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Toshiba laptop with DVD burner
Edit-ready laptop PC with FireWire, USB 2.0 and DVD-R/RW burner

Toshiba's latest Satellite 5200 laptop PC range includes an edit-ready Windows XP Home model with a DVD-R/-RW burner, a 15in screen, a 2GHz Intel P4-M processor, a 60GByte hard disk and 512MByte of DDR RAM (1GByte max).

The Satellite 5200-801 - SRP £2,499 (inc VAT) - has a single FireWire port, plus three high-speed USB 2.0 ports. It's said to write DVD-R and DVD-RW discs at 1x, CD-R at 16x, and CD-RW at 10x. Read speeds are 8x DVD-ROM, 4x DVD-R, 4x DVD-RW, 24x CD-ROM, 16x CD-R, and 10x CD-RW. The software bundle includes a full version of Panasonic's Motion DV Studio - a basic video editing and DVD authoring program - and Easy System's Drag'n'Drop CD for CD burning.

The screen is a 15in Toshiba Super Fine TFT with a resolution of 1,024 x 768, and is driven by a 4x AGP nVidia GeForce4 460 Go graphics processor with 64MByte DDR video RAM and built-in 16-bit stereo audio.
The port line-up takes in a Type 2 CardBus slot, a VGA monitor output, a TV-out (S-video), 10/100 Ethernet, modem (V.92), audio line in/out, SPDIF (digital audio), mic and headphone.

The 801 is Bluetooth-enabled for wireless networking and comes with an external USB floppy disk drive, S-video and power leads, and a remote control. Dimensions are 52(h) x 334(w) x 306(d) mm and weight 3.6kg with the supplied battery - said to last just over three hours. A longer-life battery, at £152, is said to provide 4.7 hours additional running time. This slots in the Style Bay, which offers plug-in options for an additional 40GByte hard drive and solid state memory cards (prices TBA).

Toshiba, 0870 444 8944;

Apple adds DVD burner to PowerBook
Edit-ready Mac laptop gains DVD-R/DVD-RW burner and 1GHz G4 CPU

Apple's revamped trio of G4 PowerBook laptop Macs includes one model fitted with a slot-loading DVD-R/DVD-RW burner and priced at £2,449 (inc VAT).

This is one of two new PowerBooks to feature a 1GHz processor, a 60GByte ATA/66 hard disk and 512MByte of PC133 SDRAM (1GByte max). The other (£2,279) is identical except for having a combined CD-RW writer/DVD reader drive. The range is completed by an 867MHz model (£1,899) equipped with the same CD/DVD combo unit but carrying a 40GByte HDD and 256MByte of RAM.

All dual-boot between Mac OS 10.2 and V9.2.2 and, when running under OS 10.2, have access to Apple's iApplications - including iMovie 2 for video editing, iPhoto and iTunes. The DVD-equipped range leader also has iDVD 2 for CD/DVD burning.

The screen in each case is a 15.2in wide format TFT. This has a native resolution of 1280 x 854 pixels, and is driven by an ATI Radeon 9000 graphics processor with 64MByte of DDR SDRAM or 32MMByte in the case of the 867MHz model.

Ports are the same across the board - single six-pin FireWire, two USB 1.1, Type I/II CardBus, S-video out, 10/100/1000Mbit Ethernet, modem (V92), DVI (monitor output) and audio line in/out. Each 1GHz Mac also has an AirPort card for Apple's own wireless networking - an optional extra for the lower-spec model.

Supplied accessories include an S-video-to-composite-video adaptor, a DVI-to-VGA adaptor and a rechargeable battery claimed to last up to five hours, depending on usage.

Apple UK, 0800 783 4846;

Apple cops a migraine
Denial of power supply noise problem on mirror-door Apple G4 PowerMacs makes users see red

Our prediction (review, January 2002, p40) that the noise from Apple's new-generation G4 PowerMacs was going to cause headaches for users and the company appears to be coming true, despite Apple making available a related firmware update.

The update is claimed to cure the loudest of the noises - the 'leaf-blower' effect under OS 9, caused by poor control of the speed of the main CPU fan. But, even after installing the update, many users are still complaining that the whining noise which comes from the power supply makes G4s unpleasant to work with and unusable for a number of tasks, including video editing; music recording and production; radio production; and medicine.

Seemingly, not all power supplies produce this noise. The finger is being point at PSUs made by AcBel containing two Delta-brand AFB0612EH 60mm fans - a fan that some overclockers of Windows PCs are reported as saying they stopped using a good while ago because they were unacceptably noisy.

Apple has refused to acknowledge this problem, and we have been unable to get the company to make any comment about it over a period of days. Users who report the problem are being told that these mirror-door G4s are performing to within Apple-s parameters and, thus, no problem exists.

The company's intransigence has caused a lot of bad feeling even among long-time Mac stalwarts and resulted in the formation of a pressure group centred on a specially-created web site at:

Members of the group are in the process of making for the web a series of 60-second spoofs of Apple's 'Switched' commercials, explaining why they find their Macs unusable.

Some owners have been driven to try to cure the noise themselves by changing the fans in the power supplies for quieter models, and carrying out other DIY modifications to try to lessen vibration - all of which invalidate their guarantees if detected by Apple.

Those desperate enough to try the DIY route should check out the advice given at these two urls:

However, before attempting any modifications, users should first install the firmware update from: After that, they should check out the current state of play in the main thread about the problem on Apple's own support forum at:

On a slightly brighter note, Apple does claim to have a cure for another problem we reported in our PowerMac review - the inability of the latest version of the company's Final Cut Pro editing program to run reliably on dual-processor Macs under the latest version of Apple's flagship operation system, OS X 10.2. The company says the problem is caused by not installing the FCP 3.0.1 update before the 3.0.2 update. See: However, we'd recommend those looking for a cure to also read some more detailed advice given by users on Apple's forums, especially in this thread:

Apple UK, 0800 783 4846;

TDK sub-£100 CD/DVD printer
Direct-to-disc printer is affordable but only prints one colour at a time

TDK's recently released single-colour dedicated CD/DVD disc printer carries an RRP of £99.99 (inc VAT) but is already available for considerably less - £87, at, being the best price we've seen so far.

The 200 dpi (dots per inch) direct-to-disc thermal transfer model, LPCW-50, is said to print onto almost any disc surface - though, perversely, not onto some inkjet-printable discs.

It's also important to note that it doesn't print to the entire disc, it only prints to two areas on the disc, each 74mm x 16mm. The fact that the TDK can print only one colour at a time also rather limits its usefulness, and prevents it being a substitute for full-colour printers, such as the £329 Epson Stylus Photo 950 inkjet (review, November 2002, p72).

TDK provides four ribbons - blue, red, black and silver - and says that each can print between 20 and 40 discs. The RRP for replacements is £6.49 per ribbon. Printing is reckoned to take only a few seconds, with the disc coming out dry as it leaves the printer.

Also in-pack is TDK's own Windows label and printing software, which is said to support Bitmap and JPEG image file import. The printer, which connects to a PC via USB, is lightweight (750g) and readily portable, measuring just 180(w) x 57(h) x 186(d)mm. Watch out for a future review.

TDK, 01753 665500;


Ulead uprates
Support for DVD+RW and direct-to-disc burning added with MovieFactory 2.0

Ulead's entry-level Windows DVD authoring program, DVD MovieFactory, is being uprated to include support for DVD+RW and direct-to-disc burning.

DVD MovieFactory 2.0 will initially be available from Ulead's web site in downloadable form for £29 (inc VAT) and as a £22 upgrade for users of V1 and V1.2. Retail boxed versions should be arriving January 2003, with an SRP of £35, or £29 for an upgrade.

Disc-Direct - Ulead's name for its disc creation wizard - is said to allow the capture of video on-the-fly from a DV camcorder, DVD player or VCR, and for it to be burnt to disc after a menu template is selected from within the enhanced wizard. Final projects can be re-edited off-disc - DVD-RW or, now, DVD+RW. Footage can be added to rewritable media.

The latest version is compatible with Win98SE/ME/2000 and XP, and bundled with Ulead's Photo Express 4.0 My Custom Edition PLUS - for creating and printing CD/DVD disc and disc casing labels. Also included are DirectX 8.0a, Windows Media Player 7.1 and QuickTime Player 5.02.

Ulead, 01327 844880;

Matrox FX exchange web site

Matrox's new free-to-use exchange community web site - - lets registered users of the company's Windows-based video editing products download real-time effects, as well as exchange effects, keyframe sequences and DVE masks with other users.
Editors can use the search engine to find effects that match their needs, and have the option to rate and review the effects they have tried. Each effect is demonstrated in RT in its own thumbnail window on the site.

Among the downloadable effects available to RT.X100 and RT2000/2500 Pro Pack users there are real-time mesh warps, twirls, lens flares and emboss effects.

Matrox, 01753 665500;

Read more news in February 2003's Computer Video magazine.


Recent features...
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Reviewed in February's issue:
Hitachi DZ-MV270
Canopus Imaginate
Hewlett-Packard DVD200e

In February's news:
Toshiba laptop with DVD burner
Apple adds DVD burner to PowerBook
Apple cops a migraine
TDK sub-£100 CD/DVD printer
Ulead uprates
Matrox FX exchange web site

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