Apple iMacs Get a Thunderbolt Makeover
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Apple has introduced new iMac all-in-one desktops, months ahead of their predecessors reaching their first birthdays.
The newest iMacs feature next-generation quad-core processors from Intel, discrete graphics from Advanced Micro Devices, the high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology Apple debuted in February on its newest MacBook Pro notebooks, and a new FaceTime HD camera. According to Apple, the new iMacs are 70 percent faster than last-year's models and deliver three times the performance.
Starting at $1,199, they're available as of May 3.
Available in two sizes, a model with a 21.5-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT display can be paired with a 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache for $1,199, or a with a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5 for $1,499. (Online, it's also possible to order up a model configurable to 28.GHz with a quad-core Intel Core i7.)
A 27-inch version, likewise backlit and glossy, can be outfitted with a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 6MB on-chip shared L3 cache for $1,699, a 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 for $1,999 -- or, again online only, configured with a 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7 chip.
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) and 802.11n, plus a/b/g connectivity, are included, along with ports galore. There's Mini DisplayPort output, a FireWire 800 port, four USB 2.0 ports, an SDXC card slot, and a slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with 4x double-layer burning. And, of course, there's the Thunderbolt -- one on the 21.5-incher and two on the 27-inch model. Developed in cooperation with Intel, it speeds and simplifies the ability to connect to just about anything. Intel estimates that Thunderbolt products can, for example, transfer an HD movie in less than 30 seconds, or backup a year of "continuous MP3 playback" in just about 10 minutes.
Thunderbolt, which was developed by Intel and Apple, has two bi-directional channels, each of which has transfer speeds up to 10Gbps. It delivers PCI Express directly to external peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support Firewire, USB devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. It also supports DisplayPort for high-resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays.
Intel and Apple expect it to be adopted as an industry standard, and LaCie, Canon, Promise and other tech companies have already committed to supporting it in upcoming products.
For more, read the eWEEK article: Apple Updates iMacs with Thunderbolt I/O, Intel and AMD Chips.
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