MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 179

28 MacDirectory DEPARTMENT Q > I am about to spring for an 8 core Mac Pro but I am not sure which video card to order. I am working with iMovie and an intermediate 3-D app and have a bunch of games. F. Bagheri, Nevada A > Apple offers a selection of three different video cards in its build-to-order configurations and an "upgrade" version of its mid-range card as a separate item via the Apple Store. All of these cards support dual monitors up to 30". The basic card (Radeon 6000 XT) does a good job with most games and applications and the midrange option (Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT) does even better. The top banana (Nvidia Quadro FX 5600) is a great card, but is both insanely priced and is only available as an original BTO option. You cannot add it at a later date. As for other cards, the pickings are few and far between, but with the exception of the (top-tier BTO card), none of them offer truly stunning performance. My suggestion is to choose the 8800 and spring for extra RAM to give those processors some room to maneuver. Q > I have a G5 dual 1.8 with lots of problems – random data corruption, crashing on wakeup, etc. I have to wipe and reinstall everything a couple of times a year. Apple can't find the problem using its standard diagnostics. The RAM has been tested and is okay. The hard drive is fine as well. What gives? A. Pritchart, Massachusetts A > As I am unable to peer over your shoulder, it is impossible to say, but I am aware of several others who have had identical problems with the same model of G5. As long as it is still under AppleCare (doubtful), you should be able to get Apple to start replacing some parts and see what happens. The problem may be the motherboard, the processors, or the power supply. Based on other cases, I suspect the motherboard. There is a potential gotcha, however: new parts are no longer available, so we are talking about used and recertified parts. If the issue is an undiagnosable defect in the motherboard design, a replacement board may well have the same issue, recertified or not. There may be a silver lining here (so listen up, everyone): If the machine is under warranty and Apple makes three separate attempts to fix a hardware problem, but the hardware problem persists, you might just end up receiving a brand new computer. Call Apple Customer Relations. Q > When I install the OS I am given a choice of various languages. Considering the vast differences between, say Spanish and Chinese, does this mean that a Mac sold in China is different than the same model in the U.S.? S. Lu, California A > I could always ask a girlfriend of mine in Lanzhou, but the answer is no. There is certainly a difference in keyboards, but the machines are the same. If you are curious, take a look at the International control panel within System Preferences (but don't goof around – It might be kind of tough to change things back once your menus have switched to Arabic). For a real giggle, check out the project prefs for DVD Studio Pro – it offers support for 160 languages (just for that special occasion when you need to dash off a set of subtitles in Cornish or Macedonian). Q > The online Apple Store features an assortment of refurbished machines. The prices are nice, but I don't know if I would be getting a good machine. What do you think I should do? G. Kinney, Missouri A > Apple puts a lot of effort into reconditioning and testing these machines and they come with a full one-year warranty with an option for two more years. These are truly indistinguishable from brand new and they come with all of the case candy as well. The specifics of the reconditioning may vary from one machine to another. For example, a laptop may have been given a new LCD panel or an iMac may have a brand new motherboard. Chances are almost nil that one of these refurbished machines will be an actual lemon, but even then, it will come with a full warranty. The real question is about the price savings. Is something like 10% off worth the difference between new and reconditioned? Maybe. It is up to you. While we're on the subject, you might want to drop by your nearby Apple Store every now and then to see if they have any refurbished gear on hand. (There is one in Kansas City and two in St. Louis.) This is how I bought my last two cameras plus an iPod. BEEBE > MACDIRECTORY'S TECH GODDESS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MacDirectory Magazine - Fall-Winter 2008 (#39)