
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Old January 14th, 2007, 11:24 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik DeBill
Don't forget the size of the individual images that are being processed. If your working data won't fit in 3G the processor won't really matter...
And that's a misconception. If you have X amount of memory, it doesn't mean that you can have an X size data set. For one, no 32 bit app on OSX can address more than 2GB. Not 4GB, 2GB. So even if you load your MacPro with 16GB memory, Photoshop or whatever app won't be able to use more than 2GB of it, even if the other 14GB are just sitting pretty. PS and some other apps do their own paging, but you can only have 2GB physical memory used.

Byt typically, you don't have 16GB RAM and you are using more than one app. At that point, the OS will nicely split the memory between the apps, paging out idle pages to disk if needed. And there's another rule that very few people know about: Any app will get only up to half (*) the available memory, no matter what's going on in the system - even if nobody wants to use the other half (*). This is why I mentioned that there's a pretty big difference getting up to 4, maybe even 6GB, but above you get less benefit. Why? Half of 4GB is 2GB, which is also the upper limit of what an app can use. If you only have 2GB RAM, and you want to use 2GB, you won't get it because the system will give the app only 1GB physical RAM - the rest will be paged out.

(*) the exact figure is actually pretty hard to compute precisely, but 40%-50% is a good rule of thumb.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 01:40 AM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Jirman
And that's a misconception. If you have X amount of memory, it doesn't mean that you can have an X size data set. For one, no 32 bit app on OSX can address more than 2GB. Not 4GB, 2GB. So even if you load your MacPro with 16GB memory, Photoshop or whatever app won't be able to use more than 2GB of it, even if the other 14GB are just sitting pretty. PS and some other apps do their own paging, but you can only have 2GB physical memory used...
Adobe officially disagrees (last I read) with that statement:
If you have more than 4 GB (to 6 GB (Windows) or 8 GB (Mac OS)), the RAM above 4 GB is used by the operating system as a cache for the Photoshop scratch disk data. Data that previously was written directly to the hard disk by Photoshop, is now cached in this high RAM before being written to the hard disk by the operating system. If you are working with files large enough to take advantage of these extra 2 GB of RAM, the RAM cache can speed performance of Photoshop.
- http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/320005.html
This means that with 4 GB files 8 or even 16 GB of RAM should make a performance difference. How much of a difference is another matter. A 2% boost in performance is not worth the money if you have to replace 1 GB DIMMs with way more expensive 2 GB DIMMs and this ignores the added cost of FB-DIMMs over standard DIMMs.

enjoy your day,

Sean
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Old January 15th, 2007, 08:54 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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This thread is really heading into techie trivia land, eh?

Asher, you'll be happy with your Mac Book Pro no matter what you run on it. A nice Mac Pro makes a good mate for it.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 09:44 AM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant
Adobe officially disagrees (last I read) with that statement
Well that's good for them. Fact is that all "negative" addresses (highest bit set) are reserved for the system, all positive addresses are used by the task. So regardless how much memory you throw at it, a task can never address more than 4GB ram, user and system space combined. The filesystem cache is in system space, so that limits it to 2GB. Of course the system will never use up all of its space for the filesystem cache.

The only real benefit of having more than 4.5GB RAM in 10.4 and older is if you want to run a very large number of apps, or a small number of "pigs". As long as you run just one pig at a time (quit, not switch), 4.5GB and 16GB will give you pretty much the same performance.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 05:34 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Jirman
Well that's good for them. Fact is that all "negative" addresses (highest bit set) are reserved for the system, all positive addresses are used by the task. So regardless how much memory you throw at it, a task can never address more than 4GB ram, user and system space combined. The filesystem cache is in system space, so that limits it to 2GB. Of course the system will never use up all of its space for the filesystem cache.
Well, on XP Pro at the moment my System Cache is 2415380 KB (~2.3 GB) which is over 2 GB. So some systems are not affected by that limit. Albeit, I also have PAE (Physical Address Extension) enabled on my system to be able to use the NX bit so that may be affecting limits.

But my main point is that:
What Photoshop CS2 and Photoshop CS3 will do is if it sees your machine has more than 4GB of RAM in it is flip on the bit that allows reads/writes to the scratch disks to be cached by the OS. How well that works partially depends on how well the OS file caching works. -Scott Byer
If OS X cannot handle the extra RAM, then Apple screwed up royally as the Mach kernel ran on 64-bit systems over a decade ago (OSF/1 on Alpha). Nonetheless, using disk cache to speed up Scratch Disk writes would massively improve performance on my system.

enjoy,

Sean
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Old January 15th, 2007, 09:15 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean DeMerchant
If OS X cannot handle the extra RAM, then Apple screwed up royally as the Mach kernel ran on 64-bit systems over a decade ago (OSF/1 on Alpha).
And it still runs on 64 bit systems today - in 10.4 and 10.5.

But then what do I know. I am sorry that I am not coming across; been down with 104F fever for a few days, that impairs my ability to think in my 5th language.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:27 PM
Sean DeMerchant Sean DeMerchant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Jirman
And it still runs on 64 bit systems today - in 10.4 and 10.5.

But then what do I know. I am sorry that I am not coming across; been down with 104F fever for a few days, that impairs my ability to think in my 5th language.
Hi Stan,

No worries. I am obstinate and pigheaded at times. I do not know the ins and outs of memory on OS X and hearing that it is still memory limited. I read some additional stuff today on the topic and it is interesting (to me) to note that Adobe's blogs note that beyond 8 cores performance in PS has not been addressed/tested in a major fashion.

My main point on OSF/1 was that the Mach kernel was running on huge systems a decade ago and it makes me curious where Apple forked off from it that they still have RAM limitations.

I would enjoy having a Mac but cannot countenace the cost of a good one as I tend to buy twice as often slightly below the threshold of the Mac Pros which seems to get me more horsepower per dollar over the years.

What I would really like to see are benchmarks from someone with 8+ GB of RAM using a RAM disk for the PS Scratch File. But the reality I have observed is PS usage tends to be a step below that in hardware specs from online posters. Hopefully the new Mac Pros with 8+ GB of RAM will change that as comparably spec'ed PCs cost more money the last I looked.

Anyway, take care of yourself as 104 F is a serious fever.

all the best,

Sean
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Old January 16th, 2007, 06:50 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Hi everyone,

The MacBook pro is on my lap and 17" screen is perfect, the typing so easy on the generous keyboard and it is one luxury. The only heat issue is that the high spped card for the SATA 1 Terabyte drive from OWC (2x500GB) surprised me when I whipeed it out befoe leaving my hotel room.

I wish there was a connection for expansion. No doubt Miiglia or some other company has it. It would be great to be able to have the ability to add another memory and a card in a dock with an additonional processor.

I'd say this is very fast compared to my G5 dual 2.3 GH. However, this is a new machine with no clutter.

The unique thig about the key board, Rodney pointed out is that the keys are not only tactlie ways softer and cushioned but firm but they also seem to be sculpted better to hold ones fingers comfortable to the keys. All in all typing seems faster and more comfortable.

Asher
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Old January 16th, 2007, 06:33 PM
Paul Caldwell Paul Caldwell is offline
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Asher,

Curious, what card do you have for the SATA drive you mentioned and where does it plug in on the MacbookPro?

Paul Caldwell
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Old January 16th, 2007, 09:49 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Caldwell
Asher,

Curious, what card do you have for the SATA drive you mentioned and where does it plug in on the MacbookPro?

Paul Caldwell
Hi Paul,

It's the SATA Tempo ™ Express 34.

I have only one question, that is it runs pretty damn hot.

However, it works.

I guess the drives draw a lot of power. I don't understand why because the SATA drives are powered separately.

Asher
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Old January 16th, 2007, 10:18 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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.. and to answer the 2nd half of the question: you plug it into the ExpressCard/32 slot on the left of the MBP.
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Old January 16th, 2007, 10:32 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Hi Stan,

Is running hot such a bad thing? What temp might become worrysome?

Asher
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Old January 16th, 2007, 10:58 PM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman
Hi Stan,

Is running hot such a bad thing? What temp might become worrysome?

Asher
Hot enough to prepare scambled eggs ?-)
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Old January 17th, 2007, 09:10 PM
Stan Jirman Stan Jirman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman
Is running hot such a bad thing? What temp might become worrysome?
Well, maybe you remember the stories of the first G4 Powerbook that burned some Scandinavian professor's crotch because he was so absorbed using it on the crapper... so that hot is definitely bad :)

To see how high "normal" operating temperature is, drain the battery to a good part (below 80%), then plug in the power adapter, and do something that will keep both processors very busy (Photoshop ain't it). Preferably also connect a bus powered (pocket) FW drive. Do that for 5 or more minutes and you'll get the max temperature that the machine is expected to take. If the SATA card produces much more heat than that, you may be pushing your luck; at any rate be careful to wear clothing when using the laptop on your lap :)
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:23 AM
Michael Fontana Michael Fontana is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
..........So Lightroom has become my "home" image management and processing application, with Photoshop, Bridge, and other applications serving as satellite tools. I've been able to operate quite smoothly between my MacBook and MacPro with the same Lightroom library.
How did you managed to use the same library?
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Old February 3rd, 2007, 03:48 PM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
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Asher I got my PowerBookG4 one year ago.It is the Apple product that has given me the most problems since I got my first Mac more than a decade ago. For some reason programs keeps crashing. I deleted the HD on one occasion and I will try the same again and increase the RAM to see if things get better, if not I would have to find the money to get a MacBook. I wish that Apple had a 12" MacBook, It would be easier to transport on my bicycle...


I wander what people do with old computers after they upgrade...
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