I want an iMac for my office, and honestly I’m growing tired of waiting for the 2012 model(s) to be released… It’s been nearly 400 days since the current model made its debut, which is well over the average of 270 days between iMac refreshes.
But the wait may soon be over. Rumor upon rumor suggests that Apple is on the verge of announcing new iMac and MacBook Pro models, which is quite believable since the Ivy Bridge processors needed to power each of these systems was publically released by Intel in April; and you’d have to assume Apple got its hands on first-gen Ivy Bridge chips well before the general public.
Exactly when the 2012 iMac line might be announced or – more importantly – when they’ll be made available to buyers is a matter of some debate. Many believe, however, that new MacBook Pros and iMacs will be announced, and possibly released, in June or July.
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Earlier this year I decided to ditch my Core i7 cooler and look for something quieter. I work in the office hours each day, and keeping my working environment quiet, though a longtime desire, had become a growing concern – my CPU fan was getting older and starting to rumble a bit.
Originally, I had planned to gather several cooling solutions in the $60-$80 range to determine which was best; but in the end I decided to put just two in a head-to-head matchup:
The Noctua NH-D14 (above, left) , a whopping cooler with fans and fins and pipes galore, and a contained liquid cooling system, the Antec KUHLER H20 620.
I spent weeks with each, tweaking and measuring, and made my choice. But my choice may not be yours; the answer to which solution is best for you depends on several factors.
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You won’t find a bigger proponent of SSDs than yours truly. If you have a desktop or laptop, there really are few (if any) upgrades you can perform that will increase the performance of your system more than replacing your boot hard drive with an SSD.
I’ve been using an SSD as a boot drive for about two years and have never looked back. Faster boot times, app start-ups, file loading, media playback, software performance… I could go on and on.
My first SSD was a 60GB OCZ; I chose it because it was the only model in my price range at the time and its performance was okay. I replaced it early last year with an excellent 128GB Crucial C300, which I’m currently using. I have two other drives for storage, so I don’t think I’ll go to a 256GB model quite yet, but when I upgrade my office PC with a new Ivy Bridge CPU and motherboard in a few weeks, I think I’ll upgrade my SSD as well.
After some looking, I’ve decided to stick with Crucial, and go with their newer, faster m4 series, which promises about a 30% increase in speed (assuming you have a motherboard with a compatible SATA III interface).
The 128GB Crucial m4 SSD looks like the one. Maybe if the price drops on the 256GB version… no, no. 128 is fine.
Last year, hard drive prices soared following massive flooding in Southeast Asia. As I wrote in December, a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive that sold for $89 before the flood was more than $169 when supplies were tightest.
But prices are falling. That same drive, nearly $170 dollars in December, is now $129; and the same goes for many popular hard drives currently available. For example, you can now purchase a 3TB Seagate Barracuda for $164, a price down nearly $80 from a few months ago, or a 500GB WD Caviar Blue laptop drive for $79, down nearly $50.
At this rate, it’ll take a while longer for drive prices to get back to “normal.” If you can wait, you’ll likely save a few bucks. But if you need a new drive now, it’ll only hurt about as much as filling up your gas tank rather than buying a new gaming console – though it might not be long until you’d rather buy a PS3 than fill up.