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Apple Watch: New iMac, Mac Pro models today
Tuesday, 2010 July 27 - 7:17 pm
Also: new giant trackpad for use with desktops, and a new 27" Cinema Display.

Here's the summary:

iMac: The low-end model gets bumped from a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo to a 3.06 GHz Core i3. It gets an ATI Radeon HD 4670 standard instead of a GeForce 9400M, which provides a six-fold boost in graphics performance. Still a 21" screen, and the price remains $1199.

The second model gets bumped from a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo to a 3.2 GHz Core i3. It now has an ATI Radeon HD 5670, which is 50% faster than the previous 4670. It has a 21" screen and goes for $1499.

The third model also gets bumped from a 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo to a 3.2 GHz Core i3. It also has an ATI Radeon HD 5670 instead of a 4670. It still has a 27" screen, and still retails for $1699.

The top standard model goes from a 2.66 GHz Quad Core i5 to a 2.8 GHz Quad Core i5. Standard graphics are changed from an ATI Radeon HD 4850 to a 5750; that's just a modest improvement. 27" screen, $1999. There's now an SSD as a build-to-order option on this model.

Verdict: These were good values before, and remain good values now. The low-end model provides a lot of bang for the buck.

Mac Pro: Previously, there were two models: a 2.66 GHz Quad Core Xeon and a 2.26 GHz Eight Core Xeon. Both included GeForce GT120 graphics.
Now, there are three models: a 2.8 GHz Quad Core Xeon, a 2.4 GHz Eight Core Xeon (Intel's new 32nm "Westmere" processor), and a 2.66 GHz Twelve Core Xeon (also a Westmere; would we call this "dodecacore"?). The standard graphics chip is now an ATI Radeon HD 5770, which is nearly 50% faster than the older GPU.

Verdict: Apple seems really positioning these things for graphics and video professionals only; the average consumer would have no use for a 12-core beast. They're pricey, but they're certainly intended to be best-in-class when it comes to performance.

Cinema Display: There's finally a new 27" Cinema Display. It's much like the 24" Cinema Display from two years ago, except bigger. It supports DisplayPort connectors, it has LED backlighting, and has a native resolution of 2560x1440. The ancient 30" Cinema Display has been discontinued; the 24" model will also be gone soon.

Verdict: That 30" model was horrendously obsolete. The new 27" model provides almost as much real estate, and is $800 cheaper. At $999, it's not cheap, but it's $100 less than the nearly-identical Dell 27" UltraSharp display.

Magic Trackpad: Huh. A multi-touch trackpad that's over 4" by 5". Compared to the little 1" trackpads that used to come on laptops, this is truly a beast. It might take some getting used to, but I can see where it could efficiently replace a mouse for most tasks. I'm not sure what gaming would be like on it, but for anything else, it seems like an idea whose time has come.

Battery Charger: This is an oddity. Apple sells an intelligent battery charger with 6 NiMH batteries, for use with all those wireless accessories you have. It's just $29.99, which isn't outrageous for what you get.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch


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