Feature Articles

Macworld Conference & Expo 2006

Macworld Conference & Expo 2006



iMac with Intel Core Duo Processor

Recently Upgraded iMac G5 Gets the Boot

The new iMac with Intel Core Duo processor (ed:- what a mouthful!) perhaps caught us by surprise, even more so than the MacBook Pro. After all, the iMac G5s have gotten new revisions just a few months ago. But if Apple can pull the plug on the highly successful iPod mini in a moment's notice, what's an iMac G5? The gasps at the death of the iMac G5 during the keynote did not really last too long either. And with the new iMac with Intel Core Duo processor, Apple officially ushers in a new generation of Macs.


iMac with Intel Core Duo Processor - The Details

Two versions of the new iMac are available: a 17-inch screen with the 1.83GHz Intel Core Duo processor and a160GB SATA hard drive, while the other is a larger 20-inch model with a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor and 250GB of storage capacity. The former is priced at US$1299 and the latter at US$1699. Besides the differences in screen size, processor speed and hard disk capacity, here are the standard features that can be found on the new iMac with Intel Core Duo Processor:

  • 512MB of RAM (DDR2-677, expandable to 2GB maximum)
  • 8x SuperDrive
  • PCI-Express expansion slots
  • ATI Radeon X1600 graphics processor with 128MB frame buffer (256MB option available only on the 20-inch model).
  • Gigabit Ethernet, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Integrated iSight and Apple Remote
  • Five USB ports (three USB 2.0) and two FireWire 400 ports
  • Mini-DVI video out (for connecting to a 23-inch Apple Cinema Display). This is a shift from the previous iMac using mini-VGA.

On the software front, the new iMac will be shipped with the latest edition of Mac OS X version 10.4.4 "Tiger", including Safari, Mail, iCal, iChat AV, Front Row and Photo Booth. Tiger also includes a software translation technology called Rosetta that allows most PowerPC applications to be run seamlessly on the new Intel-based iMacs.

Some of you may comment that other than the new Intel processor, the new iMacs do not seem too much of an upgrade. To add on, there is virtually no change in terms of pricing. However, the performance of these new machines is what Apple is banking on. Benchmarks have shown that the new iMacs are about two to three times faster than its PowerPC G5-based brothers. In terms of integer performance, the iMac G5 2.1GHz scored 10.2 in SPECint_rate2000 but the iMac with Intel Core Duo 2.0GHz scored 32.6 in the same benchmark. As for floating point performance (SPECfp_rate2000), the former achieved 13.0 while the latter 27.1. Additionally, Apple also shared that the these new Intel based iMacs are twice as fast as its predecessor or more in Cinebench and Doom 3. Clearly, the internal upgrade is a big asset to the iMac family for those dealing with more intensive applications.