New iMacs: these Apples have four cores

Apple Tuesday released four new models of its iMac desktop computer that leave unchanged the aluminum and glass design, but that now boast powerful quad-core Intel processors and Apple’s high-throughput Thunderbolt I/O interface.

Also new is an HD camera for Apple’s FaceTime video calling and increased storage. With the processor, graphics, and memory upgrades, the new iMac is up to 70 per cent faster than the prior model, with three times better graphics performance, according to Apple.

The new iMacs come with either a 21.5- or 27-inch screen. There are two models of each configuration, with different clock speeds for either the Intel Core i5 or i7 Quad CPU (with integrated memory controller), and differing storage options, including solid-state drives instead of hard disks. Pricing ranges from $1,200 to $2,000.

According to the company, the new iMacs are up to 70 per cent faster than their predecessors with three times the graphics capabilities. There has been little change to the design of the new iMacs though, as they still feature the familiar aluminum and glass design, and LED-backlit high resolution display.
The miniDisplay port has been swapped with a Thunderbolt port. The 21.5in models have one Thunderbolt port and the 27in versions two. Apple first introduced the high-speed data transfer Thunderbolt ports in its MacBook Pro refresh, though the technology behind it comes from Intel. Thunderbolt can achieve transfer speeds of up to 10GB per second.

All of the new models include a FaceTime HD camera and FaceTime software built in for video calling. Graphics have also been give a boost with the presence of AMD Radeon HD graphics cards. The 21.5-inch iMacs have a 1,920×1,080 resolution. The 27-inch iMacs have a resolution of 2,560×1,440.

“Our customers love the iMac’s aluminum enclosure, gorgeous display and all-in-one design,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing.

“With next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, Thunderbolt technology and a FaceTime HD camera, we’ve made the world’s best desktop even better,” he continued.

Configure-to-order options include faster Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 2TB, a 256GB solid state drive, additional DDR3 memory and AppleCare Protection Plan. All models are available for shipping within 24 hours, according to the Apple Store web site.

Here’s the basic breakdown:

21.5-inch display, 1920 by 1080 pixels

* 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache

* AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory

* 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM (configurable to 16GB)

* 500GB hard drive

* One Thunderbolt I/O port, supporting two two-way channels with each delivering 10Gbps

Price: $1,200

2.7 GHz version of the i5

* Also with 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache (this model can be configured with a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 chip)

* AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory

* 4GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory (configurable to 16GB)

* 1 terabyte 7200rpm hard drive (configurable to 2 terabyte hard drive or a 256GB solid-state second drive)

* One Thunderbolt I/O port, supporting two two-way channels with each delivering 10Gbps

Price: $1,500

27-inch display, 2560 by 1440 pixels

* 2.7 GHz i5, 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache

* AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory

* 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 memory (configurable to 16GB)

* 1 terabyte 7200rpm hard drive (configurable to 2 terabyte hard drive or a 256GB solid-state second drive)

* 2 Thunderbolt I/O ports, each supporting two two-way channels, with each channel delivering 10Gbps

Price: $1,700

3.1 GHz i5 (or optionally the 3.4 Ghz i7) 

* 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache

* 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (configurable to 16GB)

* 1 terabyte hard drive (configurable to 2 terabyte had drive or a 256GB solid-state second drive)

* AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory (or optionally with 2GB)

* Two Thunderbolt I/O ports, each supporting two two-way channels, with each channel delivering 10Gbps

* Price: $2,000

Full technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are on Apple’s iMac Web page.

The new iMacs are the first desktop computers to include Thunderbolt, a high performance I/O interface created by Intel and Apple. It first appeared in February as part of the new MacBook laptop line.

Thunderbolt acts as a kind of superfast highway that can be used by a wide range of existing video streaming and data transfer protocols, according to Apple. “Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters,” according to Apple. Also supported is DisplayPort for high-resolution displays. Adapters let Thunderbolt interface with HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.

Other I/O interfaces include: Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA and dual-link DVI (adapters sold separately); one FireWire 800 port; four USB 2.0 ports; and an SDXC card slot. There is one 10/100/1000BASE-T Gigabit Ethernet port.

The new models run Mac OS X Snow Leopard. They are equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi (which supports the older 802.11a/b/g standard), and Bluetooth 2.1 + Enhanced Data Rate (EDR).

 

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