Apple upgraded the “desktop” portion of its lineup today; both the iMac and the Mac Pro saw updates to their line.
While the Mac Pro’s updates were mostly centered around their new “Westmere” processors and won’t be available until next month, the iMacs have a number of upgrades and are available right away.
The big news on the iMac front is the discrete graphics, including the powerful ATI Radeon HD 5750. This will allow the iMac to deliver incredible graphics performance for all but the most demanding 3D games, creative software, and technical applications. Like their tower counterparts, the all-in-one iMacs have also seen a processor upgrade – to the Core i3, i5, and i7 processors across the board, rather than as special-order options. These processors, aside from faster speeds and up to four cores, also feature an integrated memory controller. This allows the iMac’s processor to access the memory directly, rather than have to go through a separate I/O controller, resulting in faster overall data access.
While maxing out this memory will run about $1000 from Apple, you can bet that we at OWC are already working on getting you compatible memory for a fraction of that price. Keep that in mind if you’re buying a new iMac today: get the default memory from Apple; you’ll save by upgrading your memory from OWC in the long run.
Data input also got a new look. The new Magic Trackpad was announced with the iMac, effectively behaving much like the multi-touch trackpad on the MacBooks and MacBook Pros. It’s available as an option, replacing the normally-included Magic Mouse.
The final upgrade option is what’s causing the most stir around the OWC offices. It wasn’t included in Apple’s literature, but it can be found in the custom configurations: the option for two internal drives. Apparently, you can get a configuration that includes a 256GB SSD and either a 1TB or 2TB hard drive! This leads to some potentially powerful setups that combine the speed of an SSD and the capacity of of a platter-based drive—much in the same way you can get by adding an OWC Data Doubler and OWC Mercury Extreme SSD combo to a Unibody MacBook or MacBook Pro.
The main questions, though, are where this second drive will be installed and what processor type it will utilize. On first glance, it may be possible that the SSD will be installed in the optical bay, using something akin to the OWC Data Doubler. However, such a configuration would necessitate having to omit the optical drive; since no warning seems to appear on Apple’s site regarding this, another option is more likely. Right now, the OWC Blog staff theories are split between a special form factor SSD attached in a strange spot and an unmentioned “extra” drive bay that can take any standard SATA drive. The truth, though, is yet to be determined.
Keep an eye here on the OWC Blog; we’ll be getting one of each of the new iMacs for memory testing soon, so while we’re in there, we’ll find out the Mystery of the Dual iMac Drives!