We’ve spoken quite a bit about the benefits of USB 3.0 in recent months. Its high rate of data transfer, backward compatibility with previous versions, and overall low cost are still very compelling arguments for the interface. However, many Mac mini 2012 users (and, to a considerably lesser extent, other 2012 Mac users) using USB 3.0 devices have experienced random dropouts or even outright loss of the use of Bluetooth mice and keyboards.
The cause of this is somewhat technical. For those so inclined, you can peruse this white paper written by the USB Implementers Forum for the full details, but the practical upshot is that the signal from USB 3.0 devices can interfere with the 2.4GHz frequency of Bluetooth. The unfortunate result is dropped or lost signals at distances as near as five feet, compared to the normal 20-30 foot reception range of Bluetooth devices. This interference increases the further away from the computer the Bluetooth device is located. At the same time, it was noticed that the further away from the Bluetooth antenna the USB 3.0 device is, the less severe the interference.
Unfortunately, this is the direct inverse of how many Mac mini users are using their computers. Many users have their USB 3.0 devices immediately next to or stacked on top of their minis, taking advantage of the Mac mini’s small form factor. While this may be problematic enough for desktop use, those using their Mac minis in home theater setups will likely have their keyboards and/or mice across the room from the mini’s location, exacerbating the Bluetooth problem.
As the Newer Technology miniStack is designed to for use with the Mac mini, this has obviously caught our attention. We set out to find a resolution to the problem – one that fixes things not just for the miniStack, but for all USB 3.0 drives used with a Mac mini. Article Continues…
We’ve talked about backing up your data quite extensively here on the OWC Blog. We’ve talked about different backup strategies. We’ve discussed mirrored RAID devices like the NewerTech Guardian MAXimus and how they can fit into your backup scheme. We’ve touched on how you need to keep an eye on your backup software to make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to.
It’s in the vein of that last one that we bring you this little tidbit from Lloyd Chambers of MacPerformanceGuide. It seems that Lloyd has found a bug in Time Machine that may cause your Mac to ignore drives under some circumstances. We highly recommend checking out the full article out for the complete analysis of the issue.
The lesson to be learned from all this is that when it comes to backups, the more the merrier. While some backup is better than nothing, it’s always safest to have multiple backup methods in place at once. While I do use Time Machine here on my work machine, it is mainly for retrieval of accidentally-deleted files (I use this a lot more often than I care to admit) and to supplement my daily cloning of my drives using Carbon Copy Cloner. This current method has worked for me for several years now, and has saved me from at least one major drive crash, so I’d say it’s functional. I’d also rotate those clones out at least weekly, but that’s not a practical solution at this time.
So what are you using for backup?
We know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats, waiting to see what it takes to get inside those new 21.5” iMacs, so we did a fast “just to show you” video, where we install 16GB of OWC memory in the new iMac. Article Continues…
Well, that was an adventure! Turns out the screen to the new iMac wasn’t as easy to get into as we initially thought. But, our intrepid team, armed with suction cups, spudgers and a heat gun were eventually able to get the display removed to reveal the inside. Once inside, though, it was pretty straightforward. Article Continues…
Things are buzzing around the OWC Campus here in Woodstock, Illinois. Apple just released the new 21.5” iMacs this morning and we’re on our way to getting them in, opening them up, and taking a look inside to see what can be upgraded and how easily.
With a new iMac, the obvious thing to do is to compare it to the previous generation. The main thing that stands out is that the new iMac is considerably thinner than the previous generation. The most noticeable side effect to this is the elimination of an internal optical drive on the new iMacs, though this is easily remedied by simply adding an external optical drive if you need one.
A slightly faster i5 processor (2.7GHz, vs 2.5GHz) is in the stock model, as well as twice the stock RAM and official maximum RAM. They also double the stock hard drive to a 1TB drive, and will be offering a Fusion Drive as well, which wasn’t available on the previous models. There also seems to be a SSD port similar to those in the latest MacBook Pros and Mac Book Air, so we’ll be looking into that, too. Graphics has been switched over to an nVidia GeForceGT 640M vs the old AMD Radeon 6750M.
For connectivity, say goodbye to FireWire 800, as Apple has removed that port entirely. However, they added an extra Thunderbolt port, so you can always use an adapter to connect your legacy peripherals. There are still four USB ports, though, and they’re USB 3.0 versus the USB 2.0 in the older models, so you can get a little more speed out of those peripherals that will support it.
Here’s a first look at the new iMac as we picked it up from the store.
Make sure you stick around for the unboxing photos, videos, and more as the day unfolds.