Epson releases new $100 WorkForce 325 MFP

Epson on Tuesday released the WorkForce 325, a new multifunction printer (MFP) for home offices and small businesses.

The WorkForce 325 features an inkjet printer that uses four individual color ink cartridges. The printer has a resolution of 5760 by 1440 dots per inch (dpi), and has speeds of 4.3 pages per minute (ppm) for monochrome output and 2.2 ppm for color (Epson uses ISO ratings for print speed).

The MFP has USB 2.0 for connecting to a Mac. It also has built-in Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity.

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Western Digital My Book Studio 2TB

Compact and light enough to easily fit in a backpack or briefcase, Western Digital’s My Book Studio external hard drive is a cute little bugger. Designed to resemble a book, the 6.5-inch tall drive stands upright, and you have the option of digitally labeling your drive (with 12 characters or less) so it’ll read like a title on the binding a book.

Designed specifically for a Mac, this plug-in-and-go drive is compatible with Apple’s TimeMachine software and has two FireWire 800 ports and one USB 2.0 port, with cables for both included. The drive is relatively quiet, with its ventilation system sitting up top, and its plastic build keeps the unit lightweight at 2.6 pounds. Unfortunately, its plastic casing also makes the unit a little less durable than aluminum drives, and when we received our My Book Studio, it came with a little bulge in the backside that we had to physically snap back into place.

One of the biggest complaints I had about the My Book Studio was its fickle power button, which made it very unclear whether I should either press and release the power button quickly, or hold for a few second and wait, in order to turn the drive on and off. Either way seemed to work (or not work, rather) and because its tiny LED light had a few seconds lag time to indicate when the unit was turned on, I resorted to becoming the hard drive whisperer: experimenting with button pushing wait times as I nestled my ear against the My Book Studio to hear the drive spinning for startup.

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21.5- and 27-inch iMacs (Mid 2010)

There’s little doubt that 2010 is the year of the iPad and iPhone for Apple, with the company largely focusing on the new kids on the block. But the Mac isn’t entirely out of the picture. While the Mac business is a more mature product line than Apple’s mobile device lineup, it remains an important segment—both to Apple and the customers who use the Mac. And though the four new iMacs (two 21.5-inch models and two 27-inch models) released in July provide only small speed boosts, these latest desktops will make most customers very happy.

Standard equipment

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Lab tested: 27-inch Core i5 iMac/2.8GHz Quad-Core benchmarks

If you’ve been following along, you know that the Macworld Lab has been busy testing Apple’s recently updated line of iMacs. We’ve posted benchmarks and analysis on the 21.5-inch 3.06GHz Core i3 iMac and the 21.5 and 27-inch 3.2GHz Core i3 iMacs. Today, we look at the final piece of the iMac puzzle, the 27-inch Quad-Core 2.8GHz Core i5. And while it does grab the title of “Fastest (standard configuration) iMac Ever” from its predecessor, it does so by a narrow margin.

In our overall performance test suite, Speedmark 6, the new $1999 27-inch Quad-Core 2.8GHz Core i5 (with 1TB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, and ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB of video memory) was just under 4 percent faster than the system it replaces, a 27-inch Quad-Core 2.66GHz Core i5 iMac ( ), with 1TB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, and ATI Radeon 4850 HD with 512MB of video memory.

Results were very similar between the two Quad-Core models, with just a few seconds separating them in most cases. The biggest differences were in the iTunes encode test, with the new Quad-Core 2.8GHz Core i5 model finishing 13 percent faster than the older Quad-Core 2.66GHz Core i5; the HandBrake test, with the new model coming in 26 percent faster; and our Parallels WorldBench tests, with the new model completing the task 21 percent faster. Interestingly, the only test in which the older model prevailed was in our Unzip archive test, which it finished just one second faster than the new iMac.

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Synology DiskStation DS710+

Most of the time, a good network-attached storage (NAS) device isn’t always a pretty one. File storage isn’t a beauty contest, and if it were, the first place crown would usually go to the hefty, less-attractive contestants that emphasized reliability over small, sleek curves. That’s why Synology’s DS710+ is a breath of fresh air—all the function that comes with this NAS device is also packed inside a svelte, eye-catching package.

Unlike other monstrous business-class NAS devices you’ll see from companies like QNAP, NetGear or Thecus, the DS710+ is compact and beautiful, even compared against LaCie’s Jetsons-like lineup. Sporting a solid yet soft metal case around the enclosure, this two-drive model eschews the metallic gray space station aesthetic for sleek black casing. Simply put, the overall feel of the device is just plain stylish.

On the front side of the device, a single column of seven LED lights indicates drive connectivity, with a single USB port for increasing your storage capacity. Six ports line the rear of the DS710+ unit, including VGA, (only) two USB ports, a single Ethernet port, one eSATA port, and the requisite jack for the power supply. While it’s not as robust as other two-bay NAS devices (I’ve seen plenty with at least twice as many ports) it’s the average that you should expect for any two-bay setup.

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Lab tested: DVD ripping on the new iMacs

When we posted benchmark results of the new 3.06GHz Core i3 iMac and the new 21.5- and 27-inch 3.2GHz Core i3 iMacs, most of those results were in line with reasonable expectations. But there was one curious outlier: the HandBrake test scores.

The entry-level 3.06GHz Core i3 iMac performed very similarly to the 3.2GHz Core i3 iMacs, with the 3.2GHz models averaging between 6 and 7 percent higher scores in our overall system performance test suite, Speedmark 6. Much of that difference, however, was due to poor performance on the HandBrake 0.9.3 encode test.

In our HandBrake test, we encode a chapter of a DVD movie to H.264 with two passes, second pass turbo enabled, and bit rate set to 1500kbps. The 3.06GHz iMac took 3 minutes, 27 seconds to complete the test. The 3.2GHz models finished in less than half the time, completing the task in just 1 minute 37 seconds. We tested and retested and used a different copy of the same DVD and found the same results.

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OWC provides a closer look at iMac's SSD slot

The new 27-inch iMac marks a first for Apple’s popular all-in-one desktop computer—it can host a second drive. But if you think this means the company is releasing its grip on the iMac’s notoriously closed form factor, think again.

Both 27-inch iMac models ship with 1TB 7200-rpm hard drives as standard equipment. For $150 more you can upgrade to a 2TB, 7200-rpm drive, or if you’d like to use a solid-state drive (SSD), Apple will replace the hard drive with a 256GB SSD for $600 (bringing the price of the 3.2GHz Core i3 model to $2299).

The interesting part is that, for the first time, you don’t have to choose. If you can afford it, Apple sells a 27-inch iMac with both the 256GB SSD and one of the hard drive options pre-installed. It’s $2449 for the 27-inch Core i3 iMac with a 256GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, and $2560 for the same system with the SSD and 2TB hard drive. The top-of-the-line 27-inch Core i5 iMac has the same storage pairing options available. (It is not possible to order an iMac with two SSDs or two hard drives.)

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