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News for Thursday, 14 June 2007

NAND Chips: Let's Pile Them Up

By linathael - 14/06/2007 14:05:53 CEST - Category: Peripheral - Source: Dailytech
Over the last 2 years, storage capacity of NAND flash memories have dramatically improved, one can simply look at the storage space available on USB keys which now can be found up to 8 to 16GB! Improvements on engraving processes allowed delivering such high capacity chips. NAND chips manufacturers can still improve such processes moving to 45nm, or even 32nm. However, such planar NAND technology will have a higher cost, and resulting price/GB might not be commercially viable.
So, manufacturers decided to pile layers of planar NAND chips to create stacks of NAND. If Samsung, IBM and Hynix have already announced such stacks of NAND flash, interconnection of each layer together is the main issue.
During the last VLSI symposium, Toshiba presented a new 3D memory chips array technology allowing to improve both cell density and data capacity with almost no modification on the die size. The main advantage of Toshiba's technology is to increase the density without increasing chip dimension, as the number of interconnected elements increases proportionally to stack height. Based on this technology one could expect to dramatically increase memory density and so storage capacity. Toshiba claims that a 32-layers stack could have a cell density multiplied by 10 without modifying the chip size.
CPU manufacturers are also investigating such 3D stacking of cores to further increase the core number without modifying the die size; but of course this is a much more challenging project.

Mac mini: Even Steve Jobs Forgot It...

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 14/06/2007 10:27:59 CEST - Category: Mac Intel
A report from Sebastien.
a small remark concerning the potential EOL status of the Mac mini...
During the keynote, when ending its presentation about the 64-bits feature of Leopard, a photo was illustrating that all hardware are 64-bit ready.. the Mac mini was missing...

So, was on purpose that the Mac mini was omitted from the photo? Of course the current Core Duo installed in the Mac mini is not 64-bit compatible, but as we already showed it, it is really easy to upgrade it to a Core 2 Duo and turn it into a 64-bit ready model...

Apple Shop: an Apple Store-like in Paris

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 14/06/2007 10:20:04 CEST - Category: Apple
With time, it seems that Apple can not get what it wants in Paris for installing its first Apple Store in France. While still negotiating with Paris Administration on some potential locations, Apple decided to invest in a temporary solution.
According to SVM Mac, the French leading consumer electronics shop company, the FNAC, will open on June 28th in the FNAC Digital an Apple-dedicated shop in a shop. Featuring 300m2, it will be based on the current Apple Store organization and design standards. This Apple Store-like place named "Apple Shop" will include a Genius Bar-like spot, and employees will be "provided" by Apple.
So is it a new policy from Apple to partner with key electronic consumers distributors in Europe, or is it simple a temporary solution while looking for the right place to install the first Apple Store in Paris?

MB Pro LED-backlighted Display: Yellowish or Not Yellowish

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 14/06/2007 08:35:46 CEST - Category: Mac Intel
Last week, we published a news about the new LED backlighted display found in MacBook Pro 15". We reported such displays were delivering a yellowish rendering which could not be compensated by different calibration. Following remarks and comments, we initially decided to remove the news in order to collect additional information. Today, we will provide a more in-depth analysis of this "issue", let's first start with part of the original report:
After trying different ICC profiles settings, we could improve the overall rendering, but we could not match the quality of non LED backlighted 15" display of previous MB Pro models.
This was confirmed on 2 MB Pro 2.2GHz and 1 MB Pro 2.4GHz.
To quickly test it, use the default Apple blue desktop image, or the one featuring little stones.
P.S : the display we have used for calibrating our display is a LaCie 321.
Hereafter is the comment from Nikita Erphene, a professional photographer.
I bought yesterday a MacBook Pro 2.2GHZ, and I noticed that the display provide a real yellowish rendering
I performed a calibration this morning, but nevertheless, the yellowish tendency remains.
How can I use it for editing photo, as they simply appear yellow, even after calibrating the display!
On our request, Nikita sent us additional information:
Yesterday, I tried to recalibrate without much success. This morning I performed a new calibration using a Monaco probe, but the yellowish rendering remains. Even when applying different color temperature with the same profile, it arrived with a standard white balance and a gamma of 2.2. When using color temperature set to 6500, it remains very "hot"!.
I shoot and edit photo, and when I have many white-colored parts, it renders them yellowish!
Hereafter is one of them.

You can get it in its complete version hereafter:
statue.jpg
Warning, this photo is provided to illustrate a problem, and remains copyrighted.
We now have a MacBook Pro 2.4GHz in our hands, and we used this photo to test the display. Unlike his report, with our unit, the photo does not appear yellowish or pinkish, without calibrating, it is almost identical to the rendering obtained from an Apple Cinema Display.
However, this test allowed us to confirmed that modifying the view angle, horizontally or vertically, as little as moving your head 10 cm (left-right or up-down) is enough to immediately see all colors getting a yellowish rendering; despite the fact the LCD display exhibit an amazing viewable range.
I might be too early to conclude with all reports we have received and based on our own experience, but it seems quite clear that editing photo with this notebook will require being perfectly in front of its display, and ensuring the view angle is optimal. To provide a comparison with previous non-backlighted models, moving away from the optimal view position, the display was getting darker, here it is getting yellow. We are waiting for additional reports before concluding that Apple has more than one LED-backlighted LCD supplier.
If the problem we report in this news will be an issue for photo and video pro users, this notebook will please any other consumers.
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