Apple just recently announced the upcoming Mac Pro, while also making the new Macbook Air available. The Mac Pro is not available soon, but hints to the possibility of more pc-hardware to be available to build your Hackintosh.
The updated MacBook Air features Intel's Haswell ULT silicon, other changes are the CPU (+GPU), NAND and DRAM: Intel Hasswell processor, HD5000 GPU, LPDDR3-1600 RAM. The MBA has a fundamentally new way to interface with the solid state (SSD) NAND: apple basically got rid of the SATA interface and created a "direct" interface from the SSD NAND to PCI-express. Since there's no PCIe routed off of the CPU in Haswell ULT, these 2 lanes come from the on-package PCH and are a custom Apple design.
"Quick Bench reveals peak sequential read/write performance of nearly 800MB/s", as Anandtech measured (!) "probably the first step towards PCIe storage in a mainstream consumer device that we've seen." (Source: anand)
But now for the sad news: this PCIe-interface is proprietary Apple-developed technology, which might not mean that other PCI-e devices, such as the OCZ Technology Revo Drive Series might work soon on custom Hackintosh builds.
We see similar speed here that was only possible with the Sonnet Tempo SSD Pro until now, when built into a Hackintosh or an actual Apple Mac Pro. For the first time, Apple brought 800 MB/s to mobile computers, which indeed is a small revolution, but comes with the cost of ditching standards. This particular technology might not only be not available for the Hackintosh or Customac scene, but also renders the Macbook Air even less repairable.
Optibay Replica for $14 for a second HDD or SSD in your Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro, including external case for your optical drive
A lot of readers and friends keep asking me about the Optibay and the modding possibilities of their MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Here is a current and up-to-date information on what you can do to tweak your Mac Notebooks to the extent:
First of all, you might want to max your RAM: read our article "Confirmed: 16GB RAM Upgrade for Unibody MacBook Pros" to see how to obtain the cheapest RAM upgrades possible. Second, you might want to consider an SSD replacement for your internal drive. Intel and OCZ are currently the best brands to look out for, you can read our article "OCZ Vertex 3 vs. Intel 520 SSD Benchmarks on OSX (Hackintosh)" for details.
The best way to mod your Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro is the Optibay still: for around $14 you can get the full shebang, including the Optibay (replica) as well as an USB casing for your optical drive, should you need it ever (i don't).
If you don't like the white color, the external drive is also available in black and there is even a slim version (slot-in) in silver. Don't worry about the replicas, they are not really different to the original Optibay - anyway you are mounting them inside your MacBook Pro and you won't see them any time soon.
Also take a look at our previous post "2011 Macbook Pro and SATA III 6Gbps, Optibay: two HD drives – setup explained". There, we recommended saving the few bucks for the external casing and getting a bluray drive instead, a recommendation i can still emphasize.
Caution with Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID 6x3TB (18TB) or 6x4TB (24TB) modification. 6x5TB (30TB) possible as of January 2012?
Nanofunk reported on a possible modification of the Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID to host 6x3TB Hard Drives for a total of 18TB storage back in July 2011. While we did not have any issues with Hitachi Deskstar 3 0F12450 and Western Digital 3 TB SATA II Intellipower 64 MB Drives, other people repeatedly reported issues and even failures when the drives hold more than 11TB of data.
Currently, with the announcement of the Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 4000GB, SATA 6Gb/s (0F14681) and the 4TB Deskstar 5K4000 as well as the 4TB Seagate Barracuda XT 7200RPM a total of 24TB could be reached when modding the Promise Pegasus just replacing the 2TB drives it comes with.
Tomshardware even reported on 5TB HDDs arriving in January 2012, so a modification to fit 30TB into the Promise Pegasus would be possible theoretically.
While all the drives are not available at the current time of writing of this article, please do consult the Promise Support if you are planning to do modifications or already did! Judging from the current feedback on modifications, updating the Promise Pegasus before an official answer or statement from Promise Technology is NOT RECOMMENDED!
Please send emails to Promise directly and ask them to react on the current limitations. I already did so - still waiting for response.
Video: Tsawout Spit – Gh2 Test (driftwood 176mb gop1 hack) from mark wyatt on Vimeo.
There seems to be no day without any surprises with the Panasonic GH2. The latest hot-shit is a hack to get 176Mbps AVCHD Intra up and running on the camera. Right now there's no possibility to record in 25p but there are attempts by vitaly and others, so let's see what the future holds.
What is AVCHD Intra?
"AVCHD Intra is usually recorded to extremely expensive P2 cards on high end cameras and here it is on a consumer camera with an SD card. [...] This is a codec that uses i-frames only unlike consumer AVCHD. Every frame from the sensor is stored. Standard AVCHD is a Long-GOP compression format and works by estimating and guessing at frames in-between ‘real’ images but Intra doesn’t. [...] AVCHD Intra is very good for heavy colour grading, fast action, hand held footage and green screen VFX work. You certainly get a better result from AVCHD Intra on the GH2 than by outputting from any DSLR’s HDMI feed to a external recorder as well." (via eosHD)
How does it compare?
eosHD has a comparison on AVCHD intra 100Mbps vs 24Mbit AVCHD.
And if that's not enough: there is even a 244Mbps AVCHD Intra Hack, as outlined by Driftwood: "It's stable and with good lighting conditions can look amazing."
eosHD recommends: "AVCHD Intra at such high bitrates can be tricky to edit so I recommend transcoding it to ProRes 4-4-4 first."
The Panasonic GH2 turns out to be the currently best Video-DSLr out there, although it is not even a DSLR. The micro-four thirds sensor is much smaller than a full-frame sensor, but the video footage that this great camera produces is far superior to those from lets say the Canon EOS 5D MKII - no moires, no aliasing and a much better video codec: AVCHD. Besides the obvious facts, the GH2 gets hacked extensively: Vitaliy Kiselev first hacked the GH1 and after that the Panasonic GH2.
With the PTOOL firmware manipulation tool, you can get the following improvements, among many others:
- Change Video Bitrates
- Improved GOP patches.
- Improved MJPEG size patches.
- change the 30min recording restriction
- lots of other changes
Patching the firware was possible, after a GH2 Firmware update leaked.
Here is a short overview on what to do in 10 steps:
1) Get a Patch from the extensive patch repository.
2) Load the GH2 1.0E firmware
3) Check all necessary patches, Version increment must be always checked.
4) Save firmware. Just change last digit to any number you want. (e.g. GH2__V11.bin)
5) Copy firmware to root of SD card. Fully charge you battery. Do not even attempt to use AC coupler!
6) Power off your camera if it was on.
7) Power on camera. After this press (not hold) green play button.
8) You'll see hourglass and prompt to update.
9) Press down arrow and after this Menu/set.
10) Wait until upgrade will be completed.
Nikon Rumors is reporting a 36mp D800 coming in the next 30-60 days at a 99% probability. As Canonrumors pointed out, this can be a great thing for Canon users: New full frame sensor cameras, as well as a 5D MKIII or a 6D could be possible. Well, we are desperately waiting, currently equipped with two Panasonic GH2 Cameras that are hacked to the extreme. See an example Video on Vimeo (66Mbps Hack). If there is no alternative coming out soon, lots of people will stick to their GH2s, as they are currently the best there is, especially when using the Atomos Ninja (see a great Example on the Atomos Ninja with the Panasonic GH2).
[UPDATE] Nikonrumors posted More Nikon D800 bits and pieces: 100% Viewfinder coverage, improved AF with face recognition, SD+CF dual memory card slots as well as a USB 3.0 possibility. The question remains, why not CFAST? On another post, the ISO range is said to be 100 – 6400, ISO LO @ 50 and ISO HI-2 @ 25600. We can only wait and see...
We recently blogged, after purchasing two OCZ Vertex SATA3 Drives (240GB) and inserting them with an Optibay setting (2 Drives in one MacBook Pro; see our previous post: 2011 Macbook Pro and SATA III 6Gbps, Optibay: two HD drives – setup explained).
Since we still were experiencing freezes and Sandballs on our Mac OSX Lion 10.7 SSD Setup that were actually not related to TRIM, also the system did not feel as snappy anymore.
Conclusion: don't use TRIM on OSX Lion 10.7, if you are using a Sandforce based SSD. Revert to the original driver and not only the Beachballs will go away, but also the system feels snappy again. See the below Benchmarks for real-life results (since AJA System Test does not work on internal drives, we can recommend using XBENCH to verify the figures for you).
XBENCH Screenshot with TRIM Enabled (using TRIM Enabler for OSX 10.7 Lion)
Screenshot of XBENCH without TRIM Enabler (Restored to original setting)
UPDATE: Grant Pannell (digitaldj.net) reports on how to restore to the original settings.
Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID system for high-speed data demands: 6x3TB for a total of 18TB (mod)
[Edit 23.12.2011] CAUTION! People trying the below mentioned modification of the Promise Thunderbolt reported issues and data loss. Please consult the Promise Support if you are planning to do modifications or already did!
[UPDATE] with the announced Hitachi Deskstar 7K4000 4000GB(4TB), 5K4000 as well as the 4TB Seagate Barracuda XT a total of 24TB could be reached when modding the Promise Pegasus just replacing the 2TB drives it comes with. 5TB HDDs are reported arriving in January 2012. Read our updated Article: Caution with Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt RAID 6x3TB (18TB) or 6x4TB (24TB) modification. 6x5TB (30TB) possible as of January 2012?
The Promise Pegasus is the most "promising" hardware for enthusiasts and pro users, since it offers really fast transfer speeds, even topping the OCZ Vertex 3 SATA 6Gbps internal SSD on Macbook Pro computers.
Delivering over 800MB/s of disk performance, Pegasus is compatible with Mac systems with Thunderbolt
Compare the Promise Pegasus R4 (4x 2TB) and the Promise Pegasus R6 (8x 2TB). Of course, if you want to pimp your pegasus, you can replace the internal drives with different ones.
Internally Promise uses a PMC Sierra PM8011 8-port SAS-2 RAID controller. This is an 8-lane PCIe Gen 2 controller with eight SAS/SATA 6Gbps ports. On the R6 obviously only six of those ports are functional. The PM8011 has an embedded 600MHz MIPS processor and is paired with 512MB of DDR2-533. (via Anandtech)
Possible replacements and hacks for the Promise Pegasus:
* replace the internal hard drives with SSD drives: at the current date this still has stability issues. We are waiting for updated drivers or a response from Pegasus about the current freezes and issues with SSD drives. If you really have to test it out, make sure you get 6Gbps SSD drives. 2.5inch drives will also fit in the caddy.
* replacing the internal drives with 3TB drives: this is a confirmed and stable way of pimping your pegasus drives. Pegasus comes with 2TB Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 drives, so make sure you are getting 3TB drives from the same brand. We can recommend the Hitachi 3TB 7200RPM drive, but also we can confirm the Pegasus runs with the Western Digital 3 TB SATA II Intellipower 64 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive and the SEAGATE Barracuda XT 3 TB SATA 6.0 Gb-s 64 MB Cache. Just keep in mind, not to mix up brands: you should get 6 times the same hard disk for the most stable system.
* replacing the internal drives with SAS 6Gbps Hard Disks: while this would render the promise pegasus a real pro system that is rock stable, drives should be used, that offer a compatible SAS-connector. Since SAS-drives are generally compatible to SATA-connectors, we can generally recommend the Seagate Constellation ES.2 3 TB Internal Hard Drive SAS 600 7200rpm 64MB
Conclusio: The Promise Pegasus is a fast solution for great read/write speed plus the extra feature of having the possibility to daisy-chain more Pegasus devices together, to increase the space when needed. Compared to the Data Robotics DROBO PRO System, it only offers 1-drive fail (1 drive can get corrupted, if 2 fail your data is lost) while the DROBO offers dual drive redundancy. Also, the DROBO PRO supports different sized drives, while you can only put drives of the same size (and it is recommended to also only use the exact same drive models) in the Promise Pegasus.
Overall, nanofunk is recommending the Pegasus R4 and R6, because of its faster speed and possibilty to enhance the system. Since we had our DROBO PRO replaced twice (the unit itself was faulty) we are currently fully in favor of the Promise Pegasus.
Having a hackintosh can be a good experience, once you get it up and running. According to the geekbench result browser, there are some fast ass-kicking machines out there. Unfortunately, one thing not benchmarked by geekbench still sucks big time: the case. How to find the perfect case for hackintosh computers?
1. Get an original Apple Mac Pro Case (Enclosure/ Chassis) or alternatively: an Apple Power Mac G5 Case to tinker with
You can find Apple Mac Pro Cases (case only) via ebay, although they might be quite pricy. Another option is to search for Apple Power Mac G5 Cases instead, which are sometimes selling for a few bucks (most of the people interested are searching for "Mac Pro" and not for "Power Macintosh"). So while there might be some tinkering required, still the Apple Power Macintosh G5 Case is a very fine piece of casing. (see a howto for G5 Casemodding on Youtube)
2. Almost as good as the "original": Lian Li PC-V1000 computer case
You might get lucky and find the Lian Li PC-V1000 computer case on ebay - unfortunately I did not find any other ways of ordering this awesome case somewhere else.
3. DIY your own.
There are some impressive CaseMods out in the wild (e.g. the Hackintosh Jr. Case Mod). While this might be a lot of work, you will earn lots of (digital) street creds for your "almost impossible mod". Enter hardforum.com if you are brave.
CHDK offers some additional features to Canon Consumer Cameras such as
Professional control - RAW files, bracketing, full manual control over exposure, zebra mode, live histogram, grids, etc.
Motion detection - Trigger exposure in response to motion, fast enough to catch lightning.
USB remote - Simple DIY remote allows you to control your camera remotely.
Scripting - Control CHDK and camera features using ubasic and Lua scripts. Enables time lapse, motion detection, advanced bracketing, and much more.
(more on the CHDK Wiki)
The book addresses "geeky" owners of Canon consumer cameras who would like to explore the possibilities of their cameras, and eventually tweak them to do things way beyond their original specifications, such as
- RAW file (or DNG) support in addition to the camera's JPEG output - Manual control for aperture, shutter speed, and ISO - Expand shutter speeds way beyond the specification limits - Enable bracketing
The hacks are based on the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK), a free software maintained by a group of enthusiasts. Many scripts are already published on the web. The book teaches how to use existing scripts and how to write new ones.
Canon cameras, especially their consumer lines of PowerShot/IXUS cameras, allow the user to temporarily upload so called add-ons into the camera through the memory card. The next time the camara is switched on, the add-on is active, when the camera is switched off, the camera returns to its original state, so there is no risk of loosing the manufacturers warranty.