More Macs, More Fun!

By Mike on 12:58 pm

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Apple has been busy updating its line after the release of the iPhone. They're giving you two hot and fresh slices to choose from.

First off, the Mac Mini has seen a "slight" upgrade. Apple released this small form factor computer back in 2005. The new Mac Mini is virtually identical to the older one. However, Apple has upgraded the Pentium M based Core Duo/Solo to the Merom based Core 2 Duo. The Core 2 Duo being a far faster and more efficient processor. Also, both models now come with a dual core processor. The Mini comes in two flavours. A 1.83ghz model with 2mb cache and a 2.0ghz model with 4mb cache. One disappointment with the upgrade in my opinion was lack of a DVD-RW drive in the base model. DVD writers are cheap enough and combo DVD/CD-RW drives just don't cut it any more. Lack of an onboard DVD burner makes iMovie/iDVD pretty much useless. External ones are available but it's probably just as well to buy the top model with the DVD writer.

The iMac has also seen a major revision. The system has been slightly redesigned to make it thinner. It also been given a new paint job: black and gray over the previous all white. It comes in a 20'' and 24'' model, the 17'' model being dropped entirely. The screens resolutions have also been enhanced to 1680x1050 for the 20'' and 1920x1200 for the 24''. The larger model is capable of showing true 1080p HD video flawlessly. For processors, you get a choice of the 2.0ghz or 2.4ghz Core 2 Duo or the beefy 2.8ghz Core 2 Extreme. I expect the later to use the Merom XE, though the fastest listed on Wikipedia was only 2.6ghz, meaning the 2.8ghz model might be a special OEM version. All processors probably use Socket P if that's the case. All models come with 1gb of ram and can be upgraded to 4gb.
Apple has also upgraded the graphics chip to ATI's Radeon HD series. The 20'' model comes with the HD 2400, which is a basic chip. The HD 2600 comes in the 24'' model and is suitable for gaming. Dropped is the Intel integrated graphics chips that were once in the 17''. The GPUs come with dedicated 128mb DDR3 and 256mb DDR3 respectively.
For connectivity, a big plus was the inclusion of the 802.11n wireless standard. A WiFi standard that has a maximum speed of 248 megabits/second. That's 4.5x faster than Wireless G WiFi. Also included is a Firewire 800 port alongside three USB and one firewire 400 port. The iMac has a total of five USB ports if you include the two on the keyboard. Plenty should you even desire to add Microsoft's external HD-DVD drive. Of course it includes standard Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet. Dialup users will have to purchase a USB 56k modem separately.
For storage, Apple has really beefed up the hard drives on the iMac. The base 20'' model with the 2.0ghz processor comes with a 25ogb HDD with the option of adding either a 320gb or 500gb drive. The 2.4ghz 20'' has a base 320gb drive with either a 500gb or 750gb drive as an addon. The 24'' comes with a 320gb base but can be upgraded to a whopping 1tb. Of course all Macs use a standard 3.5'' SATA drives so you're not bound by Apple's upgrade options should you want one different from what they offer as addons. All models come with a DVD writer.
For software, you get OS X Tiger, Front Row, Photo Booth, and iLife 2008.

The New iMacs start at $1199 US.

The one downside is the timing of this release. While it will sell plenty for back to school, it's not a good time to buy with OS X Leopard coming out in October. It's best to wait until then to get it preloaded. The $200 price increase from dropping the 17'' model will discourage some buyers looking for cheaper all in one Macs. Other than that, Apple has put together a really nice package and they look great too.

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