New iMac innards a step in the right direction

By Mike on 11:19 am

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Apple's new iMac is thinner and lighter than any desktop before. It really solidifies the idea that these are just laptops stuck to the back of a screen. Japanese tech site Kodawarisan submitted the late-2012 iMac to its first teardown. Inside we find some decidedly non-laptop design features.

The logic board is laptop-like in most ways. Very sparse compared to your typical desktop PC motherboard. Heatpipes with blower cooler keep the CPU and GPU sufficiently chilly. There's four USB ports, two thunderbolts, and an ethernet port. Looks like it takes up to three sticks of DDR3-RAM, presumably in a triple channel configuration. I'm told the 27'' model has a hatch to easily upgrade the memory, but the 21'' model doesn't.

The nVidia GPU stripped naked. The late-2012 iMac comes with one of four: GT 640M, GT 650M, GT 660M, or GT 675M. The first three come with 512mb of GDDR5 while the latter ships with a fill gigabyte of graphics memory. Even the lowly GT 640M should be enough to handle most current games at playable frame rates.

Is that what I think it is? It sure looks like a fully upgradable CPU. The image depicts an "Ivy Bridge" Core i5-3470S, which is a low power, quad-core chip running at 2.9ghz. It has a TDP of 65W. Apple has always used low voltage variants to keep the thermals down while keeping performance reasonable. Though it's likely the top end model uses a standard CPU. Intel doesn't produce low voltage i5s running at 3.2ghz.

The logic board appears to use an LGA 1155 CPU socket. In theory, there's nothing stopping you from upgrading to an i7, assuming the firmware allows it.

In the last picture, we see the iMac with all its innards exposed. Including a removable hard drive. Apple combines traditional HDDs with SSDs, called a fusion drive. You should be able to remove and swap out the drive with any 2.5'' one. The SSD is nowhere to be seen in this picture, nor does it appear to be soldered  to the logic board. It is possible Apple is combining the two drives into one package, as Seagate does.

As for getting into the system, it's rumoured to be quite easy. Simply remove the display with suction cups. Though at least one French site claimed it was glued. Due to poor translation, it's unclear. We'll have to wait for the first teardowns on this side of the pond to get a full grasp of how easy it is to take apart.

Assuming it is easy to get into, this is a major step in the right direction for Apple. When you pay that much for a computer, it shouldn't be disposable. Keep them fixable.

The new iMac starts at a relatively steep $1299, as one would expect.

Source and Images: Kodawarisan

This year kids want iPads, not consoles

By Mike on 12:05 pm

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I've been told for quite some time now that I'm wrong about mobile gaming. Many fellow gamers have said that smart phones and tablets are not cannibalizing the console and handheld market. A recent study by Neilson proves them wrong. Kids want Santa to bring them tablets, not games.

The study looked at interest in electronics for kids 6-12 and teenagers. Almost half off all children said they wanted an iPad. The Wii U topped second place with 39%. The iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and iPhone rounded out the top five. Only a quarter of all kids wanted an Xbox or PS3. In the case of portables, 29% wanted a 3DS and 18% wanted a PSP. Only 14% wanted a Playstation Vita.

In the case of teenagers, things are a little different. The iPad still topped the list with 21% wanting one. Computers, non-iOS tablets, Wii U, and iPhone rounded out the top five. Only 8% of teens said they wanted a game console, with the PS3 being the most popular. In the case of portable systems, the 3DS and Vita actually come out on top. It's a Pyrrhic victory with only 5% and 4% respectively.

Things aren't full of Christmas cheer for console manufacturers this year. Though we're hardly set for another crash, a lot of what's going on mirrors 1983. There's a strong interest in multi-functional devices over dedicated gaming systems. Interest in portables has taken a nose dive. Still, it's unlikely parents will be willing to spend upwards of $500 for an iPad. Especially for the little ones. If Sony and Microsoft take anything from this, they will need to get their new systems out by Holiday 2013. The current generation has finally run its course.

Source: IGN
Image copyright Bethesda, via Nukapedia

Xbox 720 fresh rumours served up hot

By Mike on 2:57 pm

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Dying gaming magazine Xbox World has decided to go out with a bang. They claim to have gotten the inside scoop from developers, delivering us the tastiest rumours yet.

The 720, which will be simply named "Xbox" will pack some fairly impressive hardware for a console.  Blu-ray support, 8gb of RAM, Kinect 2.0, possible augmented reality, and a quad-core CPU capable of running  two threads per core. You can pair this up with the earlier rumour that Microsoft plans to use AMD's Radeon HD 6670 graphics chip.

The magazine also shows a mock up of the console, which looks quite similar to a black Mac Mini, though about twice the size. The case is rumoured to be magnesium alloy, marking the first time we've seen metal used instead of plastic. Making an unfortunate return are proprietary hard drives.

Is this the next Xbox? Image by CVG and Xbox World. 
Microsoft has been silent on the next Xbox. Though I think we will see things start to accelerate over the next few months. We may even see a possible prototype at CES in two months time, readying for a possible Holiday 2013 launch. Now that Nintendo is pushed out the first eighth generation console, you can bet Microsoft and Sony will not sit on their laurels for too much longer.

Source: CVG