Matrox goes back to the future with DS-1 Thunderbolt Dock—USB 3.0, DVI, GigE for $249

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Do you remember all of those ports you used to see on Macs? DVI, Gig Ethernet (har), and separate analog stereo for in and out? Matrox, a company that used to make mad graphics cards and other video devices, is coming to DubDub with a new $249 piece of kit called the “DS-1.” This box brings you all of those old school ports and even throws in a “superspeed” USB 3.0 port, so you can match the speed of the new MacBooks.

Matrox makes a bunch of other highly rated, high-end Thunderbolt breakout boxes that retail for much more. If you are looking for a (relatively) cheap Thunderbolt dock to hide away from sight and hook up to an old DVI monitor, this may be a good pick up. We should have a review unit to play with next week.

The press release follows: Read more

Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge Quad-Core i7-3770K benchmarked on Mac OS 10.7.3

With Apple’s next round of Macs likely to include Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors recently confirmed for an April launch, there is still some speculation about which processors from the lineup will land in certain Macs. Rumors today point toward a refreshed iMac. Moreover, new Benchmark tests (via tonymacx86) submitted to Geekbench show Apple’s desktop operating system performing with the 3.5GHz Quad-Core i7-3770K, which is one of Intel’s most powerful Ivy Bridge chips suitable for desktops.

Note: The “Mac Pro” in the above screen capture is the profile used by the Hackintosh user, not the hardware. Also, note that the user had to modify the kernel to employ these new chips, which will also see further optimizations by Apple.

Geekbench user “hiwa” obviously had to use a Hackintosh to boot with the new chip. A Z77 motherboard was used in this case. Some benchmarks listed by the user demonstrate scores higher than any current Apple hardware. It is unclear what machine the benchmarks performed on, but it is clear Ivy Bridge is posting some impressive results compared with current Mac hardware.

While the benchmarks above show the Core i7-3770K desktop chip, Intel Product Manager Anand Kajshmanan claimed Apple’s MacBooks (likely to include Ivy Bridge CPUs in the near future) would face strong competition from Intel-powered Ultrabooks. In an interview with PC World, Anand was asked why a person would choose an Ultrabook over a MacBook Air or even an iPad:

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DigiTimes: 2880-by-1800 Retina Display rumored to come to 2012 MacBook Pro

DigiTimes reports, based on “sources in the upstream supply chain”, that a next-generation MacBook Pro with a Retina-capable display sporting a 2880-by-1800 resolution could arrive in the second quarter of 2012:

While the prevailing MacBook models have displays with resolutions ranging from 1680 by 1050 to 1280 by 800, the ultra-high resolution for the new MacBook Pro will further differentiate Apple’s products from other brands, commented the sources.

The report continues asserting that Acer and Asustek Computer also plan to launch high-end Ultrabook models sporting  the 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution displays versus the 1366-by-768 displays typically found on today’s Ultrabooks. The rumor might make sense as Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge platform natively supports displays with up to a 4096-by-4096 pixel resolution and is capable of decoding multiple 4K video streams at once. Lion also added support for 3200-by-2000 wallpapers, doubling icon resolution to 1024-by-1024 pixels and enabling HiDPI display modes.

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Unibody on Ultrabook: Metal on the outside, plastic on the inside


A precision aluminum unibody enclosure gives Mac notebooks structural integrity, providing all of the mounting features in a single part.

Makers of Ultrabooks, ultra-thin notebooks that conform to Intel’s recommended specs, are facing difficulties replicating Apple’s unibody process, citing limited capacity and price restrictions on the unibody process. They’ve come to realize that unibody construction requires expensive CNC equipment to machine a sturdy notebook case from a single block of aluminum, including internal parts and mounting features. Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn and supplier Catcher Technology own thousands of CNC machines and you can imagine where their priorities lie.

According to DigiTimes, the makers of would-be MacBook Air killers are turning to the cheaper high-density fiberglass chassis for the low-end, said to cost up to $30. For the high-end, Apple’s rivals are combining the exterior aluminum enclosure with plastic parts inside. Such a semi-unibody case is said to cost between $40 and $80:

The new aluminum chassis with plastic internal parts design will allow Ultrabooks to feature a metal appearance, but all the internal parts will be made from plastic stuck to metal parts using glue. Read more