Canon PowerShot S80 in Review

Canon’s S80 is an 8 megapixel digital camera that I think has pushed the resolution a bit too far.
The S80 is the latest in Canon’s S series. An 8MP camera, it has a lens
which covers the useful 28-100mm (35mm camera equivalent) focal length
range. It is a beautiful camera that drew comments when I was out
shooting with it at family events.

The S80 is a comfortable camera to hold and the sliding cover makes
switching it on and off both easy and definitive. The optical
viewfinder is not ideally placed, almost in the centre of the camera,
as one’s nose makes it hard to get close enough. The LCD is large,
bright and lovely, though. A mode control dial is on the far right of
the camera and whilst it is thus easy to operate with the thumb, tends
to get accidentally changed when handling the camera. The zoom control
is an up/down push button, which is functional rather than excellent. A
large number of buttons on the back mean you do not need to dive into
the menus often.

The display can be set to show grid lines, something I usually
recommend for getting horizons level, and a real time histogram display
of exposure. Very strangely, in a camera at this price, there is no RAW
mode, which I think is a major oversight. The camera does have an
intervalometer to shoot pictures at set times. This can be very useful
for certain applications.

The following images are 100% views of the images shot at varying ISo settings.

ISO50

ISO100



ISO200



ISO400

Image quality on this camera is not as good as I expected. It seems
mainly due to two things that work in concert. The first is noise. I
have noticed this with many 8MP cameras and sadly the S800 falls into
it too in having greater noise than the equivalent model at 5 or 6MP
because the sensor has not grown in size and inadequate other
improvements have been made to cut noise. The second is that the camera
seems to oversharpen the images, and of course this includes the noise.
Examination of many photos at different ISO settings confirms that this
camera is noisier than I would like and also suffers, even on the best
quality setting, from over sharpening and some issues with compression
effects.

So, what is the verdict? Well, I would not buy this camera at the price
it lists for. That is the first time I have had to say that about a
Canon digital in a long time. I would say this camera represents a
megapixel or two too far (if you’ll excuse a movie pun). The addition
of a RAW mode would have helped, because then you could minimize the
sharpening and there would be no compression artifacts. But it is not
there. Now for most amateurs they are never going to make prints or see
the pixels at 100%, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. But I actually think
that when you are buying a camera towards the top of a manufacturer’s
amateur range, that you should be able to use what you have paid for.
So give this one a miss or see if you can still find any of the S60 or
S70 models.

www.canon.com



Specifications

CCD:

Size:

1/1.8 inch

Effective Number of Pixels:

Approx. 8.0 MP

Total Number of Pixels:

Approx. 8.3 MP

Filter Array:

Primary colour filter (Bayer type)

Image Processor:

Procesor:

DiG!C II

Lens:

Focal Length (optical):

5.8 (W) – 20.7 (T) mm

35mm film equivalent:

28 (W) – 100 (T) mm

Maximum Aperture:

f/2.8 (W) – f/5.3 (T)

f/number :

f/2.8 – f/8.0 (W)f/5.3 – f/8.0 (T)

Shutter Speed :

15 – 1/2000 sec

Sensitivity (Equivalent Film Speed):

Auto* , ISO 50/100/200/400 equivalent (* Camera automatically sets the optimum speed.)

Construction:

8 elements in 7 groups (including 2 aspherical lenses including one UA lens)

Optical Zoom:

Approx. 3.6x

Digital Zoom:

Approx. 4.0x

Max Combined Zoom:

Approx. 14x

Focusing Method:

      TTL Autofocus

      9-point AiAF/1-point AF*

      * Two options for focusing frame: Flexizone moved as desired or centre-fixed.

      AF lock, Manual focus and AE/Focus Bracketing available

Focusing Range:

Normal:

44 cm – infinity

Macro:

4 – 44 cm (W)/30 – 44 cm (T)

Manual focus:

4 cm – infinity (W)/30 cm – infinity (T)

Control/Balance:

Light Metering Method:

Evaluative/Centre-weighted average/Spot (Selectable metering frame with Spot mode: Centre fixed/AF-point linked)

Exposure Control Method:

Program AE/Shutter speed-priority AE/Aperture-priority AE/Manual exposure/Auto Exposure Bracketing

Exposure Compensation:

± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments

White Balance Control:

TTL White Balance

White Balance Modes:

Auto, Pre-set (Daylight/Cloudy/Tungsten/Fluorescent/Fluorescent H/Flash/Underwater), Custom

LCD Monitor/Viewfinder:

Viewfinder:

Real-image optical zoom viewfinder

LCD Monitor:

2.5″ Low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT colour LCD

Flash:

Flash Modes:

Auto */On */Off * Red-eye reduction is available.

Flash Range :

55 cm – 4.2 m (W), 55 cm – 2.0 m (T)

Flash Exposure Compensation:

      ± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments

      FE Lock, Slow Synchro, Second Curtain Synchro, Manual Flash Output Setting 3 steps (full/medium/low)

Selectable Shooting Modes:

Shooting Modes:

Auto/Creative zone (Program/Shutter speed priority/Aperture
priority/Manual/Custom)/Image zone (Special Scene/My
colours/Portrait/Landscape/Night Scene
Foliage/Snow/Beach/Fireworks/Underwater/Stitch Assist/ Movie)

Photo Effects Mode:

Effect Off/Vivid/Neutral/Low sharpening/Sepia/Black & White/Custom

Interval shooting:

Increments of 1 – 60 min. up to 100 shots (depending on CF card capacity)

Image Recording Format:

JPEG

Design rule for camera file system, DPOF (Version 1.1) compliant

Still image:

Exif 2.2 (JPEG compression method)

Color Space:

sRGB

Movie:

AVI Image data: Motion JPEG

Sound annotation/Audio Data:

WAVE (Monaural)

JPEG Compression Levels:

Superfine/Fine/Normal

Rec
ording Pixels – Still Images:

Large :

3264 x 2448

Medium 1:

2592 x 1944

Medium 2:

2048 x 1536

Medium 3 :

1600 x 1200

Small:

640 x 480

Recording Pixels – Movie Images:

Large (VGA):

640 x 480 (30fps/15fps)

Medium (QVGA):

320 x 240 (30fps/15fps)

Compact (QQVGA):

160 x 120 (15fps)

High Resolution :

1024 x 768 (15fps)

  *Up to 1GB* per recording with high-speed SD memory card.
Depending on SD memory card capacity & data write speed. Low-level
format may be required. Recording may stop before 1 GB is reached

Other Operations:

Playback Operations:

Single / Index (9 thumbnail images) / Scrolling Display / Slide Show /
Movie / Magnify (2x – 10x) / auto vertical and horizontal image
orientation with Intelligent Orientation Sensor / still histogram
display / transition effects.

File Operations:

DPOF – Print order/Slide show/Image transfer, Movie Editing –
Unnecessary parts* (image + sound) can be erased. * Start point to mid
point, end point to mid point, Sound Memos – max. record/play time is
approx. 60 sec.

Direct Printing:

Yes

PictBridge:

Yes

Print/Share Button:

Yes

Camera Settings:

Start-up image, Start-up sound, Shutter sound, Operation sound, and
Self-timer sound, (My Camera Contents can be created in the camera.)

Menu Languages:

22 languages (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian,
Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Portuguese,
Greek, Polish, Czech, Hugarian, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, Korean,
Thai and Japanese)

Self-timer:

Approx. 2 sec. or 10 sec. delay, or custom*.

Interface:

Computer I/F:

USB 2.0 Hi-Speed

Video Output:

NTSC or PAL selectable

Audio Output:

Monaural

Memory Storage:

SD Menory Card / MutliMedia Card

Supplied Memory:

32MB SD Memory Card

Supported Operating Systems:

PC:

Windows 98 SE/Me/2000 SP4/XP (incl. SP1/SP2)

Mac:

OS X (Version 10.2-10.4)

Inclusions:

Software:

Canon Digital Camera Solution Disk

Power Source:

Battery:

Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery NB-2LH

Standard Charger/AC Adaptor:

Battery Charger CB-2LWE

Optional Charger/AC Adaptor:

AC Adaptor Kit ACK -DC20 (contains: DR-700/DR-20 and CA-PS700)

Optional Car Battery Charger:

Car Battery Charger CBC-NB2

Shooting Capacity (full charge):

LCD Monitor On:

Approx. 200 shots

LCD Monitor Off :

Approx. 700 shots

Replay:

Approx. 300 min.

Dimensions (W x D x H):

104.0 x 38.8 x 57.0 mm (ex. protrusions)

Weight:

Approx. 225g (camera body only)

  *All data based on Canon’s Standard Test Method.:

  **Subject to change without notice.:

  ***Compatible printer required for Direct Printing. Compatible Windows computer required for direct download.:

Epsonâ

A good printer for the price that can also print on your CDs and DVDs.
Note, at the time of posting this, this printer was not yet announced
for the US market, so no US pricing is available. Check with the local
Epson web site www.epson.com some time later to see when it is
announced for North America.

One of the latest Epson printers is the R230.  This printer uses
six individual ink cartridges and Epson’s new HQ dye based color ink
for brighter images. Using Epson’s Variable Sized Droplet Technology
(VSDT) to deliver ink droplets down to 3pl (picolitres), the Epson
Stylus Photo R230 can produce borderless photographs up to A4 (Letter)
size at a resolution of up to 5760 optimized dpi (dots per inch).

The Stylus Photo R230 uses Epson’s new HQ dye ink with enhanced
longevity in six individual ink cartridges (Cyan, Light Cyan, Yellow,
Magenta, Light Magenta and Black) for more realistic colors. On Epson’s
photo papers the HQ ink is rated at a 22 year life while a 36 year life
is possible when teamed with Epson’s ColorLife Photo Paper or their
Semigloss Scrapbook Photo Paper. With individual ink cartridges the
Stylus Photo R230 provides economical printing, as only used cartridges
need to be replaced.

The R230 has claimed print speeds of 15 ppm (A4 pages per minute) in
both color and monochrome and BorderFree print speed of 57 seconds (6×4
print on 720dpi) – a 20% increase from the previous model. In actual
testing the R230 took 4 minutes and 6 seconds to print an 11″x7.5″
photo on glossy paper in quality mode. CD printing took 2 minutes and
37 seconds.

The Stylus Photo R230 prints directly onto compatible CDs and DVDs for
professional looking, easy to organise home videos or photo albums. The
Stylus Photo R230 also prints iron on transfers and can create fun
photo stickers.

Bundled with the Stylus Photo R230 is Epson Creativity Suite, so users
can be creative and have fun with home printing. Epson Creativity Suite
includes Epson File Manager, Scan Assist, Attach to Email, Web to Page
and Send to Web.

This is not a fast printer. Both plain paper and photo printing are not
at all fast in reality. Print quality is great, though. Colors are spot
on out of the box and the dots are small. I can pick no difference from
that of the R350, reviewed elsewhere on the site.
CD/DVD printing works well. There is some slop in the positioning of the CD/DVD transport tray in
its guides, but this can be adjusted out. Out of the box the R230 mis-aligned the print circle a bit (about 1mm).

The Epson Stylus Photo R230 is $199 RRP (including GST) in Australia
and is available for purchase at consumer electronics retailers,
computer superstores, mass merchandisers, office superstores and
selected photo specialty stores. It has not yet been released in most
other countries.

With the above qualifications, this is a very good printer for the
price. It works well, has great print quality and a lot of flexibility.
How does it stack against the competition? Well both Canon and HP have
faster printers at the same price point with comparable print quality.
The equivalent Canon (the Pixma iP6210D) offers a longer print life and
faster printing. Which would I buy? Probably the Canon. The R230 is
definitely worth a look though when available in your country.
Personally, I feel that the Epson models only really offer a clear
advantage when you get up the range a bit, certainly into the models
with pigment inks, but possibly also with models like the R350.

For full product specifications on this and other Epson products please refer to <http://www.epson.com.au>.

PRODUCT NAME

STYLUS PHOTO R230

PRODUCT CODE

C11C626091

PRINTING METHOD

On-demand Inkjet (piezoelectric)

NOZZLE CONFIGURATION

6 x 90 nozzles (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Magenta)

PRINT DIRECTION

Bi-Directional with logic seeking

PRINT SPEED

BLACK TEXT (MEMO) A4

Approx. 15 PPM (Economy) *1

COLOUR TEXT (MEMO) A4

Approx. 15 PPM (Economy) *2

PHOTO 4″ x 6″

57# sec per photo *3

“Second” rating refers to the time taken to print one page. “ppm”
rating refers to the number of pages printed in one minute. The
computer environment we test under is as follows: CPU: 1GHZ Pentium
III; RAM: 128MB; OS: Windows ME; Interface/Connectivity: USB

# When printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper

RESOLUTION

5760 Optimised dpi using Resolution Performance Management (RPM) Technology

PAPER HANDLING

PAPER FEED METHOD

Friction feed with Paper Feeder

PAPER SIZES

A4, A5, B5, 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″

Envelopes (No. 10, DL, C6, 123 x 220mm), Executive, Half Letter.

INTERFACES

USB 1.1 Ports Front & Rear

OPERATING SYTEMS

PRINTER DRIVERS

Mac® OS X 10.2:4 or later

Microsoft® Windows® 98 / 2000 / Me / XP / XP 64-bit

PRINTER SOFTWARE (AVAILABLE ON CD-ROM ONLY)

PRINTER DRIVERS

ON-LINE GUIDE

Epson Creativity Suite

Epson PRINT Image Framer

Epson PRINT Image Framer Designer

Epson Easy Photo Print

Epson Web to Page

Epson Print CD

COLOUR MATCHING

Epson Colour Management System included in Windows® and Mac® drivers:

 

Windows® ICM (Windows® 95/98/Me/2000/XP)

Apple® ColorSync 2.0 compatible

SRGB (Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP)

WARRANTY

 

12 months return to base

 

Optional Additional 2 Year Warranty

3YWR230

 

Epson Warranty

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS (OPERATING)

TEMPERATURE

10 ~ 35°C

HUMIDITY

20 ~ 80% RH

ELECTRICAL SPECIFICATIONS

RATED VOLTAGE

AC 220 ~ 240V

RATED FREQUENCY

50 ~ 60 Hz

POWER CONSUMPTION

12W (ISO10561 Letter Pattern)

DIMENSIONS

W462 x D297 x H474mm

WEIGHT

5.2kg

INK CARTRIDGES

BLACK INK

Black (T0491)

COLOUR INK

Cyan (T0492), Magenta (T0493), Yellow (T0494), Light Cyan (T0495), Light Magenta (T0496)

Epsonâ

A great printer that does not even need a computer to do everything from printing photos to burning them to CD.
The latest Epson printers look pretty impressive, and none more so than
the R350.  This printer uses six individual ink cartridges and
Epson’s new HQ dye based color ink for brighter images. Using Epson’s
Variable Sized Droplet Technology (VSDT) to deliver ink droplets down
to 3pl (picolitres), the Epson Stylus Photo R350 can produce borderless
photographs up to A4 (Letter) size at a resolution of up to 5760
optimized dpi (dots per inch).

The Epson Stylus Photo R350 is based upon the highly successfully
Stylus Photo R310, and offers many new features, including an easy to
use control panel, a high quality 2.4″ LCD screen, numerous cards slots
and PictBridge and for PC free printing directly from digital cameras.

The Stylus Photo R350 also features five card slots with 13 supported
formats, and a USB port for easy connection to portable storage devices
and cameras. You can even transfer images from memory cards to a USB
storage device, like an MP3 player, disk drive or other appropriate
attached drive. All this could be a boon for event photographers, as
you really don’t need a laptop unless you wish to modify images.

The color LCD screen and simple to use menu allow users to select
individual or multiple images to print, print an index sheet, play a
slide show, zoom in or out of images, and print directly from their
digital camera, memory card or storage device for convenient printing
at home, at the office or on holidays. The user interface for all this
is vast improvement over previous models and very useable.

It is rated for printing at up to 15 ppm (pages per minute) in draft
mode for quicker production of documents, and at 105 seconds for 6×4
BorderFree(TM) photos on Epson Premium Glossy Photo. In
actual testing, the print time for a 10″ x 7.5″ photo print with
quality settings for best quality was 1 minute 57 seconds. Printing a
CD/DVD took approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds of actual print time.

CD transport caused no problems during our testing but we did have the
occasional problem for the printer not loading paper properly the first
print after reloading with photo paper. Pulling the paper and
reinserting it fixed it each time.

Print quality is stunning. Colors are spot on out of the box and the
dots are so small that they are very hard to pick except in unusual
image areas. This is an almost perfect printer. Why only almost? Well,
this will depend on individual needs but I really would like to see a
second paper tray beneath the printer, as in many of the Canon models.
Two paper trays and auto selection of the correct one is a great help
to people using their printers for the usual mix of home and small/home
office printing. I also have concerns about print longevity with such
an obviously photo-oriented printer. Epson are making no claim yet
about print longevity and since these are dyes I am not expecting more
than about 25 years at best. I have queried Epson on longevity with the
new HQ inks and will report more when I have the information.

The Epson Stylus Photo R350 is $349 RRP (including GST) in Australia
and is available for purchase at consumer electronics retailers,
computer superstores, mass merchandisers, office superstores and
selected photo specialty stores. It has not yet been released in most
other countries.

With the above qualifications, this is a great printer. It works well,
has great print quality and a lot of flexibility because of the user
interface, memory card ports and screen. Definitely worth a look when
available in your country.

For full product specifications on this and other Epson products please refer to <http://www.epson.com.au>.



PRODUCT NAME    STYLUS PHOTO R350

PRODUCT CODE    C11C607091

PRINTING METHOD    On-demand Inkjet (piezoelectric)

NOZZLE CONFIGURATION    6 x 90 nozzles (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Light Magenta)

PRINT DIRECTION    Bi-Directional with logic seeking

LCD VIEWER    Built in 2.4″ colour LCD

PRINT SPEED

BLACK TEXT (MEMO) A4    Approx. 15 PPM (Economy) *1

COLOUR TEXT (MEMO) A4    Approx. 15 PPM (Economy) *2

PHOTO 4″ x 6″    57# sec per photo

“Second” rating refers to the time taken to print one page. “ppm”
rating refers to the number of pages printed in one minute. The
computer environment we test under is as follows: CPU: 1GHZ Pentium
III; RAM: 128MB; OS: Windows ME; Interface/Connectivity: USB

# When printed on Epson Premium Glossy Photo Paper

RESOLUTION

     5760 Optimised dpi using Resolution Performance Management (RPM) Technology

PAPER HANDLING

PAPER FEED METHOD    Friction feed with Paper Feeder

PAPER SIZES*    A4, A5, B5, 4″ x 6″, 5″ x 7″, Envelopes (No. 10, DL, C6, 123 x 220mm)

* True BorderFree printing is available on the following media sizes:
A4, 100 x 150mm, 4″ x 6″, 3.5″ x 5″, 5″ x 7″. Media types recommended:
Photo Paper, Premium Glossy Photo Paper, Matte Paper Heavyweight.

INTERFACES    USB 2.0 hi-speed*

SUPPORTED MEMORY CARDS

     CompactFlash, SmartMedia*, Memory Stick,
Memory Stick PRO, Memory Stick Duo**, Memory Stick PRO Duo**, MagicGate
Memory Stick, MagicGate Memory Stick Duo**, Microdrive, SD (Secure
Digital) Card, MultiMediaCard, miniSD Card**, xD-Picture Card,
xD-Picture Card Type M

* Maximum capacity is 128 MB

** Adapter required

* Functions under USB 1.1 when used with external CD-R / Zip drive,
PictBridge and USB Direct print connections. Includes front & rear
USB ports.

OPERATING SYTEMS

     Mac® OS 10.2 or later

Microsoft Windows® 98 / 2000 / Me / XP / XP 64-bit

PRINTER SOFTWARE (AVAILABLE ON CD-ROM ONLY)

PRINTER DRIVERS

ON-LINE GUIDE

Epson Creativity Suite

Epson Easy Photo Printing

Epson PhotoQuicker

Epson PRINT Image Framer

Epson PRINT Image Framer Designer

Epson Print CD

Epson Web-to-Page

COLOUR MATCHING

Epson Colour Management System included in Windows® and Mac® drivers:

      Windows® ICM (Windows® 95/98/Me/2000/XP)

Apple® ColorSync 2.0 compatible

SRGB (Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP)

WARRANTY

     12 months return to base

     Optional Additional 2 Year Warranty    3YWR350

     Epson Warranty

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS (OPERATING)

TEMPERATURE    10 ~ 35oC

HUMIDITY    20 ~ 80% RH

ELECTRICAL SPECIFICATIONS

RATED VOLTAGE    AC 220 ~ 240V

RATED FREQUENCY    50 ~ 60 Hz

POWER CONSUMPTION    13W (ISO10561 Letter Pattern)

OPTIONS

DIMENSIONS     W483 x D478 x H297mm

WEIGHT    6.1kg



Digital Art Studio

Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials
Digital Art Studio

Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials

By Karin Schminke, Dorothy Simpson Krause and Bonny Pierce Lhotka

Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 2004

ISBN 0-8230-1342-1

Digital Art Studio is a book about extending digital printing, mainly inkjet, by working with unusual media, transferring the digital image and overworking the digital print with other artist’s materials. As
such, it reminds me of the wonderful books on alternative photographic processes, like gum bi-chromates and cyanotypes, that I used to love in my darkroom days.

This is a how to book for digital artists, illustrators, photographers and crafters who like to get their hands dirty. If you have become bored with the uniformity and repetitive perfection of the digital print, this is the book for you. Chapters include:

  • Tools and Materials
  • Choosing Printing Surfaces
  • Creating Customized Surfaces
  • Underprinting Digital Images as a Base for Other Media
  • Overprinting Digital Images on Other Media
  • Wet Transfers to Absorbent Surfaces
  • Dry Emulsion Transfers to Non-absorbent and Dimensional Surfaces
  • Gelatin Transfers
  • Layering Prints with Collage and Paint
  • Creating Three-Dimensional Work
  • Printing on Fabric

There is also a useful glossary and resources section.

Written by three artists who have well established reputations as digital artists and print makers, the book is lavishly illustrated with their work. Step by step sections take you through each process. I like the fact that the book is not just limited to this step-by-step approach but also helps you to understand the basis of the process. This is essential, as everyone finds their own working process, this mix of a proven step-by-step approach plus a deeper understanding helps you to achieve this.

There is a good variation in the book from pretty simple processes to quite complex ones. All are handled well. You can read the book from cover to cover, as I did, or browse and dive in at random.

Who should get this book? I actually think anyone who is serious about their digital art and who works in print should get this book as a way to unlock your thinking, whether you actually use any of the techniques or not. Digital art students, design and photography students, crafters, art and photography hobbyists and scrapbookers looking to do something different should all buy it. I use it with my undergraduate (college) art, photography and design students to get them experimenting and thinking about alternatives.

Can the book be improved? Well, if they do a second edition, apart from adding any other processes the authors have come up with since this was written, I would like to see a section after the processes have been discussed that examines the aesthetic and conceptual thinking of an artist in how to decide when and why to use these techniques. The book is great, as is, at telling you how to do these things. I would like to see a section that discusses why to use them.

Sony VPLCX20 Data Projector

Weighing in at just 1.9kg, the VPL-CX20 is among the most compact 2000 ANSI LCD projectors in the market. Encased in a sleek, durable aluminum exterior, its stylish curves create a professional look for corporate meetings and presentations.

Sony’s new VPLCX20 data projector is an impressive, little unit. The
auto setup capability ensures quick and easy setup and shutdown, saving
valuable time. Its Australian pricing is $3,695.00 AUD, inc. GST. Check
your local pricing in other countries. Other key features are:

  • 3LCD Technology
  • Bright 2000 ANSI Lumens
  • Lightweight at just 1.9kg
  • Native XGA Resolution
  • Advanced Auto Set-Up
  • Power Zoom and Focus
  • Off & Go
  • Security and anti-theft features
  • Short throw lens

Setup is easy and the remote control offers a full range of
functionality. The image is bright and crisp and the color was perfect
from out of the box with both Mac OS X and Windows XP test systems. The
short throw lens makes for a nicely large image even in a very small
meeting room. This is not a silent projector, especially on the bright
lamp setting. But it is not too load, in my opinion and is quieter than
many projectors. It is a fact of life that these projectors use lamps
that throw off a lot of heat, and so fan cooling is mandatory.

All round, this is a lovely projector. Bright, sharp and of decent
resolution. Works great in small rooms and is easy to control
completely from the remote. Highly recommended.

VPLCX20 Specifications

Optical Projection System: 3LCD with dichroic prism recombination, single lens

LCD Panels: 3 HTPS LCD panels, 0.63″ diagonal, 1024 x 768 pixels each

Brightness: 2000 ANSI Lumens

Lens: Short throw, Motorised Zoom and Focus, Auto Focus

Lamp: 165 Watt UHP, 2000/3000 hours

Screen Size: 1 metre (40″) to 3.81m (150″) diagonal

Acceptable PC Signals: Up to SXGA+ (1440 x 1050)

Acceptable Video Signals: 15kHz RGB/Component 50/60Hz, Progressive
Component 50/60Hz, DTV(480/60i, 575/50i, 480/60p, 575/50p, 540/60p,
720/60i, 720/50p, 1080/60i, 1080/50i), Composite Video, Y/C Video

Input A, 15 pin mini D-sub: Analogue RGB/Component (75 ohms
terminated). Sync on Green, Composite Sync, Separate H & V syncs.

Replacement Lamp: LMPC162

Power Requirements: AC 100 Volts to 240 Volts, 50/60 Hz, 2.2 – 1.0 Amps

Power Consumption: Standby: 0.8 Watts, Max: 220 watts

Operating Temperature: 0 to 35 degrees Celsius

Operating Humidity: 35% to 85%, no condensation

Dimensions (W x D x H): 273 x 210 x 52mm (without projections)

Weight: 1.9kg

Signals

Video Resolution: 750 TV Lines

Inputs

Audio/Video Multi Connector: Composite Video (75 ohms terminated), Y/C
Video (75 ohms terminated), mono audio (500mV, input Impedance 47kOhms)

Safety Regulations

Safety Regulations: UL1950, CSA 60950, FCC Class B, IC Class B, NEMKO (EN60950) CE (LVD, EMC), C-Tick, Denan, VCCI Class B

General

Speaker: 1 Watt, mono

www.sony.com

New Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper

Claimed to be Universally Compatible with Dye, Pigmented Ink Printers; Instant Drying Media
Kodak Australasia has introduced Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper
for professional and advanced amateur (AdAm) photographers. The high
quality, instant-dry paper, available in glossy and lustre finishes, is
compatible with all inkjet printers (they claim) and represents the
first Kodak Professional branded inkjet- media in the market.

“Our new professional inkjet paper applies Kodak’s history and
expertise in silver-halide paper technology and colour science,” said
Steve Morley, General Manager, Digital and Film Imaging Systems,
Australia & New Zealand. “The new paper blends consistent colour
reproduction with the outstanding quality of Kodak prints as we
continue to advance our broad portfolio to meet the needs of pros and
AdAms.”

Kodak Professional Inkjet Photo Paper offers a number of features:

  • Instant dry photo paper
  • Universally compatible with ALL inkjet printers – both pigmented and dye-base inkjet printers
  • Excellent glossy uniformity
  • 255 g/m2, 9mil; Resin coated (true photo base) paper
  • Kodak Professional paper backprint and unique package design
  • Available in gloss (F) and lustre (E) finishes

Custom color profiles available for optimal print quality (visit www.kodak.com/go/proinkjet)

The new paper comes in A4 20 Sheets (RRP AU$29.95), 50 Sheets (RRP
AU$69.95) and A3 20 Sheets (RRP AU$79.95). Kodak Professional Inkjet
Photo Paper in glossy and lustre finish is currently available at photo
specialty retailers in Australia.  

So what is it like? Well, we tried the Lustre paper in both a new Epson
RX700 multi-function and in a HP 2710 multi-function printer. Print
quality on both was excellent and I certainly like the feel of the
paper. Color accuracy is good. Kodak make no claims on the packaging of
the longevity of prints done on this paper. That is an improvement over
making outlandish claims using a questionable test methodology, as some
people do. However, it means that you have no indication of expected
print life until an independent person does a longevity test, such as
the Wilhelm Institute.

Would I use this paper? Well yes, but only for images where longevity
is not important. For those I would stick with paper/ink/printer
combinations that have been independently rated by the Wilhelm
Institute.

Designing Web Sites for an International Audience

Jacob Nielson’s site offers some good advice
Jakob Nielson’s web useability site has a new alert article on the
design of web sites to suit an international audience. Definitely some
useful points in here.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20050808.html

useit.com is
dedicated to providing useful information of web useability and
effective web site design principles. There is a free newsletter alert
of when new articles have been posted. The alert articles are highly
abbreviated forms of the full reports which have to be paid for.
However for serious web developers these are worth buying on a
selective basis. The shortened free alerts also provide great
information, just not all of it.

A great site and good, solid information.

Epson EMP-S3 data projector

The Epson EMP-S3 multimedia projector: smooth 3LCD viewing at a ground breaking price
Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the EMP-S3 is a portable
multimedia projector and continues Epson’s pricing strategy set with
the release of the EMP-S1 in 2003. Epson’s patented 3LCD technology
produces brighter and more natural images, a smoother and sharper
playback and as there is no color break-up viewing is easier on the
eyes. The EMP-S3 also features a SVGA (super video graphics array)
800×600 pixel native resolution.

The EMP-S3 uses a newly designed compact Epson E-TORL lamp, which
eliminates light leakage and minimizes diffraction by combining an
ellipsoidal reflector with an aspherical lens and hemispherical mirror,
for efficient light projection at up to 1600 ANSI lumens. The E-TORL
lamp also gives a quick 5-second start up time and an instant shutdown
at the push of a single button, eliminating waiting time and the
possibility of lamp damage.

The EMP-S3 takes up 30% less space and is lighter than its predecessor,
weighing just 2.5kg, for added portability, ideal for taking to
presentations or for use around various rooms in the office or home.
For added flexibility the EMP-S3 has a +/-30 degrees keystone
correction (+/- 20 degrees for video) and an image shift function so
the projector can be placed in convenient locations. With a wide 1.35x
digital zoom, the EMP-S3 lets users get up close with the images on the
screen, and can highlight particular areas of a presentation or zoom in
on photos.

A low noise two-speed 28dB fan (in low brightness mode), allows the
EMP-S3 to project high quality images without intruding on the
soundtrack or presenter. EMP-S3 users can easily replace lamp and air
filters even when the projector is ceiling mounted.

In Use

The S3 is a great little projector. The fast turn on and off times are
a real bonus. The image is bright, contrasty and sharp. It has a good
range of connections and the remote not only fully controls the
projector (except you must focus manually), but has mouse emulation for
controlling your presentation. The digital zoom covers an adequate
range. The 3CCDs do help with the moving image appearance and it is a
very easy projector image to look at for a long time.

The Epson EMP-S3 is $799 in the US and $1699 RRP including GST in
Australia. At these prices, if you only need SVGA resolution, then this
is a hard projector to go past. Recommended

www.epson.com

www.epson.com.au


Specifications


Projection System

Epson 3LCD technology

Projection Method

Front/rear/ceiling mount

LCD

Driving method: Epson High Temperature Poly-Silicon TFT, Pixel number:
480,000 dots x 3 (800 x 600), Native resolution: SVGA, Aspect ratio:
4:3 (supports 16:9), Pixel arrangement: Stripe

Projection Lens

Type: Manual: zoom / focus, F-number: 1.4, f-number: 16.6 mm, Digital Zoom ratio: 1.0:1.35

Lamp

Type: 135W UHE, Life* 2000H (High Brightness), 3000H (Low Brightness)

Screen Width Ratio: (Dist/Width)

1.45 to 1.8:1

Screen Size: (Projected Distance)

30″ to 300″ (2.9′ to 34.4′)

Lens Shift

n/a

Keystone Correction

Vertical: +/-30°, Component video image with a ratio of 16:9: +/-20°

Brightness: (typical)

1600 ANSI lumens (High Brightness), 1400 ANSI lumens (Low Brightness)

Contrast Ratio

500:1

Brightness Uniformity: (typical)

85%

Color Reproduction

Full-Color (16.7 million colors)

Sound Output

1W Monaural

Operating Temperature

41° F – 95° F (5° C – 35° C)

Power Supply Voltage

100-240VAC +/-10%, 50/60Hz

Power Consumption

195W Lamp ON, 4W stand-by

Dimension

9.7″ x 12.9″ x 3.9″

Weight

5.6lb

Fan Noise

36db (High Brightness), 28db (Low Brightness)

Effective Scanning Frequency Range

Pixel Clock: 13.5MHz to 162MHz, Horizontal 15KHz to 92KHz, Vertical 50Hz to 85Hz

Remote Control Features

Features: Zoom, source selection, power, page up/page down, color mode,
volume, e-zoom, a/v mute, freeze, resize, menu, help, auto, mouse
functions; Operating Angle: Right/Left +/- 30 degrees, Upper/Lower +/-
15 degrees; Operating Distance: 19.7 ft (6m)

RGB

Analog RBG I/O

Display Performance: Native: 800 x 600, Resize: 1280 x 1024, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480

Input Terminal: Video: Mini D-sub 15 pin x 1, Audio: Stereo RCA x 2 (White/REd)

Output terminal: Video: mini-D-sub (monitor out) x 1

Card I/O

N/A

Video I/O

Display Performance: NTSC: 550 lines, PAL: 550 lines (Depends on
observation of the multi burst pattern) Input signal: NTSC, NTSC4.43,
PAL, M-PAL, N-PAL, PAL60, SECAM, HDTV: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, Input
terminal Video: Composite Video: RCA (Yellow) x 1; S-Video: Mini DIN;
Component Video: Mini D-sub 15pin (in common with Analog RGB
connector); Video-RGB: Mini D-sub 15pin (in common with Analog RGB
connector) Audio: RCA(Red/White) x 2 (in common with Analog RGB
connector); Audio signal: 500m Vrms/47Kohm

Control I/O

USB 1.1 connector Type B x 1 (for mouse/keyboard control)

Security

Kensington®-style lock provision

Warranty

Two-year limited warranty, 90-day lamp warranty, Epson Road Service
Program and Epson PrivateLine dedicated toll-free support (U.S. and
Canada only)

Supplied Accessories

Power cable, remote control with batteries, computer cable, User Manual on CD-Rom, Start Here Kit, soft carrying case

Tecra M4 â

Whilst aimed at business professionals, the new Toshiba tablet is an impressive creative machine with the right software.
Toshiba has launched the Tecra M4 for business professionals looking
for a ‘no compromise’ high-performance tablet PC that, through its
pen-based computing, offers them a way to be more productive. It
includes Intel’s newest mobile technology – a 2.13 Ghz Pentium M
processor and Mobile Intel 915PM Express chipset, an 80GB HDD, and a
nVidia 128 Mb graphics card to offer fast and crisp resolution of 3D
video, graphics and other imagery. The large 14.1″ screen offers 1400 x
1050 resolution, with a 145 dpi ratio to allow more light to be
transmitted for a clearer viewing experience. Toshiba has also included
a thin protective polycarbonate panel to protect the screen whilst it
is in use and provide users with a ‘natural’ writing experience.

The Tecra M4 includes a DVD SuperMulti double layer drive for reading
and writing all types of DVD formats. The DVD SuperMulti drive uses the
Slim SelectBay technology providing enhanced drive flexibility and
maximum adaptability. The Slim Select Bay supports a number of
different devices including second battery, second HDD or weight-saver
that are swappable. It also includes a full range of connectivity
options including wireless 801.11 a/b/g, two USB2 ports, to make it
easy to share and save information between devices.

Toshiba ‘EasyGuard’

Toshiba has equipped this model with Toshiba EasyGuard, an advanced
package of tools to enhance data security, system protection and ease
connectivity. As part of the EasyGuard premium package, the new model
includes:

*  HDD protection across three axes that unloads the HDD head
before it moves in the event of the notebook being dropped, preventing
damage from shock or vibration. Toshiba is the only notebook vendor to
include such technology over the three-axes motion;

*  The protection of sensitive data, encryption and digital
signatures to protect content and privacy through the inclusion of both
hardware and software (Toshiba Trusted Platform Module);

*  The inclusion of a software device lock that enables locking of
devices to prevent unauthorized access and theft of data, as well as an
external Kensington lock for physically protecting the notebook from
attempted theft.

In Use

Well this is a fast, capable and not too heavy notebook that converts
to a tablet at a swivel of the screen.  The battery life is
adequate, with approximately three hours of typical usage. The
processor is fast and the system is greatly assisted by coming with 1GB
of memory in the version we tested. We tried some very compute
intensive graphics software on the system and found it handled this
extremely well. It will not smoke a desktop system, but then you can’t
use one at a lakeside café whilst sipping a good bottle of red. The
display is great, bright, contrasty and has a good high resolution.

The tablet aspect worked very well. The pen is nicely responsive and we
had great pleasure using Alias SketchBook Pro 2 on it. Pressure
sensitivity worked well and the hand writing recognition capability of
this machine was impressive. We tried it with a half dozen people with
widely varying writing styles and found it did a very capable job of
handling all the writing styles unless we deliberately tried to be
illegible. Even the author’s script was handled well by the machine,
giving me the real feeling that I could successfully use this laptop as
a full-fledged digital notepad. I am impressed if it could handle my
handwriting. As an aside, this and other Tablet PCs usually use a Wacom
tablet technology. You can usually unlock extra tablet performance by
downloading the latest tablet driver from Wacom.

Apart from the weight of just under 3kg (or around 6.3lb.) you could
readily envisage carrying this machine around all the time. It is, of
course, not really heavy by notebook standards, but it is heavier than
a paper note pad. Machines like this illustrate one of the futures of
computers. The tablet aspect works great and it makes it a very
productive machine for designers and artists, given that it also has
the processor power and memory to be highly responsive. The processor
power means you can also perform compute intensive processes, like
Photoshop filters and 3D rendering on the machine. Of course it also
runs your business applications quickly.

While testing this machine I was struck by the possibility that these
machines are being marketed wrongly. Sold as a business notebook, which
makes sense from a price perspective, the people who could actually
exploit all the potential of these devices are graphic designers,
photographers and students. Sure students could do with a longer
battery life, but they could get so much out of a machine like this.

Toshiba (like everyone else) configures computers differently in
individual markets, it being a decision of the local marketing
organization as to what configuration is required in their marketplace.
We tested the Australian model, with 1GB of memory, 80GB hard disk and
a 2.13MHz processor, for A$4,950 rrp. In the US market they sell a base
model for US$1,699 with a much slower processor and less memory, and
then various optional configurations up to the machine we tested. So
check your exact local configuration.

This is a great machine and it is one of those pieces of kit that I am sorry to return. Highly recommended.

System Characteristics

Operating System

* Microsoft¨ Windows¨ XP Tablet Edition 2005

Intel¨ Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology featuring:

* Intel Pentium¨ M Processor 740 [1.73GHz, 2MB L2, 533MHz FSB] up to 770 [2.13GHz]

* Mobile Intel 915PM Express Chipset

* Intel¨ PRO/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi(TM) compliant wireless LAN

Memory

* Configured with 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (512MBx1), 1GB in machine tested

* 512MB(min)/2048MB (max), 2 memory slots using 256MB, 512MB, or 1024MB
PC4200 DDR2 533MHz SDRAM, dual-channel support requires two memory
modules (both memory slots may be occupied)

Mass Storage

* 60GB (5400 RPM) Serial-ATA (SATA) hard disk drive; 9.5mm height (80GB as tested)

Optical Disk Drive:

* Slim SelectBay DVD SuperMulti drive (double layer):

Maximum Speed:

CD-ROM (24x:read), CD-R (24x:write), CD-RW (10x:write), DVD-ROM
(8x:read), DVD-R (8x:write), DVD-RW (4x:write), DVD+R (Double Layer)
(2.4x:write), DVD+RW (4x:write), DVD-RAM (3x:write)

Display

* 14.1″ diagonal TFT active-matrix LCD display at 1400×1050 native resolution (SXGA+)

* Contrast: 500:1

* Brightness Control by Fn+F6/F7 and TOSHIBA Power Saver

Graphics

* NVIDIA¨ GeForce(TM) Go 6200 TE 64M (64MB DDR discrete graphics memory),
nVidia® GeForceFX(TM) Go 6600 with 128MB in tested configuration

Sound

* Analog Devices AD1981B integrated 16-bit stereo

* Built-in stereo speakers,

* Built-in microphone (monaural)

* Direct 3D Sound (supported by driver); DirectSound (supported by
driver), Direct Music (supported by driver), MIDI (play
back) support

* Sound Volume Control Dial

Input Devices

* Keyboard

* 85 key US keyboard, 2.7mm key stroke, 6mm keyboard height, 19.05mm key pitch

* Hot Key Functions (FN); please see electronic User’s Guide for more information

* Windows Key Function

* Application Key Function

* Pointing Devices:

* Toshiba TouchPad(TM) and A
ccupoint(TM) dual pointing device; Enable/Disable (FN+F9 or by help of software)

* Toshiba Digitizer Tablet Pen

* Buttons

* Toshiba Presentation Button

* Windows Security Button

* ESC/Display Rotation Button

* Cross Functional Button

Expandability

* 2 main memory slots. Both slots may be occupied.

* 1 Type II, PCMCIA R2.01, PC Card16, CardBus PC Card slot

* Secure Digital¨,slot

* Docking port for Advanced Port Replicator III or Tablet Dock II (see accessories)

Communications

* Integrated V.92 modem

* Marvell 88E8053 10Base-T / 100Base-TX / 1000Base-T (“Gigabit”) Ethernet

* Intel¨ Pro/Wireless 2200BG (802.11b/g) Integrated Wi-Fi compliant wireless LAN

Ports

* RGB (monitor) port

* TV-out (S-Video)

* i.LINK(tm) IEEE-1394

* 3 Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports (v2.0)

* External Microphone jack (monaural)

* Headphone jack (stereo)

* RJ-45 LAN port

* RJ-11 modem port

* Fast Infrared (4Mbps) (IrDA 1.1) port

* 240-pin docking connector

Physical Description

* Dimensions (WxDxH Front/H Rear): 12.91” (289.7mm) x 11.41” (328mm) x 1.45” (36.9mm)[F]/1.51” (38.4mm)[R] without feet

* Weight: 6.2 lbs. (2800g) (min) ~ 6.4 lbs. (2900g) (max) depending upon configuration

Power Supply

* 75W (15V x 5A) Auto sensing external AC Adapter, 100~240V 50/60Hz (Universal) input.

* Weight: starting at 0.78 lb. (355 g)

* Dimensions (WxDxH): 5.00” (127.0mm) x 2.01” (51.0mm) x 1.20” (30.5mm)

Battery

* 6-cell (4700 mAh) rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack

* Battery Life (6-cell battery): Up to 3 hours 22 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.75 lb. (338 g)

* Recharge Time: approximately 3.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 5.5 to 13.0 hours (System On)

* Optional: 6-cell (3600 mAh) Slim SelectBay rechargeable, removable Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery pack (see Accessories)

* Battery Life (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery): Up to 6 hours 9 minutes (measured by MobileMark(TM))

* Weight: starting at 0.62 lb. (280 g)

* Recharge Time (6-cell primary battery + 6-cell secondary battery):
approximately 6.0 hours (System Off) or approximately 9.5 to 22.5 hours
(System On)

Toshiba EasyGuard

Secure

* Infineon¨ Trusted Platform Module embedded security chip (Version 1.1)

* Execute Disable Bit (XD Bit)

* Physical Security

* Slot for cable lock;

* Items protected by a screw: Memory, Main HDD, Slim SelectBay Device

* Software Security

* Passwords: User Power-on password, Supervisor Password

* Toshiba Device Lock Utility

* Keyboard Lock and Screen Blank by Hotkey

* Screen Saver (by software).

Protect

* Shock Protector and Shock Absorption

* High-strength Magnesium casework

* Toshiba 3D Accelerometer

* Toshiba PC Diagnostics Tool

* Toshiba Management Console

Connect

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM) with ConfigFree Summit feature

Optimize

* Toshiba Power Saver utility

* Toshiba Hotkey Utilities (see User’s Manual for description)

* Toshiba Zooming Utility

* Presentation Button

* Secure Digital slot

* One-touch Resolution Change

BIOS

* ACPI v1.0b, PNP v1.0a, VESA v2.0, DPMS, DDC, SM BIOS v2.34, PC BIOS v2.2 support

Software

Toshiba Software and Utilities

* Toshiba ConfigFree(TM)

* Toshiba Custom Utilities

* Electronic User’s Guide

Third-party Software

* Microsoft¨ Works(TM)

* Microsoft¨ Office OneNote(TM)

* Zinio Reader

* Franklin Covey Table Planner (30 Day Trial)

* Alias¨ SketchBook(TM) Pro (30 Day Trial)

* Software Decoder: Intervideo¨ (WinDVD(TM) 5)

* Sonic¨ Solutions Drive Letter Access (DLA)

* Sonic¨ Solutions RecordNow! Basic

* eTrust(TM) EZ Firewall (30 Day Trial)

* McAfee VirusScan (30 Day Trial)

* AOL¨ Internet Service14 (3 Month offer)

* AT&T¨ Worldnet¨ Service15 (1 Month offer)

Appleâ

Is this the last of the G5 PowereMac machines before the switch to Intel?
Apple’s current top of the line PowerMac is a nice machine, featuring
dual 64-bit PowerPC G5 processors running at 2.7 GHz and including Mac
OS® X version 10.4  “Tiger”. The new Power Mac G5 line delivers
higher performance graphics options with more memory and built-in
support for Apple’s breakthrough 30-inch Cinema HD Display on the 2.7
GHz model. The new line also includes larger hard drives, a faster 16X
SuperDrive(TM) with double-layer support and 512MB of memory across the
line.

“The Power Mac G5 continues to deliver the ultimate performance for our
most advanced customers running bandwidth- and compute-intensive
applications,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of
Worldwide Product Marketing. “With dual 2.7 GHz 64-bit G5 processors,
dual 1.35 GHz front side buses, ATI Radeon 9650 graphics, 16X
SuperDrive with double-layer support and Mac OS X Tiger, the new Power
Mac G5 is the most powerful and advanced Mac we have ever made.”

Features

Powered by dual 64-bit PowerPC G5 processors, the Power Mac G5 provides
a 128-bit memory architecture, delivers expansion of up to 8GB of fast
400 MHz DDR SDRAM and supports graphics cards with up to 256MB of video
memory. The top model features two 2.7 GHz processors, each with an
independent 1.35 GHz front-side bus for a bandwidth of up to 21.6
GBps. 

All new Power Mac G5 models come standard with dual-display support
with either the ATI Radeon 9600 graphics card with 128MB of video
memory or the ATI Radeon 9650 with 256MB of video memory.  The new
Power Mac G5 line gives users new graphics options to drive Apple’s
gorgeous 30-inch Cinema HD Display. The dual processor 2.7 GHz Power
Mac G5 features built-in support to drive one 30-inch Cinema HD Display
right out of the box.  Available as a build-to-order option on
every model, the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL high-performance
graphics card can drive up to two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

Every Power Mac G5 ships with a new, faster 16X SuperDrive with
double-layer support capable of burning up to 8.5GB on a single DVD,
512MB memory and larger hard drives for up to 800GB of internal
storage, all within the Power Mac G5’s signature aluminum enclosure
featuring innovative computer-controlled cooling for quiet operation.

The Power Mac G5 that we tested, with a suggested retail price of $2,999 (US), includes:

*    Dual 2.7 GHz 64-bit PowerPC G5;

*    512MB 400 MHz DDR SDRAM (8GB maximum);

*    250GB Serial ATA 7200 rpm hard drive;

*    AGP 8X Pro graphics slot;

*    ATI Radeon 9650 with 256MB DDR SDRAM and support for one 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display;

*    3 PCI-X slots (one 64-bit 133 MHz, two 64-bit 100 MHz); and

*    16X SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±R/CD-RW).

Build-to-order options include up to 8GB of RAM, 250GB, 400GB and two
400GB Serial ATA hard drives, Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW) drive, graphics
cards (ATI Radeon 9600, ATI Radeon 9650, and NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
DDL), AirPort® Extreme Card, Bluetooth module, internal v.92 56K modem,
Apple Fibre Channel PCI-X Card, Apple PCI-X Gigabit Ethernet card and
Mac OS X Server version 10.4 “Tiger.”

In Use

Well, this is certainly a fast Mac. Overall it is faster to use than a
pure CPU speed comparison would give because of the improvements to the
video, internal bus and memory speed. We used it to do some work with
Motion 2 and the new FCP, and certainly noticed much snappier
performance. Also in some fractal rendering we got render times of 11.3
seconds compared to 16.3 seconds on a dual 2.0GHz G5 machine, trimming
some 30% off the render time. This calculation is dependent on memory
and processor speed.

Speed aside, the PowerMac’s have some issues, in my view. Firstly they
have far too few ports. On the back there are only two USB 2.0, one
FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port. The front adds one more USB and
a FireWire 400 port. A pretty bare bones HP desktop that is sitting
here for review comes with six USB on the back and two on the front. If
Apple is serious about the PowerMac as being a professional workstation
then they need to add more ports. I also find the capacity for only two
internal hard drives is inadequate. Sure with drive capacities up that
means you can fit a lot of data inside, but with the norm on PCs of the
same size being three drives, Apple tends to push you to externals
sooner than many people would like.

Given the size of the case, I’d like to see three internal drive bays,
six USB ports on the back, two on the front, plus at least the existing
FireWire ports. I guess we will have to wait for the first Intel
PowerMac for any hope of this. Since this unit never really seems to
run hot, it certainly has the cooling capacity to cope with more
expansion.

And that brings us to the big question: how many people will be put off
buying one of these while they wait for the first of the Intel models?
Only Apple’s sales figures will tell that, and I suspect they will be a
most closely guarded secret. If people do hold off it will be a shame,
because this is mostly one lovely system. Apart from the lack of ports,
it is great. Powerful, easy to use and setup, at the moment if you need
a very fast Mac this unit is the way to go. Recommended.