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Mac Thread, New Mac !!!! in Technical; Apple is tapping Intel chips for its desktop lineup in a way it never has before. Unveiled Tuesday, updated the ...
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    gizmo2005's Avatar
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    New Mac !!!!

    Apple is tapping Intel chips for its desktop lineup in a way it never has before.

    Unveiled Tuesday, updated the iMacs have, for the first time, adopted Intel's Core i3 processor, with some distinct differences between the i3, i5, and i7 models, while the refreshed the Mac Pros tap Intel's most advanced six-core processor, also a first.

    So, what should consumers zero in on inside the box? Here's a quick rundown.

    Core i3/Core i5 Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading--most have both, but a of couple processors don't: Apple has gone with Core i3 processors for the first time. The Core i3, as the number suffix indicates, is Intel's low-end core i series desktop processor. In addition to the most salient differences--clock (gigahertz) speed and processor core counts--the biggest variation among the various Core i3 and Core i5 models is that a couple of the iMacs don't have both Turbo Boost and Hyper-Threading. The size of the cache memory is also a distinction.

    A primer, first.

    Hyper-Threading: This can double the number of tasks--or threads--a processor can execute. So, a two-core processor can handle four threads. This technology is not offered on prior-generation Core 2 chips. Apple describes it as follows: "When you're running multiple applications at once, the Core i5 and Core i7 processors spread tasks more evenly across a greater number of cores."

    Turbo Boost: Most Core i series of chips use Turbo Boost, which speeds up or slows down individual cores to meet processing or power efficiency needs. This, like Hyper-Threading, is not available on older Core 2 Duo chips. Apple describes it as follows: "Turbo Boost dynamically increases the speed of one or both cores, taking a 2.66GHz MacBook Pro all the way up to 3.33GHz." In other words, processors get automatically "overclocked"--previously the exclusive domain of high-end gamers--when necessary.

    Cache memory: Cache memory is built right onto the processor and typically consists of very high speed Static RAM or SRAM. The more cache memory a chip has, the better the performance.

    Now, let's see how Apple mix and matches these features on the new iMacs.

    --The entry-level iMac (21.5-inch screen) uses the 3.0GHz Core i3, which integrates the minimum 4MB of cache. This processor, however, does not have Turbo Boost.

    --Mid-range and high-end 21.5-inch and 27-inch models have 3.2GHz and 3.6GHz Core i3 and Core i5 processors, respectively. These chips both have HyperThreading and TurboBoost. The most obvious difference between the two is clock speed.

    --Moving up to highest-end 27-inch iMac models adds two more physical cores, i.e., the quad-core i5 and i7. Cache sizes vary between the two chips: the 2.8GHz quad-core i5 has 3MB of cache, the 2.93GHz i7, 8MB of cache. That's a pretty sizable difference, resulting in better performance for the i7. Apple does not specify Hyper-Threading for this quad-core i5 (nor does Intel), so that's another fairly glaring gap between the two processors.

    Memory-Speed bumped: As Rich Brown points out in his review of the iMac, Apple now uses 1.333GHz DDR3 RAM, compared with 1.066GHz RAM on the older models. This essentially results in better data throughput (increased performance) on demanding tasks.

    Graphics: ATI in, Nvidia out: Nvidia got the boot this time around. That doesn't mean for good necessarily as the history of graphics on the Mac bounces around between ATI (now part of Advanced Micro Devices) and Nvidia. The lower-end 21.5-inch iMac uses the ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics processor (256MB of GDDR3 memory), while the mid-range 21.5 and 27-inch uses Radeon HD 5670 graphics processor (512MB of GDDR3 memory), and the high-end 27-inch packs the ATI Radeon HD 5750 (1GB).

    The HD 5670 is called a "respectable mainstream offering" by Tom's Hardware. The 5750 is a step above the 5670.

    Raw specs show the 5750 with 720 Stream Processing Units and a graphics engine clock speed of 700MHz. The 5670 has 400 Stream Processing Units and graphics engine clock speed of 775MHz.

    The Mac Pro gets six-core and solid-state goodness

    Probably the most conspicuous upgrade for the Mac Pro is the option for the six-core Xeon processor.

    Apple does a pretty good job of describing the new processor versus the other configurations, so I'll defer to Apple here. "The Mac Pro comes with either one or two processors...Which means that you can have a 6-core Mac Pro at 3.33GHz, an 8-core system at 2.4GHz, or, to max out your performance, a 12-core system at up to 2.93GHz...(the) single-die (single-chip), 64-bit architecture makes 8MB or 12MB of fully shared L3 cache readily available to each of the processor cores. The result is fast access to cache data and greater application performance. "

    The new Mac Pro will also be available with the option for up to four 512GB solid-state drives. These SSDs are capable of accessing data at speeds up to 230MB per second--as much as twice the speed of hard drives.

    The Mac Pros' ATI Radeon HD 5770 and ATI Radeon HD 5870 have 800 Stream Processing Units/850MHz graphics engine clock speed and 1600 Stream Processing Units/850MHz graphics engine clock speed, respectively.

    The new Mac Pro will be available in August.
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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Only a minor overhaul to the range, still no decent GPU. Would it kill them to put some usb ports on the side or front?

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    gizmo2005's Avatar
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    would make life at lot easier, i have always thought Macs are over rated!!!

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    Only a minor overhaul to the range, still no decent GPU. Would it kill them to put some usb ports on the side or front?
    i've never found it to be an issue before. it'd be a pretty meaningless design modification in my view.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    And they still claim to be so different from standard PCs even when just rehashing the intel engineering samples and tacking on substandard GPUs

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    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo2005 View Post
    would make life at lot easier, i have always thought Macs are over rated!!!
    Not when you use them day in day out and are extremely easy to manage in a network environment. People only over-rate them because of cost, and they are IMO well worth their money. The latest set of iMac's we bought converted a Windows die-hard to buy a MacBook Pro. Best thing I own technologically.

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    gizmo2005's Avatar
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    but the price you pay for a Mac, you could get a bespoked PC and it would be alot better!! thats my opinion anyway

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    i've never found it to be an issue before. it'd be a pretty meaningless design modification in my view.
    Depends on how often you have to peer behind a large imac to see the ports to plug one of many usb devices in. I just have a short usb extension cable now so I can plug things in while still in front of the machine.

    The DVD drive is slowly destroying all my discs though, due to no soft edging, discs are easily scratched :|

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    Quote Originally Posted by gizmo2005 View Post
    but the price you pay for a Mac, you could get a bespoked PC and it would be alot better!! thats my opinion anyway
    But all the money in the PC world doesn't buy you a rock solid OS like Mac OS X. I've gone through all the bespoke PC stage when I was a big PC gamer. I'm not so any more and building an ace Windows PC is just a pain in the arse. Then you have to contend with reliability in terms of drivers with Windows 7 etc.

    I'll stick to my MacBook and PS3.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunster View Post
    Then you have to contend with reliability in terms of drivers with Windows 7 etc.
    What, like macs don't crash

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Damn it i should have laid odds when this thread was first posted.

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    Jon88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunster View Post
    But all the money in the PC world doesn't buy you a rock solid OS like Mac OS X. I've gone through all the bespoke PC stage when I was a big PC gamer. I'm not so any more and building an ace Windows PC is just a pain in the arse.
    I can't agree more! I used to hate Mac's until I sat down and used one for more than 5 minutes.
    It's the little things in OSX that make it so good!
    My workflow when doing pretty much anything on my Mac is so much faster than when I'm using my work laptop

    For me what makes the Apple machines amazing is the hardware... I have never seen a range of machines that are as well designed and manufactured than the current MacBook range they are robust, good looking and also so ergonomic, the Multi-touch trackpad etc are so nice to work with.

    Yes I agree it is overpriced but if you want it you have to pay the price... Its like a bespoke sportscar, yes you can race a Ferrari in a tuned Golf but you probably wont have a very nice time and it will take a lot of time and effort getting it to the same sort of standard.

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    Nope. Not a whole OS crash anyway. You get the odd bloaty Adobe Flash plugin crash on the odd occasion. But at least they work out of the box (and much less packaging than buying all the separate components for a windows PC - that's if you want to include eco-friendliness into this) .
    Last edited by Tunster; 28th July 2010 at 01:05 PM.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tunster View Post
    Nope. Not a whole OS crash anyway. You get the odd bloaty Adobe Flash plugin crash on the odd occasion. But at least they work out of the box (and much less packaging than buying all the separate components for a windows PC - that's if you want to include eco-friendliness into this) .
    Kernal Pannic, they happen on OSX just like BSODs happen on Windows. In both instances these are rare occourances.

    As to UI it depends on the person, some people find Windows or KDE or Knome more intuitive.

    Packaging, Apple has recently gone on an eco kick after being exposed a while back and no doubs they use less packaging than HP.

    This was always destined to turn into a flameware given the original post reads like a sales pamphlet for Apple.

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