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moves to dual-processors
As Intel and AMD
disappear over the 2MHz processor horizon, Apple has responded in the
only way open to it ñ by switching its entire range of Power
Mac G4 desktop machines to dual-processors, rather than be left completely
behind, waiting for Motorola to produce faster G4 CPUs.
At the same time, the company has introduced what looks to be the cheapest
big-name PC yet available with a DVD burner ñ an all-in-one 17in
eMac model priced at £1,249 (inc VAT). The eMac uses a Pioneer
A04 DVD-R burner (or SuperDrive as Apple calls it), and this also features
on all but the cheapest of the new dual-processor Power Macs. This revised
line-up offers dual-processor machines rated at 867MHz (£1,349),
1GHz (£1,999) and 1.25GHz (£2,699), plus a fourth, big-disk/big-memory,
1.25GHz model at £4,189. All these Power Mac prices include VAT,
but no monitor.
Each Power Mac is housed in a new mini-tower case with two front-facing
5.25in drive bays, instead of one 5.25in and one for a zip drive. Thereís
room in the case for four
3.5in hard disks but the motherboard has IDE connectors for only four
drives in total (two Ultra ATA/100 and two Ultra ATA/66), not six. To
cope with the extra heat from a second processor, the case has four
air intakes at the front, and an associated pull-through fan.
Fitting a second processor doesnít double performance ñ
as our review of Appleís previous-generation dual-1GHz Power
Mac showed ñ though neither does a doubling of processor speed.
The second processor only has an impact when running dual-processor-optimised
programs on dual-processor-optimised operating systems ñ in this
case OS X 10.2, which is installed along with OS 9.2.2. However, general
performance of all but the cheapest of the Power Macs gets a boost from
a new motherboard with a faster system bus ñ 167MHz in place
of the 133MHz bus used in the cheapest Power Mac ñ and by having
2MByte of Level 3 cache per processor (twice as much as on the base
model). Each type of motherboard has four free full-length 64-bit, 33MHz
PCI slots and a single AGP 4X slot for graphics.
The 867MHz model has a 60GByte, 7,200rpm Ultra ATA/100 hard disk, a
combined DVD player and CD-RW burner, 256MByte PC2100 DDR SDRAM and
is the only one of the range to use an Nvidia 32MByte GeForce4 MX graphics
card. The next model up, the 1GHz, has an 80GByte hard disk, a SuperDrive
DVD burner, 256MByte PC2700 DDR RAM and a 64MByte ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
graphics card that is common to the rest of the range. The cheaper of
the two 1.25GHz Power Macs offers a bigger hard disk (120GByte) and
more RAM ñ 512MByte ñ while the range leader has a second
120GByte drive and a whopping 2GByte of RAM. Both types of graphics
card support twin monitors ñ one port
is for DVI monitors. Theyíre also said to enhance 2D, 3D, text
and QuickTime content under V10.2 with the help of the OSís graphics
hardware accelerated technology ñ Quartz Extreme ñ something
that also frees up the main CPUs by getting the graphics card to do
most of the rendering.
Like all current Apple PCs, the four Power Macs are edit-ready, having
two FireWire ports and coming with Appleís beginnerís
video editing software iMovie 2 for OS X. In addition, they have two
USB ports; a 56K modem; headphone and speaker mini-jacks; and audio
in/out. Connectivity for 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet networking is built-in
and all Power Macs are ready to accept an Apple AirPort wireless networking
The £1,249 DVD-R-equipped eMac has a 60GByte hard drive and 256MByte
SDRAM, and is one of two new 800MHz G4 models with a SuperDrive. The
other one costs £1,477 and differs only in having 384MByte RAM
and a tilt-and-swivel stand. The original 700MHz eMac with 128MByte
RAM, 40GByte HDD and combi DVD player/CD-RW burner is still available
but is down in price by £50 to £899. All three eMacs dual-boot
in OS 10.2 or V9.2.2, and have two FireWire ports, three USB ports,
56K modem, 100Base-T Ethernet, and are AirPort-ready.
0800 783 4846; www.apple.com/uk
Panasonic £550 set-top DVD-R recorder
Panasonic is replacing
its DMR-E20 £900 set-top DVD-R/DVD-RAM recorder (review, January
2002, p52) with a model pitched at about half the price ñ the
£550 DMR-E30. The move looks to be a response to Philipsí
launch of two low-cost set-top DVD+R/+RW models, the £499 DVDR880
and £599 FireWire-input-equipped DVDR890.
Panasonic is also introducing a DVD-R/DVD-RAM model combined with a
40GByte hard disk drive ñ the £1,000 DMR-HS2 ñ a
follow-on to the HS1, available only in Japan.
The DMR-E30 offers inputs and outputs for RGB, composite video and S-video,
but has no FireWire connectivity. It uses variable bit-rate encoding
and can record video to DVD-RAM (12cm, 4.7/9.4GByte or 8cm, 2.8GByte
discs) and DVD-R, though not DVD-RW. It can record up to six hours to
DVD-RAM (4.7GByte discs) and DVD-R at EP mode; four hours in LP; two
hours in SP; and one hour in XP. Double-sided DVD-RAM discs should hold
twice as much, but need to be turned over.
One of the criticisms of the E20 was its menu design. The E30 offers
labelled images for easier menu navigation and other titling improvements.
One-touch recording is new and automatically finds the next blank space
on a DVD-RAM disc. The E30 has Time Slip simultaneous recording and
playback ñ allowing playback with a 30 second delay from different
parts of the DVD-RAM disc, while still recording.
Thereís a 16-program timer with Timer Record Confirmation, showing
how many programs will fit on a disc. Also featured are picture-in-picture
over on-going recording; bilingual recording; creation of chapter stops;
and Dolby Digital/LPCM recording.
The hard-disk-equipped DMR-HS2 is the same size as the E30 ñ
at 430(w)x79(h)x306(d)mm ñ and, with FireWire input, will hold
special appeal for users wanting to record from DV tape. Thereís
DV Device control and clip detection which automatically creates a playlist
for editing in DV Automatic Recording mode. Basic cut-and-paste editing
tools are built in ñ but with no transitions or effects.
The interface offers nine customised menus for basic DVD authoring and
burning to DVD-R. Copying DVD-R content to the hard disk is not possible
ñ only from DVD-RAM ñ and nor is outputting to DV, though
this should appear in the next generation of Panasonic recorders, along
with the option to plug in extra hard disks.
JPEGs ñ in resolutions from 320 x 240 pixels to 6144 x 4096 ñ
can be imported via PCMCIA (Type II) slot but the adapter costs an extra
£50. Stills are organised into themed folders, or into a photo-album
with the ability to rotate images for better viewing. JPEGs and video
can be mixed into a final project.
The 40GByte drive is said to store up to 52 hours in EP mode; 34 hours
in LP; 17 hours in SP; and eight-and-a-half hours in XP. The drive is
upgradable to 80GByte, but no price has been confirmed ñ it costs
roughly £200 in Japan. Recording one hourís footage is
said to take 15 minutes in SP mode (4x); 5-7 minutes in LP (8x); five
minutes in EP (12x); and 30 minutes in XP mode (2x). Recording to DVD-RAM
can use high speed (12x) recording. There are similar off-air recording
functions to the E30 but with a 32-program timer and Auto Renewal Recording
that automatically records the latest in a TV series over the previous
one on the same part of the hard disk.
08705 357357; www.panasonic.co.uk
Owners of Pinnacleís
DV500 analogue/DV card can now run the companyís professional
editing software, Edition ñ not just Adobe Premiere. The upgrade
to the latest 4.5 version of Edition costs £119 (inc VAT) or £189
with a breakout box and full 600-page manual.
The upgrade includes most of the software extras supplied with the £499
over-the-counter version of Edition ñ such as Hollywood FX for
real-time special effects and Title Deko titling ñ but not the
DVD authoring program Impression DVD Pro 2.2.
Minimum system specs for Edition on a DV500 are Windows 2000/XP (Home
or Pro), a 700MHz PIII or Athlon processor, and 256MByte RAM.
01895 424228; www.pinnaclesys.com
FireWire-equipped notebook PCs
range of notebook Windows PCs include an edit-ready model, the MP-XP7210
(SRP, £1,410 inc VAT), fitted with a FireWire port and pre-installed
with basic video editing software ñ Pixelaís ImageMixer.
Itís hard to know how suitable the machine will be for editing
because ñ even ignoring the fact that ImageMixer, which only
records to MPEG-1 and MPEG-4, is pretty naff ñ its TFT display
is a mere 8.9in in size, though with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.
The processor (an 800MHz PIII) and hard disk (30GByte) ñ while
meagre by todayís standards ñ may be up to the job, and
the OS, Win XP Pro, certainly is.
What is attractive for would-be editors on the move is that the PC is
roughly the size of a piece of A5 paper ñ 225(w) x 152(d)mm ñ
albeit an inch thick, and weighs just 855g with battery, thanks in part
to its magnesium alloy case. The claimed battery life ñ two-and-a-half
hours ñ is also pretty impressive, and this is said to extend
to nearly six hours using the supplied additional battery pack (which
brings the weight up to 1.06kg), and to nine hours with a further, optional
(£176) long-life battery (weight unknown).
The notebook has two USB 1.1 ports; one Type II PC Card slot; mini VGA
(XGA) output; SD memory card slot; built-in 10/100 BaseT Ethernet and
56K modem; plus mic and headphone sockets.
330 5000; www.jvc.co.uk
£99 capture-to-author DVD program
Video hardware specialist
Dazzle has introduced a software-only Windows product, DVD Complete
Deluxe (£99 inc VAT), offering analogue and DV capture in AVI
format; DVD-compatible MPEG-2 and VCD-compatible MPEG-1 encoding; and
The Dazzle software centres around five project options, four of which
are wizard-driven and include up to 20 themes for designing the final
look of the video DVD. Quick DVD is for creating a DVD without menus,
labels or any special features. Home DVD is for creating a basic DVD
with menus and labels. Business DVD is said to be like Home DVD but
with more control, while Hollywood DVD provides interactive features
such as trailers, cast pictures, out-takes and scripts ñ like
a commercially bought DVD. The fifth, option, Blank Project, has no
wizards and leaves everything in the userís hands.
Up to 40 MPEG-2 (m2v) or AVI clips can be added to the DVD playback
list from the hard drive or directly from analogue/DV video capture.
DV device control is provided when capturing from a DV source, and also
from an analogue source that supports device control via a Lanc cable
ñ including, the company says, its own Hollywood DV-Bridge analogue/DV
Clips can be trimmed before they are encoded with Main Conceptís
MPEG-1/2 Codec. Up to 36 chapter points can be added ñ manually
or automatically (which evenly-spaces chapters throughout the clip).
Thereís support for slideshows with music; overtures (introductory
video clips like company logos); menu editing; motion menus; and label/case
inlay design. A project can also be previewed before itís burnt
Minimum system requirements are given as Win XP/2000/ME/98SE; a 500MHz
processor and 128MByte RAM. The recommended spec is Win XP/2000, a 1GHz
processor and 256MByte (or more) RAM.
0049 89 95 95 5000;
Formac is now offering
a Mac and Windows compatible two-way analogue/digital (DV) converter,
the Studio DV (SRP £293 inc VAT and six-pin FireWire lead). Unlike
its Mac-only £375 predecessor, the Studio DV/TV (formerly called
Studio), StudioDV has no built-in stereo TV/radio tuner.
Studio DV is said to use a Formac-developed Codec chipset, with claimed
support for 4:3, 16:9 (widescreen), 16:10, and 2.35:1 aspect ratios,
plus two-channel, 48kHz or 44.1kHz, 16-bit audio.
The unit has a built-in speaker for monitoring, weighs 1kg, and carries
two six-pin FireWire ports and inputs/outputs for composite video, S-video
and L/R analogue audio. Itís said to be bus powered, but an AC
adaptor is an optional extra for use on computers/laptops with four-pin
Formac is also offering an £81 conversion box for Mac/Windows
users who need to connect an ADC flat panel monitor to a PC with DVI
ports. The ADConnect box, measuring 38(h) x 230(w) x 76(d)mm, powers
the display and provides a USB port.
020 8533 4040; www.formac.co.uk
DVD burner Apple iMac
of all-in-one LCD-equipped edit-ready iMacs now includes a 17in widescreen
model with a SuperDrive DVD burner, an 80GByte HDD, 256Myte RAM and
an 800MHz G4 processor, selling for £1,649 (inc VAT) ñ
the old price of the 15in display model.
As a result, prices of the 15in LCD iMacs have been cut. The DVD burner-equipped
800MHz model (with 60GByte HDD and 256MByte RAM) is now £1,499;
and the two 700MHz/40GByte models ñ one with combined DVD-ROM
player/CD-RW writer and 256MByte RAM, the other with just CD-RW and
128MByte RAM ñ are down to £1,199 and £1,049 respectively.
Apple says that the new 1440x900 resolution 17in widescreen display
has the same viewing area as a 19in CRT ñ 64 percent more than
the 15in iMac. The display is driven by a 32MByte Nvidia Ge-Force4 MX
graphics card ñ rather than the 32MByte Ge-Force2 MX card found
in the 15in.
All models have two six-pin FireWire ports, three USB ports, built-in
10/100 Ethernet and 56K modem, plus Apple OS 10.2 and V9.2.2 operating
0800 783 4846; www.euro.apple.com/uk
bundled with Pinnacle Studio 7SE
and MV5i compact MiniDV camcorders are shipping in Europe with a lite
version of Pinnacleís Studio 7 video editing program ñ
good news judging by the less-than-impressive Presto editing software
bundled with Canonís MV550i camcorder.
The camcorders are £799 and £849 (inc VAT) ñ the
extra for the MV5i buys a DV input, and the ability to be used as an
analogue-to-digital pass-through converter from its composite video
input. Each carries a 1/6in imager CCD (420,000 effective pixels), a
new 10x optical zoom lens, a 2in LCD monitor and sockets for S-video,
AV (Audio/Video), microphone and headphone.
Studio 7SE offers basic editing functions ñ capture (scene detection),
single-frame capture, storyboard/timeline editing ñ with over
100 transitions, some of which provide Hollywood FX 3D effects. Final
projects can be output to tape via FireWire when using the DV in/out-enabled
01895 424210; www.pinnaclesys.co.uk
Canon Europe, 08705 143723; www.canon.co.uk
and DV500 Edition highlight in Evesham Video Tour 2002
A month into its
Video Experience Tour 2002, Evesham is continuing its Pinnacle Pro-ONE
RTDV and DV500 Edition demonstrations at regional showrooms up and down
The ins and outs of the Pinnacle editing cards and software are being
shown on two of Eveshamís latest AMD Athlon XP 2000+ PC systems
in two-hour sessions held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm for educational
and business users and at 7pm for consumers.
In addition to the free gifts and prizes up for grabs, thereís
also the chance to subscribe to this magazine with a special offer of
15 issues costing £35 ñ thatís £2.34 per mag,
instead of the street price of £3.85.
Evesham will be at its Leeds showroom at Gloucester Court, Gloucester
Terrace on October 1, 2002 and in London on the 3rd, Milton Keynes on
the 8th, Norwich on the 15th, Nottingham on the 22nd and Glasgow on
the 29th. On November 5, 2002, the tour will
move on to the Peterborough showroom at 19 Cowgate. Other November dates
are Reading on the 12th, Southampton on the 19th and Swansea on the
26th. Online registration forms and showroom addresses can be found
on Eveshamís website.
08707 287 070; www.evesham.com
Bug fixes for
Apple FCP 3.0.2
The 0.2 updater
for V3 of Appleís Final Cut Pro editing software (a 9.6MByte
download) promises to fix some reliability and performance issues. These
include getting the voice-over tool to work properly with Matroxís
RTMac editing card, and preventing shut downs when FCP is first installed,
or launched, on dual-processor Macs.
0800 783 4846; www.euro.apple.com/uk
For more news,
see the November 2002 issue of Computer Video.
Reviewed in November's issue:
Pinnacle Studio 8
Epson Stylus Photo 950
In November's news:
moves to dual-processors
Panasonic £550 set-top DVD-R recorder
upgrade for DV500
JVC FireWire-equipped notebook PCs
capture-to-author DVD program
Formac Mac/Win analogue/DV converter
17in widescreen DVD burner Apple iMac
Canon MV5/5i bundled with Pinnacle Studio 7SE
Pinnacle Pro-ONE and DV500 Edition highlight in Evesham Video Tour 2002
Bug fixes for Apple FCP 3.0.2