Thinner, lighter, FASTER: Early benchmarks show 50-65% improvement in MacBook Pro’s Iris graphics

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Macworld’s benchmarks

…less expensive, better battery life too

Apple’s relentless improvement iterations continue unabated. Macworld’s early benchmarks on Apple’s new base model 13″MacBook Pro with built in Intel Iris Graphics are in and show huge speed gains in graphics performance:

The most impressive improvements in the new laptops came courtesy of the new Iris graphics. Compared to the HD 4000 graphics in the early 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the Iris graphics posted between 45 and 50 percent higher frame rates in Cinebench r15’s OpenGL tests and the Unigine Valley Benchmark. Unigen’s Heaven benchmark showed the new systems with about 65 percent improvement in frame rates over the earlier model.

Iris Graphics also support displays up to 4K at 24Hz, a first for Apple’s entry level Pro laptops.

CPU performance improvement is slight but the Intel Haswell architecture adds a few hours of (Apple’s estimated) battery life while the machine actually got thinner and lighter. Meanwhile, Apple loaded up faster 802.11ac Wifi and speedy Samsung PCIe SSDs up to 1TB and Thunderbolt 2.0.

Price? Dropped $100  to $1299. (we are already seeing discounts/tax advantages in our Products section). Read more

Major update to VLC for Mac adds 4K support, improved MKV support, interface improvements and more

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VideoLAN has released version 2.1 of its popular open source video player, VLC. The update — codenamed “Ricewind” — brings new audio processing to the app, to improve both processing performance and audio fidelity. There is full support for surround sound outputs in addition to new effects and many new supported metadata formats for audio.

On the video side, the app has ported the OpenGL output to OpenGL ES, making ports to iOS and Android much easier. Notably, VideoLAN says that VLC is now ready for Ultra-HD content (otherwise known as 4K). The app update has also focused heavily on improving MKV compatibility, including better seek performance and subtitle metadata support.

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